Archive for November 24th, 2008

Iconic ‘70s Actors

robert_shaw_001.jpg

I hate the phrase “they don’t make them like they use to.” It implies we don’t currently have the option of choosing something of quality, when in point of fact we do — we just collectively choose crappy things for a variety of reasons. Take consumer goods made in China, which is something Stacy and I have been talking about since she has been struggling to find a coffeemaker manufactured outside of the PRC. A recent trip to the local Fred Meyer yielded many coffeemaker options, but none made in a country other than China. I believe there are many good reasons to steer clear of a coffeemaker made in China, including the possibility that a Chinese manufactured coffeemaker could contain metals with toxic impurities. I think some of the blame for all these Chinese products flooding our stores should be heaped on American companies, who have been shipping American manufacturing jobs overseas for years to maintain fat profit margins. But I also think a larger portion of the blame falls on all of us for not caring where our consumer goods come from and just buying whatever is on the shelf at our local store regardless of their country of orgin. There are coffeemakers made in countries as diverse as Holland and the Czech Republic, we just don’t buy them because we can buy a Chinese made one for half the price. But if your health is at stake, where is the savings buying something that could make you sick and possibly cost you money for medical treatment?

So how does this relate to screen actors from the ‘70s? I don’t know if it really does, but hear me out as I try and articulate something. Any trip to your local cineplex will convince you we don’t seem to have the same kind of iconic actors that came of age during the ‘70s. The two actors I’m thinking specifically of, because I’m a huge fan of their work, are Warren Oats and Robert Shaw. Of course there are many others who had obtained iconic status by the ‘70s, but I think Oats and Shaw are in an entirely different class. I was watching The Taking of Pelham One Two Three the other night and was left in awe of Robert Shaw’s portrayal of Mr. Blue, the ringleader of a band of NYC subway highjackers. Dito for his portrayal of Captain Quint in Jaws. And then there is Warren Oats, who was great in just about every movie he starred in. My personal favorites are The Wild Bunch, Two-Lane Blacktop, and Stripes. I don’t know if there are any current actors who I get excited about seeing in a film, but maybe Crispin Glover and Steve Zahn are the closest we have to truly iconic contemporary actors. But like Chinese consumer products, we’re happy with our large of selection of films with actors of dubious quality.

G.T.O explains the 455 V8
http://www.youtube.com

Captain Quint
http://www.youtube.com

2 comments November 24th, 2008


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