I was pretty amazed by this film, far from being incompetent as it is undeservedly labeled, I have to admire Mailer's skill for pulling off such difficult material to begin with. This is a virtuoso piece of storytelling that is hilarious, complex, creepy, deeply personal and even poetic while managing to be perfectly coherent by the time it ends. Also, Wings Hauser is awesome and the Lynch vibe is unmistakable.
I question my own taste on account of the absurd likability of this picture. It is as if this gonzo creation was birthed feature-length from some alternate dimension, wherein the less coherent the picture and its plot, the better. I don't know what planet this film comes from, and I don't want to go there, but this is a special film. It is truly unlike any other, for reasons both wonderful and entirely tragic.
One of those movies that is played so consistently out-of-key you can't help but find it fascinating. The acting is ridiculous (everyone knows "that scene," the most embarrassing moment of Ryan O'Neal's professional career), and the dialogue overcooked to the point of insanity. But the unique tone of TOUGH GUYS DON'T DANCE is as intoxicating as straight whiskey. Goes down rough, but it'll get you fucked up.
A extremely complex and polarizing work that is too smart for it's audience. Mailer's film re-defines cinema aesthetic with it's inventive shifts in point-of-view, flashback and fantasies. TGDD also flirts with film noir conventions with it's quirky characters (KISS OF DEATH), it's highly evolved onieric narrative (THE BIG SLEEP) and it's characters and motives (THE MALTESE FALCON). TGDD is a cinema orgasm.
Not sure if I've ever seen a film with dialogue so consistently absurd and the best part is Ryan O'Neil's infamous line reading is probably the only moment in the film his character seems to give a shit about what's going on. Apparently he actually fought with Mailer wanting him to cut the scene but Mailer thought it added something to the film and I agree with Mailer on that one. One of the funniest films ever.
Breathtakingly awful in every regard - from the incoherent screenplay, with it's terrible half-baked noir dialogue and hopelessly muddled jumps from past to present that make no sense, to the horrendous cast led by the King of Bad Acting himself Ryan O'Neal (he got work why, exactly?), to Mailer's absurdly misguided directing. "Oh man! Oh God! Oh man! Oh God!" indeed. Disastrous.