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Films men can’t miss

MarlBrando (with Frank Puglia) 'The Godfather.'

Marlon Brando (with Frank Puglia) in "The Godfather."

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The Bro Show Hall of Fame

There’s no place here for nuance, tears or tenderness here, so forget your Tom Hankses and Hugh Grants and George Clooneys and even your James Stewarts.

Gary Cooper: Do not forsake him, oh my darling.

Daniel Craig and/or Sean Connery: Craig’s rougher, Connery more clever. Together, the best of the Bonds.

Morgan Freeman: The thinking man’s tough guy. For “Shawshank Redemption” but also for playing sidekick to both Clint and Batman.

James Garner: Another guy’s guy, from “The Great Escape” to Jim Rockford.

Samuel L. Jackson: On the strength of his role as Jules in “Pulp Fiction” alone.

Steve McQueen: “Bullit,” “The Great Escape.” Sheryl Crow doesn’t write a song about just any long-dead movie star.

Robert Mitchum: From “Out of the Past” to “The Friends of Eddie Coyle,” they don’t come any tougher than Mitchum.

Sylvester Stallone: “Rambo.” “Rocky.” “The Expendables.” “Stop or My Mom Will Shoot.” Well, three out of four ...

Denzel Washington: Lost in the artier fare are Mr. Washington’s tough-guy turns in “Training Day” and “Man on Fire.”

John Wayne: A guy’s guy, from “The Searchers” to “True Grit” to “The Green Berets” to “The Quiet Man.”

Bruce Willis: Does the phrase “Yippee ki-yay” mean anything to you?

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Updated: December 25, 2012 6:04AM



The ladies have their own special three-hanky corner of the multiplex, a magical place of good cries, fogged-up camera lenses and dialogue about feelings. They’ve even got a name for these estrogen epics: the chick flick.

But gents, don’t go feeling too sorry for yourselves. Though there is no clever phrase to cover them all, the adrenaline-fueled, white (hairy)-knuckled and testosterone-soaked “bro show” has been a staple of the American cinema since D.W. Griffith let loose with his first “roll ’em.”

Which brings us to “Red Dawn.”

A Russians-are-coming shoot-’em-up that serves as a time capsule for the beginning of the end of the Cold War, the 1984 Patrick Swayze vehicle, directed by the macho John Milius, is one of those heavy-cable-rotation high-five inducers that, for men of a certain age, is a centerpiece for the ongoing Burp and Belch Frathouse Film Fest. And now, after a bit of a delay, the remake has been released this week with stars Chris “Thor” Hemsworth and Josh “Peeta” Hutcherson.

And whether it’s a bonanza or a bust at the box office, this new “Dawn” gives us pause to consider the manly matinees, the bro shows, the dude dramas (and a few comedies) that have served as rites of passage and filmed fist-bumpers through the years. Here are 25 notable ones through the years:

1. “Duck Soup” (1933): “Hail, hail Freedonia.”

2. “From Here to Eternity” (1953): Sure, everybody remembers romance on the beach. But this is Lancaster. And Borgnine. And da Chairman of da Board. And life during wartime.

3. “On the Waterfront” (1954): Forget Brando’s “coulda been a contendah.” Even Karl Malden’s priest is a beast.

4. “Rio Bravo” (1959): John Wayne may have been in better films (see: director John Ford). But watching the Duke chase out the riffraff with Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson is a rare old-school fanboy treat.

5. “Spartacus” (1960): Kirk Douglas as a tough guy of almost Biblical proportions (see also: “Ben-Hur”).

6. “The Dirty Dozen” (1967): Lee Marvin rides herd over a company of reprobates and miscreants who turn the tide of WWII.

7. “Easy Rider” (1969): Bro Shows, Unraveled Hippie Dream Division. Billy, Capt. America and even a very young Jack Nicholson get their motors running.

8. “Dirty Harry” (1971): It’s alright for Harry Callahan to engage in vigilante justice, but when other cops try it in the sequel, that’s just not cool.

9. “Jeremiah Johnson” (1972): Robert Redford goes it alone as the quintessential mountain man.

10. “Deliverance” (1972): Dudes know this movie. They quote this movie. (“The river don’t run to Aintree.”) They do not, however, look one another in the eye when discussing this movie.

11. “The Godfather” (1972): A guide for modern man. And don’t believe us; take it from Nora Ephron and the writers of “You’ve Got Mail”: “‘ The Godfather’ is the I-ching. ‘The Godfather’ is the sum of all wisdom. ‘The Godfather’ is the answer to any question.”

12. “Blazing Saddles” (1974): Two words: “campfire scene.”

13. “The Outlaw Josey Wales” (1976): “A man’s got to know his limitations.” ’Nuff said.

14. “Apocalypse Now” (1979): “The Godfather” and “On the Waterfront,” and now this. It’s a Marlon Brando trifecta, and we’ve skipped right over “Last Tango in Paris.” “Platoon” and “Deer Hunter” have their dwindling devotees, but Francis Coppola’s Vietnam epic that has outlasted them all.

15. “Caddyshack” (1980): Gunga-galunga.

16. “Stripes” (1981): “That’s the fact, Jack.”

17. “This Is Spinal Tap” (1984): The number 11 was never the same.

18. “Lethal Weapon” (1987): Mel, we hardly knew ye. And we were better for it.

19. “A Few Good Men” (1992): You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth.

20. “Pulp Fiction” (1994): Or “Jackie Brown” (1997) or “Inglourious Basterds” (2009) or “Kill Bill: Vol. 1” (2003) or “Kill Bill: Vol. 2” (2004) or ... Do we sense a pattern here?

21. “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994): It has its detractors. And prison rape is usually a disqualifier. But anything that gets this much airtime on TNT has to be considered.

22. “Swingers” (1996): The list would not be complete without an appearance by Vince Vaughn.

23. “Fight Club” (1999): This
is, literally, bare-knuckles moviemaking.

24. “Superbad” (2007): A dude’s remembrance of things past.

25. “Tropic Thunder” (2008): Ben Stiller’s finest hour (just ahead of “Dodgeball”).



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