by Matt Marling
When looking to some of the more iconic scenes ever to grace film, it’s not hard to find that most of the greatest moments come from Americans. Think of actors like Chuck Norris. Think of the film Silent Rage. Would the final fight scene in that movie be less interesting had it starred anyone other than Chuck Norris? Debatable, but since it was Chuck Norris it became that much easier to call it great. Or even something as simple as the movie DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story. Can one even debate that Chuck Norris’ thumbs up towards the end of the film didn’t make it infinitely better? It went from being a decent movie to a glorious one within seconds all because of Chuck Norris having a brief cameo. Had it been any other actor, this scene would have been long forgotten. Moments like these can influence you in ways that you never thought were humanly possible. Just think back on every film that you’ve ever watched in your life. I would bet that every fond memory you can recall involves an American actor. That is the power of American acting, it has the ability to create moments that last a lifetime.
You can even use this example to look at films that aren’t even created by Americans. Look at the Mad Max films. These were films made in Australia but starred the American born Mel Gibson. I personally can’t even picture any of these films without Mel in them. And yes, someone might argue that Tom Hardy did a pretty darn good job in Fury Road. To that, I respond: I agree, but had it not been for Mel Gibson paving the way with the first three Mad Max installments, there would be no Fury Road at all. Mel Gibson is just another prime example of Americans making everything better. Think of a life where the Lethal Weapon movies didn’t exist. Or even worse, think of Lethal Weapon without Mel Gibson. It’s like having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without peanut butter or jelly. There is no sandwich at that point, it’s just bread. Mel Gibson is the peanut butter and the jelly that keeps bread sticking together.
Another example of pure American brilliance comes from none other than the most beautiful man to ever grace the silver screen, Bruce Campbell. As the band Psychostick once said in their 2014 song titled “Bruce Campbell”, “Bruce Lorne Campbell should be offered every lead.” No truer statement has ever been put into words. Bruce is the man who we all secretly wish we were. Every performance that he has given in his life has always been beyond top-notch. Bruce Campbell is basically Hollywood’s King Midas. He can turn the worst movies into gold by just being in them. Look back at some of the gems that this man has had a hand in creating, even his worst films are better than some of Hollywood’s best. At this moment, we should acknowledge what would be lost without Bruce Campbell’s ever so inviting chin gracing its magic. For this purpose, I say that every city erects a statue in Mr. Campbell’s glorious honor. Not only that, but I also say that we all elect to make every day Bruce Campbell Day. We will celebrate by lighting candles and reading the Necronomicon while repeatedly watching The Evil Dead films in his honor. Thank you Bruce Campbell, thank you for all that you’ve done for us.
For all intents and purposes, we cannot forget that which is Thomas Jeffrey Hanks either. Tom Hanks is an actor who has been on our screens, and in our hearts since the 1980s. This is a man who has been in some of the greatest films ever conceived by mankind. With roles in movies like Saving Private Ryan, Forrest Gump, The Green Mile, and the unforgettable Turner & Hooch under his belt, it’s safe to say that Tom Hanks is one of the greatest American actors who has ever lived. This man will one day be compared to famous Greek philosophers like Aristotle and Plato. With famous philosophical quotes such as “Life is like a box of chocolates” and “Lieutenant Dan, ice cream”, it’s clear that the legendary Tom Hanks will forever be remembered by future generations for his contributions to society.
Speaking of other legendary actors, it would be disrespectful to not mention ‘The Vigilante’, Charles Bronson. Though Mr. Bronson is no longer with us, having passed in 2003, he is still amongst the greatest American actors to have ever graced Hollywood. When I think of Charles Bronson I immediately set my head back to the movie Death Wish 3. After Bronson’s friend is murdered, he goes on a warpath to eliminate every pile of trash on the streets of New York City. To this effect, Charles Bronson is definitely someone who should be viewed as an American hero. We should not stand for those who disrupt our society. Charles Bronson aimed to defeat chaos by taking the law into his own hands. For that, we must respect that which Bronson attributed to the American film industry.
It should be noted that Bronson wasn’t the only one who took to cleaning up the streets of New York City. Kurt Russell had also played a huge part in removing scum from the rotting wastes of NYC. However, he did more than just that. Not only did this man save the President of the United States of America in the movie Escape From New York, but he also saved humanity in Stargate. Kurt Russell has one of the most diverse film libraries of any actor in existence. He has gone from being Wyatt Earp in the movie Tombstone, and also Santa Claus in the Netflix movie The Christmas Chronicles. It is at this point in time when we all proclaim that Kurt Russell can probably do just about anything. I’m surprised he has not bothered to run for President at this point in his life. He would most likely win by a landslide, just because he is Kurt Russell.
Kurt Russell is pretty awesome, but I don’t think that he defines the cliché image of America. I think that honor goes to Chuck Norris, but after him it’s definitely Sylvester Stallone. With fantastic performances in movies like First Blood and the Rocky movies, it’s safe to say that Stallone is one of the primary beefcakes of American society. Stallone is the man that other countries think of when they look at America. Outside of that which he has provided in terms of his glorious action movies, he has also shown a softer side in movies like Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Overall, it’s safe to say that Johnny Rambo will forever hold a place atop the highest peaks of American action stardom with his name being mentioned alongside other American greats like Clint Eastwood and Chuck Norris.
As we find a way to wind further down the American rabbit hole, I feel that there’s no possible way that we could ever forget about the old Cloonster. George Clooney is someone responsible for many great films. When I think back about Mr. Clooney (prior to his arrest in Ocean’s Eleven), I remember a time in which he had been known for his immaculate display of slaying vampires in From Dusk Till Dawn. He used this knowledge to eventually obtain the title of Batman in the movie Batman & Robin. From there, all of the wealth and power from being Bruce Wayne went to his head. He would start to manifest kleptomaniac tendencies to the point where he would subsequently be arrested and thrown into prison. It was at this point when the Cloonster felt that he needed a change. This is when he adopted the Danny Ocean moniker and went on to create Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, and even Ocean’s Thirteen. In these films, Daniel Ocean displayed the prowess of his skillset by robbing other individuals. Think not of Clooney as a simple burglar, but of something akin to that of Robin Hood. He has shown in his career that he can never have enough. From his humble beginnings as Dr. Douglas Ross in the television show ER to his memorable performance in The Men Who Stare at Goats, it’s safe to say that George Clooney is not just an American…he’s The American.
So as you can see Americans are responsible for creating the most memorable moments in the history of film. There are many more pioneers responsible for solidifying America’s brilliance in the film industry, but these are ones that I felt necessary to write about. We should forever remember these individuals for all that they have done. Not only for us, but also our country. I shiver to think of what Hollywood would look like without these individuals leading the way. Life would be full of anarchic chaos with no meaning. It would be a world of supreme futility. So with that, I bow my head in respect to these fine gentlemen for all that they have given to mankind.