Monday, April 23, 2007

The Five Best Man-Centric Movies Ever!

**Note: The comments are now fixed-thanks.

Alright, GSR got to go first last time, so it's my turn this week.

I'll have to leave a quick note before we get started to tell everyone I will be an absentee blogger for a couple of weeks. You all have fascinating looking places to read set up, but my ability to read, let alone comment will be limited for a while.

On to the list. The movies available to rate are required to be mostly about and, to a point, targeted at men. No movie fitting that description would make my five top movies of all time, and that is the point.

1. First Blood

We talked about this movie the other day and it inspired this list. If you can get past the incoherent speech defect of Stallone long enough to watch the movie, you'll notice some fairly good acting on the part of the supporting cast. Also, the realism of this movie compared to any of the others in the series is shocking. I have seen many more violent movies, but I have to admit to getting a little squeamish at the life and death portrayed in First Blood.

However, realism in violence and acting are not what make this movie great. The story powerfully demonstrates the trials of reassuming an identity. Most of my appreciation for this film stems straight from personal experience, so I am a truly biased observer. Biased observation seems to be a recurring theme of this blog thus far, so I believe I will rest on my laurel of authorship when it comes to this movie. More than any other soliloquy, with the possible exception of the ramble in Prometheus Bound, I am touched by the climax ending this psychodrama: "Back there I could fly a gunship, I could drive a tank, I was in charge of million dollar equipment, back here I can't even hold a job parking cars! "

A lot of my friends are having a pretty tough time, one of them is homeless, I have nothing but empathy for their plight.

-Casey, I can't argue with this one. First Blood has held up in a way that a lot of other movies from that "genre" have not. There is a lot more to the movie than a man with some big-ass guns and a lot of ammunition. Is there are chance that this will be the first "5" where we are in complete agreement?

2. Rocky

I know, I know - Casey already picked a Sylvester Stallone movie, but this movie is the real deal. The movie is about a broken down boxer and his broken down trainer in the broken down parts of Philadelphia, and every time I see it on cable I sit down to watch.

The character of Rocky is an everyman that you can always root for, and his trainer (played by the dare-I-say incomparable Burgess Meredith) is the kind of salty old man that you can't help but like. Everything from the opening scenes of Rocky fighting in a broken down gym, to the final scene of his fight against Apollo is amazing well done (especially when you factor in that Stallone was the actor AND the writer).

I've never been in a boxing ring, but every time this movie comes on I find myself saying, "Man, I should really take some boxing lessons. That would be awesome." Fortunately now I have a wife that points out what a horrible idea it would be for me to box since I am lucky to weigh in at 160 pounds and I have no discernible muscles. This movie might actually be in my top 10 movies of all time, and before you groan - it did win the academy award for best picture.

-GSR, I agree completely with you on this one. This movie rocks on so many levels. Consider for a moment the fact that it was released in the midst of the cheesy '80's movie bullshit period when people like Tom Cruise and the young and cheeky Val Kilmer (as opposed to the gritty Val that's made his appearance lately) and Don Johnson ruled our collective thoughts of masculinity.

Then You have a movie about a meat packer who takes on the whole world through the escalation of II, III, and IV. V never happened.

3. Over The Top

I have no idea why I'm nominating this. It is a movie about arm wrestling. I don't even know what the studio was thinking when they greenlit the script. It's cutesy and trite, but I can remember more about this movie than I can remember from any of my years of school.

Yet another movie where a hero rises from the ranks of the popular grind and takes fame and fortune from the heap of money that seemed available to everyone in the 80's, provided you did not have a job involving sweat. I should note here somewhere that my dad was and still is a truck driver, and my two brothers and I have an unhealthy fixation on large freight moving vehicles. I love trucks. I took my first steps across the doghouse of a cabover Pete. If any reader knows what that means, I will have a beer with you. The way they smell, the rubber of the tires and the asbestos of the brakes, the whine of the turbos when they go by, the chatter of the Jake brake; I never grew out of wanting a truck to play with.

This movie, where the truck driver thwarts the snotty suit, plays large in all or part of my personal philosophies. Sly wrote this movie as well, so it has the occasional unbelievable dialog, but the depictions are very accurate. He very believably drives the trucks with the skill of a veteran. I can really appreciate that extra effort. Then there's the part where the truck goes crashing through the gates of the rich man, the analogies come easy and profound. If you didn't like this movie, I can only assume you are not only tasteless, but part of society's problem.

-Casey, don't forget the part where the movie culminates in the ultimate (professional) arm-wrestling competition, during which Sly's character is essentially arm wrestling for his truck AND his kid. Talk about fatherly love and devotion.

Since all of our current choices star only Sylvester Stallone, I feel the need for a change of pace:

4. Tango and Cash

This movie stars Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell. And the movie is awesome.I saw this movie when I was 12 and it was huge for me as a kid. Part of it being "huge" was that it was R rated and I was allowed to watch it. My parents were typically very strict about this sort of thing, but my dad stepped in on this one because he was fairly certain that, "That movie will kick-ass." What can I say? My dad is a man of few words, but when he speaks we all listen.

The plot for the movie is hazy for me, but I do remember that Tango and Cash are rival cops who get forced into working together, at which point hilarity ensues. Except when I say "hilarity" I mean lots of guns, gadgets, souped up cars/trucks, and lots of explosions. My older brother (older by a year) and I still talk about how this was a bonding moment with our dad, and we almost forgave him for making us watch Gone With the Wind with our mom. The movie was awesome as a kid, and it is still fun as an adult. As a bonus, the movie also featured a very hot Teri Hatcher and the always-bad-assed Jack Palance. What's not to love?

-Man, I was wondering how long it would be until Jack Palance showed up in this entry. I remember quite a bit about this movie, as it was my first R-rated movie I was allowed to watch. The devil's minivan won this movie over pretty quick. Terri Hatcher is Kiki Tango. Enough said.

-So there you have it. Four of the top five "Best Man-Centric Movies Ever!" Just like last week we are turning it over to you the readers to contribute. And keep in mind - these are not the "Best Movies Ever!" That will be a separate post. And also, I may be able to talk Casey into a "The 5 Best Woman-Centric Movies Ever!" I'm pretty sure the conversation will go like this:

GSR: Hey man, can we do a post about the five best woman-centric movies? I've got some great ideas.
Casey: If I lived in D.C. I would punch you, make you drink bourbon, and puke the sissy out of you.
GSR: So....that is a yes?
Casey: I honestly worry about you.
GSR: ...
Casey: You can post it while I am away for the next week and a half. Let's never speak of this again.

-On the contrary, GSR, I can think of several good woman-centric movies. What was that one where Raquel Welch was a cave-woman?

Thoughts/ideas in comments.

*Last weeks Winner was judged and decided as Paradise City by Guns-N-EFFING-Roses, with Sister Christian taking a close second.


heather said...

ok, so stallone = man-centric. explains how he made so much money with so little talent.

Lord Chimmy said...

This is an interesting (and acceptable) choice of man-centric movies. However, you’re overlooking one of the most man-centric movies. I can understand how it happened…you got caught up in a haze of Stallone euphoria. But, the most man-centric movie of all time is…PREDATOR. No? That movie has all the elements of man-centricness.

1). Plot- A team of commandos, on a mission in a Central American jungle, find themselves hunted by an extra-terrestrial warrior.

2). Quotes- Come on... Come on! Do it! Do it! Come on. Come on! Kill me! I'm here! Kill me! I'm here! Kill me! Come on! Kill me! I'm here! Come on! Do it now! Kill me!

Judge the quote content for yourself. I think you’ll find it very testosterone laden.

3). Ultimate Men of Action- Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, Bill Duke (the man who trademarked the “thousand yard stare”), and former 1970s porn star Sonny Landham. YES, a former porn star. Boom chicka wow wow!

4). Senseless use of firepower- Who doesn’t recall the “infinite ammo” scene where every member of the commando team fired into the jungle for 5 minutes?! Or the scene where Dillion (Carl Weathers) gets his arm shot off by the Predator and as his arm is falling to the jungle floor it is still firing his Uzi!

5). Lots of killing- Everyone dies except “Dutch” and the film commences in a small nuclear explosion.

That’s it…the cream of the crop when it comes to man-centric movies. I thought about what other movies to include, and I gave an “honorable mention” to Fight Club, and a “nice try award” for Frank Miller’s 300, but ultimately these movies fall short of the vision (or lack thereof) that is “Predator.”

This movie is the sole reason Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger were elected as governors. It was THAT manly.

Grad School Reject said...

Heather - That would be "Academy Award Nominated" no-talent-Stallone to you, thank you very much.

Chimmy - I bow before you. That is an excellent submission to round out the top 5, and it will be hard to beat. Maybe Carl Weathers (also known as Apollo Creed from Rocky, II, III, and IV) is part of the secret? But the references to Ah-nuld and Jesse -the Governor - Ventura really clinched it for me. If Casey gets to read this, I'm sure he will approve

Momentary Academic said...

What about Big Trouble in Little China. That movie screams man-centric. Yes!

heather said...

it was a slow year and he has connections to people who can cause a lot of physical harm.

Girl on the Verge said...

You guys are freaking hilarious. I love the Over the Top choice. Arm wrestling and I still on occassion mockingly sing the theme song... Meet me halfway across the sky. And Tango and Cash is a CLASSIC. I remember using the phrase FUBAR'd as often as possible because I thought it was so cool,hey it was 1989. Fine I was a dork.

Grad School Reject said...

MA - Excellent pick and another Kurt Russell movie. I loved that movie as a kid.

Heather - Let's be clear: You can hate on Sly all you want, but please tell me that you like Rocky. :)

Girl on the Verge - Welcome, and thanks. I meant to reference FURBAR'd in the post and completely forgot. That is one of the bullet points for why the movie is great.

Jill said...

In the absence of Casey, I nominate myself to co-author a Five with GSR.

Airam said...

I'm going with Team America: World Police. Do animated films count?

heather said...

so sorry gsr, but i'm trying to quit the 'lying so that i don't have to see yet another grown man cry' habit. and just so that it doesn't come as a shock to you later i don't like jim carrey either. at all.

Megarita said...

ROADHOUSE!! How can you forget? I'm also a huge fan of Arnold in these movies: the first and second Terminators, Predator (if it bleeds, we can kill it [hmmm seems Chimmy beat me to this]), and I also love First Blood. The others? Eh...I've watched 'em, I'll watch 'em again.

Grad School Reject said...

Jill - Casey has to grant his permission, but I'm pretty sure something could be worke out.

Airam - To quote Wedding Crashers, "I like where your head's at."

Heather - Just submit to Stallone. I'll let you keep your hatred of Jim Carrey.

Megarita - Holy crap! ROADHOUSE! I want to go rent that right now. The scene where Patrick Swayze's character "ends" the fight by ripping out the other guy's throat with his bare hands? Awesome.

mysterygirl! said...

Oooh, isn't Roadhouse the one where the guy smashes through the glass table? Gross!

Would something like Scarface be considered a man-centric movie? Or does it not have the requisite boobage?

Claven said...

Call me close-minded, but I gotta go with Conan the Barbarian for the "what is best in life" lines alone. Close second to Resevoir Dogs, simply because all guys seem to think its Tarantino's best. And most women I know who like Tarantino still don't like Reservoir Dogs.

heather said...

the only scene i really remember from roadhouse was in the back room of the bar, i seem to remember there was some fighting in that movie too....
gsr dear, i'm not the submisive type. sorry. ;-)

Darren said...

How in the name of Jesus Christ can you have a list like this and not mention Braveheart?

It has to be one of the biggest guy centric movies of all time.

spacey_december said...

Tango and Cash? Not really.

Here is what my list would look like. Because I am new to blogs and am quite mindful of opinions, I'll enlist these...

a) There will be blood (DDL)
b) Midnight Run (RDN)
c) Oldboy
d) Man on the moon
e) American History X

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