Tough Guys Don't Dance

  • 1987
  • Movie
  • R
  • Crime

Based on the best-selling Norman Mailer novel of 1984, this curious murder mystery marks the author's fourth venture into filmmaking, after three improvised, experimental features in the late 1960s. The story is a convoluted one set in Provincetown, Massachusetts, involving drug dealing, decapitation, divorce, dishonor, deception, and very little dancing....read more

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Based on the best-selling Norman Mailer novel of 1984, this curious murder mystery marks the author's fourth venture into filmmaking, after three improvised, experimental features in the late 1960s. The story is a convoluted one set in Provincetown, Massachusetts, involving drug dealing,

decapitation, divorce, dishonor, deception, and very little dancing. Tim Madden (O'Neal) is a failed, alcoholic writer who moved to Provincetown years ago after destroying his relationship with Madeleine (Rossellini), the only woman he ever loved. He then married a wealthy, trashy Southern belle,

Patty Lareine (Sandlund), who raked in a fortune when she split from her suicidal, decadent first husband, Wardley Meeks III (Lloyd). Tim's life turns upside down when he finds a decapitated head hidden in his woodland drug stash, involving him in an obscure murder mystery that he cannot piece

together. Thinking that he may have actually been the killer (his clothes are blood-stained), he turns to his tough-guy father, Dougy Madden (Tierney), who proves his love by helping his son "deep-six a couple of heads." Described by Mailer as "a murder mystery, a suspense tale, a film of horror,

and a comedy of manners," TOUGH GUYS DON'T DANCE is all of those and none of those. It's set up like a mystery but is not mysterious. Instead, it is incomprehensible. It attempts to be suspenseful, but it succeeds only at being intriguing. Its horror comes only in its bastardization of genre

expectations, and its comedy is perhaps unintentional. Nonetheless, it's an intriguing film that is far from the typical. Former Hollywood B-actor Lawrence Tierney (1945's DILLINGER; 1947's BORN TO KILL) is, in a word, magnificent.

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  • Released: 1987
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Based on the best-selling Norman Mailer novel of 1984, this curious murder mystery marks the author's fourth venture into filmmaking, after three improvised, experimental features in the late 1960s. The story is a convoluted one set in Provincetown, Massac… (more)

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