Reel Corner - March 2019

Bromance: It’s Good for You!

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Bromance: It’s Good for You!

Films depicting female friendship—think Thelma and Louise and Fried Green Tomatoes—are familiar to us. Movies that focus on male relationships…not so much. Today, however, platonic male friendship films have their very own category.

I’m speaking, of course, about the bromance and all its permutations, including stories that take place not only in this decade, but decades past. Green Book, Stan and Ollie, and The Upside are the newest features in this category, and they are all good films.

A good bromance is also good for you. Who knew?  It turns out bromance films have health benefits. One of those benefits is less stress. Having friends you can be transparent with lowers glucocorticoid levels, a stress hormone that can be physically damaging over time. The strength of your friendships has an effect on your mortality, and that strength is partially built on vulnerability.
So girls, let your man watch his bromance movies; they’re good for his health! Here are The Reel Corner’s top bromance friendship flick picks, new and old.

Green Book: A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver for an African-American classical pianist who is on a tour of venues throughout the 1960s American South. When faced with the racism and segregation that marked that era, the two men, total opposites in almost every way, develop a deep bond.

The Upside: A wealthy quadriplegic hires a struggling parolee to be his caretaker in his upscale New York penthouse. Despite coming from two different worlds, an unlikely friendship blossoms as both men rediscover the joy of living life to the fullest. This is an American remake of the 2011 French film The Intouchables. Try to download the French version.

Stan and Ollie: Already legends by 1953, beloved comedy duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy hit the road to perform live shows for their adoring fans. The tour becomes a hit, but long-buried tension and Hardy’s failing health threaten both their new act and their friendship.

The ODD COUPLE: This quintessential pairing of two ostensibly mismatched personalities proves that sometimes the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. Felix is an uptight collection of neuroses, pining over his ex-wife, and Oscar is a sloppy, cantankerous mess of a dude. However, the friendship provides each man something he personally lacks, and their resulting whole is hilarious and touching.

Star Trek: According to this film franchise’s main characters Kirk and Spock, the idea of love is completely illogical. Beyond the minimum amount of care needed to keep your fellow humans (or Vulcans) alive, the act of caring for someone more than you care for yourself is profoundly devoid of reason. And that’s what makes the bromance between Spock and Kirk so poignant. Spock genuinely loves Kirk, even though, logically, this shouldn’t be possible.

Toy Story: Once again, forget love. It wasn’t even tolerance at first sight for cowboy Woody and astronaut Buzz Lightyear, but over the course of three films, they forge a friendship that withstands obstacles, distance, trauma, and growing up. Suffice it to say, they’re in this thing to infinity and beyond!

Good Will Hunting: Sometimes it’s tough to live up to the expectations of the people around you, even if they truly want what’s best for you. That’s why Will Hunting—and all of us!—need a best friend like Chuckie to frame things a little differently. Though he knows he will lose his day-to-day friendship with Will, Chuckie unselfishly tells his buddy to get out while he can and go find his future.


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