lördag 5 december 2015


This was going to be a post about Shane Blacks newest film Nice Guys starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. But it´s not. It made me think about Blacks first picture he wrote, The all-time classic Lethal Weapon ( directed by Richard Donner)´ His original idea was as a sort of deconstruction of Dirty Harry where the same type of character, the cop on the edge were a lot more psychologically scarred from the death of his wife . In  Dirty Harry, the death of Harry´s wife is just treated as something .....that happened. Harry seem pretty callous about it, Shut off. Like a real man should deal with it. Or the traditional way a man handles his emotions. Locking it up. Taking it like a man!

But then came the 80´s and men were supposed to be more in touch with their emotionals and their feels and all that shit and wear pink shirts all the time.  In fact there is a scene in Lethal Weapon that sums it up:

Sergeant McCaskey: You know, Roger, you are way behind the times. The guys of the 80s aren't tough. They are sensitive people. Show a little emotion to a woman and shit like that. I think I'm an '80s man...
Roger Murtaugh: How do you figure?
Sergeant McCaskey: Last night I cried in bed. So how is that?
Roger Murtaugh: Were you with a woman?
Sergeant McCaskey: I was alone. Why do you think I cried?
Roger Murtaugh: Sounds like an '80s man to me...

Martin Riggs is the new 80´s man. Burned out, alone, suicidal and more intense than any action hero at the time. Because a normal human being can´t just shut off the death of a loved one. Even if he is a real man! He needs a hug and good cry. There is no hugging in this one, but there is a great intense scene in which Riggs come close killing himself in his trailer, alone on Christmas Eve.

Which may be the reason it was so successful. Oh, shit! here is a macho guy who shows his emotions in an unusually raw way. What the hell is this all of a sudden? And then John McClane came along in Die Hard and followed that trend. A few years back Michael Biehn from The Terminator also allowed himself to be vulnerable in some tender moments with Sarah Connor. And not to mention when he is blown to bits, leaving the female character in charge. There are plenty of examples.

But, wait? Weren´t the 80´s extremely macho? Well, yes in a way.  Whenever there is a dominating discourse, it is usually ounterparted with a reaction towards it. At least it is something I have read somewhere. And it is called counter culture. As an example,  here in Europe you  could argue that the multicultural discourse has been countered with an increasing right wing extremism. Not everyone is happy about it.

So the demands of men behaving sensitive is countered with this ridiculously macho-as-hell movies of the 80´s. Or maybe the sensitivity was a reaction towards it, I don´t know. What is clear is that we can see contrasting ideals among male heroes in the 80´s.   I mean, stuff like Commando, Cobra,Action Jackson, Predator, not to mention the the Rambo-films has this´absurd, invincible ubermensch alpha male in the lead.

What was a counter reaction to what is for better men than me to observe. Or maybe I should read more, so I can learn shit? Whatever...

I am not a scholar on this, but I do believe that it is hard to define eras out of one particular line of thinking. There are alwasy discrepancies and disagreements from various cultural groups with different thinking. But it is always interesting to discover these contradictions and cultural disagreements in popular culture.

Any way? Lethal Weapon? Great fucking movie,

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