The late, great Roger Ebert once said “Never marry someone who doesn’t love the movies you love. Sooner or later, that person will not love you.” And I am living proof. This is a true story: When my Lovely Irish Valentine and I were dating, she belonged to one of those mail order clubs where you get X number of movies for “Just ONE penny!” like they had ads for in every magazine. And seriously I was questioning whether I wanted to get involved long term with anyone so gullible they thought that didn’t sound like a scam. Then one day we were together and she told me “You know that stupid movie club I joined? Well to get out of it I have to buy two more movies. I wanted to ask you which ones I should get but I couldn’t get a hold of you. So I got ‘Patton’ and ‘The Godfather.” The next day I was at a jewelers getting the “color/cut/clarity” spiel. And 20 years later I’m lucky to still be with someone who loves Tarantino and has literally never seen “The Notebook.”
So Ebert was onto something. But it’s one of those things that easier in theory than in practice. Sure, my blissful married life is filled with SciFi, war movies, the superhero genre and Liam Neeson. But statistically speaking, most of you are among those poor, wretched creatures who every so often have to make a sacrifice to the Goddess at the altar of some Katherine Heigl dreckfest if you’ll ever have any hope of getting laid.
But just because there’s a small percentage of us who never have to suffer insufferable chick flicks ever, doesn’t mean we’re totally without romance. Just because I married well doesn’t mean I don’t have a heart. It’s just that our romantic moments don’t come in trite little mismatched-pair-of-opposites-bicker-for-90-minutes-then-find-out-they’re-meant-to-be packages like the crap your girlfriend tortures you with. They come in guy movies. And they’re there if you know where to look.
So in honor of Valentine’s Day, I present my ten favorites. (Ground rules: I’m treating your Star Wars and superhero movies as Family Films instead of Guy Movies. Thus no Han Solo saying “I know” and Superman reversing time to save Lois Lane and all that.) Those great scenes where a guy gives his heart to a woman. And in Lloyd Christmas’ words, where she gives him that old fashioned romantic feeling, like he’d do anything to bone her. That’s a special feeling. So here are my Top Ten Romantic Moments from Guy Movies.
10. “Road House”
It’s a tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme. Doctor who was raised by her uncle who owns the auto parts store meets a bouncer with a degree in Philosophy who’s saving the town from an evil businessman and they fall in love. With all due respect to his work in “Dirty Dancing” and “Ghost,” this was Swayze at his absolute Swayziest.
9. “The Naked Gun”
Just once in every man’s life he should be able to deliver a line this perfect. “The problems of two little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. But this is our hill. These are our beans.” >sniff<
8. “Die Hard”
(Note: This clip is “Die Hard 2: Die Harder. Sue me. It’s the exact same ending as Part 1.) John McClain’s wife treated him like crap. Left him in NYC, took the kids and moved to LA. She dumped her married name and climbed the corporate ladder while some undocumented immigrant raised his children. But there’s nothing like almost getting blown to bits taking out a ruthless gang of German terrorists to win a woman’s heart back.
Herb Brooks just pulled off the greatest win in the history of sports, before or since. He finds his wife in the stands (2:15 mark). Their eyes meet. He doesn’t say a word. He doesn’t have to. She put up with all his obsessing over the hockey team. She kept his family together while he poured his heart and soul into making this moment happen. His sacrifices were her sacrifices. His victory is her victory. Just pure love.
6. “Django Unchained”
How much does Django love Bromhilda Von Shaft? Enough that he begs for her life, turns his back on his own freedom, becomes a bounty hunter, risks hanging posing as a guy trying to buy her, goes on a massive killing spree and blows up a house. In a Tarantino movie, that is the purest expression of true love.
5. “The Godfather”
Michael courts Apollonia in the traditional, respectful, Old World style and it is really very sweet. Only two minor details spoil the moment. His other fiancee is back in New Hampshire with no idea what’s happened to him. And he’s only stopping by Sicily because he just splattered a police captain’s brains all over a restaurant in Brooklyn.
Maximus had been away from his wife and kid for two years, two hundred and sixty-four days and tells his men he’s three weeks away from being home, harvesting his crops. The crops that grow in soil that’s black like his wife’s hair. That’s before Marcus Aurelius dies and his whole world goes to Hell. It’s not until he’s killed that punk Commodus and dies a hero’s death that he gets the one thing he ever wanted: to see the woman he loves again.
The last five Rocky’s were basically cartoons so it’s easy to forget the original is a realistic, gritty piece of ’70s filmmaking. And since Adrian spent every other “Rocky” shrieking “Why do you need to fight this guy? Why can’t you just quit?” in a voice that sounds like a car alarm, it’s easy to forget there was once a time she was an awkward, timid lonelyheart and actually kind of likable. And the parts where Rocky tries to impress her are genuinely touching.
William Wallace’s whole romance with Murron… from the time they were little to sneaking off in the rain to marrying her in secret because he wasn’t going to let an English Lord go all Prima Noctae all over her… was so romantic, the story is like porn to Princess Isabelle and her handmaiden. It’s their “50 Shades of Plaid.”
Gorgo tells Leonidas to come back with his shield or on it. He chooses the latter. And facing a rainstorm of zizzing, pointy death, all he’s thinking about is her. “My queen. My wife. My love.” Best death scene ever.
Happy Valentine’s Day, fellas. Now go man up and pick one of these to watch today instead of her usual garbage. @JerryThornton1