Wednesday, April 9, 2008
The Death of Charlton Heston
As I'm sure most of you know, Chalton Heston died a few days ago. This death in no way hit me as hard as Heath Ledger's did at the beginning of the year, and I've taken a few days to collect my thoughts on why I think that, and I believe I've found the reasons.
Charlton Heston made some fantastic movies in his career. Ben-Hur, Soylent Green, Touch of Evil, and Planet of the Apes are all classics, and Heston was great in those films. He was a great dramatic actor and action star, and for his time as a adult movie star in the 50s and 60s, but I doubt that a lot of people in my generation are away of anything other than Apes.
Instead, Heston's legacy to my generation, however unfortunately, is forever linked with this clip:
...as well as his small part in Michael Moore's 1999 gun violence documentary Bowling for Columbine(note Moore's creative editing at the end with the picture of the little girl, which caused major controversy over the truthfulness of his film):
Now, I really don't care what your stance is on gun control/ownership; what Heston did as the head of the NRA following the events at Columbine was nothing short of atrocious. Holding a pro-gun rally so close to an area that had just suffered severe tragedy involving guns on a scale we had never seen before was distasteful, and it soured Heston's career in the minds of my generation forever. Charlton Heston was a fantastic actor, but his legacy to the young minds of my generation will always be as the insensitive NRA leader that let his volatile politics guide him away from the field he belonged. Much in the same way that Sean Penn's zealous advocacy has lead to some unpopularity for him as an uber-liberal, so did Heston's pro-gun stance cause him some harm as a conservative.
I still think Heston's films are great, but like many in my generation I believe I will never be able to disassociate the man in those films from the NRA leader that caused the Denver area so much pain with a meaningless rally.