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Cry Macho - Movie Review

Cry Macho

It’s time for Clint Eastwood to hang up his acting hat for good. There, I said it. And that’s coming from one of the guy’s biggest fans.

Sure, the man is inarguably a true Hollywood legend having appeared in more than 50 films, from 1950’s sci-fis, to countless war dramas, to starring roles in a dozen or so Westerns. Even behind the camera his influence is virtually unparalleled. No one contests that. However, his latest appearance in Cry Macho, a film he also directs, is very nearly cringe-worthy. The film itself, is only slightly less so.

"the story being told is as dry and lifeless as its desert setting"


There’s a fairly significant bit of unintentional irony that snakes its way through this character-driven story ripe with well-worn themes of masculinity and growing old, especially considering the age of its star, whose career was spent embodying Hollywood good looks and unbridled male machismo. As Eastwood doddles through his Cry Macho scenes at a very feeble 91, we watch through parted fingers hoping he doesn’t fall down or break something. It’s almost that bad.

Yet the story being told in Cry Macho asks us to believe this one-time rodeo star – played by a nonagenarian – is still capable of busting broncs, fighting off a carload of bad guys, and bagging a wealthy, beautiful woman several DECADES his junior. Sorry, not buying it. The stunt double scenes and cutaways of Eastwood’s character busting broncs are simply downright sloppy filmmaking. So many poor decisions.

Based on the book by N. Richard Nash, the script is from the late Nash as well as Nick Schenk, who also penned Gran Torino – which featured Eastwood’s last great performance – and The Mule, so it’s even more baffling as to how this one went so far off the rails. And make no mistake, amongst poor acting, horrendously stilted dialogue, and careless direction, there’s plenty of blame to go around.Cry Macho

Set somewhere in Texas in 1979, the story begins as we meet wealthy Texas rancher Howard (Dwight Yoakam), who is calling in a favor from his recently fired ranch hand Mike Milo (Eastwood). He wants Mike to go down to Mexico City, retrieve his 13-year-old-son Rafo (Eduardo Minnett) from Estranged wife and mob boss Leta (Fernanda Urrejola), and return him to Texas. But as expected, it’s not quite that simple, especially when Leta’s odd, out-of-nowhere sexual advances towards Mike are rejected, suddenly causing her to decide to keep the son she calls “a monster” with her in Mexico. We’re left wondering why the sudden change of heart from the boy’s mother. Just one of many “don’t worry about that” moments.

After finding Rafo at the cock fights where the boy’s mother suggested he might be, the two head north back to Texas. But along the way they encounter all kinds of troubles from the federales, broken down jalopies, Rafo’s spry rooster named Macho, and one of the most inept bad guys imaginable.

So many things plague this neo-western road trip movie it’s hard to zero in on the primary culprit. But let’s begin with chemistry and dialogue. Young actor Eduardo Minnett looks quite overwhelmed as he struggles to deliver his lines with any amount of believability. Particularly so when his Rafo is introducing the titular rooster. “His name is Macho, like me. Very strong rooster.” Then again, so do most of the others, including Eastwood himself who we expect to come loaded with a holster full of witty come backs and well-thought out zingers, but instead barely manages but a wheezy-voiced “this macho thing is overrated.” There’s simply no camaraderie between the two, so a road trip which should have been a much-needed moment of introspection and emotion comes off as dull and hokey.

That’s not to say Cry Macho doesn’t have its moments. It does, including one particular side trip that launches the film’s biggest flirt with success when Mike and Rafo fall into the lazy rhythms of a small border town where Mike falls in love with a beautiful shopkeep named Marta (Natalia Traven) and Rafo catches the eyes of a young Mexican girl. It’s all too little too late however as the story being told is as dry and lifeless as its desert setting.

Who says roosters can’t lay eggs? This one just did.

1/5 stars

 

Film Details

Cry Macho

MPAA Rating: PG-13.
Runtime:
104 mins
Director
: Clint Eastwood
Writer:
Nick Schenk; N. Richard Nash
Cast:
Clint Eastwood; Dwight Yoakam; Daniel V. Graulau
Genre
: Western | Drama
Tagline:
A story of being lost... and found.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Look where you're going, and go where you're looking."
Theatrical Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site: https://www.crymachofilm.com/
Release Date:
September 17, 2021
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: A one-time rodeo star and washed-up horse breeder takes a job to bring a man's young son home and away from his alcoholic mom. On their journey, the horseman finds redemption through teaching the boy what it means to be a good man.

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Cry Macho

 

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