It’s the end of the year, which for most movie sites means a time to celebrate the best that Hollywood had to offer in 2017. Well we’ll get around to that next week along with our 2018 Preview, but first we wanted to celebrate the best that Tough Guy Digest had to offer this year with our “Toughie” Awards. As you can see, “Action Jackson” had a “Titanic”-like dominance across a number of categories, but we also found time to recognize Sylvester Stallone, Pennywise, Steven Seagal, Gerard Butler, the “Fast and Furious” saga, “Karate Kid III,” Tom Cruise portraying Harvey Weinstein, Kelly Le Brock, and even Jeff Speakman and Kurt Thomas.
That’s what makes the Tough Guy Digest Awards special, so thanks for joining us in 2017, and we look forward to providing more entertainment in the year to come. But before that, let’s take a look back at some of our favorite moments this year:
Our first Round Table of 2017 was also our favorite, featuring multiple bodies falling through windows in just the first three minutes, a “stealth” hit squad that uses rocket launchers to kill middle-aged union leaders, two musical performances by Vanity, some of the best police station extras in movie history, and a luxury car being driven around the SECOND FLOOR of a house!
Best Tag Team: Kevin and CJ on “Face/Off”
There’s a lot to love about the Travolta/Cage classic, including still the only ogling of Joan Allen’s pancake-flat ass ever committed to celluloid, but we are still confused about how face/offing works considering it is presented as a breakthrough experimental procedure at the beginning of the film, while by the end it is so common that Dr. Phil could do it.
Best Review of a Current Film: Kevin, CJ, and Anthony on “It”
We are still flabbergasted at how this well-made but completely not scary film turned into such a huge event, but apparently audiences can’t get enough of watching a supposedly all-powerful demonic entity ineffectually trying to kill some kids but constantly getting stopped by hollow-core doors.
Best “Fast and Furious” Write-Up: “2 Fast 2 Furious”
When we started our long march toward “The Fate of the Furious,” we didn’t realize how much of our lives and sanity it would cost us (special shout out to CJ for being the only one of the Squad to finish all eight films by the end). It’s hard to choose just one to highlight, but if you put a gun to our head (as I actually did to Anthony), we would go with “2 Fast 2 Furious,” both for its tender and tragic portrait of two men (Brian and Roman) who obviously have to hide their true feelings for each other, and for introducing us to Tej, an Afro-sporting street race organizer/auto body mechanic, who as the series went on also turned out to be a world-class computer hacker, Russian submarine expert, and student of “vehicular warfare” in Afghanistan.
(You can also find links to our other “F&F” write-ups at the bottom of our “What We’ve Learned from the Fast and Furious Movies” post.)
Best “One and Done”: “Gymkata”
It’s not hard to figure out why former top American gymnast Kurt Thomas didn’t become the next great action star, as it would have been difficult for him to continue finding makeshift pommel horses any time he was in trouble. But if nothing else our post on “Gymkata,” in which Thomas enters an ancient deadly tournament so that the U.S. can launch a satellite from some Third World shithole, provided more entertainment than the movie itself.
Best Tough Guy Challenge: Mike on “The Last Stand”
CJ and I were big fans of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “The Last Stand,” and if nothing else we figured Mike would have to like it better than that abomination known as “Sabotage,” right? As you can see, it did not go as we planned.
Best “Best of the Worst Week”: “The Award for Worst Soundtrack Goes to … ‘Daredevil’”
If you are one of those revisionist history people who claim that Ben Affleck’s “Daredevil” is unfairly maligned, we can only assume you are watching it with the sound off and thus sparing yourself having to listen to a non-stop medley of dated 2003-era emo rock from the likes of Evanescence, Saliva, Nickelback, Hoobastank, and Finger Eleven.
Best Contribution by a Friend of the Site: Rich on “Is Roger Murtaugh the Worst Neighbor of All Time”
With the occasional toilet bombings, nail gun kills, and Christmas Eve Gary Busey murders, we can only guess how much the Murtaughs have driven down home values in their neighborhood, but our buddy Rich put his past experience as an insurance agent to use in educating us on what damage caused by Roger’s enemies would be covered. The results may surprise you.
Most Read Article: “Did Tom Cruise Base Less Grossman on Harvey Weinstein?”
Apparently a lot of people have wondered whether Tom Cruise’s gross and profane studio head character Les Grossman in “Tropic Thunder” was at least party based on Harvey Weinstein. We may never know for sure, but TGD made a pretty compelling case that there are way too many similarities (and too many Diet Coke mentions) for it to be a coincidence.
Best Fans: Gerard Butler
Apparently there are a lot of loyal Butler fans out there, and why not, he’s awesome and one of the few movie stars who we’d probably like to have a beer (or more likely 20) with. And if that just means we are the first ones to recognize the brilliance of “Geostorm” before the rest of the world catches up to us in a few years, so be it.
Most Written About Star: Sylvester Stallone
Thank god Sly doesn’t look like he is slowing down anytime soon, because at the rate we are cranking through his catalog, we need him to keep supplying us with new content:
Runner Up: Steven Seagal
Longest Article: The Round Table on “Any Given Sunday”
It’s fitting that our longest piece was on Oliver Stone’s epic and epically over-the-top take on professional football, but honestly we could have written another 5,000 words on what a monumentally shitty coach Al Pacino’s Tony D’Amato is.
Shortest Article: CJ on “The Dark Tower”
What else needs to be said?
Best Hero: Carl Weathers as Action Jackson
Seriously, why Weathers’ supremely fun and charismatic portrayal of Action Jackson didn’t lead to at least three more sequels is a tragedy, but let’s just console ourselves that maybe it would be hard to top his one perfect outing.
Best Villain: Craig T. Nelson as Peter Dellaplane
There are a number of reasons why we love Detroit’s “Man of the Year,” evil car manufacturer Peter Dellaplane, but near the top would be the way he shows us how to deal with a nagging wife when you are trying to get out the door:
Best Love Interest: Vanity
Honestly her character is kind of annoying and spends most of the movie going through heroin withdrawal, but even then there is not a man alive who would turn her down (except ironically for Action, who shows Job-like strength in the face of her temptation).
Best “Villain” Who’s Actually the Greatest Guy in History: Terry Silver from “Karate Kid III”
This may be the only movie in history in which a character was obviously supposed to be pure evil, and yet everyone watching would probably agree that we would kill to have this polluting sociopathic billionaire as a best friend.
Worst Hero: Jeff Speakman in “The Perfect Weapon”
Like Batman, Jeff Speakman’s “Jeff” also has a stupid no-killing policy. But unlike Batman, the World’s Greatest Detective, Jeff may be the most gullible hero in action film history.
Least Heroic Hero: The Rock in “San Andreas”
The Rock’s character in “San Andreas” is a selfless, heroic pilot who humbly sees saving complete strangers as “just doing his job.” I guess that all happened off-screen, since from what we actually see in the film, he is a guy who steals vital rescue equipment and only helps people he has a familial connection to.
Biggest Continuity Error: Lincoln Hawk/Hawks in “Over the Top”
Sylvester Stallone’s truck driver/arm wrestler character is named Lincoln Hawk, but several times over the course of the film people refer to him as Lincoln Hawks, including Stallone himself near the end. That kind of Kubrick-like dedication to detail even infected the narrator of the trailer for the film (:22 mark):
Best Deliverer of Long-Winded Exposition: Bill Duke in “Action Jackson”
If you are going to have someone deliver an insanely unnecessary amount of exposition about the hero’s backstory in one scene, that person might as well be Bill Duke:
“Sergeant, how long has it been since you lost your lieutenant stripes?”
“Jackson, in my years on the force I’ve never met a more dedicated policeman.”
“I know you are a proud man, and much to be proud of … high school track star, Harvard law degree…”
“No Jackson you cost you your stripes, no one else. You could have handled Sean Dellaplane more delicately … you nearly ripped that boy’s arm off.”
“Sergeant I don’t think I’m getting through to you; the Dellaplane case not only cost your lieutenant stripes, but it also cost you your gun permit, your marriage, and this department the kind of publicity we can gladly do without.”
Worst Deliverer of Long-Winded Exposition: Donna D’Errico in “Baywatch Nights”
Whereas not even Meryl Streep could have made the following dialogue intended to build up some supposedly awesome new character sound natural, and former Playmate/“actress” Donna D’Errico is no Meryl Streep:
“Fascinating man. He drinks champagne on the Champs Elysee, watches the sunset in Tahiti, treks through the Himalayas, always has such interesting things for you to investigate. Has he ever told you what he really wants?”
Best Trailer: “Hard to Kill”
Honestly, just the way trailer voice-over legend Don LaFontaine says “Steven Seagal is … Mason Storm” puts this one over the top:
Most Unsupported Claim in a Franchise: The “Fast and Furious” Crew Are Modern Day Robin Hoods
At some point the studio must have realized that putting innocent people in danger while driving recklessly and boosting DVD players didn’t exactly make Dom and his crew the most sympathetic protagonists, which is why starting in “Fast Five” they began having other characters talk about how they gave away their fortunes to the poor. No one told these supposed Robin Hoods that though, unless you count throwing money at strippers and flying private jets as “charity.”
Best Pre-Kill One-Liner: “How do you like your ribs?” from “Action Jackson”
Weirdest Insult: “Hey Lorenzo, what sets off the metal detectors first, the lead in your ass or the shit in your brains?” from “Die Hard 2”
I’ve never understood this one, why would shit set off a metal detector?
Worst Acting by a Non-Actress in a “Fast and Furious” Movie: Iggy Azalea, beating out Ronda Rousey, Gina Carano, Devon Aoki, and Rita Ora
It’s no surprise that people with little acting training are horribly stilted and awkward in a series in which most of the supposedly trained actors suck too. But the fact that Iggy Azalea from “Furious 7” wins this one is even more impressive considering she has like two lines in 10 seconds of screentime (3:00 mark):
Worst TV Reboot: “24: Legacy”
The “Taken” series on NBC gave it a run for its money, but trying to do “24” without Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer would be like trying to do “The Pink Panther” without Peter Sellers. Oh wait …
Biggest Dangling Plot Thread: Who Had Custody of Michael At the End of “Over the Top”?
Action movies in the ‘80s typically gave two shits about tying up loose ends at the end. For instance, was society still a totalitarian dystopia after Arnold walked off the set after killing Richard Dawson in “The Running Man”? But considering the issue of Michael’s custody was the central plot point of “Over the Top,” you’d think the filmmakers would want to clear that up before he and his dad drive off into the sunset at the end.
Worst Daily Newspaper: The Los Angeles Chronicle from “Tango & Cash”
If you are a subscriber to the Chronicle we hope you are able to glean as much as you can from the headlines, since more often than not a story supposedly about Tango and Cash escaping from prison will have copy like this under the byline: “The Lord, it is often said from the pulpit, works in mysterious ways – to which the Dolores Mission Catholic Church in East Lost Angeles can add a heavy amen.”
Best Search Term Someone Used to Find an Article: “Kelly LeBrock loves tough guys”
Like Burt Reynolds in “Boogie Nights” – who just wants to make a movie good enough that people will watch even after ejaculating (a trait he shares with Sofia Coppola) – TGD hopes that our “Hard to Kill” article was so good that whoever stumbled across it while searching for Kelly LeBrock masturbation material still felt compelled to finish it in his refractory period.
Hey we don’t judge, that’s only for your god to do, but however you found our site, thanks again for joining us. Happy New Year!