Netflix is both a joyous cesspool of unwatchable movies as well as your one true friend, especially come winter. Probably you’re already familiar with the site’s robust movie recommendation system, which features categories like Quirky Movies, Feel-Good Movies, Irreverent Movies and—of course—Movies Featuring a Strong Female Lead.
Uh, OK....this is a huge problem. Whenever I see “strong women” on screen, I immediately think, sorry, can’t relate. I recoil. Give me a man.
But men—or males—are often depicted as weak, helpless characters in films. Rarely do we see male protagonists using their strength and God-given fortitude to triumph over adversity. Vulture recently rounded up the best of Netflix’s Strong Female Leads category, fully neglecting the fact that men can be strong, too.
To remedy this, here’s my list of the best Netflix Movies Featuring a Strong Male Lead. Men, watch these when you need to feel strong.
Silver Linings Playbook
Strong Male Lead: Bradley Cooper
Netflix plot description: After a stint in a mental hospital, Pat moves in with his parents and tries to win back his wife, until he meets a woman who’s as unstable as he is.
Why Watch: Wow, what a journey. An unstable man navigates his way through life using his inner, not outer, strength. In the end, he becomes a better person. Good for him!
Seeking A Friend For the End of the World
Strong Male Lead: Steve Carrell
Netflix plot description: As an asteroid hurdles toward Earth, a man sets out to reunite with his high school sweetheart. But a woman who tags along complicates things.
Why Watch: Dodge is a humble insurance salesman (probably underpaid) with no backbone until he meets a woman who encourages him to take more risks. It takes a strong man to meet a woman.
Strong Male Lead: Tom Cruise
Netflix plot description: Sports agent Jerry Maguire experiences a crisis of conscience and leaves his high-powered job behind, with only one client and a co-worker in tow.
Why Watch: It’s a sports-related movie that features men and sports terms like “Show me the money!” Never mind. Just get a man to explain it to you.
Strong Male Lead: George Clooney
Netflix plot description: Dispatched to a small Italian town to await further orders, assassin Jack embarks on a double life that may be more relaxing than is good for him.
Why Watch: Clooney’s character is not only a strong man, but also an American and an assassin. Three birds with one rock hard stone.
Strong Male Lead: Kevin Hart
Netflix plot description: When Nashawn wins $100 million, he launches his own airline, complete with a casino, bootylicious flight attendants and Snoop Dogg as the pilot.
Why Watch: It’s about a man with ambition. Inspiring.
Strong Male Lead: Christian Bale
Netflix plot description: With chiseled good looks that belie his insanity, a businessman takes pathological pride in yuppie pursuits and indulges in sudden homicidal urges.
Why Watch: Here’s a stirring tale about an attractive white man chasing the elusive American dream. There are some casualties, but he’s strong.
Strong Male Lead: Nicolas Cage
Netflix plot description: Modern treasure hunters search for a chest of riches rumored to have been stashed away by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.
Why Watch: Nicolas Cage really takes charge here, and we could all learn a lesson or two.
Strong Male Lead(s): Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans
Netflix plot description: Two black FBI agents confined to baby-sitting a pair of empty-headed socialites pose as the white party girls to flush out their would-be kidnappers.
Why Watch: This features not one but two male leads who look really believable dressed as white women. Proof that men can totally multitask.
All Good Things
Strong Male Lead: Ryan Gosling
Netflix plot description: After real estate scion David weds middle-class Katie against the wishes of his father, suspicions of murder fall on the heir when Katie vanishes.
Why Watch: If there’s one thing a man knows how to do well, it’s murder. Not saying he did it, but...watch and see.
Strong Male Lead: Samuel L. Jackson
Netflix plot description: Controversial basketball coach Ken Carter puts school before sports and benches his undefeated high school team for poor academic performance.
Why Watch: A coach practices tough love, confirming that men can be both strong and emotional. Wow.
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