Where are America’s Leading Men?

I don’t go to the movies much anymore, and frankly, I just plain don’t watch too many new movies. I have some directors I watch regularly, but I think one of the big issues in movies today is that there are no good leading men.

What do you know about leading men? So, I’ve been thinking about this lately: Who are America’s leading men? I mean, when I think of leading men in movies (and by leading men, I mean actors that can carry a movie and are identifiable in their acting style by showing some humanity and humor, etc.), I think of the guy to the left, Humphrey Bogart. Bogey could carry a movie. And we have a long history in this country of great leading men in film: Charlton Heston, Kirk Douglas, Harrison Ford (what happened to you Harrison?), De Niro, Pacino, Hanks, Jimmy Stewart, etc. But who are today’s leading men?

Yes, there are some actors from across a pond or two who can carry a movie. I’m thinking of Christian Bale, Huge Ackman, Michael Fassbender, etc. But when I think of younger American actors, it’s disappointing. The names that come up are Bradley Cooper, Mark Wahlberg, Ryan Gosling, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (though I loved him on 3rd Rock From The Sun), and Leonardo DiCaprio. I don’t think of any of those guys as solid leading men. Yes, they have decent performances here and there, but I don’t think they have the prowess of some of the older actors I’ve mentioned in terms of carrying a movie.

Everything used to be better, eh? Well, I think the most egregious on the list is DiCaprio. A lot of people rave about his work, but I don’t see it. The guy is humorless, and he lacks the humanity of some of these other actors. Yes, he can act, but that doesn’t make him a good leading man. Sad thing is, I think he’s probably one of the best we’ve got. But I’ve heard him mentioned as similar to De Niro (I imagine that comparison is made simply because of the Scorsese association), but I think that comparison is ludicrous. Imagine DiCaprio as Vito Corleone, or in Raging Bull, or in Taxi Driver, etc. I can’t.

Sad thing is, I think DiCaprio’s best work was Catch Me If You Can, which was a movie in which he shared the lead with a competent actor, Tom Hanks. But this is the reality of the situation: when people name Marky Mark as one of America’s best younger actors (his brother Donnie is a better actor), it is truly a sad day.

All you do is complain, bro. I mean, there’s nothing to be done with this. I feel like this is probably one of the reasons that movies are struggling in the US, and I feel like many people accept these actors as decent because they haven’t allowed themselves to experience these other classic actors. In essence, I wonder if today’s movie watchers simply don’t know better. I don’t know, but I hope that’s true. I know the black-and-white screen can be intimidating, and some people get immediately turned off by it, but classic films are worth giving a chance.

Wrap it up, Scorsese! OK, OK. People like what they like. Maybe I am just picky. Maybe I am in love with old things … this may be true, but it’s also possible that we’re buying into inferior products. This is my assertion.

So, who is your favorite “young” American leading man? I put young in quotes, because I’m willing to accept anyone under forty-five.

About Adam Nannini

The greatest writer of his generation ... which isn't saying much.
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2 Responses to Where are America’s Leading Men?

  1. Not Vonnegut says:

    If I had to pick a guy that really turned me on…well, he wouldn’t be an actor. Musician? Sure. Writer? Hahaha? Ok, maybe. But, actor? Screams masturbation right? Why would I date a guy who loves f…ok, what do I know? I DO think that the younger generation is more well versed than you (or, ahem, we) think they are. They get it more than I did at there age. I will, however, be more inclined to listen to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness than the next non-1990′s kid, I wish Mr. Bowie was more prevalent. Wait…what were we talking about?

  2. Not Vonnegut says:

    their not there, god shoot me

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