movies matter | criticism by maryann johanson
Tue Aug 18 2015, 02:34pm | 5 comments
Also because there’s a market for young pretty women on film, but rather less of a market for young pretty men. A male action hero has to be seen to get his hands dirty; a male character as lust-figure for the presumed female audience should look as if he’s seen at least a little bit of life. (Since your typical Hollywood exec doesn’t even look at women over thirty, he probably doesn’t know that some men feel that way about their lust-objects too.)
Yeah, it’s stereotyping, but I think it still sells.
I think it’s partly nostalgia: Generation X can afford movie tickets, and we miss the stars we grew up with.*
But mostly, I think, we’re seeing a standard male fantasy: You, too, can get the hot girl. You’re a pudgy, nondescript guy? You can get the hot girl if you’re funny, like in all those sitcoms. You’re a geek? You can get the hot girl if you grow up, like in a Judd Apatow movie.** Or if you save the world, like in a Mark Millar movie. Now we’re seeing the same fantasy applied to aging guys.
It’s kind of a variation on the Cinderella/Harry Potter story: Someday everyone will see the wonderful person you know you are deep down inside.
*Twin Peaks, The X-Files, and Bloom County are all coming back. I’m worried that my life is flashing in front of my eyes before I die.
**It’s interesting to see Judd Apatow repeat the fantasy with a female lead in Trainwreck.
“Cause everything old is viewed again!*
* With apologies to Bob Fosse. And Ann Reinking.
“Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, and devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad.”
― Neal Stephenson
Same concept, only we’ve dropped the “until a man is twenty-five” rule.
Young dudebros LOVE the idea of older action heroes — especially the bitter, self-entitled kind who believe their love life is lacking.
“That will be me some day,” they think. “If I reach a certain age, I will have all the sex I was denied in my youth — and I will be able to beat a fleet of ninjas while sporting a cool leather jacket too!”
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