With a pace that moves as slowly as its leading man, the Clint Eastwood-helmed “Cry Macho” lazily explores heavy themes of manhood and acceptance, and despite the familiar Western feel, it’s barely able to stay in the saddle.
In 1996, famous comedian Don Rickles ribbed Clint Eastwood, 66 at the time, about his old age, urging him to “Live up to it. It’s over.” Eastwood smiled amiably in response, yet here we are 25 years later, and it seems that the now-91-year-old star is still as comfortable as ever in the spotlight.
In “Cry Macho,” the Hollywood legend’s eighth film released in the past 10 years, he plays a washed-up rodeo champion who travels through rural Mexico to repay an old debt. His mission is to find and return a troubled young boy, played by Eduardo Minett, to his estranged father, played by Dwight Yoakam.
Unlike the other Eastwood movies that have premiered in the past decade, this conventional western is not based on a true story or historical event, but adapted from the novel of the same name by N. Richard Nash. I cannot speak to how true it stays to the book, but I can say this: If the book is anywhere near as boring, dull and undeveloped as this movie is, I would rather not read it.
As Eastwood’s character Mike sets out on his less-than-epic journey through the desert, he encounters crooked policemen, a clumsy hitman and a woman with severe parenting issues. All the intriguing incidents would ideally lead to a crescendo of some sort, but not even Macho, Minett’s chicken sidekick, could spark some enthusiasm in me.
“Cry Macho”may have a well-meaning heart and one of cinema history’s most famous stars as its leading man, but it has nothing memorable that might spark any sort of engagement for the viewer. It has no noticeable style, no impressive entertainment value, and certainly no catharsis, which could have easily been incorporated given the vulnerable core of the film. “Cry Macho” will fade away in thought.
Despite all of that, though, there is an undeniable target audience for “Cry Macho.” As the scenes gently rolled out onto the theater’s screen like a breeze, and with Eastwood’s rugged smirks stealing the show, there was a clear sense of satisfaction in the air among the older audience members. While this is not enough to make it a remarkable film, its effect is something to admire.
So, because my target audience is college students, I would advise my peers to avoid this not-so-macho film if you don’t wish to doze off, but by all means, give your grandparents the showtime details.
Arkansas Traveler Score: 2 out of 5 stars
Where to Watch: In theaters, HBO Max