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Tyler Richards Hewes
Executive director, Orchestra Nova, orchestranova.org

My friend Trevor hosts the occasional Man Night at his house; we watch “manly” movies, drink beer, eat pizza, and add our own commentary. The movies always have a strong action vibe and range from very smart to very, very dumb. Here are two examples. Based on the Chuck Palahniuk novel of the same name, Fight Club is a pitch-black joy. Perfect for the testosterone-fest that is a Man Night, how often does a movie make you turn to your friend and ask if he’ll punch you in the face? The film is also cerebral in its own way.

Bad Boys I and II by Michael Bay are loud, fast, unrepentantly stupid, and lots of fun. With recycled plots and generic characters, Bay loads up the frame with fast cars, slick cinematography and well-executed gun battles. Overblown action doesn’t have a more assured master than Bay, and these Bad Boys are his magnum opus.

Fight Club (USA) 1999, Twentieth Century Fox
List price: $19.98

Bad Boys/Bad Boys II (USA) 1995/2003, Sony Pictures
List price: $19.94

Trevor Walker-Bennett
Systems administrator, UCSD

Here are the best manly Christmas movies of the ’80s. Lethal Weapon is the quintessential “buddy cop” movie. From Jackie Swanson’s topless introduction to Mel Gibson and Gary Busey’s final fight, Lethal Weapon delivers an unapologetic cop drama where good guys shoot bad guys and to hell with the consequences. Plus it takes place at Christmas. I must say, I will never get too old for this s@#t.

And what could be more appropriate for the holidays than Bruce Willis swinging through a window, guns blazing, while a helicopter explodes above him? Die Hard remains one of my favorite action movies. The bad guys are ruthless and merciless, the good guys take no prisoners, and the action moves along from the moment Alan Rickman shows up sporting a German accent. Bloody, loud, and full of the best one-liners in cheesy cinematic history, Die Hard definitely ranks as my favorite Christmas flick.

Lethal Weapon (USA) 1987, Warner Brothers
List price: $19.98

Die Hard (USA) 1987, Twentieth Century Fox
List price: $14.98

Sherief Abdel-Rahman
Software engineer, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems

Ask an auto enthusiast about his favorite movies, and one of them is likely to be Ronin. It’s the Bullitt of the modern generation. John Frankenheimer assembled a talented cast for this fast-paced thriller, but their stardom is rivaled by the high-performance European machines featured in its spectacular, edge-of-your-seat chases through narrow European streets. A welcome contrast to today’s dumb, overblown action movies; the budget is modest, the directing is tight, and the only soundtrack is gunfire, roaring engines, and screeching tires.

Sci-Fi doesn’t get much manlier than Robocop. Set in a dystopian future Detroit run and owned by a mega-corporation, Robocop is a satire of American culture and a critique of our consumerist lifestyle. It also has a heroically awesome soundtrack. It’ll make you want to go out and punch something. Part black comedy, part ultra-violent action, part philosophical satire, Robocop is all classic.

Ronin (England/USA) 1998, MGM
List price: $14.98

Robocop (USA) 1987, Orion Pictures
List price: $14.98

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