Archive for the ‘90s Films’ Category

ustv-girls-6James Le Gros, man! James motherfucking Le Gros. No one, and I mean no one, portrays the struggles of Generation X like this guy.

My wife started watching Girls, an HBO series about a group of 20-something hipsters who are vapid, conceited and completely self-absorbed… but not the least bit self-aware. The show is written by and about Lena Dunham, a young woman who’s supposed to be the “next big thing.” In reality, she’s a dead ringer for a freshly-shaven Paul Giamatti in a misguided pixie wig.

Watching the credits one day, I noticed that James Le Gros would be appearing in at least a few episodes and I was more than pleased. I knew that the mere virtue of Le Gros’ presence would elevate this bizarre shit-show into something somewhat redeeming and it did… in ways that I could have never predicted.

Before I go any further, there are some things you need to know about James Le Gros. First of all, his last name is pronounced “leh grow.” Secondly, he’s cooler than cool. In fact, he’s cooler than you and me put together. Lastly, he’s one of the coolest “that-guy actors” of the 1990s… you know, the kind of actor whom you don’t know his name, but always recognize him as “that guy” who was in another movie you saw.

With memorable performances in such films as Singles, Floundering, and Living in Oblivion, Le Gros was our guy – Generation X’s guy – and he helped usher us into the 1990s, which was our decade.

Watching episode after episode of Girls, I became antsy waiting for James to make his appearance. When he finally did, it was as Jeff Lavoyt, a character who was desperately clinging to his former 90s coolness despite being married, a father, and unemployed. With his characteristic acting chops, he evoked both scorn and sympathy for his character as he engaged in pathetic attempts to hook up with the babysitter his wife hired. His failure to do so was no doubt a metaphor for his character’s life.

And so, just like that, the man who introduced us to our decade of cool now ushered us into our decade of un-cool. Evoking both humor and pathos, he shows us how we with our children, mortgages, and dead-end jobs must appear to the generation to whom we’ve passed the proverbial torch. The whole thing served as a cautionary tale to my generation… a generation that failed to live up to its promise and ideals.

Looking back on it all, it seems the sum total of Generation X’s contribution was forcing the intellectually-bankrupt philosophy known as moral relativity (aka “political correctness”) into mainstream thought. Now we’re stuck in world of our own creation. It’s a bizarre nanny state where we’re not even welcome, and we’re reminded daily of our own uselessness.

No wonder we’re lost, no wonder we’re shiftless, no wonder our very poster boy is playing a pathetic character desperately trying to find his long-lost youth inside the pants of a woman half his age.

About J.P. Ribner
J.P. Ribner is the author of the Viking fantasy adventure series “The Berserker’s Saga.” Currently, the saga features two installments – “Legacy of the Bear” and “Prophecy of the Bear.” For more about his novels, check out his website.