I just finished voting for the Screen Actors Guild awards and after wading through the five “screeners” they sent me I started wondering about the leading men of today. In this day of confused metro sexual male stars one might wonder where have all the real men gone.
Look at the leading men of today. When I saw Leonardo DiCaprio as a tough guy in “Gangs of New York” I wasn’t sure if it was a drama or a comedy. Matt Damon isn’t too bad but I‘m not convinced he could take a punch. I like Bill Pullman but he looks like he is always on the verge of breaking into tears. George Clooney, please, my sister could throw him down and twist him up like a pretzel.
Here are my top five unrecognized real men of filmdom. I skipped the obvious choices like The Duke and Clint and went for some guys who are well known but not often looked at as Alpha dogs. Can you imagine any of these guys sitting in anything but a leather barber chair? Can you see any of them wondering if they should get frosted tips or a mani-pedi? Just being a tough guys wasn’t enough for my list they also had to have the craft of acting down too!
Even modern actors who seem to know their way around a good street fight like Vin Diesel and The Rock don’t have the acting chops that a lot of the classic tough guys did. What’s that, Chuck Norris, Steven Segal and Jean Claude Van Damme? I like Chuck’s politics and Segal’s new reality show has promise but please don’t waste my time trying to convince me that those guys wouldn’t wilt under the steely eyed stare of any of the five guys in my list. Hum… Five Guys, while you’re reading I’m stepping out for a burger.
One word -Shaft! They say this cat is a bad mother….and he is! Richard is a New Yorker, football player and manly enough to beat a rare form of male breast cancer.
One of my favorite all time movie bad guys is Liberty Valence. So much pure evil without a hint of any redeeming social value he could have been a Democrat. He served in World War two and was wounded in the battle of Saipan. He would have been higher on my list but I have talked to a few people who knew him and he was apparently a pretty nasty guy in real life. They invented the word “palimony” for this guy.
From The Magnificent Seven to his series of Death Wish films he was a man of few words. He hung in with wife Jill Ireland as she suffered through cancer. That’s a man!
The real OG! From being Little Caesar Rico to the evil Dathan and then slapping down a straight flush on fellow tough guy Steve McQueen in the “Cincinnati Kid” nobody was more the quintessential American tough guy than Eddie G. Not bad for a Jewish kid from Romania!
The epitome of the modern strong silent type. Who else could play Malcolm X, the rogue cop in Training Day, a stoic naval officer and a tort lawyer and make them all sympathetic? I can’t wait to see the Book of Eli. My favorite Denzel tough guy line is when as Detective Keith Frazier in “Inside Job” he enters a restaurant and the maître d asked him, “May I have your hat?” He comes back with, “No get your own!” Shades of Philip Marlow!