British and US press alike have been saying this over and over. Real men are but bygones in today’s Hollywood movies, as more and more boys dominate the box office. The biggest money makers of late are mostly under the age of 25! Shia La Beouf, Zac Efron, Robert Pattinson and Daniel Radcliffe have all beaten seasoned veterans like Russell Crowe or Tom Hanks in the box office lately. But are adult movie goers to blame? That’s what an MSNBC writer suggested, “[adult drama’s] disappointing returns are endemic of a larger cultural trend wherein youth is valued above all else and maturity is, well, boring.” That’s just a shame if that were the case. I for one think the reverse is true. The Daily Mail astutely observed that Hollywood leading men nowadays all look eerily similar: “androgynous, interchangeable, identikit men-boys.”
In the article “Where have all the movie men gone?,” one female writer of MSNBC even went so far as calling older leading men such as Matt Damon and Ashton Kutcher as ‘too soft.’ They’re no match for movies’ leading lady such as Angelina Jolie, she went on. She used movie Wanted as an example, where “Jolie looked as if she could toss him [the very boyish-looking James McAvoy] across the room.” Ouch! Poor McAvoy, all that training to buff up his physique clearly wasn’t enough, as masculinity isn’t exactly something a man can train for, y’know? You either got it or you don’t.
In any case, my real issue is with the actual boys-actor, as boyish-looking is a rather subjective term. Now, I’m not against all of them per se, some young actors do have talent (case in point: BAFTA winner Jamie Bell, who has more talent than all of the Twilight boys combined), but more often than not, it’s the case of fangurls run amok! Regardless of their acting chops or sheer believability in the roles they’re given, girls worship them, to the point of spurring hatred towards their female co-stars. In any case, enough is enough. I long for the time my mother introduced me to Hollywood classics, where red-blooded men, not boys, dominate the silver screen. Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Charlton Heston, Gregory Peck, they all have what movie stars are made of. These men could eat boys like Pattinson/Efron/Radcliffe for breakfast!
Well, here’s wishing this trend wouldn’t last. If I had my way in the industry, I’d definitely keep my these real men plenty busy:
- Clive Owen – This Brit tough guy is as manly as they come, he’s also got the tender side to balance that no-nonsense exterior. He was my first pick as Bond before Daniel Craig was cast, but I guess I’d rather see him do other roles anyway.
- Rufus Sewell – With Rufus, it’s all in the eyes, they’re soulful and magnetic. Not sure why he’s always relegated to second or even third banana status as his looks and talent are definitely leading-man quality.
- Richard Armitage – A powerful yet mesmerizing John Thornton in the BBC miniseries North & South (not to be confused with the US civil war version w/ Patrick Swayze), Richard hasn’t made his foray in films yet. It’s too bad because we could use more of his intense leading-men quality. His turn as the brooding Guy of Gisbourne in the recently cancelled BBC series Robin Hood made me root for his character more than the title role.
- Daniel Craig – I was quick to judge him when he was first announced as the first blond Bond, but Craig totally won me over in Casino Royale. Sure he’s not as classically good looking as Connery or Dalton, but he exudes masculinity and no-nonsense ruggedness that Brosnan never quite emulate.
- Gerard Butler – I know, I know, after he did The Ugly Truth, you probably didn’t think he deserved to be on this list. But hey, I have a soft spot for the Scot, not only because of his rugged good looks but because I know he can act. I’m keeping my fingers-crossed that his upcoming Law Abiding Citizen will prove my theory. So I’m willing to give him another chance and hope he won’t continue to derail his career with any more obtuse rom-coms!
- Nathan Fillion – Fillion is currently gracing TV viewers in ABC’s Castle. But his looks & charming personality would be suited for a rom-com or dramedy. Isn’t it about time Matthew McConaughey retire already?
- Eric Bana – My fave Aussie actor of all time is the tall, dark & handsome fella with a sense of humor to boot! He was a former stand-up comic in his native Australia. Not only is he a great actor who can pull off a comedy, rom-com and thriller without a hitch, he also has a very manly hobby of car racing. Check out his Love the Beast documentary trailer.
- Sam Worthington — Watch out, Crowe + Jackman, Worthington could be the next big Aussie import, especially with AVATAR out this year. I’ve mentioned him a lot on my blog and for good reason. I have only seen bits and pieces of him from a couple of films, but from what I’ve seen, I definitely would like to see more of him!
- Lee Pace – Most people knew him as the lead of ABC’s now-cancelled Pushing Daisies, but since I hardly watch any TV, Pace first came to my attention in the visually stimulating flick The Fall. The Oklahoma native (yes, the only American on this list!) impressed me once again in the sweet dramedy Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, pulling off a decent British accent as Amy Adam’s tender lover.
- James Purefoy – If you’ve seen HBO’s Rome, then you’ll know why he’s on this list. Now starring in NBC’s The Philanthropist, Purefoy’s got that twinkle in his eye and laid-back charm that makes him so darn watchable. If the show doesn’t last, I hope he’ll do more movies.
Agree with my list? No? Then let’s hear it.