The Boyfriend of the Week

February 27, 2004

Okay, so we had our little sidetracked love affair with a non-actor guy last week, and it was really fun, wasn't it? But let's not get too far off track here. Despite the fact it's nice to break out of the mold from time to time, it's still actors who I get to know best of all, and so, it's time to return to the ol' status quo. Only, really, we're going to ease back in this week by featuring a That Guy kind of actor -- an actor who you've seen in a lot of things, but may not have really noticed. An actor who isn't exactly "famous," but who really really ought to be. Ladies, it's time to take notice of this one for real. Because Adrian Pasdar is a hottie, and I want to make him mine.

Fans of "Judging Amy" will recognize Adrian right off the bat as the latest love interest of that show's title character, lawyer David McLaren. Now there's a poorly constructed sentence. The show's title character is not "David McLaren." It's "Amy." Duh. I could rewrite that sentence to make my intended meaning more clear, but let's leave it alone and use it as an educational tool instead.

Now, McLaren is a man who is struggling with a lot of emotions -- his wife was murdered a few years before he met Amy and Amy is the first woman he's been interested in ever since. So, there's affection, but there's also fear and guilt. Adrian's very intense in this role -- his whole body seems to stagger under the weight of sadness at times. But he's also exceedingly charming and funny too. When he tells a joke, he gets this look on his face that I just want to attack and smother with smooches -- he's a straight-man, so he doesn't exactly crack a telltale grin. But one side of his face kind of lifts up, subtly. The corner of his mouth, a little bit of a single eyebrow, a portion of one side of his forehead and cheek. Almost like he's waiting to see if you get that he's being funny. Like he's trying not to let the grin all the way out before he can tell if it will go over right. I can't describe it. All I know is I want to have it all to myself. Right now. Right here. In my lap. He's everything you could ever want -- a smart man with an old soul and the best kind of sense of humor there is: the subtle kind (you know, the opposite of my kind of sense of humor, which is also know as the "bash you over the head until you give in and laugh just to get away from me" kind). It's just too bad he's picked Amy to date, actually, because she's completely wrong for him. She's selfish and has trouble seeing what's really important. She's rash, she's egotistical, she's really awful in the kitchen. He needs someone better than that. Someone who will fit in with his lifestyle. Someone who has patience and empathy. Someone who makes a killer vegetable lasagna.

Someone, well, someone like me, really. Someone charming and courageous. Beautiful and intelligent. Sensitive and creative. Wise beyond her years and thoroughly engaging. And did I mention absolutely hilarious and damn good lookin'?

Houston, the Ego has landed!

Gosh, where was I? Oh yes, I believe I was talking about me. And Adrian Pasdar. And me. And Adrian Pasdar. And me and Adrian Pasdar. The funny thing is, this (intense) affection of mine is a relatively new thing, even though Adrian's been around for a pretty long time now. I never really noticed him before, though, I'm ashamed to say, despite the fact I've seen him in a number of other things. But he's been steadily growing on me for the last couple of months, and when I recently saw him in a bit part in the terrific movie "Secondhand Lions," it finally sort of shook him out of That Guy status for me. Somehow, it seemed to make me realize that he was an actual actor, not just the latest hottie to be left at the altar by Judge Amy Gray. But I couldn't really remember what else I'd seen him in. I just knew he looked familiar. So, I was off to the computer to do a little digging. Ah, I said, when I saw his page at the IMDb. Yes, that's it. That is IT. Bloodsucking vampire!

Now, as many of you know, I'm a huge fan of bad horror movies. The more over-the-top they are, the more I love them. However, what you may not know is that I'm also a lover of GOOD horror movies. The reason that fact doesn't get nearly as much play is because a really good horror movie is very hard to find. However, you can find one quite easily if you look into Adrian's past, because he was the star of one of the greatest vampire movies of all time, "Near Dark." In the movie, he plays a young adult in the Midwest who picks up a cute blond chick at a bar one night. They spend the whole night together, driving around in his truck, but when dawn starts to approach, she freaks out and demands that he drive her home. Because he's a stupid teenaged boy, he attempts to bribe her into smooching him by saying he won't drive her home until she gives him a kiss. But she doesn't want to play along -- she's freaking out about the time. Finally, she gives him a quick kiss on the neck. And when she pulls away, he's bleeding. She jumps out of the truck and starts runnin'.

He watches her go, then tries to get the truck started so he can head home. Only (and I never understood this), the car suddenly won't start. So, he decides to hoof it for home instead. By the time dawn breaks, he can barely stand up, he's so sick. And then suddenly, just as his farmhouse appears on the horizon, a Winnebago full of vampires comes racing out of nowhere and snatches him up.

Yes, friends, I not only just said a Winnebago "raced" from out of nowhere (which I think is actually fundamentally impossible, both the racing and it being hard to see comin'), but I also said it was a Winnebago full of vampires. I mean, can you think of anything more totally crazy and wonderful than that? Now, of course, our unlucky hero has no idea the people who just snatched him off the corn field are vampires. All he knows is they seem plenty pissed off. However, fortune favors the bold, as they say, and, well, it also apparently favors the "bitten by a vampire girl." So, when Adrian finally gets a good look at the gang in the Winnie, he quickly discovers cute blond chick is there. Though the rest of them just want to kill him on the spot, she's sweet on Adrian (for obvious reasons, ahem) and she begs the others to spare him. "Give him a week and see if he will agree to be one of us," she says. "One of who?" Adrian wonders, instead of the more grammatically correct "One of whom?" (After all, he's just a dumb kid who doesn't know the difference between the nominative and objective cases, and there's another little lesson for you today, dear grammatically curious readers o' mine.)

When the gang starts killing people and sucking them dry, Adrian realizes the whom of whom he wondered who are vampires (now, I KNOW that "the whom of whom he wondered who" is not grammatically correct either, nor does it actually make any sense whatsoever. However, this is a perfect example of what they call "poetic license," which can be defined as "I'm in charge, therefore I can do whatever I want. Shut up, you."), and now he has to struggle with the fact he's becoming one too. He's starving -- he needs to feed. But can he kill indiscriminately just to keep himself alive? Can he really be like the others, who take so much glee in their murderous rampages? And, does he love cute blond girl enough to want to give up daylight for the rest of time?

I'll let you watch to find out the answers to those dazzling questions. The film also stars future Boyfriends Lance Henriksen and Bill Paxton, by the way. Two pretty ugly guys who I find extremely mesmerizing for some reason. (Uh, confidential to Lance and Bill: sorry about that "ugly" thing. I mean that in a really flattering way. Honest.)

However, those of you who don't like horror, be it of the good or the bad variety, will be pleased to hear there are some wholesome, family-friendly ways to experience the Cute That Is Adrian Pasdar as well. For example, the movie I mentioned earlier, "Secondhand Lions." I just saw this a couple of weeks ago, and have to confess that before I watched it, I was pretty much just expecting cheese on a stick. Instead, what I got was one of the most charming movies I've seen all year. The story is about a little boy (played by Haley Joel Osment) who gets ditched by his mom for the summer. She leaves him with his two crazy uncles, played by future Boyfriends and longtime favorites of mine Michael Caine and Robert Duvall. As the summer progresses, the kid teaches the uncles a thing or two about living, and the uncles teach the kid a thing or two about life. Or maybe it was the other way around. Hard to say. Anyway, thrown in for good measure is an extremely entertaining yarn about a sheik and some crazy adventures in the Foreign Legion. And then, as if that weren't delightful enough, there's that whole bit with the mail-order lion -- a tale I will not soon forget!

Adrian's part is small, but endearing. He plays a salesman who talks the uncles into buying their first of many new toys -- a skeet shooter. Adrian's so cute and sweet, too! Of course they could not refuse him! I mean, if he walked up to me right now and offered to sell me a skeet shooter, it would only take that look of his (the half-raised, did-you-get-my-joke look) before I had my checkbook whipped out, pen at the ready. And I don't even have a gun to shoot the skeet with! Or, like, any interest in shooting anything, skeety or otherwise!

Anyway, this is a movie I will be watching time and time again. It's such a nice thing to find a movie that simply makes you feel happy. I watch so much crap these days (on purpose, of course, and because I find it fun) that a movie like that really stands out. When you find one that makes you smile, you gotta hang on to it. Especially when it stars so many dashing people of the masculine variety.

Another good ol' family programming way to experience Adrian is by trying to catch some episodes of his other television show on the PAX channel, "Mysterious Ways." Again, the construction of that sentence is faulty because it makes it sound like his first show was on the PAX channel as well, which is was not. "Mysterious Ways" is about a professor of anthropology (Declan Dunn, played by Adrian) who investigates miracles with the assistance of a skeptical psychiatrist and a cute teaching assistant. The show was created by the same guy who made up "Northern Exposure" and "Party of Five," but I have to confess it lacks some of the things about about Northern Exposure that I really loved. It doesn't have the same quirky sense of humor, even though I feel like that would have brought a lot to a show about something as serious, and as potentially hokey, as "miracles." However, for the record, I've only seen about two episodes, and they weren't bad. I haven't been actively seeking it out, but now that I'm madly in love with its star, I may be up for giving it another try. The show isn't currently in production anymore, but reruns air on PAX upon occasion.

Now, you can also catch Adrian in a wide variety of TV movies and feature films such as "Top Gun" (his first movie ever), "Solarbabies," "Carlito's Way" and "Vital Signs," which is a movie about medical students that I've seen a few times on TV and really enjoyed (it has a great cast, too -- Jimmy Smits, Diane Lane, Bradley Whitford, Laura San Giacomo). But the frustrating thing about Pasdar's career is that it doesn't involve many movies readily available on video or DVD. TV movies are notoriously difficult to track down, and the majority of feature films Adrian's been in have not been of the blockbuster variety. This needs to change. Pronto. Not only because Pasdy's an incredibly talented actor who ought to be getting a lot more attention than this, but also because I would like to have more Adrian Pasdar film festivals in the privacy of my own living room, and it's just damn hard getting enough material for such an event.

Listen up, Hollywood execs! You are seriously falling down on the job here!

Now, let's bio this Boyfriend and get the heck out of here. Adrian K. Pasdar was born on April 30, 1965 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. His father, an Iranian, is a cardiothoracic surgeon, and in 1967, he moved the family to Philadelphia where he opened up a practice. Though his parents divorced when Adrian was only 8 (his mother now owns a travel agency), they both remained in Philly, and Adrian grew up very close to them. While in high school, Adrian's primary passion was football, though he was also active in the drama club. He played defensive back (whatever that is) and graduated in 1983 with a football scholarship to the University of Central Florida.

However, not long after his first game of college ball, tragedy struck. Adrian was in a terrible car accident that came dang close to leaving him paralyzed for life. He spent the rest of the year in a wheelchair, eventually regaining full use of his legs. But his career in football was over. And, as such, so was his full ride to the University. He dropped out of school after freshman year, and returned home, deciding to shift gears and focus on his other passions -- reading, writing, and acting. He took an internship at a nearby theater group, where he worked as a "tech assistant," constructing sets and working on sound and lighting. But when he accidentally sliced off the end of his thumb while on the job, he decided "tech assisting" just wasn't where he wanted to be. He took the worker's comp money and moved to New York, where he enrolled in the famed Lee Strasburg Theater Institute.

A few months later, at the tender age of 19, Adrian landed his first role in a film, "Top Gun." He also met and fell in love with ex-Boyfriend Gregory Peck's daughter, which is both very cool and a little weird, given the fact both men have now been Boyfriends of the Week -- feels sort of kinky or something, doesn't it?). Their relationship didn't last though, and after awhile, Adrian decided acting wasn't working for him either. He took a year off, packed up his stuff and started traveling, where he spent a lot of time hanging out in cafes and writing. By the end his sabbatical, he'd written a screenplay/novel, which was optioned by Steven Spielberg, but never actually produced.

Refreshed, Adrian headed straight to LA to do another half-dozen small films. He made a lot of money, but was miserable in Hollywood and soon burned out on the lifestyle again. He moved back east and spent another year working at a diner that belonged to a friend of his. But he couldn't stay away from his love of film for long. And as quickly as he'd left, he returned to acting, and to writing, where he's hung out ever since.

Adrian has written and directed a short film called "Beyond Belief," which received a Finalist Award at the Houston Film Festival in October 1995. The film is about a lost soul visited by a guardian angel on the last day of his life, which sounds great but, of course, I can't find it anywhere (if anybody has a copy, I'd love to borrow it). He also started his own film company, called "Bobcat Films," and has directed and produced a handful of films through that.

Besides the award for "Beyond Belief," Adrian was also nominated for 1996's Petcabus Award for "Best Actor in a Drama Series," for his short-lived TV show "Profit." (The Petcabus Award was created in 1992 to give underappreciated network television programs the recognition they deserved but had not received from more mainstream awards and critics.) He's also been in a number of off-Broadway plays, and even directed three music videos (one for Paula Abdul, two for country singer Charlie Robison). In his private life, he lives in New York City with his wife, Natalie Maines (the lead singer for "The Dixie Chicks"). The two have one son, named Jackson Slade Pasdar, who is now about 3 years old.

Up next for Adrian? According to the IMDb, not a whole heck of a lot. It looks like his character may be hanging around on "Judging Amy" for a bit longer, however (even though the two broke up in this week's episode, the teaser for next week definitely made it look like the breakup may have been temporary). And, of course, we'll always have the Winnebago vampire movie. Thank god for small favors, huh? But seriously, make sure you rent "Secondhand Lions" the next time you're at your local Hollywood Video. It's going to make you very happy. Which is always a good thing. And yes, I realize that "Which is always a good thing" is a sentence fragment and is therefore grammatically incorrect. And to think, I have a degree in English!

MacGyver Factor Score: 97.132%. Points off because I'm frankly very frustrated by the scarcity of DVDs starring Adrian Pasdar. But points back because he's just so cute as a cowboy vampire in "Near Dark" that I think I'm going to have to make that movie count as ten instead of just one. That brings things a little more into balance, don't you think? Yeah, I think so too.

Boyfriend-Related Links
Adrians's IMDb Page
The Adrian Pasdar Tribute Site
The Unofficial Adrian Pasdar Site
CBS's Judging Amy page

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