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‘Cry Macho’: Age Is Not a Deterrent

by MovieBabble 3 months ago in movie review

Once again, Clint Eastwood shows us how it's done.

Warner Bros.

The production background of Cry Macho spans nearly five decades. The screenplay had been kicking around in the early seventies. After numerous studio rejections, screenwriter N. Richard Nash revamped the script into novel form. The positive acclaim for the novel led to its eventual optioning for the screen by Twentieth Century Fox.

In the late eighties, Clint Eastwood, then 58 years old, had already been offered the lead role. The squinty-eyed megastar wasn’t interested in starring in the film, though he did show an interest in directing it. Instead of himself, Eastwood suggested the great Robert Mitchum for the part. This wasn’t to be, however, and in the early 1990s, production had started with Roy Scheider in the lead part, but this project also fell through.

Out of all people, Arnold Schwarzenegger was offered the role. He was interested, but his political ambitions had put the project on hold until it was eventually canceled due to personal issues — you can read the dirty details elsewhere. By then, N. Richard Nash had already passed away and he was never able to see his story on the big screen.

Then in October 2020, it was announced that Clint Eastwood, then 90 years old, would not only direct but star in Cry Macho. It’s fun to imagine how the film could have been if earlier productions had been successful — undoubtedly the 1980s version with Eastwood directing and Robert Mitchum starring being the most intriguing one.

On playing the part at such a late stage in his life, Eastwood felt that it was something he had to grow into, “it’s fun when something’s your age, when you don’t have to work at being older.”

Cry Macho is about a former rodeo star, Mike Milo (Eastwood), who is visited by his former employer, Howard Polk (Dwight Yoakam). Howard wants Mike to go to Mexico, to find his estranged son, Rafael (Eduardo Minett), and bring him to the edge of the border, where Howard will be waiting for them. Howard will then help Rafael cross the border.

Due to some legal issues, and his troubled relationship with Rafael’s biological mother, Leta (Fernanda Urrejola), Howard is not able to do this himself. Due to a personal debt that Mike owes Howard, he reluctantly accepts his request.

After an awkward encounter with Leta, Mike manages to find Rafael, who is making money through the underground cock-fighting circuits (using his prize-rooster called Macho). With promises of a better life, and a renewed relationship with his father, Mike manages to convince Rafael to go with him.

Though they initially clash in the beginning, they naturally begin to form an unlikely bond. Their journey to the border is filled with peril, including corrupt cops and gun-toting associates of Leta’s. But by the end of it, both characters go through their own form of self-discovery.

If you’re familiar with Eastwood’s filmography, it shouldn’t be surprising that the story would interest him. In some respects, Cry Macho is an amalgamation of Eastwood’s earlier work. There’s the obvious; this is the first time, after Unforgiven (arguably his greatest film), that he dons a cowboy hat. It’s the Western genre that made Eastwood a star and into an icon. Cry Macho is not a Western (though one could classify it as a neo-Western) though it clearly plays off Eastwood’s legendary Western status.

There is the familiar trope of a wiser older man educating a cocky youngster. In many of his films, we see the old generation teaching the new generation a few important lessons. In Heartbreak Ridge, Eastwood plays a grizzled drill sergeant taking on a group of undisciplined young men; he taught Charlie Sheen how to mow down baddies in The Rookie; In Space Cowboys, he plays a former astronaut who is called back into duty (alongside three other retired astronauts) due to his knowledge of a Soviet satellite; in Million Dollar Baby, he plays an aging boxing trainer showing a young woman the ropes; In Gran Torino, Eastwood plays a tortured veteran taking a young man under his wing; he directed Tom Hanks in Sully, in which he played a veteran pilot who due to years of hardened experience, managed to save the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of people.

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READ THE REST OF THIS REVIEW ON OUR WEBSITE: https://moviebabble.com/2021/09/20/cry-macho-age-is-not-a-deterrent/

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