Many of us look forward to films directed by or starring Clint Eastwood because we know (a) they’ll feel as if they were made in 1984 or ’89 or ’96…way back before the superhero era, (b) they’ll basically be meditative and character-driven, and will most likely be peppered with sardonic humor, and (c) they’ll focus on values and decency and Clint’s ornery old cuss being challenged or put through the ringer by a bad guy or two. It’s also a safe bet that an attractive older woman (40s or 50s) will give Clint’s character a wink.

The Cry Macho trailer seems to suggest Gran Torino meets The Mule in Mexico…something like that.

I think Cry Macho (Warner Bros./HBO Max, 9.17) should be bannered as a milestone film. How many legendary, brand-name, Oscar-winning actor-hyphenates have directed and starred in a film at age 91? Has this ever happened in Hollywood history? The Macho script has been around for three-plus decades. Clint almost made it in the late ’80s and then backed away. It has to have something pretty good going on or why did it get made after all this time?

This film appears to have some kind of resonant quality…something that may stick to the ribs…maybe.

Posted on 6.29.21: Cry Macho is essentially an older guy-younger guy relationship story…a piece about values, regrets, admissions, looking forward, wild roads. There’s an extensive synopsis for Nash’s 1975 novel on the Wiki page.

Eastwood’s character, called “Miko” in the film, is a crusty old cuss; in Nash’s book he was a 38 year-old rodeo rider named Michael “Mike” Milo. Over the years various big-name actors including Roy Scheider, Burt Lancaster, Pierce Brosnan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, were seriously interested in playing Miko/Mike. (Schwarzenegger’s version was close to getting made but then the impregnating-the-Mexican-maid thing happened.)

Eastwood almost committed to starring in a film version in ’88, but he bailed in order to do The Dead Pool, a Dirty Harry film.

Here’s a shorter Amazon synopsis:

“Mike’s best years are behind him. There was a time when he was the best rider in the circuit, but a divorce and years of hard living have worn his body down. After an accident, his career comes to an abrupt end, but his boss gives him one last job: he must cross the border into Mexico, kidnap his boss’s son, Rafo, from his boss’s ex-wife, to be used as leverage in their ongoing divorce.

“Mike arrives to find the boy has already run away, and his plan is immediately exposed to the local police. When he finds Rafo living on the streets of Mexico city, supporting himself though petty crime and winnings from the occasional cockfight, Mike convinces the boy to come back to Texas. Still running from the law, the two set out on a journey northward that forges an unlikely friendship and forces both to reckon with the choices they’ve made in pursuit of being ‘macho.”

This is Schenk’s third collaboration with Eastwood after Gran Torino (’08) and The Mule (’18).