So I'm sitting at home watching Monte Walsh (1970) after recording it the previous night on Turner Classic Movies, and I'm thinking--among many other things--where have the tough guys gone? I know, this is a worn-out subject, discussed periodically, but I just wonder who the Lee Marvins and Jack Palances of today could be.
Daniel Craig exudes a certain rugged virility and intensity these days. Michael Madsen, a fellow with whom I share my height and weight statistics, may be weeks away from becoming fifty (September 25)--Happy Birthday to you, Michael!--but like Robert Mitchum he just looks tough and the effects of aging seem to actually agree with him insofar as heightening his world-weary demeanor.
Jason Statham? I liked the explosiveness of Denzel Washington's performance in Training Day until it became something of a parody in the last act. Tom Sizemore was steadily building a fine body of work as a gutsy lug in Natural Born Killers, Devil in a Blue Dress, Heat, Saving Private Ryan and other films before his career hit the skids.
In any case, we all still have the classics to go back to if we want to find some good old tough guys. Monte Walsh was terrific. You may want to see Christian Divine's thoughts on the film. Fortuitous timing, seeing Monte Walsh and a few minutes later going on the Internet and reading Christian's piece on it. As I said there in the warm immediate afterglow of just having seen it,
"I’ve got to say, I was remarkably impressed by it. Such a ’70s film. I love the wandering nature of it, and how funny it is at times and then how Fraker swings wrecking balls in the direction of the mythology while giving it plentiful nods at the same time.
John Barry’s theme is glorious, and I love how Bondian it becomes when Marvin is tracking down his enemy towards the end.
Lee Marvin, Jeanne Moreau and Jack Palance are all fantastic!"
A few modest observations and thoughts made after seeing a film that completely earns your attention, admiration and respect.