Netflix 100: Grand Torino


As I trolled through the Netflix 100 list, I noted that I’d seen 45 of the 100 movies. Not bad for an armchair critic, huh? I blame my sleepy town, which features movies, classical music, and amateur theatre. Of the three, my husband and I choose movies.

This works to our favor, as I get to recommend a movie to you, or steer you clear of one I wasn’t feeling. If you disagree with me, that’ll work, too. You’ll know which movie you’ll probably love, depending on how much I hated it. Gran Torino, # 9 on the Netflix 100 is actually the 5th review in my 45 part series. I’ve already reviewed #8 on the Netflix 100 list: The Proposal. You can check out that review here. (Hint: I liked it).

Gran Torino had me from go. My first car was a 1976 Gran Torino wagon, and I have a soft spot in my heart for that gimungous hoopty and all its cousins.

Our friends that went to see the movie with us were skeptical. "That looks like a hot ghetto mess," one friend remarked. I’m not sure what she was expecting, but she was pleased in the end.

Clint Eastwood plays crotchety Korean war veteran Walt Kowalski, the last white hold-out in a neighborhood overtaken by Hmong gang-bangers. When his teen neighbor Thao (Bee Vang) tries to steal his beloved 1972 (only 4 years off from my car!) Gran Torino, Kowalski becomes an unlikely father figure for the family. The movie deals with racial issues without being self-congratulatory, or self-conscious.

Please click here for my rating system.

1. Story: The story focuses more on character and relationship development than plot. The plot itself was maybe a little predictable, but by then you so liked the characters that you didn’t mind too much. 8

2. Acting: Eastwood is brash and raw while Vang is quiet and seething. It makes for great dramatic tension. Ahney Her, as Thao’s sister Sue is a softening influence on both. 10

3. Costumes/Setting: The setting is an unsettling violent neighborhood. It helps tell this story of a world I knew nothing about. The costumes also contribute to the story. 10

Total score for Gran Torino: 9

Watch Gran Torino on Amazon Video on Demand. This review is part 5 in a series. For part 1, Crash, click here. For part 2, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, click here. For part 3, Ironman, click here. For part 4, The Pursuit of Happyness, click here. For part 6, The Inside Man, click here. For part 7, The Dark Knight, click here. For part 8, The Blind Side, click here.

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  1. By Tweets that mention Netflix 100 #9: Grand Torino – -- on August 12, 2010 at 8:44 pm

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  2. By Netflix 100: #18: The Dark Knight - on September 5, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    [...] Case of Benjamin Button, here for part 3, Ironman, here for part 4, The Pursuit of Happyness, here for part 5, Gran Torino, and here for part 6, The Inside Man. This entry was written by [...]

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