The Boyfriend of the Week

June 6, 2005

Well, hell! The Boyfriend Curse strikes again! You know how last week, I featured the great Tim Daly, a crush recently revitalized for me by his terrific new TV show "Eyes"? Well, a few days after I posted said write-up, guess what happened (and not for the first time, either). Yep, that's right. THE GREAT NETWORKIAN BOOT!

Holy Mary Mother of Pete! I JINXED TIM DALY! He'll probably never forgive me. And can you really blame him? I sure can't. I knew the risks; I knew what could happen. And what did I do? I chose to put myself first. I chose to feature Tim Daly and be all funny and affectionate about him. I chose to DOOM THE MAN TO A HELLISH LIFE OF BAD MADE-FOR-TV MOVIES!

To all you "Eyes" fans, I heartily apologize. I take full responsibility. If it's any consolation, after running through all five stages of Kübler-Ross in a span of about 14 minutes, I emerged on the other side of grief determined to try to resurrect the show. I immediately sat down at the computer and drafted an email to ABC explaining EVERYTHING. I told them the problem with the show's poor ratings had nothing to do with the show itself -- it was just because I personally happened to love it. And then I swore to them that if they'd only bring it back, I'd promise to hate it with a passion until the day I died. Because, you see, the shows I hate always seem to have no problems in the ratings. Case in point, "Married. . .with Children," which ran for a mindbogglingly obnoxious ten years. Or, say, "Rob and Amber Get Married," or whatever that stupid dreck was called. The bad news is, they never wrote me back. Avast ye cowardly network people!

The even worse news is that I'm about to do it again -- I'm about to feature a TV actor in a relatively new drama I have been thoroughly enjoying and would like to keep watching for years to come. The good news, though, is that this time I learned from past mistakes and waited to do it until the network had already signed on for a season two. So barring a change in administration, I think it's probably safe to assume the jinx won't be able to get a foothold on Jake Weber, or on his new show on NBC, "Medium."

At first, I wasn't too sure I was going to like "Medium." For one thing, I've had a love/hate relationship with Patricia Arquette for years. When she's not being downright annoying, her vamp teeth are freaking me out. But, in her role as a mature mother of three who sees dead people, she's actually done nothing but good in my book. She's even cultivated a motherly figure, which as a size-larger-than-0 person myself, I wholeheartedly appreciate. On the show, her character, Allison Dubois, is a medium who gets visions of murders and other crimes. After a lifetime of not being sure what to do with what she sees, she finally manages to convince the local DA to take her talent seriously and give her an off-the-record job as a consultant -- perhaps a bit on the unbelievable side, but I love Miguel Sandoval and trust his judgment, so okay. To be honest, though, I wasn't all that interested in this storyline when I first heard about it. It's not the first time we've seen something like this, after all, and most of the time, the whole ghostly vision thing gets pretty old by about episode four (okay, okay, case in point, "Haunted" with Matthew Fox, EVEN THOUGH I LOVED THAT SHOW, as evidenced by the fact it got canceled in midseason).

The thing is, Allison has this husband, see? Played by Jake Weber, see? And he's the perfect balancing force for these stories. He believes in her and supports her fully, even when her odd and lengthy hours start to put a strain on their marriage. But more importantly, he's helped her to learn something important about her visions -- the fact that they aren't always accurate or, for that matter, even true. Sometimes Allison sees things that didn't happen and aren't ever going to. Her mind is influenced, as all of ours are, by things we encounter everyday. Images that stick. Correlations made subconsciously and erroneously. And while I'd like to see more of this happen on the show -- more instances of her getting something wrong or mixed up -- because I think it's far more realistic than the fact she's right 19 times out of 20, it's still cool, in my opinion, that this element plays into the show at all.

Plus, is he not just the greatest husband of all time? He's hilarious, he's a math genius, he's great with the kids, he's utterly and completely the cutest little blond-ish nerd boy on the planet, and not only that, he fully supports his wife, believes everything she tells him, and does everything he can to make it possible for her to follow her heart.

Raise your hand if "I'll take two, please!"

If you've missed season one (which just ended this week with one of the more intriguing and unusual "Is he dead or not?" cliffhangers of the season), I'm sure it'll be out on DVD this summer. And you'll definitely be able to just step into the show come fall, too. Each episode is fairly contained, and you'll pick up all the backstory you need as you go.

But in the meantime, there are a few other options if what you really want is a little extra helping of Jake Weber being a cute blond-ish nerd boy (hereafter referred to as a CBNB, or "cob-nob," by the way). First, for all you zombie lovers out there, a rental of the remake of "Dawn of the Dead" is an absolute MUST. Because not only is he one of the stars of that movie, which is about a handful of humans who hole up in a shopping mall to try to figure out what the hell they're going to do about the fact their entire town has just become zombiefied, but he's essentially Joe Dubois from "Medium" while he's doing it. He plays one of the uninfected humans who is smart, calm, a little bit quiet, and completely rational and intelligent about what they need to do next. There's a little hint of romance between him and one of the other main characters (which is maybe a little hokey given the fact it's only been a few days since her husband tried to eat her alive), and in the end, he makes a gigantic sacrifice to save the others -- one that, personally, made me a touch weepy. And yes, I did just confess to crying at zombie movies. Shut up!

The movie also stars Ving Rhames, who I'd make a Boyfriend except that I know his write-up would be really boring (it would, and could, only consist of the word "COOL"), Mekhi Phifer, and Sarah Polley. I found it extraordinarily entertaining, and because I'm a lover of ALL things zombie, regardless of quality, I didn't even mind that it wasn't as good as the original. Go ahead, Romero-fans-who-can't-believe-he's-stooped-to-remakes-ALREADY -- argue with me. But in my opinion, when it comes to zombie movies, there's something to be said about sheer quantity. We don't get many of them anymore (and p.s. yes, I loved "Shaun of the Dead"), so I'll take pretty much whatever they throw my way.

Now, the even better news for all you scary movie fans is that "Dawn of the Dead" isn't Jake's only horror movie. In fact, if you like thrills and chills, you could kick down with a Jake Weber horror double-feature by checking out both it and another one of his films, a little indie picture called "Wendigo." This movie also stars Jake in a role much like that of Joe Dubois (smart, witty), by the way, a role that I love more and more every time I see him play it. The story is about a family of three (Jake as Dad, Patricia Clarkson as Mom, and Some Kid as Some Kid) who are driving out to a cabin in the woods for a little winter getaway weekend when suddenly a deer leaps into their path. They crash into it and the car promptly goes into a ditch. A few moments later, the hunters who had been after the deer arrive on the scene and one of them in particular is just a little. . .off. He becomes furious with Dad for busting the deer's antlers, and pretty much starts acting a lot like the creepy inbred dudes from "Deliverance." But, eventually he helps them get their car back on the road and everything seems like it's going to be okay.

However, everything actually being okay does not make for a very interesting thriller, so just as the fam starts to settle in, strange things begin to happen. First, they discover two bullets in their walls that weren't there when they first arrived -- is creepy hunter dude trying to threaten, scare, or out-and-out kill them? Then the little boy is told a story by a Native American guy about an evil spirit named Wendigo who, as near as I could tell, is pretty much the devil incognito. He's a strange looking thing with a wolf-like head and a tree-like body and he can shape-shift and likes to eat people. But Wendigo himself is not really what's creepy about this movie. What's creepy about this movie is that for the first three-quarters of it, you aren't sure whether it's supposed to be creepy or not -- the kid is seeing stuff that sure looks Wendigo-related, but he's also a little kid prone to nightmares and wacky ideas. Additionally, the movie is just kind of WEIRD. It's weirdly shot and weirdly put together and has weird music and focuses on weird things that can't possibly actually be meaningful (what was the deal with the playing cards, for example?). The net effect of all this weirdness is that you aren't sure what to expect from the movie and you're sort of uneasy about the whole thing the whole time -- then, when the bad stuff actually does start to happen, you're already so off-guard that it just shoves you all the rest of the way into total creepsville. I've seen it twice now myself and I'm still not sure I understand exactly what happened. And while I'm sure some might argue that that's not a great quality in a film, I would counter-argue that it really doesn't matter if the movie makes sense, as long as the star is a cute blondish nerd boy named Jake.

Now, for those of you who like to stay as far away from total creepsville as possible, there are some more mainstream options available to you. For example, you can also catch Jake in various smaller roles from more "Hollywood" movies, such as "U-571," a fairly decent little WWII submarine movie starring Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel, David Keith, and yes, you know you want him, Jon Bon Jovi. After that, you can check him out in "Amistad," about the infamous slave ship and also starring Matty (along with Morgan Freeman and Anthony Hopkins). Then there's his part in "A Stranger Among Us," which is a pretty decent thriller about a cop (Melanie Griffith -- another actress I have a love/hate relationship with, by the way) who has to infiltrate a population of Hasidic Jews in New York City in order to catch a criminal. And he's also been in "The Pelican Brief" (Denzel Washington, Sam Shepard, Julia Roberts), "Meet Joe Black" (Brad Pitt, Anthony again), "Pushing Tin" (John Cusack, Billy Bob), and "Dangerous Beauty" (Oliver Platt, and who cares who else at that point, I ask you?).

Wow, in terms of Boyfriend Degrees of Separation, our boy Jake sure gets around!

Anyway, after this, those of you who opened today's write-up and went, "Who the hell is that?" have excuses no longer.

Okay, because I'm currently writing this from within a forest of cardboard boxes, trying to get this write-up that I've had mostly finished for about three weeks now posted (my husband and I just bought our first house and moved in last weekend, so I've been crazy busy lately), I'm going to leap right into the bio part now. Jake was born in March of 1964 in London, England, and attended an experimental elementary school known as Summerhill in Suffolk as a kid. From what I could gather about the school on the web, its "experimental" philosophy was that kids learn better in more open, democratic settings than in the traditional, highly structured educational design. That's all nice and whatnot and I'm sure the research on it is fascinating and zzzzzzz, but the important question this raises in my mind is whether or not it means Jake actually has a British accent when he's speaking normally. I've never heard him speak in an accent, but then, I didn't know Anthony LaPaglia was Australian until I happened to catch him in "Lantana," either. Is he masking a deeply sexy Colin Firth-esque "bugger all" kind of thing? Because if so, I'm afraid I might just go insane with mad lust. Perhaps it would be better, actually, not to tell me the truth about this matter. Mum's.

Somewhere around his early teens, Jake and his family moved to California, where he attended an all-boys private school (Cate High School), graduating in 1982. From there, he moved on to Middlebury College, graduating cum laude in 1986 with degrees in English and Political Science. Jake's New York theater debut was in a play called "Road" in 1988, which also featured Kevin Bacon and the great Joan Cusack. His first movie role was in "Born on the 4th of July," in 1989, but right around the same time, he turned down parts in the two films "Glory" and "Reversal of Fortune" so that he could focus on his next educational goal, a degree in theater from Julliard.

Oh, and one web site I saw said that he was married, but I'll be darned if I could confirm that anywhere. Despite the fact there are actually some fan sites out there about Jake (a nice change from what I've been up against in terms of research lately), those sites didn't have all that much in the way of biographical information. It would seem that our cob-nob is a wee bit protective of his personal life -- which I suppose we should be respectful of, although WHERE'S THE FUN IN THAT, I ASK YOU?

Anyway, don't forget to tune into "Medium" when it returns next fall. And if it ends up NOT returning next fall, well, you'll know who to blame, won't you (sigh). Now, me: get back to work at unpacking. You: get back to work at watching "Dawn of the Dead," emailing me to tell me what Jake Weber movie I missed that I really HAVE to see, and flooding ABC's inbox with hundreds of messages telling them they suck monkey butt for canceling "Eyes" after only five episodes. BAH! HUMBUG, I TELL YOU! If it wasn't for the fact they had three of my favorite shows at the moment ("Lost," "Desperate Housewives," and "Alias"), I'd boycott them completely. However, the truth is, if faced with a choice between Tim Daly and Marshall from "Alias," I think you know whose lap I'd be bouncing right into. I'm pretty predictable in that regard, after all. Hey, wait! Maybe "Alias" could just hire Harlan Judd from "Eyes" as a consultant for next season? We gotta find out who Vaughn really is, after all, right? That seems like a task well-suited to Judd's crack team of investigators. Add this idea to your email to ABC!

MacGyver Factor Score: 93.246% Points off because I'm really tired from all this moving stuff and, well, someone should have to pay for it besides me, don't you think? Points back, though, because I love my new house and it loves me and the two of us together are both quite fond of Jake Weber and his cute little blond-ish nerd boyism. Life is sweet sometimes, ain't it? Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go MOW MY LAWN.


Boyfriend-Related Links
Jake's IMDB Page
Jake Weber Tribute Page (fan site)
ElfJune's JW page (fan site)
An interview with Jake "Dawn of the Dead"
NBC's Official "Medium" page


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