OLD SCHOOL MAN: Gran Torino and the 31 Old School Man Habits of Walt Kowalski

gran-torino
gran-torino

This is probably one of the greatest Old School Man flicks ever made, hell - it’s hard to go wrong when you combine Clint Eatswood and a 45. auto. I am actually surprised that Hollywood green-lit a movie with a main character who acts like a man, especially considering that movies with metrosexual male leads are the norm now.

To say it is refreshing to see a man on the big screen that curses, smokes, drinks beer and has solid Old School values would be an understatement on my part. And besides being a great Old School Man flick Gran Torino is also a good example of how the old school man genome doesn’t always pass down the family tree.

Now allot of the naysayers dismiss this flick as just a story about a bigoted ornery old man. Well as the main character Walt Kowalski (Clint) would say; “Fuck You” because the meaning of movie is much deeper than that. Sure Walt starts off a racist old man, but he sees the fault in his thinking and (despite being old and stuck in his ways) he changes his flawed way of looking at people and eventually comes to love the Asian family next door more than his own spoiled family.

To see a movie where the main character is a man of values who despite being a flawed man is still a good person with solid Old School Man values is a breath of fresh air amongst the “sex and the city” crap Hollywood normally vomits out nowadays. And the huge success of Gran Torino at the box office and the academy awards American Film Institute (AFI), National Board of Review, Broadcast Film Critics Association and Chicago Film Critics Association Awards is proof positive to Hollywood that the American male is damn tired of seeing men portrayed as bumbling pussys on the big screen.

So in tribute to this great Old School Man movie I have thrown together a list of the 31 things that today’s man can learn from Walt Kowalski

-Old School Standards of behavior for children

One of the first things we see in this flick is a bunch of kids acting stupid at Walt's wife’s funeral, his granddaughter shows up in a midriff shirt with her belly ring sticking out and starts texting wile her grandmother is lying in her casket right in front of her and his grandson is disrespectful to the church right of the bat.

Now the Old School Man doesn’t expect everyone to follow what he considers to be proper behavior for kids, but letting them act like an ass at their grandmothers funeral is unacceptable.

When I was a kid if I acted that way at a funeral I would have gotten an ass tanning I would have never forgotten. But parents these days don’t bother teaching their kids respect because they are too busy picking up a raspberry latte from starbucks.

-War Chest

The green army locker in the basement filled with old war souvenirs is a classic Old School Man possession. And Walt is no exception, he has his War Chest filled with great B&W pictures of him in Korea with his Army buddies, metals and the guns he was issued.

As expected his grand-kids don’t even know about his service (their grandfather was awarded the Silver Star and they don’t know!!) or even where Korea is.

-Curses

Walt has a salty mouth just like all Old School men do, he will throw out a “fuck you” or “pussy” at the drop of a hat.

These days if you say “fuck” in front of some men they will blush.

-Owns an old dog

He has a great old dog that sits on the porch with him while he drinks beer. And it’s a big ugly mutt because the Old School Man doesn’t own a poodle, he eats them.

-Can realize that he is wrong and admits it

Even a stubborn guy like Walt can admit when he is wrong, he was wrong about his neighbors, he was wrong about the kid and he admits it to himself and changes his ways. This is one of the lost Old School Man traits, men these days will go to the grave swearing that they were right when they make mistakes.

Humility is a true Old School Man trait.

-Muscle Car and Pickup truck

Walt owns the two classic Old School Man vehicles - Grand Torino classic muscle car and a pickup truck, both in mint condition because he knows how to fix them himself. The only thing he is missing is a motorcycle and a tank.

Don’t even get me started on the Prius driving man-girls I see driving to the vegan-mart these days.

-He Doesn't Own a 45._ he carries a 45.

Yep, he not only owns his 45. from the Korean War, he packs it. The Old School Man knows a gun sitting in a drawer is about as useful as tits on a bull.

A man owning a handgun was once a “normal” thing, now days you hear pussy-men saying things like “guns scare me’

-American Flag on His House

Walt has an American flag hanging off his porch not because it suddenly became trendy, he hangs an American flag because he is a patriot.

I believe that some men have actually sued their neighbors because the flagpole that was flying the American flag was too high and “didn’t fit in with the look of the neighborhood” - I guess some men feel that patriotism has a height requirement.

-Says it how it is

Old School men like Walt don’t mix words or sugar coat stuff, they tell it how it is. They don’t do this to be rude, in fact it’s just the opposite – it’s because the Old School Man does respect you. He talks to you like you are a grown ass man and not a child whose “feelings” will be hurt.

I once told a former friend of mine that he was being a pussy when his ex-wife left him because he had been moping for almost two years straight, he never spoke to me again. I guess I hurt his feelings.

-Respect for Elders

Walt even makes priests that are younger than him call him Mr. Kowalski, because that’s what people are supposed to do when talking to their elders.

When you say things like “you should respect your elders” to kids (and even adults) today they give you some sort of stupid look like you are speaking Chinese.

-Drinks Beer

Walt drinks Pabst blue ribbon straight from the can, not pumpkin and chestnut stout. Even better he keeps it in a beer chest at his feet.

-Killed a man with a shovel

I can’t really add much to this one, but killing a man with a shovel is right up there with killing a man with a spoon on the “tough guy” scale.

-His first thought when hearing someone in his garage at night was “grab my M-1 Garand and check it out

When hearing a rattle in the garage an Old School Man like Walt grabs the rifle that he had already killed several men with and checks it out himself.

If most “men” these days hear someone breaking into their house they will hide under their freshly pee-stained sheets and dial 911.

-Zippo Lighter

Walt lights his Camel non-filters up with a First Cav Zippo that he has owned since 51, you can’t get much more Old School than that.

-Just wants to be left alone

Walt like other Old School Men sometimes just want to be left alone, it’s not necessarily because they are ornery – sometimes a man needs some damn time to himself and his thoughts.

Now days if you ask your wife or girlfriend to leave you alone for a wile you are some sort of “insensitive” jerk that wont “talk” about his feelings.

-Gets his hair cut at a barber shop

Walt gets his hair cut by a barber with a salty mouth at a barber shop that has wood panel walls and playboy magazines on the table for customers.

-Helps the weak

Walt helps people that are not strong enough to help themselves - not because he likes them, because that’s just what an old school man does.

These days entire apartment buildings full of men stand by while a screaming woman gets raped and murdered right under their windows.

-Old school values

Walt considers seeing someone do small things like helping a lady with her bags to be a good indicator of personal character.

The term “personal character” doesn’t even exist in most peoples vocabulary’s anymore.

-Carries a picture of his family in his wallet

Walt carries a picture of his wife in his wallet like most men did in his time; oddly today’s man is more likely to have Starbucks membership card in their wallet than a picture of their family

-Eats like a man

When asked what he ate that day Walt replies; “I had a piece of cake and some beef jerky” at the BBQ he asks; “can I come back for seconds” because a man eats until he is full and beef jerky is the 8th food group.

-doesn't flash his illness around for sympathy

When Walt becomes progressively more ill he doesn’t wine about if to everyone so people can feel sorry for him. When an Old School Man is sick he keeps it to himself, he doesn’t want people to make a fuss over him.

-He is a handyman

Walt can fix anything around the house that needs a fixing; he even calls himself a “handyman” - something that all men used to call themselves.

Walk up to 10 men on the street while holding a ball-peen hammer and ask them to tell you what it is; 6 won’t know what it is, 2 will scream for the police because they think you are robbing them and the other 2 wont even speak English.

-Mentors a young man

After seeing the fault in his thinking he decides to mentor the kid that lives next door. He shows him a hard day work using his hands, quote “mans him up”, teaches him how Old School men talk to each other, how to be polite, the proper way to swear, having balls to talk to girls, buys him his first toolbelt and even vouches for him so he can get a job.

Mentoring a young man was once the unspoken duty of every man, teaching a kid to fix a car or chop some fire wood was the norm. Today’s man seems too busy with the 400 channels on his TV to even mentor his own kids no less the wimpy kid that lives next door.

This is one of the main reasons why the pussifacation of the American male is out of control these days – no one is teaching boys to be men anymore.

-Uses a push lawnmower

Walt doesn’t use some yuppie electric or motorized mower to cut his lawn, he uses an Old School push mower and sweat.

-He has a garage workshop filled with tools

Walt has the classic man workshop in his garage filled with tools that he acquired over a period of 50 years.

Walt Says: “WD-40, Vice grips and some duct tape” – “Any man worth his salt can do half of the household chores with just those three things”.

-Worked in the Ford factory for 50 years

Walt had a good honest job working with his hands like most other Old School Man had back in the day, He even helped build his car on the line.

“An honest wage for an honest days work” is now a forgotten value, “I deserve my job” is more the way people think these days.

-Takes a handshake for a Thanks

Walt doesn’t need a “thank you” card if he helps you out, just a handshake is fine.

Some people look at you strange these days when you extend you hand for a gentleman’s handshake. I guess the days of a handshake between two men meaning something honorable is behind us.

-Someone messes with his friend (the kid) he takes the fight right to their front yard

When the gang members beat up the kid Walt goes to their house and stomps one of them on the front yard. “Taking the fight to them” is classic Old School man stuff.

Today’s man might call their lawyer if they have a friend with a problem because doing something physical is only something “low class” people do.

-When he is sad he doesn't cry

When Walt gets pissed off or really sad he doesn’t call up his therapist for a good cry – he puts his fist through a cabinet

-Makes sure he is squared away before he dies

When Walt knows his time is up he has his hair cut, a nice suit made, goes to confession, cleans his guns, gives his most prized possessions to his friend, leaves his dog with someone and squared his will away.

Making sure that all your affairs are in order in-case you die was once a “no brainier” thing that all men did - a man takes care of his damn business, dead or alive.

-He lived the type of life that his friends will always remember him for

Walt was a WW2 vet, he raised a family, was a good friend and died with his boots on.

Will people even remember your name 20 years after you die?

Walt QUOTES:

  • “When things go wrong you have to react quickly”
  • “You ever notice how you come across somebody once in a wile that you shouldn’t have fucked with?” – “That’s me”
  • “The things that haunt a man the most are the things he isn’t ordered to do”
  • “Shut your fucking face”
  • “Shut up pussy”
  • “Now, get your ofay, Paddy ass down the road”
  • “What a load of shit”
  • “And you know why?” – “Because you’re a big fat pussy”
  • “Good day, puss-cake.”
  • “Don’t get flip with me boy”
  • “You have no balls kid”
  • “Just don’t let it slip out of your little-girl hands and crush me”
  • “Dipshit”
  • “Fuck me”
  • “Well I’ll buy you a fruitcake for Christmas”
  • “Cowards”
  • “If I have to come back here it's going to get fucking ugly”
  • “We stay calm or mistakes are made”
  • “I’m proud to say that you’re my friend”
  • “Now pull those pistols like miniature cowboys”
  • “You shut the fuck up”
  • “-Yeah, well, I’m old school”

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~James G Founder - Editor in Chief

James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns and writing poorly written articles.