Where have all the tough guys gone?

Where are today's John Wayne's?

Look at Gregory Peck in, say, "Twelve O'Clock High" or Clark Gable in "Command Decision," two movies of leadership agonistes set against the strategic bombing missions of World War II. In both cases -- you could add dozens more -- they were men who made decisions that cost other men their lives; they were hated, even loathed; they lived and drank alone. Their courage wasn't physical, it was almost metaphysical. They had the strength within themselves to ignore (though not really; underneath it cut bad) the will of the consensus and pleadings for such shady attributes as "compassion" and "humanity." They knew the job came first.

That certitude had vanished from many places, but nowhere more vividly than the top of the guy star pile in Hollywood.

Mel Gibson, who played an action hero, seems to have morphed into director, producer and madman, melting down in a pool of seething angers and resentments. Then there's Tom Cruise, recently dumped by Paramount for (1) personal oddnesses and (2) delivering a movie that may only make $400 million worldwide when everyone knew it should have made $500 million. Down but not out, each actor, you can bet, will hasten to a film highlighting redemption, earnestness, decency and love of fellow man. Don't bet on either guy's next movie to co-star a submachine gun. In short, they're no longer going to be John Ford heroes but Frank Capra heroes. Mel in "Mr. Goldstein Goes to Washington." Cruise in "Meet Tom Doe, Episcopalian Social Worker."

So who's left? Almost nobody. Eastwood is too old to kick you know what, Arnold is too Republican. Harrison Ford is ancient, Sylvester Stallone too kitschy as well as too old.

Let's look at a younger generation: Matt Damon? Folks, folks, I was only joking. Good God, Johnny Depp? Well, possibly his potential as an action hero was summed up when no less an important cultural figure than John Mark Karr revealed he had hoped Depp would play him in the movie. Ben Affleck? Too pretty, really. Leonardo DiCaprio? Again, I joke! . . . .


Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I don't disagree with the point of the article; in fact, I agree fully we have few real men doing the hard, but necessary things these days...

However, I laughed at the author saying Schwarzanegger was too Republican, and I am uncertain how the heroes of Frank Capra's films are not solid men.. Capra produced the "Why We Fight" videos in the 40's to help us all know how we had to fight the evil and vicious Nazi and Japanese .. so I'm not sure how relevant some of her comments are.

But yes, alas, we have few real men left.. the emasculation by the left for many reasons continues to weaken us in many ways...


9/07/2006 3:43 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home