October 15, 2003

In the last write-up, I confessed that as a preteen, I had rather embarrassing taste in music. Most of you were pretty supportive, but for those of you who wrote to mock, I have only this to say -- that knock on your door? That'll be me. And when I find that Celine Dion CD you hide in that old R.E.M. Murmur case, I WILL BE MERCILESS.

Now, because it felt so good last time -- the purging of a deep, dark secret -- I'd like to do it again this week. My confession this time? I may have excellent taste in music these days, but my taste for movies has grown absolutely abominable! It started off with an unhealthy infatuation for shark movies, but it's just gone way, way downhill from there. And yes, maybe you already had picked up on the fact that I love a good bad movie. BUT, did you know THIS: I love bad movies soooooo much that, upon occasion, I become so spasmically excited about the opportunity to see one that I accidentally press all the wrong buttons on my hotel remote control and end up stuck with a $10 pay-per-view movie the likes of which Le Bad Cinema-lovers have never seen. No option to go back, to have a do-over -- once you hit that final "select" button, you've hit the point of no return

Now, speaking of hitting the "select" button, you'd think that, what with all my technical genius, I'd know better than to hit "select" instead of "exit." And then to actually do it AGAIN, all the while screaming, "Oh shoot! I didn't mean NOW! I don't want to watch it NOW! Stop! Stop! Exit!! EXIT, I SAY!" Well, it was like I'd been infected with some kind of viral Keystone Kops affliction. I started running around in circles, nightstick flailing about wildly, jumping in and out of very small cars, pressing buttons on my remote like woman gone mad: press, press, ACK! Press, press, press, ACK! Press, ACK!

However, while it's true that even the savviest of technological geniuses have freak button-pressing accidents from time to time -- it's nothing to get upset about -- what truly makes this story one of woe is the fact that at the time this was going on, I was in a hotel room with my husband, where we were planning to celebrate our one night alone during our second wedding anniversary vacation in California. But, instead of our plan, which initially involved room service, wine, memories, and smooching, I found myself kneeling at his feet, batting my eyes up at him by way of apology, and saying, "Uh, sweetie? Mind if I watch this movie we just spent ten bucks on first?"

Ten bucks we could've spent on dinner. Ten bucks we could've spent on a couple's massage at the spa. Ten bucks we could've spent on candlelit drinks at the bar. Something romantic and second-anniversary-ish. Something -- ANYTHING -- other than a two hour gore-fest featuring aliens that blast out of people's backsides, lame military conspiracy sub-plots, and, as usual, dorky extra-terrestrials that looks just like people, but with big heads.

Actually, stop right there for a moment. Because I feel it's time I address this directly. Writers, filmmakers, creature-creators, production assistants, continuity girls, everyone, PLEASE listen up. It is ridiculous to think that alien beings are going to look just like people but with funny heads. Despite the fact that's how aliens always look on Star Trek, STAR TREK IS NOT LIFE. The sooner you come to terms with this, the better off we're all gonna be. And, actually, if you ask me, it's also rather presumptuous of all you guys to think alien life is going to be carbon-based to begin with. But, of course, nobody ever asks me. I'm just a nobody. Just a librarian with millions and millions of bits of information at my beck and call -- WHAT DO I KNOW? Well, the answer is, I know a lot, and what I don't know, I can find out. And what I both know AND can find out is that if you guys would just run these things by me first, you wouldn't end up with aliens that look like big gray people with big gray heads.

But this is all getting us way, way off track. What we actually are supposed to be talking about is the fact that I ended up accidentally seeing "Dreamcatcher" (ta-da! Finally the name of the movie!) a lot earlier than I intended to. And for a much higher price. And the worst part? If I'd gotten this write-up out on time, I could've saved all you guys the $3.79 you probably just spent on renting it yourselves. You were just at the video store innocently thinking, "Ooh, Stephen King! I bet this will be good!" (your first mistake, by the way). And all the while, I was sitting here knowing you were about to be taken. And not to a good place. Because the truth is, this movie is bad. Really, REALLY bad.

That said, and not that that's nothing, but still, there are actually two good reasons to rent "Dreamcatcher," if and only if (IIF, in mathematics -- see, I'm a genius!) that $3.79 is burning a hole in your pocket. One is last week's Boyfriend Donnie Wahlberg, who plays a severely mentally handicapped man named Duddits and who was so believable in the role that I hardly recognized him.

The other is this week's blond and blue-eyed Boyfriend, Thomas Jane (ta-da! Finally the name of the Boyfriend!)

Lucky for Thomas, he's one of the few characters who escapes this movie unscathed. He doesn't die soaked in blood, he doesn't end up with a really gross rash on his face, no aliens burst out of his nether regions. Instead, he gets to wear a lot of flannel and denim, not shave for a few days, and tromp around in the snow being all heroic 'n stuff. And let me tell you something, people, there is nothing sexier than a man in snow and flannel. Especially a man with stubble in snow and flannel. While all around me butts were exploding, worm things were chewing people to bits, and military generals gone crazy were making plans to slaughter hundreds of innocents (borrrrrring), Thomas Jane was standing there looking thoughtful and scratchy-cheeked. And all cozy in a flannel-y kind of way. I tell you, it was enough to drive this girl insane.

Don't tell my husband. Poor guy was lying right there next to me on our second anniversary while I drooled over another man. I'm going to Hell for this one for sure.

So, anyway, the upshot of this whole, overly long story is that despite the extremely costly comedy of errors that landed me this stinker in the first place, I was ultimately pretty glad I had seen "Dreamcatcher." Yes, it was $10. But $10 for a Boyfriend is really not much of a price to pay, if you think about it. Especially a Boyfriend who looks sexy even when he hasn't had a chance to bathe in three days.

But make no mistake, people. Though this was indeed the movie that inspired me to make Thomas a Boyfriend of the Week, it was by no means my first encounter with him. And it wasn't my first bad sci-fi/disaster/creature-feature encounter with him either. Remember what I said earlier about an addiction to shark movies? Well, one of my all-time favorite bad shark movies (by which I mean both "bad movies about sharks" as well as "movies about bad sharks") is "Deep Blue Sea," starring none other than T.J. himself. In this one, Thomas plays a "shark wrangler" (read, "sexy guy who spends a lot of the movie in tight wet suits") who works on a big undersea laboratory that is studying a way to use shark brain proteins to treat Alzheimers. When the doc in charge gets greedy for more protein to test, she starts genetically manipulating the sharks in an attempt to make their brains bigger (and thus, more productive in terms of protein manufacture). Only, when you make something's brain bigger, apparently you make it a lot smarter too (hard to believe, given the fact men's brains are bigger than women's but they're only about half as smart as we are, but I'll play along).

The sharks, newly intelligent, decide that instead of pursuing lives of science, mathematics, or librarianship -- the choices of the truly brilliant -- what they want to do with their new-found brain power is. . . eat people. Hmmmm. Makes you think, doesn't it? But anyway, lucky for the team of scientists, they had the foresight to hire Thomas Jane. The sharks get one look at Thomas's pecs in that wet suit, and they go all limp and schmoopy (can you blame them? I mean, honestly!). The movie ends with a romantic wedding scene -- the tiger shark and Thomas Jane moving in for their first kiss as the credits roll. Man-eating shark to man-dating shark, and all it took was one hunk in neoprene!

Okay, okay, I totally just made that last bit up. But it's not really important, so let's move on.

If you aren't into aliens or killer fish (you weirdo), never fear -- all is not lost! You can also catch the dashing Thomas Jane, man of two first names, in a variety of more straight-laced films as well. The very first one you must run out and rent right now is "61*," the Billy Crystal-directed HBO movie about the 1961 home run record race between Mickey Mantle (played by T.J.) and Roger Maris (played by ex-Boyfriend Barry Pepper). Both actors do an incredible job of showing-not-telling about the pressures both players were staggering under that season. Mickey had multiple injuries, which ultimately cost him the record, and Maris had such bad P.R. that even his own fans were booing him every time he hit another homer over their heads. The movie is just wonderful and because it's more about people than it is about baseball, I think even non-sports-fans will enjoy it. You will enjoy it. Stop it, yes, you will. And, in fact, if you don't enjoy it, I'll write you a check for a billion dollars. (I wouldn't recommend cashing it, however.)

Other movies you can check out include: "Original Sin" (stinker), "Magnolia" (overrated), "Under Suspicion" (looks good, haven't seen it), "The Sweetest Thing" (looks good, haven't seen it), "The Thin Red Line" (book's better), and "Boogie Nights" (a blast). He's also been in some smaller, more independent films, as well as a slew of theatrical productions. The man has talent. And also, did I mention he looks good in neoprene?

Up next for Thomas is a role that has the potential to turn him into a superstar once and for all, I'd wager. It's yet another comic book movie, most of which have done okay at the box office, and I'm hearing relatively positive buzz about it so far. The movie is "The Punisher" and it's about a man who loses his family to violent crime and turns into a kind of vigilante superhero. Thomas is in the lead role, and he put on between 20-40 pounds of muscle for it, which you better believe is going to make for some very nice superhero spandex moments. The good news is, even when Thomas is in bad movies, and this might be a bad one for all I know, he's so cute it really doesn't seem to matter. In fact, there's something to be said for movies that are so bad you can just stop paying attention to the plot and instead focus on the incredibly nice smile of the lead actor. As long as The Punisher is so busy catching bad guys that he forgets to shave from time to time, I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy it. I don't ask for much, after all.

Also new in Thomas's life is his wife, Patricia Arquette, and their new baby girl Harlow. Patty and Tommy have been married since 2002 (shortly after she and Nick Cage split up), and their baby was just born a few months ago, I think. My feelings for Patricia go up and down, depending on what I'm seeing her in. But one thing always remains the same: she has great vampire teeth. And also, apparently fairly decent taste in men.

Aside from this, all I really know about Thomas is that he was born on January 29th, 1969 and that he's 5 feet 11 inches tall (that'll do). Even his own official web site is short on actual biographical information (instead, his "biography" on the site is really more of a filmography). It's also short on photos you can download, too, which is another unfortunate bit of truth. However, I'm sure that as Thomas continues to show up in things, more and more of you lovely and talented ladies will be falling hard for him. And ultimately, I hope to see some good fan sites out there for me to steal stuff from soon. Much thanks.

MacGyver Factor Score: 95.67%. Points off because it took me so dang long to get this stupid thing up on the web. Now, granted, that isn't Thomas Jane's fault. In fact, he actually had very little to do with it. But it still made this one a bit more of a struggle then I like them to be. And I have to deduct points for something, after all.


Boyfriend-Related Links

Thomas Jane's Official Site
A Thomas Fan Site

T.J.'s IMDB page


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