How The Hell Did Arnold Schwarzenegger Pass For An Everyman?
It's unknown how future historians will regard our current period in time, but I know exactly how they'll view the '80s and '90s. They'll think America was overrun with random Austrian strongmen.
Maybe it's just me (probably just me), but I didn't realize just how weird Arnold Schwarzenegger's characters were until I watched them back to back to back to back (I like, most people, have had a lot of free time recently.). After absorbing such high dosses of Schwarzenegger exposure, you begin to wonder how the hell the viewing public was willing to believe that this literal Hercules could pass as an everyman as often as he did.
Will they think HGH was leaked into the water supply? Arnold plays a mattress salesperson in Jingle All the Way. Did mattress stores double as gyms in 1996, or did his character take it upon himself to undergo rigorous training to gain the strength needed to fight an army of ninja Santas, Sinbad, and Phil Hartman?
Even the cover stories for his badass characters are absurd. In True Lies, his government spy gig expects his cover as an office drone to hold water ... and it does! His wife and kid believe it. Meanwhile, in Kindergarten Cop, he's supposed to pass for a kindergarten teacher? Are our descendants going to think that walking goliaths were so numerous among us, that no one would blink an eye if this dude showed up to teach our kids how to paint?
If today a man that yoked screamed that loudly in a classroom full of children, we'd have invented a new lockdown procedure for it. I'm not saying that humanity in the year 2220 won't get that this is a movie, and I'm not even saying that they won't get that this is a comedy. Still, I'm pretty sure they'll be baffled at how Arnold Schwarzenegger could so often be used a proxy for the average Joe.
The one thing I do know for certain is that the Schwarzenegger movies of the past are more insane than I could have ever remembered, and that's a glorious thing. Anyway, don't get me started on Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Top image: Imagine Entertainment