From Top Gun to Fight Club, there are certain movies that guys should just watch. They speak to what it means to be a man--to something primal within us, connecting us to one another. While some of these movies are obvious and most of us know about them, others are less obvious, either because they did not achieve mainstream fame when they were released or because they fell out of popularity.
Of course, we could discuss great movies all day, but I have narrowed the list down to 10 underrated movies every guy should watch. These are all movies that have strong male characters, great storylines, and just enough heart that you might be able to convince your girlfriend or wife to watch them with you.
1.) A Time to Kill
Once upon a time, A Time to Kill was considered a masterpiece. In recent years, however, it has fallen out of popularity--due, perhaps, to the fact that it sounds like some sort of soap opera.
The title aside, A Time to Kill is more than worth the watch. Based on a John Grisham novel, A Time to Kill follows the court trial of a man accused of murder. The setting is Canton, MI, and the two men he murdered were white supremacists who had raped his daughter and left her for dead. A Time to Kill explores race, morality, and ethics and what they have to do with the law and justice. Though it's a heavy-hitting emotional film, any guy will be able to connect to the main character's anger and protective feelings towards his family.
Lo is a movie that defies genre boundaries. The main character summons a demon, Lo, to help him recover a girlfriend who was brought to the underworld. Part horror movie, part romance, and part comedy, it's a film with a lot of character. Watching the movie feels a bit like watching a play, with a minimalistic set and cast of characters. It's a must-see indie film for any guy who likes to explore new genres.
3.) Dear Frankie
Dear Frankie showcases what is possibly Gerard Butler's best acting, which makes it a shame that it was never a blockbuster hit. The plot is simple: a single mom hires a man to pose as her son Frankie's father for a day. The nuances of the film are what sets it apart from its competition. It's a film that relies heavily on facial expressions and body language to tell its story--not least because the main character in the story is deaf--and the cast rises spectacularly to the challenge. But it's the story it tells about healthy versus unhealthy masculinity that makes it a must-see movie for all guys.
4.) Live, Die, Repeat
If you're looking for a fast-paced action film, this is the one for you. It's got everything guys love: aliens, explosions, guns, and just a little bit of romance without it getting in the way. One man relives the same day in battle over and over again in a Groundhog Day-like turn of events, and yet the producers managed to keep it from growing stale. Though it doesn't have quite as much heart as some of the other movies on the list, it's a fun action film to watch.
5.) No Escape
Do you ever watch a movie and find yourself shouting at the characters on the screen? The great thing about No Escape is that when I watch it and I scream at the characters, they listen to me. As they try to flee a sudden war zone, they act the way real people would act in an unbelievably hard situation. It's something that makes you really care about the characters. I spent the whole movie on the edge of my seat, and when it was over, I wanted to watch it again. It's that good.
Pandorum is a movie that has you questioning your idea of sanity. Crew members wake up on a ship with no memory of why they're there or what their mission is. The name of the movie refers to a psychotic illness that is said to affect deep-space travelers, and much of the tension of the movie comes from not knowing whether the terrifying things the characters are seeing are real or whether they are psychosis-induced fictions. It's also one of the few movies where the ending truly fits and makes you think.
7.) Throw Momma From the Train
Everyone has that someone in their life--someone who drives them absolutely crazy. While you may not go so far as to wish them dead, you may find yourself thinking--or even saying--that it would be easier if they weren't around. In this comedy, a man admits as much to his creative writing student--and his student takes it too far. Although the plotline sounds morbid, Throw Momma from the Train is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. The humor comes in part from the daydreams of the main characters which exaggerate everyday annoyances into something much larger.
8.) Dave Made a Maze
A weird, quirky indie film told almost entirely in cardboard, Dave Made a Maze explores a man's desire to make something. He settles on a maze which, Tardis-like, is bigger and more impressive on the inside than on the outside. When his friends join him inside, they find themselves somewhere more amazing and dangerous than they'd originally anticipated. When I watch this movie I'm never entirely sure if I'm supposed to laugh or be faintly nervous, but either way, it's an enjoyable ride.
9.) Blades of Glory
In true Will Ferrell fashion, Blades of Glory occupies the sweet island of stupid comedy. It's about male ice skaters, and though it's not the sort of thing you can brag about watching with your intellectual friends, if you're looking to unwind after a long week, this movie is perfect.
10.) Cry Wolf
An indie horror movie with a twist, Cry Wolf is about a group of friends in a prep school who create a story about a murderer near campus, only to have the story begin to come true. The best part about this movie is how smart it is. The ending surprised me and had me thinking, which is more than I was expecting from the budget-bin film.
These are the ten underrated movies I think every guy should see. What do you think? Did I leave something off the list?