December 22, 2013

"Apropos of nothing, you have never seen a man in shorts until you have seen Bill Murray in 'The Lost City.'"

Writes Bob Boyd, in the only comment on yesterday's Amazon post. (Here's "Lost City" on Amazon, in case you've got a yen to see Bill Murray in shorts, perhaps wandering lost in some city or perhaps knowing exactly where he is in a city that somehow finds itself lost.)

This makes me realize that I need to make a list of men in shorts movies (and TV shows). I think of "The Big Lebowski," but what else? There's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," where Johnny Depp plays the role of Hunter S. Thompson. Help me out here. Don't cite examples of men in bathing suits. Despite the similarity of men's bathing suits to shorts, it's not what we're looking for here. And don't include movies where the men are wearing sports uniforms/gear, e.g., "Hoosiers" and "Breaking Away." It must be a major character who is opting to go about in shorts in a situation in which women like me would think: That man should put on a pair of pants because those shorts make him look like a large boy.

By the way, speaking of titles that begin with "Breaking," the TV series "Breaking Bad" begins with the image of an empty pair of pants flying through the air. We never see the main character, Walter White, wearing shorts. Even when we see him with his pants off, in his underpants, the underpants are not undershorts but tighty whities. When not naked or in his underpants, he's wearing long pants like the long pants seen in that opening empty-pants shot. I think the series is a man's search for his lost masculinity. The lost masculinity is symbolized by the flying empty pair of pants.

So let's also work on a list of men-in-pants movies (and TV). Simply wearing pants is not enough for a pants-wearing-man to make this list, nor is looking great in pants enough. There needs to be some Walter-White-level importance to the pants, the kind of meaning expressed in phrases like "wearing the pants in this family" or "put on your big-boy pants."

42 comments:

rhhardin said...

Look for British soldiers in tropical postings in the 19th century.

LarsPorsena said...

Braveheart = men in skirts

LarsPorsena said...

Tunes of Glory = men in skirts

surfed said...

The Endless Summer
Ride the Wild Surf
Beach Blanket Bimbo
Gidget
And for non movie persons...
British, German and Italian soldiers in North Afrika - 1941

As Phil Edwards once opined, Perfesser you are among the "landlocked legions of the unjazzed".

virgil xenophon said...

@rhhardin/

I would demur and say the British (who wore them in the WW II N. African and Burma Campaigns) don't count because of the knee-high woolly/itchy socks that went with the uniform, leaving only a few inches just above and below the knee exposed, giving a totally different look than the one (I think) AA is driving at. Rather, I would simply counter by saying simply observe any public OR private golf-course in America during hot weather to see "mass quantities" of men wearing shorts (mainly Bermuda) on display.

(Of course I guess one could make the same observation about tennis players, except unlike golfers, long pants as an alternative court wear went out of fashion after WW II.)

LarsPorsena said...

Spartacus = men n skirts

betamax3000 said...

Sports Star, But the Shorts are on a City Street, Irrelevant of Athletics. Cut-off Jeans -- cut off at the Crotch, No Less. Half T-Shirt. I am -- of Course -- Talking of Bruce Jenner in "Can't Stop the Music". Photo also includes Steve Guttenberg in Shorts.


http://www.eonline.com/photos/5726/bruce-jenner-olympic-gold-and-beyond/205814

I Would post the link to the Movie trailer, But That Might Be Pushing Things on an early Sunday Morning.


betamax3000 said...

In "Can't Stop the Music" the Pants of Walter-White-level importance -- the Big Boy Pants -- Belong to the Village People. Motorcycle Pants, Construction-Worker Pants: the Pants Signify Manliness, Whereas Bruce Jenner -- Wholesome Olympic Icon -- is Reduced to Boyhood in His Cut-Offs. Only the Village People, it Seems, Can Make a True man Out of Him. I Could Go On.

betamax3000 said...

I Will Go On.

Bruce Jenner is Actually Dressed in Much the Manner of a Seventies Drive-In Movie Young Female HitchHiker, Set Up for the Male Gaze on a Lonely Rural Road, Lens Flare. Not Only Do His Shorts Remove Him from Adulthood, They Remove Him From His Own Gender.

betamax3000 said...

Furthermore -- in the shot of Guttenberg and Jenner on the Street -- Guttenberg is wearing Tailored Shorts: They Were Intended to be That Way. Jenner's Shorts, On the Other Hand, are Cut-Offs. They WERE Adult Pants, But a Conscious Decision Was made to Remove the Adult Status of the Pants and Turn Them into Childhood Wear. Was The Act of Cutting Off the Pants a Ritual? Was it Done Forceably, And By Who? There Are many Layers to This Onion.


betamax3000 said...

What Were Jenner-the-Actor's Thoughts on This Costuming? Did He Realize the Significance of What They Would mean to His Character? The Cut-Offs are at Crotch Level: a few Scissor-Snips Shy of Total Emasculation.

betamax3000 said...

The Village People represent Multiple Facets of the True Man, and By Being Excluded from Them Jenner is Reduced to a Secondary Status of Masculinity. I Haven't Even delved into the Underlying Gay Thematics at Play Here.

Bob Boyd said...


Available at Amazon via the Althouse Portal:

Start them out right with this
"White Christian Baby Boy Tuxedo Suit, Vest, Shirt, Bowtie, Short Pants, Hat"

Bob Boyd said...

oops, forgot the link.

http://www.amazon.com/White-Christian-Tuxedo-Shirt-Bowtie/dp/B005NC802A

betamax3000 said...

Jenner's Childlike Status as defined By His Wardrobe Puts Him in a Pre-Sexual State: He Has Yet to Define Himself. In This Sense the Patriarchal Stereotypes of the Village People represent a Jungian Combination of Father Figures. The Movie is Stating That He Must Choose a Path.

Bob Boyd said...

A very young Mel Gibson and lots of other men in shorts in 'Gallipoli'.

If you haven't seen this film I can't recommend it too highly. Very powerful and affecting story of two young Australians who join up to fight in WWI.

betamax3000 said...

If we Accept that the Village People's Pants Signify Manliness, What Are We Then to make off the Chaps? Chaps are, After All, an Inverse Variation on Cut-Offs, Where the Legs Remain But the Ass is Now Exposed. Being that Chaps are Associated with Manly Acts -- Cowboys Riding Horses, Motorcyclists, etc -- is the Act of Symbolically Exposing One's Rear End an Example of Heightened Manliness? Does it Say: I am So Confident in My Manliness That My Pants Do Not Need to Cover My Ass? Indeed, it Seems to Be Asking for the Ass to Be Viewed, In Much the Manner of a Woman's Backless Dress Invites Attention to the Exposed Area.

betamax3000 said...

Is There Significance in That the Village People Archetypes Do Not Include an Athlete? As an Athlete Bruce Jenner Wore Short Pants: By the Athlete's Exclusion are We Saying That Athletic Competition is Not an Accurate Measure of a Man, But an Example of Men Playing Boy's Games?

betamax3000 said...

By Wearing Tailored Shorts is Steve Guttenberg -- Beta Male to the Beta Male Bruce Jenner --Trying to Increase His Status? Or are the Tailored Shorts His Resigned Acceptance of the Perpetual Boyhood Sidekick Role in Male Society?

betamax3000 said...

As an aside, through the Althouse Portal:

http://www.amazon.com/Cant-Stop-Music-Village-People/dp/B006HAJA7G/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1387727256&sr=8-2&keywords=can%27t+stop+the+music

betamax3000 said...

From Wiki:

Ron White (Bruce Jenner), a lawyer from St. Louis, is mugged by an elderly woman on his way to deliver a cake Sam's sister sent...

Cut-Off Shorts and Mugged By an Elderly Woman: Is it Not Obvious why He Needs the Village People's Guidance?

virgil xenophon said...

I do not recognize this betamax3000. I knew such a person over at TOP, but only his brother (cousin?) betamax3001 initially showed up here. Are we being played? Or is betamax3000 simply confused and lost his way. And just where IS betamax3001, anyway? Is foul-play involved? Inquiring minds..

virgil xenophon said...

I WILL admit and aver, however, that this betamax3000 interloper (whomever he is) is startlingly on tgt with the Bruce Jenner bit. What DID happen to the Peter Pan Dude, anyway? I even hear he is contemplating plastic surgery to shave down his adams-apple (one of the first steps for many males contemplating a sex-change operation) From World's Greatest Athlete to?????

betamax3000 said...

There is No Betamax3000 but Betamax3000. There Will Always Be Betamax3000.

Althouse even Has a Tag for It, Although its Usage Has Lapsed.

Larry J said...

rhhardin said...
Look for British soldiers in tropical postings in the 19th century.


Not just in the 19th century but at least through WWII in places like Egypt and India.

betamax3000 said...

The Director of 'Can't Stop the Music' was Nancy Walker, Known as playing Ida Morgenstern, the mother of Valerie Harper's character Rhoda Morgenstern on the first season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She continued to remain active in show business until her death, playing Rosie, a New Jersey diner waitress in a series of commercials for Bounty paper towels from 1970-90. She helped make the product's slogan, "the quicker picker upper", a common catchphrase (Wiki).

The Themes Intertwine: Paper Towels clean Up Messes. Children Make Messes. Children Wear Shorts. In This Context the Village People are "the quicker picker upper" to Manhood. Obviously.

betamax3000 said...

As Noted Previously, Not Only Wearing Cut-Off Shorts, He is Also Wearing a half-T-Shirt. Yes: Shorts for the Torso. Visually, He is a Boy Who Has Outgrown His Clothing yet Not Grown INTO Something: He Clings to His Childhood Wear in Fear of the Adult World, with its messiness of Sex and Responsibilities. Furthermore, the covered chest yet exposed midriff Brings to Mind a Woman's Bikini. A Beta Male Posing as an Alpha Female?
His Inner Confusion Transcends the Inside.

betamax3000 said...

In the Seventies There was a Commercial for the Product Nair, With the Following Song:

"Who wears short shorts? WE wear short shorts!
If you dare wear short shorts, Nair for short shorts!".

A Man in Search of an Identity, Finding Succor Through Advertisements: He Is Not Alone.

betamax3000 said...

By Conspicuously Wearing the Half-Shirt He is Exposing a Hairy Area of His Body, Such Hair Usually Associated with Adulthood. Despite Dressing as a Child -- His Emotional Age -- He Wants the Recognition of Being an Adult (His Physical Age). The Village People have Reconciled Their Display of Body Hair with Manhood: Why Has it Not Worked For Him?

betamax3000 said...

These Questions, Provocatively Posed by Director Nancy Walker, Provide the Emotional Density of the Film; Without This, 'Can't Stop the Music' Could Be Seen as Nothing But a Cheap Trifle Tossed Off at the End of the Disco Era.

betamax3000 said...

Re: "By the way, speaking of titles that begin with "Breaking," the TV series "Breaking Bad" begins with the image of an empty pair of pants flying through the air. We never see the main character, Walter White, wearing shorts. Even when we see him with his pants off, in his underpants, the underpants are not undershorts but tighty whities."


This also Applies to Ned Beatty in 'Deliverance.'

John Lynch said...

Sound of Music.

Bob Boyd said...

from a Wikipedia entry apparently aimed at visitors from other planets:

"Shorts are a garment worn by both men and women over their pelvic area, circling the waist and splitting to cover the upper part of the legs, sometimes extending down to knee but not covering the entire length of the leg. They are called "shorts" because they are a shortened version of pants, which cover the entire leg. Shorts are typically worn in warm weather or in an environment where comfort and airflow are more important than the protection of the legs."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shorts

cubanbob said...

Betamax meet Thunderpants. Then do your thing.

betamax3000 said...

I Believe Althouse Should Include a Link to 'Can't Stop the Music' in Her Next Amazon Post. Bruce Jenner Will Be Grateful for the Inevitable Windfall.

Dave said...

George Clooney in The Descendants

lgv said...

Bridge on the River Kwai

Flight of the Phoenix (Jimmy Stewart wore pants, thank God)

Captain Ron

Cast Away with tom hanks


lgv said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve said...

LtDangle, Reno 911.
Chevy Chase, Vacation.

Do cod pieces count?

FuzzyFace said...

We're men... we're men in shorts!
We roam the playground, we're always looking for sports.
We're men... we're men in shoooorts.
We know we don't look it, but the during the day we file torts!
Our legs may be hairy,
Be glad we don't shave them, 'cause then you'd see all our warts.
We're men... we're men in shorts (short shorts!)
And one day you'll dare us to pick up and wear 'em in courts!

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Men of the Boomer generation who wear Mom. Jeans, sneakers and t-shirts/fleece pullovers are the ones who look like large boys. Thank your own generation, Professor!

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Men of the Boomer generation who wear Mom. Jeans, sneakers and t-shirts/fleece pullovers are the ones who look like large boys. Thank your own generation, Professor!