Cry Macho

“It was awful!

I had asked The Boy what he thought about the new Clint Eastwood Cry Macho, and he said, “It was okay. What did you think?” I said, “Yeah, it was okay.” A nearby lady then exclaimed “It was awful!” and The Boy said something about opinions at that point.

Happens to us all.

It’s one thing not to let the old man IN. I think the old man is getting OUT these days.

You have to give Eastwood half-a-star for being 91 and starring in and directing his movies, I say, but you don’t have to give him any more than that, and there are aspects of this movie that are challenging, let’s say, to the viewer. Let’s talk about the good: Eastwood still has a fair amount of vitality for his age. He knows redemption stories better than anyone. He knows how to make a story that is complex without being complicated.

In this case, he plays a washed-up cowboy, Mike, who’s been carried by his employer, Howard, (Dwight Yoakam) f0r the past few decades(?) since the death of his wife and kid and his subsequent slide into alcoholism. Howard’s had enough, and fires him, but doesn’t kick out of the house he’s apparently let Mike stay in, but he does send him down to Mexico to fetch Howard’s son (Eduardo Minett) from his crazy mother. Mike (reluctantly, natch) agrees and goes down to Mexico City(?) where he finds the crazy mother living an opulent life and the boy out on the street cockfighting, because the mother will otherwise pimp him out to her friends. Eastwood and the boy set out back to America, said trip complicated and extended by crazy mother (Fernanda Urrejola), who has enough money and power to get the cops riled. (The economics of this are never explained.)

So, we got ourselves a road picture, a buddy comedy, a fish out of water, a bildungsroman and a gray caper, or whatever you call it when old dudes pull shenanigans.

He fights.

No greater love is there than that of a teenage boy for his cock.

The good aspects are when Eastwood pulls off a few of his old tricks: He throws a decent punch, he holds a gun briefly, he even rides a horse. (And they got a very skinny stunt double for the horse-breaking scene, so it’s not so obviously not Clint.) There’s a nice warmth to the proceedings, with Eastwood not hammering the crusty side of his crusty but benign character. The supporting actors have their moments, sometimes, and are affable enough. The story is interesting for the most part, though it doesn’t bear a whole lot of scrutiny.

The bad aspects largely stem from Eastwood being 91. This is his 30th year (since Unforgiven) of playing a badass cowboy (or cowboy in spirit) who is trying to redeem himself for his sins, even though the harms visited him in his life appear to be completely unrelated to said sins. If I had to guess, I would say his character age in this film is supposed to be mid-60s, and the age difference is distracting.

Old folks, for example, have trouble breathing sometimes, and this shows up in an inability to say a complete sentence without breaking for a breath. And I suspect it shows up here also as an unwillingness to do another take when you’ve flubbed a line. As I mentioned in Indiana Jones and the Walker of Impending Mortality, things read differently on old people than they do on younger ones (like running crouched when you’re old just looks like your spine is curved). There are places where this is hidden well, and when it’s not, it’s jarring.

I mean, ew, but you get the point.

Gotta sting a little having your advances spurned by your great-grandpa.

The most difficult part is in accepting Clint as a romantic lead, when he spurns his charge’s mother’s sexual advances: We can believe she’s crazy and slutty, sure, but hot for nonagenarian? Even if it’s Clint Eastwood?

And the main plot point of the story is the elder cowboy teaching the younger one the tricks of the story in a small Mexican town where the pretty owner of the diner makes eyes at him, and offers him (in a plot sense, she doesn’t outright say this) a chance for a peaceful life with a family as she raises her recently orphaned granddaughters. “Aha,” you think, “at least he’s getting it on with a grandmother, right? Not like, say, in The Mule where he has a threesome with girls who might be his great-great-granddaughters.”

“Oho,” says I, “this grandmother is still young enough to be his granddaughter.” (Natalia Traven, the Mexican grandmother, is 52 as it turns out. You do the math.)

As I said, we liked it okay. There’s enough going on that I’m willing to suspend belief.  It’s just that said suspension gets to be a bigger and bigger ask with every movie.

She's not THAT busy.

Maybe next movie, Clint could date an older woman, like Betty White.

2 thoughts on “Cry Macho

  1. Only the reviewer wants to see Clint Eastwood date Betty White.

    The primary audience of Clint Eastwood’s most recent movies are life-long Clint Eastwood fans. They are more willing to look pass Clint’s age; similar to fans of The Rolling Stones coming out to see the geriatrics play “Jumping Jack Flash.”

    In honesty, the reviewer comes across as a jerk because of his hyper-focus on Clint Eastwood’s age.

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