Clint Eastwood, America’s director

“You’ve made the first movie of the Obama generation!” exclaimed an audience member, as he rushed up to Clint Eastwood after a recent screening of Gran Torino. “Well,” the 78-year-old actor-director replied, without missing a beat, “I was actually born under Hoover.” It was an ironic juxtaposition, given that Eastwood’s Torino character, widowed Korean War vet and former Detroit autoworker Walt Kowalski, has earned comparisons to TV’s Archie Bunker, for both his politically incorrect racial epithets and his general hostility toward a modern world that seems to have left him — and his old-fashioned American values — out in the cold. “We could use a man like Herbert Hoover again,” Bunker sings at the start of each All in the Family episode. But it’s change, not nostalgia, that sets the tone in Gran Torino, as the belligerent Walt ventures first across the property line and then deeper into the lives of the Hmong immigrant family living next door.

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Directors, Filmmaking


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