GWJ Man-Movie Master List

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So, based on both some recent discussion here and here as well as my having spent the better part of a Sunday morning finishing watching a film starring the Rock (it was The Rundown, if you must know), I thought I'd start a thread trying to compile some of the forums' best/favorite/most guilty pleasured Man-Movies -- just for those times when members of the forum are in bachelor (or bachelorette) mode, and want to scratch that special Man-Movie itch.

Here's the list I compiled, with categories of my own devising. If the forum disagrees with certain films under certain categories, I'm happy to move/revamp them. Likewise, anything which is blatantly missing from the list/other suggestions from the thread I'll happily add to this first post to keep a master list going. Sound good/fair/fun?

Let's start with a definition:

Man-Movie: n. 1) any brand of film that can be undeniably categorized as "awesome," featuring, but not limited to, action over character; spectacle and gunplay over plot; car chases over intimacy; on glibness over genuine dialogue.

This definition, of course, can be further refined, but it feels like a good place to start to me.

So, categories, explanations, and sample films to get us started -- with links to Netflix so everyone can update their queue.


Gold-Standard Man-Movies

  • These are the "probably hard to argue with" titles -- the obvious ones. I tried to include some which might be a little more out of the way -- both recent and older -- as well as certain series which deserve their spot in this pantheon. Either way, these are the "already in the DVD collection" sort of movies.

48 Hrs. -- Walter Hill defining "buddy action comedy" for the 80s; Nick Nolte as an unrepentantly racist San Fransican homicide cop; Eddie Murphy young and on top of his game? Yes, please.

Army of Darkness -- Bruce Campbell! Boom stick! Legions of skeleton warriors! Chainsaw hand! "Yo, she-bitch! Let's go!"/"Groovy."/"Gimme some sugar, baby."/"First you wanna kill me, now you wanna kiss me. Blow."

Bloodsport -- "noticeably missing" (inspiringsn) As for my part, I know I've seen it, but I'll be damned if I can conjure up any more than that. That said, I referenced it in my Redbelt entry which that alone, I think, earns it its spot as a "Gold-Standard."

The Bourne Identity/The Bourne Supremacy/The Bourne Ultimatum -- Matt Damon, Paul Greengrass, and Doug Liman redefining spy-thrillers for a post-9/11 America, leading to some of the best Bond out there.

Casino Royale -- "Some films i quite liked (as a man )" (Duoae) The first post-Bourne-Bond, and I'm not sure the series has ever been better.

Conan the Barbarian -- "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you... and to hear the lamentation of their women!"

Die Hard -- John McClane, Nakatomi Plaza, Sgt. Al Powell -- why aren't you watching this right now instead of reading this thread! Go! The thread will still be here.

The Dirty Dozen -- "Where are these?" (Nightmare)

Dirty Harry -- "First thing I could think of as missing..." (nossid). Its missing presence from the original list is simply from my having not actually seen it -- which makes this list even more essential, far as I'm concerned. (Doesn't movie lore, by the way, have it that he did fire six rounds, as opposed to five? I thought I heard that somewhere.)

El Dorado -- "...the second best Duke line -- 'I'm looking at a tin star with a drunk... pinned on it.'" (dewlinehokie36) I'm game for any flick that involves John Wayne trying to keep Robert Mitchum dried-out for more than a third of its running time.

Escape from New York -- Dear John Carpenter and Kurt Russell, We have so much to thank you for, but the very least is Snake Plissken. From the bottom of our collective hearts, thank you very much. Sincerely, The World.

Fight Club -- "a gold-standard, I think." (Quintin_Stone) "films with fascist undertones that still scratch that certain itch with American men." (CptGlanton) Both comments equally true, if a bit contradictory -- hence its spot up here at the top.

First Blood -- The only Rambo flick on this list so far -- and probably the only one that legitimately deserves a spot. That said, the lack of Brian Dennehy or Richard Crenna severely cramps the rest of the films, so that alone is worth it.

The Fugitive -- "I didn't kill my wife!"/"I don't care." You can bottle that man musk right there and sell that.

The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly/A Fistful of Dollars -- (Quintin_Stone/dewlinehokie36) Would I be revoking my Man Card if I admitted that I have a copy of The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly that's been sitting, unwatched, for quite awhile now? Like, enough months that we might refer to them as "over a year."

The Guns of Naverone -- As the Netflix synopsis puts it: "Can a commando team of Allied soldiers and Greek partisans (including Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn and David Niven) succeed in doing the impossible?" Answer: Duh. Plus: it's a film about dudes going to blow up Giant Nazi Guns. If ever there was a movie which defined a Man-Movie...

Hot Fuzz -- "= Bad Boys + Point Break + Shaun of the Dead" (Quintin_Stone) Another one I kicked myself for not including.

Raiders of the Lost Ark/Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom/Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade -- The original trilogy, so duh. (And for my money, Temple of Doom might earn a spot in a different category, but it's probably best to treat this trilogy as a whole.)

Jaws -- Raise your hand if you care that the Mythbusters debunked the compressed-air climax? Nobody? Yeah, that's 'cause it was awesome.
Kelly's Heroes -- It's a simple equation: Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles, and Donald Sutherland + stealing gold from Nazis = awesome.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang -- Shane Black's simultaneous love letter/apology for calcifying the "buddy action comedy" for the late-80s/90s is worth every frame of its returning-Robert-Downey-Jr.-to-glory celluloid.

Leon: The Professional -- (Podunk) I'm weighing it way up here at the top, due to my fondness for it more than anything else.

Lethal Weapon -- Gibson/Busey; fisticuffs/fire-hydrant rainstorm. Yeah, pretty much.


Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels
-- "Guns for show; knives for a pro."

The Matrix -- I leave it to the community to debate where to slot the two sequels, but the generation-defining use of bullet time still stands tall and proud and awesome.

Midnight Run -- One I've still yet to see all the way through, it's hard to argue with the bits I've seen, nor its spot on this part of the list.

Once Upon a Time in the West -- "...needs to be on there." (CptGlanton)

Predator -- I mean, come on: McTiernan includes a shot which deliberately dollies in on Carl Weathers and Arnold Schwarzenegger bulging, 'roid-enhanced biceps. That, plus Jesse Ventura's "Ain't got time to bleed." No contest.

The Protector -- "AKA 'Tom Yung Goong' and 'Where's my Elephant?!' a badass young no-strings-attached martial artist shows off his Thai fighting skills and is mostly an exhibition of what he can do without wire-fu, camera-fu, or CG-fu. Lots of celery pays the ultimate price for the sake of great bone shattering scenes! Features a 5+ minute scene that's all one shot where Tony Jaa takes out like 6 dozen mooks while walking up a big spiral restaurant. Epic!" (Polypusher)

The Quiet Man -- "The first [best Duke line] being Sean Thorton's...'If you say three mister, you'll never hear the man count ten.'" (dewlinehokie36)

Red Dawn -- "WOLVERINES!" This list is quickly becoming a shrine to John Milius, David Mamet, and John McTiernan.

The Road Warrior -- "...the pinnacle of the series." (Quintin_Stone) Considering how much has aped this flick, Gold Standard applies. Reminds me I still need to see it.

Robocop -- It's right there in the title; I really didn't think I'd need more of an explanation.

The Rock -- "Look, I'm just a biochemist. Most of the time, I work in a little glass jar and lead a very uneventful life. I drive a Volvo, a beige one. But what I'm dealing with here is one of the most deadly substances the earth has ever known, so what say you cut me some friggin' slack?" Might just be Michael Bay and Nicholas Cage's finest work.

Snatch -- Who knew Guy Ritchie's sophomore slump would hit with his third and all subsequent films?

The Spy Who Loved Me -- "Some films i quite liked (as a man )" (Duoae) One of the Bonds I haven't seen -- someone more enlightened can please share their thoughts on its inclusion/slotting?

Strange Brew -- "(no 'splodes, but the beer makes up for it)" (Podunk) I know -- I haven't seen it, so I'm a hoser. Reputation alone earns its spot up here, since it was the SNL-movie before there were SNL-movies (like always, it seems, SCTV was ahead of the curve).

The Street Fighter -- "Sonny Chiba playing a real asshole who kicks a lot of ass and only sorta-kinda-eventually ends up doing the right thing."(Polypusher)

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three -- While I'm sure the remake will be filled with fantastic Tony Scott nonsense, the original is still undeniably Man-Movie.

Terminator/Terminator 2: Judgment Day -- Yes, the sequel probably deserves a spot in the "Sistas" category, but both are pretty much Gold Standards by this point. "Your clothes. Give them to me."/"Come with me if you want to live."/"I'll be back." Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

The Thing -- I realized there was a sincere lack of flame-throwers was on this list, until I remembered this flick.

The Untouchables -- Apparently, "the Chicago Way" involves lifting your climax from Battleship Potemkin, but that doesn't make it any less awesome.

Man-Movies Which Are Way Better Than They Deserve To Be

  • Like the title says, these are the movies you're not ashamed to admire and recommend, though you may find yourself defending them just a little bit to the skeptical among us. That said, you'd probably still say there's something of legitimate quality in these flicks, even if they're not your cup of tea.

300 -- "I don't know if 300 belongs in 'Gold-Standard' or 'Man-Movies Which Are Probably As Bad As You Think They'll Be, But You Don't Care.' I love it and I know how ridiculous it is." (Quintin_Stone) "films with fascist undertones that still scratch that certain itch with American men." (CptGlanton) I split the difference and put it here -- I'm with you on this one, Quintin. And Glanton -- your comment made me laugh...

The Animatrix -- "The possibilities and implications the original raises are much more satisfying than their actual conclusions/resolutions played out in #2 and #3." (Montalban) Slotted here more out of influence and prestige than anything else.

Batman/Batman Begins -- "Some films i quite liked (as a man )" (Duoae) I am a huge comic book -- and Batman -- geek, here, but it does seem fair to slot these two here. I might stick The Dark Knight a tier higher, personally, but I'm a bit loathe to add more comic book movies myself, since I'm terribly rose-colored about them. That said, these two are defining Man-Movies, as well as defining comic book movies, so their importance shan't be ignored.

Beverly Hills Cop -- Between Harold Faltermeyer's synthesizer theme, Eddie Murphy's patented "Hee hee hee," and Bronson Pinchot's bad-80s-flaming-gay stereotype, tell me you don't want to watch this right now.

Big Trouble in Little China -- (Ulari) I almost kicked myself when I saw Ulari's suggestion on this one. Definitely a lot of fun, and on paper, highly improbable that it would work as well as it does. Kurt Russell as a kind of dunderheaded truck driver, rescuing Kim Cattrall and the rest of Little China from Ancient Chinese Wizards? How could this one have slipped my mind?

Blade/Blade II -- You all might have noticed a severe lack of both a) Wesley Snipes and b) super-hero movies in general on this list. As for the latter, they would swallow this list whole, plus they're mostly not strictly Man-Movies. As for the former, well I think his work speaks for itself. As for these two Blade films, well the first wins points for the horrible, violent deaths of ravers in the opening scene (if ever God wanted a legitimate reason for the nonsensical violence Man-Movies bring, that's one); as for the second, vampires whose faces split open like a flower?!? Yes.

Déjà Vu -- Any Man-Movie that can be summed up with dialogue from Spaceballs ("We're at now now."/"What happened to then?"/"We passed it."/"When?"/"Just now.") deserves its place at the big kids' table -- so welcome, Denzel and Tony Scott!

Desperado/El Mariachi -- Still only seen the Banderas one, and not Rodriguez's shoestring-version, but since they're by all accounts the same flick, they deserve the same spot. Desperado alone deserves its spot for the bar-room shootout ending with the desperate Mexican stand-off in a room full of empty clips. "...the original is 90 minutes of DEATH and BLOOD packed neatly into a fake guitar case. The effects are appropriately horrid, but the movie is fantastic." (AnimeJ)

Die Hard With a Vengeance -- John McTiernan back behind the camera; Samuel L. Jackson just slightly before he was in every movie ever; and a John McClane who is suffering from a hangover for the whole film. Yeah -- here's one sequel that actually lived up to the promise of the original.

Dog Soldiers -- Scottish commandos fighting werewolves in the highland forest -- and this isn't in your Netflix queue why?!?

Doomsday -- What do you get when you cross Escape from New York, Braveheart, Mad Max, and Rhona Mitra in oglingly-incredible tight pants? Time's up -- if you guessed "a legitimately good movie," give yourself half-credit. The correct answer is: Awesome.. Awesome is what you get.

The Edge -- "What one man can do, another can do." Pure, unadulterated Mamet Machismo.

Equilibrium -- (Quintin_Stone) I completely forgot about gun-katas! Thanks, Quintin!

Face/Off -- What makes this flick work, for me, is how incredibly seriously John Woo takes the premise and its execution, and how his cast doesn't take it seriously at all. Plus: unnecessary doves.

The Last Kiss Goodnight -- While still not technically good, Renny Harlin needed at least one movie in the "better than it deserves to be" list -- for fairness' sake. So, it went to the one with the Shane Black script.

Lethal Weapon 2 -- Definitely in the "trying to hard" sequel category, it wins many, many points for keeping Gibson somewhat suicidal -- which the subsequent sequels slowly diminished. Plus: isn't this the one with the toilet bomb?

Major League -- "What about some sports Man-Movies." (dewlinehokie36) "Here you are, a whole chicken, just like you asked." Oh, Jobu...

Mr. & Mrs. Smith -- One part Doug Liman, two parts hot leads, and none of the intelligence of the Bourne trilogy, and the result is a film that doesn't deserve its own quality.

Ocean's Eleven/Ocean's Twelve/Ocean's Thirteen -- Are they vanity pictures for their stars? Yup. Are they entertaining? Hell's yup. Who in here wouldn't want to wear crisp, clean suits and sit at their card table, if for no other reason than for a chance to stare into Clooney and/or Pitt and/or Damon's bedroom eyes? Um. I mean...boobs. (Whew. Got awkward there for a moment.)

Once Upon a Time In Mexico -- The honorable mention of the "Mariachi" trilogy, this third entry inches its way in here for giving Salma Hayek guns (hot!), and for the sheer brass ones for trying to make Enrique Iglesias an action hero. Kudos!

Payback/Payback: Straight Up - The Director's Cut -- "...goes somewhere around 'Man-Movies Which Are Way Better Than They Deserve To Be.'" (Quintin_Stone) I had forgotten this one, too. I put in the link to the recent DVD Director's Cut release, as I've seen that most recently, and from all accounts it's substantively better -- I just don't remember enough of the theatrical cut to weigh in with my two cents.

Planet Terror -- The best movie John Carpenter never made! Plus: an M-16 with a grenade launcher as Rose McGowan's prosthetic leg (oddly enough: hot, but that new, scary kind of hot)? That alone should be part of the definition of Man-Movie.

The Rundown -- Walken's "Tooth Fairy" monologue alone saved this from "Guilty Pleasure" territory.

Three Kings -- It's Kelly's Heroes for Operation: Desert Storm. Plus: Spike Jonze in front of the camera, and Ice Cube without a cute family. What's not to love?

Top Gun -- "I feel the need...the need for speed." Thank you, Top Gun for teaching an entire generation a) the up-top, backwards down-low high-five that was popular for about fifteen minutes in the summer of 1986, and b) all about blatant displays of unconscious homoeroticism. Plus: Kenny Loggins.

Total Recall -- "Some films i quite liked (as a man )" (Duoae) I've seen bits-and-pieces myself. The Martian prostitute is...well, pretty unforgettable.

Under Seige -- Ah, Under Seige...you were "Die Hard on a ___________" long before the other, long long string of imitators came on board. And you have Tommy Lee Jones as a villain. You are, however, the only pre-approved Steven Segal film on this list, as his later, doughy, Native American-spiritually driven flicks automatically negate his entire earlier filmography from being considered.

The Way of the Gun -- Ryan Phillippe and Benecio Del Toro as two unrepentant con men who kidnap a pregnant woman to hold her baby for ransom simply because they heard about it. Plus: a southwestern town shootout, and Sarah Silverman with a filthy tongue (surprising, I know).

Man-Movies Which Are Legitimately Decent, If Unremarkable

  • You might have caught it on cable, and it's not the first that comes to mind, but when you think about it, you nod your head to say "yeah, that wasn't that bad."

16 Blocks -- Even though it's Bruce Willis as a washed-up, drunken homicide cop (yawn), it does feature Mos Def (yay!), and Richard Donner (yay!) proving he's still got the Man-Movie chops.

61* -- "What about some sports Man-Movies." (dewlinehokie36)

Another 48 Hrs. -- Sequel-itis strikes again, but Eddie Murphy singing a high-pitched rendition of The Police's "Roxanne" gets me every time.

Backdraft -- Only thought of this because it came up in a browse on Netflix while trying to build this list; notable if only for it being a Ron Howard Man-Movie. Plus: fire.

Basic -- A surprisingly pleasant Roshomon-style Man-Movie, with John Travolta not being that annoying, and Samuel L. Jackson actually earning his paycheck, even if he's still being Samuel L. Jackson.

Broken Arrow -- A flick notable for making Christian Slater think that he could be an effective action-hero, it's also one of the few Man-Movies on this list which features a female lead who might just as well be male (and yes, that includes the kiss at the end).

Crimson Tide -- "But Captain Hackman! It's seven years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the relative success of Glastnost! Why would the Russians nuke Washington!"/"Who cares Commander Denzel Washington! I'm going to make those pinkos glow red! Launch all the missiles!" Men in a metal tube yelling at each other for two hours, with ghostwritten dialogue from Tarantino and Sorkin. More, please.

Enemy of the State -- Is it a bad sign when the most believable element of your movie is both Jason Lee and Jack Black as computer experts? Probably. Does it make this movie any less awesome? No -- it makes it moreso.

Falling Down -- (Podunk) Not having seen it, this is the best taxonomy I can come up with blind.

For A Few Dollars More -- (Quintin_Stone/dewlinehokie36)

Knockaround Guys -- A flick from the same dudes who brought you Rounders (which probably deserves a spot on the list, if it weren't for the lack of the 'splodey). Anyway, Knockaround has Vin Diesel, Seth Green, Barry Pepper and Andrew Davoli as friends and sons of mobsters who try to do a deal and get stuck in the middle of nowhere with the deal falling apart and smacking them in the face. More of a heist thing than an action movie, per se, it's got some good gun play -- particularly at the climax.

Rounders -- "Dude. Poker. Of course it's a man movie." (*Legion*)

Training Day -- "Some films i quite liked (as a man )" (Duoae) I quite liked this one, too, but it doesn't seem to want to rank anywhere else. Better suggestions?

Man-Movies Which Are Probably As Bad As You Think They'll Be, But You Don't Care

  • Officially, the most "guilty pleasure" of any of the lists. You quote 'em, you don't really bother defending the quality, but damn if you don't find yourself entertained and/or engrossed, even if you know you shouldn't.

Beverly Hills Cop 2 -- Even as an inveterate Tony Scott apologist, I have a really hard time justifying my love for this movie. Therefore, let's just chalk it up as a harrowing reminder that there was indeed a time when Brigitte Nielsen was seen as a sex object. I know -- it's still hard for me to believe, also, but the evidence is right here on the disc.

Commando -- "Arnold's tribute to one-liners." (JoeBedurndurn) Oh, Commando! You are the 80s Arnold flick that everyone assumed every other flick of yours was, regardless of greater or lesser quality.

Daylight -- It's been awhile, so I'm a bit fuzzy on this flick, but as I recall, Stallone saves a dozen trapped motorists from hundreds of gallons of seawater through the Power of His Biceps. That alone affords this a spot over other "disaster" movies, wherein the day is saved with "science" and "reason" and possibly "logic."

Deep Blue Sea -- Now, I haven't technically seen this film, but I know its reputation and, really, it had me at "genetically enhanced shark."

Delta Force -- Take one-part real-life incident, add a dash of realistic-if-racist/jingoistic slant on the material, a pinch of Chuck Norris, and a soupçon of a rocket-firing motorcycle used at the climax, and you have a recipe for Sunday-afternoon Man-Movie awesome, my friend.

Die Hard 2/Live Free or Die Hard -- Both probably qualify in the "trying to hard" category -- the former, though, has the snowmobile action sequences plus the ejection-seat-on-the-runway nonsense; and the latter? Harrier jet versus a multilevel highway. So, yeah. They both earned their spots here.

Domino -- Take a movie based on the life of a real-life bounty hunter, strip it of most every element which makes an effective biopic, and graft on an ending which, while both highly improbable and insane, also has nothing to do with anything in real life, and you've a Man-Movie du Jour. Add in Tony Scott's headache-inducing, cracked-out editing, and a climax which demolishes a Las Vegas replica of Seattle's Space Needle, and you've a direct line into my heart.

From Dusk Till Dawn -- While not technically good, it does have a) Tarantino dialogue (about which YMMV, but it's still pretty Man-Movie), b) Clooney trying to distance himself from his ER's Doug Ross, c) vampires, and d) Salma Hayek in a red bikini dancing with a snake. You twisted my arm, Robert Rodriguez, I'll watch your damn movie.

Gone in 60 Seconds -- No idea if the original is any good, but the Nicholas Cage remake is notable for a) being so concerned with its premise of stealing cars that it has no time to have Cage and Joile make out (they start to but then remember that they were supposed to be stealing cars), but also for b) having a Turbo Button as a plot device, while trying desperately to keep a straight face about it. Twice, if I recall correctly.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull -- Was it as bad as everyone said? Not nearly. Was it as good as any of the previous entries in the series? Not nearly. Did it make my seven-year-old lizard brain giddy to hear the anthem once again, to see the shadow of the fedora, to hear the crack of the whip? You betcha. In which case, it was worth every penny, for me.

Kindergarten Cop -- "It's not a tumor." I mean, come on! Comedy gold!

The Last Boy Scout -- I've only technically seen the teaser opening -- but rain, football, and a .45? Doesn't get more animus than that. Another thank-you note to Tony Scott is owed, I think.

Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome -- "...one of those guilty pleasures movies." (Quintin_Stone)

Predator 2 -- A Haitian/Voodoo-themed gang responsible for the hellish war-zone "future" of LA in 1999...? I guess. What's that you say? Gary Busey and Bill Paxton and Danny Glover?!? (Kicks dirt.) Okay, movie, I'll watch you.

Road House -- "You're my new Saturday night thing."/"Pain don't hurt." Plus: The director's first name is "Rowdy."

Robocop 2 -- If nothing else, this list is seriously lacking more "brain in a jar" plot points.

Shoot 'Em Up -- A movie whose goal is that every scene ends with a shoot-out? That alone should be reason enough to include this movie; added bonus: Clive Owen using a raw carrot as a (very) deadly weapon...several times.

Speed -- Forget that it was "Die Hard on a bus"; forget that Dennis Hopper's plan is so immaculately illogical that you want to be on that bus to feel like what it must be to stand on alien soil; forget that the film gave Jan De Bont a directing career, or brought the twelve-headed romcom monster that is Sandra Bullock into our lives. No -- just remember that this was the film that tried to sell us Ted "Theodore" Logan as an action star. Just take a moment and relish that for right now. This thread'll be waiting for you to return.

Starship Troopers -- Actually, the only movie on this list that I actively despise, but I felt its inclusion was a) important, and b) intended to stave off complaints about its lack of inclusion. Still -- I just don't see it, myself.

SWAT -- A flick that's probably too smug and sure of itself for its own good, it still has some legitimately entertaining action set pieces and moments to keep it from being "legitimately bad."

Man-Movies Which Are Legitimately Bad, But Hey There’s Lots of ‘Splodey

  • I realize this might be the most contentious list -- and I was generous to some on the list above -- but this is my subjective assessment here, and anyone who desperately wants something bumped up, just let me know.

Air Force One -- "Get off my plane!" is the best catch phrase that this flick could come up with and...nevermind, it's pretty good. Especially out of context.

Drop Zone -- I swear, it's almost like Wesley Snipes made one action film in the entire 90s, and they just changed the title ten times. This was the one about skydiving, and had, inappropriately enough, Toad the Wet Sprocket on its soundtrack. And that's about it.

Hostage -- Remember that movie about Bruce Willis as a washed up cop? Yeah. The most this movie had going for it, as I recall, was a line of dialogue spoken, not from the movie itself, but from my then girlfriend -- as Willis crashes a police SUV into the flaming, barricaded gates of the mansion, she leaned over to me, whispering "My name is Bruce motherf*cking Willis, and this is my motherf*cking movie."

Surviving the Game -- Not much can be said about this pastiche of "The Most Dangerous Game" featuring Ice-T in the hunted role, and Gary Busey, Rutger Hauer, Charles S. Dutton, and F. Murray Abraham (!) in the hunter roles other than a) was there a housing crisis in 1994, because that's a whole lot of talent wasted on this flick; and b) watch it for the Busey monologue about his father forcing him to fight his dog as a ten-year-old child using fire-crackers and a cleared-out fighting ring in the woods, and try not to think, halfway through the monologue, that it was ad-libbed and they just rolled camera.

Torque -- Chud.com said it best. Even with that endorsement, I couldn't stomach more than a third.

Not Technically Movies, But Television Which Scratches That Man-Movie Itch

  • Again, fairly self explanatory -- but sometimes, you want that itch to be scratched for much longer than two-hours, so this is your resource.

24 -- Now up to eight seasons on DVD, here's an unadulterated look at a Lone Man Saving God's Own US of A from Godless Terrorists, Middle-Eastern and Otherwise. Alternatingly frustrating and brilliant, it's a Man-Movie stretched out over twenty-four installments times eight. So that's, like...a hundred billiondity Man-Movies back-to-back.

Burn Notice -- A spy gets burned and has to take odd jobs around Miami to earn cash while working out how to get his life back. A perfect pastiche of 80s primetime action shows. Plus: Bruce Campbell! (Though no boom stick, sadly.)

Prison Break -- Yeah, that's the show where the brother breaks out his other brother from prison using prison blueprints tattooed all over his body. Guess what, though? Awesome.

Sistas are Doing It For Themselves Man-Movies

  • And sometimes, just sometimes, a woman with a gun is not only hot but awesome. This is that list. (And, sadly, at the time of this writing, a little too lean. I know there's more than just these, right?)

Aliens -- While the rest of the series is plenty awesome in its own right, nothing quite satisfies that Man-Movie itch quite like "Get away from her, you bitch!"

Death Proof -- I once heard that Zoe Bell handed every male lead of every movie on this list their jock after filming of Death Proof was over. True story.

The Descent -- A bunch of women spelunkers going f*cking nuts in the darkness of a psycho-cave? I'm beyond there. I've been there and back, like John the Baptist, to preach the gospel.

Kill Bill Vol. 1/Vol. 2 -- A-duh. Just hum "Battle without Honor or Humanity" to yourself until you can get back to your DVD collection.

Resident Evil -- Hear me out first! Milla Jovovich in a tight red skirt and black leather jacket giving a flying leap-kick to a zombie dog in the face? The defense rests, your honor.

Man-Movies That Make You Cry Like a Little Girl (Podunk)

  • I'd explain, but...*sob* Just go ahead and read the damn list, I'll be fine.

Brian's Song -- "Most definitely one has to be 'Brian's Song' (maybe more a sentimental MM)" (dewlinerhokie36)

Field of Dreams -- "You know, if you like man movies that make you cry like a little girl."(Podunk, Haakon7) Another I still need to see all the way through. I've always loved the running gag in How I Met Your Mother that a girl isn't worth your time if she doesn't cry at Field of Dreams.

Man-Movies Which Probably Also Count as Legitimately Good Films

  • The "Thinking Man's" 'splodey list.

Apocalypse Now -- True story: I once put napalm in my coffee maker and set the automatic brew setting, simply so I could say Robert Duvall's line and mean it.

Black Hawk Down -- "But frankly, I can't believe you've left out some of the best of Ridley Scott." (Haakon7) Agreed. One of the best modern combat films yet made.

Bull Durham -- "What about some sports Man-Movies." (dewlinehokie36)

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid -- "Where are these?" (Nightmare)

Braveheart -- "goes in there somewhere." (Quintin_Stone) How about here? I had thought about it, but upon reflection, the quote my family loves (since we're of MacGregor descent, natch) really sums it up: "We're the MacGregor's and we're here to kick some arse." Indeed. Indeed.

Friday Night Lights -- "What about some sports Man-Movies." (dewlinehokie36) I love this flick -- and Peter Berg strikes again. Part of the beauty is that it's just about football -- not football as a metaphor for anything, but just football.

Full Metal Jacket -- "What's your major malfunction, soldier!"/"Not affording myself the chance to see Stanley Kubrick's masterful indictment of conformity in the face of armed service to your country...SIR!"

Gladiator -- "But frankly, I can't believe you've left out some of the best of Ridley Scott." (Haakon7) I'm going with "Legitimately Good" here, though I do think much of Ridley's other work beats this flick out -- still a big, big Ridley fan, here.

Godfather Part I/Part II -- "Where are these?" (Nightmare) Simply forgotten, Nightmare -- no horse-heads in my bed, or car bombs when I visit Italy, yeah?

Heat -- I agree: there is far too little Michael Mann on this list, and I think Heat aims to fix that problem, donchathink?

Hoosiers -- "What about some sports Man-Movies." (dewlinehokie36)

In Bruges -- Colin Farrell in a legitimately good film about the wages of sin for a hitman after his first major job.

Jarhead -- "It's like Full Metal Jacket for the Desert Storm generation." (AnimeJ)

The Kingdom -- Other than arguably dodgy-politics, this one's a taut little thriller that keeps Peter Berg on the map as a serious filmmaker, which is surprising considering some of the other films on his resume.

Kingdom of Heaven -- "But frankly, I can't believe you've left out some of the best of Ridley Scott." (Haakon7) Again, waiting in the "to be watched" pile, for me. Worth it, then?

Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World -- "But frankly, I can't believe you've left out some of the best of Ridley Scott." (Haakon7)

National Lampoon's: Animal House -- "That movie makes me yearn for my college days." (MaverickDago) A complete oversight -- I trust you'll be spitting mashed potatoes at me until I learn my lesson?

Paper Lion -- "(okay folks...I'm so OLD to remember this movie-Alan Alda as George Plimpton)" (dewlinehokie36)

Patton -- (Quintin_Stone) You would think the iconic image of George C. Scott in front of the flag would kind of stand out in my memory, no?

Pulp Fiction -- Almost more clever than good, there's no denying Tarantino's mainstream breakthrough as both a worthwhile Film and a worthy Man-Movie. "Zed's dead, baby. Zed's dead." (Oh, and Quentin -- if you're listening -- about resurrecting the career of John Travolta...thank...you...I...guess?)

Redbelt -- David Mamet's take on MMA and Bloodsport-style narratives marks a) a return to form of a master writer/director, as well as b) just an all around good Man-Movie.

Reservoir Dogs -- Not much to say about this that hasn't been said, other than if you don't now have the fantasy of walking slo-mo down an alley in a black suit and black sunglasses with a pencil-thin tie, then your man card is officially revoked. You can turn it in at the door to Laurence Tierney, who is waiting to pop you in the mouf.

Saving Private Ryan -- Not only successfully communicating the needs, wants, and mores of the Greatest Generation to the Baby Boomers and Generation X, Spielberg also managed to create the greatest John Wayne World War II picture that the Duke was never even alive to see. Everything that's amazing and terrible about war also wrapped around great Man-Movie moments like Vin Diesel pinned down by German snipers, trying to pass a love letter to one of the surviving soldiers. Unadulterated awesome.

The Sting -- "Where are these?" (Nightmare) Been meaning to get around to The Sting. Good call.

The Usual Suspects -- Ah, Verbal Kint. To think there was a time when people actually assumed Kevin Spacey was innocent. Plus: "Oswald was a Certis is awesome."


Whew! I think that's it...

...for now.

It burned off the better part of an afternoon (seriously -- I started before noon, local!), but I thought it'd be a fun discussion starter, so...

What do you think, sirs?


EDIT: 3/29/09, 8:45 pm EST with 50-odd overlooked titles! Keep those suggestions coming!

Some movies that I think are noticeably missing: Blood Sport and any Bruce Lee movie.

First thing I could think of as missing is Dirty Harry.

Big Trouble, Little China.

I assume you left out Clint Eastwood either because it would be redundant or he's getting his own wing of the library.

inspiringsn wrote:

Some movies that I think are noticeably missing: Blood Sport and any Bruce Lee movie.

I referenced Bloodsport -- but if I've seen it, it's far too fuzzy in my head. But, otherwise, I haven't seen a Bruce Lee movie at all -- shocker, I know.

So, where would I put 'em? Any specific ones, or commentary you wanna provide? Please feel free.

Good list. However, I must take umbrage with El Mariachi. While I agree with your assessment of the Banderas version, the original is 90 minutes of DEATH and BLOOD packed neatly into a fake guitar case. The effects are appropriately horrid, but the movie is fantastic. Another one that should probably be on the list is Jarhead. It's like Full Metal Jacket for the Desert Storm generation.

The Animatrix is the best supplemental material to The Matrix that you're going to find. I would stick with those two, and avoid the second and especially the third in the trilogy. The possibilities and implications the original raises are much more satisfying than their actual conclusions/resolutions played out in #2 and #3.

You left out an entire genre of Man Movies--"Westerns". Clint Eastwood's/Sergio Leone's "Man with No Name Trilogy", any John Wayne flix, but especially "El Dorado" and the second best Duke line-"I'm looking at a tin star with a drunk... pinned on it". The first being Sean Thorton's (The Quiet Man-not a western, but still a good MM) "If you say three mister, you'll never hear the man count ten".

Man. That's a lot of categories. Seems a bit more complicated than it should be.

I personally put Equilibrium in "Man-Movies Which Are Way Better Than They Deserve To Be".

Fistful of Dollars and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly go into "Gold-Standard Man-Movies". For a Few Dollars More I put into "Man-Movies Which Are Legitimately Decent, If Unremarkable."

I don't know if 300 belongs in "Gold-Standard" or "Man-Movies Which Are Probably As Bad As You Think They'll Be, But You Don't Care." I love it and I know how ridiculous it is.

Braveheart goes in there somewhere.

Fight Club is a gold-standard, I think.

Hot Fuzz = Bad Boys + Point Break + Shaun of the Dead

The Road Warrior is the pinnacle of the series. Tier 1 or 2, while Thunderdome is one of those guilty pleasures movies.

Patton makes the "Man-Movies Which Probably Also Count as Legitimately Good Films" list.

Payback goes somewhere around "Man-Movies Which Are Way Better Than They Deserve To Be."

Planet Terror probably on the "Man-Movies Which Are Legitimately Bad, But Hey There’s Lots of ‘Splodey" list.

Snatch may be gold-standard.

RSPaulette wrote:

A flick from the same dudes who brought you Rounders (which probably deserves a spot on the list, if it weren't for the lack of the 'splodey).

Dude. Poker. Of course it's a man movie.

Wow, RSPaulette, that's one hell of a list. Add in the various other suggestions (especially Stone's) and you've got close to the most perfect man-movie list ever.

I might add:

The Professional/Leon
Strange Brew (no 'splodes, but the beer makes up for it)
Falling Down

Running Man wrote:

I assume you left out Clint Eastwood either because it would be redundant or he's getting his own wing of the library.

Agreed.

There's a pretty significant lack of Kung Fu on this list. Not to say I think the list is bad, its just missing a lot of quality "HAI-YA!" Admittedly it is actually kindof hard to find a good kung fu movie that doesn't have a lot of down time. It usually pays off in incredible fight scenes but to fit the bill here, I think they have to have an abundance of fight and minimal yakkity yak, which is why great movies like Hero and Enter the Dragon aren't listed below.

My recommendations to repair this oversight:

The Street Fighter - Sonny Chiba playing a real asshole who kicks a lot of ass and only sorta-kinda-eventually ends up doing the right thing.
The Protector - AKA 'Tom Yung Goong' and 'Where's my Elephant?!' a badass young no-strings-attached martial artist shows off his Thai fighting skills and is mostly an exhibition of what he can do without wire-fu, camera-fu, or CG-fu. Lots of celery pays the ultimate price for the sake of great bone shattering scenes! Features a 5+ minute scene thats all one shot where Tony Jaa takes out like 6 dozen mooks while walking up a big spiral restaurant. Epic!

Bruce Lee and Jet Li have some amazing movies, but I'm having a hard time figuring one out that really fits the bill for The List.

Some films i quite liked (as a man ;)):

Training Day
Batman (both the original film and Begins)
Casino Royale
The spy who loved me
Total recall

BTW, i gotta say well done on making such a comprehensive list.... i can't imagine how long it took you to write all that out!

Commando - Arnold's tribute to one-liners.

Hey RSPaulette-What about some sports Man-Movies. Most definitely one has to be "Brian's Song" (maybe more a sentimental MM), then you have "Hoosiers", "Friday Night Lights", "Paper Lion" (okay folks...I'm so OLD to remember this movie-Alan Alda as George Plimpton), "Bull Durham", "Major League" or "*61".

There always Field of Dreams. You know, if you like man movies that make you cry like a little girl.

First, much respect to the obvious work that went into the OP. *fist bump* But Quintin_Stone noted a few that absolutely should have gone into the OP. Also, Once Upon a Time in the West needs to be on there.

For films like 300 and Fight Club, you might do a section called "films with fascist undertones that still scratch that certain itch with American men."

Also, shamey-shamey for not referencing the absolute must-see scene in Desperado.

I agree with all of QS's additions. Payback is a particularly esoteric one, but definitely worth it.
And Field of Dreams, as per Po-to-the-dunk.

But frankly, I can't believe you've left out some of the best of Ridley Scott.
Gladiator?
Black Hawk Down?
Kingdom of Heaven?
All three are in my top ten, along with Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World.

In my opinion, all four should be considered Man-Movies that are also Legitimately Good Films.

Where are these?

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
The Sting
The Godfather (I and II)
The Dirty Dozen

These should all count as legitimately good films too (maybe not the Dirty Dozen, it's just a man's man film).

Wow, nice job on the list.
Am I man enough to post in this thread?
Everything I had to add on the list was knocked off by someone else. Mostly Quintin.

Animal House. That movie makes me yearn for my college days.

+1 Boondock Saints. I'd throw it under Gold Standard.

Lots of swearing wrote:

[color=white]Rocco: f*ckin'... What the f*ckin' f*ck... Who the f*ck... f*ck this f*ckin'... How did you two f*ckin' f*cks... f*ck!
Connor: Well, that certainly illustrates the diversity of the word.[/color]

Not a ton to add to the list of movies but the TV part was lacking!
Band of Brothers: like an even better, longer, more realistic version of Saving Private Ryan
Sopranos: Lots of killing, T&A, awesome characters and inteligent dialogue
The Wire: same reasons as the Sopranos with less T&A. The two toughest characters are a woman and a gay man interestingly. Omar comin'!
As for movies:
Hard Boiled: incredible, early John Woo, Chow Yun-fat actionfest. Plus, Chow Yun-fat is an inspector named Tequila.
Highlander:There can be only one!
Batman:The Dark Knight: the disapearing pencil trick was enough.

Enter the Dragon.

Tag this list, cause it is now done.

Updated as far as MaverickDago's post about Animal House. Others I'll add tomorrow.

Thanks again for the suggestions -- keep 'em rolling in, I want a Master List here, people. Just remember to suggest categories if you don't want me blindly giving them an inappropriate taxonomy.

I had forgotten this one, too. I put in the link to the recent DVD Director's Cut release, as I've seen that most recently, and from all accounts it's substantively better -- I just don't remember enough of the theatrical cut to weigh in with my two cents.

The director's cut removes all the dark humor (all of it), makes the head boss a lady we never see instead of Kris Kristofferson, and completely, utterly changes the ending. I personally did not like it as much. I miss the humor especially.

NathanialG wrote:

Band of Brothers: like an even better, longer, more realistic version of Saving Private Ryan

Yeah, that about sums it up. They were running a marathon of the show last weekend. It took all my willpower to change the channel after hearing the intro music swell. But if I rewatch, I'm going to start at the beginning and it's going to be from our DVD box set.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
I had forgotten this one, too. I put in the link to the recent DVD Director's Cut release, as I've seen that most recently, and from all accounts it's substantively better -- I just don't remember enough of the theatrical cut to weigh in with my two cents.

The director's cut removes all the dark humor (all of it), makes the head boss a lady we never see instead of Kris Kristofferson, and completely, utterly changes the ending. I personally did not like it as much. I miss the humor especially.

Ah. Gotcha.

I was coming at the Director's Cut from the Richard Stark angle, which it's apparently closer to the novel than the earlier version. My understanding of some of the differences is Gibson being much, much heavier handed with the scripting/direction on set, as Helgeland was a first-time director.

I just like that there's both versions out there, kind of like the Harlin/Schrader versions of the Exorcist prequel.

Here's a proper comment for Once Upon a Time in the West.

The follow-up to Sergio Leone's Man with No Name trilogy. Great, smartly filmed opening sequence, plus Henry Fonda as one of the scariest villains in Westerns.

Slap Shot.
The Caine Mutiny.. who hasn't heard of "ball rubbing substitutes" when you get nervous?

Guilty pleasure: Crank.

Male bonding (father son movies): He Got Game. Big Fish.

TV series (but whatever): Deadwood.

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