5 Studio-Screwed Movies that Make Guys Cry

DISCLAIMER: This is not a series dedicated to proving men shouldn’t cry, or to suggest ONLY women cry and are therefore inferior. The goal of this series is to dispel the pre-established (yet flawed) notion that being “manly” and being disconnected from your emotions go hand-in-hand. Even the most macho of men enjoy and even shed a tear at films, and the sooner we can admit that the sooner the concept that one sex is better than the other can go away. While the approach to these articles is one of lighthearted comedy, the emotional core is valid. While men might be more hesitant to admit it, movies often times have the potential to make us cry, for example:

“Studio-Screwed Movies”

Like smoking or enjoying reality TV, some things can drain positive potential until only a shallow husk remains. Movies are no exception, and studio involvement is the vampire in that equation. From forced re-writes to poor casting choices … and let’s not forget over-editing, movies can go from great to horrible due to the whims of studio execs. Sometimes by some miracle these over-interfered films still manage to be fairly decent but it’s usually evident they could have gone much further were it not for those meddling studios.

Compiled are a list of films that either stunk, or didn’t reach their full potential due to their respective studios making a mess of things. Yet still, these films manage to touch our hearts.

That’s kinda like limping to the bomb and pulling the trigger with your last breath. Hats off to you, studio-screwed films!

1. Edge of Tomorrow (or Live, Die, Repeat)

See, the film doesn’t even know its own name! Based off of a book titled All You Need is Kill, this movie did poorly at the box office despite a tight script, spot-on comedy, and prosthetic effects used instead of CG that will make it age much better than most competitors. The film could have taken the book’s name and been awesome. It could have used the tag line that was such a better name, the DVD cover has “Live, Die, Repeat” in huge letters and then “Edge of Tomorrow” in teeny tiny letters. When you’re trying to change the name of the film between theatrical release and home video, you’ve messed something up. The title makes no sense and Tom Cruise was still an iffy leading man after the public realized he was bat-shit insane. It pains me that they had two viable title options but went with a riddle and banked too much on star power.

In a film that could be summarized as “Groundhog Day by way of Starship Troopers,” the sad part is similar to my issue with Bill Murray’s time loop film: despite being granted temporal reset power, Tom Cruise had to watch Emily Blunt die so many times he basically gives up on saving her. For ever loop we witness, thousands go by where she dies in front of him. That emotional damage, just like the rigorous training Tom went through, will stay with him despite the day resetting. Sure he survives, but he’s damaged goods from here on out.

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2. Dark City

This film is hauntingly beautiful, and walks a delicious line between a film noir mystery and a secret invasion. Strange men walk the streets at night, a man with no memory framed for murder even he’s not sure he’s innocent of committing, a crippled man who seems to know more than he’s allowed to let on. This film has several powerful twists, great visuals and a cast that works their hardest.

Then the studio came in and thought audiences were too stupid to understand what was going on prior to the official reveal, so they forced a monologue into the beginning that literally gives away the film’s biggest twist. It’s like they didn’t think we could read a whole book, so they printed the last page first and then started at the beginning. Give us some credit, will ya?

The sad part on this film is William Hurt. A cop, just doing his job, is faced with mysteries verging on nonsense and still keeps his head. he trusts and later aids the main character, and what does he get as a reward? He’s thrown into the vacuum of space. Inspiring.

3. The Punisher (Thomas Jane version)

This film was prior to Marvel being infallible, so you’ll have to strain your memory on this one.

Anyone who watched this at best thought “that was…passable,” and at worst thought “this movie…sucked.” However, if you’ve had the chance to view the director’s cut, shed a tear at what might have been. An entire sub plot about the Punisher’s best friend that betrayed him was cut, and it weakened the film drastically. Other changes as well render what the theaters saw a mere shadow of what the director created.

Is the sad part about Thomas Jane losing his family? No, that’s his creation myth, it needed to happen. Now, the neighbor in the slum getting his piercings ripped out in protection of the Punisher … that’s a manly sad. This was no hero, nor someone with a rage burning strong enough to dole out punishment. This was a poor, schluby guy who got massacred because he was doing what he thought was right. Good for him. Also shed a tear because John Travolta used to be respected.

4. Superman II

Ever hear of “The Richard Donner Cut” of this movie? When has a director’s cut been so universally acknowledged as superior to the theatrical release that it got its own name? Blade Runner has like five different versions, but the community can’t seem to come to consensus which the best one is. With this film, we know which the best one was. A different ending, different scenes, more of this, less of that; the Donner Cut is so much better it hurts. And it wasn’t that Richard Donner had a different vision, he was just plain taken off the project after finishing 75% of the film. The studio brought in Richard Lester to finish up, but in order to get directing credit he had to re-shoot over 51% of the movie. Blecch!

What’s sad about this film? Richard Lester. He mucked up this film by making it all slapsticky, then directed Superman III. You know, the one with Richard Pryor. RICHARD PRYOR! We still haven’t recovered from that horrible decision, and if you think Man of Steel was better than Superman II: Richard Donner Cut, then you are sorely mistaken.

5. Snowpiercer

I keep coming back to this film because I keep watching it! It’s sooo good. Based off of a French graphic novel (how delightfully obscure!), this movie is jam-packed with big stars giving excellent performances. Set designs are top notch, the plot is simple yet deep, and the symbolism is thick enough to cut with a knife. It would have done excellently if it was widely released in theaters. CHRIS EVANS IS THE STAR! So why did it go straight to art houses and Netflix? The Weinstein brothers.

Again thinking American audiences are a pack of roving idiots, Harvey Weinstein wanted to cut twenty minutes from the film and add one of his trademark narrations at the beginning AND the end of the film.

Luckily for us, the filmmaker fought for his creative baby and won … so to speak. While the film’s integrity was retained, it’s marketing and wide release was pulled by the vindictive and possibly flatulent Weinstein. Well, it ended up making double its budget back, so the joke’s on you Harvey.

The sad part? In the beginning, several parents have their children taken away, later revealed to be used in cramped compartments of the train as human gears and cogs. The main focus of the movie’s plot for the majority of them was to save their kids. Guess how many abducted kids were reunited with their parents? Zero. As evidently idiotic as America’s audiences are, we don’t like sad endings like that. Hence why this film is so powerful.

Like what you see? Secure enough in your masculinity for more? Check out more Guy Cry Cinema or watch Dan on No Right Answer, the weekly debate show that knows what’s really important: Pointlessly arguing about geek culture.


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Daniel Epstein
Father, filmmaker, and writer. Once he won an Emmy, but it wasn't for being a father or writing.