It will happen someday, and I would like to be alive to see it. Because it will be an awesome day, not just for pop-culture, but culture in general.
It will be a summer day. The kind of hot where the heat itself doesn’t want to be outside, and will try to push all the air out of your lungs so it has somewhere dark and damp to hide.
There will be something playing at your movie-house of choice. The quality of this flick is secondary to two other important factors: 1) Are there explosions? 2) Is this movie-house air-conditioned?
Those two boxes will be checked, because this is a 21st century summer. What kind of theater doesn’t have air-conditioning anymore? What kind of summer blockbuster isn’t basically a giggling 12-year old boy chucking an M-80 at a toy store? It won’t tax your brain, but it won’t demand you shut it off, either. It won’t subvert the formula too much; a successful recipe will be adhered to pretty closely.
This meat-and-potatoes action movie will feel new-ish, but comfortably familiar. Its archetypes are nicely fleshed out, the jokes number at just the right amount to provide levity to the proceedings, but not enough to kneecap the tension the finely choroegraphed set-pieces provide.
The gunshots will be loud, the explosions will shiver your internal organs with copious bass, and everything will be covered with a faint sheen of cordite and sweat. And as for the film’s protagonist: You will be reminded of John McClane, perhaps. Maybe our manly hero won’t live up to that ideal - Lord knows McClane himself hasn’t been able to since Die Hard with a Vengeance - but the comparison won’t be out of bounds, either.
He’s a man on a mission, a man with as much ammunition in his two guns as there are one-liners on his tongue, a man who is maybe too old for this shit, only a few weeks away from retirement, just about to get that promotion he’s been waiting for to put the down payment on the house he’s always wanted—and now he has to set it all aside to rescue his one true love.
This is where the recipe changes. This is what I am waiting for: After the climax, when our hero downs a helicopter single-handedly, or kicks a car in the balls so hard it disintegrates, or powerslams a giant lizard into an erupting volcano, he will be reunited with that love, the one thing in this world that has kept him going all this time. He will embrace his love, and look powerfully into those eyes.
And then he is going to fuck the living shit out of that dude.
Electric guitars will start wailing up and down the scale, an alto saxophone will give voice to the passion bursting from their combined 24-pack abdominal muscles as these two dudes shirtlessly grind on each other in that safe, merkined way all R-rated action films execute their Skinemax moments.
There will be no winking throughout the film. No elbows to the ribs from the writers, directors, or actors. No raised eyebrows, no throwaway lines of dialog to hint at the audience “Isn’t it funny that it’s just like a regular dumb action movie, but the leads are gay dudes?” It will be played as straight as possible, like almost every meatheaded, roid-raging action flick since 1983 held in high esteem by the gatekeepers of that genre.
The audience will spill out of this matinee onto the lobby carpet, the sun streaming in through the glass doors. The conversations will break out as they always do, full of sequel talk, recitations of the best lines, fumbling attempts to describe the visual carnage that just skullfucked their imaginations. But nobody will trip on why Vin Diesel was willing to go to war singlehandedly to save Zac Efron’s sculpted bottom. God help you if your drug-fueled alien-invasion/government plot gets in the way of a love like Michael B. Jordan’s and James Franco’s. A lot of cars get will crashed, a lot of secret compounds will get blowed up, and that alto sax will slink across the soundtrack as Channing Tatum rubs a melting ice cube across Jonah Hill’s hairless tummy.
Someday, this snickering “subtext” - about as “concealed” as Chris Evans’ pecs under a sweaty cotton tank-top - will be done away with, because there’s no point in hiding it so poorly. People know that Maverick and Iceman are fucking, that Brian and Dominic are the cutest couple since Batman & Robin, that The Expendables is a vein-popping circle jerk so full of HGH that it ejaculates ground beef upon reaching completion.
And the audience will be like “Finally.” They’ll be like “About time they stopped fucking fronting.” They’ll be like “Man, I’m not gay or nothin, but I’d probably blow up a Lambo to keep that ass safe, you know?” They’ll be like “Remember when Arnold Schwarzenegger had to throw a pipe through a Freddie Mercury lookalike and that was as close as they ever got to admitting these movies are gayer than a cockshot on Grindr?”
They’ll be like “Maybe I should see if there’s a used Bowflex on Craigslist for cheap because I think I’m having body issues right now,” too, but that’s a different discussion.
I’m honestly surprised it hasn’t happened already. I’m surprised Joel Silver hasn’t pulled the pin on this grenade and tossed it into movie theaters to explode opening weekend with riches. The asses are still mercilessly kicked, the shotguns still bucking off punctuation to smirking one-liners, the cars flash by too fast, and when they crash, they go up like Colonel Kilgore ordered an airstrike.
The only difference is that our damsel in distress is a dude.
Since the only characters allowed to develop second and third dimensions are male; since women are more marginalized in this genre than the holes in a sheet of notebook paper, let the men just fuck each other at the end. At least then it’ll mean something.
It’s going to happen someday. And it’s going to be awesome when it does.
I’ll see you on the opening weekend of a realized dream.