Friendship And Film

I love movies. I always have. When I was four years old I would watch and re-watch movies over and over. I could operate the VCR before I could read. A piece of tape marked the “play” button.

What movies would I watch over and over and over again? ET. Ghostbusters. Wizard Of Oz. Star Trek II. Goonies. Karate Kid I, II, III. Back To The Future I, II, III. What are these movies about? Friendship, really. Strong friendships. That’s what drew me to them. That’s what kept me coming back for more. That’s what kept me hitting rewind. (Remember ‘rewind’?) Sure, the spaceships, aliens, ghosts, gadgets, crazy-things, adventures, and special effects were neat, but the friendships kept me watching.

I wanted these friendships for myself. I wanted ET as my friend. I wanted Doc Brown as my friend. I wanted Spock as my friend. I wanted to have Mr. Miyagi as my friend. Or someone like them.

These were movies with small groups of protagonists or even just pairings. This worked great because I was an introvert. Why look for more friends? Who needs a crowd? You can’t fit 3 people into a Delorean, anyway.

Captain Kirk and Captain Spock, as far as I was concerned, were the archetype for what friendship could and should be between two men.

TWOK - Viacom/Paramount/CBS

Spock: Ship, out of danger?
Kirk: Yes.
Spock: Don’t grieve, Admiral, it is logical. The needs of many outweigh…
(voice breaking)
Kirk: …the needs of the few.
Spock: Or the one.
Spock: I never took the Kobayashi Maru test until now. What do you think of my solution?
(Spock almost-smiles, pleased with his almost-joke rhetorical question.)
Kirk: Spock…
(Kirk is surprised at his dying friend’s joke)
Spock: I have been, and always shall be, your friend.
Spock: Live long and prosper.

But of course Jim Kirk does find a way to cheat death, if only at a price, in the next movie.

Ambassador Sarek: Kirk, I thank you. What you have done is…
Kirk: What I have done, I had to do.
Ambassador Sarek: But at what cost? Your ship. Your son.
Kirk: If I hadn’t tried, the cost would have been my soul.

Later, Spock tries to understand why Kirk would come back for him.

TSFS - Viacom/Paramount/CBS

Spock: My father says that you have been my friend. You came back for me.
Kirk: You would have done the same for me.
(Spock is confused.)
Spock: Why would you do this?
Kirk: Because the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many.
(Spock is slowly remembering Kirk, as if coming back from a far off place or waking from a dream)
Spock: “I have been and ever shall be your friend.”
Spock: “Ship, out of danger?”
Kirk: You saved the ship! You saved us all! Don’t you remember?
Spock: “Jim”. Your name is Jim.
Kirk: Yes.

In college I learned that Kirk and Spock “slash” fiction was a thing. Apparently it was easy (and popular) to see and read homoerotic subtext between the two characters. This was a surprise to me.

Post-college my best friend would be called my “Hetero-Life-Partner” /”Hetero-Life-Mate” / “Hetero-Man-Friend”.

There’s a funny story about that and it was also a surprise to me.
But that’s for another time.



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