Thoughts on Kingdom, Church, and Grace from an American living in Hong Kong

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Top 10 Guy Flicks

Time to take a break from politics & theology and blog about other important movies. I was watching Dirty Harry this week and started musing about my top 10 "Guy Flicks" (I'm hopelessly addicted to "lists")

Now to make MY top 10 Guy Flick movies there has to be not just a testosterone driven storyline, but a character or characters who adhere to a strong moral code, even if that code goes against society's mores. Now, I don't care much for car chases and explosions bore me. Instead a top "man flick" must have good guys who fight bad guys (usually against overwhelming odds),say really cool things while doing it, save the girl, and ultimately, serve as a beacon of masculinity in an increasingly metrosexual world.

My top 10 in no particular order:

1) DIRTY HARRY: The movie that started this list. The 1971 Clint Eastwood classic was a cultural phenomena when it was first released. When the liberal policies of President Johnson & the Warren Court were creating an America that seemed to reward criminals at the expense of law and order, Dirty Harry Calahan arrived on the scene to fight not only a serial killer but "the system." 30 years before Jack Bauer, Harry was torturing the bad guy to save innocent lives...and America loved it! Favorite quote: "You're wondering did I fire six shots or only 5?...Well do you feel lucky, punk?"

2)The Three Musketeers: This 1940's classic is a favorite of mine. Gene Kelly and Van Heflin lead the musketeers against the English...and the "system" (Its a recurring theme in these movies) Great swordplay but mixed with a fantastic story and dialogue. Favorite quote:
Villian(during a swordfight)- "Why don't you fight with your right hand Athos?
Athos- "I save my right hand for my drinking."

3) Tombstone: Both Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer's best film. Kilmer's Doc Holliday is so good it nearly overshadows the flawless performances of Russell and Sam Elliot. The story of 4 guys who just want to be left alone but bringdown hellfire when their world and the lives of innocent townspeople are threatened. Favorite quote:
Jack Johnson- "Why you doin' this, Doc?
Doc Holliday: Because Wyatt Earp is my friend.
Jack Johnson: Friend? Hell, I got lots of friends.
Doc Holliday: ...I don't.

4)The Lord of the Rings: Yep, I include all three movies under one banner here. Each part has its special "guy moments" and although The Fellowship of the Ring is my favorite installment the battle at Helm's Deep in The Two Towers has to rank as one of the best "yes we're going to die, but we'll die gloriously" moments in cinema history. Favorite quote:
Aragorn: I do not know what strength is in my blood, but I swear to you I will not let the White City fall, nor our people fail.
Boromir: Our people, our people. I would have would have followed you, my brother... my captain... my king.
Aragorn: Be at peace, Son of Gondor.

5) 300: I think George Bush could have sold the Iraq war to the American people easier if there were a few more caped American soldiers sporting bare six-pack stomachs and wielding spears on CNN every night. Alas, that was not to be. But we do have Gerard Butler as the Spartan king Leonidas leading his 300 Spartans against the Persian armies numbering in the thousands. I'm betting on the guy with the six pack.. The quotes are too numerable so we'll have to go with:
King Leonidas: "The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant, that few stood against many, and before this battle was over, even a god-king can bleed."

6) The Man who Shot Liberty Valance: My favorite John Wayne movie also stars Hollywood legends Jimmy Stewart and Lee Marvin. The story: Before Stewart's character, young attorney Ransom Stoddard, can prepare the American west for rule of law, John Wayne has to deal with a the the evil Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin). Never has shooting someone in cold blood been so justified. Yes, the act is morally ambiguous, but when John Wayne does it, it must be OK...right?
Favorite quote: (Valance trips Stewart in the saloon while carrying John Wayne's steak)
John Wayne: "That was my steak Valance...pick it up"
Libert Valance: "Hear that boy (to Stewart) pick it up"
John Wayne: No Valance I said you!. YOU pick it up."

7) Fight Club: Ok, I'm stretching the criteria for morally strong protagonists by including this one but I have to do it. Now Tammy really hates this movie but I think it speaks to a generation of men who have slowly been worn down to a nub. In a society of increasingly androgynous "girly men" this film rebels against the cultural neutering that is taking place across the Western world and says "No, you will not be defined as a person by your choice in dining set."
Brad Pitt's Tyler Durden secretly hides in every one of us who is willing to admit it. After watching this movie I wanted to blow up an IKEA :)
Favorite quote: Tyler Durden: "No, it is not. How much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight? I don't wanna die without any scars. So come on; hit me before I lose my nerve"

8) The Godfather: The granddaddy of "guy" flicks. I have never met a guy who did not like this movie. Marlon Brando's Don Corleone sets the standard by which all other cinema mob bosses are inevitably compared. James Caan's Sonny is not just a mobster, he's a force of nature and, of course, Al Pachino' Michael. From the moment he pulls the trigger on Capt. McClusky, we know his destiny as the future head of the Family has begun. Once again the favorite lines are too numerable but this one ranks up there:
Johnny Fontaine: (Whimpering) "I don't know what to do Godfather...I don't know what to do."
Don Corleone: (Slapping him) "You can act like a Man!"

9) Braveheart Ok you have to include at least one Mel Gibson movie in a list of "guy films." Gibson has single handedly cornered the " bad guys have killed my wife and/or kid so lets break out the can of whup-ass" genre and whether it be Lethal Weapon, Mad Max, Ransom, or The Patriot, Mel it sure to rain holy fire down on whoever he is seeking revenge for. Of course his magnum opus in this series is his Academy Award winning Best Picture "Braveheart". In it, Mel's wife is murdered (surprise) and he and his merry band of men take on all of England. A classic!
Favorite quote: "Freedom!!"

10) Ocean's 11 & 13: George Cloony and Brad Pitt radiate cool out to about 15 feet in this classic heist series. (But notice how I omit Ocean's 12). Honest crooks who take on nastier real crooks are always a favorite movie plot to any real man. These films have an added bonus; because of the inclusion of Brad Pitt and George Clooney, they camouflage themselves as "chick flicks". By watching them, girls think they have made the movie choice of the evening when it was really you getting the pick. Pretty cool huh?
Favorite quote: No quote here (although there are some). Instead I have to include the scene at the beginning of Ocean's 13 when Brad Pitt is with a crew breaking into a bank. The wall is broken down and they are just about to take the money when Pitt's phone rings. Its a call notifying him his friend is in trouble. Ignoring the money around him he just says sorry to his crew and walks away as they stare on in disbelief. Too cool! Gotta go, a friend needs me.

Ahh finished and yet there are others that come to mind so Honerable Mentions must go to:

* The Magnificent Seven (Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen)
(...This really should be in the top 10)
* The Untouchables (Kevin Costner & Sean Connery)
* Highlander (Christopher Lambert & Sean Connery)
* Excaliber (The John Boorman King Arthur film)
* Silverado (Kevin Costner, Danny Glover, Kevin Kline & Scott Glenn)
* The Right Stuff (Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Sam Shepherd)
* Ironman (Robert Downey Jr.)
* Nearly anything with Robert Duvall


Adam Benner said...

Selecting the top ten "Guy Flicks" is truly one of life's most difficult choices, with too many top-quality films to choose from. Yet I can't disagree with any of your choices! They would each make my list of personal favorites.

And when you think about it, you haven't even broken open the vault of that all-too-popular "Guy Flick" subset - "The Sport Movie". Hoosiers or Rudy would make a fine addition to the list. And of course, any of the Rocky films would deserve some consideration...(favorite scene: Rocky fights large Russian Ivan Drago. In a middle round, Rocky draws blood! His coach: "You cut him! He's not a machine, he's a man!")

Paul said...

Every man reading this is going to have an opinion to add. Here's mine. I would definitely have The Right Stuff in the Top 10. My fondness for Tombstone was tarnished recently when I learned how far from reality the film deviated and that the Earps were probably little more than thugs with guns. I would have Paul Newman in there - either as Cool Hand Luke, the Hustler or Butch Cassidy. BC&TSK has some great lines: "Kid, the next time I say, 'Let's go someplace like Bolivia,' let's GO someplace like Bolivia." And for a definitive Mel Gibson film I'd opt for Mad Max 2 (or now that I'm a Dad, Ransom).

I wouldn't put LOTR on this list because then you're branching out into sci fi/fantasy (no Bladerunner?). I like your argument for including Ocean's 11.

Suggestion for your next post: Top 10 military-themed flicks, e.g., Longest Day, The Eagle has Landed, Patton, We Were Soldiers (coz Sam Elliott's in it!), Starship Troopers...

Steve H. said...

Adam: Will have to do a "sports" flick list soon. I don't like basketball all that much but Hoosiers is still a fave of mine. BTW, Rocky almost made my list

Paul: Kicking myself for not including Butch Cassidy. One of my all time favorites and I completely forgot it: "Ahh ya use enough dynamite there Butch?"

Redlefty said...



Paul Patrash said...

What about some favorite movie quotes as well..

1.) Wrath of Khan

2.) Gladiator
"At my signal, unleash hell!"

3.) Indiana Jones: Lost Ark
" Ihate snakes!"

4.) Scarface
"F--k 'em all! I bury those cock-a-roaches!"

5.) Mad Max
"You want to get out of here, you talk to me."

6.) Stripes
"Chicks dig me because I rarely wear underwear..."

7.) Caddy Shack
"You'll get nothing and like it."

8.) Rocky
"Yo, Adrian!"

9.) The Maltese Falcon
"When you're slapped you'll take it and like it."

10.) Planet of tha Apes
"Get your hands off me, you damned dirty ape!"

11.) Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955)
"How stupid can you get?"
"How stupid do you want me to be?"

Steve H. said...

Good quotes Paul P. Need to do another list of guy comedies when I saw your quote from Caddyshack!

Anonymous said...

nice article. I would love to follow you on twitter.

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