Toxic masculinity or a beautiful release of frustration?

The new movie Nobody represents a fantasy people approaching middle-aged might have

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Sam Stewart“There’s a long-dormant piece of me that so very badly wants out.”

That one line from the trailer for Nobody perfectly sums it up.

I haven’t yet seen the movie, so let’s call this a trailer review. Or maybe an exploration.

As a man in his 30s, I’m approaching an (admittedly unwarranted) midlife crisis. Is it a little early?

Yeah, maybe. Can’t help how I feel though.

Nobody appears to be the fantasy that some people approaching middle-aged might have. A sudden jolt back to relevance and strength. A secret past of violence and authority.

And how they wove in Louis Prima’s Just a Gigolo/Ain’t Got Nobody? Chef’s kiss. A great touch. Give those editors an award.

The movie is about a guy who has become so afraid of what he can do that he fails to act. Until he does.

As part of a generation raised on slick action movies like John Wick and the multitude of Mission Impossibles, we millennials have been trained to idolize fast-moving action. Yet here we are starting families, adopting dogs, slowing down. The very epitome of an anti-action lifestyle.

This movie, starring noted comedy writer/actor and all-round dad-bod superstar Bob Odenkirk, is a call to the action hero we dreamed in our childhood we could become.

It speaks to a certain simmering dissatisfaction and discontentment, an urge to make things right, things that we feel powerless to affect.

And here’s where Nobody comes in. Rather than acting on those urges, we can watch a movie in which someone – very much like us – is beating the ever-living snot out of the bad guys who we all love to hate.

But it also speaks to a type of masculinity that’s no longer relevant – or perhaps never was. The violent, aggressive guy. Protecting the young girl on the bus. Being the physically dominant one in the room.

Despite the fact that I tend to view these concepts in a negative, outdated light, I can’t deny the adrenaline rush of watching someone just let go – with spectacular results.

So I’m skirting the line of pure enjoyment and skeptical critique here.

Maybe this is the only place this type of masculinity belongs anymore.

Maybe it’s only furthering negative, harmful, toxic masculinity.

Maybe it’s just the kind of release of frustration we need in a world where everything seems to be colliding, where we feel we’re sometimes powerless to make meaningful change.

Or maybe this was a self-indulgent article and I’m full of BS.

I should probably see the movie before I say more.

Plus, I did spot Christopher Lloyd in there. I’d say that’s worth the price of admission.

Nobody was released on a variety of streaming services on March 26.

Sam Stewart has a diploma in theatre studies, a degree in film studies and has worked professionally in both areas. He also worked in the tech industry and loves to indulge his lifelong passion for video games, from the classics to new releases.

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Sam Stewart

Sam Stewart, has a diploma in theatre studies, a degree film studies and has worked professionally in both. He also works in the tech industry and loves to indulge his lifelong passion for video games, from the classics to new releases.

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