Writer, ex-con and 40-something bottle-baby Tim Madden, who is prone to black-outs, awakens from a two-week bender to discover a pool of blood in his car, a blond woman's severed head in ...
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Writer, ex-con and 40-something bottle-baby Tim Madden, who is prone to black-outs, awakens from a two-week bender to discover a pool of blood in his car, a blond woman's severed head in his marijuana stash, and the new Provincetown police chief, Captain Luther Regency, shacked up with his former girlfriend Madeleine. As his father Dougy helps him try to unravel the mystery, he is dogged by the psychotic Capt. Regency, who has it in for Tim as a car-crash that he was involved in with Madeline has left her unable to have children. Flashing-back to the past, Tim remembers the time when he encouraged Madeline to swing with a Li'l Abnerish couple from down South, the fundamentalist preacher Big Stoop and his Daisy Mae-ish wife, Patty Lareine, whose ad Tim had come across in 'Screw' magazine. It's on the trip back that the car crash occurs, since Madeline is incensed that Tim has so enjoyed Patty Lareine's charms. Except for his father Dougy, who is dying of cancer, Tim suspects everyone, ... Written by
Jon C. Hopwood
Roger Donoghue was the prizefighter thanked by Norman Mailer for telling him the anecdote that resulted in the title. The anecdote was: Frank Costello, the Murder Inc. honcho, and his gorgeous girlfriend greet three champion boxers in the Stork Club. Costello demands that each, in turn, dance with the woman, and each nervously complies. The last, Willie Pep, suggests that Mr. Costello dance. Costello replied, "Tough guys don't dance." See more »
I always quote this as one of my two favorite movies (the other being "The Ninth Configuration"). Like that film, it's unpolished, awkward and brilliant.
Ryan O'Neal, a brilliant empty vessel, as in "Barry Lyndon", is the perfect receptical for Mailer's essentially passive protagonist. Grotesque, awkwardly paced and fascinating, this should be considered manditory viewing.
Mailer's hand is so heavy and the film feels so writerly that the experience is play-like and unusual. This exploratory quality is to be hugely prized (see "Kids", "Ninth Configuration", "Safe", "Dancer in the Dark" to see vastly different but equally praiseworthy examples of what can happen when Hollywood outsiders are allowed access to decent budgets and distribution).
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