by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent
Maestro of Hollywood Cinema Clint Eastwood just pulled a fast one by directing and acting in CRY MACHO at age 91. Set for a Sept. 17 release date from HBO Max and Warner Bros, croak-voiced Eastwood plays Mike Milo, a broken down-and-out “rodeo star” who failed at his last resort vocation, breeding horses.
Dwight Yoakam’s Howard Polk is the former employer who rides him hard, and tasks the calcified cowboy-wonder with an unusual side job. That would be the extraction of Polk’s punk son Rafael known as “Rafa” (Eduardo Minett) from the barrios of Mexico, away from an alcoholic mother.
With terrain reminiscent of Eastwood’s turn in THE MULE, the old man and the rebellious son of his ex-boss forge a tender connection, hardened on the bitter coyote trails of outlaws and smugglers back into the US via Texas.
Eastwood at Work Playing an Old Man Younger Than Himself in CRY MACHO
CRY MACHO, a Malpaso/Albert S. Ruddy/Warner Bros production, is Clint Eastwood’s 42nd film, and it’s based on the 1975 novel by N. Richard Nash. Nash, who died in 2000 was also a Hollywood veteran screenwriter, who adapted his own screenplay for Cry Macho into a novel, when the script failed to sell, as the story goes.
So Nash is credited as co-screenwriter with Nick Schenk, who finished the final draft that made it to the big screen finally. But the focus here is really on Eastwood, the man, the myth, the legend.
Having missed WWII, only age 15 by the time it was all over, the future actor/director (b. 1930) later served in the military and even voted for Nixon. Movies in his day spanned the original mega-hit “King Kong” to the well-oiled Howard Hawks classics of the 1940’s that consciously reflected a victorious America that “licked” the enemy.
Probing post-Vietnam America, the former TV cowboy turned hard guy “Dirty Harry” became the drifter in “Unforgiven,” a “Million Dollar Baby” girl’s boxing mentor, an unlikely Hmong community hero in “Gran Torino,” and now reaches a kind of remarkable crescendo in Latin-style CRY MACHO as he tilts masculinity on a new slant.
Ironically, Eastwood once said he imagined a better life for Dirty Harry Callahan as “flying fishing in retirement.” No such plans for this nitro-fueled movie-making nonagenarian.
Catch CRY MACHO in the theater and on HBO Max this Sept. 17.
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