Friday, January 28, 2011

Plastic Joy (All The Men I've Loved Before)

I was recently bestowed with the Plastic Joy Award from a fellow retro blogger (sweet & talented Dolly Rocker Girl.) Perhaps a dubious honor, but good fun. It meant I had to select five or more characters from film or television that make me dizzy, let's say... This proved to be more time consuming than I'd expected since I went a tad beyond the 'five or more' realm.
Traits belonging to the male characters who've had an impact on me are for the most part kind-hearted, collected, respectable, honorable, intelligent, adorable, sweet, charming, funny... all around good guys. With a few exceptions. Something else about my list is that almost every one of these gentlemen in some significant way (for me) resembles the man I married... How romantic an observation is that while making my list? The best part about loving the real thing, after all, is that he can love me right back :)

And here are some of the chosen fictional 'menses'....

Cary Grant as Roger Thornhill in 'North By Northwest'
He's just so dapper, cool under pressure, witty - the perfect man to have around when things get complicated. I could have listed Grant in every movie he's appeared in ('Suspicion' which I've blogged about before is another favorite) but his mistaken identity adventure in NxNW works for me every time.

Elvis Presley as Dr. John Carpenter in 'Change of Habit'

As a doctor who chooses to work in an inner city clinic, he plays guitar and sings to troubles teenagers, cures children of illnesses - all while winning over a nun played by Mary Tyler Moore... that is a big yes. Also, how cute does Elvis look wearing a sweatshirt, jeans and a pair of Chucks?
Marcello Mastroianni as Marcello Polletti in 'La Decima Vittima'

Marcello is always sleek but he is also mod here. Bonus points. I love this Italian sci-fi film about a deadly game (here's more about La Decima Vittima) and he is definitely a major factor.
Donald Sutherland in anything - here as Hawkeye Pierce
(with Elliot Gould as Trapper John) in 'M.A.S.H.'
Goofy and funny, cool under pressure - good heart. Once again, traits that win me over. If you can laugh and make the best of The Korean War while helping others around you, to me you are golden, solid and unforgettable.

Peter Cook as The Devil in 'Bedazzled'
Has there ever been a sweeter, more charming or more fun Lucifer than Peter Cook's interpretation? Even Dudley Moore's frustrated Stanley Moon voiced his admiration several times (while dealing with the evil one's mischievous antics) –– telling The Devil how no one else had ever been so nice, or showed such interest in him before. There's some comedic poignancy in that, to be sure! If the real devil was as affable as this one, I might be all right with offering my soul to him, as well.

Donald Sutherland as Calvin Jarrett in 'Ordinary People'

I could make a list only with Donald Sutherland roles. Here, he plays a father and a husband. But his family is falling apart. Despite having no control over what transpires, he is the father and husband anyone would want to have. A true sweetheart which makes him a hero.

Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock in 'Star Trek'

Spock is able to maintain a cool, intellectually functional exterior, while passion lives underneath and drives him. He is Vulcan, but he is also what good humans can be.

James Taylor as The Driver in 'Two Lane Blacktop'

Here's the first exception on my list. I love the young James Taylor. And only the fact that he was in this great movie puts his Driver character on the list. But the guy was actually a bit of a jerk, someone I wouldn't want to hang around with... somehow he's making an appearance here, anyway.

James Stewart as Mike Connor in 'The Philadelphia Story'

Yes, Mike got a little ahead of himself... and had to come back down to earth after spending some quality time with a 'goddess'. But like Frank Sinatra after him, Stewart's Macauley Connor was the perfect guy to distract a girl from her duties and her destiny - even if for just one champagne-fueled, wonderful evening. And Jimmy Stewart is another one on my 'in any role he's in' list (i.e., 'The Man Who Knew Too Much', 'Rear Window' and countless others) just like Cary Grant, Donald Sutherland and one more coming up.

Jeremy Irons... being Jeremy Irons

Here is the second exception. He just has an effect on me and it started in my early teens. He certainly doesn't get cast as men with the best moral compasses, but somehow… I'll try to get back to this one, I promise.

Tom Hanks as Kip Wilson in 'Bosom Buddies'
(and any role in his early 80's films....)

I don't remember much about this show. I saw some reruns and just loved it as a kid. I do know he was adorably charming as Kip, so in love with that bubbly, blond chick who couldn't know he was in drag (and that he was not really a chick.) Side note: my husband literally looks like a blond hair/blue eyed version of a young (early 80's variety) Tom Hanks…! I'm a lucky gal :)

Tom Hanks as Sam Baldwin in 'Sleepless in Seattle'

Again, the sweetheart. I know this one is the played-out classic romantic male lead. But it's the one that pioneered the rest in the latter part of the last century. This film worked a kind of magic, one that it still maintains. A huge reason why it worked so well was that the character of Sam, especially the way Tom Hanks plays him, is so endearing.

Tom Hanks as Jim Lovell in 'Apollo 13'

I'll have to include this one for reasons personal and universal. Personal, because I love this movie and find it so exhilarating, and because my father was a rocket scientist who worked for NASA (helped build one of the Apollo space shuttles.) But the journey the Apollo 13 crew take, led by Jim Lovell, is one of the most fantastic survival stories in history. Jim Lovell is an inspiring person on film and in real life –– and I love Hanks' portrayal in this.

Tom Everett Scott as Guy "Shades" Patterson in
'That Thing You Do!'

No, I'm not quite through with Hanks yet, since he helmed this one :) I adore this film. And I love Guy Patterson because he's so solid. A dependable kid to his parents, a good friend, a great drummer, a jazz aficionado –– and so very, very thoughtful to sweet Faye (played adorably by Liv Tyler) that she couldn't help but ditch her selfish, unappreciative BF for him. The nice GUY wins!

Taylor Kitsch as Tim Riggins in 'Friday Night Lights'

Oh, Tim Riggins. All of Dillon, Texas has a thing –– something –– for this seemingly troubled football hero. But ever since Season 1, when he seemed to be careless, I knew he was more together than anyone else (beside Coach and Tami Taylor, of course.) He is all heart, but he is also one of the most steady and dependable people on the show. And this is a show with plenty of full hearts and good intentions. The fact that Riggins is like a beacon at times –– in a town where everyone has a moment or two to shine –– is impressive.

Kevin Costner as John J. Dunbar in 'Dances With Wolves'

(By default because I like the character of Dunbar so much –– but also Costner, in general.) This is a good segue because, and you heard it here first, you really did... Taylor Kitsch reminds me so much of Kevin Costner. In looks, but especially because of their voices. Trust me, listen to Kitsch as Tim Riggins next time and think of Costner. It's uncanny! I also would have listed Costner in The Untouchables, JFK, Tin Cup –– or any number of films. Yes, I'm 'one of those' who just loves Kevin Costner. He is another one of the 'any role he's in' guys on this list.

Aaron Eckhart as George in 'Erin Brockovich'

How nice was George??!! From what we can gather from the film, Erin Brockovich could not have gotten anything done if it weren't for sweet George looking after her kids. What a guy. I'm not sure if this character was for real, or if he was fabricated. But I know he is fab. With what that amazing woman was able to achieve, helping so many people and managing a major legal coup... if there really happened to be this 'good man' behind the 'good woman', more power to them both.

Rob Lowe as Franklin "Skip" Burroughs IV in 'Class'...

He really handled that thing where his prep school roommate got together with his dear mum (albeit Jacqueline Bisset - but still, his mother) very gracefully. For all his pranks and jovial hijinks, Rob Lowe's character in 'Class' proves he has more class than anyone around him.

Last but not least, each and every James Bond.

I am wiped out from all of this, so with James Bond I will just take it easy and say... Nobody does it better.


  1. There are so many good ones here! Roger "the 'O' stands for nothing" Thornhill is so wonderful - the script is so full of great little double entendres and Cary is so delightful in the film. I loved the line when he says why he can't afford to die - I forget the exact wording, but it was something to the effect of "I have two ex-wives, a mother, and a bartender who need me."
    James Stewart in the Philadelphia Story is so beyond everything ever in a man. I want someone to look at me and say, "You're lit from within, Dolly Rocker, with hearth fires and holocausts" (I have that entire scene - actually probably the entire movie - memorized).
    I love Jeremy Irons - did you see his appearance on the recent episode of 'Law and Order:SVU'? He plays a sex addict-turned-sex therapist. I will resist making a dirty joke.
    And I think that Rob Lowe was my teenage dream (to quote Katy Perry) in pretty much every role he was in. Even that strange"Hotel New Hampshire" I enjoyed because of him ... even though his character has an affair with Jodie Foster ... and she plays his sister. Quite icky, but Rob Lowe just acts it and makes it seem so earnest and adorable that you can't stop from crushing on him

    Thanks so much for filling it out - it was quite a fun read!

  2. Love it, we are so on the same wavelength on many, many things, so fun ;) Thank YOU for inviting me to do it, it was a challenge to keep it minimal. I've just edited some of it down. There were way too many good ones, even though I'm particular, but I may try and simplify it more.

    I completely remember and adore both of those lines you mentioned from 'North By Northwest' and 'The Philadelphia Story'... both scripts are so full of greatness. I also love 'High Society' and Frank Sinatra is perfectly cast in that one... but James Stewart's take on Connor was such a stand out.

    Have not seen Jeremy Irons in Law and Order: SVU., but he's really one of those where there's something so wrong about him that's so right, haha. I should watch 'Hotel New Hampshire' and check out 'Class' if you haven't ;)-

    We should try and do this again sometime, maybe another topic! xoxo

  3. Oh my gosh, I LOVE High Society. In terms of overall film, The Philadelphia Story definitely beats it - but HS is one of my all-time favorite musicals. Frank Sinatra is in one of his all-time best roles - equal parts tough guy and charming romantic. Though Jimmy was just so wonderfully hardened yet vulnerable as Mike Macauley Connor :)
    Although I love Bing, I thought it a bit odd whenever characters would allude to him and Grace growing up together. The age difference is so significant - it wasn't like Cary and Katharine, who could conceivably have grown up together. But in the High Society world, when Grace/Tracy was twenty, how old would Bing have been?? He was a very talented singer, but I got a creepy old man feeling from him at times in this movie (obviously I have a lot of feelings).

    We should definitely craft another list like this - maybe not to do with bedroom activity :) but it's definitely a lot of fun to share opinions with one another!

  4. I am so with you on the Bing thing, ha ;) he could have played her father... the casting was way off there. And despite his vocal abilities and it being a musical (one of my top favorites!), they could have used a little more realism.

    And yes, indeed, we'll have to come up with a fun and worthy topic for another list, xo :)

  5. I just had to add Peter Cook's role as The Devil (aka Lucifer) after seeing "Bedazzled" last night :)

  6. Just have to tell you...after watching a couple seasons of Friday Night Lights on Netflix, I come away with total appreciation of Taylor Kitsch. And what led me to this page was a search to see if anyone else on the planet had seen and heard the amazing resemblance to Costner. I hope this kid has a long successful career.

  7. @17babaha Well, that is what I like to hear, how beautiful! :) It's great to have come up with a fairly unheard of (but preceptive) observation and have others discover it, as well... Now that Kitsch will be featured in more movies (albeit sillier ones than those in Costner's day, because movie star roles are all reduced to superheroes or game adaptations) people are likely going to notice the resemblance more.