Cry Macho

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I did laugh — a lot — so I was tempted to deem this the funniest movie of the year, if not for two things: 1) it’s burdened by a mediocre story and 2) it’s not a comedy. However, the flicks that make us laugh the most are often the ones that do so unintentionally. Cry Macho is one of those films. It verges on the absurd.

Our tale begins when broken-down bygone rodeo star Mike Milo (Clint Eastwood) is hired by his former boss, Howard Polk (Dwight Yoakam). Howard tasks the senior citizen to travel to Mexico and retrieve his 13-year-old Latino son Rafael (Eduardo Minett). Nicknamed Rafo, he’s currently living with his mother Leta (Fernanda Urrejola). We’re informed the boy is a wayward criminal involved in gambling, drinking, and illegal cockfighting. Rafo’s pet rooster and constant companion is called Macho. Then we meet the boy and he seems more like a waif from Oliver Twist. He’s neither convincing nor natural in the part. Anyone remember the actor who played Sylvester Stallone’s estranged son Michael in Over the Top? * Completely random reference I know, but I feel like maybe Eduardo Minett went to the same affected school of child acting.

You’ve got to hand it to Clint Eastwood. The man is 91 years old and he’s still making movies. Cry Macho is not only directed and produced by the legendary actor, but he also stars. He’s the very definition of a grizzled old man. I think it was during the 1990s when Woody Allen started to regularly cast youthful actors in the parts he would have previously played himself. Methinks Clint should have done the same thing here. And by youthful, I mean to select a man in his 50s. I counted three times when attractive younger women are barely able to contain their lust upon seeing him. This includes a widow named Marta (Natalia Traven) who owns a cafe. Luckily he rebuffs every one of them. Thank goodness! I didn’t need to see that little flirtation play out. Unfortunately, it did in The Mule so consider yourself warned if you haven’t seen it.

Clint Eastwood isn’t as spry as he used to be. Those aren’t the only moments that strain credulity. We can see Mike Milo moves pretty slowly. He has difficulty walking at this point in his life. There’s no shame in that. However to also have us believe he can easily tame a wild bucking bronco is a hilarious spectacle of pure camp. His stunt double’s hand conveniently covering his face during most of the ride. In a subsequent scene, Mike approaches the dinner table, and he’s so frail he has trouble just lowering his body to take a seat. His earlier horse-riding talents are a bewildering burst of athleticism.

Set in 1980, the period piece is a character study of aging, remorse, and regret. It speaks to recurring themes that Eastwood has explored as of late with writer Nick Schenck (Gran Torino, The Mule). Here Schenck contributes to a screenplay by author N. Richard Nash who wrote the 1975 novel of the same name. The chronicle unfolds at a genteel pace that feels like it was made in another era. I have to applaud its courtly energy, but I cannot abide the mawkish melodrama, the bad acting (not Clint), or the ridiculous leaps of faith necessary to accept a nonagenarian in the starring role. I have enjoyed many films in the twilight of Clint Eastwood’s career. This is not one of them.

09-17-21

* The actor’s name is David Mendenhall

6 Responses to “Cry Macho”

  1. I couldn’t believe how much I laughed at this. I also cringed many times when the women would basically undress him with their eyes. Really? So many times I was commenting how bad this was. I did enjoy the unintentional fun. 2 ⭐️

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yeah, I uh could have really done without that scene in The Mule. Not trying to be ageist here but of all things that strain credulity . . .

    I actually liked The Mule but Cry Macho looks weaker. I don’t think I’ll bother hitting the theater for this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It sucks that this didn’t work. I enjoy the movies Clint Eastwood has directed and I was thinking about watching this with my dad (‘Gran Torino’ is one of his favorite movies.) Maybe we’ll watch it together and at the very least we can laugh at it?

    Liked by 1 person

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