Well, here at Leicester we’re well into exam period, and I’ve just got my final (and only) exam in eight days time, and as such, I’m in the mood to write as much as I can so as to neglect revision in anyway possible.
So I was just listening to Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s film review podcast from last week, and am eagerly awaiting this weeks edition; due in a couple of hours; featuring an interview with Patrick Stewart. However, in last weeks piece, the guys primarily talked about Godzilla, whilst discussing other recent films such as Sabotage, starring the one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger. As such, I particularly enjoyed podcast for a number of reasons; as an aspiring writer (potentially a film critic) it was interesting to hear Kermode’s contrasting review of Godzilla to my own, and listen to the depth of which he knows cinema. But it was also interesting due to his critique of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who he claimed, in his latest film, has not shown much progress as an actor since the original Terminator film.
Whilst I can’t really fault Kermode’s point, as he and Mayo go on to explain that despite Arnie’s shortcomings as an actor, he is an excellently entertaining personality, it did remind me how, strange as it may sound, Arnold Schwarzenegger remains a source of inspiration for me, despite the fact that I only got round to watching Predator for the first time yesterday. Here’s why…
In recent years, a lot of the reading I’ve had to do has revolved around whatever texts come up on my course, whether that be A Level English Literature, or the Literature-based modules of my American Studies degree. For the most part, I only end up reading half of a book to get it’s feel, and then perhaps finish it later if it is actually required for some sort of written analysis. What this of course means is that I don’t do much reading outside of course-books, bar comic books, but that’s a different matter.
So towards the end of last (school) year, when I found Arnold Schwarzenegger’s autobiography half-price in WHSmith, I was compelled to buy it. By this point, I hadn’t seen many of his films; I had only just seen Terminator, and I had yet to watch Total Recall, the film his book is of course titled after. So this purchase was more of a spur of the moment thing than some sort of self-fanservice. I thought it would be a humorous read, and something I could laugh about with my friends at a later date.
But then I started reading, and I became hooked. What I’ve since come to learn is that many people don’t actually know much about the former ‘Governator’. Yes, he worked in politics. Yes, he’s a movie star. Yes, he’s known for his physique. But after reading his book, I can admit to having spoken to people who did not realise he was a former body-builder, knowing him only from his days as an action hero.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in poverty in Austria in the 50s. Following the war, conditions were grim for the man who would eventually become Mr. Olympia.
From his teens, Arnie became focused on achieving perfection, and by the age of 16 had arms that were probably thicker than my waist. As was expected, he joined the army, and became a frickin’ tank driver! I mean, how awesome is that? If you ever watch Epic Meal Time, you may be aware that he still owns his own tank, which again, is pretty awesome.
From there on, the book details his ascent to become the body-building champion of the world, before breaking into the movies. From there, you of course know the basics, but the book is filled with interesting facts and stories that prove that Arnold Schwarzenegger is the living embodiment of the ‘American Dream’. As an American Studies student, that’s something that I personally find very interesting indeed.
Arnie of the 21st Century
Lets just look at that progress for a second, he’s gone from living in a small house without water, to having run one of the largest economies in the world, starred in countless movies, owned multiple real-estate properties, whilst having two handsome sons, and two gorgeous daughters, and those are just the one’s who share his name!
I jest, obviously, because although he may have made some mistakes along the way, if you read Total Recall, you can see that this is a man who is committed, and the book rightly ends with Arnie offering valuable life lessons that he has amounted in his 60+ years.
In short, in recent years, Total Recall is one of the few non-course-related books that I can have claimed to read from cover to cover, alongside books like the Hobbit. It’s a thoroughly interesting read, full of joy, achievement, and a love of stogies, and just reaffirms that Arnold is the man!