Are Action Movies Homoerotic?

Let’s stir up a little controversy, shall we? Drew’s recent review of ‘The A-Team’ sparked an interesting debate in the comments about whether macho action movies can (or should) be considered “homoerotic.” At the risk of offending someone, or possibly everyone, I think this is a topic worth exploring.

First off, some rules. The intent of this post is not to be a referendum either for or against homosexuality itself, or to make judgments about whether it’s good or bad, moral or immoral. Any comments made to that effect will be deleted posthaste. I will not tolerate any gay bashing, or anything that even remotely resembles hate speech, under any circumstances. At all. Further, any comments that try to bring religion into this will also be deleted without reservation. This is to be a discussion about movies, not about religious beliefs. In other words, behave yourselves.

So, with that said, I think the point that Drew was making in the review is that some manly action movies often have a latent undercurrent of homoerotic fixations. No, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the characters are gay. However, movies that fetishize sweaty muscle-bound men who spend an inordinate amount of time grappling with other sweaty muscle-bound men tend to leave themselves open to this sort of interpretation. It doesn’t help that these movies typically feature blatant misogynistic streaks as well.

Not all action movies are like this, of course. But some certainly are. The homoeroticism in ‘300‘ is undeniable. And not just because the story is set in ancient Greece. The movie’s about a bunch of ripped, attractive men wearing nothing but leather codpieces and capes rubbing up against one another for two hours. C’mon now….

A Google search pulled up this pretty amsuing argument for the overt homoeroticism of action movies in the ’80s:

Firstly, action films from the 80’s are all exceedingly homoerotic. It is an essential part of the given movie’s aesthetic. Sure, Steve Reeves took his shirt off in The Thief of Baghdad, but he spent most of his time chasing after the princess, not touching other men. Of course all of the heroes in 80s Action flicks talk like tough guys, but there is rarely any hetero-sex and by the end of the movie they are typically locked in mortal, lascivious combat with another muscular, shirtless man.

Sounds about right to me.

This brings to mind the macho silliness of ‘Tango & Cash‘ and ‘They Live’. The characters in the former bicker like an old married couple. And the latter features an utterly pointless (yet hilarious) five-minute fistfight that’s basically the equivalent of a gratuitous sex scene.

Quentin Tarantino has a bit part in the indie rom-com ‘Sleep With Me’ (bad movie, only worth watching for Tarantino’s scenes), in which he famously describes ‘Top Gun‘ as the greatest gay love story ever filmed. It’s hilarious, and has more than a little ring of truth about it. If nothing else, it surely explains why so much screen-time was spent on that volleyball scene.

(Relevant dialogue starts 40 seconds into this clip.)

However, not all viewers appreciate this sort of interpretation. One reader complained that Drew was reading too much into ‘The A-Team’. Our own Dick Ward says that he finds the “homoerotic” description to be an unfair cheap shot.

Perhaps it is. But does that mean there’s no truth in it?

I think what this comes down to is the difference between text and subtext. Some viewers prefer to only look at the text of the film – If the characters aren’t kissing or having intercourse, then we shouldn’t read anything sexual into it. Whereas other viewers see a roiling subtext of sexual tension and subversive homoerotic imagery – sometimes intentional, sometimes not. (It’s totally intentional in ‘Top Gun’.)

So, what do you think? Are film critics who call out the homoeroticism of action movies just full of it? Or do some viewers deny the obvious due to their own insecurities? Is male bonding on film inherently homoerotic, or not even remotely? Are you offended that someone would even make the suggestion? Are you offended that other people would be offended by the question?

Remember, play nice now. If things look to get out of hand, I’ll be keeping a tight reign on the comments section.

55 comments

  1. I’ll chime in first! I think you might have it backwards when it comes to “do some viewers deny the obvious due to their own insecurities?”

    I think the constant call to homoeroticism is a sign of insecurity more than the denial of it.

    Take ‘300’ for example. It’s not about men rubbing each other. In fact, I remember very little rubbing in that movie, if any! It’s about men fighting other men. Why wouldn’t they be ripped? I sure would be if I planned to participate in hand-to-hand combat!

    Did the movie fetishize the men’s bodies? Sure. But we love seeing attractive men and women on screen. I do at least. They’re a lot better than the folks I see at Walmart.

    I’m not saying that homoeroticism doesn’t exist in movies, but calling out every movie with muscle bound men as homoerotic seems like the playground equivalent of calling smart kids nerds.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      But you assume that the people calling attention to the homoeroticism are citing it as a negative. That isn’t necessarily the case, and certainly isn’t my point.

      I’m a heterosexual male, personally, but I find the weird masculine fetishism of movies like 300 or Top Gun amusing. Not upsetting, just amusing.

      It isn’t so much that I think the characters are gay. But I do think that a lot of these movies have a strange fixation with the male body, and the way that men interact (physically) with other men. The fact that the audience for these movies is, by and large, heterosexual males (not women or gay males), and that this audience often acts completely oblivious to the fetishism on display, I find fascinating.

      • “But you assume that the people calling attention to the homoeroticism are citing it as a negative.”

        Maybe you’re not calling it out as a negative, but I’ve never heard it thrown around in a positive light. “Dude, did you see Top Gun? The homoeroticism was great!” 🙂

        As far as the fixation with the male body goes, I think it makes sense. We fetishize things we want but can’t necessarily have. Cars, women, planes, money, etc.. I think it makes sense to fetishize the male body to a male audience. Would I love to be in great shape? Sure I would! Will I be? Probably not. So I live through the characters on the screen. 🙂

        I’m not saying homoeroticism doesn’t exist in cinema. I just think it’s called out far too often when it’s not necessarily deserved.

        • Josh Zyber
          Author

          > Maybe you’re not calling it out as a negative, but I’ve never heard it thrown around in a positive light. “Dude, did you see Top Gun? The homoeroticism was great!”

          Watch that Tarantino clip above. 🙂

  2. JoeRo

    I think when we’re looking at movies like the A-Team, Tango and Cash, or Top Gun, the relationships aren’t necessarily what’s on display in those films. Not because the development of said relationships isn’t important to the script, but rather because the people helming the project have a specific attitude towards film making: “If shit isn’t being punched, stabbed, shot, or blown up, someone’s not doing their job”. Maybe I’m oversimplifying it, but I don’t think so. Basically the characters become simplified caricatures of real men, in most cases they’re portrayed as highschool football team type individuals.

    Now I’m not trying to imply anything about the sexuality, one way or the other, about highschool atheletes, or football players in general. But a lot of these films have protagonists who have that kind of “jock swagger”. Those of us who watch these movies and enjoy them might in fact feel extremely uncomfortable around these types (archetypes?) of people in the real world, but in film it works because that locker room type of humor is instantly understood, even if we disapprove. Now is that latently homosexual? I used the term locker room … naked dudes, hot water, billowing steam, you should get the picture. But seriously, there’s nothing wrong with that.

    In his masterpiece God Emperor of Dune, not an opinion but a fact, Herbert discusses this very notion with his old friend and ally Duncan Idaho. Duncan is struggling to come to terms with the existence of an all female army, and Leto (the god emperor) explains that all-male armies are essentially rapist, and this flows naturally from the fact that the all-male army is composed entirely of males. He discusses how cults of youth persist in the army, basically locking physically mature adults into juvenile behavior e.g. tests and jokes (pranks) designed purely to cause pain, the deflection of sexual tensions and desires into pain-causing behaviors, and the fact that the loyalty of the all-male army falls on the army itself, not its leader.

    Whether or not you agree with Herbert, or me for that matter, you have to admit that his observations bear closer scrutiny. Looking at 300, one can see a point for point correlation between Herbert’s observations and the Spartans. Granted this is a film version of an ancient army and not the real thing, but the comparison holds up. Basically the Spartans in 300 are being portrayed as contemporary soldiers, the so-called jar heads of the ancient world. Although their patterns of speech, styles of dress, and manner of combat are all anachronistic, the behavior doesn’t seem out of place. At all. So is this just a fluke, an odd coincidence, or is something deeper going on here. My vote is that action movies of this type are operating from the same basic attitude towards men, fraternity, and combat. And yes, there are homosexual undertones, or overtones if you prefer. Deal with it.

  3. Will Dearborn

    “Are Action Movies Homoerotic?”

    Only if you want them to be. And see it that way.

  4. slimdune

    I think most big narrative Hollywood films are erotic inherently. They are fetishistic and designed to be sensually appealing. If that inherent eroticism has only male bodies to reside on, you have homo-eroticism. Same thing for an all female cast. If you have more standard pairings of males and females in the cast, then that eroticism works itself out in a more conventional manner.

    Our brains interpret these scenarios differently based on a variety of factors.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      Interesting point. However, I still think that there’s an inherent difference between these all-male action movies, which tend to be very oriented toward physical expression, and all-female chick flicks, which are primarily emotional. That’s why the action movies are more likely to be perceived as sexual, and hence homoerotic.

      • slimdune

        Well, I wasn’t really referring to “Chick Flicks.” I was thinking more along the lines of something like the modern “Charlie’s Angels.”

        So, let’s narrow it back down to action films. I think what we may be getting at is that the thrill of violence itself has a relationship to the erotic. Pair that with the generally good looking men that are usually shirtless and oiled up and you can see where it’s going. If we had more action movies with casts that consisted of four hot women kicking but with no male love interests around, I think we would find ourselves sensing homo-eroticism again.

        So the question may really be about whether or not we find violence somehow exciting in the same manner as traditionally erotic material.

  5. Jane Morgan

    You ever read Steven Pressfield’s Alexander The Great novel ‘Virtues of War’?

    There is a culture of violence, worship of strength, bonds between soldiers, respect for the enemy, weapon fetish, profane sex humor, a lifestyle to war.

    Action movies are our modern war stories. War stories in novels, like military thrillers, don’t have the homoerotic quality.

    It’s unique to movies, because of the camera. The camera heightens everything. So does the make-up, hair and costume, lighting, boosted color or contrast.

    War story + movie camera = homoerotic.

    Why do people complain about it? Weak story. Whenever a movie has weak storytelling, the audience will complain about things related to style. Poor CGI. Poorly edited fight scenes. All complaints come out of weak storytelling.
    Most action movies have dumb plots and dialogue.

    Maybe people complain about homoerotic-ness now because sexuality has become more open, more talked about, more political.

    My grandparents would never call an action film homoerotic. They would never speak that word.

  6. I can understand why something like 300 would bring the homo-erotic hand waves, buff dudes in loin cloths muscle bounding all over everyone and everything, but the A-TEAM brought camaraderie, friendship, trust and love in a non-sexual-homo way…..I’m sure everyone has a best friend out there whom you would do anything for, have a great time hanging out with, can tell anything to, but do you consider your relationship homo-erotic, probably not because you arent gay and dont perceive yourself this way. So why is that projected on to other males who have the same type of relationships in movies?

    I for one have never thought of any action movie as being this way, 80s action flicks were all about kick ass action guys, blowing shit up, killing everyone they meet and most of the time having sex with that hot woman lead (almost every top guy in the 80s had movies like this), so I’m not sure where the idea came from about this NOT being like that back in the day, I can remember many movies where Arnold, Van Damme and Stallone were doing things with extremely attractive women (total recall with Sharon Stone, Demolition Man with Sandra Bullock, and the list goes on) so how these are seen to have anything even close to homo-eroticism is beyond me

  7. EM

    I think it’s possible that one of the problems the naysayers are having is a false notion that for a homoerotic reading (literal or subtextual) to be legitimate for a particular film, it has to be ubiquitous or at least fairly consistent or pervasive. Particularly where subtext is concerned, homoeroticism, like any other theme, simply needs to inform the work—or the viewer’s reading of the work—to be a legitimate interpretation. The fact that portions or aspects of the film are non-homoerotic or anti-homoerotic does not erase any homoeroticism present, any more than the inclusion of a non-scary scene would invalidate a horror film’s status as a horror film.

  8. Adam

    Unintentional comedy of the Tarantino clip – 1:35ish. “Kelly McGillis, she’s heterosexuality”.

  9. I think its more that a lot of people maybe WANT to see things like this as a subtext to the films they watch, I dont know how much crap was brought up about, say, Avatar, with all this mumbo jumbo that people were reading into the movie that most likely was never there to begin with or not intentionally put there, but for something like the A-TEAM which is a throw back to the 80s action movie, thats really all its meant to be, fun, funny, action packed and good summer entertainment and then we get reviewers throwing in all these supposed subtexts and underlying plots that really dont exist and why and how people see stuff like that and constantly read more into a movie that just isnt there, I’ll never understand

  10. cardpetree

    I completely agree with the very first statement that Richard (Dick) made. You can take any subject or situation in any movie and put whatever spin on it that your heart desires. I obviously get the point about homoeroticism in action flicks but that view is self imposed. I see it as a mental issue with the viewer. In my case, I see the actor portraying the action hero as a badass or somebody that I wish I could trade places with and be equally badass.

    By the way, Maverick is the man. He bangs chicks dude!

  11. cardpetree

    Maverick does not bang Iceman. Iceman may want a shot at Maverick according to Quentin Tarantino. But I don’t think so.

    • cardpetree

      Both clips are blasphemy against 2 classic movies in history. Wrong but funny. Every homo erotic clip in Top Gun can be explained. I see how the scenes could be interpreted as homo eroticism but these are not hidden messages to the point where the actual characters are meant to be gay. Even when Quentin Tarantino is explaining the homo eroticism in his clip, he says at the end of the movie that Iceman says to Maverick that he can ride his tail. He doesn’t say that. He says you can be my wingman. Which obviously proves my point with out a doubt. 🙂

      • Josh Zyber
        Author

        The fact that you can explain away some of those scenes on a literal level doesn’t mean that the subtext isn’t there.

        I find your avatar amusing, considering the conversation we’re having. 🙂

        • cardpetree

          Let me get this straight. Are you saying that the actual characters in this movie are meant to be gay?

          Btw, my avatar is Amobi Okoye tea bagging a Miami U running back after tackling him. He was a beast at UofL. 🙂

          • Josh Zyber
            Author

            They aren’t necessarily gay, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a homoerotic undercurrent between them. You’re still reading the movie literally. This is subtext, not text.

  12. cardpetree

    If the characters of a movie aren’t meant to be gay then the homo erotic subtext of a movie is merely the mental interpretation of the viewer.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      I think EM addressed this complaint best in the comment posted June 17th at 7:38 PM.

      “The fact that portions or aspects of the film are non-homoerotic or anti-homoerotic does not erase any homoeroticism present, any more than the inclusion of a non-scary scene would invalidate a horror film’s status as a horror film.”

      Hey, we made it into the Popular Posts!

      • cardpetree

        He makes an excellent point other than the fact that with the horror film example, the movie itself is a “horror film”. There’s no hiding the fact that it’s a “horror film”, subtext or not. Top Gun is not a “homoerotic” film. Regardless if the viewer has interpretated specific subtext in individual scenes as being homoerotic, this does not make the film itself homoerotic.

        • EM

          I’m sorry the analogy didn’t work for you. Alas, any analogy will eventually break down if the two things being compared are not in fact a single selfsame thing, as nothing can be 100% identical to something else. I regret the confusion.

  13. coologuy1957

    I’ve seen all those movies a bunch and never thought about them being homoerotic until someone points it out… I think, like Dick was saying, that Hollywood just has good looking stuff in all those types of movies – good looking women/men, cars, scenery…

    The only movie you’ve mentioned that I later watched and thought it was a little weird was Tango and Cash – specifically for what you mentioned – they bicker like an old couple! Well, that and that awkward scene where they were both nude for some reason. It neither adds nor subtracts from the quality of the movie – its bad regardless!

    And with 300, ya, if you just show dudes stills of the ripped dudes then they’ll think something fruity is going on. But in the context of the movie, where they’re all fighting and kicking ass, no one is noticing the fetishizing of the male body unless they really want to…

    • BambooLounge

      I think it is hard to deny the homo-eroticism in 300.

      Yes, the story is obviously not about that, but hey, neither was Ben-Hur and Lawrence of Arabia was not about S&M or alternative lifestyles, but guess what, the stuff is in there and has been accepted by a large number of people within those demographics.

      300 is pure eye candy for straight women/gay men who are into muscled out men in togas. There is actually nothing else to the movie with its base narrative and crappy beat you over the head with “inspiration” dialogue.

      I think there is a line. Some films are obvious stretches and are mountains made out of molehills (or creative editing) like Rocky III or any of the “Brokeback” youtube parodies (they have it all from Saved By the Bell to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), but then there are films like 300 or Top Gun that even if they do not intend it, cannot help, but having it there.

      Personally, if it were not for the Top Gun subtext, I could not sit through it because I think it, like almost all Tony Scott movies, is just a loud action music video and not a film. But, the unintentional comedy of the film in general along with the subtext makes it a fun viewing.

      300 though is just a horrible movie. And there is nothing inherently funny about homosexuality or homo-eroticism and the context of the film does not add any unintentional comedy by way of irony, unlike Top Gun (the irony of it posing as the ultimate in straight male entertainment).

      So are “action movies” in general homoerotic, not at all. But, some action (and other) movies are even if they are not in the Queer Cinema section of your local indie rental shop.

      • coologuy1957

        I guess thats the difference. I enjoyed 300 – the themes of resisting at all costs, training and devoting yourself to be able to do so, and not giving up even in the face of death. I loved all of that – loved the fighting. I loved the great narration by Faramir – loved the visual aesthetic. And I never once thought anything about it was gay. You didn’t enjoy any of those things and were left with these gay overtones…

      • cardpetree

        So Bamboo you 100% believe that the subtext in Top Gun is simply a hidden message that points to the actual characters as being gay men?

          • coologuy1957

            I don’t believe that at all. Just because men are in a relationship and experience emotions does not make them gay.

            Don’t get me wrong, you can see it if you look for it, and its fun/funny to do so. But its ultimately not there. I think you have to have a filter on to see it. You have to look at it through that lens.

        • BambooLounge

          Subtext is many times NOT what is “actually” there. Do I believe Top Gun was made with the intent of being a subversive pro-homosexual film? Not at all. Tony Scott is not that intelligent/inventive.

          Can one view the film through the lens of such subtext and have it “fit” absolutely. And with Top Gun it fits really well. And for me, it turns a mediocre film into an unintentional non-stop irony fest that I enjoy watching time and again.

          Can people try to shoe-horn a homoerotic into lit. any film/novel/TV show/real life exchange, etc? Of course b/c people are generally good at distorting stuff.

          Sometimes the subtext is actually there because the director/writer could not just throw it out there in the open for whatever reason. Lawrence of Arabia and a ton of other Hollywood films during the Production Code when certain topics were “taboo” did this.

          Some films play on this concept like the recent comedy I Love You, Man. It is a film about male friendship that a lot of people of an older generation watch and just say, “Those two guys were just actually gay.”

          Do I think the characters in 300 were gay? No, they were Greek, so clearly they were bi. (j/k) But, it was so bad of a movie, the only way I could see someone enjoying it is if they were into musclebound men in togas. Just like a lot of straight men enjoy watching shitty movies that feature nude scenes of hot actresses or watch those crappy soft core trying to be a real movie spoof types of porn.

          I’m not in the same camp as Josh on this one. I don’t think action movies are homoerotic by default. Men can be friends and love each other as brothers or whatever without it being on Brokeback Mountain. It is just sometimes, crappy testosterone-fueled action films can be made more interesting via irony by way of a unique subtextual reading of the film.

          • coologuy1957

            So YOU didn’t like an action movie, therefore, those that did like it must be female or gay males to enjoy it?……

            ya, just let that sink in a little…..

  14. cardpetree

    Whether they’re gay or not is extremely relevant. If they are not gay for each other then how could there possibly be sexual tension between them? Let’s take a hypothetical scene for example. You’ve got a father & son who haven’t seen each other in let’s say 2 years. They finally meet for the first time in 2 years, they hug & they’re very happy to see each other. They start to talk about how much they miss each other & how much time they should spend together to catch up. Viewer A watches that scene & sees a very normal father & son relationship. Never in a million years would viewer A see that as being homo erotic. Viewer B sees 2 males talking about how much they miss each other & how much time they want to spend together. So viewer B has mentally interpreted that this scene has a homoerotic subtext. Since viewer B sees it this way, does that mean that this scene is homo erotic when it is clearly not?

  15. cardpetree

    Yes! The father is actually a cop and the son is a drug dealer and the father was chasing the son not knowing that it was his son. Both their shirts were ripped off during the chase. :):)

  16. BambooLounge

    “So YOU didn’t like an action movie, therefore, those that did like it must be female or gay males to enjoy it?……ya, just let that sink in a little…..” – CoolGuy1957 (seemed to exhaust the replies in that mini-thread)

    Way to jumble logical reading comprehension. 300 is a shitty movie and I was criticizing it for being not better than porn.

    I can go into a full review of the epic piece of garbage that is 300, but this is not the place for me to write a critique of a film.

    Yet, I never said anyone who does like it HAS to be a gay male or a straight female. I just used that language to get the point across that I view 300 as no more than mere porn. Literalism really is your thing isn’t it.

    • coologuy1957

      “But, it was so bad of a movie, the only way I could see someone enjoying it is if they were into musclebound men in togas.”

      theres really no other way to interpret what you said as only females or gay males would enjoy what you described…

      just say you don’t like it and keep the homophobic stuff to yourself……

      • BambooLounge

        There is nothing even remotely homophobic implied in what I said.

        If I said Wild Things is a shitty film and the only way I can see people liking it is if they were into threesome sex scenes with two girls and a guy, does that make me heterophobic or is it still homophobic because there are two girls?

        Someone is way too sensitive.

        • coologuy1957

          lol – you could write an epic critique of it or you could say its only appreciated by females or gay males…. I’m glad you exist for the benefit of the internet…

          so you didn’t like the movie… that has nothing to do with the oiled-up dudes, yet you keep bringing them up… what are you hiding?

          • BambooLounge

            Did you forget the title of this posting and the context of the conversation?

            My gripes with 300 have nothing to do with “oiled up dudes.” They just happen to be in the film just like threesome sex is in Wild Things and is something people could see the movie for.

            You, a fan of 300, seem to have taken some exception with my tongue in cheek critique of the film describing the men as the only thing I can see people wanting to watch or re-watch 300 for because of how poorly made it is. I never indicated it was either good or bad to watch 300 for that purpose, but you seem to think I’m passing a negative judgment on people who enjoy the movie for that element, which is a bit odd.

            It is ok if that is what YOU like about 300, I was not insulting you nor was I intending anything I said to be taken as homophobic or heterophobic (I said straight women would like it too) or passing any judgments at all beyond on a shitty movie. So I hope you are not too insulted.

    • I liked 300 because it was a brilliant film interpretation of the comic book of the same name and because the visuals were nothing short of amazing.

      I don’t think the buff men had anything to do with it 🙂

      • BambooLounge

        I rather just read a comic book if I want a comic book. I’ll never understand comic book movies being praised as a “brilliant film interpretation of the comic book.”

        I mean, it is either a brilliant film (it is not) or it isn’t. I hate when people give kudos to movies because of how “faithful” they are to a comic book.

        IE: Burton’s Batman films. They take all kind of shit from Batman fanboys b/c Burton is an actual auteur and not some comic book fanboy and made 2 well made interesting films using the Batman character that were not “like the comic.” Yet, I enjoy them both more than Nolan’s hyper-serious Batman movies (both very good, but a tough overrated) because I enjoy Burton’s style better as a filmmaker.

        I saw 300 for free in theaters when it came out and I was so mad by the end I still felt like demanding my money back.

        Snyder is simply a shit director. RR took Sin City and “accurately” adapted the comics, but made a compelling film instead of beating the viewer over the head with shit dialogue, but maybe that is just how 300 (comic book) was written, but if it was it needed to have been better adapted to the screen and not simply Xeroxed for the Frank Miller fanboys.

          • BambooLounge

            Yes. I do not believe in comparing film adaptations to their source, be it novel or play.

            I judge each interpretation on its own merit without referencing back and forth between the two.

            It also applies to remakes. While, I may call a particular remake “unnecessary” or simply a “dumbing down” of the original, I do not bother with the whole “which version is better?” debate. All films, when done right stand alone and apart from their source material as excellent films.

            I know, I’m in the minority here though. A lot of people I know always love to walk out of a film and proclaim, “The book was better.”

  17. Zack McGhee

    I completely agree with your premise and post here, Josh, and I think it’s funny that 300 has sort of become *the* go-to example. Walking out of the theater, I remarked to friends that it seemed “at once homophobic and homoerotic.” To my surprise, the same turn of phrase was used by Nathan Lee in his brilliant evisceration of the movie, “Man on Man Action” , in which he also calls it “notable for its outrageous sexual confusion.” Check out his review if you haven’t already — it’s a great read.

  18. EM

    I’d like to address comments such as Chaz Dumbaugh’s which bemoan the notion of the viewer seeing things in a movie that aren’t actually there.

    Seeing what is not actually there is the very ESSENCE of cinema. The pictures are illusions: we are not actually looking at the places, persons, and things we imagine we’re looking at. The motion in the pictures is also an illusion, one our own minds create out of perfectly still images. Furthermore, movies are generally (though not exclusively) the stuff of fiction, portraying events that are not happening, did not happen, and will not ever happen.

    As in any form of communication, the recipient must apply his own resources in order for a message to be received. In cinema, if the viewer does not see what is not truly there, the communication fails, utterly.

  19. So, what do you think? Are film critics who call out the homoeroticism of action movies just full of it? Or do some viewers deny the obvious due to their own insecurities?
    – Yes, they are full of it and if you call it out from 300 it’s in your imagination. Nowhere in 300 that I thought there was any sign of homosexuality between the 300 men but in Super Bad the sleepover at Evan’s house when they hugged, did I think there was something there, maybe but it could have just been me. None of my friends thought anything of it.

    Are you offended that someone would even make the suggestion? Are you offended that other people would be offended by the question?

    – Not really offended, it’s their opinion but some read too much between the lines or in these subtexes and imagine things. Almost as if they are making background stories behind these simple jocks’ lives when in fact they are just there to blow shit up.

    Bottom line is if the majority has not picked up any hidden agendas, there probably isn’t.