Matt’s Nine Manliest Movies of 2012


Look there are good movies every year, and there are bad movies every year. That’s just a fact of life so why try to list good and bad when there are far more important things to point out in a year. Important things like manliness and being manly. You know, things like hunting and football and shootn’ whiskey. Manly stuff that manly men do.

It’s important to get your dose of manly films each year, whether you’re man or woman. They help you understand things like explosions, bromances and fast cars without actually having to be involved with any of those things. Without manly movies informing us about what it is to be manly how would we ever know!? With that in mind here are the nine manliest movies of 2012 that you should instantly rent and watch in order to be manlier.

Note: Expendables 2 is not listed here, because then the list simply would have just been Expendables 2 nine times over.

9. Battleship

If you were to list all the things in the world that are manly (e.g. guns, large ships, defeating invading aliens, Liam Neeson, Veterans, enjoying Brooklyn Decker not for her acting ability) and then toss those things into the ocean and make a movie about it you’d get Battleship. How a children’s game turned into a film about invading aliens relentlessly bent on our destruction for no apparent reason is beyond me, but it doesn’t get much more manly than this. What’s the solution to strange alien ships showing up on our planet? Fire our guns at it! Our manly guns!

Seriously, watch this movie carefully and you realize that the aliens don’t really attack us first. We sort of bait them into a war. Doesn’t get much more manly than shooting first and asking questions later. Also, anything Tim Riggins Taylor Kitsch does is manly… except for headlining to major action movie flops in one year. Still, Battlship had enough guns, boats and really bad one-liners to make up for its unmanly box office.

Read or decidedly manly review of Battleship here.

8. Django Unchained

This is a Western about a man trying to free his enslaved wife from evil. Obviously there’s a lot more going on that people can debate endlessly about, but what’s very clear is that Westerns and cowboys are manly. They don’t always have to be doing good and their morals can be a little wishy washy, but that just makes them more manly. We get so few Westerns these days that that simple virtue alone makes Django Unchained make this list of manly movies, but the buckets of blood, arrogant hero and tale of revenge elevate it up to levels of manliness that few films can achieve.

Read our review of Django Unchained here.

7. Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Manliness isn’t just about action and explosions and fast cars. It’s about commitment, pride and doing things right too. That’s what Jiro Dreams of Sushi is about and between all the glorious food porn that makes you want to instantly buy a ticket to Japan to eat at Jiro’s sushi restaurant is the story of a man who is so manly he has dedicated his life to the single goal of perfecting his craft. It’s quite possible that Jiro wouldn’t even know what a gun is and yet he’s more badass than 99 percent of the action heroes out there. If you ever want to learn a lesson in what it really is to be a man just pop this movie in and find out.

Read our review of Jiro Dreams of Sushi here.

6. Magic Mike

You’re thinking I’ve just entirely invalidated this entire list by putting Magic Mike on it, but this movie is pretty damn manly. First, it’s not just a lot of six packs and incredibly formed male asses. There’s also naked Olivia Munn. That buys it at least enough manliness for you to check it out, and if you can do that, you’re clearly incredibly comfortable with your sexuality and that is totally manly. Maybe the film itself is geared towards women, but being a guy who can sit through Magic Mike and enjoy it (because it actually isn’t a bad movie) makes you so comfortable with how manly you are that you may never be unmanly again. Some films are manly and some films make you a man.

Read our review of Magic Mike here.

5. Haywire

Right about now your’e scratching your head because I just listed Magic Mike and now I’ve got a movie where the lead is Gina Carano, who is a woman. How can a movie starring a woman be manly, you ask. First off, get your head out of your ass, it’s 2013 and women kick butt. Secondly, Gina Carano could pretty much kill almost every other action hero on this list with her bare hands while blindfolded. The fights in Haywire are easily some of the most raw and brutal you will see in movies and there’s nothing more manly than kicking ass realistically because it means you can actually kick ass. Haywire is even more manly because it’s hero isn’t a man and is still more badass than the majority of manly men out there.

Read our review of Haywire here.

3/4. The Raid: Redemption/Dredd

I’m grouping these together since they are the same idea with totally different manly execution. While The Raid is a martial arts (technically a form known as silat) flick full of brotherly love and broken bones (both manly), Dredd is an action flick full of paternal training and bullets (both manly). It’s interesting that both films have the same premise of being trapped alone in a large building with only the ability to kill everyone else as a possible way out, but the real manly factor comes from the fact that both heroes actually do kill everyone else as their way out.

I will admit that Karl Urban’s Dredd is way manlier than any character in The Raid. The man doesn’t even need facial expressions to express manliness, just a sneer and a well timed line. In fact he was clearly too manly for most audiences, since they decided not to show up for the movie, despite it being awesome. That’s really the only explanation.

Read our review for The Raid: Redemption here and Dredd here.

2. The Grey

Nick brought up The Grey in his list of hero movies yesterday, and it is a hero movie for sure, but more so it’s a movie about men. Whereas the likes of Battleship is manly because it’s jam packed with manly cliches The Grey is manly because it isn’t (other than Liam Neeson, of course). You think The Grey is going to be a movie about men being badasses and fighting wolves off with their bare hands, but what you get is some Jack London, communing with nature awesomeness. Probably one of the best movies of the year (sadly forgotten once award season rolled around) The Grey takes a group of downtrodden men, pries them open emotionally and turns them into unexpectedly deep characters. This is one of those movies that takes the ideas of what manliness is and exposes it as a fraud. There’s nothing more manly than actually being manly. It does also help if you tape broken glass to your hands to box a wolf.

Read our review of The Grey here.

1. Skyfall

It has actually been scientifically proven that there is nothing more manly than James Bond. He somehow inhabits every facet of the routinely contradictory definition of manliness. He’s suave and dresses well yet also brutal and tough. He loves a bevy of women and yet also seems to care. He blows up large chunks of cities and yet is also incredibly intelligent. He’s a manly man while also being a cultured man. James Bond is manly and he’s even more so in Skyfall

It’s hard to just point out one point where he confirms his manliness, but it’s somewhere around the time where, after taking out three thugs, he sleeps with the bad guy’s girlfriend before cold heartedly watching her get shot and then commenting that the loss of scotch on top of her head was a shame. Also, he’s so secure in how manly he is that even villain Silva’s sexual advances don’t phase him, and he even hints that he may have had some previous experiences with another man. In this day and age that pretty much covers every last base of manliness you could possibly want to cover. 

Read our review of Skyfall here.

Bonus Least Manly Movie: Taken 2

There’s nothing manly about letting your daughter drive your car or sucking so bad that even Liam Neeson can’t make your movie badass. The least manly thing of all: disappointment. 

Read our review to learn how they sucked all the manliness out of one of the most manly movies ever.

Matthew Razak
Matthew Razak is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Flixist. He has worked as a critic for more than a decade, reviewing and talking about movies, TV shows, and videogames. He will talk your ear off about James Bond movies, Doctor Who, Zelda, and Star Trek.