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LarryNaselli.com
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Troy could spark outbreak of "Tony Manero Syndrome"

If the Motion Picture Academy has an award for Best Missed Opportunity, Troy is surely the frontrunner to win it. As an entertainment experience Troy was worth the $15.00 I paid for my wife and I to see it; but, given such an epic subject, the producers fell woefully short of the potential to make a great film.

Visually and technically this is a fairly engaging film, but it suffers from terminal bad-casting in the lead role. I'm told by my more pop-culturally informed co-workers that Brad Pitt, who plays Achilles, is a big time box office draw for females, but I don't think I've seen a more annoying actor on screen since - well, since Pee-Wee Herman. Perhaps this was the Director's intent, but as the movie proceeded, I sensed a growing anticipation of the happy moment at which Achilles would finally be put out of my misery. It's a bad sign for any serious movie if members of the audience are rooting for the hero's death.

While I can't imagine that any tears were shed in theaters over the death of Brad Pitt's Achilles, it is entirely likely that this movie will produce another outbreak of "Tony Manero Syndrome." In the late 1970's when the movie Saturday Night Fever became a cultural phenomenon, millions of young males tried to emulate John Travolta's disco-dancing character, Tony Manero. Why was that a problem? Because the character, Tony Manero, was - by the movie's own terms - a total jerk. If Brad Pitt is indeed the "chick magnet" that my co-workers assure me he is, we may be facing a deluge of young males embracing the pouting, whining, self-centeredness, lawlessness and capricious violence of Troy's Achilles -- as if we were suffering from a shortage of total jerks - and we may even see young men shaving all their bodily hair from the shoulders downward. Yes, Troy has the potential to strike a worse blow to responsible masculinity than Saturday Night Fever ever did - and that's saying something.

My best hope for Troy is that it will earn enough money at the box office to finance a high-quality production of Homer's Odessey, starring Sean Bean, who is thoroughly likeable as the persuasive and almost-earnest intermediary between King Agememnon and Achilles. He may be getting a little old for the kind of acrobatic battle sequences that Brad Pitt's Achilles performs, but at least Bean would have a positive influence on the manliness of the young males in the audience, and I wouldn't find myself missing John Wayne as desperately as I did while watching Brad Pitt's juvenile strutting in Troy.


Posted by larry_naselli at 4:24 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, June 17, 2004 11:25 AM CDT
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