From USA Today, July 11, '00: "The Men of Our Dreams - Women swoon over Hollywood's strong-but-selfless ideal male" (in part) -
Whether by folly or forethought, Hollywood is offering up a new slate of "mythical" male heroes these days. And women are eating it up with a spoon, complaining between helpings that contemporary men are falling short.
The new icon is often flawed, sometimes tortured, a confident and capable if reluctant fighter, battling whatever elements or evils keep him from a principled goal. Most important is his overriding selflessness - the key factor separating him from today's self-absorbed male minions, women say. By all accounts, this is not the Arnold Schwarzenegger "Hasta las vista, baby" brand of action tough guy. Nor is he the Tom Hanks variety of sensitive, nurturing male in vogue in recent years.
Rather, he is a diciplined, sometimes-terse man of character, with a keen sense if responsibility to country, family, a simpler way of life or some higher purpose for which personal sacrifice is dead certain. Mel Gibson's devoted dad-turned-combatant in "The Patriot" fills the bill, audience surveys suggest. Russell Crowe's self-sacrificing Roman general, Maximus, in "Gladiator" is directly on point. Samual L. Jackson's detective in "Shaft" works, as does George Clooney's fisherman in "The Perfect Storm."
It's the tough guy and nurturing male all rolled into one irrestible package, women say.