I recently created this for close friends of mine, whom I hadn’t seen for a while… this list is a result of that.
We’re heading for an experimental phase in filmmaking … there’s no longer a “right” way to make a film as the venues, equipment, social media, technology, etc. have changed and, for the most part, are available to everyone. Because of this, there are going to be certain things that are lost, in my opinion. The tough guys of the past, the Lee Marvins, Charles Bronsons, Robert Mitchums, John Hustons, and Sam Peckinpahs are somewhat gone, and the Western, which symbolized the land of the free and the sovereign man, has faded away. I’d like to make known some pictures that have influenced me in such a way that they left an indelible mark on me.
Lastly, I saw The Avengers a couple of years back, and there’s a scene at the end where it’s just epic pandemonium — explosions, buildings collapsing, you name it.
And in the middle of all that, there’s Samuel Jackson’s character firing a pistol. It was an eye opener and, as with 40 years ago the Dirty Harry series, just one gun was enough. Know what I mean? It’s not quantity…it’s quality.
–High Plains Drifter – Quintessential Eastwood. The start of Clint’s simplistic and efficient approach to filmmaking. And bad-assery 101. “It’s what people know about themselves inside that makes ‘em afraid”. Always loved that quote.
–Once Upon a Time in the West – I believe the final showdown is the best piece of filmmaking that exists. No bells and whistles. A movie about men…and revenge.
–The Professional, “LEON” – Oldman in his finest form and lots of serious bad guy stuff.
–GoodFellas – Scorsese’s masterpiece…Best Gangster movie…ever.
–Midnight Express – The movie etched something in my mind as a kid that the world may not be a nice place, especially if you get caught. Exceptional camera movement. This movie is an experience.
–Raging Bull – Pesci, De Niro, Scorsese. What else you want?
–Star Wars – or whatever they call it now…thank you Hollywood for confusing me. You’re doing it wrong!
–The Usual Suspects – Two words…Keyser Soze. VERY smart filmmaking…
-The Fighter – You’ll know why they gave Christian Bale the Oscar after the first 30 seconds. The brother’s connection…and plight is aesthetically clear. David O. Russell is a genius, pure and simple.
–Crossroads – A Walter Hill gem. Just a feel good movie…
–Training Day – Denzel owned that character. A well deserved Oscar that truly was a bad mother________. Well, you know…
–Street Fighter – Sonny Chiba. When this movie came out it was X-rated…and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s as if Bruce Lee’s twin brother dropped out of high school…with a twist of Blaxploitation.
–A River Runs Through It – Redford at his best.
–Ong Bak 2 – Tony Jaa in what I what I will call “a journey of an unknown time”. First there was Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li…and now Tony Jaa. You will see him in the upcoming Fast & Furious 7. A certain studio paid off Jaa’s contract with the Thai mob. Yeah, he’s that good…
–One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest – It was here that I saw the pure genius Nicholson is…a movie that will leave you not only satisfied, but empty.
–Apocalypse Now – This is a cinematic experience and is the template and temple of such. It’s on a whole another level.
–Point Blank – Lee Marvin never talked about being in the war but I’m sure it shaped him as a man. Some say this movie was the mold that was used to make the Dirty Harry movies. Steven Soderberg recently did an analysis on the film.
–2001: A Space Odyssey – Kubrick, Trumbull, Arthur C. Clarke created something so unique that some of the “rules” were thrown out. It would be like watching Jimi Hendrix for the first time…while being on roller coaster while on LSD. I mean how do you explain an experience like that?
–Gran Torino – Even Clint as old man is still a bad ass. An unknown candidate becomes “mentored” on becoming a man.
–The Deer Hunter – An epic journey into the desires and fears of men…
–Cool Hand Luke – You can’t have a list of guys guy’s movies and not include Paul Newman. This is the adult version of the little engine that could…
–Blood Diamond – I can recall walking around Lisbon Portugal, as a boy, particularly near the subways where I saw limbless Black men. A couple of days later my father met up with his best friend – a retired Fighter pilot/Colonel for the Portuguese Air Force. The son-of-a-gun had been shot down 5 times in the Angolan war. I heard many tales that day that old friends would share and affected an impressionable young mind. This is where I first heard about Blood Diamonds. Except back then it was under the guise of Communism. What drives men? Family? Greed? Power?
–The Road Warrior – The Aussies showed us a trick or two on what Armageddon, muscle cars and desert can do.
–Sin City – Fresh new outlook on a Rodriguez-Noir style of movie.
–Pulp Fiction – The writing, Samuel Jackson and just that Tarantino mind creating something different and it worked. Cinema was never the same…
–Predator – When ass kicking was considered cool. I mean even the back story on Predator is great! Check out the IMDB page…
-Terminator 2 – Classic Arnold. Arnold was the world’s biggest star…Think about that concept? An Austrian, that is cybernetic organism with some of the best one-liners! Cameron’s vision was realized…
–Bourne trilogy – The thing about these movies that never got credit for was the pacing – an amazing ebb and flow. And of course some of the best action sequences of all time! Did you know there was an original Bourne Identity with Robert Chamberlain…and Jaclyn Smith?
–The Dark Knight – Ledger and those eerie sounds will never be forgotten. Great filmmaking.
–The man who would be King – Should be in any school curriculum, but I doubt it would ever make it any U.S. school system, as it would teach young men to be self-sufficient and to look at life with insouciance (a carefree attitude).
–JFK – Stone’s masterpiece. There are multiple generational actors who brought their A game.
–The Hickman movies…Bullitt, The Seven Ups and The French Connection. These were movies that started it all…as far as car chases go. Bill Hickman drove in each of these movies. And yeah, three cool actors as well…McQueen, Schneider and Hackman…were pretty good too.
–Goldfinger – There’s James Bond…and then there are Bonds and the mold was created with Connery. Modernly speaking, Casino Royale delivers with great action/stunts, Bond gals, and supporting cast is top notch!
–Rocky – Who doesn’t like to route for the underdog? Rocky exemplifies it.
–Slapshot – The only country in the world where Jaws was NOT number one. One word: Hockey…Yes, Canada. Let’s face it…if you show up with a DVD and a case of beer…at a stranger’s house and you have a friend for life! Yeah, it’s just that easy. We’re not picky…except with our beer.
–Marathon Man – Hoffman, Schneider, Devane, Laurence Olivier…Great Thriller. Is it safe?
–The Party and Return of the Pink Panther will bring your spirits up on any given day…And Being There…Seller’s masterpiece. Seller’s carried the book in his pocket for 9 years…until it got made. It was his Catcher in the Rye. I cannot say enough good things about this movie. He made his career on being misunderstood…
–Heat – People who beat to their own drum…and pay the ultimate price!
–Ronin – European cool…The car chase is legendary. Frankenheimer is synonymous with filmmaking.
–Papillon – As Tom Cruise did Interview with the Vampires…This was McQueen’s answer to this movie. Classic.
–The Day of the Jackal – The original. Not the remake with Willis. Vintage Cloak and Dagger. Old school…
–Dirty Rotten Scoundrels…one word: Ruprecht.
–The Blues Brothers – Just plain fun…with one of the comedic greats.
-Eastern Promises – David Cronenberg delivers on this one. Well cast and the cinematography/production design completely adds to the mood. And yeah…very old school mob movie.
–Naked Gun – I laughed so hard and for long…that I was asked to leave the theatre!
–Escape from New York – Classic Plisken…nuff said, just like the young guys say. Carpenters best.
–Animal House – The original college fraternity movie. Will never be outdated.
–Hero – Fearless – Jet Li’s swan song(s). Foreign cinema at its best and equally unforgettable. Hero’s/Doyle’s play with colors are hundreds of years ahead of North America…
–Any Given Sunday – The 2nd action/unit work…the football line was the best display of being in there. The pre-GoPro era and just did fine…and a fine display of culture.
–Die Hard – Yippeekiya! John McClane did it his own way. Exemplifies the Anti-Hero with a great villain-Alan Rickman. It changed the action genre…
–Blazing Saddles – Mel Brooks as far as I’m concerned created slapstick…and it starts with Blazing Saddles.
–Hooper – a lot of stunt pals say this is their favorite movie. Stunt Culture…101. Hal Needham an innovator of the stunt world directed this. You’ll know why stunt players are sometimes referred to as soldiers…
–O’Brother, Where Art Thou? – A modern day classic that was put together really well. An underrated Coen film. One of Roger Deakins’ best…
–Drive – Violent but subtle in some respects. An unusual cast that made it even better.
–First Blood – The original. The man took a stand for what he thought was right OR took no more shit from the “man”. Take your pick.
–Enter the Dragon – Bruce started it all…and raised the bar at the same time.
–Life is Beautiful – the toughest, meanest, badass stunt guys I know have kids…and will appreciate this movie. And it’s something to pass down to children and what the guy did was indelible…
–Gladiator – This is where I discovered a balance and combination of harmonics, for example, beautiful sadness…
–Black Hawk Down – Folks, this was before all that gadgetry and b.s. – GoPros, Movis and Drones. Filmmaking 101…and I understood the lesson, Mr. Scott. Great cast too.
–Cross of Iron – Peckinpah’s masterpiece and was shot from a different point of view.
–300 – A great movie and a new way doing a film. Bravo…Swords, mysteries, legends, and lots of carnage.
–Warriors – an epic tale of 1970-1980’s filmmaking in a New York that will never have that look again due to the gentrification and money pit NY is…Note: Do NOT watch the director’s version. It was combined with a comic book. I can appreciate the Director’s vision but I’ll side with the common version.
–Scarface – I mean can you think an individual/character that took it to 10! I mean the guy is a dynamo…on coke! Took no shit and he beat to his drum. The World is yours…
–Shawshank Redemption – Cool Hand Luke 2.0. It’s a spiritual movie when you think about it…
–Point Break – Keanu introduced us to the 1990s with the, Shakespearean-esque line,”I am an F B I agent”. Budweiser has been trying to figure this out at every Superbowl…”I am a beer drinker”. Can you believe they are going to make a remake? Kathryn Bigelow, and unknown fact was that she was a stronger supporter on Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction getting made…
–Fast and Furious 6 – the moon, stars and all the other stuff came together on this one. Snuck into another theater afterwards…a blockbuster…and because of the pacing of FF6 I could NOT get into the movie. Fast and Furious was dominant…
–Face off, HardBoiled and MI-2 – John Woo…A masterful combination of Asian/American cinema and with his own style.
–Collateral – Cruise as a bad guy. Can’t beat it. Mann delivers on this one…that scene in the nightclub is a superb display of choreography and editing.
–The Last Samurai – What is quite amazing in this movie is that covers the Code of a Samurai and Code of Honor…to the T. Respect.
–The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – Clint, Leone and as far as I’m concerned one of the best bad guys of all time…Tuco
–The Raid 2 – Hitchcockian, with gore and fighting choreography to a whole new level! Very clever use of the environment.
–Midnight Run – A fun De Niro movie…that worked.
–Ip Man – The Donnie Yen version. There are probably a half a dozen movies about this fellow. The man who trained Bruce Lee…but it’s so much more.
–Dead Poets Society – Great movie for young men when they realize that eventually you have to make your decisions, as it your life.
–District B-13 – Luc Besson at his finest hour…and a guy that’s good at jumping around.
–The Boondock Saints – Good fun, Good guys and Good carnage.
–Finding Forrester – not your typical guys guys movie that’s for sure but it’s an unlikely duo. A movie loosely based on Salinger. The thing about this movie, and everyone will have a different take on this film, like this is coming of age movie, etc. But for me, it’s a tale of how the written word can be used for good or evil. Some years ago Sean Connery received a Lifetime achievement award and he attributed his success on his ability to read. Further, this was Connery’s last serious film. I couldn’t ignore this…
–Almost Famous – It’s a coming of age into the world of Rock n Roll. The movie is Almost Perfect.
–The Patriot – I finally understood the pure genius of Caleb Deschanel and cinematography…just in the first 5 minutes.
–The Hunt – an ugly subject. Ugly actors…but good simple filmmaking.
– The Guardian – it’s a coming of age for… Ashton Kutcher. Seriously though, it’s about passing the baton to the next generation. I had a personal connection with movie.
–The Memory of Killer – Probably one of the best stories I’ve seen. The classic last job of an assassin that keeps his integrity of no women, no children, but his employers turn on him, but here’s the catch, he’s starting to have Alzheimer’s, which makes the movie interesting. Because the fellow is an older man…there is no high-flying kicks. Very crafty. If there were a remake I would like to do…it would be this.
–Rush Hour – Fun AND comedy with even some more fun!
–Once were Warriors – A New Zealander movie of a culture, tribal ties of the Maori’s and violence.
–Unleashed – An underrated and unsuspecting Jet Li film…combined with a British gangster movie with the Bob Hoskins delivering as well.
–Sherlock Holmes – Guy Ritchie’s modern take on Sherlock Holmes was exceptional.
–Apocalypto – Watching this recently gave me another perspective that societies are cyclical based on how they treat their subjects.
–Blade – Entertaining and was a modern take on the Vampire world. Who would’ve thought zombies and vampires would still be around?
–21 Jump Street – Let’s face it if we could go back in time…it would be different, wouldn’t it?
–Speed – Sort of the last hurrah before special effects started to take.
–Equilibrium – The Matrix meets 1984. Lower budget but executed perfectly.
–Zodiac, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Fincher masterfully put these together. It’s hard to find any flaws in his movies. Not really a guy’s guy movie but this is perfect filmmaking and can be a judge of how films are made. Total pro and thorough. The lead female in GWTDT is a total badass….AND with a very cool motorbike.
–Argo – Great story…perfect editing and pacing. Rock on Mr. Affleck for picking a story that has soul…Making uncomfortable decisions and following through despite the consequences.
–Major Payne – Yup, this is a Disney movie. Wayans delivers in making boys into men…in a Wayan/Disney kind of way.
–The Shining – Kubrick, Nicholson. I mean who doesn’t like Jack when he loses it?
–Batman Begins – a true a sense of journey and adventure.
–Matrix – changed Hollywood. Masterpiece on so many levels. The Citizen Kane of its time.
–The Unforgiven – An older Eastwood…turns out just got nastier. How do you lose on this? You can’t…
–Raiders of the Lost Ark – Adventure, world travel, treasures…would you trade your life, this instance, despite the danger? Vic Armstrong was instrumental on making this an unforgettable movie. His name is synonymous with Action/Stunts…but it’s not his stunts that make him a legend…it’s that he’ll pass the credit to someone else. That is what makes him a legend…
–Braveheart – Epic and Aesthetic. Period. I hope that people don’t lose site of this fellow’s filmmaking capabilities despite his demons…
–American History X – Interesting and unknown story that delivered. Great message on how to take responsibility and confront the past.
–Legends of the Fall – A great story. A good example of society becoming civil/modern and the growing pains from doing so. The cinematography was exceptional.
–Dallas Buyers Club – Great flick. Low budget executed perfectly. McConaughey’s shit-kickin’ son of a bitch character is hard to forget. Remember… always go out with a fight!
–Falling Down – That movie was over 20 years ago…The traffic got worse…I’m sure Mr. Douglas wouldreally lose it!
–The Statham trilogy – The Mechanic, The Transporter and Crank – Good ol’ fashion ass-kicking with some style or whatever you want to call it.
–The Fugitive – Harrison’s best work. There’s something to be said to be a hunted man and persevere ethically and come out victorious. Noble. A great movie too.
–Alien and Aliens – classic filmmaking with a man that paid attention to detail on every level.
–Enemy of the State – Who thought 15 years later that technology could now be found on an app?
–True Lies – Arnold on top of his game.
–Jeremiah Johnson – A young Redford as a Frontiersman. Not much Hollywood in this movie.
–Lock, stock and two smoking barrel – British Gangster movies just take ruthlessness to a whole new level.
–The Rundown – The opening sequence is one of the best. Just a fun movie with a lot of testosterone…
–Avatar – A futuristic look at the traditional “Cowboys and Indians” movie. A technological achievement that was ahead of its’ time.
–The Taking of Pelham One Two Three– The original. A time when actors wanted to be actors and filmmakers that were damn good filmmakers. Matthau and Shaw deliver. Robert Shaw’s life was cut short and demonstrates that you don’t have to act tough to be tough. No posers here, folks.
–The Last Boy Scout – Best one-liners, ever. Bruce Willis and Tony Scott…good combo.
–Three Kings – Great movie…entertaining. That movie was “designed” for men.
Best one-liner of all time:
“I’ll hit you with so many rights…you’ll be begging for a left.” Chuck Norris.
Hope you enjoyed this.