Tough Guys

by Randy Fuller Jan 27, 2021

Pairing‌‌‌ ‌‌‌wine‌‌‌ ‌‌‌with‌‌‌ ‌‌‌movies!‌‌‌  ‌‌‌See‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌hear‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌fascinating‌‌‌ ‌‌‌commentary‌‌‌ ‌‌‌for‌‌‌ ‌‌‌these‌‌‌ ‌‌‌‌‌ ‌‌‌movies‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌many‌‌‌ ‌‌‌more‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌at‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌From‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Hell.‌‌‌ ‌ This week it’s all about tough guys – guys who don’t even flinch when they get the COVID vaccine shot.

Tough Guys Don’t Dance is a 1987 film noir, written and directed by Norman Mailer.  Critics say the movie can’t make up its mind if it wants to be a crime drama or a comedy, so it suffers on both counts.  It was not received all that well except by cultists who can’t wait for the “Oh God oh man” scene.  Spoiler alert: Ryan O’Neal is not a tough guy.

Award nominations for Tough Guys were hard to come by, and most of them came from the Golden Raspberry group, which draws attention to what is generally felt to be the worst of the year.  Mailer ended up in a split decision for worst director, with the Raspberry going to both he and Elaine May, who directed Ishtar.  By the way, that’s another movie which has amassed a cult following due to its campy humor.

Mailer may have been Jewish, but he could hang with the Irish all night long.  Let’s pair an Irish Whiskey with Tough Guys.  The Quiet Man Irish Whiskey name drops another film starring a tough guy, a moniker that Mailer would no doubt proudly wear.

1946’s The Big Sleep hits the “tough guy” nail right on the head.  Humphrey Bogart seems to have been born to play Philip Marlowe.  And Sam Spade, while you’re at it.  Throw in Lauren Bacall and you’ll sit still for an hour and a half just to see what happens.

Don’t worry if you can’t follow the action – nobody can.  In the two years it took for Howard Hawks to finish reshooting a number of scenes and deleting others that made the script understandable, some things were lost in translation, like how did the chauffeur die?  Not even Raymond Chandler knows the answer to that one.  The chemistry between Bogie and Bacall was not lost – in fact it was highlighted.

If her tears flowed like wine in The Big Sleep, maybe it was a mix of Champagne and Cognac, which is discussed briefly in the film.  Although Marlowe likes his bubbly “in a glass,” the millionaire who hired him says it’s better “with about three ponies of brandy under it.”  You can use a cava – Spanish bubbles – if money is tight during the pandemic, but don’t scrimp on the Cognac.  An XO – aged six years – from Hennessey or Remy Martin will keep the tab under 200 bucks.

Chato’s Land is from 1972 and has not one, but two tough guys on the bill.  Charles Bronson and Jack Palance play a cat-and-mouse game which turns ugly, fast.  Palance doesn’t do any pushups, and Bronson lets his squinting eyes do most of the acting.  Early on, a mean sheriff confronts Bronson at a bar and calls him a “redskin.”  If there is a remake coming anytime soon, the sheriff would have to call him a Football Team.

Palance did not shy away from a glass of wine, particularly while relaxing at his ranch in Tehachapi’s Cummings Valley.  It’s probably tough to find, but Tehachapi Winery offers red varieties in addition to the whites made by most of the wineries in the region.  A Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah might be a good choice, in case any tough guys insist that they are “not drinking any f&#%ing Merlot.”

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