January 22, 2013

Arnold Isn’t Sexy Anymore

He’s come a long way since the days of Pumping Iron. In Hollywood, sex symbols are as abundant as horseshoes are in Texas. But be that as it may, Arnold’s popularity in Hollywood has surely plummeted in the past twenty years of filmmaking.

His life’s story was as dreamy as you can get to an actual dream. A foreign beefcake, attractive to the ladies and admired by the boys. He made his splash in popular culture as a bodybuilder, setting Olympic records and breaking bad at power lifting contests. At that time in the sixties, he was what America loved about men: Tall, Austrian, and built like a boulder. He won Mr. Olympia for seven straight years in first place from 1970-1980. Before that, he was Mr. Universe for three years straight from 1968-1970.

This man was a legend to the weightlifting world in his youth, and the legendary status carried him on into his first movie debut, Hercules in New York. You can imagine how pathetic the story must have been, so I’ll spare you the details. This was his gateway movie for a long and prosperous movie career for the next twenty or so years. He became the golden boy of Hollywood, starring in The Long Goodbye, and Pumping Iron in the later parts of the seventies.

But it was Conan the Barbarian that really put his image on the map as a sociopolitical icon. From here his reputation as a dimwitted muscle bound blowhard drew great attention.

The rest, as they say, is history. But what’s important to take note of from his life in the 80’s and 90’s was that if you could maintain Hollywood’s best interest, it would be smooth sailing from there on. Smooth sailing doesn’t even begin to describe how prosperous his career was after the second terminator movie-despite the beginnings of what we regarded as his old age he proved that the big screen wasn’t the only place a Hollywood star could thrive.

He took office as Governor of California in early October of 2003.

But age isn’t just a number. At least, not when you’ve passed the age of sixty. His wrinkles really showed in movie rolls, and the golden boy of Hollywood slowly bronzed. With respect, Arnold has always been at heart a devoted Republican, and owing to that his intelligence isn’t anything to squawk at.

But here we are, seeing The Governator make steady hits on the movie industry with his role in The Expendables 2, and more recently, his comeback film The Last Stand.

It flopped.

I don’t believe that anyone should be surprised at this when we take into consideration the lack of potential that action films have in the 21st century compared to their similar counterparts form the 80’s.

It’s still the same boring storyline, with different character archetypes embodying the audience’s imagination of sexy and suave.

The times have changed, and now teenagers and moviegoers want to see tragic, melodramatic love triangles between shirtless sixteen years olds and sparkling, immortal vampires. We’re at a point in time when 15 idiots can make a documentary about virtually beating themselves to death for the fun of it, and still walk away with profits!!! What’s sexy is different now, no longer the beef cake oiled down children-saving hunk, and much closer to the skinny brunette in the skin tight jeans with the beautiful five o’clock shadow.

Homosexuality is a lot more widely accepted in society now, and heterosexual men can comment on the physique and stature of other men without fear of the stink eye. America has become a ton more liberal now, most notably Hollywood.

In this new Hollywood, Arnold Schwarzenegger no longer shines as the golden boy.

Does this mean that his career is over? Most Americans would like to think so, but I believe that all he needs is a new haven to thrive off of. What could that new haven be? I’ve no clue, but we can always dream that the days of Conan the Republican aren’t too much soaked in scandals and box office flops.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

Image Credit: [email protected]

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