;nid recognition between individuals conld onlv be desexualizcdrntlirongh tlie bnddx’ movie. And this leads to the otiier reasonrnfor the buddy movie: the feminization of the male, and thernsidicontextual establishment of homosexual relations as arnnorm, rather than a mere perverse possibilib,-, of romance.rnSo let’s talk about Oscar and Felix, since ever’one remembersrnthem. Oscar was the slob, with his beer and pizzas and ballrngames and rough ways and gruff talk. Felix was different—sensitive,rnarhsHc, neurohcally whimsical, obsessed with die finerrnpoints of liousekeeping. It is not a point of rocket science to suggestrnthat their amusing conflict was a transmutahon of the malernand female principles. Supplied with various girlfriends, not tornmention ex-wives, Oscar and Felix were carefiilh’ protectedrnfrom the implication of the tensions between them. But thatrntension vas there, as it iiad formerlv been between Ralph Kramdcnrnand Alice, and between Rickv and Luc’. May 1 point outrnthat these heterosexual pairs were married? It is a point of lawrntodav’, as well as a point of church doctrine in some places, thatrnOscar and Felix could make it legal and sanctioned. Theyrnmight as well have done so, there being no doubt as to the identit)’,rnrcs]:)cctivcly, of groom and bride.rnAin’t love grand? Certainly, we can confinue, in this delightfidrnas well as instructive vein, to explore some of die variationsrnof the buddv movie. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987),rnwritten, directed, and produced by John Hughes, was a thinrnmovie perhaps, but effective and amusing in its own way. Thernodd couple this time are Neil (Steve Martin as the fus,s Felixrntvpe) and Del (John Candy as the vulgar Oscar type). Shick togetherrnon riieir accidental odysscy, dicir opposition is reconciledrnat the end by the sanefion of one wife and the memor’ ofrnanother, but die movie itself presents them almost always togedier,rneven in a bed fiiey are forced to share. ‘I’hey awake in anrnembarrassing embrace, which they shake off by asserting theirrnmaseulinitv in nervous and silly talk about football, but a morerntransparent example of what today is called “homosexual panic”rncannot be imagined. Such an allegorical scene, diough funu}’,rnwoidd appear to be driven by a need to assert didacticallyrndiat our sexual idenfity is “socially con.structed ” and, therefore,rneasily deconstructed and reconstructed as well. The final scenernvith the smarmily smiling wife would seem to give female apprornal to a husband’s newly loved bofriend. It savs, “We understand.”rnIndeed, we do.rnMidnight Run (1988) is again a comic road movie as well asrna budd- movie, but it is a more ambitious melodrama featuringrnthe Mob, the cops, and guns. The bountv’-hunfing Jack (RobertrnDe Niro as a conflicted Oscar) takes Jonathan (Charles Crodinrnas a Felix) across the country, and they spend much time handcuffedrnto each ofiicr. The rough, gruff Jack finds that he needsrnflic emotionally insightfid and supporfive Jonathan to work outrnhis problems with his life as an ex-cop and ex-husband. Therernis a happy ending, but my question is, how could this odd couplernbear to part from each other? i’lie answer would seem to be,rnwirii great difficulty.rnThe dim-witted brothers in A Night at the Roxhury (1998)rnsleep in flic same room, though in separate beds. After they arernconfused by two prostitutes and one sexually aggressive husband-rnhuuter, fiiey wind up back together, those difficidt andrnsexually demanding women repudiated, as though to suggestrnriiat incest adds spice to the usual homosexual bliss. I must addrnthat A Night at the Roxhury is funny, and we could go on and onrnabout buddy movies, as for example with Robert De Niro (asrnOscar again) and Billy Crystal (the name of the tpe begins withrn”F”) in Analyze I’his. and wifli too many others, but I dfink Irnhave made m- point. The metastasis of die budd moie is arnsubstitute for die old battle of the sexes, courtship, cathexis, etc.,rna substitute for flie represcntafion of graphic .sex, and subliminalrnpropaganda for die homosexual worldview as well. This hypertrophyrnis an oblique but decisive step in the feminizafion of diernmale as represented in popular entertainment, a result of fciiiini.rnst/liomosexual ideology, and a cause of the confinued breakdownrnof the male ego, particularlv as that delicate constructionrnis reflected in die teenage mind, flic target audience for suchrnfilms. Or should we rather say fliat flie new HolKvvood has givenrnus a more di erse, inclusive vision, breaking down old stereot}’rnpcs and gender roles? Like Mike Myers pkning Linda Richman,rnI get all verklempt just fliinking about it.rnFemini/.ation is a powerful and perasive force, and notrnmcrelv an abstract topic of analvsis and speeulafion. Feminizafionrnis flic explicittopic of melodrama itself—it is whatdiernaudience expects to hear addressed. Is there aiwthing else torntalk about? Strangely enough, it has manifested itself even inrnClint Fashvood movies. In Sudden Impact, Dirt)- Harr)’was disgustedrnthat Tyiie Daly was his new partner, in a dramafizatioiirnof feminist quota blaflier. But in Heartbreak Ridge, flic toughrnsergeant was reading women’s magazines, tr’ing to get in touchrnwith his feminine side and figure out Marsha Mason. InrnTightrope, Clint’s character was attracted by flie penersitics fliatrnwere the kink’ mark of the killer he traced. Was Clint gettingrnin touch vsifli his feelings, exploring his sexualib,-, or tr’ing torntap the female market? And what is flie difterence anyway?rnBut wait a minute. Feminizafion is not enough. The furtherrndegradafion on flic way to dehumanizafion is not feminizafionrnbut iiifanfilism, and that has been the obsession of oflier andrnmore brilliant comedies than the buddy movies I have cited.rnDumb and Dumber (1994), starring Jim Carrcv and JeffrnDaniels, is a road movie about a pair of moronic losers andrnroommates, but flie’ are not modeled on Oscar and Felix: Neitherrnof diem has that high an intelligence quotient. Mindlesslyrngirl crazy, the dummies in their misadventures cause gigglesrnabout cveiA’ phenomenoii of the nursen’, toilet training, die indisciplinernof die body: There are scenes of plaing widi food,rntwo routines about urine, one about phlegm, a gros.s-out scenernabout induced diarrhea, and so on. The scatolog)’ is mixed withrnheterosexual fantasies which must remain just that for thesernovergrown babies who lack only diapers and a nanny. This ftiiinyrnmovie is nightmarish in its implieafions—the laughter it provokesrnmust hide more than a little embarrassment, at lea.st somernof which might reflect rather dian repress the thought diatrnDumb and Dumber is essenfially a feminist/lesbian, not a safirie,rntreatment of maseulinitv’; Men are just babies, after all.rnThe polifieal implications of moronism should be borne inrnmind also when viewing flie masterpiece (at least so far) of fliernCocn brothers, Joel and Ethan. The Big lx.’howski (1998) is anrnabsurdist treatment of eoutciiiporarv Los Angeles lowlife as wellrnas a wicked parody of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep andrnFarewell, Mv Lively, or at least of flic films noirs made fromrnthose novels. ‘This point is valuable, for it gives us a measurernfrom the 4()’s to die 90’s of the disintegrafion of maseulinit}’ itself.rnChandler’s detective hero, Philip Marlowe, combinedrnqualifies of integrity and intelligence with strength and honor.rnHis chivalry may have been unavailing, but it was there. JeffrnLebowski, as portraed by Jeff Bridges, is smart at least twice,rnwhen he is not bamboozled by all the milk cocktails he putsrnFEBRUARY 2000/17rnrnrn