The latest issue of Newsmax contains a list of the 25 big screen icons, the legends “who made America.” It’s an odd list, one that (rightly) celebrates the values of the greatest generation—Jimmy Stewart and Humphrey Bogart are championed for their wartime service; Ronald Reagan and Charlton Heston get shoutouts for their political work; Sidney Poitier’s groundbreaking win at the Oscars is noted—for the first 20 entries or so before closing with a handful of more recent stars (Streep, De Niro, Hanks, Oprah, and Costner) who are still working.
There are always quibbles to be made about such an endeavor; the only real head-scratcher is the inclusion of Oprah Winfrey. Oprah is many things, but a cinematic icon isn’t one of them. I was also a bit shocked at the failure to include Arnold Schwarzenegger (the consummate American success story who was arguably the biggest movie star for two straight decades and served as governor of our biggest state) and Clint Eastwood (Dirty Harry was the American icon of the 1970s).
However, the thing I was most struck by was the, frankly, aged nature of the list. You’re telling me there’s no one below the age of 58 (Tom Hanks, at that age, is the baby on the list) who represents “self-reliance, rugged independence, an extraordinary work ethic, and a faith that those who keep trying in the face of overwhelming odds will eventually prevail”? I find that hard to believe.
So, with no further ado, allow me to suggest Five Faces Under Fifty to add to Newsmax’s list.