Men at the Movies


Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

There is a  spike of movies hitting the big screen this fall that star casts of 60+ men, reliving their youthful glory.  Why the increase in movies featuring former tough guys and beloved legends, is unclear. According to research done on ticket sales for 2011 (the latest research available on the subject), men and women of all ages split total ticket sales. Peers of the actors (men in the same age range) don’t’ frequent the movies as much as their younger counterparts. Perhaps Hollywood is catering to the psyche of young males: “Don’t worry, young man. You can have both an AARP membership and still kick some @$$ and get tail.” With these films, was Hollywood in search of blockbusters or mid-ground sufficiency in between blockbusters? The casts are recognizable and lovable (to male and females), but are ostentatious with their flair of blatant testosterone fever.

The only movie of 2013 (thus far) to feature solely female leads and land didn’t even land in the top 10 of box office sales (it missed the silver lining and landed at number 11 as of publication date) was the under-performing, The Heat, which stars middle-aged darlings Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy.  (The Heat was regarded by many critics as a flop).The top ten is full of sub 40 actors playing super heroes. Is it a coincidence these films are released within the same 6 month time frame? They hail from different studios and have similar production timelines — again I ask: reason or coincidence?

Films of the geriatric male variety include Last Vegas, the still-buddies-after-all-these-years-of course Robert DeNiro is there bachelor party headed to Vegas to celebrate the marriage of Michael Douglas’ character marriage (to a much younger broad, go figure). Morgan Freeman, who plays Archie, says the following about the flick:


Enough said.

Sylvester Stallone has tried to keep youthful over the years by embracing plastic surgery, and tries to keep appearances of a tough youth up in several of his new flicks. In Escape Plan, he and Arnold Schwarzenegger bring their once young and abominable fierce selves back to life. Is this a screaming effort of aging Hollywood execs? What is their point in proving traditional masculinity (a will to fight, a yearn to defeat) cannot be hampered, even by age and fatigue?


Monuments Men features Bill Murray, Alec Baldwin, and Brad Pitt among others. The actors portray a group of men who were never quite viewed as “masculine” by society – they were bookish, smart, and artsy. Yet, the throngs of World War II call upon them to use their proven skills to unleash their inner masculine selves. An underdog story for the ages and the aged.

Other thoughts on the matter? My question is: WHY? Why are we seeing this theme in the movies, and why has 2013 been such a male dominated year in cinema?

More research on females in media can be found here, courtesy of The Geena Davis Institute.

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2 thoughts on “Men at the Movies

  1. Sarah M says:

    Great post! It does seem like 2013 was a particularly male-heavy year in cinema, but it seems just to be continuing a trend that has always existed in Hollywood. This reminds me of something called the Bechdel Test–to pass the test, movies must meet three basic criteria: 1) include two named female characters, 2) these two women must talk to each other, and 3) the conversation must be about something other than men. I know there aren’t many films out there with female leads, but it was so shocking to me how few films meet even this most basic criteria.


  2. safialaura says:

    Just gotta say… it’s weird to me how older women could never be revered like this. Even though Stallone may have gotten some plastic surgery, it’s still easy to tell he’s getting up there. Same with Mr. Terminator. Like… look at those guys! Women could never get away with that, unless they’re the at the top of the acting totem pole, like Meryl Streep. I think in general it’s really obvious that women are expected to be more attractive than men, but it gets even more ridiculous to me when those already unattractive men get old, and still aren’t given the scrutiny that women are. Not saying anyone deserves judgement for looks, just that the unevenness in the movie biz really gets to me.


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