Eastwood looking a little frayed and frail

Cry Macho: Don’t confuse frail with feeble

Riley Riley

I’m starting to think Clint Eastwood is not capable of making a bad movie.

Some are better than others of course, but even the box office failures are worth watching and I bet Eastwood couldn’t care less.

He just likes making movies and even at the age of 92, he doesn’t know how to stop. In fact, he’d probably wither and die if he tried — it’s his lifeblood.

Like the 2008 Gran Torino and 2012’s Trouble with Curve, Eastwood’s latest offering, Cry Macho, is about getting old and the indignity of being dismissed by a younger generation.

It’s obviously something that occupies his thoughts as it’s a theme that keeps cropping up in his movies.

Eastwood directs and stars as an aging rodeo rider Mike Milo who is hired by his old boss Howard Polk (Dwight Yoakam) to travel down to Mexico and bring back his son Rafael (Eduardo Minett), who is living with his estranged wife.

Of course his mother, Leta (Fernanda Urrejola) who is some sort of crime figure, doesn’t want to part with him and sends some men after him to stop him.

Simple really.

But even as an old man, Milo is a force to be reckoned with as the pair team up to battle corrupt police and the bad guys.

Along the way he finds romance with cantina owner Marta (Natalia Traven) and her tribe of children who shelters the pair when their car breaks down.

I remember hearing in an interview once that if Eastwood decides to turn a book into a movie it WILL happen, it’s just a matter of when.

And the back story to this one is a doozy.

Author N. Richard Nash had been trying to get someone to turn it into a movie since he wrote the screenplay back in the 1970s.

The script was twice rejected by 20th Century Fox, so Nash decided to turn it into a novel which was published it as Cry Macho in 1975.

After receiving positive reviews, Nash pitched the screenplay again without changing a word and successfully sold it to a studio.

Producer Albert S. Ruddy spent decades trying to adapt the novel into a feature film.

In 1988, Ruddy gave Clint Eastwood the opportunity to star but the actor declined, but suggested Robert Mitchum for the lead role.

In 1991, filming began in Mexico with Roy Scheider as the lead but production was never completed.

Following failed attempts with Burt Lancaster and Pierce Brosnan, Arnold Schwarzenegger was given the option in 2003 of either starring in remake of Westworld or an adaption of Cry Macho.

Schwarzenegger chose Macho but became Governor of California soon afterwards and the project was put on hold.

Then, in 2011, he announced he would star in Cry Macho, with filming set to begin in New Mexico with Brad Furman as director.

However, that project was canceled shortly after Schwarzenegger’s divorce from Maria Shriver, after it was revealed he had fathered an illegitimate son a decade earlier with an employee in their household.

Eastwood has directed over 30 films, beginning with the thriller Play Misty for Me in 1971.

In many ways Cry Macho can be seen as a reflection of his own life as the once proud rodeo star struggles to come to terms with his advancing years.

And here’s his take on the subject in this exchange between Rafo and Milo as they are driving along towards the end of the movie.

“You used to ride bulls, ride horses. You were something. You used to be strong, macho. Now you’re nothing,” Rafo says, almost accusingly.

“Yeah, well, I used to be a lot of things, but I’m not now. And I’ll tell you something, the macho thing is overrated” Milo responds.

“Just people trying to be macho to show that they’ve got grit. That’s about all they end up with.

“You just sit there and let a bull step all over you and let a horse throw you 50 feet in the air. What an idiot. Only an idiot would be in a profession like that.

“Like everything else in life, you they think you’ve got all the answers. Then you realise as you get older you don’t have any of them. By the time you figure it out . . . it’s too late.”

At the age of 92 there’s no doubt Eastwood’s looking frail and feeling the strain, but a lifetime of good living is certainly paying dividends.

After his grandfather lived until the age of 92, the death of his father from a heart attack at 64 had a profound effect on him.

He has meditated every morning for years and advocates vitamins and plenty of fruit and raw vegetables, as well as avoiding excessive alcohol, sugar-loaded beverages and overloading on carbohydrates.

A private person, he has been divorced twice and is the father of eight “known” children with six women.

Will we see another movie from him? It’s hard to say.

You can catch Cry Macho on Netflix.


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