What if Clint Eastwood had starred in The Pawnbroker?


It's amazing the movies people take seriously now.

There was a ridiculous movie called Homicide written by David Mamet. A Jewish detective investigates the murder of a Jewish shop owner. It turns out they were involved in some Zionist group which has a secret cache of weapons. The Jewish detective comes to embrace his Jewish identity by blowing up a building if I'm remembering correctly, and this was presented a good thing.

It was like if Mickey Spillane tried to write a novel about anti-Semitism. I was amazed that people took it seriously. It got good reviews at the time but has disappeared since then.

And I finally watched the movie Gran Torino starring elderly California millionaire Clint Eastwood.

It reminded me of the spoof movie trailers they used to show on Mad TV and the old cartoon The Critic. They showed trailers for movies with bizarre casting decisions. They had Woody Allen in a Die Hard-like action film---terrorists take over the prep school for Korean girls where he works as a clarinet teacher. "More violent than his early, funnier movies," they quote one critic as saying.

Gran Torino was like The Pawnbroker starring Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry.

In The Pawnbroker, Rod Steiger played a traumatized concentration camp survivor who now works as a pawnbroker in a bad neighborhood. He tries to repress all emotion. An ineffectual social worker tries to counsel him and he teaches his trade to a young ethnic.

In Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood plays a traumatized Korean War veteran who is a horrible person. An ineffectual Catholic priest tries to counsel him and he teaches his trade to a Hmong neighbor. And he threatens people with guns, saying Dirty Harry-like things to them as they stand watching him reach into his jacket for a gun.

I may be giving too much away here, but this might have been considered a serious film because Clint Eastwood didn't actually kill anyone.

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