I do genuinely think that pop culture needs to find a better language subset for talking about the things we want to talk about when we talk about “toxic masculinity”; it’s already outdated and overused, and it’s only been a part of the cultural lexicon for what feels like a blink in time. But it’s so grossly misused in most cases that it has, at least for now, outlived its purpose.
On behalf of that, I looked for other shorthand for litigating toxic male behavior in this piece about Honey Boy, one of the best movies I’ve seen all year*, and The Peanut Butter Falcon, one of the sweetest and most uplifting. In both cases the constant is Shia LaBeouf**, one of, in my view, the most exciting actors working today. He’s really change himself in the last decade, and I think these movies capture that change, and in capturing that change they capture his personal examination** of brutal manhood both from within and without. Two gems, catch ’em if you can.
You can read the full essay over at Paste Magazine.
*Not an actual cannibal, even if it’s fun to sing songs to the contrary.
**2020 goal: Score a sit-down with him and write a profile about this ongoing examination, because I think it’s both startling and vital.