Damon Wayans: Hey man, you got a good build. You play ball?

Bruce Willis: What are you, a fag?

Damon Wayans: No. . . .


Brotherly Love

'Buddy films' mean man-to-man action in more than one way.

Damon Wayans: Hey man, you got a good build. You play ball?

Bruce Willis: What are you, a fag?

Damon Wayans: No. . . . I'm just trying to make conversation.

from The Last Boy Scout, 1991

WANNA INDICT THE HOLLYWOOD "buddy" action genre for decades of caustic homophobia? The quote above is your smoking gun. Or, we could cherish the unassailable subtext of that exchange: The real smoking gun is in Wayans' $500 leather pants. See, there's a timid, invisible "butt" that desperately wants to place itself in front of that "buddy flick" tag, and the misanthropic Boy Scout is no exception.

As loath as the pigskin-lovin', Maxim-wankin', 18-49 target demo is to admit it, the straight man's shoot-'em-up squeals for reinterpretation. The formula begs it: Two polar opposite men-childrenoften cops, always dashing, and, if we're lucky, multiethnicreluctantly join forces to thwart a common foe. They're curiously distant around women (cough: bitches), have petulant (cough: bitchy) disagreements, and are just as likely to fight (cough: bitch slap) one another as the bad guys.

Ah, repression. Let's celebrate the genre's most egregious closet couplesand toast to unholy unions in the sequels of our mind.

Top Gun

Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer

Just rent Sleep With Me and fast-forward to Quentin Tarantino's classic, somewhat inaccurate monologue on these two buff, arch-rival student fighter pilots: "They're all hugging and kissing and happy with each other (at the end), and Ice comes up to Maverick and he says, 'Man, you can ride my tail anytime!' And what does Maverick say? 'You can ride mine!' Swordfight! Swordfight! Fuckin' A, man!"

Tango & Cash

Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell

Second only to Top Gun as a standard-bearer for modern, unintentionally homoerotic buddy-flick hysteria. Two buff, arch-rival (see a pattern developing here?) supercops are framed and dumped in the slammer. Sly is all about reading glasses, the WSJ, and personal grooming. Kurt trannies out to elude thugs at a strip club. Pecs. Abs. Oil. Prison. We've barely scratched the surface.

Rocky III

Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers

Overconfident, newly affluent champ Rocky loses the eye of the tiger and gets his fool ass whupped by Clubber Lang. Apollo has no choice but to "retrain" his former arch-rival in urban black gyms (hmmm . . . ), then sprint along the shore with Rock in tank tops, spandex, and knee socksa spirited footrace that should've climaxed in much more than elated high-fiving.

Batman & Robin

George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell

This one's a sitting duck. Nothing like adding nipples and codpieces to costumes already bordering on fetishwear to give these two charisma vacuums a little father/ adoptee heat. Classic plot scam in the genre: The boys "fight" over a laughably unattractive shared love interest (Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy).

Fight Club

Brad Pitt and Edward Norton

Sweaty, lean cuts of shirtless beef eschew dates on Friday night to pound the shit out of each other. Yeah, this one isn't too obvious. The final twist makes perfect sense: If you go gay for, well, yourself, you might as well manifest as Brad Pitt. Regarding Helena Bonham Carter's gutter-chick antagonism, see aforementioned "laughably unattractive shared love interest" provision.

White Men Can't Jump

Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes

All sorts of courtside ass slapping and jiggling, much of it in spandex. Woody would rather blow rent making unwinnable skills bets with Wesley than just go home and bang "the perfect girlfriend," Rosie Perez.

Point Break

Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze

Another classic case of the hideous co-love interest, ber-butch Lori Petty. As an ex-Buckeyes quarterback/current FBI agent assigned to infiltrate a group of surfers who rob banks in ex-president masks (greatest plot ever), Keanu has many meaningful encounters with Swayze: tackling him from behind on the beach, tackling him from behind in the ocean, and tackling him from behind mid-free fall.

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

Elijah Wood and Sean Astin

This barely even qualifiesI mean, they're hobbits. That said, Sam's doting admiration of Frodo culminates in quite a meaningful snuggle. Even more out of control in The Two Towers.

2 Fast 2 Furious

Paul Walker and Tyrese

An unforgettable, brand-spanking-new entry to the pantheon. The speed racers' "putting the bad blood behind us" fight is, bar none, one of the most effeminate, awkward, rollin'-around-in-the-dust-just-to-roll-around-in- the-dust bitch-slap fests ever. Urgent in-car exhortations to "come on" and "stay with me, man" would hold up in any porno.

The Lost Boys

(Tie) Jason Patric and Kiefer Sutherland,

Corey Haim and Corey Feldman

Not a traditional buddy flick, but bloodsucker Kiefer is curiously adamant about Jasonwho poses an obvious threat to his girlfriendjoining the fang gang. As for our second set of suitors, Feldman is the attractive half of the clearly chickless Frog Brothers and Haim is the little boy who sleeps with his lights on. Methinks these guys are impaling a little more than vampires.


comments powered by Disqus

Friends to Follow