Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

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This third installment in the Indiana Jones saga confronts the logical tertiary cranium of that three-headed Hydra that is male sexuality: the Oedipal complex.

Following his bouts of sexual dysfunction and confrontation with thedreaded vagina dentata, this third installment in the Indiana Jones saga confronts the logical tertiary cranium of that three-headed Hydra that is male sexuality: the Oedipal complex.

Indiana Jones is partly on a quest to discover the Holy Grail and partly on a quest to rekindle his relationship with his father, Henry (Sean Connery). Director Steven Spielberg reminds us of Indy's sexual problems during an opening sequence featuring a youthful Indiana (River Phoenix). The first scene of the film features a phallic-looking rock and later, as Indy is fighting with another boy on top of a circus railroad car, the Rhino beneath stabs his horn up through the roof and right between Indy's legs. Any idiot can see that this is both an icon of Indy's fear of emasculation and a metaphor for confusion about his first erection.

"Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" contains Indy's first implied sexual conquest. After arriving in Venice to search for his father, Indy meets Dr. Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody) and does her. Since Indy is pitching an 0-fer up until this point, this would be a breakthrough moment for Indy were it not for the fact that right afterwards he finds his father and discovers that his father, too, has slept with Elsa, thus providing a near-perfect Oedipal dilemma (not to mention a concept that nearly made me puke Raisinets onto my shoes). It is of no small coincidence that Indy has serious issues about measuring up to his father (they're on a mission where Papa is expert). I mean, wouldn't you feel a tad insecure having James Bond for a dad?

Indy's mission to attain equality in the eyes of his father takes on a ridiculously comic tone because it's impossible. Following a brief exchange in which Indy unloads a machine gun into some Nazis, he turns to his father and exclaims, "Don't call me Junior!" Any cretin can discern this as an exclamation regarding his own sexual prowess. Ultimately, Indy can only gain Henry's respect by recovering the Holy Grail and saving his father's life and defeating the entire Nazi army (again). But even that is short-lived. At the end -- putting Indy back in that place of eternal sexual confusion -- the elder Jones reveals to Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) that Indy was named after the family dog. A fitting end to a series rife with sexual imagery.

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