Talk about a one-two punch: Josh Brolin is getting Oscar buzz as a crooked cop in American Gangster and a man who finds drug money in No Country for Old Men. The actor, 39, dished to PEOPLE's Alexis Chiu about his big—and painful—break, wife Diane Lane and facing the big 4-0.

Right after getting cast in No Country, you broke your collarbone in a motorcycle crash. How did you keep the part?
Um, I lied! My whole body was purple, and yellow was a prominent color.

Ouch! Do you still ride?
Yes, the same Ducati I crashed. I survived and it did, too. I used to have more bikes, but I'm feeling a little mortal right now.

You did karaoke while filming. What's your favorite song?
"Come Fly with Me." Javier [Bardem] does U2 really well.

You come off as a manly man. What's the most macho thing you do?
I don't go to the gym. I think that's the most manly thing I can do.

You cook! What's your signature dish?
Baked salmon. Once I came up with a dish that was so bad—it was an avocado, honey and cayenne pepper sandwich. Diane was apoplectic that I made my kids eat that!

You like to take RV trips with Diane and your kids Trevor, 19, and Eden, 14, and Diane's daughter Eleanor, 14. Do you two ever vacation alone?
We went to Turks and Caicos. It was a full five-star splurge. That was miserable.

Because you weren't on the open road?
Exactly. We said, "Let's get out of here," and went to Key West. We rented Jet Skis and took a four-hour trek around the island. She's a hoot.

You turn 40 next year. Nervous?
I'm very excited to have an excuse to mellow out. My adolescence lasted a lot longer than it was supposed to.