CRY MACHO – Review by Susan Granger

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At 91, Clint Eastwood is still throwing punches, riding horses and directing movies. Amazing!

In this contemporary Western, set in 1980, Eastwood plays Mike Milo, a former horse trainer/rodeo rider, on a mission to cross the Rio Grande, rescue and kidnap his boss’s estranged 13 year-old son, Raphael (Eduardo Minett), who was abandoned by his Texan father (Dwight Yoakum) and abused by his alcoholic Mexican mother (Fernanda Urrejola).

Rebellious Rafa is devoted to Macho, his cherished fighting rooster; hence the movie’s title.

“This macho thing is overrated,” laid-back Mike tells him. “You think you have all the answers, but then you get older and realize you don’t have any of ‘em. By the time you figure it out, it’s too late.”

That’s probably the longest monologue laconic Eastwood has, as their meandering road trip takes them from Mexico City through one dusty border town to another, eluding Rafa’s mother’s henchmen, and stopping briefly at a cantina run by warm, welcoming Marta (Natalia Traven), a widow caring for her three orphaned grandchildren.

Adapted from a 1975 novel by N. Richard Nash, it was originally scripted by Nash (who died in 2000) and updated by Nick SchenkThe Mule, Grand Torino). The redemptive, coming-of-age theme revolves around developing a poignant bond between dyspeptic Mike and distrusting Rafa.

Curiously, back in 1988, when Eastwood originally read the script, he turned it down because he felt he was too young for weather-beaten Mike; over the years, several other actors, including Robert Mitchum, Roy Scheider and Arnold Schwarzenegger, expressed interest but, ultimately, backed out.

FYI: Animal-wranglers used 11 different birds to play the pivotal pet rooster. In addition, Eastwood wrote and performed “Time Lapse,” one of the soundtrack themes.

On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, Cry Macho is a charming, compassionate 7. It’s playing in theaters but more satisfying streaming on HBO Max.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.