There have been plenty of tough prison movies, but some have emotional story lines or endings. Even guys can't help but get a little teary.
The goal of this series is to show that being "manly" and being disconnected with your emotions do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. While the approach to these articles is one of comedy and satire, the emotional core of these movies is very valid. Manly movies often times have the potential to make guys cry, for example:
If there's one thing that gets guys excited about a movie, it's seeing the main character either think or punch their way out of a situation. Between the excitement of seeing the antagonist thwarted and the escapism of pretending it's the audience doing the outsmarting/punching, defeating an external foe is good manly movie fodder. When we look at prison movies, the external foe is literally everything. The guards are the foe, the walls are the foe, even the daily routine is the foe. With such insurmountable odds all around, the defeat of the foe is all the more cathartic. A great prison movie doesn't necessarily have to include an escape in the literal sense; even retaining your mental freedom in such an oppressive local is a win. But with every win comes with a cost, and every cost carries the potential for tears.
One of the two Stephen King prison films on this list, and you'd think that list would be shorter. This film has a perfect mixture of real-world drama and mystical magic to keep any viewer enthralled. Some watch for Michael Clarke Duncan's amazing portrayal of a simple man who's framed for murder and may be some sort of wizard. Others watch to see bees (flies?) shoot out of a magic giant man. Whatever your poison, this film shows that while not all guards in prison are mean, neither are all prisoners.
There's a moral dilemma that occurs in this film, in the character played by Tom Hanks. Throughout the film it's made crystal clear not only that Michael didn't do the crime, but that he has miracle powers. As not-corrupt as Tom is, he still has to follow the system that he's a part of. Michael is still put to death, but not before "cursing" Tom with extended life to suffer the guilt of destroying an according-to-Hoyle miracle merely because it's his duty. My first response is "Hey, Tom was a good guy, how come he gets cursed?" and then I remember Michael was a good guy who got punished too. Then I get sad.