Men are complicated creatures, although our tastes for beer, attractive women, and Bruce Willis movies may make us seem to be about as sensitive as a Michael Bay action sequence. But listen up, we’re bogged down by insecurities too, and, unable to talk about them, we’ve got to let the great filmmakers express what we cannot. Take a look at these films if you want to truly understand men…
5. Chasing Amy
No, this isn’t on the list because it features hot girl on girl action, nor is it included because it speaks to some perverse male fantasy in which our sexual appeal is so great that even a lesbian can’t resist (if such was the case, we definitely wouldn’t want Ben Affleck in the role).
When Holden discovers that Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams) wasn’t exactly a nice Catholic girl in terms of her teenage sexual escapades, he’s struck by a bizarre mix of emotions ranging from jealousy to anger to fear that threatens to ruin the relationship. See, when it comes to sex, not all men are frat boys, and if we really love a girl, we’re terrified of knowing she had a wild sexual side to her. We’re afraid she’ll cheat on us, afraid our own experiences will be inadequate, afraid that we’ll have to compare to those former lovers.
It’s a male mentality that can sabotage a great relationship, and it is best summed up when writer/director Kevin Smith, as Silent Bob, delivers a monologue about an old girlfriend, the titular Amy.
What You’ll Learn About Men: If we seem too offended by your sexual history, we are one hundred percent wrong to feel that way, but it probably means we have strong feelings for you. Give us time to grow up.
4. High Fidelity
Nick Hornby, author of the novel upon which this film was based, knows that there are no real men, just large boys. In regards to romance, mental maturation for guys stops somewhere around the age of fifteen. Sure, we learn to behave like respectable adults, but we’re still, at heart, obsessive adolescents who are plagued by two relationship-wrecking impulses. On one hand, we’ll remember every girl we ever dated to the day we die, and whether the affair lasted for two weeks in middle school or two years in college, we’ll always wonder “what if.”
On the other hand, regardless of the current state of our love life, we get charged with enthusiasm whenever a cute girl shows interest in us. Hey, we might be on our way to marriage, but “what if” this girl is our true soul mate? John Cusack’s character must deal with this dilemma, a key part of learning to be a good man.
What You’ll Learn About Men: When it comes to major life choices that just might affect our fragile egos, we are painfully indecisive.
3. Mean Streets
As one character says in Martin Scorsese’s furious meditation on the tricky conscience of a Catholic male, “Honorable men go with honorable men.” Sounds reasonable enough, sure, but what makes a man honorable? Is it dedication to a good woman? Loyalty to a friend in need? But what if you conceal your love for that woman, or deny that friend the true help he requires, because powerful family members who could offer you a better life disapprove of these people?
Hell, what if you’re plagued by desires that seem to go against every principle you hold dear? What is the right thing to do?
This is a one-of-a-kind film about that key question, and one man’s torturous quest to answer it.
What You’ll Learn About Men: Whether it be driven by righteousness or, perhaps, vanity, we are on a constant inner journey to find the honorable man in all of us
2. Stand by Me
Before his career kicked The Bucket List, Rob Reiner directed this soulful adaptation of the Stephen King novella “The Body.” Featuring Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell, and the late River Phoenix as a troupe of best friends on a summer trek to catch a glimpse of kid whose life was cut short, Stand by Me is an eerily accurate ode to male camaraderie and the parting of ways that must come to all best friends.
Brimming with the spirit of adventure that fuels pre-adolescent male fantasies, ladies, this may be your best shot at getting your boyfriend to cry.
What You’ll Learn About Men: No matter how tough we try to be, there’s a little part of us that will never stop mourning that one special summer. Pass the tissues.
1. The Godfather
The king of them all, and for a damn good reason. Of course, Coppola’s masterpiece is something that both men and women can appreciate; it’s a brilliant crafted film, the kind that reinvigorates any film-goer’s love of cinema. But us guys, we have an almost instinctual reaction to the lessons coursing through this epic. The importance of family, the value of self-discipline (no one wants to be Fredo), and yes, the allure of power.
But, power comes with a price. Michael Corleone is a classic Shakespearean character, but he’s all modern man, driven by a competitive and cunning mind. He secures his place at the top of the mafia food chain and makes sure his family comes along for the ride.
It just costs him his soul.
What You’ll Learn About Men: Everything.