EVERYBODY LOVES BJ: Hollywood lost the ‘action hero’

“Die Hard 2” was on the other day, and with the uttering of John McClane’s immortal line, it occurred to me; there are no more heroes.

When I was growing up, there were an infinite number of big screen tough guys, 10 feet tall, who spoke their mind, and when words failed them, their guns prevailed.

Hulk Hogan was fueling my prepubescent mind with dreams of glory and the proverb “Take your vitamins and say your prayers” to fuel my growth. We didn’t know of course that he was fueled by steroids and a failing marriage, and that his thin yellow tank top was perforated, but that’s beside the point.

Today’s heroes simper and whine, pouting until their destiny is fulfilled. Even the once great John McClane was neutered for his most-recent outing, not allowed to utter his catch phrase, for fear of the dreaded “R” rating.

These heroes are becoming more and more androgynous, hiding their shame beneath mascara, and their only hint at manhood behind pants that are incredibly too tight, causing a generation of men to lose sight of the fact that they are indeed men.

Ernest Hemingway was injured driving ambulances during World War I. Our authors make up facts to create best-selling novels that end up on Oprah’s Book Club. They pontificate existentially, and their protagonists fall short of any sort of accomplishments, their only real goal being just to survive through the nadir and ultimately the mirth that is everyday life.

The only achievements I get that I can acknowledge are on Xbox Live, half drunk, talking trash to some 10 year old in Duluth, Minnesota at three in the morning.

Where there were once Riggs and Murtaugh, there are now Jacob and Edward. They sparkle in the sun instead of basking in their lunacy.

What we have now is a generation that is afraid of their own shadow and incapable of changing their own oil.

We used to drag all of our G.I. Joes in the bathtub with us, planning elaborate strategies that ultimately ended with multiple enemies getting thrown in the water and Snake Eyes killing some fools. We climbed trees and scraped our knees, our only limitation being our imagination. Kids now are forced to settle into a life of redundancy and peevishness early, their big-screen heroes being nothing more than placating, condescending man children, and their toys requiring little to no imagination.

Print ads are geared toward the remembrance of an era. Seagram’s Canadian Whiskey and Dos Equis beer both encourage their target audience to get inebriated off their products, because it was what their fathers (or the closest facsimile) would get housed off of.

Even movies now are becoming self-referential to the bygone era of men running around being movie-definition manly, shooting first and asking questions later. The most recent “A-Team” trailer harkens back to the time of die-hard-movie tough guys who could handle any situation tossed their way, and “The Expendables” looks like an hour and a half running joke based around that particular topic.

Clint Eastwood recently gave an interview with Esquire magazine where he was quoted as calling us a “generation of pussies.” Even though he gets increasingly preachy in his old age, and hasn’t made a good movie since “A Perfect World,” I’m inclined to agree with him.

BJ Grieve is a City Times copy editor

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EVERYBODY LOVES BJ: Hollywood lost the ‘action hero’