Saturday, January 10, 2009

Gran Torino

I want to go see Clint Eastwood's new movie, Gran Torino. I've seen several reviews, and it looks like it's right up my alley. I guess I can't "review" it myself until after I've seen the movie itself, but everything I read about it makes me nostalgic for a form of manhood that doesn't get much positive air-time anymore. When I was a kid, the perfect dad on TV was Cliff Huxtable. Yes, he was good-hearted and wise, but he was a wuss. His wife and kids ran all over him, and he was forevermore mucking up household projects. Somehow he was smart enough to be a successful Ob-Gyn, but he didn't have what it took to be a leader in his home. There were plenty of good things--he loved his wife and kids, he was honest, he was good. But as an example of manhood, well, he was no Clint Eastwood.

What does it say about our world that Eastwood is 78, and there's no Eastwood waiting in the wings? In Gran Torino, he teaches a fatherless boy the rules of life--among them, that half of all jobs can be done with WD-40, a set of vise-grips, and duct tape. Reminds me of my grandfather. Cliff Huxtable would have gotten the duct tape stuck to the vise-grips.

What are the lessons a father (or grandfather) should teach his boys? I was blessed growing up to have a dad who was a good example of a responsible provider and disciplinarian (my family didn't fall apart until I was out of the house), and also to live next door to my Granddaddy, who was the teacher of major life lessons... how to drive, how to shave, what was the business end of a screwdriver. I watched (and played) sports with dad, and took things apart (and sometimes even put them back together) with Granddaddy. Nobody in my house hunted, but we went fishing a little.

My boys are equally blessed. They have two living grandfathers, my dad, who is teaching the lesson of how to be a gamecock fan, and their Opa, who is the duct-tape guy. Then, as a bonus, they have Uncle Leroy, who is as close to the reincarnation of my Granddaddy as they are going to get (and that's about the highest compliment I can give anybody). I try very hard to be an example of what a man should be to my boys (and to my daughter, who needs to know how to pick a good one someday a LONG time from now). I pray I (we) are doing a good job, and that they will pass on those same lessons to my grandchildren. of course, by then, like the values Eastwood demonstrates in Gran Torino, those values may be as out-dated as a 1972 muscle car. But I call those "classics."

1 comment:

Pete said...

Great flick.

As for Eastwood being a great father figure-- well, he gives several lessons to the young boy that could be meant as a surrogate father. But there are many failings for which Eastwood's character attempts to make reconciliation. All in all, I agree... not enough men teaching boys how to be men. even Boy scouts now has it's share of Gender-Equality. Tell me, how much can a boy learn from a woman about being a man? I know there are SOME things. But few women inherently like the thought of shooting guns or watching war movies. Few women could watch the Bridge on the River Kwai with as much enjoyment. Also, boys should grow up not necessarily wanting to go watch Places in the Heart or Steel Magnolias. Great movies, i'm sure... but they lack something... i dunno... explosions, maybe.

After all is said & done, we need men to grow up being a little like Aslon in Cronicles of Narnia... Dangerous but good.

talking about men, my Word Verification of this post was "Moses." hmmmm. maybe I should read about him.

HEY, how's the bible reading going. I know you can do it well. I'll try to remember to encourage you from afar!