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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Buddy Movies

Robert Manni - Saturday, August 10, 2013


Every Guy’s Guy has a best bud.

In the case of my novel, The Guys' Guy's Guide to Love, Max Hallyday, our protagonist and a guy with integrity is set against his lady-killer, roguish BFF, Roger Fox. And because summertime is all about moviesalthough summer 2013 seems to be a dismal one for movies—I humbly offer my top ten list of classic Guy’s Guy best bud films in no particular order. Drum roll, please.

The King of Comedy- In this DeNiro/Scorsese classic black comedy, Rupert Puptkin (gotta love the name) sets his sights on his comedy career breaking through after a chance encounter with the Johnny Carson-esque late night talk show host magnificently played by Jerry Lewis, of all people. The results are poignant, original, uplifting and somewhat creepy, all at the same time. When I saw the film in the movie theaters back in the 80’s the audience was not in on the joke and many were dumbfounded by this story about a comic who really isn’t funny.

I Love You Man – Jason Segel and Paul Rudd at their finest in a story about an engaged guy who does not have a male friend worthy of being his best man. With his soon-to-be wife’s encouragement, he befriends a smooth-talking slacker who teaches Rudd’s character the ropes. Twists and turns ensue, but Hollywood’s Happy Ending Police make sure that it all works out with a heart-tugging outdoor wedding finale. Regardless, it’s a damn funny film.

Midnight Run - DeNiro again flashes his comedic chops in this cross-country road trip caper about a bounty hunter who learns about love and his feelings from his prisoner, a crooked accountant played by Charles Grodin. Dennis Farina sparkles as a Chicago bad guy.

Wedding Crashers – The best thing Vince Vaughn or Owen Wilson has done in the past five years, this instant classic also features Bradley Cooper as an annoying antagonist named “Sack”. What? Add Christopher Walken to the mix and you have two hours of mayhem and one-liners.  If you haven’t seen this film yetgee, I don’t know what to say except you might have something personal against fun. Just kidding.

Sideways – One of your Guys’ Guy’s all time favs. Paul Giamatti plays a struggling novelist who accompanies his womanizing best friend, Thomas Hayden Church, on a weeklong boondoggle to the wine country outside of Santa Barbara. They meet Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh and discover a lot about wine and themselves. The movie has an indie feel, but it’s pure Hollywood at its finest, and highly recommended, especially if you like pinot noir.

Easy Rider – Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper star in this dark sixties classic buddy, road trip that introduced America to the talents of Jack Nicholson.  Great theme, outstanding music, and a poignant message about the direction of our culture are rolled up in a film many consider as the ultimate buddy flick. It very well could be.

Rain Man - Let’s face it. Tom Cruise can act.  We all know about Dustin Hoffman’s Academy awarding winning role as an autistic savant, but Cruise totally nails his role as the selfish brother who ultimately learns the importance of family. A touching drama that may even bring a tear to your eye, amigo.

48 Hours – Nick Nolte meets Eddie Murphy in a ham-fisted, cops and robbers tale about a stolen suitcase full of cash. Sounds familiar, but no worries. This is a hilarious character study set in the underbelly of San Francisco. Murphy shines throughout the film and in particular in a not to be missed scene that takes place in a red neck bar.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – Many consider this one of Hollywood’s greatest all-around films. Based on the story of the real-life train robbers, there is plenty of action, great dialogue and a saucy love triangle between two men on the run and their female accomplice. The story eventually takes them to Bolivia where they meet their destiny in a classic climatic shootout.

The Hangover – This is a case of a movie tapping into the culture at precisely the right time and then more than delivering the goods in a fresh, unexpected way. The three leads have all become stars in their own right in Bradley Cooper’s unlikely breakthrough role. I almost feel sorry for the cops in Las Vegas after this film caught fire and created so many wannabe’s.

I’ve only scratched the surface with these ten male buddy flicks and it’s no wonder that being a Guy’s Guy is always accompanied by a best bud…or two…or three.

What are your favorite buddy films?

Things Guy's Guys Like (Part 2)

Robert Manni - Thursday, April 11, 2013


So what’s a Guy’s Guy?

I keep getting asked this question, and it’s a good thing because in a world where men have never been as free to be whoever they want, it’s never been less clear who they are.  Once again, simply stated, a Guy’s Guy is a contemporary Man’s Man, with a nod to a return to the casual confidence and seductive integrity of the classic male, but updated to reflect the belief that everybody wins when men and women can be at their best. A few months ago I posted a partial list of all things Guy’s Guythe likes and dislikes.

So without further ado, I submit the second installment, the sequel if you will, of all things Guy’s Guys. And yes, since a Guy’s Guy is flexible and open-minded, this list is subject to change.

More Things That Guy’s Guys Like

A smile from across the room, Opening Day at Yankee Stadium, winning a piece of new business, your father’s laughter, a sweaty workout after a long night, homemade smoothies, early Sunday morning in NYC, flip flops, the Jolly Roger, The Eagles first album, that first dive and last dives into the ocean each year, grilled fish, reruns of Mister Ed when you’re hung over, reeling a feisty bluefish into the boat, that broken-in leather belt that goes with everything, connecting people and seeing it all work out, a pair of freshly broken-in running shoes, a fluffy towel after a hot shower, your fantasy football draft, fish tacos, sex in the morning, outdoor cafes in May, when technology makes life easier, driving the green, that first kiss, women with toned bodies, active listening, vintage acoustic guitars, summer wind, kids playing, aloe plants, waking up next to someone you love, Jeff Bridges movies, always having a great joke to tell, content over curating, radio, heels and shapely calves, peaceful solutions, going for it, organic, Joe Frazier, pancakes with real maple syrup, the heavyweight championship of the world on the line, your own personal style, that go-to pair of jeans, Orchard Street south of Delancey, dark rum, free weights, a good night’s sleep, three-run homers.

More Things Guy’s Guys Don’t Like

Unnecessary sequels of bad movies, not showing up, standing inline, insufficient fare on your Metro card as the C train pulls into the station, dirty looks from the bartender when you order a club soda, rushing to cross the street as the light changes while pushing a stroller, not qualifying a sales lead, covering your ass with email, paying retail for clothing, retail workers talking to one another other while you’re waiting to pay, greeters at banks (WTF), reality shows about hillbillies and swamp people, not saying “thank you” when someone does you a solid, OMG, unlabeled GMO foods, “who are you wearing?”, skinny jeans on dudes, light beer ads that think they’re clever, big dogs forced to live in little apartments, white flour/rice/sugar, a weak clammy handshake, cigarettes, ads using dogs (lazy), steroids (WTF), sugary breakfast cereal that claim they are good for you, obviousness, violent video games, fear-inducing media, watching too much sports (really), trash talk, teams that run out the clock at the end, of the first half, waking up to construction noise on the weekend, the weeks between the Super Bowl and March Madness, chasing fashion, air kisses, artificial sweeteners, uninspired kisses (why even bother).

I could go on and on and on, but that should suffice for now.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is LeBron James. Even if you're a Knicks fan, but you've got to give him props. The “King” is on a roll.

3 Big Reasons Why Men Should Get Married. Really.

Robert Manni - Wednesday, September 12, 2012

          

When He Knows It’s Time
 

A few years ago, I would have never written this column. Never! Call me a late bloomer. I was single in New York City for over twenty-five years. That’s not a world’s record and I am sure many of you ladies know lots of guys in the city who are not interested in marriage. And I managed to remain single longer than all of my friends and colleagues. But, lucky for me, I met the right woman and one year later, to the day, I popped the question. And another year later, almost to the day, we got hitched. We just celebrated our second anniversary and I now have the insights of a few years of married life under my belt.  And, it’s been great. I’m really glad I first dated to my heart’s desire and I’m even happier that I found a wonderful partner. Here are a few things that convinced me of the virtues of this age-old institution. Quick disclaimer—I realize that every marriage, like every relationship, like every snowflake is different, so I am only speaking of my experience. Here goes… 

1 - Better Diet.  For some reason, I stopped eating beef, pork and lamb the evening I met my wife. Knowing that she was a vegetarian, I did not order a bloody cheeseburger on our first casual date.  And I have never looked back. Recently, I stopped eating poultry, too. Thankfully, my wife never asked me to change my carnivorous habits. But she noticed my mealtime choices, and on her own met me halfway by shifting to a diet that now includes fish. I know that she would prefer that we both existed on veggies and various forms of non-animal protein, but she is a very wise and giving person and it is working out nicely. I feel great. Hey, I did the whole bachelor thing—you’ve probably dated a guy whose staples were ketchup, toilet paper, beer, and ESPN. I pigged out at business dinners and worked out enough to maintain my fitness, but it took a woman’s touch to gently guide me to healthier dietary choices. The bonus is that my energy level is way up and I do not miss the meat or the bacon. That’s just me, but I attribute it to my wife’s quiet leadership by example. She has the metabolism of a hummingbird. She loves to eat and she’s an amazing cook so there is always great-tasting food in our home. Bonus points. 

2 - Better Friendship. Better Sex. If you are a married guy and your wife is not your best friend, to me that’s a red flag. Healthy couples like to spend time together. I’ve been in a few ongoing relationships where we spent most of the time rumpling the sheets. No complaints, but eventually we had to get up and go out and that’s when the issues surfaced. You can have great sexual chemistry and not much else in common. Maybe that is ironic, but I took it for what it was, went back for more, and I do not look back. Thankfully, my marriage is robust in this area too, which brings us to… Another blogger asked your Guy’s Guy to write something about what men want. Brilliant topic. But, the answer is short. In fact it is only one word: More. Yep, that’s what men want. For me, and I am sure for other guys (see Mick Jagger), ‘more’ meant a variety of partners. I get it. That said, I always recalled reading a quote by a handsome, professional football star who said that he had learned that you can go deeper with the right woman than you can by sharing your swimmers with a half-dozen ladies. It stuck in my mind and I finally realized that he was right. Of course, I took my time to find out. In fact, I took as much time as possible to find out. 

3 - Better Health. I’m sure you have all read about the studies that claim married guys outlive their single counterparts. Men are lonely, solitary hunters. That’s what we do. And, most of us do not eat that well, we do not get enough sleep and we spend too much time watching sports, drinking beer and chasing women. That’s after spending ten hours a day competing in our jobs and dealing with the stress that comes form urban living, high-pressure careers and a shit economy.  Of course married guys (if they are with the right woman) live longer. 
 
I can go on and on, and I am not trying to score brownie points with you or my wife. I’m just doing what Guy’s Guys do. We call them as we see them and we learn from our mistakes. So next time you hear one of the guys (especially if he is over forty) crowing about how great it is to be single and prowling the bars in the city, ask him a few questions about all of the above. You may get an interesting response. 

Guy’s Guy of The Week: Warren Beatty, for finally getting hitched in a happy marriage with Annette Bening after years of being a playboy. 

What do you think are the benefits of being married?

image courtesy of http://www.25karats.com/

The 5 Traits Women Look For in a Man

Robert Manni - Wednesday, May 30, 2012

  image courtesy of vi.sualize.us

Have you ever wondered what the most important characteristics that women seek in guys are? After another fruitless night combing the bars, clubs, and hot spots for a mate, a lot of guys skulk home with a belly full of Budweiser and not much else to show for it. I’ve been there…many times. But being a circumspect and blossoming Guy’s Guy, at a certain point I asked myself what was the key to connecting…I mean really connecting with women. Of course the most important step was step one. That meant admitting to myself that I had a lot to learn. Excellent. Then it was on to step two researching with women. I’m an ad guy and we always check in on a regular basis with our target consumers to find out what they are thinking. In this area not much changes. There truly are some basic character traits…beyond a Swiss Bank account and a body like Brad Pitt that women desire in a man. Here is your Guys’ Guys’ Guide to Traits Women Want in a Man. You may agree or maybe not. Ask a woman though before you call bullshit. 

1. Confidence- This is numero uno, amigos. Ladies gravitate to dudes who exude a quiet, but smoldering brand of self-assurance. Not the kind that says, “Look at me. I have ripped abs.” Nope. It’s a smoother, underlying energy that projects from the inside out. It says, without saying, “I know who I am and I am comfortable in my own skin. I’m looking for a partner who has her feet planted on the ground and dreams that reach the heavens.  Interested in finding out more?” That usually works if it is based on true knowing, not posturing. And knowing comes from men who have been tested. 

2. Attitude- This is confidence’s wingman. If a guy has confidence, he usually has the right attitude. That means a propensity to seeing the glass half full. Easier said than done sometimes. Even if he loses his job, a Guy’s Guy sees it as an opportunity to open new doors that are better suited for his journey. Sounds like bullshit? It’s not.  Women like guys who see the big picture, especially when life throws them a major curveball. Women find comfort knowing that their guy is not going to fall apart when the going gets tough and make fear-based decisions. 

 3. Sense of Humor- A lot of women find Bill Murray attractive. Although he may not be your prototypical Hollywood star, he exudes his own brand of confidence and attitude and he’s hilarious. He is one powerful guy. I recently watched him on Anthony Bourdain’s travel show and he is the only person that I have seen that left Bourdain somewhat tongue-tied. That’s quite an accomplishment. And, of course he was in “Stripes” and “Caddyshack” and “Groundhog Day” and SNL. He is certifiably funny as hell and chicks dig his act. 

4. Kindness- It’s kindness, not weakness. In fact, kindness is a true sign of strength, particularly when it emanates from a guy.  It’s easy to be a dick. There are lots of people who do stupid things and arguably could benefit from a boot in the butt, but that’s not what we are here for, amigos. Kindness means transcending judgment. That’s really challenging in a culture driven by reality and competition shows that are based on judging. And in an insidiously exploitive society, people are crying out to be heard. The cure for judgment is kindness. If a dude is mindful about choosing a path of forgiveness and caring, women will pick up on it. And that is a very good thing for everyone. Being kind is a series of conscious decisions made on a daily basis. If guys pay attention to their choices in how they handle people and situations and choose the path of kindness it will pay off in many wonderful ways, including attracting the ladies. This is a fringe benefit of being kind.   

5. The intangibles- I once dated a woman who was turned on by Daniel Day-Lewis’s long fingers.  I could not compete with that. I have meaty fists that scream I have worked with a jackhammer as well as the keyboard of my computer. These are strong, solid hands, but no matter. Needless to say, this is one of those intangibles that guys have to factor in when dealing with women. There are certain quirks and likes that seem random, because they are. And women have the right to follow their hearts when it comes to this stuff. I do not have an anecdote for handling the intangibles, but I assure you that they will spring up when you least expect it.  Do guys think Hugh Grant is cute? Hell, no, but women do. That’s how they roll, fellas, so I suggest deploying the aforementioned other four traits when the intangibles rear their head. Just shake it off. It’s only Hugh Grant. 

Do you have a handle on the five traits that women seek in a man? 


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