Men Doing Manly Things on Film: A Countdown

I am not a chick flick type of gal. Watching The Notebook nearly fucking killed me and when I am exposed to most films labeled “Romantic Comedy” the result can be uncontrollable nausea or violent outbursts. Some films I enjoy are not exactly masculine (think: Me Without You or any of John Hughes’ classics) & I would seriously kill for a decent female stoner-buddy movie, but my film preferences are far from the ridiculous fairytale tripe that Hollywood markets to the ladies. There are even certain actresses & actors that I avoid like the plague because they tend to star in shitty chick flicks more often than not; i.e. Sandra Bullock, Kate Hudson, Colin Firth. One cinematic genre I do adore is Dick Flicks (term is copyrighted by maryjanefoxie, inc.). These movies have casts mostly composed of men, their plots involve manly activities like warfare or high-stakes gambling, and the best ones can be viewed by a mixed gender audience without complaints. They usually avoid gender stereotypes & hyper-sexualized female characters because their focus is masculinity rather than misogyny. Some of them are action flicks, some are comedies, some are crime dramas, but all of them are Dude Oriented without being Aggressively Anti-Female. Basically, the movies I am speaking of allow me to enjoy men at their best without offending my feminist ideals or my male companions. Think of Dick Flicks as being the type of movie that is Boyfriend Friendly, but watching it doesn’t actually require any compromise on your part. Next time your Dude du Jour is trying to force you into yet another screening of Total Recall or The Rock, may I suggest one of these alternatives?


1. 300: Men love it for entirely different reasons than us females & they don’t even know it. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you what happens in the movie, despite having seen it many times. Usually, I pay a lot more attention to movies with historical plots because I love to dissect their inaccuracies, but this one can do no wrong as far as I am concerned. All I remember is a bunch of sweaty half-naked men running around doing masculine things for two hours & I can find no fault with that. Just peep the screen shots…[If you wanted to like Troy, but thought it took itself way too seriously for being a movie about shit that might not have even happened... this movie is for you.]


2. Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels: This Guy Richie masterpiece combines a kick ass soundtrack, a cast of accented hotties, and an interesting plot full of twists and turns that entertains gals & guys alike. If you’ve seen Snatch but have yet to view Lock, Stock… trust me, this one deserves to be high up on your Netflix queue. As was the case with Snatch, repeated viewings maybe necessary in order to fully enjoy this film. Those British accents take a minute to get used to & their slang is unfamiliar, but key to several excellent one-liners. Can I mention, once again, how much I love Jason Statham? He will always be my Turkish. [This is a film for fans of Guy Richie, of British working class blokes, or of fast paced plots that don’t allow for much blinking]


3. The Boondock Saints: This tale of Irish-born twin brother vigilantes cleaning up Boston’s mean streets is full of gun fights, organized crime villainy, and questionable morals… Just like action films should be! The Luck of the Irish, or maybe the hand of God, aids the twosome in their quest to take down local gangsters & they are joined by their dip-shit pal Rocco a long-term lackey for the Mob, their absentee gun-slinging father, and a homosexual sympathetic federal agent, played by William Defoe. Lots of topless moments (males, of course), fisticuffs, and witty dialogue. Watch the deleted scenes on the DVD version for some completely appropriate full frontal male nudity! Damn, I love me an Irish boy. I love two of ‘um even more. [You’ll like this one if you like action movies. It’s a pretty basic formula of guys, guns, and gangsters.]


4. Young Guns: Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Charley Sheen, Dermot Mulroney… all in their hay-day? Need I say more? [For you if you like Tombstone or similar modern-made Wild West-set films about justice, revenge, & a man’s duty.]


5. Casino: My favorite gangster movie ever. Joe Pesci, Robert Di Nero, Sharon Stone, shallow graves, gangland politics… it don’t get much better. This one is less about the hottie-factor of it’s actors & more about the way machismo can fuck everything up. Feminist or not, I want to bitch-slap Sharon Stone’s character every time I watch her piss away that magnificent closet full of clothes, all those gems & gold jewelry, not to mention the life insurance policy that is a mobster husband! Once she ties her kid to the bed so that she can go out in that god-awful gold pantsuit, I can only shake my head & mutter “dumb ass fucking broad”. No sympathy for the dipshits, y’know? [If you enjoy any of the other movies starring Joe Pesci & Robert Di Nero as Italian mobsters, you’ll like this one]


6. Reservoir Dogs: A botched bank job leads to tense times in this Quentin Tarantino classic. Mr. Pink (Steve Bushemi), Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen), Mr. White (Harvey Keitel), Mr. Blue (Some Old Dude), Mr. Brown (Tarantino), and Mr. Orange (Tim Roth) are probably my favorite of Hollywood’s bank robbers, successful or not. I cannot hear Stuck in the Middle With You without recalling that infamous ear slicing scene! This movie showcases Tarantino’s genius beyond a shadow of a doubt, in my opinion. The scene following the first one in the diner, when all the men walk in slow-mo while Little Green Bag plays & the opening credits roll, is damned smooth. Watching it makes me feel all gangsta’ & shit. [This is your kind of movie if Quentin Tarantino’s other gems entertained you, if your a fan of classic black-and-white heist movies, or if you just like a little grime with your undercover cop drama]


7. Fight Club: In real life, a fight club would seem infantile & ridiculous. In this movie it’s sublime in it’s hyper-masculinity, isn’t it? I am not a Brad Pitt fan, but even I can no longer deny his beauty after viewing this movie. Edward Norton is no ugly duckling either. Plus, you have an anti-authoritarian plot (fuck the capitalist system that enslaves us all!), power ballad enthusiast Meat Loaf sporting man tits, & the wonderful Helena Bonham Carter co-staring in this David Fincher film. I am Michelle’s stimulated frontal lobe…  [If you enjoy giving The Man a double helping of The Bird or if you just want to watch a dude go bat-shit crazy & lose control of his own head, this is the film for you]


8. Pineapple Express: A stoner-buddy action film birthed by Seth Rogan, Evan Goldberg, and Judd Apatow? Pure fucking cinematic gold! It’s a great comedy, a great action flick, and a great look at the one aspect of male-hood that I am truly envious of… dude friendships. Of course any real “I love you, Man” moments are followed by a series of gay jokes to temper the emotional depth of the scene, but isn’t that how most hetero- guys are when it comes to showing the bros love? Besides, Seth Rogan & James Franco are the most believable pothead characters since Half Baked gave us Thurgood Jenkins, Scarface, Kenny, & Brian. [If you loved Superbad & Forgetting Sarah Marshall but can do without the romantic sub-plots, this movie is for you]


9. The Departed: Combine several of my most favorite flavors of Man – the American-born working class Irish, the gangster linked to some ethnically specific mob, the vigilante cop with questionable morals – and add them to a complex Cop & Thug story chock full o’ double-crosses and backstabbing, get the ever-brilliant Martin Scorsese to direct it, bake at 350 for 15 – 20 minutes, then TA-DAH! You have The Departed. Leonardo DiCapiro, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, & Marky Mark (HE WILL ALWAYS BE MARKY MARK TO ME) star in this prime example of what a Dick Flick is all about. [This is for you if you like any of those movies or TV shows about Boston’s Irish neighborhoods & it’s hyper-masculine street gangs]


10. The Usual Suspects: I can’t believe I almost forgot to include this excellent film! Kevin Spacey, Benicio Del Toro, & the fat Baldwin star in this crime thriller about a pack of career crooks & a criminal mastermind with the best villain moniker EVER (It was Keyser Soze!). I’m not about to spoil the beauty of the film’s ending by giving away too many details here, but fuck the rest of the movies I’ve mentioned until you see this one. [If you like movies, you’ll like this one]



You might notice that I didn’t mention a single Kevin Smith flick. This is because I do not consider his work to be Dick Flick-ish. He writes about women better than most men can (see Chasing Amy) & he doesn’t exclude them from the View Askew universe or regulate them to unimportant supporting characters. The above mentioned movies lack this feminist aspect. Even if they aren’t intentionally misogynist, they are noticeably female-deficient. Hence the label “Dick Flick”.  So, I wasn’t dissing K. Smith by leaving his films off of my list. On the contrary, I was holding him in higher esteem by applying a broader definition to his catalogue of cinematic works.

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