Gran Torino

This unpredictable little domestic drama ended up being well written, well acted and well received.

Clint Eastwood ("Million-Dollar Baby," "Changeling" and "Blood Work") co-wrote and directed this affecting dramedy. It starts with the funeral of his character's wife and it quickly establishes his surly character, his chilly relationship with his sons and his lingering hatred for Asians (he is a Korean War Vet). He uses every politically incorrect term in the book for them, even after he becomes slightly acquainted with his next-door neighbors, who are Hmong. To his chagrin, his neighborhood has gradually become Asian and he is NOT gracious about it.

His cantankerous nature eventually becomes funny. When he rescues a neighbor boy from Asian gang members, he has them at gunpoint and insists that they "Get offa my lawn!" INCLUDING the boy he just rescued! As tokens of gratitude for the rescue, the Hmong bring him food...food...and MORE food! To his frustration, he can't stop them.

An earnest young priest, who had promised he would look in on the widower after the funeral, takes some pretty funny verbal abuse, and the next-door neighbor, an elderly Hmong woman, who speaks NO English, sits on her front porch, glaring back at Eastwood, every bit as bigoted as he. They both mutter racial epithets and each knows the other is insulting him/her, even though neither can understand a word the other is saying.

One of Eastwood's treasures is a 1972 Gran Torino in bandbox condition. The teenage boy next door is supposed to steal it as his initiation into a gang...which he REALLY does NOT want to join. Eastwood thwarts him and eventually takes him under his wing. His profane lessons on "manliness" are a stitch!

Word of caution: I had lots of trouble hearing the dialog, so if you have any problems, wait for the DVD, because the story is too involving, too entertaining and too satisfying, to be marred if you have to strain to hear.