As the elections heat up, it is important to ask.  What makes a good political leader? And on this site – we ponder, what does being a famous action movie star have to do with governing?  Well to start, it’s rare when actors crossover into other careers and find the same notoriety as they held as actors.  Jesse “the body” Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger both became state governors after their careers in acting; and they both acted together twice.  In the “Running Man,” where Ahnold played the “Butcher of Bakersfield,” Ben Richards and where Jesse Ventura played the great Captain Freedom.  In “Predator,” Ahnold and Jesse were on the same team – Ahnold as Major Alan “Dutch” Shafer and Jesse as Sergeant Blaine Cooper.

There have been other actors that have made it in politics.  Fred Dalton Thompson for example was a Republican Senator from Tennessee who eventually became a candidate for President.  F.D.T. played prominent roles in “The Hunt for Red October,” (Admiral Painter), he was in “Days of Thunder” (Big John, head of NASCAR), he was the head of the hijacked airport (Trudeau) in “Die Hard 2.”

So where did all these guys learn how to be successful as actors AND as professional politicians?

  • They were all directed by the GREAT John McTiernan.  McTiernan directed “Predator,” and “The Hunt for Red October.”
  • They were all Republicans?  Well, I don’t know what you call what Jesse Ventura was in Minnesota?
  • Arnold and Jesse were both professional body builders- FDT was not – but the guy is 6’6″ and a HELL of an actor, so I think he could have acted like one.
  • Jesse Ventura was a Navy SEAL…Jesse Ventura was also a championship wrestler.  He and Adrian Adonis were part of the East-West connection which won the AWA tag team title.  That has nothing to do with anything, but I think he deserves credit for being awesome.

FDT was easy to see as a politician, he was a lobbyist for like 15 years, plus he played the Attorney General on Law and Order forever – so he was just slipping into a different role.  

Arnold was more of a stretch.  Did anyone check that guy’s birth certificate?  Last I checked Austria is not in the United States?  I jest, you do not have to be FROM the United States to govern our nation’s most populous state.  He is charismatic though, he said “Hasta La Vista taxes,” and “I’ll be back” on the campaign trail.  When asked by the press, “What is best in life?”  I am surprised he didn’t bust out the endearing, “To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.”  I guess he didn’t have to?

There is no logical explanation for Jesse “The Body” Ventura’s ascension to the office of Governor of the great state of Minnesota.  The closest thing to governing he did before he got that job was put on a feather boa and shades.

This isn’t a blog about politics – its about movies.  These guys were three damn fine actors.  And I was pretty psyched when they got into office.  Whenever people say that movies shouldn’t be taken seriously, I have to ask what should be taken seriously?  Politics?

3 Responses to The Running Man, Predator, and Governing our nation.

  1. Lutz Henckels says:

    Back in the 80s, it would be hard to predict the political careers of Arnold or The Body. So why not take a stab at which current actors have the best shot at a future in politics?

    Alumni of John McTiernan: McT hasn’t made a move since 2003 given all the legal troubles he is having (still) with the Pellicano wiretapping case. In 2002, he made the new wave classic Rollerball (kidding) with Chris Klein and LL Cool J. If you’ve seen the Chris Klein Youtube audition tape for Mamma Mia, you know a political career is just not possible.

    WWE Stars of Wrestling: I don’t think I can name more than a few recent stars with acting careers. Certainly The Rock, John Cena and Bill Goldberg. But out of these guys, certainly The Rock has the credentials. If you can smell what The Rock is cooking, then you may have also heard the story about The Rock trying to literally pull an opponent’s tongue out during a fight in a University of Miami football game.

    Biggest Action Star of the last decade: Action blockbusters now seem to be driven by comic books. The Avengers, Dark Knight, Spider Man, etc. Let’s just focus in on The Avengers: Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Samuel Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson. In my opinion, Ruffalo, Renner, Hemsworth and Evans don’t have the charisma needed to carry them up the ladder of politics. Scarlett has been somewhat politically active having attended the 2012 Democratic National Convention, so that’s a maybe. And despite Robert Downey Jr. chaotic past, his career resurgence would also make him a maybe.

    But finally – here comes the trifecta:

    1. Samuel L. Jackson was directed in Basic and Die Hard with a Vengeance by John McTiernan.

    2. Samuel L. Jackson once appeared on an episode of WWEs Smackdown to promote Shaft

    3. Samuel L. Jackson has been in 4 of the top 25 highest grossing films of all time! The Avengers, SW: Phantom Menace, SW: Revenge of the Sith and Jurassic Park.

    Sure he is already 63 years old, but stranger things have happened, and as we all know, he kicks ass. So there you go – my prediction for next actor turned politician: Samuel L. Jackson.

  2. Kenzo says:

    Ok, so Jesse “the mind” Ventura has some whacked out theories about 9/11 but I do like his idea of making congressmen wear patches on their suits of companies they are taking money from….like Nascar drivers and their sponsors. I also enjoyed hearing him call Dick Cheney and the other neo-cons “chickenhawks”….because if you’re a former Green Beret, you can call anybody that.

    • John says:

      Awesome Jesse “the mind” reference. The guy was an enigma, he made a lot of sense some times- but it was tough not to envision him jumping off the top rope, or suplexing someone. He has and will always have my vote- whatever he is running for…anyone who can serve in special forces, become a legendary professional wrestler, star in hit action movies AND win political office is a talent to be reckoned with…watch out Vladimir Putin!!

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