MILK CARTON CINEMA: “RAW DEAL”

Governor Schwarzenegger: It’s not a Ru-Mor!
I should start off by stating that I like Arnold. Not as an actor necessarily, but certainly as an individual. This should not be interpreted as my having any sort of interpersonal relationship with the star, as it goes without saying that we have never been introduced. But I think we might get along. Let me just say, of all the East-European weight lifter/international movie stars that I have never met, he is my favorite. Arnold just strikes me as being rather approachable, given that he enjoys cigars, drives a Humvee, and managed to work his way into the Kennedy clan while being a monosyllabic conservative. He’s a man after my own heart. Plus the idea of him bumping into cousin Teddy at Kennedy family functions up at the Palm Beach estate makes me chuckle.
In talking about the recall election with people there seemed to be some confusion as to why Arnold was absorbing so much negativity from the California press when he is, after all, an actor. Much of it has to do with his being an unapologetic Republican, but he is also reviled for his choice of recreational vehicle and for consuming tobacco products. Puffing on a Montecristo while driving a Hummer ranks him, in the eyes of Hollywood liberals, lower than child molesters and just slightly above those who club baby harp seals and use their pelts to line a winter codpiece.
One additional reason for opposition to his occupying the Governor’s mansion might have been financial. After all, the man is a cash machine. I know before Terminator 3, many of his movies have been modest money winners, but Schwarzenegger is truly a global star and his movies have to be measured with international box-office receipts. When Arnold decided to serve the people of California, it was not too difficult to imagine studio suits sending out their administration assistants to claim that they were harassed on the set of Collateral Damage in order to deride his campaign and get him back to generating profits.
Even if you don’t care for the slab of Austrian flank steak, or his movies, you have to admire the guy for what he’s been able to accomplish. Consider how he has built himself into a major force in Hollywood force despite having garbled diction thicker than Styrian stew, and having appeared in “Hercules Goes Bananas”. But once he showed that he could draw audiences (even if they couldn’t understand him) he opened doors for many thick-headed thespians to follow in his wake.
Before Arnold’s breakout, the studios had to rely on actors to carry a blockbuster opening, but these days it is no longer required to have an actor in an action movie. Wrestlers, ultimate-fighters, football players and doormen/bouncers are now tabbed as feature players since Arnold became a star. One executive even hit upon the idea of giving his workout trainer a chance, kicking off the improbable career of Steven Segal. This shift in the casting standard reached its apex with “Universal Soldier: The Return,” which starred a kick-boxer (Jean-Claude Van Damme) a wrestler (Bill Goldberg) and a TV fitness model (Kiana Tom)—neither of whom is likely to field questions on stage from James Lipton.
The story continues in part three of MILK CARTON CINEMA: “RAW DEAL”>>>




Posted on October 28, 2003 in Features by
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