Are there any heroes left?

What is with the gaping lack of real men leading in action movies/TV? Seems like all we get today is a bunch of girlie-boy gay underwear models. Here is the latest travesty: The Lone Ranger Arghh!!! The real Lone Ranger was a hero that even the coolest tough guy ever - The Fonz - looked up to! This is disgusting.

But it just seems like this is the norm today. You can’t have a TV show about Superman; it has to be about Superboy. About the only exception that comes to mind is Viggo Mortensen of LOTR. (well, there’s Vin Diesel of XXX, but he doesn’t count because he’s not playing the good guy.)

There aiming at teens of course. But why do think that kids want their heroes to be kids. I sure as hell wouldn’t have when I was a kid.

If there are other exceptions, please enlighten me.
Would a young Harrison Ford, Charlton Heston, or John Wayne have any chance of leading roles in Hollywood today?

As crude as this topic sounds, I actually read an article along the same lines in Slate or Salon last summer, which identifies the new, more sensitive generation of action heroes. (I don’t think it was this one, which contemplates the monastic rectitude of Spider-Man.)

Sadly, it seems like it’s not just heroes that have this problem:

“Hi, my name is Hayden, and I’ll be your Darth Vader for the evening. I recommend the green salad.”

Interesting question. I guess the recent trend in action movies has been more toward martial arts and comic-book style movies. Jackie Chan kicks ass, but he is also something of a clown. The same could be said for Will Smith in his action roles. X-men has some “manly” characters in it. I guess that’s not what you’re looking for, though.

Let’s see… the closest I can think of right now is Bruce Willis. And maybe Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. Possibly Ben Affleck?

What is that, a sequel to Zorro, the Gay Blade (Lone Ranger, the Gay Bullet…)??

I happened to hear a song once that claimed that “We don’t need another hero.”

Who are these girlie-gay boy underware models? I’d like to know which of today’s leading men fit that description.

Check out pretty much anything on the WB, esp follow my Lone Ranger link.

Brad Pitt was probably the first one that was really successful. Leonardo DiCaprio is the underwear girlie-boy par excellance. Compare Titanic with the weepy stories of yesteryear like The Way We Were (Robert Redford) or Love Story (Ryan O’Neal).

God forbid that an actor have hair on his chest today!

It’s not just whether they are sensitive or not. Look at Kevin Kline. He’s played a lot sensitive and comic roles, but he was never a girlie-boy.

For completeness, let me say I applaud the casting of Spiderman. Spidey is supposed to be originally a wimpy nerd. And although Maguire is no he-man, he is not a girley-boy like DiCaprio. Stuff his bra, and I’d slow dance with Leo.

an aside: I think this is exacty why Peter Jackson fired the actor who was originally hired to play Aragorn (he wasn’t mature enough) - and replaced him with Viggo (thank you lord).

As for your comments re DiCaprio, crude tho they are I see where you’re coming from. wonder how he is in Gangs of New York, which I haven’t seen yet.

Yeah, I have to agree with this one. Ever since a few years ago when someone pointed out to me that there were no positive ‘warrior’ male role models on TV anymore (he pointed this out while we watched Xander’s buffoonery in ‘Buffy’), I’ve searched for 'em, but can’t find 'em. Scholar / Monk roles, sure, and the occasional ‘bad boy’, but it’s rare to find strong, confident, male roles anymore. In a way, that saddens me.
(BTB- Part of this may be because I’m a firm believer in storytelling archetypes, and having one be ‘missing’ is very bothersome to me.)

What about James Bond?

Okay. point taken. Bond’s good.
I think my friend was looking for a read ‘warrior’, though. We have Buffy and Xena and the like who simply kick-butt, but there’s very little for an aspiring male sword-swinger to look up to.

Makes me look forward to Conan: Crown of Iron.

Yeah…it was sung by Tina Turner in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. That was before Mel Gibson started hearing womens thoughts or playing claymation chickens.
The thread raises a good question. Who is going to replace the aging Schwartzeneggers, Stalones, Willises and to a lesser extent the Segals and Van Damms as they replaced the Eastwoods, Bronsons and Norises? There is no shortage of asian kung fu guys like Jet Li and Jackie Chan but I consider that a completely separate catagory. All the leading action heros have been replaced by 110lb Le Femme Nikita clones or affable “everymen” like Owen Wilson, Nicolas Cage, Ben Afflick or Will Smith.

Bring back the loose cannon who seeks his own brand of justice at the end of a .44 Magnum. What happened to the brooding take-no-shit ex-Navy SEAL who is forced to perform one last mission?

“Yippie kei-yea motherfucker!” has been replaced by “lets talk about this”. “Let me try and help you” has replaced “Go ahead, make my day”. WTF! Action heros should speak only clever quips or say nothing at all.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish watching Conan the Barbarian on TBS.

Oh, c’mon now, we both know Owen Wilson could kick Clint Eastwood’s @ss.

Well, okay, maybe in a couple of years. Some time in the early 2020’s, say.

You think male “sword-swingers” can’t look up to female characters? I look up to them as much as I do any male hero.

Still, I’m happy that most modern heroes are not “tough guys.” They don’t have to be caring and sensitive, but knowledge, intelligence, confidence and determination are always more attractive and interesting. Captain Piccard and Fox Mulder are good examples.

Maybe they don’t need to be replaced.

Unlike the generation before them, the iconic action stars of the 80’s/90’s were almost universally crappy actors.

If that trend is destined to continue, then maybe we’re better off with more sensitive male action stars. Or at least we would be in more senitive action stars weren’t also almost universally crappy actors.

You just can’t win.

These are valid points, but I think you’re missing the gist of my original stab.

First, it has nothing to do with roles, nothing to do with lines or writing or characterization. Someone mentioned Fox Mulder and Capt. Picard above. These two actors, Stewart and Duchovny, are good examples for contrast.

Stewart is manly. In his physical appearance, his voice and demeanor. This is evident whether he is playing a king in Shakespeare or a queen in Jeffrey. Duchovny on the other hand, although not a girlie boy, is just a handsome everyman.

Star Trek is a good example of this trend, too. Kirk, Picard and Sisko were larger than life commanders and this had much to do with the casting. “This is Captain Picard of the Enterprise! I’m taking command of the fleet!” Now try to imagine Scott Bakula of Enterprise saying that. Puh-leeze! And this has nothing to do with Archer vs. Picard, and everything to do with Bakula vs. Stewart.
I did think up an excellent counter-example, though. Russell Crowe. From gladiator to schizo math nerd, Russ is great. I can’t believe I overlooked Russell. If I was casting Star Trek - The Original Series today, Russell Crowe would be Kirk.

I think I’ll check out L A Confidential again and try to forget about this thread.

I disagree I want my 80/90 mindless action stars back, its Predator and not some damn Shakespeare adaption. But what about The Rock? I know he comes from wrestling but in Scorpion King he at least came close to the ‘leave your brain at home and enjoy the ride’ fun of the old action movies.

And when you really need sensible action heroes then look at LOTR again, Sean Bean’s Boromir surely cant be called flat and he kicked all kinds of ass and took names in the film, same for Viggo Mortensen. Plus for the more feminine taste in action heroes you got Orlando Bloom and he too did good in the action department.

I remember once during an interview, Duchovny was complaining how Skully seemed to win more fist fights in the show than Mulder.
I hear what your saying TGWATY. I was watching The Recruit the other day. According to IMDB Colin Farrel is 5’9". That’s a little small to be an action hero. No wonder Jennifer Garner can kick his ass in Daredevil. She’s only an inch shorter than he is!