Why I love Arnie
One of my lovely gentleman callers past (ok, one of the latest in a string of ill-suited, ill-fated – and sometimes just ill – men I dated, but it sounds nicer in Tennessee Williams-speak) told me that it was really
strange surprising how much I love Arnold Schwarzenegger. The conversation went something like this:
*Me: So what’s your favourite movie, Gentleman Caller?
*Gentleman Caller: [insert art house film name], amazing, work of art, you have to see it [blah blah blah] what’s your favourite movie?
*Gentleman Caller: *silence*
*Me: I’ve seen it at least 152 times!
*Gentleman Caller: Wow, really. That’s… interesting. I mean, knowing you – you’re so articulate and educated and… Arnold Schwarzenegger, really?
The thing is, I just really love Arnie. And I never thought this through in any detail until I met said Gentleman Caller. Yes, it’s true, I genuinely thought everyone loved Arnie. He was THE action star of the 80’s! He married a Kennedy! He’s going to be President of the
Stars Who Genuinely Are Sorry They Used Steriods But Not Really Association United States (erm – one day)! Until this moment, I didn’t realise that not everyone grew up watching Predator every weekend, like my brother and I did. Goodness knows how we tricked my parents into renting it for us, but perhaps working full time and raising three kids meant they’d give us anything as long as it shut us up and stopped us fighting with each other. I do recall the very first time I watched Predator at my oldest brother’s ninth birthday party. I was five and convinced my parents watching it wouldn’t give me nightmares. I’m amazed I succeeded:
*Me: Pleeeeeeeeeease can I watch the movie with the boys? [lip tremble]
*Dad: Ummmm….I think it’s a bit too violent for you, Jessie.
*Me: I promise I won’t get scared!
*Mum: Darling – you had a nightmare about the Ewoks* last night.
Despite being trumped by this very sane argument, they gave in and let me. I immediately loved that movie. And I loved Arnie even more. After being led to ponder why, here’s a non-exhaustive list of (hello, self-evident?!) reasons:
*He’s a beefcake! Before beefcake-ry was mainstream, Arnie created it, owned it and willingly took some very questionable substances to parlay it into a wildly successful career.
*He’s never lost. He always wins. And never leaves a man, child or deeply unconvincing female love interest behind (ok, he leaves lots of men behind, but really, that’s their own fault for not being as awesome as Arnie at surviving robots, aliens, gangsters, Satan and the Nazis. Ok, that last one was probably more relevant to Arnie’s dad. Awkward).
*He has range. He was Russian in Red Heat. And American in everything else. But he’s really Austrian! I know. RANGE. Unlike Jean Claude Van Damme, who is always “from Belgium”.
*He has the best one-liners of any action hero of any generation ever. I don’t care that they mainly came from Terminator 2. Or that T2 was actually his last decent movie. The point is, if you can turn banal dialogue such as I’ll be back, get down and get to the chopper into a universally revered catchphrase, that’s
a sad comment on what our society celebrates talent.
*He’s a giant beefcake!
*He insists he’s six foot one, when a mere glance at his Tyrannosaurus Rex arms clearly proves this cannot be the case = admirable self-belief.
I could go on about his accent, his untamed eyebrows, his charming penchant for
sexual harassment flirting, his beady squint, his ridiculous man-boobs and his inexplicably finger-in-a-light-socket straight up hair, but there’s plenty more blog space for that another time. As I said to my former Gentleman Caller** when he said, “Why do you love Arnie so much?”, the answer is – I don’t know. I just do. And I always will.
*But seriously, how creepy are Ewoks! Furry, squashed up faces… like giant ferrets.
**So what went wrong with Gentleman Caller? I suspect my Arnie love might have come between us. After watching Arnie’s entire back catalogue with said Gentleman, he started working out a lot and commenting, “So you obviously like a big guy?” In the time it took for me to pause to ponder this delicate question, raise an eyebrow and make some kind of unequivocal hand gesture, our fledgling relationship died. Just like Carl Weathers in Predator. And all those other guys, except for Arnie.