Escapist Podcast - Movies and TV: 020: No Nonviolence For Old Men

020: No Nonviolence For Old Men

The success of The Equalizer - it topped the box office with 35 million+ over the weekend - has us thinking about how, for some reason, right now is the moment that our culture has decided we want lots of movies about retirement-age men kicking hell of ass. Is it the continuing market power of the Boomers? Is it because we're having trouble finding new action stars so we're going back to the well? Or is it just that it's fun? We talk about that at length, plus the settlement between Marvel and the Jack Kirby Estate, the awesomeness of The Box Trolls, and the pros and cons of Gotham. Ross also babbles for a long time about copyright law, so grab a pillow!

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I think part of the reason why there aren't as many younger action stars right now is because some of them never caught on and others seem to be trying to diversify into other genres as well. To me unless you go back to the John Wayne era of movies action movies seem to have always been franchises you have Dirty Harry, Lethal Weapon, Rocky, Terminator, Jaws, and the list can go on with a lot of movies that get labeled "action".

One thing about Jason Statham is that is never seems to be at a loss for work and I do like most of the movies he is in. It just feels like the North American audiences don't show up or the theaters don't have faith in the movies he headlines for they seem to be there and then gone. In 2015 he has three movies coming out, a sequel to the Mechanic, Fast and Furious 7, and Spy.

As far as how characters are labeled in television shows, I think the tide is changing for it took 15 years since Will & Grace (I think that was one of the first shows that had a high ratings to feature an openly gay couple, but I could be really wrong) to really get to the current level of acceptance. It takes a couple of shows to first tread the path and then afterwards it becomes more mainstream for what studios seem to be willing to take a "risk" on. I would be nice if it didn't take a long time for diversity to become accepted, but it seems to have a really slow start and then it gains a lot of momentum.

I wonder with the Jack Kirby settlement was also because of the family being nervous about the chance of the Supreme Court upholding the rights of the studios too, for the current court seems to normally find in favor of companies over individuals and least with limited knowledge I have of their current proceedings.

Game of Thrones is a genre show for white males between 18 and 45 and it has dudes that are gay.

Man... Ross we can google stuff so just let Ingoo and Bob talk!

I had to google Thora Birch. Wow, her dad really is a skeevy old man. In a movie when she was in her first sex scene, he had to sit in on it while the director was shouting "FASTER! HARDER!" She grew up around Scarlett Johansson and didn't want to follow the road Scarlett was on. With parents like that, can you blame her?

Poor Ross, I do kinda see where you're coming from in regard to homosexual representation in popular media. In comic books, males have only just now really come out as it were, with things like Northstar's wedding and the danger therein since his spouse is a normal human and an easy target should a fight with a villain go sideways. In contrast, there have been a few female characters who for a long time were just assumed to be bi and have often been written as such, take Storm and Psylocke for example. If a show is specifically about relationships, sure, gay representation is going to be a primary feature, but if it's a show written with American (read: Protestant) audiences in mind, lesbian relationships tend to be more acceptable, not because it's hot but because if anyone's going to be emotional or talk about feelings, it's not going to be the burly Tim Taylor manly man. On the flipside, British TV is far more casual about same-sex relationships. Two of my favorite shows - Doctor Who and Orphan Black - regularly feature gay characters and that characteristic is just peripheral, or in the case of Orphan Black, good for using gratuitous ass shots for a laugh.

Not just that - older men frequently have sex with or even are married to much younger women in Hollywood movies, and there may be a connection.

Hollywood actors are scared of getting old, which is tied to their ginormous egos, so they pretend they never do. It also doesn't help that there are barely any roles for actors who accept their age, while there's a plethora of roles for older guys willing to "kick ass" or "fuck chicks". The only serious roles for old men are "gravitas" roles - think Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Morgan Freeman, or Denzel Washington.

An actor's "brand" builds over time - say Arnold Schwarzenegger or Bruce Willis, they build up brand loyalty with fans, and then Hollywood can't help but keep cashing in on that loyalty, the only way they know how.

Hollywood actors get plastic surgery in an attempt to artificially replicate the appearance side of the Fountain of Youth. Many of them would have clones of themselves made if the technology existed, many of them would engage in Cryogenics if that worked, and god help us all if drinking human blood actually made people immortal.

We make fun of Tom Cruise a lot, but he's just an extreme version of the "Hollywood type". Many if not most "A-list" Hollywood actors are ego-driven monsters for whom Scientology is merely a confirmation of their own superiority.

As far as actors' perception of themselves goes, Stanley Kubrick puts it well - "Eyes Wide Shut".

I was actually really into what Ross was saying about genre television featuring gay men. I'm a gay guy who watches a lot of actiony-type shows for fun (Revolution, Gotham, The Blacklist, etc), and I would really like to see some gay characters. I really loved Warehouse 13's attempt at a gay character. I loved the pilot of How to Get Away with Murder, with it's analingus, but I'd like to see some action gay dudes.

First time poster, long time listener chiming in to say kudos to Inkoo for speaking up and pushing the conversation in some interesting directions. I actually enjoy Ross' lengthy explanations (no sarcasm, seriously) but he does tend to crowd out other guests at times. Kind of awesome that Inkoo was able to make a TV and Movie podcast about... TV!

As far as Ross' point, I don't disagree with him if you limit GBLT representation to certain very mainstream action shows (he kept saying "Gotham", but probably should have been hitting CSI, NCIS, etc.) it's pretty skewed towards what (some network exec) thinks will play with a straight male audience. However, I tend to side more with what I think was Inkoo's implicit point that just because those are the shows with big ratings, doesn't mean they define TV more than Shonda Rhimes' shows, or Transparent, etc.

Again, loving the podcast, keep it up!

I want to comment on Ross' and Ingoo's point of 'why can't a man just casually say 'I'm gay' discussion. If I say anything offensive, please know it was not intentional.

I think the problem with making homosexuality a minor detail (moreso in showing gay men than gay women as Ross and Ingoo brought up), is that if it plays almost no part in the story, a conservative producer or even a producer who doesn't want to shy people away, is so interchangeable with men depicted as heterosexual that the producers will either downplay it or change it. And when you're considering the action genre, where the majority of the consuming demographic is men, it's hard to address the idea or theme of diversity so that depiction can be sidelined. Can it be done? Absolutely. Get a good director or writer and it can be made possible. But, most people working in the entertainment industry are hacks who would rather play it safe, not rock the boat and get a steady paycheck.

But, it's getting better. Like Bob mentioned, "How to Get Away with Murder" managed to show gay men and it worked out just fine. The homosexuality didn't define the character, it was how the character used his homosexuality to get ahead of the class.

 

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