This past week, Clint Eastwood dragged his rattly bones in front of the camera for his 65th film role — yes, 65th. Eastwood directs and stars in the new Warner Bros. film “Cry Macho,” based on the 1975 novel by N. Richard Nash, and it is the perfect movie for putting babies to sleep or throwing on to entertain your dog while you go to the grocery store.
“Cry Macho” provides just about everything you would expect from a film by one of Hollywood’s oldest actors/directors that you probably thought was dead: extended sequences of barren desert, an overabundance of cowboy hats and the sexual advances of a woman less than half the age of the lead male. It’s like the ‘50s all over again.
The story begins with the character Mike, played by a 91-year-old corpselike Eastwood. In an early scene filled with characters talking to each other like they’re babies, we learn Mike was once a great rodeo star, but his life was derailed when his wife and daughter died in a car wreck.
Since then, he has struggled with addiction to drugs and alcohol and seems to have lost all interest in his work and lost his job. All of this happens in approximately four lines of dialogue.
Moments later, his ex-boss hires him to drive to Mexico to retrieve his son, who lives with his mother south of the border. Mike agrees, and the “real” plot of the film begins.
Unfortunately, the “real” plot straight up sucks. Eastwood’s character and the son of his boss, played by newcomer Eduardo Minett (unclear on whether he realizes he’s in a movie or not), are on the run, but we don’t really learn why. Despite a seemingly high-stakes situation, the pair spend a lot of time just hanging out. They return to the same cantina again and again for a sizable chunk of the film, despite knowing they’re in danger.
The only people who can muster any enjoyment from this piece are the same geezers who have been following Eastwood since his acting career started, shortly after the Fall from Eden.
In his millenium in the film industry, he has become one of its most recognizable stars, with a massive portfolio. “Cry Macho” is the 39th feature-length film he’s directed. Of those 39, he’s starred in over 20.
Talk about an ego, but when you’ve been in the business long enough to see the rise and fall of empires, that’s something you can get away with.
But, as anyone who was able to maintain their attention beyond the 15-minute mark will tell you, “Cry Macho” will not be a part of Eastwood’s legacy. Tired performances, shoddy direction and plain bad writing will erase this movie from the public’s consciousness before most people even hear about it.
“Cry Macho” is now playing in theaters and streaming on HBO Max. Diehard Eastwood fans may be able to look past its many flaws, so long as they can suspend their disbelief that Mike isn’t an escaped extra from “The Walking Dead.”