Today’s Screen Heroes
One of the major problems facing the American male today is his inability to emulate even in the slightest the current movie hero.
The previous generation of men had no problems doing George Raft, Jimmy Cagney, Cary Grant, or even Bogie, where all you had to do was dangle a cigarette from your mouth and react to most everything with a general unpleasantness.
And if you could swagger and win an occasional fistfight you even could remind yourself of John Wayne.
But not anymore. The box office biggies these days are men such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, who make movies in which they single-handedly wipe out entire civilizations.
Stallone makes movies by the number. There were Rocky No. 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. and “First Blood Part 2,” or was it “First Part, Blood 2″? I forget. Bogie did “The African Queen.”
Schwarzenegger does things like “Conan the Barbarian” and “Commando.” Cary Grant did “Father Goose,” for crying out loud. A tad of aggression
I haven’t seen all these macho men movies, but I did happen to catch Schwarzenegger in “Commando” on cable the other evening. Usually, I spend my evenings in quiet meditation, but this particular evening I was feeling a bit aggressive and roguish so I clicked around the dial of my television until I found something to fit my mood.
Right away, I discovered I don’t eat my red meat out of the same trough as Schwarzenegger.
I won’t bore you with the plot of “Commando,” if, indeed, there was one, but among other things our muscular hero Arnold did in the movie were:
Jump off the landing gear of a jet as it took off at 200 miles an hour. He wasn’t scratched.
Face roughly 600 guerrillas firing machine guns at him, never so much as getting winged.
Kill the 600 guerrillas firing machine guns at him, not to mention a fellow airline passenger and several scumbags who had kidnapped his daughter, one of whom he dropped off a cliff, and two others he managed to impale. I’m a complete zero
I hadn’t seen that caliber of impaling since the quiz show “Jousting for Dollars” went off the air.
The point is, American males always have attempted to take on at least some of the characteristics of our screen heros, but who can even come close to these brutish dynamos?
I never could jump off the landing gear of an airplane. The only brave thing I ever did on an airplane was attempt to go to the restroom before the captain turned off the fasten-seat-belt sign. On the way, however, a flight attendant tripped me and slam-dunked me back into my seat. And when I had to collect bugs for my 10th-grade biology class, I had to get my mother to stick the pins in them so they would stay in order in my cigar box. As an impaler, I’m a complete zero.
In fact, the only thing I ever did that was really mega-macho was once I trie d to buy a pair of undershorts like Jim Palmer models.
The sales girl snickered and showed me instead a pair of boxer shorts with owls on them, the kind Cary Grant probably wore in “Father Goose.”