Gerard Butler

gerard butler

Partner and I saw “Olympus Has Fallen” last weekend when we were down on Cape Cod.

Oh dear. It’s dreadful. If you really want to see it, here’s what you do: queue up “Independence Day” and “Die Hard” and “Red Dawn” one after another, and hit yourself on the head very hard with a ball peen hammer while you’re watching them.

Here’s a quick plot summary, with spoilers: North Koreans make a (very unlikely) commando attack on the White House. The North Koreans have incredible space-age weapons, and evidently all we Americans have is handguns. The American President (Aaron Eckhart) is a charming weenie who gives the North Koreans two-thirds of the computer codes they want, because “they’ll never get the third part.” Naturally, they figure out the third part on their own.

But that’s okay: a superhuman Secret Service operative, played by Gerard Butler, kills all the North Koreans and saves the President (and, incidentally, the United States of America).

Which brings us to Gerard Butler.

You might remember Gerard as King Leonidas in “300,” gigantic and bearded and powerful and angry. Well, god bless him, that’s pretty much his schtick. He’s big and dark and nicely built, and has blue eyes which range from Warm to Stern to Threatening. He’s one of those men on whom stubble looks not only good, but natural.

He’s a co-producer of this movie, so you’d expect his character to be The Hero, and you’d be right. He’s a friend of the Weenie President, and a second (and much better) father to the Weenie President’s son.

Also, he’s an unstoppable killer.

A while back, I wrote about Victor Mature, and the uses of big handsome muscular men in the movies.

“Olympus Has Fallen” establishes that nothing has changed.

We love you, Gerard, the way audiences loved Victor in the 1950s.

Now: please make better movies.

Over and out!

Victor Mature

victor mature

Turner Classic Movies has been showing an awful lot of Victor Mature pictures lately: “The Robe” and “Demetrius and the Gladiators” on Easter, and “My Gal Sal” not long after.



Oh, you don’t know him? See the above photo. Victor Mature (which was, believe it or not, his real name) was a big handsome Italian-American who appeared in a whole bunch of movies in the 1940s and 1950s. He was every cliché you could think of: broad-shouldered, barrel-chested. He was tall, dark, and handsome. His shirt seemed to come off in every single movie he was in. (Even as the songwriter Paul Dresser in “My Gal Sal,” he gets tarred and feathered, and we get to see Carole Landis gently clean the tar and feathers from his immense torso.)



Hollywood is all about pretty girls and handsome men. Back in the 1990s, the house movie reviewer for “Premiere” magazine, Libby Gelman-Waxner (who was really Paul Rudnick), answered a letter from a reader thusly (I paraphrase):



Dear Libby: You seem to like or dislike movies based on whether or not you’re attracted to the lead actors. Libby: that’s not what movies are all about. (signed: Reader.)

Dear Reader: Oh yes it is.



The above photo is from “Samson and Delilah,” in which the lovely but very petite Hedy Lamarr played Delilah. This inspired Groucho Marx’s great comment (which I’ve bowdlerized slightly): “I don’t like seeing movies in which the men’s breasts are bigger than the women’s.”



But you can’t deny that Victor had That Certain Something.



There were lots of other big lugs in movies in those days – Aldo Ray, Gilbert Roland, Jack Carson, Stewart Granger, even Keenan Wynn. They were all big and beefy.



But none of them had big dark vulnerable eyes like Victor Mature.



We miss you, Victor.


%d bloggers like this: