June 9th, 2009
03:45 PM ET
"Gran Torino" is out on DVD today. Got no love from the big famous awards– no Oscars, no Golden Globes. It did get a couple NBR Awards. OK, prestigious, yes, but, call me when you can tell me what NBR stands for without Googling. Still, Best Movie of Last Year in my humble-if-not-slightly-skewed opinion. I'm from Detroit, and will cheerlead anything Detroit. Eminem, Kid Rock –brilliant cultural geniuses, just on principle of being from D-Town.
Here's a "Torino" synopsis: Clint Eastwood gets all Senior Citizen Dirty Harry on his gang-infested abandoned-house-filled Detroit neighborhood. Shot all in Metro Detroit, the film and Eastwood's presence in the area became legendary, like the cavalry had ridden in. The movie came out just after the city had been ridden through the auto bailout hearings in Congress and Detroit was a dirty word and Detroiters were starting to believe it. Then, for a brief shining moment at Christmas time, Clint came in to clean things up.
Six months have passed. No Oscar for Eastwood, GM and Chrysler are in bankruptcy, more jobs gone, and Detroit's corrupt former mayor was sprung from prison and moved to a mansion in Texas. So much for a storybook ending.
This week, Detroiters are in the middle of a legal battle to save the old Tiger Stadium. The historic ballpark got a reprieve last week because a new movie was shooting there. This one, "The Irishman," is about union organizer and mobster Danny Greene. Stars Val Kilmer and Christopher Walken. Have no idea if it will be good, but hoping its chock-a-block full of big bad heroes.
Meantime, go rent "Gran Torino." Betting you'll like it. You'll see why it resonated across Metro Detroit, even if not with Academy voters.
- Rachel Wells
Supervising Producer, CNN Entertainment
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