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20 Movies Every Guy Should Own


I have a pretty healthy DVD collection, which stems from a pretty unhealthy commitment to blowing the majority of my earnings on DVD’s.  My number is right around 500, which is quite a bit, but not even a pebble compared to others .  Most people raise an eyebrow when they see my stacks of movies, but none more than women.  They usually notice three things: 1) I have a lot of DVD’s 2) they’re alphabetized 3) and I have very few female-friendly flicks.  No wonder I’m single.  I have a few staple chick flicks (The Notebook, When Harry Met Sally…, You’ve Got Mail, Say Anything), but they constitute a mere sliver of the overall pie chart.  So one of two things needs to happen:  1) I have to tap into my inner ovaries or 2) I need to find girls who appreciate an alternative story to boy-meets-girl-boy-loses-girl-boy-holds-a-boombox-over-his-head-and-gets-girl-back.

I’m going to plan on the latter happening.  It’s settled.  But until that happens, I am going to select the top 20 movies every guy should own.

RAGING BULL

There has to be at least one

Martin Scorsese film on here, because he makes movies guys love.  It was between this, Taxi Driver and Goodfellas, and as much as I enjoy those two, I prefer Jake LaMotta’s story much more (and this is my favorite DeNiro-Pesci pairing).  It’s black and white, it’s super-gritty, and it’s a story that only a man could really appreciate: the heartbreak of seeing a man of this talent deteriorate because of his own demons. 

THE GODFATHER

It simply has to be the greatest, or close to the greatest, American film ever.  Do I need to mention the cast?  Marlon Brando.  Al Pacino.  Robert Duvall.  John Cazale.  James Caan.  Iconic scene after iconic scene.  For what it’s worth, this is a film even a woman could get into, because Diane Keaton and Talia Shire shine as well.

EVIL DEAD II

There has to be a horror flick on here and this is a rare one with a male protagonist.  This is a good one to gather up some buddies, get a massive amount of beer (or whatever gets you where you need to be), and have one of the best times you’ll ever have watching a movie.  Bruce Campbell is kind of a bitch in the first flick, but here he supercharges the camp and kicks some serious ass, becoming a male icon in the process.  Who wouldn’t want that chin??

SUPER TROOPERS

This movie satisfies so many male needs: stoner humor, a hot chick, five hilarious guys, and Brian Cox.  Just mention Farva to any male worth his salt and they’ll probably reply with  “Say ‘Car Ramrod’!” or “I don’t want a large Farva…I want a goddamn liter of cola!” It’s brutally hysterical and, when you break it down, really centers on the friendship of these five guys.  The fellas are a great alternative to dick and fart humor, it’s just plain clever and witty.

BOOGIE NIGHTS

This is a no-brainer: a film about porn starring Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, John C. Reilly, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, and Luis Guzman, while also featuring the stimulating attributes of Heather Graham, amongst others.  Sold.  Not to mention it’s directed by a current top-5 director in Paul Thomas Anderson, another guy who makes movies that guys love and girls never seem to understand.  It’s deductive to say it’s only about porn, but the film is based on the industry in its heyday in the 1970’s.  Any guy would at least be interested in that angle, then get stuck watching a brutal and gut-wrenching story.

FIGHT CLUB

This is truly a film about guys, specifically the disenfranchised men who are looking for a way to conform outside of the norm.   The testosterone is immeasurable, especially with the Tyler Durden character basically acting as the center or anti-hero of the flick.  It’s a guys movie about what guys feel like today.

FULL METAL JACKET

The list needs a few war movies, and a Stanley Kubrick movie.  This satisfies both.  The first half is possibly the most well-known first half of a war film ever.  Granted, the quality decreases slightly as the film proceeds, but the boot camp portion is classic. And for the reason alone it makes this list.  Vincent D’Onofrio owns the first hour, first evoking pity, then hatred.  As a man, you must be able to identify and quote R. Lee Ermey’s drill sergeant from hell.  I have no doubt his character scared several young men from enlisting in the military.

THE DOLLARS TRILOGY

Just as Kubrick and Scorsese needed to be here, so too does Clint Eastwood: the ultimate man’s man.  He’s plays the anti-hero with no name, no ties, and no reservations about killing for self-preservation.  He plays a gun-for-hire, a bounty hunter, and a manipulative schemer.  But always a quick draw who outsmart or outshoots his enemies.  Can’t say enough about these films.

ENTER THE DRAGON

The greatest martial arts film ever to grace the silver screen that stars the greatest martial artist that has ever walked the Earth.  As a man, if you’ve seen a Bruce Lee film then you admire and respect the legend for what he is: the most intense, gifted martial artist ever.  Just watch the film.  I get mad when I think about how early the world lost this man. Plus, the bad-ass, jive-talkin’ Jim Kelly is also in here.

ROCKY

Sly is another man’s man, and this satisfies both that and the sports film categories.  Every man can get down with an underdog story, and none plays better than a boxing story:  mano-a-mano, just two men and their will to win. It’s the ultimate drama.  Two gladiators, the down-on-his-luck Rocky Balboa, is given a chance to beat the world champion and golden prince, Apollo Creed.  It’s still an enthralling story to this day.

LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL

From a fatherly stand-point, this movie is perfect.  The socially awkward yet ruthless hitman, Leon, takes on the plight of an orphan whose family has been murdered at the hands of a mad man.  He teaches her to kill, to get revenge. And she teaches him how to be human.  It’s the perfect blend of action and humanity.

CADDYSHACK

There simply has to be a 70’s comedy in the mix, and between this and Animal House I’m going with Caddyshack every time.  Maybe that’s due to my golf background, or how great Bill Murray’s assistant groundskeeper “Carl Speckler” is, or how I wish Chevy Chase was always this funny, or the myriad of supporting characters that are infinitely quotable and memorable.  Of course, it could have even more to do with “Lacey Underall”.  Regardless, this is a man’s kind of comedy.

THE BIG LEBOWSKI

Every guy at least partially wants to be The Dude: hang out in your pajamas, drink often and leisurely, bowl every night, have a nickname like “The Dude” and the sundry variations on that name.  But the best part is he does it all with a calm stroll and a relaxed “I don’t give a fuck” attitude.  It’s just a cool flick with one of the most iconic protagonists in recent memory, plus it’s a Coen Brothers production and it features an awesome supporting cast of Coen regulars: Steve Buscemi, John Goodman, and John Turturro. This is as guy-friendly as they come.

BLACK HAWK DOWN

Another war film, a Ridley Scott picture this time, and it’s one of the most blatantly frantic, kinetic films I’ve ever seen. Once the action begins, the viewer is dumped into a hellish war zone and Scott never gives you a moment to breathe. There are more bullets fired per second than in any other film in history (note: fact not based on any statistical evidence).  Of course, the testosterone level is fairly high as with most war movies, but this takes the cake.  I’ve had buddies over just to drink beer, crank up the surround sound, and blast the walls off with this flick.

COOL HAND LUKE

Paul Newman was the coolest guy in the world in the 60’s, so there has to be a Newman picture on here.  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid would also suffice in that spot, but “Luke” is so enigmatic and likeable, not to mention one of the most iconic male characters in cinematic history.  The name of the flick alone puts it over the top.  This is the kind of flick you could watch with your guy friends and also impress your dad and his friends with.  It’s a tale about guys getting along and surviving with the plight of servitude on the chain gang under the watchful eye of a tyrannical cop, and of course the asshole with the mirrored sunglasses. Sounds like a marriage analogy.

SWINGERS

Want to teach a guy how to be a guy?  Show him Swingers.  It’s the perfect post-break-up story about becoming a man again after having your masculinity stripped away by a disloyal bitch with a barb-wire heart.  The rules are laid out and Favreau’s script constantly pokes fun at the guys for thinking they’re the epitome of cool, when it’s constantly shown how uncool they are.  This is Vince Vaughn at his best, before he became a fat goofball in romantic comedies.  Another insanely quotable flick, I might add.

PULP FICTION

Tarantino is another man-friendly director, and this remains his best work.  He crafts no less than four unforgettable male leads, not to mention cool scene after cool scene. You must be able to reference this film in conversation with other guys, complete with quotes and working knowledge of what BMF means and the outcome of the gimp scene.

APOCALYPSE NOW

A second helping of Coppola and another stellar cast of awesome male actors: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Larry Fishburn, and Robert Duvall and his oft-imitated line “I love the smell of napalm in the morning!”  It’s one of those films about the horrors of war and what it can do to a man, which is a feeling that many men in the 1970’s could identify with. 

RIO BRAVO

If you thought this list wasn’t going to include The Duke, then clearly you don’t know me well enough.  I love True Grit and The Searchers, but ultimately this Howard Hawks film is my favorite of The Duke’s.  It could have something to do with the super-cool Dean Martin playing the alcoholic gunman holding on by a thread trying to help John Wayne’s town sheriff protect a town from a convict’s band of crazies bent on freeing him.  There’s something paternal about John Wayne that most men can empathize with.  Then-pop-star Ricky Nelson acquits himself pretty nicely as well.

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION

This is the contemporary man’s buddy flick.  The 80’s had Lethal Weapon and 48 Hours.  The 60’s and 70’s had Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting.  But Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman ditched the fun, playful banter of those other films and went straight for the heartfelt friendship of two men who bond in a place where this kind of bonding rarely happens.  In today’s male society, you simply have to have seen this.

Ok, there’s my picks. Did I forget any??

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