Bring back the element of Hollywood cool

Justin Marinelli
Contributing WRiter

Movie stars just aren’t as cool as they used to be. Consider for a moment how Hollywood used to be. Guys like Steve McQueen, Clark Gable and Cary Grant roamed the street, equipped with supreme confidence, charisma and swag. I’ll admit that a fair number of leading men nowadays have these qualities (think Ryan Gosling or Joseph Gordon-Levitt), but they lack something these old-time celebrities did not: true authenticity.

If there’s a theme for our generation of actors (which I’m defining as any A-list movie star between the ages of 10 and 35), I’d say it’s “Charm School Honor Roll.” They are, in essentially all cases, polite, well-groomed and never put a foot out of line. I don’t think this is necessarily bad; I’m certainly not a fan of people who are intentionally crude and self-destructive. I’m also not sure that I enjoy watching this politically correct dance.

I know many people have no problem with this. One of the more common arguments I often hear is that, for better or worse, celebrities end up as role models, and because they do, they should act like them. I’m not going to disagree. A massive part of the human experience is learning from others. Conscious or not, we strive to emulate those we look up to. I can completely understand why parents who want well-behaved children want well-behaved celebrities for said children to emulate.

That doesn’t mean I completely agree with them, though. It would be ridiculous to suggest that we should completely throw out our current cast of stars, and there’s no reason to. I think we just need a select few celebrities who plan on shaking things up a bit while looking exceedingly cool. I strongly believe our generation needs a “rebel without a cause,” a Marilyn Monroe or a Marlon Brando, because even though they didn’t always behave, they knew how to empower themselves. They knew how to take life and live it on their terms without letting anyone else dictate what they were going to be. They didn’t follow the rules; they made their own rules.  That was what was so damn cool about them, but it also means that we have something to learn from them.

We’re always told to “just be ourselves.” We’re never told what that looks like. We’re never told how to live in perfect congruence with our desires and passions. It’s just something we’re left to figure out on our own. Celebrities used to have it figured out. They used to be people we could learn from. I can’t tell if that’s still the case.

All I know is that I would love the return of increased populace of cool movie stars; whether they are from the past or a new generation. Bring back the cool movie stars.

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