The 12 Movies We Love With All Of Our Bacon-Clogged Hearts, You Know, Despite Ourselves
By Joanna Robinson And The Manly Men Of Pajiba | Guides | July 1, 2011 |
Never Been Kissed: This isn't just about manly men; there is no goodly reason for just about anyone to like Never Been Kissed. It's cheesy, stupid, overloaded with cheap stereotypes of high school and high school movies, pales in comparison to Just One of the Guys and, worst of all, is not particularly funny (unsurprising, as it's directed by the man responsible for, among other travesties, Big Momma's House and the impending smurfy smurf of smurf). But it's the one flick I find David Arquette kinda charming and amusing in and, despite myself, I find Drew Barrymore sorta charming and adorable. There's just this quietly stupid charm to the flick that ropes me in every fucking time and even though I know Josie gets her kiss, when she's standing on that pitching mound and drops the mike cause she thinks her teacher man ain't coming, I might just feel a little sadness of my own. ...Also, I'd totally wait on a mound for Michael Vartan too.--Seth Freilich
Singin' In The Rain: It would be an overestimation to say that I've seen 10 minutes of Moulin Rouge, Chicago, and Rent combined. Regurgitated pop songs and horribly obvious lip syncs in sequined sequences? Get that crap out of my face. But I'd surely be lying if I refused to confess that I love the dapper hell out of Singin' in the Rain. It paints an idealized portrait of the early Hollywood days, but with an enthusiastic self-awareness. No tricks or body doubles or schizophrenic cameramen, just the simplicity of Gene Kelly's pearly-grinned charm adding line and movement to watercolor backgrounds. It is a 103-minute smile.--Dan Saipher
Clueless: The lead character is named Cher, there's a makeover montage, stereotypical valley girls talk shopping and shoes at a nigh incessant rate, and there's just so much pink. But director Amy Heckerling made this her spiritual, much more lighthearted companion piece to Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and a classic teen-coming-of-age tale in its own right (Jane Austen might share some of that credit). All that "girly" stuff is just part of an extended joke, and it's possible a generation found its snarky tone by way of the script's dialogue. Plus it has Brittany Murphy's breakout first film role, Donald Faison as a proto-Turk, Paul Rudd being kind of a Baldwin. It's clear that Cher's best quality is her intelligence, though she does also only use her popularity for good.--Rob Payne
Fried Green Tomatoes: My feminine fondness for Jon Avnet's Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) has more to do with Jessica Tandy and her performance as Ninny Threadgoode than it does for the murder mystery the movie presents. Tandy's Threadgoode always struck me as the cinematic version of my grandmother: a self-sufficient, independent, yet extremely loving woman. While Tandy and my grandmother have both joined the great gig in the sky, their ability to use unconditional love and common sense to bring the best qualities out of the people around them is what forever united the two people - and one character - in my heart. It's rare for such a film to hold emotional sway over me but it is to novelist Fannie Flagg (whose book the film is based on), Avnet, and Tandy's credit that the film can make most men emotionally fragile for two hours.--Drew Morton
Stranger Than Fiction: Though it may not elicit the typical romantic comedy smoldering shame, Stranger Than Fiction is still a semisweet yet sometimes serious film about an office drone struggling with fate and an unconventional new love. Add Frank the Tank being far from feral Ferrell and it's not at all conducive to watching among dudebros. However, as a fellow office drone with a love of cooking, subdued performances, tattooed women, and solid writing, it never fails to draw me in. Plus, I always wanted to go to space camp, even though now I'd choose Tahiti.--branded
Terms of Endearment: The spine of James L. Brooks' Best Picture winner is the mother-daughter relationship between Shirley MacLaine's Aurora and Debra Winger's Emma, who spend much of the time that we see them gabbing about the men in their lives, and as such the film probably should not resonate with me as much as it does. I could justify my love for this movie by way of Jack Nicholson's wisecracking, charismatic astronaut, John Lithgow's matter-of-fact adulterer with the romantic soul, the humanity found in Jeff Daniels' character in spite of his smarmy flaws, the sullen rebellion and innocent affection of Emma's two sons who remind me of my own youth, or even the simple fact that cowboy writer Larry McMurtry set the story in my home state of Texas. I must acknowledge, though, that the countless little details and turns of dialogue are what put this a notch above so many other dramas, and nothing exemplifies its emotional truth more than the dependable yet strained rapport between Aurora and Emma. By the time the film leaves me with that disconsolate but oddly hopeful resolution, I find myself affected enough to be envious of that mother-daughter bond that I can never know.--C. Robert Dimitri
A Room With A View: Like you, I was dimly aware of the cast of A Room With A View as modern-day action-movie stars (Maggie Smith and Helena Bonham-Carter from the 'Harry Potter' franchise, Daniel Day-Lewis from 'Last of the Mohicans', Denholm Elliott from 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' and Judi Dench from the 'Bond' franchise). But who knew that these rippling-muscled, machete-wielding, wise-cracking, swashbuckling heroes could also, on occasion, produce heartfelt, gentle, moving work? Not me. Honestly, you should check out their dialled-down performances in A Room With A View: these guys should try their hand at Shakespeare, they're that good. Kidding! From the age of 6, I was basically raised on A Room With A View - the Merchant-Ivory adaptation of the E.M. Forster book about heaving bosoms, clipped accents, English stiff upper lip, lawn tennis, and passion tamed and then embraced. I love Maggie Smith's and Daniel Day-Lewis's incredibly brilliant performances in it, finding heart and compassion in the insufferable prigs they portray. I love the passion and violence and sex lurking behind all the immaculate appearances and cups of tea. And I basically am Lucy Honeychurch, played by Helena B-C. Channel your inner English rose like me, guys! Stop lying to yourself about wanting to go out with Cecil Vyse, man, and bag yourself a George Emerson! It's not too late!--Caspar Salmon
Bring It On: Cheerleading can be a sport, when it's competitive. And perhaps the thought behind luring dudes to see what's essentially Sports Competitive Movie Template #3 but with uncoordinated white girls gyrating in short skirts is the afforementioned T&A they work in. But beneath it all they managed to work in a damn entertaining little story that's lots of fun. It's why I still give a begrudging pass to Kirsten Dunst and Eliza Dushku.--Brian Prisco
West Side Story: True story, when I was a wee lad, I went to music camp for a summer, because apparently I have a lovely singing voice. No, seriously. Anyway, I got cast in our camp's production of West Side Story. Of course, because I'm me, I ended up deathly ill for most of my time there and threw up every two hours, but damn it, I nailed the part of Shark #2 in that bitch (my role was downgraded since I kept barfing during rehearsal). I never went back to music camp and instead developed a preference for punk rock and death metal, but it doesn't change the fact that to this day, I fucking love West Side Story. I'm a sucker for all things Shakespeare, and find the modern adaptations to be fascinating. But more importantly, West Side Story is good. The 1961 adaptation is goddamn brilliant, with amazing sets, some solid acting, and Natalie Wood (as well as Marni Nixon's voice) breaking my heart every goddamn time. I love a good tragedy, and the modern interpretation, particularly with the cultural ramifications of a love story between not just warring families (or gangs, in this case), but ones of different ethnicities, elevated West Side Story and made it stunningly ahead of its time. The music, by Bernstein and Sondheim, is spectacular and the leads' breathless, doomed depictions were, and still are, marvelous. So yes, every now and then, when no one is looking, I turn off the Hatebreed and start quietly humming "Tonight."--TK
Mean Girls: Maybe dudes aren't supposed to like Mean Girls because "manly men" aren't supposed to care for female ensemble comedies written by a woman (what? Were there no female directors available for this?) set in high school about your "typical selfish, back-stabbing slut faced ho-bags." It stars Lindsay Lohan, back before she was a disaster, and an awesomely bitchy Rachel McAdams, back before she was a brunette, and it's a teen movie about social climbing, a next Generation Heathers (directed by the brother of the Heathers' director). But hell if it isn't one of the sharpest high-school comedies of the Aughts, observant and cutting with more than enough wit to rise above the gloss. It never managed to make "fetch" happen, but it did spring Tina Fey loose from "SNL" and catapult her to "30 Rock" success.--Dustin Rowles
Amelie: French people suck shit, especially when they try to be helpful to others, and quirky movies irritate me with their whimsical bullshit and idealized social intimacies. So Amelie should tap into my Fury Center [I read that as Furry Center. Carry on.--JR] and massage it to a right grand inferno, but it doesn't. Audrey Tatou is the cutest little thing ever planted in front of a camera and I am but a leaf on the wind of her effervescent joie-de-vivre. A dumb grin and profound shame settle in around the time my finger hits "play" and doesn't GTFO for days, and I hate them for making me love it.--Kballs
The Notebook: Nicholas Sparks is an asshole. He's like that guy from college who carried his guitar EVERYWHERE just so he could impress chicks with his lazy, acoustic rendition of brown-eyed girl. Naturally, this makes him a perfect addition to the Hollywood community. Several of his novels have been adapted into saccharine-sweet, predictable melodramas, the most popular and profitable of which has been The Notebook. It's a terrible movie, people. The plot doesn't develop because of actual conflict; it just sort of meanders along aimlessly because all the characters are whimpering, passive-aggressive cowards. The most emotionally charged moments of the film all feature people either shrieking at each other, or making out in the rain (because of course they are), or dying. And yet...[sigh] I LOVE this movie. Despite myself, I get swept up in the impossible endurance of their love affair. I cheer for their every victory and anguish over their every misstep. I weep uninhibitedly in the peaceful stillness of their final moments. I do; I bawl like a little girl. Mock me if you must, but this enchanting movie is a long-time favorite. I strongly recommend avoiding it.--superasente
Joanna Robinson really hopes you take none of the heteronormative gender stereotypes in this column seriously. If you do, you must be one of those crazy hormonal chicks who is on her period. Comedy!
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