If a morally retarded wife-beating Hebrew with a fierce fetish for opulent fags, cuckolds, and sinisterly slutty blonde shiksas was given a couple million dollars by his schlock-slinging kosher kinsmen Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus at Cannon Films to make an esoteric anti-Reaganite themed rip-off of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986), except set in the homo-friendly Northern WASP historic resort area of Provincetown, Massachusetts in Cape Cod instead of a quaint Southern suburb in Lumberton, North Carolina, it might begin to describe a film as pleasantly preternatural, superlatively silly, preposterously poorly acted, obscenely overwritten, and inexplicably entertaining as the abject commercial and critical bomb that is Tough Guys Don't Dance (1987) directed by novelist, playwright, and self-described ‘White Negro’ Norman Mailer. Indeed, somewhat seeming like the noir-ish Northern 1980s equivalent to the Southern Gothic genre as directed by an over-the-hill hipster that had the balls and arrogance to create his own sort of distinct and oftentimes quite obnoxious and pretentious yet nonetheless hilarious Yankee-confederate hybrid slang lingo for the film, Mailer’s fourth and final feature has a number of quite glaring similarities to Lynch’s masterpiece, not least of all the prestigious presence of half-breed guidette goddess Isabella Rossellini as an unconventional female lead and a melodic original musical score by Angelo Badalamenti, yet the film is actually based on the director’s 1984 Dashiell Hammett and Mickey Spillane inspired noir-thriller/murder mystery novel of the same name. Somewhat curiously, despite being one of the rare movies in film history where a novelist actually cinematically adapted his own novel for the silver screen, Mailer had fellow sleazy Judaic Robert Towne (real name Robert Bertram Schwartz)—a screenwriter turned hack filmmaker best known for being Warren Beatty’s longtime bitch and for penning Roman Polanski's Chinatown (1974) and its mostly mediocre ‘WASP versus Jew’ themed sequel The Two Jakes (1990) directed by Jack Nicholson—touch-up, polish, and revise the film’s screenplay, as if the lifelong writer turned cinematic auteur could not master the nuances of his own distinct dialogue and wayward storyline.
Although a somewhat thematically subversive cinematic work that demonstrates that untermensch Mailer is unequivocally more degenerate and sexually depraved than the grotesque Judaic caricatures featured in National Socialist propagandist Julius Streicher’s infamous tabloid newspaper Der Stürmer, Tough Guys Don't Dance is undoubtedly the director’s most ‘accessible’ and commercially oriented motion picture. Unlike his three previous features Beyond the Law (1968), Wild 90 (1968), and Maidstone (1970), the film is not a preposterously plodding masturbatory pseudo-Warholian vanity piece that seems like it was directed by the auteur over a single weekend while he was tripping on acid and attempting to date rape as many platinum blonde goy gals as possible, but instead the film is a genre-defiling cinematic abortion of unintentionally absurdist thematic and artistic pretense. While probably not even worthy of being described as a putrid piece of stinking and steaming celluloid excrement, somehow, against all odds, I absolutely loved it. Although featuring none of the insane moments of improvisation of his early films like Maidstone where Mailer suffered the grand shame of getting his kosher ass kicked by Rip Torn in front of his entire family, Tough Guys Don't Dance is indubitably the only film that the auteur has directed that does not have a single dull moment, even though it oftentimes feels like it has the aesthetic integrity of a third rate preppy cocaine equivalent to trashy soap operas like As the World Turns and Dallas. Indeed, while I absolutely loathe Mailer and everything he stands for and consider distinctly untalented McJew Ryan O'Neal to be easily the biggest flaw of Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon (1975), I cannot help but embrace the film as what I would argue is the greatest “so-bad-it’s-good” and “oh-my-God-I-can’t-believe-this-exists” film ever made as an autistically directed piece of self-satisfied celluloid sleaze that is so endlessly enthralling due to its startlingly poorly executed acting, ludicrously labyrinthine plot, innately insane and sometimes daunting dialogue, and patently preposterous pathological perversity that it absolutely has to be seen to be believed.
Forget the sort of masters of usury and corporate raiders like Dennis Levine, Ivan Boesky, Carl Icahn, Asher Edelman, Michael Ovitz, and Michael Milken that inspired Hebraic bankster Gordon Gekko of Oliver Stone's Wall Street (1987), Mailer seems to think that the real unhinged psychopaths that reflect the supposedly forsaken spirit of the United States are busty blonde shiksa sluts and rogue cops (incidentally, Mailer's youngest son, writer and sometimes actor John Buffalo Mailer, portrayed the best friend of Shia LaBeouf’s character Jake Moore in Oliver Stone’s lackluster sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)). Set in a patently paranoiac cocaine-fueled world of clandestine Kafka-esque conspiracy that inhabited by proudly whorish yet nonetheless highly superstitious white trash femme fatales, wealthy crypto-cocksucker cuckolds that gladly take orders from their (ex)wives, a psychopathic comorbid schizophrenic corrupt cop with an unquenchable thirst for thoroughly debased pseudo-blonde whore cunt, an all-wise yet uneducated Mafioso-like cancer patient patriarch who has always been afraid that his sole son might be a faggot, and a ex-con/ex-bartender turned would-be-writer protagonist who cannot remember if he decapitated two blonde bimbos or not, among various other quite colorful, tastelessly charming, and inordinately eloquently spoken characters as portrayed by both talented and untalented actors in what is undoubtedly the most wonderfully awful performances of their careers, Tough Guys Don't Dance is as memorable and as re-watchable as any great cinematic masterpiece, albeit because it has a shockingly convoluted plot and virtually every scene features some gratingly obvious flaw or idiosyncrasy that is so unforgettable that it burns a hole into the viewer's brain, thus confirming that Pulitzer Prize winning writers do not exactly make for even semi-competent filmmakers, even when adapting their own work on a fairly decent budget with relative creative freedom. While best remembered today for vomiting out some of the worst musical, action, adventure, sci-fi and fantasy films during the 1980s, including Golan's outstandingly baffling anti-opus The Apple (1980), John Derek's pseudo-erotic vanity piece Bolero (1984) starring his own wife Bo Derek, and Hebraic hack Sidney J. Furie's infamously horrendous franchise-killer Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), Cannon Films also arguably deserves credit for producing the most absurdly bad arthouse of the era, including Jean-Luc Godard's anti-Shakespeare adaptation King Lear (1987), which incidentally also stars Mr. Mailer. Whether Godard's flick and Tough Guys Don't Dance are just examples of senseless Judaic nepotism gone terribly awry remains to be seen, but I can certainly safely say that I would prefer it if Golan and Globus where in charge of the Hollywood studios instead of the sterile Semites in suits that run them nowadays.
The multi-layered but hardly subtle tale of a middle-aged dipsomaniacal ex-con/ex-bartender turned would-be-writer/kept man who, about a month after his harlot southern belle from hell wife leaves him, goes on a two-week bender full of blackouts where he has trouble recalling as to whether or not the blood he finds in his Jeep and the blonde-haired decapitated head he finds in his marijuana stash are the result of a murder or two that he might have committed whilst well under the influence, Tough Guys Don't Dance undoubtedly features one of the most patently pathetic and annoyingly passive (anti)heroes in cinema history as strangely fittingly personified by failed leading man O'Neal in one of the most unforgettably horrendously histrionic performances of the eclectically phony 1980s. Of course, whereas somewhat spiritually-minded Aryan weirdo Lynch demonstrates a sort of haunting fear of becoming like the villains in Blue Velvet, crude sex-obsessed materialist Mailer makes it seem as if he wants to be mind-fucked by every single one of his uniquely unsavory creations, as if he lives for self-perpetuated degradation, thus underscoring the stark contrast between the two artists. Indeed, no one can finish Tough Guys Don't Dance without coming to the natural conclusion that Mailer is, not unlike the film’s protagonist, a posturing pseudo-masculine masochist who believes being macho means being a raging cynic that says pseudo-esoteric things like, “Just want to tickle my stick?” and attempts to fuck anything that happens to catch his cockeyed glance. Naturally, the film is a crude and obscenely onanistic example of Mailer tediously tickling his own stick, but one cannot deny that he is a master masturbator whose less than graceful shameless self-love can be quite rewarding for those individuals that are in the mood for a retarded celluloid rhapsody of rather rude and cravenly crude raunchiness and zany scatological lyricism.
Needless to say, the orgy resulted in catastrophic consequences for all parties involved, especially Tim, who was forced to confront the rather unfortunate fact that Big Stoop’s Christly liver-lifter proved to be much mightier than his own. Likewise, Patty fell ‘in love’ Tim while he was performing cunnilingus on her and told him he was “sweet” because he is “mean and nasty-minded, and so pleasureful.” In fact, Patty Lareine was so impressed with Tim’s crude wit and pussy-eating talents that she confessed to the protagonist “You marked me for life” and promised to dump Big Stoop, marry and divorce a rich man for his money, and then marry him and use her alimony to support his lifelong dream of becoming a writer. Unfortunately, Tim had no clue that cunning cunt Patty would eventually go and marry his crypto-cocksucker comrade from college and then use him against his schoolmate during the divorce trial. Of course, when Tim accidentally causes Madeleine to become infertile as a result of damaging her womb in a car crash after watching one of Big Stoop's church sermons and then is subsequently arrested and sentenced to a three year prison sentence after getting busted for dealing coke, he naturally accepts Patty Lareine’s sort of Faustian femme fatale pact to marry her when he gets out of jail. Naturally, had Tim never wasted his money on a copy of SCREW magazine or even questioned his love for Madeleine, all of these disastrous things could have been easily avoided. Not only did Tim ruin the womb of the woman he loved and thus guaranteed that he would never be able to produce progeny with his beloved, but he also married an unlovable social-climbing skank who would ultimately make his life a living hell of the most intricately insidious sort.
As a result of becoming increasingly obsessed with two dead whores that were murdered a hundred years ago in the nearby area of Hell Town where pirates and prostitutes once ruled and regularly plundered ships and murdered sailors, Patty Lareine demanded to Tim that they hold a séance where she ultimately had a horrific premonition of her own decapitated corpse. As a result of her unsettling experiences during the séance where she was confronted in her own grisly demise, Patty Lareine decided to leave Tim for good and ever since then the protagonist’s life has been one hazy yet gruesome existential nightmare full of blackouts and sleazy sexual encounters. As Tim explains to his father in regard to his resentment towards his wife, “How I hated Patty Lareine’s all-superior fuck-you face. She had been the largest addiction in my life, pure love, pure hate, all squashed up together.” In fact, Tim was so angry when Patty left him that, as depicted in a flashback scene, he went to the trouble to cut a photo of her in half in a manner that makes it seem as if she was decapitated, thus foreshadowing her grisly demise. Upon hearing this story about Patty Lareine's bitter departure, Dougy remarks to Tim, “Something bad’s about to happen. Strange things fall into place,” so his son reluctantly informs him that “Last week two people were murdered” and that “parts of the bodies” are in his cellar. As Tim states in his defense to Dougy, “I didn’t do it. I don’t think I did. But my head’s been peculiar lately, I have blackouts. I hallucinate. It’s been a bad five days.” As he explains to his father, he suspects virtually everyone he knows of the murders, especially corrupt cop Regency, Patty Lareine, and an extremely wealthy ex-schoolmate named Wardley’s Meeks III (John Bedford Lloyd). Naturally, it comes as a great surprise to Tim when he eventually discovers that one of the heads in his cellar belongs to an ex-porn star that he randomly fucked one evening right in front of her cuck husband on the very same night she was murdered.
The morning after aggressively fucking Jessica in an empty parking lot right in front of her crying cuckold hubby, Tim cannot seem remember anything from the previous night aside from loser Lonnie sobbing like a bitch and is thus quite startled to find both the Madeleine tat on his arm and that the passenger seat of his Jeep is soaked in blood. On top of that, Regency gives Tim a call telling him to come by the local police station where he tells him to, “Move your stash.” While a police officer, Regency is also a shameless pothead and absurdly remarks to Tim regarding his dope, “I like your homegrown, it puts feathers on my ass. Godly stuff.” When Tim goes to the wooded region of Truro woods to move his marijuana stash, he virtually suffers a total mental breakdown when he discovers a black plastic bag containing a decapitated blonde female head instead of his homegrown dope. After that, Tim suffers nightmares were he routinely hears a creepy female voice asking him, “Whose head is it?” To make matters worse, the owner of the Widow’s Walk comes by Tim’s house and informs him that Jessica and Lonnie’s car is still parked in the restaurant parking lot, thus hinting that something horrific might have happened to them. Meanwhile, Tim discovers that Regency’s white trash dope-dealing informers—two ugly, stupid, and sleazy greaser-like degenerates named Spider (John Snyder) and Stoodie (Stephan Morrow)—were the ones responsible for giving him the tat. Of course, Tim becomes even more startled when Spider accuses him of being involved in some major cocaine deal he knows absolutely nothing about.
After becoming somewhat startled as a result of his strange conversation with the Chief of Police, Tim decides to go back to the woods where he keeps his pot stash and is startled to find that there are now two blonde-haired heads there instead of just the one that he found previously. Upon reluctantly grabbing the heads and preparing to leave the woods, sleazy hillbilly psychos Spider and Stoodie emerge from a white vintage Rolls-Royce owned by Wardley and attempt to slaughter the protagonist with mere knifes, but luckily the protagonist’s dog attacks the wild white trash assailants. In what is arguably the most ridiculously bad and just plain stupid scene in the entire film, Spider stabs and kills what is clearly a stuffed toy dog while Tim knocks out Stoodie. While Tim opts to show mercy to his would-be-killers and does not finish off the two swarthy low-life drug dealers, he does smash up his pal Wardley’s prized vintage Rolls-Royce. Indeed, while Tim angrily complains to Spider while sounding like a stoned stupid surfer dude, “Your knife is in my dog,” he just cannot gather the anger and rage to kill the sleaze-bag after he meekly pleads, “Have a heart, man. I need medical attention. I’m sorry, man. I got nothing against your dog.” When Tim wakes up the next morning, the chronology of Tough Guys Don't Dance finally catches up with the beginning of the film where Tim is startled to find his father downstairs and then begins telling him his bizarre story about how he ended up with two decapitated heads in his cellar.
While Tim manages to grab Regency's machete and is thrilled to discover that it can be used as evidence against the corrupt narc cop since the weapon is still covered with blood, he is subsequently kidnapped at gunpoint by gay boy Wardley, who forces him to walk to a beach where he reveals how he not only killed Spider and Stoodie, but also his ex-wife Patty Lareine, who he was hoping to remarry. Indeed, perennial wuss Wardley went completely berserk and opted to shoot Patty Lareine in the heart after she proudly confessed to him that he stole $2 million from him for a bogus drug deal, mocked him in regard to his dubious master plan to become a powerful coke dealer that would be “equal to a Renaissance prince,” and then attempted to blackmail him for $10 million. Wardley also describes to Tim how Regency was screwing both Jessica and Patty Lareine, but the former was shot and killed by the latter out of jealously during a cat fight and then was subsequently decapitated by the crazed cop, who personally placed the head in Tim’s drug stash. During that night, Regency proudly proclaimed to Patty Lareine, “I love you and I'll walk through hell with you.” During the same night, Patty Lareine hinted to Regency that she felt she was possessed by the spirits of two dead whores by shouting while in a seemingly demonic state, “The bed in my house used to belong to two whores killed in Hell Town one hundred years ago. And they floated the bed across on the water. Invite those whores into you and me.” Of course, after hearing Wardley's confession, Tim finally realizes that it was Regency and Patty Lareine that attempted to frame him for the murders. While Regency was screwing both Jessica and Patty Lareine, he only actually loved the latter and was only using the former as a means to help him with the drug deal. After deliberating as to whether or not he should kill Tim for betraying him and ruining his marriage, Wardley considers forcing the protagonist to give him a blowjob, stating to him, “What if I were to say, ‘Madden, take it in your mouth or die’? Would you take my pride and joy into your mouth?,” but he is convinced not to when the lead calmly replies, “Wardley. You don’t care anymore about that.” Ultimately, Wardley forces Tim to sit beside him and then kills himself by putting a bullet in his heart just like he did with his ex-wife Patty Lareine.
In the end in what ultimately proves to be a sort of bittersweet false happy ending that is apparently less disturbing than the one featured in Mailer's source novel, Madeleine surprises Tim by buying him a luxurious $2 million mini-mansion that she paid for via the dirty money Regency and Patty Lareine scammed out of poor Wardley. Notably, during this scene, both Tim and Madeleine are dressed like vulgar 1980s yuppie clothing, as if they are the sort of couple that fucks while listening to Huey Lewis and the News and watching Reagan speeches. Somewhat interestingly, the film concludes in a somewhat inexplicable and ambiguously ominous fashion, with a shot of Tim shutting the door of his fancy new house juxtaposed with a seeming she-bitch laughing manically, as if the protagonist has now been condemned to a sort of preppie Reaganite purgatory as a result of the blood money and tainted and infertile lover he has so mindlessly embraced. Indeed, while Madeleine is undoubtedly Tim's great love, she is also a murderess with a seemingly unquenchable sexual appetite that, not unlike whore-from-hell Patty Lareine, attempted to talk him into killing her husband.
In Mailer’s ideal white American Christian fantasy world, all the women are conniving whorish cunts, about half the men are self-loathing faggots whose slut wives carry around their testicles in their purses, and the only person with both wisdom and common sense is a terminally ill gangster-like ex-bartender who always feared that his sole son was a flaming fruit. While it is unquestionable that Mahler is quite intrigued by his characters, you can also certainly sense his quite unwarranted feeling of superiority over them, but I guess that is what one should expect from a man that once stated in an interview with Joseph Gelmis featured in the book The Film Director As Superstar (1971), “I come out of a tradition of people who are born to dominate life with their minds. The Jews are the greatest intellectual machines of any species of man of earth. I think that’s really the reason, beyond any other, why the Jews are next to universally detested by people who don’t understand their fine, warm, tender, loving, and forgiving sides. The reason why every farmer alive, why every redneck, instinctively distrusts the Jew is because the Jews are intellectual machines.” Of course, aside from the fact that Jews tend to have mediocre visual-spatial intelligence and are hardly forgiving as their religious holidays and countless Hollywood holocaust movies clearly reveal, cosmopolitan city boy Mailer is totally off in his wishful diagnosis of hillbilly antisemitism, but that should be no surprise considering the piss poor yet admittedly quite amusing redneck caricatures featured in Tough Guys Don’t Dance. As a rare Hebraic intellectual of his age that pretended to be tough and advocated machismo mentality, it should have been readily apparent to Mailer that rednecks cannot stomach physically weak, passive-aggressive, and/or neurotic individuals that talk too much, do not work with their hands and/or do not know how to change a tire, but I digress.
Seeming like a hypnotically histrionic half-baked hodgepodge of Hamlet, The Big Sleep, The Fugitive Kind, Night Moves, and Blue Velvet as directed by the spiritually vacant, sadomasochistic, and cinematically handicapped anti-love child of Flannery O'Connor and Paul Schrader, Tough Guys Don't Dance is a film that is truly in a league of his own as a sort of cinematic equivalent to a STD that was contracted during a great yet shameful night of sex with the world's most physically alluring yet emotionally insufferable whore. In other words, the film leaves an indelible impression on the viewer that falls somewhat between debasement, delection, Fremdscham, and complete and utter dumbfoundedness. While a semi-cryptically anti-Reaganite work (notably, at one point in the film not long after the character decapitates the corpse of his dead lover, morally challenged cop villain Regency expresses his desire to become president of the United States), the film more intriguingly manages to simultaneously capture the essence of the quite cosmopolitan zeitgeist while contradicting the innate artificiality of the Reaganite 80s with its strong regional setting (in fact, Mailer based both his novel and film on locations that he was already very familiar with in Provincetown, where he lived for a good portion of his last couple decades alive). Indeed, I hate to reference both films in the same sentence, but Mailer virtually does for Cape Cod in Tough Guys Don't Dance what Fritz Lang did for Weimar era Berlin in M (1931) in terms of capturing the almost otherworldly foreboding and demonic spirit and atmosphere of its seemingly forsaken setting. Personally, I have always detested New England and the sort of backwards and terribly naive white liberal peasants that live there, but Mailer's film inspired me to fantasize about the prospect of encountering such ungodly weirdos and mentally defective criminals in Cape Cod. In a sense, Mailer's film is arguably the ultimate anti-Lovecraftian flick, as Yankee WASP master of horror H.P. Lovecraft's stories are completely devoid of any erotic or romantic content aside from rather arcane and unflattering references to sexual reproduction, yet Tough Guys Don't Dance dares to depict a nefarious post-Puritan New England where sexual depravity is the norm and where a pussy is a woman's sole key to unlocking the so-called American Dream, not to mention the fact that is takes place in a racially homogeneous and literally 100% white Anglo-Saxon world where racial miscegenation is not even an issue (of course, a good portion of Lovecraft's stories were inspired by the author's horror and terror at the thought of race-mixing and racial mongrelization as reflected by the part-beast humanoid monsters that oftentimes inhabit his quite prophetic Spenglerian literary realms). Admittedly, there is one major similarity between Lovecraft's stories and the film, as they both depict a world that is guided by the ancient pre-Christian philosophical law of Eternal Return where time and history are cyclical as opposed to linear, which is made especially apparent in Mailer's movie when the two sinisterly slutty femme fatales Patty Lareine and Jessica suffer the same exact forsaken fate as the two Cape Cod whores that were murdered a century before.
A virtual celluloid treasure trove of wickedly wayward and amoral thematic idiosyncrasies, Talmudic toilet humor, Hebraic sexual and racial pathology, and unintentionally avant-garde anti-Anglo-Saxon/anti-goyim wackiness, Tough Guys Don't Dance is a film that I would indubitably label the greatest celluloid anti-masterpiece among celluloid anti-masterpieces, as a fierce flick that totally delivers in terms of its debauched Judaic anti-goy delirium of insanely inept and obscenely overwritten degenerate hipster heeb filmmaking. Somewhat fittingly, in the first chapter of his literary swansong White Power, World War II hero and magazine publisher turned American Nazi Party founder and inordinately satirical pro-white propagandist George Lincoln Rockwell—a fairly humorous and charismatic mensch whose father was, somewhat curiously, a popular vaudeville performer named George Lovejoy "Doc" Rockwell that was friends with a number of prominent and influential Jews of the era, including Benny Goodman, Walter Winchell, Jack Benny, and Groucho Marx—attacks Mailer for his scatological sins against the America public, stating, “TIME magazine reports on September 2, 1966, that one of America's top writers, Norman Mailer (‘The Naked and the Dead’), now concentrates on the bowel. ‘Man's nature,’ says this Jewish playwright, ‘can be divined by the color, the shape, the size of the movement of his bowel contents.’ This ‘artist’ regularly appears on national TV and has his books published. No outraged protest.” Undoubtedly, if I can pay Mailer anything resembling a great compliment, it is that—in terms of his eccentricity, troubled romantic relationships (though, unlike Mailer, Rockwell never stabbed or attempted to kill one of his wives), subversive approach to humor and satire, racial chauvinism, and affinity for conspiracy theories (for example, in his bio Marilyn: A Biography (1973), Mailer made the claim that Marilyn Monroe was assassinated by members of the CIA and FBI because they resented the fact that she defiled JFK)—he is like the Rockwell of Jews, albeit nowhere near as handsome or stoic (incidentally, in a April 8, 1963 letter to The Washington Post publisher and co-owner Philip L. Graham, drug-addled gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson wrote, “Politics: opposed to Nixon, Norman Mailer & George Lincoln Rockwell”). Of course, only a country like America could produce such divergent yet similarly incendiary public figures as G.L. Rockwell, who repackaged National Socialism in a super gimmicky carny huckster fashion to make it more palatable to the United State's rather large culturally and spiritually retarded white prole population, or Mailer, who partly became famous for writing the proto-essay “TThe White Negro: Superficial Reflections on the Hipster” where he fetishizes the first generation of deracinated and disillusioned Europid degenerates that succumbed to the distinctly debasing metaphysical plague of Afrophilia. When it comes down to it, Tough Guys Don't Dance is most fundamentally about the seemingly forsakenly deadly and deranged roots, stranger-the-fiction legacy, and overall eclectically eccentric essence of the United States, or to quote the film's tragic crypto-cocksucker character Wardley Meeks III, “Only a country as mad as ours could be such a roaring success.”