Bruckheimer and Simpson didn’t mess around. They threw lots of money and all kinds of attitude at this prison/buddy movie, which is why there are roughly one thousand speaking roles for men and exactly two of any length for women. And a gratuitous car chase through the streets of San Francisco in a movie about breaking into a prison.
Tough talk: Nicolas Cage, “How in the name of Zeus’s butthole did you get out of your cell?”
Mano-a-mano: About ten thousand punches, kicks, gun-butts, shoves, and one ‘being hung over a balcony by the arm with shower rope’ trick.
Homoerotic subtext: Sean Connery flirts with everyone and everything in his eyeline, all the time, so sure.
Shirtless and sweaty: Lots of sweating and some spectacular face-melting sequences. Strangely, everyone keeps their clothes on. Pity.
Enough of this, let’s blow shit up: Bombs away!
The dudes get out of the way in this awesome action flick. There’s Vasquez, whose impressive boobage is more than matched by her impressive guns. Also, the alien queen mother who’s one mutha when you mess with her hatchlings. And Ripley, kicking everyone’s ass, taking no prisoners, chewing no gum. After Ripley rose from the ashes as the movies’ first female superhero in Alien, what did you expect–screaming and fainting?
Tough talk: Ripley, “Get away from her, you bitch!”
Mano-a-mano: Mostly mano-a-alien, but Ripley does grab a couple of collars. To the useless Gorman: “DO something!”
Homoerotic subtext: If we’re counting the lovely dude-in-distress Corporal Hicks as a guy, then, no.
Shirtless and sweaty: Except for the hypersleep segment, where Ripley still has to show up in her underwear, these marines stay in uniform. They do sweat like marines, though.
Enough of this, let’s blow shit up: Boo yah! Nuclear option. Nothing butcher than splitting atoms.
Glengarry Glen Ross
The machismo is all in the words in this movie about salesmen locked into gladiatorial combat for their survival. Nobody dies, except on the inside. But watch the slew of actor’s actors bite into the red meat of David Mamet’s stiletto-sharp dialogue. (Alec Baldwin, Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Ed Harris.)
Tough talk: The whole script. Mamet uses the f-bomb and lots of other hard consonants as weapons for his characters to spit at each other with the precision of a machine-gun, like he’s the love child of Harold Pinter and Quentin Tarantino.
Mano-a-mano: Alec Baldwin’s Blake doesn’t actually strike the salesmen he’s come to berate, but he might as well.
Homoerotic subtext: Sure, but with virtually no women anywhere in their world, the guys could just be confused.
Shirtless and sweaty: They do roll up their sleeves but otherwise nobody preens. And oh, the sweat! Flopsweat, upper-lip sweat. We don’t see it but one can imagine there’s a load of Schweddy balls in all these trousers.
Enough of this, let’s blow shit up: Technically, no, but how long before Jack Lemmon’s Shelley comes back with a real semi-automatic?
The Longest Yard, Burt Reynolds version
It’s a prison movie and a sports film! Burt Reynolds and some seriously ugly guys square off against The Man with a lot of swearing, bone-crunching and macho wisecracking along the way.
Tough talk: Nate, “… you spend fourteen years in this tank, you begin to understand that you’ve only got two things left they can’t sweat out of you or beat out of you. Your balls.”
Mano-a-mano: Your standard prison guard floggings and football clotheslining, as well as repeated nutcrunching with a football from Paul Crewe to a guard.
Homoerotic subtext: Prison!
Shirtless and sweaty: Reynolds reliably disrobes. Sweat and other bodily fluids freely exchanged in the football scenes, too.
Enough of this, let’s blow shit up: There is one home-made bomb early on, but the brutal game of brinksmanship between guards and lowly prisoners provides the real charge.
Kill Bill: Volume One
Don’t let Uma Thurman’s name, The Bride, fool you; this chick isn’t interested in picking out China patterns. Splatter patterns, sure. Sometimes, girls just want to have revenge, a “roaring rampage of revenge,” to be exact. Wielding her phallic weapon with the best of them, she does. In technicolor.
Tough talk: Bride, “Those of you lucky enough to have your lives, take them with you. However, leave the limbs you’ve lost. They belong to me now.”
Mano-a-mano: Bride vs. the rest of the Viper Assassination squad, one at a time. Oh, and the Crazy 88s, ten or fifteen at a time. And Buck. And, oh yeah, everyone.
Homoerotic subtext: Is it just me, or did you get the feeling Sofie was kind of into it, you know, until Bride took her arm off? Just me? Okay.
Shirtless and sweaty: Bride decidedly keeps her yellow uniform of revenge tightly zipped. But yeah, with the sweating. This movie, and all the movies on this list, could fit on the Cheers’ crowds’ list of The Sweatiest Movies Ever Made.
Enough of this, let’s blow shit up: No explosions, other than the pressure-cooker bursts of arterial spray throughout. Bride’s nuclear option, the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique, won’t come until the next film.
But it will be the butchest.
What about you, any macho favorites?