Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Actors Tough Enough to be Hemingway's Pal

There's always a place for the genuine bad ass in Hollywood. And I'm not talking about some wuss actor who can pretend to be a tough guy. I'm talking about the guys who really are tough, who were tough. The guys who weren't completely pretending to beat the shit out their opponents when they were outnumbered.

The following are my list of the toughest of the tough. The real bad asses. Ernest Hemingway would have respected these guys:

Steve McQueen, the #1 tough guy in all of Hollywood history, as far as I'm concerned. Certified cool.

Yeah, Robert Mitchum was a close second. He beat the shit out of Marines in real life.

You had to like Lee Marvin. He really was a Marine and got shot in the ass by machine gun fire in Saipan. Most of his platoon was killt, but not Marvin. Yeah, that's tough.

Hell. Anthony Quinn. He was siring babies when he was in his seventies. And playing the great god Zeus around that time. It fit. As a young man he boxed professionally to earn extra money and was friends with Frank Lloyd Wright. Well, shit! It just cain't get much cooler than that!

Jack Palance. Yeah, one tough bastard. He was once 15-0 as a heavyweight pro boxer with 12 knockouts. He finally lost a close decision to a ranked contender and called it quits and was drafted. Burned in a training accident as a paratrooper, he had reconstructive surgery on his face which left him with the gaunt look we came to know on screen. The funniest thing I ever saw in a movie was a fight between him (as Toriance) and Charlton Heston (as Ed Bannon)--we were supposed to believe that Cheston could beat Palance. Right. For Palance, that was some real acting.

Well, I have to include a couple of modern actors. I don't think I need to elaborate too much here with Nick Nolte. Shit. Yeah, we've all had a laugh at his arrest mug shot. OK, OK--it's funny. But nobody as honest as this guy can be anything other than a total badass. He's got my vote for that. Damned good actor, too.

Sean Penn is not only one of our great modern actors, he's also got a toughness that's not just projected. It's real. Has to be. It takes guts to go against the grain of the status quo, which he does frequently. Viva Chavez, baby!

3 comments:

JimB said...

You may be right about most of your picks. I agree with the Steve McQueen choice. May want to check the details on lee Marvin story but Sean Penn is a pussy. You think it takes guts to speak out against the status quo!? Come on...these nut jobs in Hollywood can say whatever they want and they have a pulpit to do it because of their celebrity. If speaking out in Hollywood is your definition of "Cool" or "Tough" then you would not have picked Steve McQueen and you probably would put the Dixie Chicks on your list of tough guys.

JimB said...

You may be right about most of your picks. I agree with the Steve McQueen choice. May want to check the details on lee Marvin story but Sean Penn is a pussy. You think it takes guts to speak out against the status quo!? Come on...these nut jobs in Hollywood can say whatever they want and they have a pulpit to do it because of their celebrity. If speaking out in Hollywood is your definition of "Cool" or "Tough" then you would not have picked Steve McQueen and you probably would put the Dixie Chicks on your list of tough guys.

HemlockMan said...

"...and you probably would put the Dixie Chicks on your list of tough guys."

Good point!