Cry Macho is legendary Clint Eastwood's 39th directorial effort (he also did directorial work on the strong 1984 New Orleans-set thriller Tightrope but was uncredited). When you're as prolific an artist as Eastwood is, the quality will range all over the place (see also the novels of Stephen King or the films of Woody Allen). With the exception of 2018's clunky The 15:17 to Paris, he has been on a good run lately with the excellent Sully and Richard Jewell, as well as the solid The Mule. Unfortunately, Cry Macho (now in theaters and on HBO Max) is definitely a minor Eastwood film, even though his fans will likely still get some enjoyment out of it.
Eastwood plays Mike Milo, a former rodeo cowboy fallen on hard times in late 70s/early 80s Texas. Mike's former friend and employer (Dwight Yoakam) calls in a favor and asks him to go to Mexico to retrieve his estranged 13-year-old son Raphael (Eduardo Minett) and bring him home. Mike finds Raphael relatively quickly and what follows is part road movie, part a story about outsiders finding an unlikely home.
In Eastwood's last acting effort (2018's The Mule), he played a 90-year-old man. But in Cry Macho (based on a novel by N. Richard Nash), one can't help but feel the role was originally written for someone in their late 60s/early 70s. Eastwood is 91, and while it's truly admirable that he still has the drive and stamina to both direct and act in films, he's too old for the role. This is especially true in an utterly ridiculous scene that occurs about 30 minutes in (you'll know it when you see it).
There are some nice, low-key scenes in a small Mexican town Mike and Raphael are stranded in, and Eastwood has a few good tough-guy one liners. But even at its best, Cry Macho never really rises above serviceable.
While it's far from Eastwood's best, I still enjoyed seeing Cry Macho in a theater. I don't know how many more chances I'll get to see a new Eastwood film in a theater.
Speaking of theaters, the two cinemas currently open in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes are the Prytania Canal Place and the Broad Theater (Cry Macho is only playing theatrically in New Orleans at Prytania Canal Place). Show them your support as we recover from Hurricane Ida.
**1/2 stars (out of four)