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 light-hearted 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:

“Bromance”

I think the term “bromance” is one of the healthiest additions to the gender landscape in a long time. Unlike feminism or more potentially militant movements (I said potentially, calm down), bromance is a purely positive entity. You can’t have bromance extremists because the very concept doesn’t make sense. To establish heterosexual males as so comfortable in their friendship with another guy that romance can even be joked about without being threatening is remarkable. Guys have been socially pressured not to admit how much they care about their fellow male friends, and so to transcend to this level where it’s not only spoken about but embraced can only improve the world. When you display that transcendence in film? Magic happens.

1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

This is a bromance three-way! Kirk, Spock, and Bones exhibit some of the finest love-hate behavior that pop culture has ever created. Spock doesn’t like that the others don’t follow the rules, Kirk doesn’t like being told what to do, Bones doesn’t like anyone. Ultimately the three of them respect each other so much it’s heartwarming, which makes it all the more heartbreaking in this film when one of them dies. (It’s been long enough, deal with the spoilers).

Spock knows he’s going to die, and the first thing he does is pass on his soul to Bones. Good gravy, the intimacy and trust that exists between them to allow that with a straight face. Then the infamous scene where Spock is dying, and some of his last words are that he and Kirk are friends. That moment is what cements this film as the best of the franchise, and a shining example of a true bromance.

2. The Lord of the Rings

The bromance is strong with this one, if I can borrow from another franchise. Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee have what can only be described as an epic adventure together. Sure there are others there during the trip, and various amounts of bromances occur, but these two share a special bond. Less mature people like to joke that they’re in a romantic relationship, but that’s exactly why the word bromance was coined: it’s not romantic, it’s a close bond built from mutual respect, trust and love in a non-physical sense.

Two moments stand out as perfect examples of this bromance, as well as moments that make even the hairiest-chested male choke up. The first is when Sam worries that there’s not enough food for the return trip, and Frodo says there’s not going to be a return trip. Sam’s optimism in the face of Frodo’s pessimism actually gave Frodo strength, and shared strength is pure bromance. The second part is the end, when Frodo collapsed under complete exhaustion. Sam picks Frodo up, enacting physically what he had been doing emotionally the entire trilogy. It was touching and beautiful.

3. Swingers

One of the earliest examples of a great bromance, this film has Vince Vaught and something that would eventually gain weight and become the Jon Favreau I know and love. Jon had his heart broken by a girl and Vince dedicates his life to making his friend joyful again. Well, not his entire life, but a few weeks at least. The sad parts are easy and multiple; the film revels in showing Jon Favreau hitting rock bottom over and over again, just so we can see him pick himself up again. But the Bromance really comes from how his friend is there to help him. Sure, Vince is obnoxious and pretentious, but he’s a true friend to Jon. Other movies would have Vince having some hidden motive for helping out, like a bet or something. This film is simpler than that, and better for it. Sometimes a bromance is as simple as one guy dedicating his life to helping his bro in need.

4. Superbad

Some people have irrational hatred for both Michael Cera and Jonah Hill. I’m not sure why, but it wasn’t because of this film. Despite the side plots of McLovin and fetching booze for an underage party, this movie is a built around a very common fear of good friends going off to different colleges. The important thing about this particular attempt and exploring that life event is that there’s no magic fix at the end. The two best friends still separate, and in fact there’s a very tender moment at the end where they’re in a mall and they silently go their separate ways.

It’s never really established when the movie takes place, but social networking doesn’t seem to play a big part in it. Those who can remember life without Facebook know that friendships, no matter how close, can dissolve due to distance. The movie’s run time is devoted to these two characters realizing how much they need each other right as they potentially separate forever. But they keep their heads high, and their bromance intact. We salute you.

5. I Love You, Man

No, I did not travel back in time and direct a film specifically to fit on this list, but if I had, it would have resulted in this movie. Ant-Man, err, Paul Rudd, realizes that he has no male friends from which to choose his best man for his upcoming wedding. After a quick process of finding one seemingly perfect friend, a push and pull occurs where he simultaneously learns how to have a strong male friendship while teaching the other guy how to be more mature. Really you could skip this list and just go see this movie, but then I wouldn’t get the hit bonus, so how about doing both?

The sad part that makes guys cry in this film? Jason Segel’s character isn’t going to stay friends with Paul Rudd. I personally have had friends that sometimes hold the “stupid stick” such as discussing a lack of oral sex at the wedding rehearsal dinner (something that occurs in this film, not in my life). Despite any history or adventures that these two have, eventually those personality defects will outweigh any friendship benefits that come from it. This particular bromance, as funny as it is, will end up being nothing more than a “starter bromance.” It teaches Paul Rudd how to be friends with a guy but while necessarily being a long-term friendship itself. That’s sad, because Jason Segel is nice and deserves hugs.

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