Thursday, August 8, 2013

Or maybe they're just bad movies

Noreen Malone ponders the dearth of good summer films:
American men aren’t sure what it means to be an American man anymore. And any who think they are sure will be readily disabused of the notion by opening almost any old paper or magazine, in which their confused identities are sure to be under discussion. This alleged masculinity crisis was best laid out in last year’s sharply reported The End of Men, and this summer it spread to the silver screen, too: We are a nation without a new generation of bona fide male movie stars.
I don't necessarily disagree with this part, but maybe it's been a tough summer for Hollywood because they've made more bad movies than usual this year?
Why all the performance-anxiety when it comes to male leads? Yes, male movie stars tend to be more bankable than their female counterparts, and so it’s not great for the business as a whole if there are fewer of them. But that doesn’t entirely explain the endless, nervous parsing of what Channing Tatum’s stardom or (non-stardom) means. This isn’t solely a crisis about profits; it’s a cultural identity crisis. We go to the movies to see heroes doing heroic things, unlike the small screen, where the episodic nature of television has given way to the rise of the anti-hero. The emphasis on actors being able to singlehandedly, swaggeringly “open” or “carry”  or “rescue” a  movie seems like an extension of that wish. And now movie stars, like sports and political figures before them, have let us down. Or maybe not “us,” but more specifically, America’s men. Hollywood movies are made to appeal to a male audience, after all. It’s not so much that women are rejecting Hollywood’s vision of what manhood is; it’s more that American men don’t know who they want to be any more.
No, it's that men have been consistently portrayed as bumbling fools, ignoramuses, weaklings, cowards, bums, and rapists in most forms of media for the last decade or two. The Lord of the Rings films are deservedly beloved, but Peter Jackson's name will live in infamy within the annals of misandry's misbegotten history. What he did to Faramir is a crime against mankind. In the books, Faramir is strong, courageous, and humble. He is not tempted by the Ring even for a second because he knows his weaknesses. Tolkien intended for Faramir to represent the future of the West, man at his best. In contrast, Peter Jackson and his female co-writer turned Faramir into a whiny my-daddy-doesn't-love-me sissy who should be having a good cry with Oprah instead of leading men on the battlefield.

A tough guy like the characters Humphrey Bogart played would probably be fired or arrested for sexual harassment in a modern office environment. John Wayne's characters (who were mostly caricatures of his real personality) would be shipped off to the Sensitivity Gulag after he came swaggering into his job and told a female co-worker that that'll be the day he fetches coffee for her instead of the other way around. If we live in a culture without male charm, it's because old school male charm has been socially outlawed. As the great writers of Game have been saying repeatedly for a good number of years, there's never been a better time to be an Alpha cad because female hypergamy has been unleashed. The only solution for most men is to become Alpha cads themselves - or at least fake it until they make it.

And that, friends, is my mission in life. Once I complete my magnum opus about a big powerful viking who smashes heads for great justice, I will become a rich and successful writer. Why? Because I'm going to write it straight. No irony, no wink and a nod to the fourth wall, just a good old fashioned heroic epic where the men crack skulls with big ass battle axes, and women have the sense God gave a goose and stay the hell away from the front lines. In the grand scheme of things, not an original idea for a story. But I guaran-damn-tee that it'll be new to many of my contemporaries.

h/t: Sullivan

No comments:

Post a Comment