‘Alpha-Male’ Role in Hollywood Is a Dying Trend, Experts Say

Despite the recent success of action flick “The Expendables,” some say movies featuring the alpha male are a dying breed:

“After all, the top five films at the box office so far this year have been “Alice in Wonderland,” “Toy Story 3,” “Shrek Forever After,” “Twilight Saga Eclipse” and “Inception”– not exactly representations of the ultra-masculine man.  Fifteen years ago the number one film was “Independence Day,” five years before that it was “Terminator 2,” and some five years before that it was the action-packed “Top Gun.”

In place of the alpha male, movies are featuring more geeky men, sensitive dudes, and man-boys. But not everyone is happy with the change:

“And according to dating/relationships expert and author of “The Chase,” Samantha Brett, Hollywood’s ever-growing representation of girls going after “geeky” guys may demonstrate that Tinseltown is indeed out-of-touch with reality.

“Innately, women feel most safe, protected, secure, sexy and at their peak when they are with a man who makes them feel feminine and like a woman,” she added. “It’s in our DNA!”

Read the whole article here: ‘Alpha-Male’ Role in Hollywood Is a Dying Trend, Experts Say (@Fox)

Hat tip: Bean

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Josh September 7, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, the epitome of the geeky guy getting the girl, did awful.

Chris September 7, 2010 at 3:20 pm

First, what it is so “un-masculine” about Inception? Are we as men only allowed to enjoy pointless violence like spectators at the Coliseum? I believe a true man can affirm truth and beauty when he sees it. I enjoy movies that get at deeper messages of meaning and life. As well as those that understand all men are not machine-gun-toting Sly Stallone but are still noble and heroic in there own way. Why does masculinity have to be associated with brutal, barbaric, wanton violence? If anything the message of a movie like “Rambo: First Blood” is the detrimental effects of war on the human psyche. Why can’t we as men affirm traits such as compassion and sympathy? Are these traits not noble? Were heroes such as Martin Luther King and Gandhi “soft” and “girly”? The human capacity for compassion and self-restraint are one of the many traits that separate us from animals. In the words of Lao Tzu, “to master people takes force, but to master yourself takes strength”. I think this is the sign of a true alpha-male.

Titus Techera September 7, 2010 at 3:45 pm

I think it’s a Hollywood problem. Particularly of the kind of person working in Hollywood. All the great films for men and about men made since the seventies – these people behave as if they didn’t exist. Whoever says Hollywood does it for the money has just been proved wrong, not that I’m happy about the particular proof. Those films made a lot of money; nevertheless…

But look at the male stars, most of the ones born in the sixties or later are boys. Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp – not to mention diCaprio and all the others. They didn’t look like men when they became famous, nor a decade afterward. Now they sort of do – but not manly men anyway…

Titus Techera September 7, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Chris – you watch how the sheriff and his cronies torture an innocent, albeit dislikable man and you conclude war is the problem? Really? The dude may be scarred, but he was coping up until the men of peace and their peacekeepers decided to harass the man of war after humiliating him – and then try and kill him. He gets chased like an animal: the city rejected him, it didn’t go the other way around.

As for machine-gun toting Sly Stallone – few movies in the last half-century teach men more about the necessity of virtue and justice than the movies he made. The problem with Inception and all these things – they’re not noble, but you could say a great deal of art or craft has been put into them, and they very creative – the problem is they do not deal with justice and they just assume injustice is the way of things.

C September 7, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Apparently there is something effeminate about a plot. There is an ocean of difference between what constitutes a “guy” and what constitutes a man. Movies such as the expendables are “guy” movies. It was an offering to the god of knuckle-dragging neanderthal man-boys. This is what modern society values; masculinity of form but not of thought.

Matt September 7, 2010 at 5:58 pm

There is an important rule about Hollywood to keep in mind. Nothing is ever done there that is less the the relentless persuit of money. Just as advertising is not about reaching those who HAVE money, it’s about reaching those who SPEND money. It’s easier to get the geeky man-boy’s cash in the long run if you glorify him. Rambo is to busy out shooting his machine gun and telling people that he’s “Thier worst nightmare.” to go to the movies. Maybe he’ll sneak by the occasional RedBox, but the big bucks are in appealing to the geeky computer guy who’s been wishing he could get the girl for years.

That’s why it’s never good to take stock in Hollywood trends.

Jordan September 7, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Matt: Although good in thought, if that were true the numbers would be in favor of the “geek boy getting girl” movies as far as money brought in. But you look at say the revenues of Juno, 500 days of summer, or scott pilgrim and they make diddly squat compared to mindless action movies that appeal to “macho kick ass guys.”

Another Chris September 7, 2010 at 6:46 pm


You’re right, the Scott Pilgrim movie did terribly at the box office–which is a shame because I loved every second of it. But the movie was based on a set of graphic novels. As is always the case, the movie had to deviate pretty heavily from its source material. Due to time constraints, Scott Pilgrim was a very flat character. He was a loser when the movie started and more or less remained one at the end, albeit one newly armed with the powers of love and self-respect. But the books have a much more distinctive arc for Scott. In the first book he has no job, none of his friends respect him, and he is dating a 17 year old despite being 23 himself, simply because it’s easy. As the books go on, however, the story is much more about how he grows up and makes the transition from manboy to man. He gets a job, gets up the guts to tell his girl he loves her, moves into his own apartment, and most importantly learns to stop running from his past mistakes and learn from them. If those aren’t some of the basic building blocks of manliness, I don’t know what is.

Though it is couched in goofy battle sequences and video game and pop culture references, the books really spoke to me as a 24 year old just out of college, dealing with the difficult transition into the real world myself.

Paramjit September 7, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Its a shame. You are probably right. Geeky and sensitive dudes are cool. A good friend of mine said something very profound some time ago. He said that the human race is the only race where the Alpha male population dwindled. In the rest of the animal kingdom, Alpha males exist until today. This was because the weaker ones got together and killed of the Alpha Males once they could communicate with each other. This way they could share what would normally be for the Alpha male alone. In the rest of the animal kingdom, the weaker males cannot unite against the Alpha male as they cannot communicate effectively.

Rob September 11, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Perhaps the trend has fallen towards the fact that men are now struggling with their sense of manly identity? Now even the movies are saying that it is okay to be awkward and geeky with low self esteem. It’s things in society that suck away our manliness at early ages that allow us to become said man-boys. No longer are we in control of what makes us men. We cannot take an enemy out to the parking lot to take care of them, because then we are Neanderthals. In schools there is a strict “zero tolerance” policy to prevent the geeky kid from assuming his natural manliness and beating the crap out of the bully. Instead we are taught that it is better to talk about the situation and get in touch with our emotions to deal with problems.
Perhaps that is a better way to deal with it, but since we are being stripped of the testosterone-driven activities such as fighting, or going out with some guns and shooting stuff (up here in Canada, anyways), we are now being told that women like nice, sensitive guys. What they fail to mention is that there should also be a healthy balance of manliness in there as well. Even Rambo had some of that: trying to cope with the stresses of war, being victimized and exiled, then taking matters into his own hands and showing his enemies who is the man.
The other possibility is that the media has sensed the need to show geeky, “Beta” males that they, too, can overcome their own brand of victimization and that they are able to get the girl of their dreams. Usually, as I have seen, movies that include such also include the geeky kid moving out of the Beta Male category into the Alpha by rising up and taking what he wants when he has had enough.
Personally, I will stick to my James Bond and Rambo, toss in The Expendables and The Losers, and enjoy the explosions and gunplay.

Matt D September 13, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Always take any article declaring the “death” of something in movies/music/literature with a grain of salt. That Rock and Roll thing was a fad that supposedly was going to die out 40 years ago, then 25 years ago, then 10 years ago, then… you get my point.

Also, the idea that the Alpha Male character, the competent, in-control man, can’t be a character is a romance, a comedy or an intellectually challenging art movie is pretty dumb when you think about it, there are plenty of movies with strong men in all of those roles.

Matt D September 13, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Also, please anything written by someone who uses apostrophes for plural nouns (ie, dad’s instead of dads) with a couple grains of salt.

Josh September 15, 2010 at 8:57 am

I thought Inception was very good. The men had a suave, debonaire look to them and they were all business. My wife has to agree with the article. She cannot stand the fascination in Hollywood with weak men being the objects of desire for women. As she puts it “We’re not looking for the Biff to a Marty McFly, manly man, because they are muscle headed babies. We’re also not looking for anyone that resembles a lead on The Big Bang Theory. We are looking for that strong, calm, secure, and dependable man [reminds me of the article 'Being the Rock']. I would like to see more men in movies like that.”
We should also do away with the bumbling dad archetype that is played out too often. Only fools find it funny and women do not want a man that can’t handle everyday requirments without causing a wreck.

Ann September 17, 2010 at 3:30 pm

I’m a girl and I’m tired of characters like Michael Cera!! Argghh!! Give me some manly men!

prufock September 20, 2010 at 10:10 am

If you’re going to use a Sly pic as a model of manliness in film, Rocky Balboa would be a better choice than John Rambo. Rambo was a vet who snapped under pressure and took the authorities on a hallucinogenic goose chase, eventually blowing up some buildings before having a nervous breakdown and a fit of tears. It was a great movie, but that isn’t exactly a good model of “Alpha Male” in Hollywood.

Frank Martin December 14, 2010 at 11:34 pm

I’ve gotta agree with “Another Chris.” The Scott Pilgrim BOOKS are a relatively well written coming of age/manliness story. The movie was fun, but eviscerated the plot in order to make a mindless pile of pop-culture references and fights. Then again, isn’t that true of every book to movie adaptation on the face of the earth? Besides, how is the story of a guy who’s willing to grow a pair and fight for the girl he loves not manly?

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