Forget Casablanca. Forget Gone With the Wind or even every Hal Harley film ever made. Fragmented Fish’s favorite line of dialogue in cinema came from the ill fated Brandon Lee. It was a few years before his breakout role in the Crow, in a tough guy buddy flick called Showdown in Little Tokyo with action stalwart Dolph Lungren. As the bad guys approach Brandon and Dolph are holed up in a small cabin. It looks grim. Brandon calculates they don’t have enough bullets to take out all the villains. What to do? This is one of those moments, where hard men pushed to the edge, knowing they most likely wont make it through want to make sure they say something important, something lasting. “Just in case we get killed,” offers Brandon to Dolph earnestly, “I just wanted to say. You have the biggest dick I’ve ever seen on a man.”
This of course begs the question why he felt the need to qualify it. Perhaps he went to some stables earlier in the film, or maybe there’s a missing outtake were he and Dolph frolicked at the zoo, dawdling at the elephant enclosure. Later Dolph sprays some baddies with a hose in a bathhouse and forces the nozzle down one of their throats, drowning him..with his mighty hose, in the bathhouse. But seriously? Faced with almost certain death Brandon still can’t get his mind off the size of Dolph’s manhood?
But cinema is littered such references. Like the most aggressively heterosexual man on the planet, Charlie Sheen in 1990’s Navy Seals being asked how close he was to the enemy. “If I was any closer I’d be inside him,” comes the reply. Then of course there’s the golf scene, to the strains of Bon Jovi singing “The Boys are Back in Town,” Charlie and co, including Michael Biehn in fetching pink shorts and a shirtless guy take to the course for some good old fashioned hetro frolicking. When Charlie bends over for a shot, one of his buddies hits him on the ass with a golf club. Later he throws himself off a moving car, traveling over a bridge and into a drop of 50 feet of water to avoid going to see one of his buddies get married. ” I can’t be part of this funeral procession,” he proclaims. He could’ve asked to get dropped off at the next set of lights, but no, he literally throws himself off a moving car.
Then of course there’s the infamous volleyball scene from Top Gun in a which a bunch of shirtless well oiled men men play with a large ball whilst being watched, by well, a bunch of shirtless less oiled men. Where are the women in this scene? It makes Tom Cruise so randy that he has to depart and get some acceptable action from Kelly Mguilless. But we all know who he’s thinking about. Quentin Tarantino made it explicit, stealing Roger Avery’s thesis for a cameo monologue in the forgettable 1994 indie flick Sleep With Me. It’s “about a man struggling with his own homosexuality,” he offers before mimicking the last line of the film between Val Kilmer and Cruise. “You can be my wingman anytime.” No you can be my wingman,” You have to hand it to Top Gun, leaving an element of mystery as to who ends up on top.
Of course academic carrers have ridden off the back of the homosexual subtext in Schwartzenegger’s Commando and Predator – particularly the latter. It’s not necessarily about the shirtless oiled up muscles, nor is it about later in the film when he bronzes up with the mud in attempt to avoid the evil gaze of the Predator, nor is it about the alien’s s&m influenced costume. It’s about the way Schwartzenegger lights up at the touch of another man, Carl Weathers during a bit of alpha male arm wrestling. And let’s not talk about Jesse ‘the body’ Ventura calling his crew “slack jawed faggots,” before offering to increase their sexual prowess and make them a sexual ‘Tyranasouras’ like him. “Strap this on your sore ass Blaine,” comes the reply from one of the crew holding up a grenade launcher. And of course the predators mouth may even look a little a certain element of the female anatomy. But it’s evil so we should definitely kill it.
And keeping with the 80’s action film who could go past Van Damme? “I don’t know if I want to fuck you or fight you,” offers one street fighter in 1990’s Wrong Bet, meanwhile his ridiclous dance scene in Kickboxer is, well words can’t express how truly strange this is. Youtube it.
It’s tempting to hope that rather than implode on a mixture of alcohol, shredded dreams and amphetamines, Hollywood scriptwriters have purposely written in these blatant homosexual undercurrents, almost a lifeline to their soul, the ultimate finger to the young male audience that flocked to these high body count flicks. But perhaps a cigar is just a penis, uh, I mean a cigar. If this is the case then can you explain what the hell the title Die Hard means? And what were Lawrence Olivier and Tony Curtis doing in the bath together in Spartacus? And why are they discussing oysters? And why do Batman and Robin have built in erect nipples in the franchise killing film of the same name? Did you know that John Wayne was just a stage name? His real name was Marion.