Year in Review: Best Bromances of 2012

6 Jan

Rant. Rave. Review. 2012Lets start off the end-of-year movie madness with the lightest and most fun category: Best Bromances. While the Academy of Motion Pictures and virtually every other established film criticism group or professional guild does not acknowledge this culturally popular category, I have chosen to embrace the brotherly love between the male characters in our mostly patriarchal on-screen society. It is always nice to see two males cut the macho bull crap and work/live together in codependency. Now lets see what dynamic duos captured our hearts and brought the laughs this past year.

Life of Pi

Suraj Sharma and the tiger in, “Life of Pi.”

5. Suraj Sharma and Richard Parker, Life of Pi

This pick is a bit unconventional. When one thinks of bromance, it can usually be assumed that the characters are in a buddy comedy. This is not the case for Suraj Sharma and his bromantic partner. This partner is unique because his name is Richard Parker and he is a Bengal tiger. The fact that they can’t verbally communicate makes their relationship very special since Sharma is stranded on a boat with the tiger for 227 days. The two exhibit a very broad range of relational benchmarks between training, understanding, sympathizing, saving and surviving both the elements and each other. This spectrum of emotions makes them contenders in a crowd whose subject matter is considerably lighter in tone.

 

Django Unchained

Christoph Waltz (left) and Jamie Foxx (right) as Dr. King Schultz and Django in, “Django Unchained.”

4. Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

When a man gives you your freedom and teaches you how to kill people, a bond is forged that will never be broken. Jamie Foxx’s freed slave and Christoph Waltz’s German bounty hunter team up in Tarantino’s latest to, “kill white people for money,” in this pre-Civil War set spaghetti western. A unique relationship that is not seen much in big Hollywood movies turns out to provide plenty of laughs and a deeper emotional connection than you might first imagine. In typical Tarantino fashion, the fast-paced dialogue between the two stars is made up of smart writing that still feels organic, which allows Foxx and Waltz plenty of opportunities to play off each other much to the viewer’s delight.

 

21 Jump Street

Channing Tatum (left) and Jonah Hill (right) as Jenko and Schmidt in, “21 Jump Street.”

3. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, 21 Jump Street

21 Jump Street was both a critical and financial success that turned out to be Channing Tatum’s banner film amongst his wildly successful year in Hollywood. It also proved to be Jonah Hill’s best film of the year as both an actor and writer. A revamp of the hit TV series from the late 80s to the early 90s, Tatum and Hill step in to fill the role of a young Johnny Depp (who has a fantastic cameo towards the climax). The film follows the duo from high school, Tatum a jock and Hill a fat Eminem wannabe, to the police academy where they become best friends as Hill helps Tatum pass his written exams and Tatum gets Hill in shape for the physical exams. Then they are sent to work undercover back at their old high school to bust a drug ring. Tatum learns humility as he befriends the nerds while Hill gets to be the popular douche bag he never got to be in high school. This role reversal offers plenty of hilarious scenarios and leads to an ultimate learning lesson in their friendship. Then its right back to the action as you continue to see the great chemistry between the two that will have you laughing until you pee a little.

 

Ted

Mark Wahlberg (left) and the voice of Seth MacFarlane (right) as John and Ted in, “Ted.”

2. Mark Wahlberg and (the voice of) Seth MacFarlane, Ted

A boy will always have a special place in his heart for his teddy bear. Of course, leave it to the creator of Family Guy to take it to the next level. When a child with no friends wishes his teddy bear to life, he made himself a lifelong pal. Fast forward thirty years and you’ve got Mark Wahlberg living with his girlfriend Mila Kunis and a pot-smoking, 9-11 joking teddy bear named Ted. While their relationship is reminiscent of MacFarlane’s Brian and Stewie or Brian and Peter, it doesn’t feel like a cheap copy and never gets old. After another great comedic role in The Other Guys (2010), Wahlberg seems to have mastered the straight-guy role with plenty of room for jokes of his own while others who try often come across as stiff. Most surprisingly, the reactions between Wahlberg and the motion capture MacFarlane seem very natural and are consistently funny.

 

End of Watch

Jake Gyllenhaal (left) and Michael Pena (right) as Officers Taylor and Zavala in, “End of Watch.”

1. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena, End of Watch

Gyllenhaal and Pena prove in this police drama that you don’t have to share blood to be brothers. The love between these two men is greater than the love they have for their respective wives. Never leaving one behind, these men laid down their lives for each other on a daily basis as they patrol the streets of Los Angeles looking for the big three: dope, money and guns. All seriousness aside, when the two aren’t chasing down bad guys, they are joking around in their patrol car just killing time until their next bust. Gyllenhaal’s caricature of a Hispanic person is funny, but Pena’s caricature of a white person is spot-on and gut-bustingly hilarious. They share their secrets and routinely have some good-natured teasing along the way. I didn’t find myself as emotionally involved or laughing any harder this year than I did when I was watching these two partners ride around together.

 

Honorable Mentions (alphabetized)

-Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Taylor Kitsch, Savages

-Chris Pine and Tom Hardy, This Means War

-Jake Johnson and Karan Soni, Safety Not Guaranteed

-Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master

-Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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