Clint Eastwood in Cry Macho. (Claire Folger/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. via IMDB) Eastwood’s latest, Cry Macho, looks at aging, regret, and redemption without much flair.
Ever notice that there’s a difference between a ten-year-old and a 50-year old? Well, there’s a difference between a 50-year-old and a 90-year-old, too. Clint Eastwood does not seem to grasp this in Cry Macho, a movie in which he unwisely casts himself as Mike Milo, a washed-up former rodeo rider. I imagined the character being about 50. Eastwood is 91, and there’s a scene in which he has difficulty settling into a chair; you can practically hear his balsa-wood bones creak. He moves the way you would expect a 91-year-old man to move.
Yet here are the things Eastwood’s Mike Milo does in this movie: He slugs a rough hombre of about 30, who runs away and begs for help instead of knocking down feeble Mike with the nearest twig; he breaks a mustang who can’t be tamed by anyone else; he raises the temperature of a slutty lady in the prime of life who slinks invitingly across her sheets to beg him for some action; and he inspires a kindly café owner to reorient her emotional life around him. What future can she possibly picture with a guy who’s more than a dozen years older than Joe Biden?
I’m puzzled that Eastwood tapped himself to star in this movie, adapted from an N. Richard Nash novel of 1975. In the book, the old bull rider is 38, and notes ruefully that you’re an old man in his business by the time you reach voting age. Eastwood first expressed interest in starring in the movie back in 1988, when he was already 20 years too old for the part (but could still have carried it off).
I kept wondering whether the movie would work if Eastwood had cast, say, his pal Bradley Cooper (46) in the main role. Maybe. As it is, I cringed, cringed some more, then cringed out. I never thought I’d cringe this much in a Clint
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