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11 Guy Movie Classics (And Why They Secretly Suck)

Man, we're putting our heads in the noose here, aren't we? Yep, that's right: against all common sense, we're on the attack for all the classic guy movies littering DVD shelves everywhere. Hey, we know they're classics. But have you actually watched any of these recently?

Why It's a Classic
Director Tony Scott had his work cut out for him in 1986 trying to convince American audiences that a subject as dull as F-18 fighter jets firing missiles and dogfighting could be cool. Luckily he was aided by first-time action hero Tom Cruise-known then for dancing around in his underwear in comedies-and by a young musical visionary named Kenny Loggins, who pumps out the mid-tempo soft rock throughout.

Why It Secretly Sucks
Watching Top Gun in our contemporary era, where words like "homoerotic subtext" exist, the average viewer will spend half the film wondering when Maverick and Iceman are going to kiss already (right), and the other half wondering what a Danger Zone is, and why being on the highway to it is relevant to the film. Given that Tom Cruise shows more smoldering sexual chemistry with Val Kilmer during a shirtless beach volleyball game than in any scene with intended love interest Kelly McGillis, it's hard not to watch Top Gun today on a level the filmmakers hadn't intended.

Why It's a Classic
Wesley Snipes IS Blade, an unstoppable killing machine who enjoys wearing sunglasses and killing vampires in slow motion to thumping techno beats. Much like other leave-your-brain-at-the-door fightfests (see also: Equilibrium, The One), Blade delivers on its promise: namely, that a man named Blade kills shit with blades. It's not Citizen Kane, but it gets the job done.

Why It Secretly Sucks
If you haven't seen the film in a while, you might have forgotten there are interminably long scenes where Blade isn't killing vampires, forcing you to endure the performances of both Wesley Snipes and Stephen Dorff, which in large doses may induce nausea or facial tics. Add in some bargain basement CG effects and Kris Kristofferson's decision to appear in every one of his scenes looking like a greasy Slim Jim in leather pants (right), and the cons start to outweigh the pros by the time the credits roll.

Why It's a Classic
Sometime in the early '80s, a B-movie director named James Cameron had a vision. That vision: a robot from the future should totally walk through fire. In addition to having a pretty nifty little time travel plot, Terminator was the first major motion picture to give America a taste of Arnold Schwarzenegger, a man who would go on to fulfill our nation's creepy, decade-long lust for bulging muscles. Cameron originally wrote the part for a normal sized man, reasoning that there would be no need for a robot to have enormous muscles (or an Austrian accent for that matter). Cameron was lucky enough to overlook silly little things like inherent logic.

Why It Secretly Sucks
The script simply demanded a little more than technology of the time was capable of pulling off. Special effects that looked remarkable during the '80s have aged about as well as the "one strap on, one strap off" look. Scenes with Schwarzenegger with half of his robot skull exposed look about as convincing as a trick-or-treater in a latex mask. Also, in a movie about time travel, ridiculously outdated hairstyles can be pretty distracting-like when Reese (Michael Biehn) arrives from Thirty Years in the Few-Toore sporting a spike-mullet straight out of Gleeming the Cube (right).

Why It's a Classic
Charlie Sheen stars as a tortured everyman losing his sanity in a senseless war-possibly just so he'd have something to talk to his dad about at family barbecues. ("Yeah, Apocalypse Now wasn't bad. Hey, did you see Platoon and stuff?") Oliver Stone manages to rein in enough of the directorial insanity that would show up in his later films, delivering an uncompromisingly brutal look at the Vietnam War.

Why It Secretly Sucks
Stanley Kubrick's towering Full Metal Jacket came out a year after Platoon, making the Charlie Sheen 'Nam flick look a little silly by comparison. Plus, it's not even really about the war so much as an increasingly cheeseball Good Cop/Bad Cop showdown between Willem Dafoe as the saintly Sgt. Elias (he really listens to his troops, you know?) and Tom Berenger's cartoonishly villainous Sgt. Barnes (right, holding a gun to the head of a small child). We're not saying it's a bad war movie, necessarily-just that if you changed the setting, you'd essentially have Universal Soldier with Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren.

Why It's a Classic
The quintessential John Wayne western, John Ford's 1956 The Searchers has The Duke obsessed with rescuing a kidnapped girl from "injuns", a body of people Wayne manages to hurl racist slurs at throughout the film's running time. It all comes off a little racist these days, though you could argue that was sort of the point even then.

Why It Secretly Sucks
You could make a strong argument that The Searchers' racist overtones were an intentional critique of the Western genre. But there's no excusing the many "comic relief" scenes with Mose Harper (Hank Worden) as the village idiot, which are as punishingly, gouging-out-your-own-eyes unfunny as they are long. Having to endure Worden (right, shirtless) scrounging desperately for laughs in scene after scene is like having fire ants attack your balls-it's only sort of pleasurable the first time, and even then it wears out its welcome fast.

Why It's a Classic
Steve Buscemi as a crazy loner, the O'Doyle family ruling, Billy getting chewed out on-stage during a quiz show ("Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard")-Billy Madison sets the goofy, lowbrow tone for a decade of funny Adam Sandler movies.

Why It Secretly Sucks
It's not like we're expecting plots to make sense in an Adam Sandler movie-and for the record, we happen to think Happy Gilmore is hilarious. But come on: a borderline mental retard has to go to kindergarten and learn how to finger paint in order to take over his father's multi-billion dollar corporation? Even by Sandlerian standards, Billy Madison is painfully stupid. There's a lot of great gags in here, but just as many feel so forced and dumb (Sandler talking in a baby voice to a shampoo bottle, right) you'll swear you're losing IQ points just watching it. Plus, you'll be surprised how many classic Sandler bits you thought were in Madison are actually found in some of his other, better films ("You eat pieces of shit for breakfast?").

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