Buddy System

Understanding men and their friendships.

Buddy System:Appaloosa

Appaloosa is about men and male friendships

Male friendships in 1882? They are alive and well in the new movie Appaloosa. Ed Harris as Virgil Cole and Viggo Mortensen as Everett Hitch epitomize men who don't talk much but have each other's backs.  Just as the men in my book, Buddy System, talk today about a friend being someone who has your back, these guys, who are hired to tame an outlaw theratened town, have only each other to rely on.  Even when Renee Zellweger pops up and threatens to triangulate the men by coming on to Everett after she has begun decorating a new home with Virgil, Everett deftly turns her entreaties away and says, "I'm with Virgil and you're with Virgil."  Every guy would want his best friend to do the same - eschew the woman by stamping the male friendship (and honor) more important.

Dependability, trust, and loyalty are big ticket items when men define their friendships.  Virgil has such trust in Everett that (in some of the more humorous scenes) he treats Everett like a Thesaurus.  "Everett," Virgil might ask, "What is the word I am thinking of that means being held?" And Everett, without lording it over him, responds, "Sequestered."  Friendships among today's men are maintained through communication.  While little is said between the men in the movie, when it is said, it packs a wallop.  Essentially, they only communicate when they have to.  This is true of many men today, too.  Not a lot of communication, but what is said in meaningful within the context of the friendship.

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Geoffrey Greif, Ph.D., is a Professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and author of Buddy System: Understanding Male Friendships.

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