Queer Theory in 80’s and 90’s Action Movies | Renegade Cut

100 Replies to “Queer Theory in 80’s and 90’s Action Movies | Renegade Cut

  1. "it's not political we did it for China"

    Yes it's fucking political you refused to put gay representation in there for fears of upsetting a homophobic market because money matters more than representation how is that not political ughfhfhhfrhrheuwukskd

    Fuck capitalism gn

  2. And another great video, thanks so much for this.

    To see how far we really have not come, just look at Captain Marvel. From the big 20+ franchise you mention that also references Top Gun in a few ways. At the center the perfect relationship, but no homo. Of course. (scaring the crap out of the male audience for various reasons, btw special thanks for the time spent on explaining the male gaze. I often hit a wall in discussions with that subject, but the T2 scene is such a good example how nakedness itself doesn't objectify and there are reference points needed)

  3. I loved these dumb ass bro films. Still kind of do. But yeah… I think I loved how fuckin dumb they are… I wonder if it's still like this in movies like the new fast and furious film. Probably but I would hope it's a little better.

  4. 11:49
    I don't remember the scene very well. But just what you said there just sounds like being boorishly flirty.

  5. Doesn't help that with so much repression of just good hearted emotions and genuine connection, those who can often get lumped into a queer depiction and if they deny it or don't follow through might get accused of queer baiting. 😵

  6. Hey Renegade, please do a video about Deadpool regarding this topic of Queer Theory and toxic masculinity. Deadpool is supposed to be Pansexual…however, how he is portrayed in the films is quite different from the graphic novels. Thanks!

  7. As a queer guy who grew up watching these exact movies this video is so great. These movies reminded me of "gay chicken" in a way, where they had obviously gay overtones like oiled up half-naked beefcakes, and were almost daring the male audience not to find this attractive.

  8. u could do the women’s version of this video analysing the massive no homo endings of women’s sports movies ya kno Stick It and Bend It like Beckham came to mind when u told the lesbians not to b mad at u in the beginning lol

  9. It's funny that in the comics (not including new 52, i haven't read those) Batman's and Superman's relationship cannot only be viewed as gay, but as an old couple. None of that in the movies, of course not, since Zack Snyder doesn't seem to have a good grasp of either character. Shame though. I love me some SuperBat.

  10. "queer theory in action movies" by renegade cut more like "take a shot for every instance of gay subtext you can spot in these action movies" im game

  11. But for the theories to work in that context, wouldn´t they require for everyone to see gays everywhere? Now, I know there was a "satanic panic" in the 80s, but I haven´t heard of the "gay panic". HIV/AIDS panic yes, but I´m talking about a McCarthian panic. Because to tell your audience that those guys aren´t gay (explicitly or implicitly) only makes sense if they see gays everywhere. Otherwise I´d say "It never crossed my mind they would be gay, but now that you went out of your way to tell me they´re not I´m starting to suspect otherwise." So, did people in the 80s see gays everywhere?

  12. Must resist archer reference

    Must resist archer reference

    Must resist archer reference

    Must resist archer reference

  13. The bit about Hetero-coded violence just made me realize how much I ended up using that trope when drawing in class in high school. Basically my thought process was that I wanted to practice drawing bodies, but I thought if people noticed I was drawing half naked women all the time they would think I was a perv, so I decided to draw guys, but then I thought if people noticed I was drawing half naked guys all the time they would think I was gay, so I gave all the guys guns or swords to point at each other assuming people wouldn’t think it was gay if they were fighting each other.

  14. This is why I found Banshee so odd. It actually has a Queer character as one of the main characters of the series that is a action full testosterone driven story, in way it is almost subversive.

  15. I didn't see the thumbnail initially, and I was afraid this was going to be an in-depth analysis of Michael Bay's "auteurship." Lmao! I'm glad you focused on more 80s films. A lot of this seems to be true for the real world. In high school, I played football, and my teammates did this thing where they would "play gay." The only way they maintained their "sexuality" was by being overtly aggressive, being known for having sex with girls and other forms of disavowal. It was more popular by the more masculine-presenting guys, which was slightly counterintuitive, but when seeing this element hyper-realized in film, it makes sense.

  16. Regarding the lack of queer women on 80s & 90s films, there is a lot of saphic subtext I'd recommend revisiting the alien films. Especially Resurrection.

  17. funny you should mention the mcu, as i’ve been applying queer theory to those movies since the first iron man. there’s so much to explore there: relationships between supposedly heterosexual characters like cap and bucky, queer-coding of villains like loki, and the erasure of queerness in canonically bisexual characters in the comics like gamora and black widow.

  18. This is something else that bothers me about homosexual representation in media. Besides not having main characters, but changing the script just so you can show a movie in China! It's disgusting! They have a long, sordid history of human rights violations. They need to evolve, not get pandered to.

  19. "Do not blame me for a lack of lesbians in this video" — HAHAHA, you've fallen into the VIEWER trap i set for you! I ALWAYS blame you for lesbians in your videos, whether they are absent or not, and while I don't explicitly tune in to your channel for their inclusion, I won't get personally upset at their exclusion… THIS time. /s

    Keep up the great work

  20. Valkyrie is the perfect example of queer baiting. Actually, Supergirl is the perfect example, but Valkyrie is still a great example.

  21. I just find your channel and can't stop watching your videos. Just wanted to say thank you and you are doing a great job

  22. I wonder if Commando originally had a relationship subplot that was cut when the actress was cast as a black woman, or if they didn't bother writing one knowing the actress they'd cast was black. Interracial relationships would have been pretty verboten at the time.

  23. This video has some of the best explanations of cinematic heteronormativity and the male gaze. If ever someone wants to understand those terms and what they look like 'in action', as it were, they could start right here.

  24. I need a video like this but for the absolutely nuclear levels of queerness in the Captain America side of the MCU. I'm talking First Avenger, Winter Soldier, Civil War, and Agent Carter. Most likely Falcon and Winter Soldier, too, when it comes out.

  25. oooh, shit like this is my jam. "blow off some steam, bennett" lmao. i love the more funny tone of these recent reviews. a few things here. one, as a bi/queer woman, i find that most people who are averse to the word "queer" (or at least, the use of it as a personal or academic label) tend to be the more exclusionist members of the community. they're not always outright terfs or transphobes, but queer is one of the only words we have that can describe anyone not straight and/or cisgender. it's inclusive, and people who don't support lgbt+ inclusivity don't like that. and, in my experience, the excuse that "it's a slur" only goes so far when literally every word queer/lgbt+ people have used to describe ourselves has been used against us. two, i read some discourse a while back that talked about how films like top gun and point break are commonly read as queer because the default audience for them is assumed to be men, like you address here. the contrast between this and the terminator scene is really fascinating. speaking of which, there's been a lot of feminist discourse surrounding kyle reese that tends to read him as more "feminine" than the terminator and an explicit contrast to the latter character's toxic masculinity. a lot of feminist discourse surrounds sarah, obviously, but i think reese being a male character whose portrayed as openly emotional and "anti macho" who literally dies to propel the female protagonist's character arc isn't talked about nearly enough. we also see this in titanic, re: the contrast between jack and cal, even though cal is basically a camp gay villain stereotype. so while i don't think james cameron is come kind of queer/feminist ~auteur~ or anything…at least, not moreso than the directors of commando and top gun, i definitely think there's more room for queer and feminist analysis like this in mainstream discourse. well done.

  26. my two friends can be really homophobic. one of them has like the most stupid excuse for being homophobic: he said that the reason he is homophobic is that because he didn't like a TV personality and therefor he is homophobic to every homosexual men. he also said that he has kissed a guy before and didn't liked it. i don't believe him one bit. the other guy however doesn't say it out loud in public, but says that he doesn't like gay people. oh and btw they both watch lesbian porn. once the first guy tried to pick on me and call me gay to get a reaction from me and i asked him back "what if i'm gay?" and they got really uncomfortable. the first guy is really insecure and he tries to play really confident, but when he gets too confident, i slowly pick him apart and trigger him sometimes. he is so pretentious!

  27. I'm loving these video essays, but I so often can't hear the difference between "gays" and "gaze" so some sentences come across as really weird before I rewind XD.

  28. 21:00 actually, it’s even frowned upon in movies portraying heterosexual relationships! Men telling women they love them or expressing their feelings in an open manner gets a movie labelled as “chick flick”. Like, what women want a man to be, but not “how a real man should be, who cares what women want”. Stereotypical, over-the-top, even ridiculous (to the point of exclusive homosociality) masculinity is portrayed as absolute good and the best thing a person can achieve in this world. Harms men A LOT.
    It is funny how some male directors and screen writers try so hard to distance themselves from feminine and “gay stuff” at the same time, but end up obsessing with male bodies and masculine traits like the gayest gays ever gayed.
    Very interesting topic)

  29. the me who did gender studies in college: "male gaze" refers to the depiction of women in media through the lens of heteropatriarchal sexual desires
    my dumb brain: haha male gays that's what the video is about

  30. If you wanna see an aggressively homosexual movie I highly recommend The Living End by Gregg Araki.

  31. Marvel, preparing a pitch for Disney for the new Avenger's movie: just a second! shoves Loki in a closet I'm almost ready! throws Maria Rambeau out a window Your mind is gonna be blown! puts a wedding ring on Steve's finger.
    Did I just imply that Marvel is a young queer hiding his pride flag and his hot boy posters in his dorm room away before his conservative parents come over so they don't suspect? Maaaaybe

  32. As a gay man, I still do a "no homo bro" for jokes, and when I see these movies they're even funnier on top of their cheesy shlock.

    I said similar things prior to accepting my homosexuality.

  33. Point Break is great and Kathryn Bigelow is great. Strange Days is one of my all time favorite movies. It is incredible. Both films use action movie tropes in interesting ways, not only in terms of the genre but gender as well.

  34. It's interesting that when you discussed the refusal of queer readings because men don't open up to each other that most of the movies (Die Hard, American Ninja, The Last Boy Scout, Lethal Weapon) feature black and white duos. I do think there's also a refusal to believe the characters could be queer because they are of a different race. Even today fans resist queer readings of interracial duos.

  35. Brilliant video-essay, love the analysis and approach. One thing: I’d like to send this to a friend of mine who’s deaf, as he’d appreciate it a lot. But youtube’s auto-generated captions are a nightmare for him (and frankly anyone who’s hard of hearing), so I can’t. Any chance you could upload your scripts as captions, or provide them in another way? It’s a little extra work, I know, but would be worth it for the accessibility…

  36. I wonder. Do you think the writers and filmmakers of Captain Marvel sought invert the 80's/90's partner formula with Carol and Maria?

  37. The "It wouldn't play well in China" argument does have some merit, unfortunately. China is a huge market – a lot more people than the US – and studios want a slice of that. This means meeting the demands of Chinese censors, who generally disapprove of openly homosexual characters. You can subtly imply homosexuality, but that's as far as it goes, and even that might be too much. It's also why the larger studios tend to shy away from depicting any military confrontation with China in their action movies now, and stick to the safe staples like nazis and aliens.

  38. One interpretation of the throw away line by Matrix in the beginning of Commando could be that he didn't mean subversive as a general term applying to all of Boy George, just the openness with which he is in publicly gay figure.

    matrix is known special forces operative, someone used to keeping things secret and operating in the shadows. It's a stretch, but it's not too far fetched to see that simple distancing as a potential in to describe that Matrix is Homo aligned, just not open about it–which is fair for the time period.

  39. The show Brooklyn 99 has my favorite portrayal of a close male friendship, between Jake and Boyle. I can't think of another example of male friends who are so close and without any homophobia in their relationship.

  40. The fact that a man mourning the loss of a brother "as though they were lovers" comes off retrospectively as "coded gay" says a lot about male oppressed emotion in our culture. I'm reminded of being in college and seeing straight female friends being casually physically and otherwise openly affectionate with each other and being jealous that it was considered socially unacceptable for me and my male buddies to be as open.

  41. Also, I'm curious if you've seen the show HAP AND LEONARD (or read the amazing books they're based on by Joe R. Lansdale)…in which we have an 80s throwback buddy-duo, except where one is white and explicitly straight and the other is black and explicitly gay, while inhabiting an overtly homophobic and racist world, where such problems aren't simplistically handwaved away with lazy shorthand you've addressed in other vids.

  42. What is interesting for me in your analysis of Commando is that you just poked fun about protagonists name, but to me it exemplifies one more important trait in film's portrayal of gender and sexuality. "Matrix" in ancient platonic and aristotelean philosophy refers to receptacle, the place where all the life is born and also womb and motherhood. And given that the mother of the hero's daughter is nowhere to be found it's symptomatic that John himself has family name Matrix, in a sense he is the mother, meaning not only disavowal of homosexuality but foreclosure of feminity and women.

  43. Do we really have to count superhero movies as action movies? I feel like there is a clear difference between the two

  44. I don't think it's possible to watch an 80's action movie as an adult in the modern age and not come away from it thinking that it's super gay. Predator especially.

  45. Pretty interesting video, probably most guys straight guys have never thought about movie characters this way.

  46. As a heterosexual cis male with almost exclusively female friends, many of them queer or bi or any other variation than heterosexual, I talk about the male depiction of male friendships every now and then.

    I personally am sad how few male friendships in media are allowed to be shown as deep and emotionally affectionate.
    The thing is, that I yearn for real friendship in movies and shows and such, while many of my friends want these budding friendly relationships to mean more, to have a romantic part, because they want gay representation.

    And while I understand it and agree that we need more of that as well, pure male friendship seems to be something that may be lost here due to a certain lack of nuance, since those male friendships often either turn romantic or need the "no homo, bro" validation.

  47. Although I would argue that in the 80s – it was considered a bit taboo to display interracial love interest. It doesn’t take away from your argument tho cuz they never pair him with a love interest. Her presence fill the woman spot void in the film

  48. Venture Bros has a really cool relationship between Brock and Shoreleave, a heterosexual and loudly homosexual, and its presented so well no one questions it or thinks its weird, they have like pet names and in jokes but they both just do commando/ninja/action things. Its really great and really refreshing, you should look into it, this would be season 4 on

  49. You put into very eloquent (and often hilarious) words the thoughts so many people have had about these hypermasculine movies and films.

  50. No homo. But good grief Dolphin Lundgren looks like a freaking Nazi poster boy. How didn’t this guy get to be a bigger star? LMAO!!

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