The phenomenon of the “Bromance” is alive and thriving in pop culture today. A bromance or man-crush is a close but non-sexual relationship between two (or more) men, a form of homo-social intimacy. Bill and Ted, Frodo and Sam……..these are the man couples that have defined a friendly and almost awkward relationship on the big screen. There have been the good, the bad, and the slightly dysfunctional, but here is my list of the best.
10. Dom and Brian (Fast and Furious) / Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield (Pulp Fiction)
Brian O’Conner: This is where my jurisdiction ends.
Dominic Toretto: And this is where mine begins.
Dominic Toretto and FBI Agent Brian O’Connor are a match made in heaven. Handsome blue eyed, blond haired clean cut Paul Walker as the FBI Agent undercover, using the notorious street racer, muscle bound, dark haired, brooding bad guy played by Vin Diesel to find a street gang breaking the law. Though there are points that feel slightly akin to Point Preak, the relationship of Dom and Brian has a different dynamic. Brian may idolize Dom on some personal level, but together they may a great team bonding over NOS and testosterone filled street racing. They have great chemistry and an even better Bromance.
Vincent: Jules, did you ever hear the philosophy that once a man admits that he’s wrong that he is immediately forgiven for all wrongdoings? Have you ever heard that?
Jules: Get the fuck out my face with that shit! The motherfucker that said that shit never had to pick up itty-bitty pieces of skull on account of your dumb ass.
Pulp Fiction gives us Vincent Vega played by John Travolta and Jules Winnfield played by Samuel L. Jackson. Both are equally tough and rough muscles of Marcellus Wallace and while collecting money from a thug that owes him, they survive an onslaught of destruction that the seemingly less intellectual Jules aligns with a spiritual intervention and makes the option to end his life of crime. His sense of morality kicking in does not stop him from finishing the job with Vega that day, but after that he plans on wiping his hands clean of his dirty malice. Vega, who compliments him so well turns his cheek the other way, not believing in the higher power Jules does. Is this why he is killed the next day and Jules is not? We’ll never know, we can only watch the tough as nails character’s interact the way only people that have spent years together either working or being friends can interact. Their relationship and how one choice affects each of them in such different ways is the unwinding of the brain. The natural dialogue and the brutal comedy of their partnership makes them one of the most compelling duos in cinema. These guys are the killer Bromance.
9. Bodhi and Johnny Utah (Point Break)
Johnny Utah: Bohdi! This is your wakeup call I AM AN F… B… I AGENT!
Bodhi: I know, isn’t it wild!
Such a powerful Bromance it was the possible inspiration for Dom and Brian in Fast and Furious, and definitely the idol upon which Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg parody their affection in the film Hot Fuzz. Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) is a carefree surfer dude who also happens to be a violent bank robbing criminal. The leader of a ring of robberies he is suspect without proof. The Feds send out Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) a former collegiate football player that became an agent upon injury. He goes undercover befriending Bodhi and eventually developing a real bond. When he shoots his gun in the air at the end, the subtext says it all. This is the ultimate Freudian Bromance.
8. Seth and Evan (Superbad)
Seth: I just wanna go to the rooftops and scream, “I love my best friend, Evan.”
Evan: Let’s… go on my roof.
In Superbad Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) are wise enough to even mock their own bromance in the middle of a drunken stupor. This clever little acknowledgement only makes the duo that much more hilarious. What begins the story is two teenage boys that have been each others best friends for years unnumbered faced with the reality that they would be separated by miles in college, but also by the challenge that women coming between them would make. There is a genuine feel of friendship between Cera and Hill that make their relationship, even though a bit too clever for adolescents, seem truly authentic and tangible. The Teen Bromance is represented.
7. Smokey and Craig (Friday)
Craig Jones: We ain’t got no sugar.
Smokey: No sugar? Damn. Y’all ain’t never got two things that match. Either y’all got Kool-aid, no sugar. Peanut butter, no jelly. Ham, no burger. Daaamn.
The best friend duo of Smokey (Chris Tucker) and Craig (Ice Cube) are the buddies who face a day in the life of living in South Central, Los Angeles. Threw a slew of drug related jokes, a cornucopia of hilarious moments involving drive by’s and a neighborhood bully, Friday remains a light hearted movie that incites laughter on a constant basis throughout it’s ninety one minutes of story telling. Together the comic duo work together like well played chess pieces making you laugh so naturally it seems Craig and Smokey are real friends and people. The story is fun and has great dialogue, but the friendship of the duo hoodrats is what makes this film so remarkable and both on my Bromance list. Craig and Smokey represent the Stoner Bromance.
6. Maverick and Iceman (Top Gun)
Iceman: You’re everyone’s problem. That’s because every time you go up in the air, you’re unsafe. I don’t like you because you’re dangerous.
Maverick: That’s right! Ice… man. I am dangerous.
Here is a Bromance that may have crossed the line into the land of sexual tension. It was amazing in the locker room scene that the two never embraced and locked themselves together in a lengthy passionate kiss and make out session. After hours filled with mutual animosity and hatred for each other, they unite in the end with Iceman (Val Kilmer) telling Maverick (Tom Cruise) that he can be his wing-man anytime after a session where Maverick saved his behind. In response Maverick counters that Iceman could be his. Does this mean more than it’s saying or are they just bro’s just talking shop. In this case I believe Maverick and Iceman longed for each other and the only reason Maverick dated Charlie (Kelly McGillis) was because she had a mans name and a mans broad shoulders. From behind she could almost be mistaken for Iceman. This Bromance was pretty much a real romance.
5. Kirk and Spock (Star Trek)
Spock: The designers tested it using the most intelligent and resourceful person they could find. He failed to escape.
Kirk: This person didn’t by any chance have pointed ears and an unerring capacity for getting his shipmates into trouble, did he?
Spock: He did have pointed ears.
The greatest duo ever to grace space (yes Chewbaca and Han, you are second place in this category). The logical Vulcan Commander learns from the over-emotional human Captain, and together the polar opposites of Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) reflect in each other in dramatic and comedic ways that make them a complex and compelling duo to watch. Even after a plethora of feature films along with an age old series, the franchise has been revived with new actors playing this magnanimous characters in a changed universe. It only takes death, and decades of time for Spock and Kirk to really be able to express their admiration and respect for each other, though this Bromance had ours at Live Long and Prosper. This is the Science Fiction Bromance.
4. Jay and Silent Bob (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back)
Jay: What are you trying to say? Just say it already.
Silent Bob: [screams] THE SIGN on the back of the car said “Critters Of HOLLYWOOD”, YOU DUMB FUCK!
Jay: Say it, don’t spray it.
As self proclaimed hetero life mates, Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) are probably the best comedic duo ever. In terms of being better together than ever separate, nobody is quite the compliment of each each that Jay and Silent Bob. Their relationship, while not compassionate, is as loyal as loyal. They stick by each other through stupid and even more stupid, while almost seemingly attached at the hip it’s no surprise that their was finally a film made about the two of them on some ridiculous mission that made zero sense and had no necessity to ever make sense, just as their Bromance. Jay and Silent Bob have the best comic Bromance.
3. Mike Lowry and Marcus Burnett (Bad Boys)
Mike Lowrey: Hey, hey, what’s this having-a-picnic shit in my car?
Marcus Burnett: Look man, I ain’t getting my sex at home, OK? Don’t deny me this.
Mike Lowrey: What are you talking about, man? You sleep with a beautiful woman everyday.
Marcus Burnett: I’m married. That’s what married means. It means you sleep together, but you can’t get none.
Together Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) and Mike Lowry (Will Smith) have enough kinetic energy between the two of them to light up the Sears Tower. Through Michael Bay induced special effects and action it’s often hard to outshine the shock and awe of the excitement they exude, but they play second fiddle to the chemistry of narcotics detectives Marcus Burnett and Mike Lawry, long time friends who joined the force in Miami together. Loaded with one liners, great dialogue, and hilarious, yet tough performances, these two characters, one a playboy and the other a family man, have a rigorous dynamic that is just as relentless in it’s entertainment as Bay’s FX. Lowry and Burnett represent the Bromance for action junkies.
2. Murtaugh and Riggs (Lethal Weapon)
Martin Riggs: On three, what do ya say?
Roger Murtaugh: Okay.
Martin Riggs: One… two…
Roger Murtaugh: Wait, wait, wait!
Martin Riggs: What?
Roger Murtaugh: Do we do it on three? Or one, two, three, then do it?
Martin Riggs: It’s your ass, Cochise!
Roger Murtaugh: My ass, yeah. On three.
Martin Riggs: We go on three?
Roger Murtaugh: Yeah.
Murtaugh (Danny Glover) and Riggs (Mel Gibson), the best buddy cop team ever on the big screen take romance to a safe “buddy” place. The chemistry these two have is without question one of the greatest duo’s ever to grace the screen. Roger Murtaugh and Martin Riggs start off at odds with one another, but it’s isn’t long before the wild and reckless Riggs becomes part of the family man Murtaugh’s life and family. Each influence one another bringing out the crazy, while also the calmer, more sane sides. The best Murtaugh/Riggs moment is in the film “Maverick” where Glover plays a Bandit robbing a bank Gibson happens to be in. When he pulls down the mask on Glover’s face the music from Lethal Weapon appears and the two have a “moment”. Here is our “Buddy” Bromance.
1. Butch and Sundance (Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid)
Butch Cassidy: Is that what you call giving cover?
Sundance Kid: Is that what you call running? If I knew you were going to stroll…
The Bromance of Bromances, Butch (Paul Newman) and Sundance (Robert Redford), criminal companions who happen to be best friends on their day off. They share a job money, taste in women, hobbies, and even a knack for trouble. When things in their wild world goes awry the two have so much devotion to each other that they face their imminent doom together without even blinking. The bravado of both character’s never simmer and the chemistry of Newman and Redford goes unmatched by any duo to date. This one has stood the test of time and will continue to do so because of how flawless the story was written and how incendiary Newman and Redford are together.
Honorable Mentions: The Shawshank Redemption, Harold and Kumar, Boondock Saints, Tango and Cash, Dude: Where’s My Car, Tango and Cash, Men In Black, Toy Story 2, Fight Club, The Lord Of The Rings, Brian’s Song, The Odd Couple, Pulp Fiction, Goodwill Hunting