Macho is the name of a rooster, an expert cockfighter and a plucky companion to a wayward teenager named Rafo (Eduardo Minett). Rafo, in turn, finds himself playing sidekick to Mike Milo, a faded rodeo star played with a familiar dyspeptic wince by Clint Eastwood, now 91. Making their way from Mexico to Texas in a rusty old truck sometime in 1980, the three travelers get off to a rough start, with lots of literally and figuratively ruffled feathers, before settling into a sturdy groove. Mike and Rafo, in particular, generate an affectionate rapport that implicitly rebukes the kind of aggressive male posturing summed up by the rooster’s name.
“Cry Macho,” a creaky, semi-sweet, unavoidably sentimental adaptation of a 1975 novel by N. Richard Nash, can thus be seen as Eastwood’s latest reckoning with certain wrongheaded assumptions about masculinity, and with a particular tough-guy ethos that he has both defined and subverted over his six-decade career.