Pop Rocks

Pop Rocks: Say Goodbye to Prop 8 with These Closeted Onscreen Duos

On Tuesday, those liberal Satanists on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court's ruling that California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriages, was unconstitutional. Supporters of the ban may still appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, and no new marriages will be allowed until appeals are exhausted, but the future for Mr. Adam and Steve in the Golden State looks much more promising than it did back in 2008.

To commemorate this landmark ruling, let's take a look back at five same sex couples whose forbidden love could never find purchase in the inhospitable soil of 80s and 90s Hollywood.


Raymond Tango and Gabriel Cash - Tango & Cash (1989) I'm grateful I didn't see this story of two rival cops (Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell) wrongly put behind bars when I was younger, or I'd have come away with some unfortunate ideas about male shower etiquette. Specifically, that staring at and making direct references to other men's penises are encouraged, and one should spend as much time as possible naked. Now I realize Tango and Cash were simply struggling to come to terms with their feelings.

Almost forgot, the running joke of the film is how Cash wants to get down with Tango's sister Kiki (Teri Hatcher), which is of course a clever ruse the pair play to throw their intolerant superiors off the scent.

Chris Kenner and Johnny Murata - Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991)

Murata: Kenner, just in case we get killed, I wanted to tell you, you have the biggest dick I've ever seen on a man. Kenner: [nods] Thanks. I don't know what to say.

They say that as death approaches, we achieve a kind of moral clarity. So when Murata (Brandon Lee) is about to get into a potentially deadly firefight and his (almost) last words are dedicated to praising the size of his partner's genitals, well, it doesn't get much clearer than that. The movie also features a scene where Kenner (Dolph Lundgren) kills a yakuza by forcing a hose down his throat. I'm convinced this particular sweaty genre of action movie died shortly afterwards, much like hair metal, because it has just gotten too ridiculous. Showdown in Little Tokyo bears that out. It's so fucking bananas it's impossible to take seriously

John Matrix and Bennett - Commando (1985) Even allowing for the unfortunate fashion trends of that decade (Arnold can be seen in a pink polo and white short shorts during the deer feeding scene), the ensemble Bennett (Vernon Wells) sports throughout the movie could've been worn by an extra on the set of Cruising: leather pants, chainmail shirt belted off to look like a skirt, padlock necklace, Village People mustache, and flat top. It's also curious how Matrix's wife is both absent and never mentioned. Bennett's kidnapping of Jenny (Alyssa Milano) has all the trademark of a custody battle gone wrong.

Side note: Wells also put quite a spin on the leather daddy look as assless chaps-sporting Wez in The Road Warrior.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar