Monday, January 19, 2009

Idiotic, race obsessed bloggers don't get Gran Torino.

I watched Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino last night and it was an excellent film.  Yesterday I was browsing for news bits on the shooting of Oscar Grant by a BART officer and came across a review of Gran Torino skrewing as a typical racist Hollywood film.  This led me to another negative racially motivated review of the film.  I decided to bring this up since Eastwood had recently taken heat from a race baiting Spike Lee; and few things aggravates me more than small minded twits crying about how one group or another is portrayed in movies, from To Kill a Mockingbird to Hostel. 

The charges against GT is that it is a typical cast of stereotypical minority characters (e.g. 'nerdy asian', 'asian gangster', 'black thug' and so on.)  All of this is centered around a "God-like" white man who comes to everyone's rescue.  This a bogus notion.

Eastwood's character, Walt Kowalski, is a racist and when he is introduced to his Hmong neighbors he makes the "gook" assumption about them.  He does not know them.  The Hmong fought WITH the US in Vietnam and faced holocaust afterward.  The "nerdy asian" and "gangbanger asians" server a purpose here.  It demonstrates that race has nothing to do with evil or virtue.  Thao is the most innocent character in the film and his cousin, Spider, is the most evil.

Walt doesn't save them, they save him.  Sue is a particularly good character.  Despite Walt's insults and attitudes she still shows him hospitality and does not give words any power. She is better than he is.  The Hmong neighbors prove to be better people than Walt.  

What people don't seem to understand is that Walt Kowolski is the central character in this film, everything is about his transformation.  So it stands to reason that the character is surrounded by characters that are minorities, good and bad.

With all of the racially obsessed people out there Clint Eastwood could not please them with this film.  Right now, Clint is being ostracized because his "savior" character is white.  But what would happen had Eastwood cast Morgan Freeman in the role of Walt?  How would it be received for Morgan Freeman to play the racist Korean War vet throwing out generous helpings of "gook" and "swamp-rat"?  I have no doubt that there are black men that share this view of Asian, but Clint would be picked apart for potraying this negative black character.  These race baiters are looking for Klansmen under every rock.  They are literally the Joe McCarthy's of racism.  I never heard a complaint about the barber or foreman being stereotypical.

There is something to be said for realism in movies as well.  The setting of film is around Detroit, MI.  Eastwood could have thrown in some Aryan Nation type gangs for "balance" but it would have been completely un-authentic.  Just for S&Gs I ran a google search on "white gangs" of Detroit.  The only thing a I came across was a white supremicist message board discussing that they don't want to go to Detroit because of the small white population. 

In closing, I thought this a fantastic film that demonstrates our pre-conceived notions about people are often wrong and that we have more in common with each other than we think.

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