The Boyfriend of the Week

September 16, 2010 [comment on this write-up]

A month or so ago, I was watching the movie Salt (my review here), which reminded me of the TV series Alias, which reminded me that I still hadn't gotten around to featuring Bradley Cooper as a Boyfriend of the Week.

Criminal!

Time to make reparations.

When I think back to when I first discovered Alias, lo so many years ago, it boggles my mind that the Boy I was initially drawn to was Michael Vartan. I mean, he's cute and all, but please -- Bradley Cooper's character, Will Tippin, is not only ten times scruffier (humina3) but he's also a REPORTER, of all things.

Scruffy reporters are my weakness -- just ask my husband -- and they're as impossible for me to resist as scruffy photographers, scruffy trumpet players, scruffy robot scientists, and scruffy dogs. Scruffy CIA agents aren't even in the top five. Clearly, I was crazy in 1999. Or young and dumb, I suppose. I was somethin', though. Somethin' not right. Because in pondering the two side-by-side now, the choice is clear as gin: it's Coops, Coops, Coops all the time, no substitutes, times infinity plus one, JINX! (Coke.)

My guess is that what I needed before I could fall in love with Bradley was a solid look at his comedic side. Because there's no doubt my current adoration for the man has a lot to do with The Hangover, the highlight of my summer last year and definitely among my favorite comedies ever (repeated viewings have only bumped it up in my rankings too, which doesn't always happen for me when it comes to comedies). It was the first time in a looooong time I'd seen a comedy truly made for grown-ups: smart, funny, clever, and I don't think there was a single poop joke in the entire thing.  Props, sirs!

In going back through Coops's older stuff, watching a few things here and there (for "research," as I like to call it, kind of like when guys say they only watch Internet porn for the "articles") (wait, what?), I found it interesting how many different kinds of projects he'd worked on over the years.  Horror movies, TV shows, comedies, dramas, he's kind of covered the works.  To be honest, though, he's not always terribly effective (to wit: 2008's Midnight Meat Train, though he does play a scruffy photographer in that, which certainly helped rescue the film for me).  I have to say he definitely handles the funny stuff better than the emotionally complicated, troubled stuff.  Which is okay, really, because excessively emotionally troubled types are kind of my nemesiseses. It's an energy I seem destructively attracted to at times, and I feed off it the way vampire bats feed off pigs. It's just not pretty. Not pretty at all. (Though pigs are, I will grant you, indisputably delicious.)

This is why I'm slightly concerned about Bradley's next film, the thriller Case 39. Obviously, I will have to go see it. (Please, how could I not?) But will it be the latest sow to my vampire bat, is the question.

The movie, shot several years ago and then benched -- never a good sign -- is about a little girl who gets rescued from abusive parents by a social worker (Renee Zellweger). After deciding to foster the wee lass herself, the social worker quickly discovers the girl is not quite as innocent as she seems (either she's evil or she's haunted by something that follows her around -- it was hard to tell from the preview, though I'm hoping for the latter because the "evil kid" thing is just soooooo. . .1976).

I couldn't get a sense of what Coops's role will be, but I think it's safe to assume it's going to be a serious one, not a funny one. I'm braced for a dud. The good news, though, is that it also costars Ian McShane, who is c**k-suckingly brilliant (use of c-word for Deadwood fans only; all others read that as "cook-suckingly" and pretend it has something to do with sauces), and Callum Keith Rennie, who has been an object of my adoration since the days of the Constable. Could be good, could be absolutely stunningly awful. Will report back. (Case 39 opens October 1.)

We're getting ahead of ourselves now, though. Let me go back in time a bit and tell you a little about some of my favorites of the Coopman's previous gigs:

Alias -- Alias was the first thing I ever saw Bradley in, and I was so sucked into this series so immediately I watched all of season one in a single weekend. I could barely bring myself to stop long enough to sleep. Season two I devoured just as rabidly, though by season three, I'd become decidedly less enthusiastic. As the show progressed, it started to fall off in quality, as most shows seem to do, and I'd say that started right around the time Coops left the series (though I wouldn't necessarily say the two things were connected). The show started to lose its focus and get a little silly, I thought, with too many romantic entanglements and not enough bad-assery. I mean, remember that giant red ball that burst and infected all the people in that little town with what was clearly a blatant rip-off of the "rage virus" from 28 Days Later? That was lame, am I right? Totes.

Nevertheless, the first 2-3 seasons of Alias are among the most enthralling seasons of television I have ever seen. I still watch seasons 1 and 2 all the time, popping in a disk every now and then as a little snack for my brain. Plus Coops gives us a double whammy of deliciousness in this show, as he's not only a newspaper reporter, but he's also in love with the main character, Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner), who is in love with someone else instead. What does that mean? It means Will Tippin is not only a scruffy muckraker, he's a lovelorn underdog! All he needs to be the most perfect Boyfriend of all time is a theme song and a roll of duct tape. Deal = sealed.

By the way, if you've gotten this far in life without ever having seen this show, send me a message at meg@megwood.com and I will mail you disk one of season one. And then I'll come over and sit on you until you tune in. I'm completely serious.

Also, I weigh 3,000 pounds -- don't say I didn't warn you.

Kitchen Confidential -- This sitcom was much better in theory than in practice, but I still enjoyed it while it was on (lasted less than one season, if I remember correctly). Bradley was cast as a fictional version of chef Anthony Bourdain, and the show also starred Nicholas Brendon (Xander from Buffy), one of the reasons I tuned in initially. It was a good idea, it just didn't have the punch it needed, relying too much on stupid humor instead of really trying to play around with the intriguing dynamics of a kitchen and the crazy lives of those who dedicate all their waking hours to cooking. I'd love to see them try something like this again some day, and it seems like it'd have fairly broad appeal, what with the glut of nonfiction cooking shows on network and cable television these days. Gotta get snappy writers on board, though. Are there any snappy writers left? No? Well, then, good luck with that, I guess.

Nip/Tuck -- Bradley took a single-season turn on this completely whackadoodle FX series, playing Aidan Stone, star of a TV show based on the lives of Nip/Tuck plastic surgeons McNamara and Troy. His spoof of the arrogance, pettiness, and unintentional comedy that so often plagues the lives of television surgeons was spot-on and hilarious, and so was the show's very delightful satire of itself. Also: he takes his shirt off. A LOT. Anyone who's ever seen Nip/Tuck cannot possibly find that surprising news; we're just lucky he didn't have a three-way with a grandmother and a goat.

The Hangover -- As I said above, this movie absolutely made my entire summer the year it came out (read my original review here). You see, the thing is, I keep trying to like comedies, and I keep finding that most of them simply don't play to my sense of humor. Poop jokes do not make me laugh, I'm sorry. Neither do fart jokes, puke jokes, boob jokes, or jokes about yo' mama. They didn't even make me laugh when I was seven (well, okay, yo' mama jokes might have. . .). Can't we just agree not to tell poop jokes anymore? Especially in movies starring adults made for adults? Hot Tub Time Machine didn't make it ten minutes before the poop hit the plan. Argh, so unnecessary. And it's not that I'm squeamish about poop, either. Big whoop, poop. It's just that, you know? Poop's not really that funny, I'm sorry.

And that was what I found so refreshing about The Hangover, you see? It's still a completely goofy movie, utterly bananas in every way. A tiger in a hotel bathroom? Mike Tyson singing Phil Collins? That naked skinny Asian dude? Every single thing Zachy G. has to say? But it still somehow managed to feel grown-up. The people I hang out with are funny like those guys are funny. They were characters I could relate to; I know those guys. And they do, in life as in the film, frequently make me laugh so hard my stomach hurts.

In other words, this film is a delight. If you still haven't seen it, hie thee to the video store posthaste.

Wet Hot American Summer -- This movie was Cooper's first, and while it's not really a favorite of mine, I figured it was worth mentioning if only because it had such a great cast: Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Ian Black, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Michael Showalter, Molly Shannon, and Amy Poehler. Not a bad group to have as back-up for your first gig, huh?

Unfortunately, the greatness of its cast is part of the reason why this movie was a flop for me. It should've been WAY more clever than it was, and with a cast like that, and its ripe-for-funny setting of an early 1980's summer camp, there's really no excuse for its lack of hilarity. That said, it's been forever since I've seen it, and I might like it more now than I did in 2001. Hard to say. Will have to rent it again soon, I guess.

Enough with the past. Let's talk about the Coopman's present and future.

Now, here's a confession for you: I loved the TV show The A-Team when I was a kid, and though I was really, really tempted to go see the film version when it came out last summer, I ended up being far too afraid it was going to RUIN EVERYTHING (and yes, I have, in fact, been accused of being slightly melodramatic, thank you for asking). This despite the fact I was pretty pleased Coops been cast in the part of Dirk Benedict's old character Face -- that was perfect. (Though, you know what would've been totally rad? If they'd cast Katee Sackhoff instead. Oh man, Eggs would have LOST HIS FRAKKIN' MIND. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, by the way, click on Katee's name and go read my old write-up about her. It will all become delightfully clear.))

I was drawn to this film, for sure; I'm sure everyone my age was, at least nostalgically speaking. But, argh, what if it. . . I just. . . What if it sucks? I mean, if they'd cast Mr. T. as B.A. I would've gotten myself into a theater to check it out for sure (I've seen Mr. T. recently, after all -- he still looks exactly the same). But some OTHER guy as Mr. T. as Sergeant Bosco Albert "B.A" (Bad Attitude) Baracus?

Bah, "impossible!" as the French say (translation for those of you who do not speak French: "impossible!").

I could be wrong, I suppose. Maybe Not Mr. T. Guy was totally fine as BA Maybe the movie was brilliantly fun. If you saw the film AND you were also an A-Team fan as a kid, let me know what you thought over in the comments? If enough people liked it, I'll give it a shot.

As for the future of Bradley Cooper, he's got three projects slated for release in late 2010 or early 2011:

The first is Case 39, which I talked about earlier. Shrug, meh, maybe, who knows, whatever, we'll see.

After that comes The Dark Fields, based on the novel of the same name by Alan Glynn, which stars Coops as Eddie, a former cocaine addict who has finally cleaned up his act and gotten a dumb job in a small publishing house. One day, he finds himself in possession of a top-secret drug, MDT-48, that he discovers radically enhances his intelligence, as well as other D&D-type attributes (speed, charisma, dexterity, the ability to predict the outcome of a roll of 2d10, etc.).

However, like most drugs, MDT-48 has some serious downsides: side effects that can turn you into a homicidal maniac and withdrawal symptoms that can kill you DEAD (as opposed to killing you UNDEAD, which would be a completely different film).

Also, if you have an erection lasting more than four hours, see your doctor.

The movie co-stars Robert De Niro as a business mogel who sees the enhanced Eddie as a tool to make billions, something that somehow turns him into a target for assassination. This one sounds pretty good to me, though, again, it's not a comedy, and we know that can be a bit risky when it comes to the Coopster. Then again, it's based on a novel, which means someone's thought the whole thing through at least once, right? That might help. Anybody read the novel, by the way? Worth a look?

And last, but definitely BEST, coming up in the next year or so will be [drumroll, cowbell, DING!] . . . Hangover 2!

Oh yes. YES, they did. They made a sequel. I'm sure it's going to be absolutely terrible. AND I DO NOT CARE. As long as we all remember what's important -- that tigers like cinnamon but they DO NOT LIKE PEPPER -- I have a feeling we'll be okay. You, me, Coops, and a pantless Zachy G. I'll see you there.

MacGyver Factor Score: 98.214%.

Points off because I can't actually HAVE Bradley Cooper. My friend Lisa already called dibs. DAMN. I'll get you for this, Lisa. Just you wait.

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Boyfriend-Related Links

Cooper's IMDb page
The Bradley Cooper Network (fan site)
The Bradley Cooper Source (fan site)
Cooper's movies on Netflix
Brad on Zachy G's Between Two Ferns


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