Apparently, there is occasionally an upside to living in the Detroit area; in this case, it's being one of the first markets--outside of the more cosmopolitican and culturally relevant New York and Los Angeles--to get the new Clint Eastwood (directing and acting) vehicle, Gran Torino.
The reason is that, as a result of our governor realizing the tax benefits of hosting Hollywood in our fair state, we've had a number of films shot on location in and around Detroit over the past several months. Gran Torino not only features a genuine, Detroit-built musclecar as a central icon in the movie, but a number of scenes shot on our own streets.
The basic story is that Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, a Korean war vet and retired Ford worker (who helped assembled the '72 Gran Torino he bought new) living in Detroit and dealing with the cultural changes in his neighborhood, whether it's his new Hmong neighbors ("hill people" from Laos, China, and Thailand), the wet-behind-the-ears priest at his church, or the young Asian women who replaced his retired doctor. When the teenage Hmong boy next door (Thao) tries to steal his car, it forms a bond between the two--part mentor/protege, part father/son. Performances are great all around, and it's a credit to Eastwood that he's managed to turn a character whose bigotry makes Archie Bunker look like Mother Theresa a sympathetic character. One scene in particular plays like My Fair Lady on acid, with Walt trying to teach Thao how to 'man up' by trading ethnic insults with his Italian barber. It's not a spoiler to say that this movie doesn't end on what I'd call a high note--but, to the writers' credit, they laid out a portfolio of circumstances that could lead to any number of conclusions, and yet still manage to surprise the viewer with a fitting conclusion that's both tragic and uplifiting.