Comfort Movies For Single Guys

Men: Are you having a tough time on the dating scene lately? Take a break from the stress with one of these sure-fire guys’ film favorites.

By Kent Miller

ou’ve heard of comfort food. Juicy cheeseburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches sliced diagonally, chocolate cake — foods like these sure have a way of nurturing your soul when you’re feeling blue.

Unfortunately, they don’t always nurture your waistline in quite the way you’d like. Besides, man does not live by food alone. Hence, the comfort
Some guys went for the tried-and-true picks.
movie: a familiar and beloved flick that’s guaranteed to lift your spirits when you’re down in the dumps. Think of DVD rental stores and streaming movie services as the cinematic equivalent of a pizza delivery service — a fast and easy way to get your comfort fix.

Comfort movies can be especially helpful when you’re in the dating trenches. Because sometimes, you know, things don’t go so well. Maybe you’re in a slump so bad that it feels like you will never date again. Or the terrific feeling you get after that first date isn’t reciprocated by the lady in question. Or things are wonderful until the third or fourth date, and then — radio silence. Or maybe you’ve been dating that someone special for months, years even, when suddenly you find yourself… how shall we put it? Oh, yes. Heartbroken. Crying in the rain, as Willie Nelson famously sang. Dumped.

So what movies do men watch in times of stress?

The range of nominees offered is actually quite heartening. Some guys went for the tried-and-true picks — flying fists and all that. But there were quite a few wholly unexpected choices. Brooding romances set in merry old England. Movies about dancin’ fools. Even more interesting were the reasons men gave for choosing their special movies.

The Usual Favorites
Blade Runner, the 1982 science fiction flick starring Harrison Ford as a hard-bitten detective in a grim looking Los Angeles of the future, is a particular favorite of Joseph Picard, 33, a writer from Vancouver, British Columbia. “A lot of popular sci-fi is dealt with in a very campy ‘pop Hollywood’ kind of way,” Picard says. “Blade Runner, on the other hand, has a kind of grit that makes it feel real. The directing and writing pause to absorb the moment and reflect on the value of life. You’re left at the gate of philosophical ponderings.”

David Kaufer, 44, a marketing executive from Seattle, WA, harkens back to his teen years with Vision Quest, in which high-school wrestler Matthew Modine dedicates himself to the big tournament and wins lovely Linda Fiorentino to boot. “[It’s] my favorite movie to help me feel better or get motivated,” says Kaufer. “I’ve rented it the night before running a marathon and participating in my first Half Ironman Triathlon. It’s very inspirational.”

Of course, no discussion of XY-oriented movies would be complete without mentioning the Laurence Olivier of action: Jean-Claude Van Damme, whose bulging pecs and rock-hard jaw more than compensate for any lack of thespian talents. Michael Drob, 32, a software engineer from White Plains, NY, cheerily nominates the Muscles from Brussels’ low-budget debut, Bloodsport. “The action is genuinely great and the fight scenes are some of the best,” Drob says. “It makes me feel like an invincible 14-year-old kid who thinks the ‘Dim Mak’ is real.” (“Dim Mak” is a legendary martial arts move that’s as preposterous as cooties — but no less fervently believed in — that can allegedly result in your opponent’s death much later.)

Top Hats and... Petticoats?
Phil Hellmuth, 45, a professional poker player from Palo Alto, CA, drops his game face to get all emotional over Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley. “Now my secret is out, I love chick flicks! And this is the best one of them all,” asserts Hellmuth. “Pride and Prejudice is extremely smart with witty dialogue; it is funny and
I think every young man should see this movie.
it has a great ending where two amazing people, seemingly enemies, find each other!”

New York public relations executive Richard Laermer, 48, nominates the most famous love-on the-windswept-moors story of all: Wuthering Heights (the 1939 version with Laurence Olivier). Says Laermer, “That movie taught me at age 20 or so that I could be sentimental — and no longer have to be a fool!”

A Man Behaving Badly
Fundraising consultant Marc Pitman, 38, from Waterville, ME, cites Groundhog Day (in which Bill Murray has to relive the traditional “holiday” from which the film takes its title ad infinitum until he can win Andie McDowell’s heart) as his all-time favorite. Says Pitman: “It hits on this deeper stuff about being a guy. The mundane routine of work, when every day can seem like every other day. Also the total narcissism of Bill Murray’s weather man. The disdain he has for the Andie McDowell character. But by the end of the movie, he changes and becomes a caring human being. I like his character’s redemption.”

Movies About, You Know, Feelings
Montreal public relations executive Bernard Dahl, 30, describes his love for the episodic romantic comedy Love, Actually: “It’s really touching and makes me feel better after watching it.”

Steve Payne, 49, a personal trainer, from San Antonio, TX, offers poignant reasons for cheering on Rocky Balboa: “I’m an emotional guy and I cry a lot at that one. I love my wife, so I can understand how he feels. His wife is dead and he misses her a lot. Plus there are these wonderful scenes he has with his son. I think every young man should see this movie.”

Dan Griffin, 37, a mental health counselor from Minnesota, plumps for Billy Elliot, the feel-good fable of a working class kid who just wants to dance. “It’s such a beautiful film,” gushes Griffin. “It says you can just let go of the hardcore scripts depicting how we men are supposed to be.”

“In all honesty, I was in a pretty low place when I first saw it by myself five years ago,” remembers Griffin. “My father had just died and I felt the movie had a powerful message for me. At heart it conveys that classic adage: ‘To thine own self be true.’”

Truer words were never spoken, men: Be true to yourself and find your own perfect comfort movie. Then get back out there and get into dating again!

Kent Miller is currently writing a comic young adult novel. His articles have appeared in Nintendo Power magazine, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The San Francisco Chronicle and The St. Petersburg Times (Florida).
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