Cry Macho

Front Row at the Movies by Shirrel Rhoades

5/5 (1)

The title sums up Clint Eastwood’s movie career – “Cry Macho.” Whether intended or not, it calls to mind the poncho-wearing Man With No Name in those classic spaghetti westerns and the flinty-eyed policeman saying, “Make my day!”

“Cry Macho” is the title of Clint Eastwood’s latest film, another western at age 91. Getting on a horse again as a nonagenarian is a pretty macho act in itself.

As he is sometimes wont to do, Eastwood both directs and stars in this story about a former rodeo star (Eastwood) who is hired to reunite a young man (Eduardo Minett) in Mexico with his father (Dwight Yoakam) in the United States. On the long ride back, he helps the young man come to terms with what it means to be a man.

Set in 1979, Mike Milo (Eastwood) agrees to do a favor for his old boss by extricating his son from his alcoholic mother and a life of crime. The boy has become involved in illegal cockfights. The title actually comes from a white rooster named Macho, literally the cock of the walk.

On the trip back to the States, Milo explains why he’s no longer “macho” in the way the boy wants him to be.

“I used to be a lot of things, but not now,” the ex-rodeo rider says. “I’ll tell you something, this macho thing is overrated. People trying to be macho to show that they’ve got grit, that’s about all they end up with. Like anything else in life, you think you’ve got all the answers, and you realize you get older you don’t have any of them. We all have to make choices in life, kid. You have to make yours.”

Many of Eastwood’s movies since “Unforgiven” have been about “once important men far past their prime who are redefining what it is to be heroic or to have character.”

“Cry Macho” echoes that same theme.

The movie has been a long time coming. Based on a novel by N. Richard Nash, a long list of stars had been trying to bring this story to the screen since 1975. Among the actors who have been attached to the project were Roy Scheider, Burt Lancaster, and Pierce Brosnan. Plans for Arnold Schwarzenegger to take the lead role were sidetracked when he became governor of California. So here, all these years later, Clint Eastwood climbs back into the saddle to do the film version.

“Cry Macho” will be released by Warner Bros. into theaters this Friday, with a simultaneous release on HBO Max for 31 days.

N. Richard Nash originally wrote a movie screenplay titled “Macho,” but when 20th Century Fox rejected it twice, he turned it into a book. After receiving positive reviews, it pitched it again and sold the original screenplay to Fox. Trying to get made, it got passed along to several studios finally landing at Warner Bros.

This latest version wasn’t Clint Eastwood’s first involvement with “Cry Macho.” He’d been set to star in it back in 1988, but opted to reprise his role as Dirty Harry in “The Dead Pool” instead.

Maybe this outing could be filed under “Unfinished Business.”

Email Shirrel: srhoades@aol.com

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