During graduate school, I researched and wrote on masculinity pretty often. It’s an antiquated concept. Somehow, we invented the idea that a man is a certain collection of identifiable traits that (more often than not) are just kind of weird. I’m an over-educated liberal and even when you say the word, “man” I think of the following: strong, provider, unemotional, confrontational.
That’s probably some societal brainwashing happening. Who knows? I’m not here to question it. I’ve done that before. I’m here to give you some of my favorite movies that are overly-masculine.
Here’s the truth. I cry at movies. I’m empathetic. I’m not violent. I try not to be that asshole-kind-of-guy that everyone knows or has at least head of. I actively try to learn and listen and evolve. I’m pretty anti-masculine. But god damn do I love an overly masculine movie where the protagonist lets their fists speak for them. Or maybe they solve their problems with violence instead of conflict resolution. I can’t help it. Sometimes, I just need to see a dude fuck some shit up.
I think it goes back to my dad and his love of action films and horror movies. I watched Terminator (T1 and T2) when I was five. Probably not the best time for me to see murderous androids, but I think I turned out fine.
Anyway, here’s a quick list of some of my all-time favorite overly masculine action films in no particular order.
- Conan the Barbarian (1982)
- Arnold Schwarzenegger will be appearing on this list twice. Here’s why: Arnold was my favorite actor until I was about 10 years old. Anything he was in, I loved and watched endlessly.
- Terminator 2 (1991)
- Let’s get the Arnold films in the open. This one is a classic. What a soundtrack. The first chase scene, the minigun in the office building, the final battle. Oh, and Linda Hamilton looking like a mercenary and kicking major ass. One of the top movies ever.
- Warrior (2011)
- When I am feeling like I need to reassess some things, I watch Warrior. I think this film is a little less overtly-masculine, but all that testosterone is there. Trust me. Father and son relationships, the need to support a family, and conflicts that can only be solved with intense violence. It’s amazing.
- Escape from New York (1981)
- Snake. Plissken. That’s all that needs to be said.
- John Wick (2014)
- I’m going to go ahead and cite all of the John Wick franchise here. I’ve never seen anything quite like these films. I do love Keanu Reeves and, at one point, I could quote The Matrix line-by-line. This series, however, just takes action to another level.
- The Matrix (1999)
- Commando (1985)
- Predator (1987)
- Shoot ’em Up (2007)
- Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)
- One of my favorite guilty pleasures.
There’s probably a ton more that I’m missing. But who cares. It’s a throwaway list. Have fun with it.
Also, I know the Rambo films are not on this list. I prefer Stallone as Rocky. That’s literally the entire reason. Also, have not watched any Rambo ever. Crazy, right?