My favourite scene in The Irishman is when the corrupt and violent union leader profusely apologises to his violent gangster best friend for hurting his feelings. One of the defining aspects of ‘toxic masculinity’ is an inability to express emotions other than anger, so I find it quite funny that a filmmaker beloved by so-called Film Bros (who, amongst other things, tend to loudly prefer dark, edgy, and violent movies) so often portrays male relationships that are very emotionally and physically intimate; even Jordan Belfort and Donnie Azoff frequently kiss, hug, and say they love each other, something anathema to the badass stoic image a Toxic Male aspires to, but it’s present in smaller ways, like the frequent scenes across his filmography of men cooking for each other, or Jimmy openly and unashamedly weeping when Tommy gets whacked in Goodfellas. This kind of thing is often visible in the capital-G Great films that Film Bros latch onto; part of the reason Fight Club works so well for me is because even if you take out the twist, the friendship between the narrator and Tyler Durden is filled with the intimacy that men who aren’t Italian have with each other, with my favourite being the bath conversation they have about their fathers. In the broader context of the film, it makes sense that male friendship consists of first deciding when it is and isn’t okay to inflict ownage on each other, and only then can we be intimate with each other.
What are some of your favourite male/male friendships in film and television?