This week, I had the chance to see an advanced screening of The Nice Guys starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. The movie plays up the differences between the two characters in the buddy-comedy, but the “Couples Therapy” videos they did to promote the movie were even more hilarious in showing those differences. Alpha vs. Beta. Stoic vs. Emotional. Gen Xer vs. Millennial.
The Nice Guys also got me thinking about today’s male action stars. Most of them fall into two categories: 1) Over 50 years old and 2) Not born in the United States. Obviously, there are exceptions, like Mark Wahlberg, Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and others you can argue about in the comments. To me, these guys became famous for non-action roles first, so I don’t think of them as action stars. Sure, there are others, but they’re still the exceptions.
Let’s start with the first category – over the age of 50 action stars. It’s no surprise they even created their own movie series, The Expendables. Current over-50 box office favorites include Harrison Ford, Keanu Reeves, Bruce Campbell, Robert Downey, Jr., Kurt Russell, Sylvester Stallone, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis, Robert Davi, among others in The Expendables series.
In the other category – not born in the United States – we have Russell Crowe, Liam Neeson, Henry Cavill, Jason Statham, Tom Hardy, Daniel Craig, Liam and Chris Hemsworth, Idris Elba, Hugh Jackman, Jet Li, Christian Bale, among others. Some of them, like Neeson and Crowe, fit into both categories.
It’s not a coincidence that so many of the most masculine action stars fit into these two categories: of being born outside the U.S. or over 50. Over 40 years of American culture and education run by liberals and feminists has shunned masculine traits in favor of the beta, feminized male. Ryan Gosling in The Nice Guys is a single, well-dressed dad who is in touch with his emotions and relies on brains rather than brawn. Make no mistake, his character has flaws, but the contrast between him and Russell Crowe’s burly character is stark (and is what makes the movie so entertaining).
Thanks to feminists, we have a forced evolution that seeks to remove masculinity from American culture. Ritalin and other drugs are overprescribed in boys. They’re taught that weakness is a virtue. Embrace the safe space! Don’t offend! Don’t ask a girl out because that’s harassment! Don’t hold open a door for a woman because that implies inequality!
In 2000, Christina Hoff Sommers wrote about this phenomenon in her book The War Against Boys. She delves into the myth that girls are shrinking violets in the classroom. She also wrote about the studies that blame juvenile delinquency and other societal problems on boys who separate from their mothers. In fact, the opposite is true: it’s the absence of strong, masculine role models that harms boys. In an article in The Atlantic, she wrote:
But are boys aggressive and violent because they are psychically separated from their mothers? Thirty years of research suggests that the absence of the male parent is more likely to be the problem. The boys who are most at risk for juvenile delinquency and violence are boys who are physically separated from their fathers. The U.S. Bureau of the Census reports that in 1960 children living with their mother but not their father numbered 5.1 million; by 1996 the number was more than 16 million. As the phenomenon of fatherlessness has increased, so has violence. As far back as 1965 Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan called attention to the social dangers of raising boys without benefit of a paternal presence. He wrote in a 1965 study for the Labor Department, “A community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any rational expectations about the future—that community asks for and gets chaos.”
An entire generation has been taught that masculine traits are bad: hence our age 50 and up action heroes. (By the way, this is not a complaint; I’ll take Crowe over Gosling any day.)
Thankfully, our culture is still eager to see masculine representations on the big screen. Unfortunately, those jobs need to be outsourced to men overseas, where being sweaty and stoic is still allowed. The United States certainly isn’t the only country run by liberals, but it is one of the few that allows feminists and other unemployable activists to dictate what’s acceptable in entertainment.