Good question, posed by author Iain Levison.
There is a theme here, and it doesn’t look good for white, working class males. In fact, I can’t think of a single movie that features a positive white working class male character. They’re either slimy, like the painters in 2002’s The Good Girl, downright hateful to women (North Country, Dwight Yoakam in Sling Blade) or full blown psychopaths, as in most of the films listed above. [from Iain Levison]
Huh. I’m not so sure about that. For every psycho trucker, there’s 10 heroic white cops (as working a man as they come) pursuing gangsters of varying ethnicities. Levison continues by making clear that truckers are true American Heroes ™:
The fact is, probably every item in the room where you now sit, including the computer you are looking at, was brought to you by a trucker. He was probably underpaid and tired. All the food in your fridge…that’s been on a truck, too. It’s also highly unlikely that the trucker who brought it had any criminal history at all, because truckers typically undergo far more drug testing, background checks, license inspections and renewal exams than doctors, lawyers or nurses. [from Iain Levison]
Anyway, I certainly respect truckers, and personally know one. That doesn’t change the fact that truckers make great movie theatre psychopaths, however: the combination of ubiquity (there’s lots of trucks driving around out there), power (they’re huge and fast), mystery (the driver is usually invisible in a monstrous, elevated cab), and sub-cultural cachet (who are these “truckers”? What moves them?) make for a compelling villain that has the frisson of relevance to a movie’s daily commuting audience.
UPDATED: Looks Levison missed “Over the Top” – see video below for white, working class, trucker hero.