December 12, 1999
This week, we're back to going with impulse. No more intellectual mumbo-jumbo, now we're talking grocery-store-checkout-counter impulse selection.
And that's why Ethan Embry has made it to the big leagues. To the Boyfriend of the Week page, the most prestigious award an actor, director, or anybody else could receive in my own little world.
And now you ask, "Meg, tell me. What spurred the Ethan Embry impulse?" And I reply, "Well, loyal fan, last week, just as I had finished putting Ang Lee up here, I discovered that a movie I hadn't seen for years was just about to come on tv. So I turned it on." Does this sound familiar to anybody? Many a Boyfriend has achieved his status because of a similar cable-tv bored-on-a-weekend happy accident. Anyway, the movie that I'm talking about is called "A Far Off Place" and it's about two white kids living in Africa (Reese Witherspoon and Ethan Embry) whose parents get killed in a revenge attack by poachers. They realize the poachers are looking to kill them too and conclude that their only option for survival is to get to the nearest town and get help. Fortunately for them, they have a friend who is a native who knows the land. Unfortunately for them, the nearest town is ACROSS THE KALAHARI DESERT. Ethan plays a very 90's kind of teenager, not at all happy to be stuck in the middle of nowhere. But he comes around when he realizes that that Reese-Witherspoon-girl is kinda cute and she's in love with the country. So, ultimately, he comes around, they smooch, it's all very nice.
Anyway, I really like it. I mean, it's not a FILM, but it's fun. Also not a film, but still fun, is one of Ethan's first movies ever, the John Hughes (love him) movie "Dutch." Essentially, Ethan plays the same kind of character in this one, a snooty, upper-class jerk who needs a taste of the real world to even him out. This time, however, the evening-outer is a construction worker in love with his mom, played by Ed O'Neill (who I used to hate until I saw this). Ed goes to pick Ethan up at his preppy boarding school and pretty much everything goes downhill from there. It's very funny and very very sweet. Poor kid. So troubled and insecure. So young and confused. In such dire need of someone to love him. You must know where I'm headed with this by now. . .
I'll give you a hint. It starts with an "un" and ends with a "derdog."
Anyway, aside from these two movies, both made when Ethan was what the Irish call, "a wee lad," I thought I hadn't seen him in anything else. Imagine my surprise when I found out he was actually one of the boys on the boat in "White Squall," a movie I've seen at least twice, possibly three times. So, this weekend, I went to the video store and rented "Dutch" for the "before" and "White Squall" for the "after." Had myself a little Ethan Embry film festival (it might be important to note here that all Ethan Embry movies made while he was a kid are actually "Ethan Randall" movies -- he changed his name when he hit puberty, apparently). "Dutch" was fabulous, of course. In fact, I watched it twice. "White Squall" was also good, although I think I liked it better the first time I saw it. This time around I decided the end was a little too much. However, the plot was certainly NOT the important part. What was important is that when I finally figured out which kid was Ethan Embry, I was shocked! He looks nothing like he used to. Nothing at all!
The good news is that he grew up nicely. This is not always the case with cute kid actors, as we all know. The even better news is that he plays one of the semi-main characters on the boat so we get to hear him speak occasionally (his voice grew up nicely as well), and we also get to see him a lot without his shirt on (his upper body REALLY grew up nicely). The first time I saw him onscreen with no shirt, I believe I let out a low whistle of the "yowza" variety. He's a little too skinny, but he makes up for it by being well-defined.
Ugh, I'm so petty, it's dis-GUS-ting. Fortunately, this is only my web persona. In real life, I'm much more attracted to wit and brain.
Anyway, I have some bad news for you people. Ethan Embry got married. Can you believe it? He's, like, 6 years younger than I am! The good news is that these young marriages almost never make it in today's world. Especially if half of the couple is really famous, which I predict Ethan will be once he outgrows the teenage roles he's been doing lately (he's been in at least TWO movies with what's-her-name from "Party of Five" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer"). He's getting hipper and hipper. And it's not just the sideburns that's doing it. So, keep an eye out in the entertainment news for me. If you hear even a rumor that he's about to resingle himself, let me know ASAP. I can easily drop everything and rush down to Hollywood (or wherever) to offer some "comfort."
MacGyver Factor Score: 93.6%. Points off for the chest hair thing in that picture above. What is THAT all about??
IMDB page on Ethan