The 2010s subverted a lot of unbudging female archetypes, with films like Frozen and Brave focusing on family instead of romance, or Bridesmaids and Trainwreck giving women a leading role in screwball comedies. No longer are "chick flicks" restrained to Steel Magnolias or those godforsaken Traveling Pants movies. And with this new terrible-looking Ghostbusters, female camaraderie has finally begun to cross into the sci-fi genre. It's a feminist win to take women out of their sappy roles, but it would be even more of a victory if films also replaced those mushy characters with men.
What I'm saying is: Where's my Fried Green Tomatoes with men bonding over cannibalism?
Close enough, I guess ...
In films, sincere male friendships are never the focus of a story without it being some kind of hackneyed gay joke. In terms of coming-of-age films, boys are exclusively trying to get laid and wasted, whereas ladies are dealing with dead parents and celebrating friendships. It's American Pie and Superbad versus Now And Then and Mystic Pizza. And while there are always exceptions (see Turn Me On, Dammit! versus Stand By Me), it's on the fringes of the larger genres. Movies like 50/50 or I Love You, Man absolutely explore male relationships, but have to disguise themselves as silly comedies to do it.
And it gets way worse once the male characters grow into adults, when their friendships either still center on finding sex and booze (The Hangover, Animal House) or take place in fucking jail.
20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, Touchstone Pictures
Maybe the age of sappy movie friendships is simply behind us, and maybe we just don't need serious stories about men being platonic pals -- but it's certainly worth exploring, right? The more we portray women as screwball sports and war heroes, the more we should normalize male sensitivity and friendship, giving us a whole new range of original characters to explore. And isn't that the goal? To make these genres stronger while challenging the cultural restrictions on gender? Otherwise, guys are left either as Butch Cassidy and Sundance or accidentally drinking jizz at a house party.
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