Hey friends! Today I review Clint Eastwood’s 41st film since 1971, Cry Macho. Clint is a spry 91 years old in this pic and of course I watched it with much fanfare and high expectations, because, well, it’s Clint Eastwood. So here we go.
Cry Macho (2021)
Dir: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Clint Eastwood; Dwight Yoakem; Eduardo Minett
Writers: Nick Schenk; N. Richard Nash
Nick Schenk wrote The Mule (2018), Gran Torino (2008) and The Judge (2014) Robert Downey Jr and Robert Duvall. Nick is a well-established writer who seems to have the approval and loyalty of Mr. Eastwood. Gran Torino and The Mule were both hits for Clint, and were well written characters for elderly protagonists, like the kind Clint can play. So it would seem to me that Clint came to Nick with this book and let him have at it, so the two could once again team up. Clint had the clout with Warner Bros. to make sure the film would get made, and Nick would get paid. Two important factors for a writer to have confidence in before starting a screenplay.
N. Richard Nash – wrote the novel, Cry Macho. An old time writer who was big in Hollywood in the 50’s and mid 60’s. He wrote the screenplay for Porgy and Bess (1959) and The Rainmaker (1966), two very big influential projects in their day. The book Cry Macho was published in 1975. Two big stars have tried to turn it into a movie and failed. Roy Scheider in 1991 and muscle man Arnold Schwarzenegger tried in 2011. Both failed, I’m guessing because they didn’t have writer friends who would do anything for them, like Cint does. I’m also guessing this book was thought to be a good find in the cave of Hollywood history by a triumphant and cherished old school Hollywood writer.
Well Clint Eastwood is the man who finally got the book made and the burning question on everyone’s lips is, why?
This is no passion project, unlike Unforgiven, this film is a “ok I guess I’ll do it” kind of film that sludges along the screen. It doesn’t make you mad, or angry, or happy or anything. It’s just steady work done by people who are good at what they do. In terms of story, this film is more like Clint’s Million Dollar Baby than anything else. Some critics see it as yet another redemption movie but I don’t quite see it that way. It seems like Clint doesn’t want anything, is forced to get close with the kid, then leads him into a parent trap that would probably mess his head up for life.
You see Clint plays a retired horse rancher. They say he was a washed up rodeo cowboy, but we never see any of that in him. We do see his knack for caring for and training horses, so we can buy the story that he was once a really good ranch hand / horse trainer.
Dwight Yoakem, the legendary country singer, gets a juicy part here, playing the boy’s dad and Clint’s boss. Now Dwight is rich and lures Clint into fetching his son back to Texas from Mexico by offering to pay the mortgage on Clint’s simple home. Clint of course, just got forced into an unwanted retirement by Dwight so he takes the job of fetching the boy.
In the next 104 minutes we follow a 91 yr old Clint Eastwood stagger around Mexico and a young boy, Rafael (Eduardo Minett) following him around, very anxious to be with his father again.
The story is pretty simple, Rafael’s mother takes many lovers, drinks a lot and beats him in Mexico, and his father, Dwight Yoakem just wants the boy for collateral to get money from the mother. Once Clint finds the boy, the two are chased by cops and by paid goons the whole way up to Texas.
Clint and the boy find a nice small town to lay low in, and there Clint finds a nice widow with some granddaughters that she has been left with. Much like Million Dollar Baby, when Clint finds that nice little “out of the way” diner that makes fresh lemon meringue pie, “not that crap from a can” he feels at home here, and comes back to it when his job is done.
I don’t know why Clint made this film, it could have reminded him of his other projects like Gran Torino, Million Dollar Baby and The Mule. On the road, shooting outside all the time so he can enjoy the outdoors and save some money. It must have felt like a comfortable story to him, because it comes across as a very comfortable, easy going movie. Almost like sitting in a rocking chair out in southern California watching the burning sun go down over the dusty hills. It is a comforting movie that grows on you. Reminding you that people need people, for wrong reasons, and sometimes for right reasons. Nothing to get excited about, but you do enjoy your time with a movie master like Clint, his love for the outdoors and an old man finally finding somewhere he just may belong.