Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Indiana Jones

In a way, Indiana Jones gave me my first idea of what 'being a man' should look like: Intellectual, but not in an in-your-face kind of way. Individualistic and stubborn. Adventurous, vaguely atheistic, and possessing a kind of rolling gallows humor. And (of course) sporting a fedora and a whip.

The most important people in my life and I are very excited about the new Indy movie. The other day my brother said to me, "This is the only movie I've ever wanted to see that I know won't let me down. I'll like it no matter what." I knew exactly what he meant. "With Indiana Jones," I said, "It's not so much a matter of whether it's good or bad, as it is a matter of getting to see Indy in action one more time." As Roger Ebert ended his right-on review of the new movie, "I can say that if you liked the other Indiana Jones movies, you will like this one, and that if you did not, there is no talking to you.". It's like that.

Upon asking the people at the local Toys-R-Us why they thought they were selling out of Indiana Jones merchandise so fast,the clerk reported to my brother--without missing a beat--that they sold the toys mainly to twenty to thirty something males, often with kids who would've rather picked up some cool Speed Racer action figures, but eventually caved to their father's sales pitch that Indiana Jones was way cooler than Speed Racer.

Indiana Jones is way cooler than Speed Racer.

I don't know what Indiana Jones means to my generation, or what it is that makes his character so resonant in our culture. I'm not a sociologist. I can't even say that I really want to know, if there's anything to know at all.

Whatever the case is, I'm excited about the movie. I'm going to let my son take the day off of school tomorrow so he can go and watch the midnight showing with me tonight. He can miss a day of school for Indiana Jones.

You have to have priorities in this life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post.

I'm 31 and it's hard to get across to different generations what Indiana Jones means to me...

He was THE Hero of our youth, without a doubt, and it wasn't just the character, it was the fact that the movies were all top quality(yes, even Temple of Doom, which destroys almost any action movie of modern times still) and have all three become classics of the genre, particularly Raiders.

I worry about the next generation, as they just don't have the quality of entertainment that we grew up on. Really. Movies today are so pre-packaged and artless and increasingly aimed at smaller kids and an "ADD demographic". It wasn't like that when we were growing up.

Raiders of the Lost Ark and the first Star Wars movie held our attention just fine, but younger kids today supposedly have a hard time sitting through these films. Where is the Karate Kid for todays' generation? Where is the Rocky? Where is the Indiana Jones or Star Wars? Even the new Star Wars didn't hold up to the originals on so many levels.

And for older kids, where is the Predator or Die Hards? Where are the Rambos or Total Recalls or Terminators? Action movies today just don't hold a candle to these films, and manly men doing manly things have been replaced by either outright kid stuff or metrosexuals acting out the parts that used to be the parts "men" played.

And beyond action movies, where are the teen movies today that are even remotely as good as the kind of stuff we got from John Hughes back in the day?(The Breakfast Club, Ferris, etc.)

And I don't think this is just a "in my day stuff was better!" type phenomenon. Popular entertainment was objectively better then, in regards to blockbuster movies aimed at kids and adults alike(Raiders, Karate Kid, etc.) than it is now.

It's really kind of depressing - but at least we have all the classics from our era to show our kids, right?