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GET OFF MY LAWN!

paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20636
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Last night I watched "Gran Torino" and it really got me thinking about a lot of different stuff.

For one: is Walt a racist? It seems that racial slurs come as easily as breathing. But, at the same time, he does racial slurs with everybody - not selectively. He pours racial slurs on his friends. And embraces the racial slurs to himself. So I kinda wonder if the movie builds the case that just because somebody does this sort of thing doesn't necessarily make them a racist.

And then I have to wonder .... there are many people that don't like Walt. But it seems that those people aren't exactly the best that the human race has to offer. And, Walt does have friends.

Perhaps Walt is a really good person who does not suffer fools gladly.

I felt the movie left me feeling pretty mixed .... and evaluating my own standards ...

Anybody else see it?







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Sergio Campos J.
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Joined: Jun 01, 2009
Posts: 53
Anybody else see it?[/quote wrote:
I don't
Looking for torrent...


"There are times when the easy things should be quick and easy" [...] "and worry about the theory later" -Fred Hamilton-
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15299
    
    6

Sergio CamposJ wrote:
Anybody else see it?[/quote wrote:
I don't
Looking for torrent...


What authorities should we turn you in to for trying to steal a movie?


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Frank Silbermann
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Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1387
SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE "GRAN TORINO" BUT PLAN TO DO SO.

paul wheaton wrote:Last night I watched "Gran Torino" and it really got me thinking about a lot of different stuff.

For one: is Walt a racist? It seems that racial slurs come as easily as breathing. But, at the same time, he does racial slurs with everybody - not selectively. He pours racial slurs on his friends. And embraces the racial slurs to himself. So I kinda wonder if the movie builds the case that just because somebody does this sort of thing doesn't necessarily make them a racist.

And then I have to wonder .... there are many people that don't like Walt. But it seems that those people aren't exactly the best that the human race has to offer. And, Walt does have friends.

Perhaps Walt is a really good person who does not suffer fools gladly.

I felt the movie left me feeling pretty mixed .... and evaluating my own standards ...

Anybody else see it?

I just watched it on DVD. The only part I didn't like was when he got shot and fell down in a crucifixion position. I mean, that was kind of an insult to my intelligence -- why not rub my nose in it to make sure I get the point? Other than that, I thought it was an uncommonly wise and honest movie.

Walt is a guy from a small world and limited education. He gets annoyed by people whose behavior he considers ill-mannered. Because etiquette varies by culture, people of other backgrounds strike Walt as being rude and ill-mannered -- they just don't act quite right. As Walt is the last of his kind in his neighborhood, he mostly keeps to himself. But this is not an ideological racism -- he becomes equally irritated by his own grandchildren when their manners violate the code he was taught. (For example, he was taught that one should dress a certain way in church, particularly at funerals -- and even though he is no longer a religious believer, he becomes furious when his grandchildren attend their grandmother's church funeral wearing sports T-shirts or a naval-ring exposing bare midriff.)

He can become friends with people of other backgrounds and ethnic groups despite their differences -- his Italian-American barber, his Jewish-American former physician (not shown but mentioned), and an Irish-American construction boss -- but it's not an effortless process. Likewise, he becomes close to the Hmong neighbors as he gets to know them. And even when there are people he still doesn't like, he doesn't go out of his way to harm or inconvenience them. He is a good man, but he is not a saint. (At least he does not have the demeanor or level of understanding that one might expect of a saint).

One senses that the director considers it a good thing when people can learn to overlook cultural differences as understanding grows. However, the film takes pains to point out that there are, nonetheless, dangerous people in the world who do not want to be your friend (or your "bro") -- people who will not agree to live in mutual tolerance and respect unless forced -- and that a man has an obligation to be ready to deal with such people. The film agrees with Walt's contempt for naive pacifists, e.g. his contempt for the Hmong girl's American date who seems to consider it a virtue to refuse to see the danger posed by some of the people in certain neighborhoods. Those people, for their part, feel offended by the date's assumption that he has nothing to fear from them. Walt is incensed that the college boy exposes his date to the danger of that neighborhood while being unprepared to protect her from it.

The film suggests that the world will _not_ be better when boys are raised to be more like traditional girls -- passive, always-obedient, and harmless. And whatever disadvantages the Hmong gang members might have suffered while growing up, and whatever their current lack of legitimate opportunity, the current reality is that decent people will not be able to thrive (or perhaps even exist) in that neighborhood until those gang members are removed from it -- one way or another.

However, just as a man must be ready to use violence when necessary, he must also have the self-control to use his head and not to be ruled by his emotions.

In the end, Walt sacrifices his life to save others. This is in character. Indeed, we learn that during his youth in the Korean war his buddies were being plagued by a Chinese machine-gun nest -- and he and a group of others went on a suicide mission to silence it. Even though they succeeded, most of his buddies died in the effort. He survived, personally killing the young Chinese machine-gunner at point-blank range -- not because the youth deserved to die, but because it was a job that had to be done. Despite winning a medal for his courage, he does not take pride in what he did. When his neighborhood had to be purged of the Hmong street gang, he realized that he couldn't kill them all himself; he really didn't want to kill them -- but by sacrificing the few remaining months of his own life he was able to expose the gang members to the greater (and also potentially violent) power of the police. (This is a classic military ploy in which a man exposes himself to draw enemy fire, thereby revealing their location to the heavier artillery.)

In the director's view, Walt's life (for the most part) and his death epitomize male virtue. The director points out that virtue can exist even in the absence of mere pleasantness -- and that men have an obligation to teach virtue to the boys for whom they are responsible.
 
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