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April 22, 2008


Got a couple of Hollywood-related links for ya.

First up, Sigourney Weaver says that she wanted to do another Ripley movie before Fox destroyed the franchise with Aliens vs. Predator.

“The last time [Ridley Scott and I] saw each other we talked about it. The character is still interesting [and] I’d love to work with Ridley again,” Weaver said. “But Fox has effectively killed it because of ‘Alien vs. Predator.’ What else can you do with the creature? You can take the situation, you can go back to where they came from. …To play someone who ages a couple hundred years was fascinating. [But] let [Ripley] rest.”

Ripley was, of course, the finest film heroine of all time, so I'm presently on my way to Century City to bomb the Fox offices. The Xenomorph wasn't bad in those films either.

Second, Victor Davis Hanson is unhappy with Hollywood and he's singled out as one reason why:

It is more interested in political correctness than profits, as the Iraq War movie bombs attest. Talent is no longer gravitating to Hollywood, but staying put in Europe and Asia. Alternate media, from the Internet to video games to cable television, mean that fewer go to the movies anymore (I went once in the last 12 months). The old bread-and-butter genres—like the Western or the war movie—are either moribund or merely landscapes for political revisionism.

One difference is the steady decline in the quality of male actors. We simply do not have a James Stewart, Burt Lancaster, Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, Bill Holden, or John Wayne any more, much less brilliant against-the grain actors like a Robert Duvall, Lee Marvin, Jack Palance, or a Yul Brenner, nor character actors like a Slim Pickens or a Ben Johnson.

Today’s he-man actors don’t even sound the same as the old breed. Compare the speech patterns and intonation of Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Spencer Tracey, Henry Fonda or Bill Holden to those of a Sean Penn, Tom Cruise, or Tom Hanks—and there seems to be a new, but separate species of male. The appeal of a Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, or Daniel Day-Lewis is that they sound like, well, the old breed rather than sensitive metrosexuals.

There's two problems here. First, he picks Sean Penn, Tom Cruise, and Tom Hanks to be "today's he-man actors." Don't think so, homie. At the top of the list would have to be Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis, and Will Smith. And there are several young actors with some serious chops that are worth keeping an eye on (for example, the younger guys in The Departed). As far as character actors go, Kevin Spacey and Ed Norton cannot go without mention.

Second, it's true that the Western and the War Movie have lost audiences, but it's not because Hollywood lacks good male actors. Tastes change. John Wayne turned out two westerns or war movies a year from 1940 to 1970 (sometimes as many as three! in a single year) and people ate it up. Good for them, but I just saw 3:10 to Yuma and that has pretty much satisfied my interest in Westerns for the rest of the year. I might watch Tombstone if it comes on the TV.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 01:30 PM

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