gwyn: (MDs icon)
[personal profile] sdwolfpup asked: your favorite and least favorite William Fichtner roles!

I thought this would be easy, but it's turned out to be very difficult! I mean, he's just my faaaavorite, and even when I hate something he's done, I can still find something to like just because he's so awesome.

I think for least favorite, I'd have to go with hair roles: while I really cringe and curl into a ball at the violent racists roles like in Switchback and that one where he plays an old-timey sheriff or something, it's the ones where he has weird horrible hair that I think I hate the most: The Longest Yard, What's the Worst That Could Happen, Drowning Mona. I can't handle the hair, man. At least Longest Yard, he's wearing muscle shirts a lot of the time or tight football pants, so there's that. And then there's the bad teeth roles, like Pearl Harbor, which give me the willies.

I could, though, possibly say The Lone Ranger, because that's sort of a horribleness trifecta: bad teeth, bad hair, and bad facial scars, all wrapped up in a terrible, execrably bad movie that should never have been made. And no I still haven't seen it, because I can't bear to. The clips have been enough.

But for favorite, wow, that is hard. That is really, really hard. How do you choose from Kent in Contact, Sanderson in Black Hawk Down, Alex Mahone in Prison Break, the "dad" in Blades of Glory, Andrew in Nine Lives, the hilariously creepy cop in Strange Days, to Ryan Sparks in Grace Under Fire, and my beloved Bruce Kellerman in the little-known MDs? I can't! I can't choose! They all have something wonderful I love, and he's just such a good actor that he leaves me fascinated by even the most reprehensible characters, and when he plays good guys, I'm over the moon. I also adore him in the horrible movie Drive Angry, because his character, The Accountant, is one of the most delightfully funny nasty pieces of work you'll ever see.

But there are still many roles of his I haven't seen, because they haven't been released either on DVD or aired on TV or shown in theatres. I hope at some point I can see them, because I wonder if there might be a new favorite in there somewhere.

In other news, Ginny left today for her adoption tomorrow. A woman fell in love with her at an adoption event last weekend, and somehow talked her macho husband who seems to think real men only have big dogs into adopting her. I'm so happy for her, but I cried when she left. I should post the pic I got of her with Santa. She's the longest-residing foster dog I've ever had, and we've been through a lot of changes. I'm a little worried about her transition to a family with kids, but I'll keep my fingers crossed. I miss her already, but the cats are very happy.
gwyn: (jason isaacs)
[personal profile] isagel asked: Tell us your thoughts and feelings about Jason Isaacs, please. :)

Well. Let me tell you. I have many many many thoughts and feelings about this man. He is truly one of my favorite men in the whole world, and I love him as an actor and also just as a person, because he's really amazingly awesome (he is a huge comics fan, and apparently had an amazing collection when he was young).

Most people know him as Lucius Malfoy. The first time I saw him was many, many years before that, and I remember thinking, "wow, that guy's HOT." But it wasn't for a while -- quite a few roles, actually -- until he became one of my favorite actors. He has such a wide range -- he can play a mustache-twirling bad guy like his English captain in the Revolutionary War in The Patriot, or a brutal American thug in Brotherhood, or a sexy and sweet English prime minister in The State Within, or a mousy American dad in indies like The Chumscrubber. He can do just about anything. And that's a huge deal for me -- a guy can be very pretty, but if he doesn't have chops, I generally am not going to be much of a fan.

It's his roles in two recent short series that really showcase how amazing he is, though -- as Michael Britten in the short-lived American show Awake, and as Jackson Brodie in the British series Case Histories. In both of those he plays cops; a working one in LA in Awake and a former one in Edinburgh in Case Histories. The characters have some wonderful similarities: they're both dads who adore their children even if they don't always get how to be a dad; they have a weakness for broken people and as much as they try to avoid getting caught up in people's lives, they always do; they are good at their jobs but not always good at people. And they're both, of course, hotasses.

But he can also play cold, scary killers, and he's very believable in those roles as well. His dark coloring with pale blue eyes can read as really handsome or scarily vicious, and he's got a slammin' bod, so he can use that cold competence to play hardass soldiers too, as in Black Hawk Down and The Green Zone.

The funny thing is that he's really self-deprecating about that, and I remember an interview he gave about being too chicken to watch horror movies because he's a "big girl's blouse." He has a fabulous, plummy voice (I much prefer his normal accent, but he does a flawless American accent, one of the best I've ever heard -- he's great at doing regional inflections and not many Brits can do that), which I often wonder about whether that had something to do with him being cast as Malfoy pere.

I also get a kick out of the fact that he has made a bunch of movies with William Fichtner, one of my favorite actors of all time. They don't always have scenes together, but it's kind of adorable that they keep showing up in the same films, and there's one photo out there that I think was taken at the premiere of Black Hawk Down where they are basically wearing the same outfit. You can tell that the one big scene they had together at the beginning of that movie, they were having a ball being shitty to each other.

The way English actors flip between movies, stage, and TV has always appealed to me -- it's something that I think reflects poorly on Americans that we seem to think TV is lesser, and so you're only "big" if you make it in movies. It's always great that you'll see Jason in these weird little indie films, then a TV guest spot, then a series, then a big huge movie, then a small cameo in a mid-range film, and voice work in games or animation. I guess for a long time he thought he was never going anywhere in his career on this side of the pond after Peter Pan tanked, but he's worked steadily for years and I'm looking forward to everything he does from here on out. Especially if he does another series of Case Histories, because that's just the best.

Speaking of Peter Pan, if you've never seen that version (it came out in 2003), I'd highly recommend it. He's an excellent Hook, but where he really shone was as Mr. Darling. If I hadn't already been in love with him, I would have fallen for him then. In short, Jason Isaacs is dreamy, talented, and adorable.
gwyn: (slings & arrows wtf)
I think I will try to do both Festivids and Yuletide again this year. Dad's already dead, so at least that won't interfere with my ... uh, deadlines again. And after the books I have now, I'm not taking on anymore projects for winter. So there.

To wit, I've nominated 16 fandoms so far. Only a couple have other nominations, I was mildly heartened to see one other person has listed Case Histories, but I know better than to hope for something in that. Some of these are just "gee, that might be fun to vid" while others are more of the "OMG want" category. We can do 20 max, so I still have room for four more if I change my mind.

Awake (2012) [TV]
Big Trouble In Little China [Movie]
Black Hawk Down [Movie]
Burn Notice [TV]
Case HIstories [TV]
Charlie Jade [TV]
Drive Angry (2011) [Movie]
Generation Kill [TV]
Local Hero [Movie]
The Magnificent Seven (1998) [TV]
Mayhem (Allstate TV ads) [Commercial]
MDs [TV]
Miami Vice [TV]
The Middleman [TV]
Strange Days [Movie]
Strike Back (2010) [TV]
ETA: And Kiss Kiss Bang Bang! I knew there was another one I forgot.

Some might notice the preponderance of Jason Isaacs and William Fichtner. I'm just saying. (I wonder why Case Histories has the uppercase I in the middle -- I bet that's my fault from nominating it last year, because I'm the worst typist.) Strike Back seems problematical because the first season is a different cast and tone, and the second series was referred to as Strike Back: Project Dawn to distinguish it in some markets. I wonder if that will have an effect on what's requested/offered and could cause "not the fandom I'm talking about" issues.

OK, back to work now. Regency romance proofread is awaiting my eyeballs.


Oct. 31st, 2011 04:26 pm
gwyn: (pretty alex in jail)
This may actually be the greatest thing I've ever seen: Steampunkin, the steampunk pumpkinbot. Link goes to a PDF with details about how he made it.

And this will be of interest to only two of my flist, but I had a seriously sexy sex dream about William Fichtner last night that was whoa! interesting. Usually my dreams, even sexytimes dreams, turn into nightmares, and I have never really had a night where I didn't have some nightmare at some point (fortunately, I can't remember much of any dream, let alone most of them at all), so it was especially awesome that my nightmare happened later and not in the middle of the sexy!Fichtner dream. I don't even know why, I haven't looked at the Fuck Yeah! William Fichtner Tumblr page or watched anything in the past few days with him, but I'll take a dream like that any day.

I'm starting to dig out from under the weight of work, though now I have two new projects coming with few days to do it in. And more still to come, I just got contacted by yet another person... for such a long time, I didn't think I could make it as a freelancer, and now I'm drowning, but still not making any money. It's crazy.

They're going to decide if my dad can move back into his room in assisted living tomorrow. He's really lost a lot of his mental faculties, so I don't know what they'll decide, but I'm just letting him handle it and staying out of it until the dust settles. He takes out his frustration on me and he seems to keep going back to the conspiracy theory that they're not doing what he agreed to with them. He's alone so much and he concocts these scenarios in his head and then they become reality to him... it's really hard. Frustrating. I don't know how long he'll be in his room if he does move back, but it might make him a lot easier to talk to.

Ugh, trick or treaters tonight. We hates it. I alternate years where I don't answer the door, but we get a lot of them in my nabe, a lot of folks bring their kids down from the sketchy neighborhoods in the housing projects east of here. The kids from anywhere are getting really aggressive, though, and scary, and I don't really like it much, but I also hate it when, even with my porch light off, they pound on the door and try to open it if I don't answer. I'm serious. Some of them grab at the bowls, or step into the house to grab the bowls, or what have you. If she wasn't going out, I'd borrow my neighbor's doberman. He looks utterly terrifying, but he's actually the sweetest, softest-hearted big dog I've ever met.
gwyn: (teevee jim ward morris)
[personal profile] sol_se posted a wonderful little trailer for some new BBC shows coming up or already running, including a show with... gasp!! Jason Isaacs called Case Histories, and John Simm's new show Exile. I am beside myself. Shirtless Jason! Action Jason!! ::contented sigh::

I think I need to resurrect my Men Who Make Me Happy posts and do one for Jason, because he does indeed make me happy.
gwyn: (sam gay stoffel)
All right, fine, Ewan McGregor, almost everything is forgiven, even that Polanski shit. (Although you're on notice; don't slip up again.) It's impossible not to tilt my head and go "d'aaawwww" at this picture and feel my heart grow two sizes:

For the hilarious article with more pics on Tom and Lorenzo's Project Rungay blog, go here.

In other news, I'm continuing with Community watching, and loving it. The Halloween episode just about did me in, with Abed's hysterical Christian Bale as Batman impersonation. And I loved the ChristmasMr. Winter episode, and the debate team one. I'm officially hooked. I even was excited to realize that a song I've wanted to vid for over a decade finally has a fandom! I've never found anything that works for this song, and now I have, and it makes me v. v. happy.
gwyn: (sam gay stoffel)
All right, fine, Ewan McGregor, almost everything is forgiven, even that Polanski shit. (Although you're on notice; don't slip up again.) It's impossible not to tilt my head and go "d'aaawwww" at this picture and feel my heart grow two sizes:

For the hilarious article with more pics on Tom and Lorenzo's Project Rungay blog, go here.

In other news, I'm continuing with Community watching, and loving it. The Halloween episode just about did me in, with Abed's hysterical Christian Bale as Batman impersonation. And I loved the ChristmasMr. Winter episode, and the debate team one. I'm officially hooked. I even was excited to realize that a song I've wanted to vid for over a decade finally has a fandom! I've never found anything that works for this song, and now I have, and it makes me v. v. happy.
gwyn: (mahone michael ghost)
For more joy day, I decided to do something that would bring joy probably only to me, but that's okay, too. I have been eaten alive by Prison Break fandom, specifically Michael/Mahone slashiness, but since the show ended a year and a half ago, everyone's moved on, which means I am very late to the party and short on cash. But I've been reading through past posts by my PB friends for the last few days, and just enjoying the hell out of the conversations, and wishing I'd participated a bit more back then (not that I didn't participate, but it wasn't as extreme as what I feel now).

What is bringing me joy about this cracked show? Oh, so many things. Let me tell you about them!
Crackiest show ever? You decide. )
gwyn: (mahone michael ghost)
For more joy day, I decided to do something that would bring joy probably only to me, but that's okay, too. I have been eaten alive by Prison Break fandom, specifically Michael/Mahone slashiness, but since the show ended a year and a half ago, everyone's moved on, which means I am very late to the party and short on cash. But I've been reading through past posts by my PB friends for the last few days, and just enjoying the hell out of the conversations, and wishing I'd participated a bit more back then (not that I didn't participate, but it wasn't as extreme as what I feel now).

What is bringing me joy about this cracked show? Oh, so many things. Let me tell you about them!
Crackiest show ever? You decide. )
gwyn: (spuffy band kathyh)
OMG, courtesy of [profile] maechi, I have found out that my spiritual fiance Kevin Alejandro will be joining the cast of True Blood as Lafayette's lover. I am beside myself with joy. I am so beside myself I'm practically another person. I just... how is this even happening? Eeeeee.

Also, and this is completely random, but has been on my mind since Yuletide, I am in love with Damian Lewis's mouth. I want take one of his pillowy lips in my own mouth and alternately bite it and suck on it. What. Like you wouldn't if you had the chance.

And hey, while it's on my mind, if anyone needs any last minute beta-ing for Festivids, please feel free to ask me! I have people who will vouch for my mad beta skilz, for realz. Is that enough z's for you?
gwyn: (jack fizz_i_cons)
John Barrowman is interviewed in and he had this to say about the upcoming season of Torchwood.
Read more... )
gwyn: (bond&vesper perceptible)
After watching my friends list erupt with squeeing over the new James Bond movie, Casino Royale, and consequently his new actor, Daniel Craig, for over a month, I finally got to see the damn thing this weekend. I've been a fan of Craig's for a long time, and I was deeply distressed when they named him the new Bond. See, I hate James Bond movies. Loathe, despise, abhor.

I wrote about all the reasons why in a review I did of the last one, which I went to see primarily because Will Yun Lee from Witchblade was in it and Lee Tamahori (Once Were Warriors) had directed, but the condensed version is: wink-wink-nudge-nudge misogyny up the wazoo; smug, above-it-all, cooler than thou suavity rubs me the wrong way; no human character to speak of, as Bond is uber-human and that's just boring; stupid gadgets and chases that go on for fucking ever; no consequences. I loved the beginning of Die Another Day, because Bond gets thrown in prison and tortured. Finally, I thought, consequences. But then he got out and the movie turned into another piece of crap. The only movie I ever liked in the franchise was On Her Majesty's Secret Service, which is widely reviled, because again, there was heartbreak and loss and consequences and a super tight plot that didn't waste a lot of time with stunts.

So you can imagine my distress when one of my favorite actors, who's always taken unusual roles and flown under the radar for most people, was getting stuck in that horrid franchise. It was heartening to hear that they were planning to reboot it, but I still had doubts. Not about Craig, though -- I think he's just one of the most amazing actors around, and he can be such a chameleon that I knew he could do anything. Plus, he singes my eyeballs with his hotness, and so I figured that at the very least, it's a couple hours of him looking good at my local theatre.

I know not everyone thinks he's hot (some critic described him as having the quality of a dyspectic Steven McQueen) and of course, you're nuts, but the thing that makes me happy is that even those who aren't swept away by his sexayness have talked about what an amazing actor he is.

There are still a couple movies to go on my Netflix list, which I keep pushing back for one reason or another (like, I just don't want to watch another talky political drama as in Archangel just now, and I'm not up for yet another loony obsesso guy like he sounds in Obsession, so I've just kind of kept them back a bit, and I will get around to Infamous when I can), but I've seen most of his work that's available here across the pond, and so thought I'd do more than just wax rhapsodic about an actor I adore, and tell you, in case you're thinking it since you now want to write and read James Bond fic and Daniel Craig is your new BSO, about his canon. Because I gotta tell you, some of the movies should come with warnings. Seriously. Henceforth my gift to you: Daniel Craig-o-rama.

So, you want to rent a movie with Daniel Craig in it )
gwyn: (fichtner mlyn)
With Invasion set to premiere tomorrow night (my TiVo better not fail me, which it has been doing lately constantly and of course there's no way to tell TiVo how unhappy I am because they no longer have any way to reach them except by the worst voice mail system on the planet), I am reminded that I've been remiss in singing the praises of one of my favorite actors... largely because whenever I do sing his praises, most of the time I'm met with either "Who?" or "Ew!" As you can imagine, this tends to discourage me from saying much about William Fichtner.

Fichtner's (and yes, I almost always call him that, and it's pronounced fik-ner, with the T only barely sounded) one of those journeymen actors who rarely ever gets a lead role, and has only once been in a romantic leading role in a movie (an awful film with Demi Moore but it makes me happy nonetheless), but is always in the main cast, doing good work, stealing scenes from the leads. Sadly, the most well-known movies he's been in he's usually playing a bad guy, but his looks are not the standard hottie Hollywood type, so of course he plays bad guys. He's very, very good at being sinister in a polite, charming, insinuating way, so movies like The Longest Yard remake or Strange Days (where he said nearly nothing but was one creepy dude) will usually pick up on that. He's tall, too, with a kind of pointy face, high forehead, and goggly eyes, and that will say "bad guy" to the suits in Hollywood like nothing else.

But he's used that ability to play really weird and off-kilter guys to great advantage in a lot of indie movies, especially the pervy, freaky cop in Go, and the place I first saw him, the TV sitcom Grace Under Fire, where he played Grace's mad-scientist type boyfriend, Ryan Sparks. They really amped up his weirdness factor with crazy wardrobe choices and standup Eraserhead hair, and the character was so odd and edgy and funny that I fell madly in love, and have followed his career ever since. (Also, he reminded me in that role of a cleaned-up, nearly normal brother of the hissing creepy guy with the president's finger in Escape from New York, and how can you resist someone who reminds you of creepy finger hissing guy? I ask you.) Some folks discovered him even earlier on the soap As the World Turns. What I think most people would remember him from are two space-themed blockbusters, one that I despise -- Armageddon -- and one that I love -- Contact. In Armageddon, he gets what I consider one of the best lines ever ("Boy, talk about the wrong stuff!") and IMO, the single worst line of dialog ever on film when he tells Liv Tyler he wants to shake the hand of the daughter of the bravest man he's ever known (seriously, it hurts me to write that). That he could deliver both those lines in such a crapfest with such aplomb made me love him all the more.

And even though he's the saintly blind guy in Contact, it picks up on something about him that many other movies (Black Hawk Down, Perfect Storm, The Underneath, Crash, Go, Equilibrium) have as well, which is a kind of ambiguity about what he really is: good or bad. In Black Hawk Down, one of my favorites of his roles, he has a very heroic, almost sweet quality, but there's also that little bit of cowboy in him when he's facing off with Jason Isaacs's character. He gives off a vibe that says you never really know where he's going to go -- maybe he'll continue to smile at you, or maybe he will gut you with a hidden knife. And I think Invasion is playing off that, even though I've seen only one clip so far with him in it. He plays the sort of bad guy sheriff, a role he's definitely played before, but it will be interesting to see what he does with it.

One of my biggest heartbreaks a few years ago, in a season of television that I think might have been the best fall ever and was filled with heartbreak cancellations, was the series he did with John Hannah (the two of them in my icon are the characters) called MDs, which ABC promptly cancelled with six remaining eps we've never seen. To say it was a slasher's dream come true would be putting it mildly; it was so slashy that the TWoP recappers and message boards were filled with things like "Why can't Fichtner and Hannah have a shower scene every week?" answered by "That's a question that keeps us up at nights, too." They had showers together, they had random scenes together for no reason other than that the powers felt they needed to constantly put the two together, even if their jobs had nothing to do with each other, and there seemed to be some kind of obligation to end each episode with the two of them having a deeply felt talk in the locker room or on the building roof... just because. When one of them was done with surgery for the day, the other would just step in and help him, because then they could spend more time together. It was almost comical in its slashiness. And someone on the production team at least had the sense to recognize that maybe Fichtner doesn't have the most drop-dead good looks, but he does have a drop-dead bod, because they frequently featured him in various stages of undress, or in drapey sweats that showed off his assets, and of course the scrubs with the short sleeves so we could see his muscles. Which are lovely. Trust me.

He loves playing weird characters, though, so it's something I have to weigh when I see his stuff -- do I want to watch him playing a freaky detective who looks and acts like a cross between Carol Channing and Truman Capote? Can I handle it if he's playing yet another racist, vicious cop who's going to try to kill the hero? It's always a crapshoot with Fichtner! I'm glad that he's back on weekly TV, and this is a series that nearly everyone has said is sure to be a standout of the season, so I'm hopeful that maybe his character will get more depth. I have no love for ABC, and until Lost became a hit, their support for genre was... crappy doesn't begin to describe it. I will keep my fingers crossed. It's going to be the young studly guy who gets all the media attention, but I'm willing to wager that such a professional scene-stealer as Fichtner will end up being the character the viewers talk about most.
gwyn: (drive)
One of the things about vidding is that you spend a lot of time looking at your source material with the sound off, something that brings out unnoticed moments in the visuals that suddenly take on new meaning. It's with the sound off that you can really see the characters who are having eye sex, where you notice odd little tics or motions. It brings an entirely new light to any source material (try it and you'll see what I mean). While I was capturing clips for Loaded Gun, I began to really look at the clothing that Dom, especially, wore, and noticed this time that it seemed heavily coded to create certain moods throughout the film. When you've got a star who's very fashion forward, as Vin Diesel is, and can wear almost any kind of clothing really well (and who has modeled a lot), you have an incredible canvas to work with in not just building character through clothes and set design, but also in telling the audience all kinds of things that happen in the movie between the lines. In the Fast and the Furious, I think they are sending heavily coded messages through wardrobe, particularly Dominic's.

I've rarely had as much friending for anything as I did for the the men in eyeliner post and later the white shirt post, and for some reason, people like it when I write meta about silly fashion things. Go figure. So after noticing how incredibly coded the clothing choices were in this movie and telling my theory to [ profile] mlyn, who laughed about it, I thought I would explain just why the Fast and the Furious is gayer than any gay movie I've ever seen: it all comes down to clothing, or lack thereof.

The new Dress-Me-Up Dominic action figure, and his sidekick Brian the Slob )
gwyn: (gay pants)
I thought I'd try to do a non-horrible death post for a change and say something fannish.

The reception to my Magnificent 7 vid In a Big Country surprised me a lot, both when it premiered at the con and when I put it up online. It seemed to pique the interest of a lot of people who normally wouldn't give cowboys in love a fightin' chance. Coupled with the fact that Showtime Extreme is currently showing the episodes uncut and unbugged, I think the fandom is poised for a little bit of an uplift. Before, anyone getting into it through word of mouth or fanfic had an awfully hard time getting hold of the 23 hours available (a pilot movie and 21 subsequent episodes, spread over two "seasons" because CBS cancelled it halfway through its first season, but it was brought back by a successful fan campaign, whereupon CBS promptly cancelled it again without airing the final four episodes that TNT, before it became Spike TV, did air with their horrible, horrible station ID bugs and all cut up). When they could get tapes, they were second or third gen, blurry and dark, or people bought the terrible DVDs that someone is selling, where they are compressed, blown up to full screen size, and then crammed on a disc with so many other eps that they are nearly unwatchable. So it's been a difficult fandom to pimp. Hallmark channel showed them a few years ago, but their scheduling was weirdly unreliable, and some eps were drastically cut, often in the slashiest places, or then not touched at all, but they changed schedules without alerting TiVo, so one of the most pivotal eps never repeated.

I'm hopeful that with the Showtime airings making good copies available, people can discover this wonderful series -- and hope they will show up on the torrent sites, if people don't have someone who can record the Showtime eps for them. The ones I've seen so far look stunning -- the show was filmed using natural light, which is very unusual, so the darks often didn't register well previously, but these airings have restored the look of the show quite well, I think. I'm also hearing things I've never been able to hear before. Like a lot of shows on CBS at the time, Mag 7 was made with a very clean-cut, family audience in mind, so there are a number of the usual Western cliches. But the show really veered away from that in many respects to create a more realistic feeling about what things were like, and they got a number of historical details right that I really valued (being someone who really loves to research the old West). I heard a couple people disparage the show at Escapade as being not bad, but not good, but I disagree -- I think it was frequently great, and had some good solid writing from people who knew their characters well (no mean feat for seven main characters and a couple of recurring secondary characters). The final four eps that CBS never aired, in fact, were superb, and were taking the show to a very dark, very adult place that was everything I could have hoped for.

I really enjoyed [ profile] killabeez's posts about essential Highlander episodes, and I got to thinking after someone mentioned again how the vid had got them interested in seeing it, what episodes would I consider mandatory watching to be pimped or to pimp someone into the fandom? I'm a terrible pimp, so I might be choosing the wrong things (I like dark, challenging, gripping stories as opposed to lighter weight or humorous, most often), but this is a listing of what I would show someone if I had limited time. (OTOH, I think watching all 23 hours isn't unfeasible, and would recommend that more, especially in order -- I sent [ profile] mlyn home with a bag o' tapes and she came back hooked. A marathon can be a lot of fun.) Keep in mind, too, that I'm very, very Chris/Vin-centric, with a lot of love for everyone, but not as much for Buck and JD, though I do think they have their moments.

My essential episodes of The Magnificent Seven )

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Showtime airs them all, and doesn't just peter out halfway through. Because that second season is a corker (I didn't even include the wonderful Love and Honor, and Lady Killers), and I would hate to think that people won't have good copies of this wonderful series.
gwyn: (Default)
Sex scenes freak me out. Writing them, that is. I mean, really, really freak me out, to the point of mild panic attacks and my face getting red with shame even when I am just sitting there alone, writing, and it's not like anyone knows what's going on in my head. Slash sex scenes are absolutely the worst, because it's all very slot a tab b stuff and I always want to try to have guys acting like guys having sex, not some femmy slash idealist with hearts and flowers, and that often means more graphic writing than I'm comfy with. (Not that I've necessarily achieved this goal, I'm sure my guys are just as girly as most slash fans write girly men, but that's the plan, anyway.) Plus, you know, there's the added work of all those male pronouns, and fifteen his'es in one paragraph can make your eyes cross, but I never want to go the epithet route. Cuz, yuck. But het sex, while generally easier to write, has its own problems, not least of which is the stupid names for female body parts. Basically, sex of any kind, even if it involved monozygotic reproduction, is usually beyond my ability.

I'm bizarrely modest and prudish in my own little way -- the hardest thing about going to the gym is the locker room, because I really do not want to bare any of my skin to anyone and I don't want to see theirs, either. I can't stand talking about sex in detail with people, and my friends often horrify me by detailing their sex lives very loudly in public. Most of all, I loathe talking about bodily functions of any kind, and sex? Involves way too many embarassing bodily functions, secretions of unspeakable horror, and the dreaded fluids that are impossible to find lyrical metaphors for. When someone referred to me on TWoP once as a smutmeister, I blew a gasket because I thought it was an insult until other people told me it was a compliment to my ability to write great love scenes. Only I couldn't wrap my brain around that, because I think they betray my discomfort every time.

But last night I finished the first -- first! there's more to come (er, so to speak)! -- of the sex scenes for the Fast and the Furious slash story. I swear this thing will be little more than a PWP (not that there's anything wrong with that, just not something I usually do, since I'm so sex phobic), because for some reason, I haven't even written the lead-up part of the story yet -- just dove right in to the big sex scene. And now I'm peculiarly eager to write the rest of them, even though I still get the butterflies in my tummy. Maybe they won't take my slash card away from me now -- even though I've written the Mag 7 slash and the Miami Vice, none of those is particurly sex scene-oriented, so this is odd for me all the way around (and especially so after having done so much het stuff lately). Maybe it's also freeing because I know there's no audience for it and probably two people would read it, so I don't feel I'm exposing as much of my pervy brain, or something.

It made me realize last night that I've never been interested in gen much not because there is usually no sex, but because gen is largely not about 'ships and first times and whatnot, and that in fanfiction, that's almost all I'm interested in. I like stories that deal with first time sex/falling in love because it's often the most rife with emotion, and I'm all about the emotion. Gen stuff tends to focus on plot or background, there's no Big Emotions and Life Trauma Issues and OMG I'm Gay Because I Love Someone of the Same Sex Horror. I want that anguish and intense love and desire and big fat bonfire-sized flames of lust -- even if it means I have to write a sex scene. I've written a few stories that could be classified as gen in their own way -- most recently the story about Spike and Dana from "Damaged" -- but even there, I tend to get into big emotions just because I could not care less about stories/movies/shows if there is no intense emotional core. So I'd trade a great gen story most of the time for a decently written PWP, simply because even a PWP is likely to have more emotion imbued within it than a gen might. (Of course, I'd never trade a great gen for a badly written anything, and I'll always take good writing over anything, since that's my only real kink.) Not that all gens are emotionless, or at least, I've never written them that way and have read many good ones that do focus on larger relationships, but I find they're far less focused on huge emotional concepts than 'ship-oriented fanfic.

Still, I have this natural tendency to want to try to provide some kind of a real story, just because it's easier to write. Maybe it's the cars in F&F slash, maybe it's that the story is just so obviously pornish (anyone who's seen the outtake Gay Male Porn Tableau on the DVD knows what I'm talking about) or something, but for once, I'm actually finding it easier to write the porny stuff than the exposition and dialog. Or maybe someone put something in my water.
gwyn: (Default)
I finally got a chance to see The Chronicles of Riddick this weekend, and it was every bit as bad as I was expecting it to be. I had no real hopes, based on the trailer and ads, especially after hearing umpteen thousand times what has to be the stupidest line I've ever heard in a movie, "Convert now, or fall forever." What does that even mean, I wanted to scream. Instead I scream it at my friends. But it was a good indicator of the sheer unadulterated moronity of this movie, which going into with low expectations helps. But it was hard, because... I love Vin Diesel. I do. And I'm not going to apologize for it; in fact, I will defend my favorite musclebound bad boy, because someone's gotta do it.

[ profile] feochadn and I had been driving around Manhattan Beach in LA when we saw all these signs for this movie called Pitch Black, and at the movie we went to that day, saw a trailer for it. We were intrigued -- we hadn't heard anything much about it, but it seemed unusually polished for a b-movie sci-fi actioner. So when it opened in Seattle, where there were no posters for it and it seemed to be advertised only on TV, we slogged up to one of the only theaters showing it, and were completely blown away. By the movie, but also, by Vin. The voice, the body, the mystique he cultivated in that role, just thrilled us, and the next weekend we brought a friend, and then another friend. We kept going back for almost as long as the movie played, because the movie was damn great -- an exquisite piece of b-movie making elevated to A level -- and because Vin was just sooooo sexay. Every time I heard that voiceover at the beginning of the movie, where he purrs "What route? what route" my legs got all rubbery. And those shiny eyes, and that scene where he comes up behind Radha Mitchell and turns on the sex while having that conversation about Johns (the homoerotic subtext wasn't much sub at all), just made me giddy.

After the movie left theatres, we went on a Vin hunt. I'd only barely remembered him from Saving Private Ryan, but he'd definitely made an impression as Caparzo, the doomed soldier who sacrifices himself to save the little French girl. We found a copy of his short Multi-Facial, which he wrote, directed, and starred in, and were completely amazed at how really versatile and talented he was. I hadn't known, either, that he was the voice of the giant in The Iron Giant, and when I bought that and watched the making of features on the disc (as well as the incredibly charming WB special about it, which he hosted and seemed like nothing more than a big, fanboy kid), there was a whole other picture of this actor than I'd got from either the commentaries about making Multi-Facial (which is on one of the Shorts collection discs, a series of outstanding DVDs that collect some of the best short films being made) or the publicity, what little of it I could find, on Pitch Black.

And of course, not long after that it seemed like Vin was everywhere, and his ambition and attitude were all anyone wanted to write about. And yeah, I definitely get the impression this is a guy who has no problem with his ego except fitting it into a room, but it hasn't stopped me from admiring the guy. He knew he always wanted to be an action star, apparently, and single-mindedly went after that, but Multi-Facial, and what little I've seen of his other self-made feature, Strays, are proof that he really can act and write and direct, and that he's not just a big lunkhead. His voice work on Iron Giant is fantastic, and in his brief screen time in Ryan and his shot in Boiler Room, I think it's pretty obvious that the guy has more talent than people are giving him credit for, which makes me sad. The bad boy/party animal image, the apparent lack of humility (though every time I've seen him talk about himself, he's been wonderfully self-effacing but confident, so I'm not always sure where this comes from), the focus on becoming a big star, all seem to have earned him a rep that makes everyone hypercritical of everything he does now.

Though, strangely, I don't care -- a lot of times people's 'tudes about themselves put me off, because it can often come across in their performances. But I never get that feeling from Vin, for some reason, despite the overblown action of his last few movies, or the clothes carefully chosen to highlight that incredible body, and so on. And it's too easy to mock him for the name he chose (which, I dunno, if I could change my name to something that cool? I would, totally), or the movies he's elected to do and how confident he is in trying to create franchises, but it makes me wonder why that should matter. He's making the mistakes of the young and very confident, and that makes him an easy target, but I admire some of that. I don't get confidence at all, and like many, I often see confident people as arrogant, but objectively, I understand that those two are not the same things. Unfortunately, this is how he's been branded.

I know he has a 'tude, and a major one -- he got kicked off Reindeer Games (and how I wish he'd been in that awful film, it might have made it more tolerable to have him sparring with my beloved Gary Sinise instead of ultra-bland Ben Affleck) for giving that 'tude to Frankenheimer for various reasons, and probably his rising star and ego didn't help with getting Diablo made well (later renamed as A Man Apart, and a potentially cool movie that was messed up), and XXX is a piece of shit by any definition, that often seems like nothing more than a love letter from Vin to himself, which is sad. But despite all that, and the crappy movies and all, I still love him, because of those really good movies, and because he is the sex.

The friend I saw Riddick with told me that while she thinks he has an incredible body, she doesn't like his face because his features are outsized and his nose is too big -- which is partly why I think he's so gorgeous. I love that about him, and the shaved head, and in PB and Riddick, the goggles (has anyone ever made goggles sexy? I think not -- as far as I know, Vin Diesel is the only guy who's ever managed to make such a dorktastic piece of gear look so cool). A few years ago, GQ did a photo essay featuring Vin, and he wore these leather trousers with a lace-up front, and I thought I might actually perish of fits when I saw that photo, he was so damn hot. A number of reviewers called him mushmouthed and a lunkhead and whatnot when reviewing Riddick, but I get the impression that they're not really paying attention, because he can show incredible diction when called for, and then not, and he radiates a kind of feral intelligence as Riddick that I wouldn't, frankly, demean that much. I like the fact that he so easily embodies all these disparate qualities (well-spoken or uncouth, scary or soft, macho or sensitive), that he is handsome in a non-standard way (thank god for his multicultural heritage, it makes his face fascinating to my eyes), that he can seem to be many things at once depending on your attitude about him.

Which is, of course, part of the problem. By now, most people have a very bad attitude about him, which may or may not be deserved. I keep hoping that he will eschew this action star thing and maybe try to get back to some good stuff to show people what he really can do. XXX was indefensible, and Riddick, while I can see what he was trying to do, just wasn't a good enough movie to carry on the legacy of the sublime Pitch Black. Not that it wasn't fun, but... it had none of the qualities the original did. I immeditely went home and put on PB to get the taste back for the original, and one of the things I noticed this time (you'd think that I'd have noticed this the first, oh, 60 times I watched it, but I'm slow) is that Riddick only mentions a few times that he is a killer. Everything we know about him primarily comes from Johns, and Johns has a very deep ulterior motive for keeping the crash survivors terrified of Riddick. I found this fascinating, especially in light of how much they tried to take that mystique away from Riddick in the new movie.

Now they have to give him this whole Furian race background, and make it something larger than the humans who are trying to survive in PB, and Riddick more mythical in an overblown way. What made Riddick so unforgettable, besides Vin's talent, was that he ends up redeeming himself to save others even while staying a killer, and we don't really know whether this is a huge character change for him, or not. We have no knowledge of whether he's a sociopathic murderer, or if he killed for some other reason. The Chronicles of Riddick, unfortunately, loses sight of that mystique and diminishes a lot of what was so cool about him (though they kept the hilarious, .sig-worthy lines), makes him nigh-on invincible (which is boring), and only gives us a glimpse of the guy who would go to enormous lengths to keep the girl he rescued in PB safe from harm (and that, frankly, is the best part of Riddick as a character -- the battle of these two highly divergent parts of his emotional life).

And I think that's a huge missed opportunity, because Vin could do that, and could show people once again that he really does have those acting chops that we were so taken by when we first saw him. The bod and the voice and the head are probably always going to be the focus with him, but I'd love to see his talents be taken as seriously, too. Criminy, if Arnold can do it by carefully mixing his roles, why can't Vin? I like him too much to see him disappear into the Hell of the Steven Seagals.
gwyn: (Default)
Whenever I feel kind of down in the dumps, I pull out certain movies or shows with actors I love. A pretty face always makes me feel better, so I’ve been watching the remaining Sharpe episodes that I hadn’t seen (or rather, movies, since they were filmed separately as movies) because few faces make me as happy as Sean Bean’s. I’m still a bit stunned by the huge fandoms that sprang up over Pirates of the Caribbean and Master & Commander, because so few fans tend to (even with a love of pirates!) like historically set shows and films. A part of me keeps hoping that some of that will spill over onto two other shows I love set during the Napoleonic era -- Horatio Hornblower and the Sharpe series. At least HH is set on the sea, but Sharpe is set on land, alas, so I have a feeling I’ll wait in vain for more fans to come out of the woodwork (and write me some fanfic or make me some vids!).

Sharpe has all the same types of elements as M&C and HH, just without boats (swords, manly men, swashbuckling, manly men, derring do). And mostly it has Sean Bean as possibly the sexiest rifleman who ever shot a gun or wielded a sword. He plays a solider in Wellington’s army who saves Wellington’s life in the first movie (Sharpe’s Rifles), then rises through the ranks -- incredibly uncommon for a lower class infantryman back then -- to become a high-ranking officer of a select group of riflemen, sent on the most dangerous and secret of missions. Sean is so perfect in the role that Bernard Cornwell, who wrote the books, apparently revamped the physical descriptions of the character midway through. He’s got this perfect blend of macho manliness and loving tenderness, something that few actors can really put on screen well -- they often overcompensate in one direction or the other, and Sean never does that. Last year I remember an article in USA Today, I think, where they talked about the new scenes in the extended Two Towers release, and they said, “Fans of manly actor Sean Bean will be thrilled...” I howled over that for days. I’d never quite thought to put such a sobriquet on him, but it really is true to some degree -- he has that unique ability to be incredibly strong and exert a certain kind of machismo while also being believably tender and sweet and quietly sexy, a quality that’s there in only a handful of actors, most notably Russell Crowe.

Sharpe really needed that kind of actor, too -- you had to believe he could beat the shit out of a man much bigger than him to whip him into line, and yet still be so tenderly sweet to the women who fall for him (not to mention to his very young soldiers who need a guiding hand). Sharpe is kind of like the British Army of the 19th century’s equivalent of Captain Kirk -- the babes fall for him right and left, from firebrands to novitiate nuns to enemy spies to upper class English girls. And his men are all a little in love with him too, not to mention Lord Wellington. His first real girl in the series is a ball of fire who leads the partisans in Spain, and the two of them generate enough sparks of their own to create a bonfire. Sean has that rare ability to generate chemistry with a really huge range of other actors, which is not something that can be easily created by the producer types. And that ability comes into play when he has to work different sides of the character, against actors with varying styles.

I think when actors get tagged with that manly man title, they often get stuck in roles that don’t allow much leeway for quieter stuff; fortunately Sean’s been pretty good about testing that, in films as diverse as the dark and depressing film adaptation of the play The Field with Richard Harris, to an adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, to American Hollywood crap like Don’t Say a Word or Patriot Games. Because he can play that Eurotrash bad guy all too well, he gets cast too often as the heavy, like in Goldeneye -- he has, like Crowe again, those kind of eyes that can look either feral and psychotic or gentle and kind, and so he often gets stuck with the former while working over here. He’s also great at goofing on himself -- his cameo in the Vicar of Dibley episode where he appears to the Vicar in her wedding dream was hysterical, and he seemed to know it (plus I loved that the man she was marrying referred to him as Sean Bone).

I was so very grateful to Peter Jackson for casting him as Boromir in Lord of the Rings. At first I was kind of upset, because I didn’t like book Boromir at all, but I was glad that at least he wasn’t playing a nutball. In the end, though, Jackson and Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, through their wonderful alchemy with Sean’s acting gifts, came up with a character I fell madly in love with. He represented all the good and bad in humans, embodied all the nobility, pride, greed, kindness, and honesty that’s in people, creating a character that resonated with a lot of people even in his limited time on screen. Plus, Best. Death scene. Ever. Ever! (And I say that as a connoisseur of death scenes.)

What I think made movie Boromir so amazing was that the character development picked up on what makes Sean so sexy and magnetic to many people -- a kind of rough-hewn quality that also shows refinement if you look under the surface, a quiet nobility that says this is a guy who doesn’t say a lot, but tells you deep things through his actions. He’s got all these very strong, masculine features -- the strong jawline, hawk-like nose, high cheekbones, sandy blond hair, narrow, deep-set eyes, and the deep, plummy voice with the rough Yorkshire accent. Yet at the same time he radiates that interior, almost artistically inclined type of personality, and you totally believe him when he’s tender and soft on screen (which I think really paid off for him in Ronin, where he played a bullshitting macho ass who, when the truth really came out, was scared and weak and miserable). Casting him as Boromir not only changed the character in some ways from the book, but brought a vulnerability to the role that wasn’t on the page, at least for me. Sean in that role couldn’t have been more perfect -- exemplifying how perfect the casting was throughout that movie for most of the characters.

A lot of actors, too, can’t make the switch between historical and modern all that well. One of the great things about so many British and Australian actors is that they have a quality about them that translates better in different eras, and when you go over his credits, it’s interesting to see how much of Sean’s career has him in roles set a long time ago. He’s amazing at wielding a sword and all that, but he’s equally at home in modern clothes, often pointing a gun. And nothing I’ve seen in recent years was as sexy as him simply reading from a book of poetry in the cheesefest that is Equilibrium -- that voice, that face, and poetry, yum.

Because at the core, a lot of what I love about him is that he’s gorgeous. My taste in most actors is quite different from my friends’ tastes, so when I think someone’s gorgeous and they don’t, I get that. But Sean’s one of those guys who, if people say they don’t get the attraction, I want to shout, “are you freaking blind?” It’s hard to see him in his regimental forest green velveteeny uniform in Sharpe, with the super cool boots and the epaulets and the tons of sparkly buttons and frog closures and the tightest trousers ever (stretched over a really, really nice ass), and understand how anyone could resist him. Especially when he’s got the jacket open and the poofy shirt underneath slightly unbuttoned, or when he’s strutting around in a nice medium shot so we can see how provocatively worn and faded his trousers are in strategic places. With the waist-length jacket always offering us a nice view of front and back, it’s hard to believe there are people who don’t appreciate that view.

He’s also one of those actors who's unafraid to share their... charms with the audience. It’s one reason I was initially so hopeful about Venetian Heat, but I have no idea if that movie’s seriously gone off the planner or not. It could have been lovely to have him and James Marsters in that, since they seem to have so little trouble with adventurous roles. Because it was for television, we didn’t always get as much skin on Sharpe as we could have, but what we got was often lovely, plus he was constantly macking with the babes, having this incredibly slashy relationship with his sergeant, Patrick Harper, and being shot, stabbed, beaten, betrayed, you name it.

Sharpe as a series had pretty much nearly everything, but mostly it was a chance to watch a really good actor define a character so completely that you can’t imagine anyone else in the role. It helped that he was so pretty, of course, and it’s fun to watch the series over the years, as Sean grew a little bit older and more rugged (though not in the craggy, scary way Mel Gibson has grown rugged). I wish they’d film some of the other books, but I suppose he’s too old for them to go back and fill all that in. I’m actually getting to the end of seeing the entire series now, catching the movies I’d missed before, and I wish it wasn’t going to end. Because, man, it’s a long, long time until Troy comes out, when we get to see him running around in a leather skirt as Odysseus. Hopefully even more people will discover him after that drops this summer. And now, of course, I'm wishing I had a Sean icon.
gwyn: (gay pants)
I finally got the chance to see Master and Commander yesterday, though it had gone from the best theatre in town, the Cinerama, and of course, loved it as much as anyone else. There was also a double dose of Horatio Hornblower this past week on A&E, and so my British naval uniform fixation was ably handled by all this stuff. (Although, I have one quibble with everyone who discussed M&C -- why didn’t anyone mention that Billy Boyd was in it? I was so thrilled; I’ve grown quite smitten with him.) Of course Russell looked unbearably hot in his poofy shirt and the long flowing locks. But it was Pellew in his admiral’s uniform on HH that got me really going; you’re right, [ profile] merryish, Robert Lindsay is still of the hot, even with a few more pounds and a few more wrinkles. There’s something about all that high-collared, buttoned-up, gleaming and glitteringly decorated stuff covering a guy up, and then the occasional glimpse of forearm or chest, that makes me go “oooooo.”

A long time ago, I realized that I prefer people to be covered up. At least a little -- that the power of suggestion, the hint at what’s beneath, is far sexier to me than total nakediddity. Not that I don’t appreciate a full-on disrobing, or anything. One of the things I love about many of my favorite actors is that they’re not afraid to drop trou, and to flout that annoying convention that full nudity from a woman is PG-13 material, but a glimpse of penis is at least R. Actors like James Marsters, Russell, Clive Owen, Sean Bean, Ewan MacGregor, Liam Neeson, David Duchovny, Harvey Keitel (not that I necessarily want to see Harvey nekkid, it’s more the principle), Michael Biehn, Roy Dupuis (who’s not even content to just be naked as hell throughout most of a movie, he’ll even do a fairly graphic simulated sex scene with another man),and probably most of the acting contingent from Down Under -- I’ve gathered quite an extensive list of favorite guys who are also willing to go the full full frontal route and don’t seem to have any issues.

But it’s often that suggestion, or of being partly dressed, with mere glimpses of skin, that I like best, even when the actor is willing to go all the way. There’s something about being half dressed, or a uniform undone so that the character is down to their shirt and trousers, or a shirt sleeve rolled up on a forearm, that can set my imagination in gear and make it much sexier. Even though I know Lord of the Rings isn’t exactly a pulchritude-fest, I found a scene in Fellowship to be incredibly slashy and sexy in a surprising way -- when Boromir and Aragorn are in Lothlorien, talking about Gondor and the White City, each of them has shed a lot of his gear and is finally relaxed a little. Aragorn has his sleeves rolled up on his forearms, and that seemed like the closest thing to pass for sex in the movie -- it’s suggestive forearm flirting! Plus, you throw in the intensity of their conversation, the way they’re bonding finally, and it’s all very. . . yummy. And so suggestive to someone with that (okay, admittedly perverse) frame of mind.

There’s a total Z-level movie Michael Biehn made a number of years ago called Breach of Trust (I know it has another name I can’t remember), where we get the closest scene he’s ever done to true full-frontal, but except for a well-placed camera just hovering at the edge of his hip, we don’t see everything. But what we do get to see is quite lovely, and it’s that suggestion that’s both frustrating (because it’s such a tease) and compelling at the same time. Later in Magnificent 7, when he’s sitting in a big copper tub in the episode Obesssion, you can see nearly everything under the waterline and you know he’s naked as a jaybird under there; the only thing making it TV-friendly is a well-placed circle of soap scum. There’s something about all that that’s even sexier than if he were prancing around; we’re seeing a lot, but not everything, and our minds fill in the rest.

My Ex used to have quite the extensive porn collection, but nothing got him more hot and bothered than the Victoria’s Secret catalogs I used to get sent by the pound. It took me a long time before I understood what he saw in those things. He once rhapsodized about the suggestion of it, especially things like the then-fashionable over the knee stockings with mini-skirts, where you got about three inches of bare thigh between stocking and skirt hem. The whole garters and stockings thing got him panting like a dog, too, because, as he explained it, the lines of fabric outlining patches of bare skin, and the hint of being able to take things off slowly, in pieces, was irresistible. Mostly I just laughed at him, but over the years I’ve come to understand what he was saying. It used to be that so few actors were willing to be naked on screen (and that so few movies were willing to risk the higher ratings because of puritanical nudity double standards), that you never really had the chance to say, well, I prefer a little clothing on my man. But now that it’s more common to see actors in the buff, I’m realizing how much I like it when they’re more suggestive in their approach to this. The fact that we’ve been able to see some of these guys nude, though, also helps -- we have less work to titillate our imaginations because we have seen them in the altogether, so future glimpses where they’re not naked might have more power than if we’ve never seen the whole man.

Sometimes, too, it feels exploitative, just as much as it has in the past for women actors. I know that after JM talked about how he’d started to feel like a piece of meat towards the end of season 6 on Buffy, it made it a bit harder for me to view those scenes with the same level of squealy, adolescent glee that I’d taken before in seeing so very much of him on screen. So here’s hoping for maybe a little less skin, but an extra dose of suggestion now that he’s back in the world again on Angel. And much as I loved the gorgeously framed nude backside scenes on Now and Again of the spectacuar Eric Close, my favorite publicity still of him during that time period (which I wish I could make an icon of, dammit!) is one where he’s wearing these midnight blue pajama pants and an open white shirt (is there anything sexier than a white shirt? I ask you), sitting on the edge of a barely made bed, and he has bare feet and the cuffs of the shirt are undone. This is simply the sexiest picture I’ve ever seen of any guy, I think, and it’s so wonderfully suggestive, just enough skin of the feet and lower legs, the chest and stomach, that it’s breathtaking. And you can think anything about it.

There’s something about watching someone, too, who’s all buttoned up normally (whether it’s Pellew in his high-collared, super formal uniform or Lt. Castillo’s sixties Dragnet-inspired uniform of thin black tie, plain black trousers, and short-sleeved white JC Penny shirt), becoming slightly unbuttoned, particularly when they’re around someone else. Again, it sends hints to our imagination, gives us blanks we can fill in in our own way. They always say the brain is our most powerful sex organ, and I think they’re right. When it comes to sex appeal and sexual excitement, I think I’d pick the power of suggestion any day. Give me a bare forearm extending from a rolled-up poofy shirt sleeve, or a glimpse of thigh under a loosely thrown sheet, and I’m there.
gwyn: (spike bad)
A long time ago, I decided to give liquid eyeliner another try, figuring technology would have made the application of it on yourself by yourself easier. No such luck. Oh, there are some people who can actually control a liquid liner brush or pen. But most of us can't get the line even and straight on our own eyes, since liquid liner, unlike shadow applied wet with a liner brush or crayon-type pencils, dries almost instantly, so fixing your herking, jerking line becomes a challenging process most people can't undertake in the short time they allot for getting to ready to go to work. The perfect liquid line (and Gilmore Girls fans will probably recognize that mythical concept) doesn't exist when self-applied.

Without being aware of it, though, I seem to have developed rather a fondness for the perfect liquid line on men -- specifically, pretty men in movies and television where their lined eyes are a nice shorthand for moral ambiguity or moral depravity, or both. And, fortunately, they have makeup artists to apply that perfect line to their perfect, pretty eyes. Normally I would never go to a movie like Pirates of the Caribbean -- everything about it seems enigineered to make me insane, and even Orlando Bloom wouldn't be enough to get me into the theatre. Except that it also had Johnny Depp in eyeliner. So right there, the ticket was bought. I'm not even a Depp fan; most of my exposure to him has been because my friend [ profile] feochadn is a huge fan of his. I'd always found him a little vacant and empty with fey mannerisms I didn't like, but if he was going to wear eyeliner, by god, I was going to show my support. I had no idea that he would choose to perform one of the strangest, most bizarrely mannered interpretations of a character ever on film, which kind of boosts the impact of the eyeliner and imaginitive hairstyle decisions. He was a bold, fashion-statement risk, and I liked him for that.

And the truth is, eyeliner Spike and eyeliner Angel are the ultimate prettiest phases for either character. Has David Boreanaz ever looked better than when he became unsoulled in Innocent, and in return got leather pants and eyeliner, not to mention a nice buff/nude lip tint and paler foundation? I think not. I'm with the Host on this one: the biggest benefit of Bad Angel is leather pants; though not far behind it is eyeliner. It amps up the wickedness of the character, it says: I'm a man/vampire who's comfortable with my sexuality, I can handle the gender roles and choose to break free of the stereotypes. With Spike, you throw in the black nail polish and the bleached blond hair, and you have gender roles redefined -- and thank god for it. When someone looks that good in, and embraces, the tools of the beautification trade usually reserved for women, we're all freed from the shackles of gender stereotyping. They're not just vampires, by god, they're sex-role freedom fighters.

One wonders, of course, just what the association between wickedness and eyeliner is for men. I'm sure there's a deepseated psychological need being expressed here, as if the darkened, kohl-eyed mystery of the character is shorthanded through the judicious application of Maybelline. But I'm not a smart enough woman to unearth those reasons -- perhaps someone in academia out there could look into this for me. And it is fascianting that Angel, when he loses his soul, gets leather pants and eyeliner in return; however, Spike, the more soully-acting he becomes (even when he doesn't technically have one), the less eyeliner he wears -- and that he actually has to get a soul and go mad before he's ever allowed leather pants. The injustice drives me to tears. Then, when Spike begins acting like his old self again (after Get It Done), he is back in jeans, as if somehow one of the benefits provided in the employment contract of Evil, Inc. is leather pants and perfectly applied eye makeup, and by leaving the company, he has rejected the COBRA coverage that would subsequently keep him in cowhide trousers and Cover Girl. I think, in this case, Spike got shorted, because really, outside of a brief return of Eyeliner!Spike in Fool for Love, we were denied soullessness and kohl-eyed mystery for far too long. I would have lodged a protest, but I was busy complaining about inconsistent writing and haphazard story development in season six.

This year, we were also cheated on Angel -- we got unsoulled Angel again, but were denied the leather-pants-and-eyeliner package, and I feel this deserves special censure. We didn't even get a buff lip tint, dammit, and that is just wrong on a scale of wrongness I can't quantify. It's also causing me difficulty in figuring out the requirements for jobs with Evil -- the killing I understand, but the dress code is baffling. Leather does seem to be involved, but its use is scattershot at best. Eyeliner was initially, apparently, the equivalent of a tie for men and hose for women; however, that seems to have been abandoned. And all for the worse, if you ask me. Hell, even the soldiers at the gates of Mordor got eyeliner, which looks smashing under the Roccocco helmets. Clearly evil is willing, when required, to pony up on the prettification, so what's happened recently at Mutant Enemy? Evil's budget was undone by suture thread for eyeless harbingers?

Though I have always wondered how the vampires got those perfect liquid lines. I mean, if you can't see yourself in the mirror, how could you do it? How did Spike bleach his hair? I have a lot of trouble putting on my eye makeup or coloring my hair even with a mirror; I can't imagine that someone without a girlfriend to do it for him would have much luck. Capt. Jack Sparrow, on the other hand, could get a looking glass, although his effect of smudged sable eye shadow and the dark bronzer would allow him to be sloppy in application and get away with it. And you know, a careless appearance might work for a pirate in a way it wouldn't work for a vampire, especially not one given to interacting with humans.

Personally, I hope this paves the way for more men wearing eyeliner. My best friend Michael has always wished men could wear makeup too, because as he says, "most of us really need some serious help looking good" (and this is one reason I'm looking forward to Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fashion makeover show). Clearly, evil Angel and unsoulled, unchipped Spike understood this and by rejecting the constraints of soulled, mundane society, they showed us that men can look good yet still manly with a strong eye and pale mouth (the current standard among most makeup artists). Obviously, Johnny Depp, in whatever strange universe he stopped in to find the character for Sparrow, understood the appeal of the man in eyeliner. And I say, why not? The perfect liquid line makes them absolutely perfect.

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