At 90+ years of age, Clint Eastwood has cemented his status as a very good filmmaker. He’s made a lot of movies, some great, some good, and some truly bad ones.
Cry Macho, his latest directorial effort, is one of the truly bad ones.
Again, the man is over 90 years old. It’s AMAZING that he still has the gumption to not only act in a movie, but direct it, too. And here he is, putting on a cowboy hat and growling through his latest role as Mike, the ex-rodeo star given a chance to do something other than sit in his lonely home and waste away.
To be clear, this is not Eastwood’s return to westerns, which would perhaps have been a nice capper to his career. Nope, Unforgiven, a film he made nearly 30 years ago, stands as his last true western.
No, this cowboy hat is more or less something to put on the movie poster to make you think Eastwood is back in a western, and you would have to see that, right? The guy who did The Outlaw Josey Wales is saddling up again? Sign us up!
No, this actually is a “grown man shepherds a young boy to salvation” story, with very little in the way of saloons and zero gunfights, and much footage of Eastwood basically just driving around.
Eastwood’s Mike is a horse trainer fired by his boss (Dwight Yoakum) then inexplicably hired a year later to track down his boss’s estranged 13-year-old son, Rafo (Eduardo Minett) in Mexico. The embittered Mike, who called his boss small and weak the year before, pretty much says, “Yeah, I guess I owe you one,” and agrees to kidnap the son from his mother (Fernanda Urrejola).
On that mission to essentially kidnap the boy, Mike encounters that mom, a much younger than him woman who outrageously invites the 90-year-old Mike to sleep with her after knowing him for 30 seconds. Mike spurns the advance because his dick probably fell off two decades ago, and that puts some nonsense about the boy’s mom seeking revenge against Mike into effect. If this sounds remarkably stupid and inane, that’s because it is.
The boy is “wild,” according to the mom. Drinking, stealing, and attending cockfights with his trusty rooster, Macho. (Hence, the movie title!) He agrees to travel with Mike because he is promised a horsey on the other side of the border, but the chance for a thrilling road picture dies when Mike and the kid wind up stranded at a cantina because their car isn’t holding its oil. This triggers another ridiculous subplot where another woman much younger than Mike wants to sleep with him.
Hey, in the “real world,” I’m sure a lot of people would sleep with 90-year-old film star and legend Clint Eastwood. I’m sure they are clamoring to see his bony ass naked. He has a lot of money, an interesting squinty forehead and he knows Tom Hanks.
In the fictional movie world, Eastwood’s character is a cranky, broken, old-assed ex-rodeo star alcoholic and drug addict (granted, sober in the movie) who might be coming up a little short on the sex appeal side. In short: It’s a little hard to buy these women falling for this character inside of five minutes, although one of them might’ve been drunk at the time, so there is that.
Structurally, the movie is all over the place, a mark of somebody just going through the motions. Minett and Eastwood have zero chemistry on scene, making all of the intended endearing dialogue between them forced and weird. The laughs in the movie are mostly unintentional, like watching Eastwood stumble through romantic dance scenes. He’s no hoofer.
I watched half of this movie in the theater and drove home to watch the second half of the movie on HBO Max. Why? Because I could. I enjoyed the second half more because there was that feeling that this is what watching this garbage would’ve been like had I not driven to the theater and spent $20 bucks on a ticket and popcorn, along with one of those Propel drinks. (Trying to cut down on the soda.)
Cry Macho sucks for a variety of reasons, biggest one being Eastwood has dreadfully miscast himself, followed by the script being crap and the supporting performances leaving much to be desired. I’m going to watch Unforgiven as the antidote, the irony being that Eastwood’s totally forgiven for shitting the bed cinematically this time because, you know, he made Unforgiven.
OK…I’ll shut up now.