REAL MEN – by Gary Smolker

I recently spent 5 days watching 18 films at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.

While I was in Toronto – attending the Film Festival – and having a stress test, my Toronto based cardiologist Christopher Buller, MD (whose office is at St. Michael’s Hospital, in Toronto, Canada) asked me to send him a list of the movies I liked most at the end of the festival.

Below is a copy of the note I sent Dr. Buller early this morning about my three favorite movies.

The reason I chose each of the three movies discussed below is simple.

Today the concept of being a manly man is something everyone should contemplate.

The truth is most people are not clear about what it means to be a real man.

The heroes Vinny Paz in the movie “Bleed for This”, Pablo Neruda in “Neruda”  are real men  and the hero Dane Jensen in the movie “The Headhunter’s Calling” is a factional character; each of these three men are an exemplary example of real manhood.

In each movie a dramatic tense portion of the life story of each man is presented.

One can tell by watching these movies that each of those men (Vinny Paz, Pablo Neruda, and Dane Jensen) was a man who had settled the question of what he is most about and what he is prepared to make sacrifices for.

In addition to knowing what they were most about, Vinny Paz, Pablo Neruda, and Dane Jensen had the strength of character to stand by their convictions.

That is what makes each movie so compelling.

These three movies reaffirm of two things I believe very strongly:

  • A transcendent cause must exist in a person’s life if he or she is to reach his or her full potential as a human being.
  • A transcendent cause must exist in a person’s life (i.e., in your life) to bring meaning to who you are as a person.

Americans are about to elect a new President of the United States.

Today, the United States is in a crisis of discarded honor, dubious integrity, faux manliness and extreme confusion of what it means to be a manly man.

Today every American male should contemplate the concept to being a manly man.

It is not manly to sexually assault a woman.

I strongly recommend that everyone male in the United States go see “Bleed for This”, “Neruda” and “The Headhunter’s Calling” when those movies are released for showing to the general public.


Below is a copy of the letter I sent to my cardiologist Christopher Buller, M.D., on Wednesday morning, September 21, 2016.


Wednesday morning, 4:15 a.m. PST, September 21, 2016


I saw 18 movies in 5 days.

My three most “favorite” movies:

  1. “Bleed for This”
  2. “Neruda”
  3. “The Headhunter’s Calling”
Bleed for This

“Bleed for This” is my favorite movie.

“Bleed for This” is about a maniac.

“Bleed for This” is a true story about a boxer (Vinny Paz) who was a champion with a great future ahead of him until he got into a horrible catastrophe car accident which left him with a broken neck.

The prognosis is that Vinny will never walk again.

Instead of electing to allow a highly recommended surgery – fusion of vertebrae in his neck/spinal cord – Vinny elects to have a halo — a metal contraption put on his head to keep his head straight while his neck “heals” and vows that he is going to get better and go back in the ring to fight.

Vinny is told if he goes back in the ring one punch could paralyze him from the neck down for life.

The movie follows the true life story of what Vinny did next.

Vinny goes on to hold world boxing championship titles in three weight classes.

Vinny is awesome.

The movie about Vinny’s life is awesome.

I “hope” I am as pig headed, single minded, and driven by ambition to realize my dream as Vinny.


“Neruda” is my second choice – second most favored movie.

“Neruda” is a “true to life FABRICATED account” of that portion of Neruda’s life when Neruda was forced to go “underground” – to go into hiding  – because Neruda was being pursued by the Chilean government for being its most outspoken critic.

What I like about Neruda, and this movie about Neruda,
  • Is that Neruda was an unapologetic hedonist,
  • Is that Neruda was not good looking and yet was loved by countless women,
  • Is that Neruda had/has a poetical and rousing way with words — which he used to be the voice of the voiceless oppressed people in his native country (Chile) .
This movie depicts how his ideologically charged poems roused the people of Chile and gave voice to the voiceless.

My ambition is to have a Nerudaian [is there such a word?] power to spellbound and arouse people when I communicate and to put that [my] power with words to the same use as Neruda.

The Headhunter’s Calling

“The Headhunter’s Calling” is my third choice – my third most favored movie.

“The Headhunter’s Calling” is a movie about a man who “worked” all the time, came home exhausted, didn’t go trick or treating with his young children because he was busy working, yada yada yada – a typical story of the family life (or non-family life} of an ambitious man with a wife and two children who – from his wife’s point of view – is ignoring his children and her.

I love that movie for two reasons:
  • The most memorable line I ever heard spoken in any movie: “Foreplay does not begin in the bedroom.”
  • The man’s speech to his wife about why he is working so hard — is very eloquent — in response to his wife’s plea for him to spend more time with his children.
This movie is about
  • A man torn between the dictates of his ambition and the needs of his family,
  • Domestic stability, and
  • What really matters in life.
The story told in that movie hit me between the eyes.


Gary S. Smolker, publisher, movie reviewer, social commentator
Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange Blog
Gary Smolker, fashion blogger
Dudes Guide to Women’s Shoes


I Agree with the Following Messages in Those Three Films

Dane Jensen

Life is action.  Not speculating, not debating, but doing.

When called upon to do so, the most important thing in Dane Jensen’s life was to protect his family.

It is part of a good man to do great and noble deeds, though he risks everything.

Dane “sacrificed” his career to protect his family.

What You Do Is Who You Are.

What you do lasts, lasts in you.

What you do, that, and only that, is how you are.

Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda’s sense of justice and moral courage were his cornerstone characteristics.

His sense of right and wrong gave him the moral compass that guided his life.

Vinny Paz

Vinny Paz knew what was important to him and what he was unwilling to compromise.

Vinny’s physical strength was impressive.  Yet this did not make Vinny manly.

Moral Strength Is What Makes A Man Manly

Physical strength is not what make makes a man manly.

Rather, it is moral strength that identifies the true man.

Pablo Neruda and Vinny Paz had moral strength,  the strength of character to stand by their convictions.

People like Neruda and Paz will be the leaders of the future.

The Future of the World

Husbands like Dane Jensen and wives like Dane’s wife will make family life work.

The world’s future depends on it.

Theodore Roosevelt’s Letter to His Son Kermit on January 27, 1915

“If a man does not have an ideal and try to live up to it, then he becomes a mean, base and sordid creature, no matter how successful.”


Copyright © 2016 by Gary S. Smolker, All Rights Reserved

About Gary S. Smolker

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY: No enterprise can exist for itself alone. Every successful enterprise ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others. Otherwise, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist. Imagination, open mindedness and flexibility are the most important factors in unlocking potential. Those who embrace innovation, improvisation, continuous learning, time management, are action oriented, high energy, passionate, creative, purposeful and intense individuals are best equipped to succeed. We all have ideas and the ability to make progress by sharing information and our ideas and also by changing our ideas when appropriate. We should always be on the lookout for teaching and mentoring moments. We hold time like water in our hands; however tightly we clench our fingers, it drips away. But, if it falls on a seed, a seed may grow to become something that will have a positive social impact. PERSONAL INTERESTS: I have a passion to learn, to innovate, to lead, to mentor and to teach. I seek to write things worth reading and want to do things worth writing about. I enjoy (a) driving a fast car, (b) having intense conversations (c) teaching/mentoring, (d) reading and (e) being involved in productive activity. PERSONAL: I believe in cultivating and backing passionate people, innovation, and old fashioned good ideas. I love making human connections and spreading good ideas. I am strongly motivated to achieve in situations in which independence of thought and action are called for. PERSONAL GOALS: I want to live life vibrantly, to be as sharp as a tack until my last breath and to change the world by being me. My personal goal is to be fully engaged in life, to lead by example, to set high standards and to continue to amass firsthand experience and knowledge in all that interests me. PERSONALITY: I love fun and mischief. I relish absurdity. I have an irreverent, facetious and satiric disposition. I dread boredom. I have spent a lifetime reading. I have no bias against people who have lived successful and/or complicated lives. I write to release tension, to get things off my chest. SOCIAL MEDIA: I post articles on the "Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange" blog at, and "Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes" at I also post images and comments on Instagram @garyspassion. CONTACT INFORMATION: Gary Smolker, Smolker Law Firm, 16055 Ventura Blvd., Ste 525, Encino, California, 91436-2609, USA. Phone 1-818-788-7290, e-mail

Posted on September 21, 2016, in Authentic Masculinity, manhood, Manliness, Manly Men, Movie Review, True Manhood and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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