Clint Eastwood, now 91, has cemented his legacy as a very good filmmaker. He’s made a lot of movies—some great, others good. He’s also made some truly bad ones.
Cry Macho, his latest directorial effort, is unfortunately one of the truly bad ones.
Given Eastwood’s age, it’s amazing that he still has the gumption to not only act in a movie, but direct it, too. Here he is, putting on a cowboy hat and growling through his latest role as Mike, an ex-rodeo star given a chance to do something other than sit in his lonely home and waste away.
To be clear, this is NOT a return by Eastwood to Westerns. Nope: Unforgiven, a film he made nearly 30 years ago, stands as his last true Western. No, the cowboy hat is more or less something to put on the movie poster to make you think Eastwood is back in a Western … because you’d love to see that, right? The guy who did The Outlaw Josey Wales is saddling up again? Sign us up!
Alas, this is actually yet another story about a man shepherding a young boy to salvation, with very little in the way of saloons, no gunfights, and lots of footage of Eastwood driving around.
Mike is a horse trainer fired by his boss (Dwight Yoakam) and then inexplicably hired a year later to track down his boss’ estranged 13-year-old son, Rafo (Eduardo Minett) in Mexico. The embittered Mike, who called his boss small and weak the year before, pretty much says, “Yeah, I guess I owe you one,” and agrees to kidnap the son from his mother (Fernanda Urrejola).
When Mike encounters that mom, named Leta—a woman who is much younger—she outrageously invites 90-year-old Mike to sleep with her after knowing him for 30 seconds. Mike spurns the advance (perhaps because his dick fell off two decades ago?), which results in some nonsense about Leta seeking revenge against Mike.
Rafo is “wild,” according to his mom. He’s drinking, stealing and attending cockfights with his trusty rooster, Macho. He agrees to travel with Mike, because he is promised a horsey on the other side of the border—but the chance for a thrilling road picture dies when Mike and Rafo wind up stranded at a cantina, because their car isn’t holding its oil. This triggers another ridiculous subplot in which another woman much younger than Mike wants to sleep with him.
If this sounds remarkably stupid and inane, that’s because it is. Hey, in the real world, I’m sure a lot of people would love to sleep with living-legend Clint Eastwood. I’d imagine they are clamoring to see his bony ass naked. But in the movie, Eastwood’s character is a cranky, broken, old-ass alcoholic and drug addict (who, granted, is sober in the movie). In short: It’s a little hard to buy these women falling for this character inside of five minutes (although one of them might’ve been drunk at the time, so there is that).
Structurally, the movie is all over the place. Minett and Eastwood have zero screen chemistry, making all of the intended endearing dialogue between them feel forced and weird. The laughs in the movie are mostly unintentional, like while watching Eastwood stumble through romantic dance scenes. He’s no hoofer.
I watched half of this movie in the theater, and then drove I home to watch the second half on HBO Max. Why? Because I could. I enjoyed the second half more, because it made me feel like I hadn’t driven to the theater and wasted $20 on a ticket and popcorn, along with one of those Propel drinks.
Cry Macho is awful for a variety of reasons—the biggest one being that Eastwood has dreadfully miscast himself. However, the script is also crap, and the supporting performances leave much to be desired. I’m going to watch Unforgiven as an antidote now.
Cry Macho is playing at theaters across the valley, and is now streaming on HBO Max.