Where have all the tough guys gone?
That certitude had vanished from many places, but nowhere more vividly than the top of the guy star pile in Hollywood.
Mel Gibson, who played an action hero, seems to have morphed into director, producer and madman, melting down in a pool of seething angers and resentments. Then there's Tom Cruise, recently dumped by Paramount for (1) personal oddnesses and (2) delivering a movie that may only make $400 million worldwide when everyone knew it should have made $500 million. Down but not out, each actor, you can bet, will hasten to a film highlighting redemption, earnestness, decency and love of fellow man. Don't bet on either guy's next movie to co-star a submachine gun. In short, they're no longer going to be John Ford heroes but Frank Capra heroes. Mel in "Mr. Goldstein Goes to Washington." Cruise in "Meet Tom Doe, Episcopalian Social Worker."
So who's left? Almost nobody. Eastwood is too old to kick you know what, Arnold is too Republican. Harrison Ford is ancient, Sylvester Stallone too kitschy as well as too old.
Let's look at a younger generation: Matt Damon? Folks, folks, I was only joking. Good God, Johnny Depp? Well, possibly his potential as an action hero was summed up when no less an important cultural figure than John Mark Karr revealed he had hoped Depp would play him in the movie. Ben Affleck? Too pretty, really. Leonardo DiCaprio? Again, I joke! . . . .