T hey hated each other at first. One was a brash live wire on the edge; the other a set-in-his-ways grump who feared change. But thanks to adversity, high jinks and an unlikely brotherhood — oh, and Funyuns — these two men learned to love, respect and mercilessly mock each other.
The plot of Lethal Weapon? Nope, we're talking about Sean Daly and Steve Spears, who will be side by side at the cineplex today for the opening of new "buddy movie" Due Date, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis. Directed by The Hangover's Todd Phillips, Due Date's arrival has inspired best chums Daly and Spears to debate the all-time top buddy movies:
SEAN DALY: You know why we're pals? 'Cause we agree on everything. For instance, the No. 1 buddy movie of all time — an astute examination of male rituals, the complexities of bonding and a high body count — is Lethal Weapon. Riggs and Murtaugh, baby! "Have you ever met anybody you didn't kill?" "Well, I haven't killed you yet."
STEVE SPEARS: First of all, Lethal Weapon 2 is the rare sequel that's better than the original, so you're wrong there. Plus, my wayward pal, there is no Lethal Weapon in 1987 without the grit and urban honesty of 48 Hrs. in 1982. "There's a new sheriff in town. And his name is Reggie Hammond. So y'all be cool. Right on."
DALY: You want to play that game, Mr. IMDB? Okay, fine, then there is no 48 Hrs. without Silver Streak, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid before that, and Some Like It Hot before that. Should I keep going?
SPEARS: Don't forget Twins.
DALY: You're messing with me now, aren't you?
SPEARS: Tango and Cash.
DALY: Stop it!
SPEARS: Turner and Hooch.
DALY: You know who we are? Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon in Grumpy Old Men, an underrated buddy movie for sure. "Do me a favor. Put your lip over your head … and swallow."
SPEARS: Once again, your rampant sexism is showing. Because you'll never say it, I will. The all-time best buddy movie doesn't star dudes at all; it's Thelma and Louise.
DALY: Oh, please. Male-bashing revenge fantasy maybe. Once again, Spears is trawling for dates in newsprint.
SPEARS: Let's move on, Rambo. Are you hopeful that Due Date will be a winner?
DALY: I'm cautiously hopeful. With the exception of Wedding Crashers — "You gotta treat cake like a lady!" — the buddy movie is a lost art these days. Exhibit A: Rush Hour. Exhibit B: The Other Guys. And so on and on.
SPEARS: The Harold and Kumar flicks aren't bad. Pineapple Express had its moments, too. But lo and behold, I agree with you. A good buddy flick has to acknowledge that most men, upon meeting another man, start with dislike and build from there. That's harsh, but it's true. That said, the chick flick is alive and well in 2010. I love those.
DALY: I despise you, Spearsy.
SPEARS: I know you do, pal. I know you do.
To hear Daly and Spears' podcast on buddy movies, go to tampabay.com/blogs/80s.