Sunday, February 1, 2009

A difference of opinion

“In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane.”
-Oscar Wilde

About a week ago I wrote a post saying that Clint Eastwood deserved an Oscar nom for his performance in Gran Torino. That post was met with disdain by Ray, a frequent LazyEye contributor who wrote:

“Brian, are you insane? Clint was better in ANY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE than this movie. Let's see ... he growls, he snarls, he squints. Basically he recycles William Munny from UNFORGIVEN, except without that character's depth or anguish.

I sincerely hope you're joking with this post. People should not receive Oscars simply for being old or respected.”

It didn’t stop there. Ray went on to write:

“The movie sucks, and Eastwood's performance is by-the-numbers. I'm so glad it's not up for anything major.”

Ray couldn’t let it lie and he weighed in again:

“Any reviewer who, after seeing this movie, says "it combines sentiment and shootouts" is a liar and completely wrong. This movie doesn't have any shootouts ... although it has plenty of sentimentality. The sticky, gooey kind that makes you want to take four showers.

The movie sucks, and Eastwood's performance is by-the-numbers. I'm so glad it's not up for anything major.”

Ray wasn’t done. He came back for one more body shot:

“@ Piper - I want you to disassociate yourself from anyone claiming this film is brilliant. Afterschool Specials have more realistic plotting and character developemnt. 

Anyone telling you that this film is brilliant is actually the Devil taking on human form in order to deceive you. Do not be fooled by their lies!!”

Here’s the thing. I don’t know Ray. He may have Roger Ebert’s credentials but to me, he’s just a guy who didn’t like a movie. (By the way, Ebert really liked Gran Torino.) And then I got to thinking, what if my post had 100 responses and all 100 of them were negative? It still wouldn’t have changed the experience I had in the movie theatre. I walked out satisfied that I got my money’s worth for the price of the ticket.

Did Ray write in FOUR times because he hated the movie THAT much, or was he trying to change MY mind? I really enjoy critical debate but in the big scheme of things, it doesn’t really mean that much. Oh and Ray, keep writing. We’re bound to agree on something.


Ray said...

Well, Brian, that last comment was sarcasm, obviously.

Debate has always been part of the moviegoing experience. It's part of the charm. I am accustomed to arguing with my buddies about movies and movie-related issues for HOURS at a time, so this little debate seems inconsequential.

The movie is OKAY ... but my problem isn't with the movie as much as it is with the Oscar buzz it has generated for nearly three solid months. Hell, it was being bandied about as an Oscar contender before it was even released!! Everything about GRAN TORINO is pedestrian, cliched, and ordinary. Nothing here deserves award consideration except Eastwood's closing song, perhaps.

THAT is the crux of my argument here. I'm not trying to sway your opinion about the movie itself; you liked it, cool. But to say that the film should receive Oscar nominations is going a little too far.

Oh, and by the way, you really don't need to write a whole article about me in order to get me to come here ... I show up every single day because I love LAZY EYE THEATRE!!!!

brian said...


I never said the film should receive a nomination; I said Eastwood should be nominated for acting.

But I digress.

I agree that debate is what makes it fun.


Moviezzz said...

"Everything about GRAN TORINO is pedestrian, cliched, and ordinary. Nothing here deserves award consideration except Eastwood's closing song, perhaps."

While I have yet to see GRAN TORINO, the fact is, it is Clint Eastwood. EVERYTHING he does people think is Oscar worthy before they even see it.

I mean, I love the guy. But even I don't agree with the Academy on that.

If anyone else had made the overwrought, underwritten MYSTIC RIVER, it would have been laughed off the screen. But Clint made it, so people loved it.

Anonymous said...

Emily Blake said...

I don't quite share Ray's rage, but I did not think Gran Torino was a very good film at all.

But if you did have 100 different comments, you'd get 100 different perspectives.

brian said...

Good point, Emily.

PIPER said...

To Moviezzz point,

It's interesting that everything Eastwood does seems to be Oscar bait, yet I don't feel he gets much respect. Meaning his films aren't that hyped. They seem to sneak in with the wind.

But more to the point. Brian, this post is hard for me to grasp. Ray and I never disagree on anything. Especially Titanic.

Anonymous said...


I think you get it.

You and Ray can debate Titanic until the end of time and you will always hate it and he will always like it.


Sarah said...

I liked "Gran Torino" and Clint Eastwood's starring role in it. That said, I don't think it belongs among Clint's best work as a director.

I will say, however, that I found the movie tremendously entertaining. Who could ask for anything more?

Here's my review of "Gran Torino," in case you're interested:

jbow said...


I liked Gran Torino very much, too. Eastwood's acting made the movie for me. I completely fell for the Walt Kowalski character from the opening scene. And though the plot was simple, Walt's metamorphosis from a crotchety, closed-minded bigot captivated me at every turn.

Ahney Her was fantastic as Sue, the impetus for Walt's life journey. Her role and her acting of it had much more depth than the brother character, whose role was much more prominent.

The chemistry between the two characters, Walt and Sue, alike in so many ways, was both comic and touching.

The Oscars missed the mark when they dismissed Eastwood in this one. At least Cannes got it right.

Okay, Ray...I guess I've thrown down the gauntlet, slapped you with the proverbial white glove...

So if you're up for more verbal fisticuffs, bring it...


brian said...

Jbow, whoever you are, thanks for the support.

Ray was a bit rough on me.