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The Age of the Bromance

I have a confession. I love bromances. I don’t love the word, I think it’s stupid, but I do love deep relationships between two men, whether they’re brothers or partners or old friends. I don’t know why, really. I dig intensity, and I’m sure that’s part of it. You know the movie Blast from the Past with Brendan Fraser? He was kind of a doof. But when he blows on Heather’s knee and gives her that look, it makes me shivery. The only scene I remember of Dudley Do-Right is when he’s on a motorcycle and wearing black leather and once again giving that look. *shiver*

Anyway. Intensity. I dig it. So I really dig shows like Prison Break that give good-looking guys who care a lot about each other a reason to be all intense. I love the Sherlock Holmes movies because of the chemistry between Downey and Law, and so on. But intensity can’t be the only reason. I dug deeper and decided that maybe the reason it’s so appealing to me is because it’s not something that’s ever been part of my life. I have two brothers, but they have different mothers and didn’t grow up together. My dad’s brothers lived far away. I had a lot of guy friends in high school and college, but now? Not so much. So part of it is probably the appeal of something not part of my life that I kinda wish could be. (Just like trips to tropical beaches and season passes at Gillette Stadium.)

Lucky for me, this seems to be the Age of the Bromance. Oh, they go way back, of course. Remember the Lethal Weapon movies? Back then they called them buddy cop movies, but the movie’s center was always the relationship between the partners. Then we had Lord of the Rings, about the truest, deepest, most sacrificing of friendshipsβ€”not just Frodo and Sam, but seven other guys ready to die for each other. After that came a succession of movies and TV shows like the aforementioned Prison Break, Numb3rs, and my all-time favorite, Supernatural.

Today I went to a movie that was a romantic comedy in which the female lead was almost superfluous. This Means War focuses on spy partners Tuck and FDR, aka Tom Hardy and Chris Pine, guys who will fight and die for each other and have no problem saying “I love you” with sincerity, not just an awkward back thump. The trailer looked funny, which was really all I needed, despite People magazine’s reviewer discussing the creepiness of Tuck’s and FDR’s illegal surveillance teams watching Lauren (Reese Witherspoon, one of my favorite actresses) when she doesn’t know it. (The reviewer was right, but it didn’t ruin the movie.) The end of the film gave the romantic black moment and resolution very short shrift, something that would have really bothered me in a normal romantic comedy.

But the bromance conflict was really the point, and these guys did it well. Imagine Mr. and Mrs. Smith without the ridiculous extremes. The guys’ chemistry was great, they were both yummy (though all three leads were WAY too skinny), and Chris Pine is a gifted comedic actor. I left pretty satisfied, though overcome by an urge to watch Star Trek again…another film filled with strong male relationships.

I’m all about falling in love. I’m a romance author! And I read and write very little that’s not romance. But I am so very happy that for once, the rest of the world seems in lockstep with me, and is giving me so much delicious bromantic entertainment.

How do you feel about bromances? Who’s your favorite non-romantic male couple?

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23 Responses

  1. I like my “bromances” clean, which is why I hadn’t really been planning to see “This Means War.” By this I mean: Women always get in the way. Even in great sidekick relationships, Robin has no place once Batman curls up with Catwoman. Poor Tonto’s left holding the horses if the Lone Ranger waltzes away in the West Texas town of El Paso with a beautiful girl…see how I’m mixing up my story lines? Muddy. Messy. Romance OR bromance. I’m a purist. Who probably needs her fiber.

  2. I want to see that movie. I love Reese! I cannot think of my favorite bromance. 😦 Maybe Stefan and Damon from Vampire Diaries. They like to act like they hate each other but they are always there for each other in the end

  3. Danny Glover and Mel Gibson in the Lethal Weapon series
    Those are the first two that came to mind. Great chemistry.

    Will this more thought and come back

  4. I enjoy bromances too, maybe because in those movies, men aren’t afraid to show they care for each other, even if it’s in that purely “guy” way they have. What I don’t like is when they stoop to too much poor-taste humor to get the laughs.

    Lord of the Rings has some great male relationships, and there were a lot of shows growing up that had buddy leads: Dukes of Hazzard, Riptide (with Joe Penny and a pink helicopter), Simon and Simon, Route 66 (okay, that was in reruns ;-)), and A-Team.

    Good topic, Natalie. Got me thinking.

    • YES! I did a post during my blog tour about my love of brothers, and I determined that Simon and Simon and Riptide were two of my big influences that way. I used to LOVE those two shows!

      The A-Team, too, though the others are more one-on-one.

      Poor-taste humor isn’t my thing, either. That’s why I tend to gravitate toward the action movies instead of the strictly comedies.

  5. Part of the draw, I think IS that this isn’t the norm – men just don’t usually bond like women. And even in most of the Bromances I can think of, they bond due to the plot – the tense situation has driven them to a close relationship.

    I love the partnership of Andy and Red. Separate, but together. How could you not love the reumion scene at the end?

    • I think you’re very right, Laura, and that it can be said for just about any kind of entertainment, really. We like to watch stuff that provides things we don’t get in our day-to-day lives.

      You say in most bromances they bond due to the plotβ€”true, but I think that probably happens in real life, too, between people who work in “extraordinary” professions. I don’t know any homicide detectives or get to see people in the military on the job. And hard as I try, I haven’t gotten Sam and Dean Winchester to come save me from a vengeful spirit. πŸ™‚

      I don’t know who Andy and Red are. Educate me? πŸ™‚

  6. What an interesting and thought-provoking topic! I algree whole-heartedly that there’s just something very special about a relationship between guys. Even seeing my husband and son hug brings a lump to my throat that doesn’t happen with the daughters. Maybe because of the glimpse of vulnerability that moment shows which is generally hidden?
    My favorite bromance was between the characters played by James Spader and William Shatner in the TV series Boston Legal.

    • I’m sure the vulnerability is part of it, Pam, but maybe part of it is also that we’re not guys. We don’t see relationships with our daughters (either between us and them or between their fathers and us) the same way because we know what it’s like to be inside it. πŸ™‚

      I never watched Boston Legal, but the chemistry between those two was obvious even in the previews! πŸ™‚

  7. So THAT’S what bromance means! Lord, I am such a hick. I just wrote one and didn’t even know it. And yes, I have to say the scenes between the lead character and his best friend are some of my favorite in my current book.

  8. I agree Pam! That Spader/Shatner Bromance was awesome.

  9. I’ve never heard this word! LOL Thanks Natalie! I learn something new everyday! I loved A-Team and Lethal Weapon.

    • WordPress is a jerk. It told me I’m posting comments too quickly and to slow down, and of course that meant this comment got DELETED. *scowls at WordPress*

      I think I said something like “I feel like such an educator!” LOL Now I need to go watch the “new” A-Team movie again, after all the mentions of it. πŸ™‚

  10. hm.
    on tv maybe Michael Weston and Sam Axe on Burn Notice? I’m enjoying a lot of the play between McSteamy and Avery right now too from Grey’s.

    Movies. I’m kind of blanking here for some reason for one that hasn’t already been mentioned above.

    AHA! Wedding Crashers. best bromance–with their own little black moment of friendship. πŸ™‚

  11. Oh, yeah! Both very good ones!

  12. I really like them and wouldn’t mind attempting one – some people have told me I write guys pretty well. But I’m not sure if I’m that interested in writing a bromance.

    I think war movies have delicious bromances because of the external conflict but even more so when it’s complicated by the internals.

    Enjoyed the post πŸ™‚

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