Last spring my wife and I took a trip to the Caribbean. It was our first foray into the world since the birth of our son - now four years old.
Prior to leaving, we did the responsible thing and drew up our last will and testament to make sure everything was in order. In the event of an accident, we wanted to make sure our son's future needs would be both physically and financially met.
It's an odd exercise, but one that spares family members from the inevitable infighting that results when preparations aren't made.
As we tackled the standard paperwork, our lawyer asked us if we owned any material objects of great importance. Items, he explained, that we would want to see end up with specific individuals. I mulled over the few things I had of value: my car, a hot tub, old baseball cards, etc. Nothing special, just stuff really.
Then I remembered my cherished Gibson ES-335 semi-hollow body, honeyburst guitar with custom gold inlay. That might sound unimpressive for some, but for those in the know, it is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship and an even more beautiful sounding instrument.
I know the guitar is valuable because I bought it, but it means more to me than money. I treat it like an infant child, handling it with the utmost care, cleaning it profusely, and on occasion, talking to it like a beloved family member. I've had this instrument for years and yet most of my friends and family don't even know it exists because I rarely leave it out for fear of unintentional damage.
So the question remained: Who would I leave my guitar to? Who would appreciate the instrument for what it was and not what it could fetch from an eBay auction? One would think I would have a musician friend who would embrace such a gift, but I've basically spent 25 years playing guitar by myself in the basement-never played in a band, never even stood up at an open mic night. No one in my family is musical so even if I explained how awesome the guitar is, they wouldn't really "get it."
I decided that the only thing to do was to pray I wouldn't die, teach my son to play the guitar, and leave it to him in hopes that I could make him understand its intrinsic value. In this week's feature, Clint Eastwood also holds a valuable item - a 1972 Ford Gran Torino - a classic muscle car that any serious collector would die to own.
"Gran Torino" is Eastwood being Eastwood, which is almost always a pleasure to behold. In this film he portrays an elderly widower who, having survived the horrors of war, wants little to do with anyone "foreign," including the Asian families who are beginning to occupy his neighborhood. Unfortunately fate intervenes in Eastwood's life, forcing him to look at his neighbors in a different light.
This could be one of the most racially charged films since "Crash," and certainly confirms that Clint Eastwood is still one of Hollywood's most intense character actors. The only weak link in this movie came from the few supporting actors whose lack of emotional depth came through in the more dramatic scenes.
If you're in the mood for a solid, albeit racially intense film, then I suggest giving this movie a try immediately. Just be prepared for a bevy of racial slurs as they roll off the tongue without yield throughout the film. Clint could be looking at another Oscar nomination so be sure to see this one before the February telecast. A fervid "B+" for "Gran Torino."
Dom's Video Pick of the Week
"Monster's Ball" is the story of a southern family living with intense bigotry and hatred. The three main characters all live in the same house, think the same thoughts, eat the same food, and work the same occupation. The oldest of the three is retired and literally fuels the hate that has been unconsciously passed through generations. However, life-changing events unfold that rip apart the thought patterns and force one individual to come to grips with his insensitive and destructive nature.
I wouldn't recommend this film to just anyone. It's certainly not for younger or immature viewers due to the intense sexual nature and highly charged subject matter. However, there is no doubt that this is an amazingly well-crafted piece of theater that just happens to have an Oscar-winning performance from Halle Berry thrown in as well.
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