The Boyfriend of the Week

February 4, 2004

Sorry this write-up took extra long to get up on the site. But it was for your own good. Well, okay, technically I guess it was actually for MY own good. I couldn't decide how much, if any, to say about my theory on why I can't remember the ending of one of this week's Boyfriend Anthony LaPaglia's best movies, "Lantana." You see, I've seen it at least six times now, and all six times I've forgotten everything that happens after a specific point. I try to go past that scene in my memory -- I try hard, squinting and concentrating, but it seems like the harder I try, the more that memory moves out of reach until FOOP, it's just gone! Every time!

In an earlier draft of this write-up, I went off for about two pages on my theory as to why this keeps happening. However, as that theory involves alien abductions and implanted alien technology (in my brain), among other extraterrestrial things, I ultimately decided it might be smarter not to share this hypothesis with you. After all, my family reads this web site too, and they have the authority to have me involuntarily committed if they deem such an action necessary.

So, suffice it to say this: alien abductions, implanted alien technology in my brain, sinister signaling-the-mother-ship schemes, automatic memory erasure. You can make up the rest of the details yourself. Though I wouldn't recommend sharing the details with your family either. Nothing clears a room like a woman who suddenly starts talking about her abduction experiences.

But anyway. . .

Now, when some of you navigated your browsers to the Boyfriend site today, you may have immediately thought the timing of this write-up was totally intentional. Because, just a week and a half ago, this week's Boyfriend, the talented, tall, dark, and handsome Anthony LaPaglia, won a Golden Globe for his role in the terrific primetime drama "Without a Trace." However much I appreciate the respect for my talents that your good-intentioned theory implies, I have to confess that you are not correct, sir. That had absolutely nothing to do with my decision to hurry up and get Tony LaPag on the site (note: Tony LaPag is one of the ways I think of him in my head -- the other way is simply as "Hubs," which is short for "Hubba Hubba"). I've actually been meaning to feature him for years now, and have started this write-up a number of times, but just never ended up with the requisite inspiration.

Until a week ago last Sunday. Oh, I was bored that Sunday. Sooooo bored. And I was sitting on the couch flipping through magazines and channels when, suddenly, I lit upon VH1, which was about to start a showing of the movie "Empire Records." Now, I knew about this movie. And I also knew it had a pretty decent cast (which it does), and had been curious about it from time to time in the past (ex-Boyfriend Ethan Embry is in it, for one thing, and so is "Speed" from "CSI: Miami" (also known as "CSI: David Caruso Can't Act" or, more commonly on this site, "CSI: Yawn City"). But I was too smart to actually rent it. Because you just know any movie about a record store is going to be one of two things: either really dorky or really cool. And the really cool record store movie had already been made ("High Fidelity" starring ex-Boyfriend John Cusack and future Boyfriend Jack Black, though I confess that I like that movie less and less the more times I watch it). That only left one option -- and "Empire Records" fits perfectly into it. This is a dorky film. Nay, a really dorky film.

However, it's also a pretty entertaining one. And, perhaps most importantly, the first time Anthony's character sauntered across the screen, I thought I was going to lose my jaw to gravity's pull (at a rate of 32 feet per second per second). Holy cuteness, Batman! I mean, wow. No, I mean, really, WOW. Hubs is about ten years younger in this movie, which I knew going in, but that's not really what made all the difference. Not at all. What made all the difference is going to SHOCK you. Because it wasn't the lack of laugh lines or gray hairs or pot belly. It wasn't the fact he was playing a cool record store manager guy. It was. . .

The earring.

The EARRING? What am I, trapped in 1988? But yes, and here's another confession that may get me committed, by the way, I find earrings in (some) men to be irresistibly sexy. Especially if said men are Italian-looking, have Australian accents, and have longish, shiny dark hair. Kind of like Anthony LaPaglia's hair in, say, "EMPIRE RECORDS." My god. SHOOT ME NOW!

He just looked like a completely different guy. So much younger and happier and lighter (of spirit, as well as of belly). And while this is not to say that I don't also find the current, well-groomed and earring-less older version of Hubs attractive -- I do -- I'm just saying that finally seeing him in this new light was all it took to get this write-up off its ass and into action.

So, up next? A mad scramble to Netflix to try to find a few other movies of Tony's from roughly that same time-period. I started off with the kind of silly, but not totally charmless, Steve Martin comedy "Mixed Nuts," which also featured Tony LaPag with the same shaggy hair and earring ("Hooray!" I cried). In fact, there was a scene in which his character wakes up on a hospital bed with this sexy scar over his eye and I literally had to pause the movie on that spot and just leave his face on my TV for about 20 minutes. The movie itself is kind of ridiculous -- it's about a wacky Christmas Eve in the lives of a group of people who all work for a helpline for depressed people. I'll never look at Liev Schreiber in quite the same way again. But I was thoroughly entertained, not in the least because I knew it was probably the first and last time I'd ever see this week's Boyfriend in a Santa Claus costume.

Ah, Santa! I love it when two Boyfriends collide! (Note: though the write-up is not in the archives, Saint Nick is frequently featured as the Boyfriend at Christmas.)

But as I continued with my film festival, I gradually started to pull away from the goo-goo-gah-gah drooling over Tony's looks and started to get a little more grown-up. Because, you know what? Not only is this guy handsome and Australian, but he can seriously act. I mean, he's great at comedy -- something he's proven not only in films, but on television (he was on Frasier for awhile and though I didn't see it myself, I've heard he was just absolutely wonderful) -- and he's also REALLY great at playing a serious character, usually a cop or FBI agent. He just has that "letter of the law" kinda look about him, you know what I mean?

And boy, the accents. I'm just amazed. Because I've been watching Anthony LaPaglia movies and television shows for the last several years and I had NO IDEA he was Australian. None. I thought American. Maybe Italian-American. Definitely Brooklyn-American. But Aussie! Is he trying to KILL me? Because combining that voice with that accent with that hair with those arms with that NOSE and I'm seriously about ready to stick out my thumb and hitch a ride up to the pearly gates. Because once you see perfection like that, there's really no point in sticking around. It can't get any better -- it can only get worse. Might as well pack it in, I tell you. Except, of course, I can't REALLY pack it in until I get a chance to SMOOCH perfection like that. And that will be a little harder to pull off. Without getting arrested.

Or involuntarily committed. Or first the one and then the other. Or both simultaneously. Wait, where was I?

Luckily, however, Anthony's acquisition of a Golden Globe, one would hope, will only further solidify his place in Hollywood. It ought to keep his show around for several more years (which is good because I'm getting THIS CLOSE to giving up on ER for good), and that ought to give me plenty of opportunities to get closer to him. You know, in a fictional, from-a-distance kind of way. Now, actually, aliens -- if you're listening, could you do me a favor? Instead of the memory purge involving "Lantana," how about we compromise? I keep letting you experiment on me, and you start deleting episodes of "Without a Trace" from my brain instead. That way, you get your scientific advances, and I get to watch a new Anthony LaPaglia show every week, even when it's actually a rerun to everybody else. It seems like a fair deal to me. I won't even report you to, uh, well, whoever it is you are supposed to report aliens to. Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, perhaps? We got a deal?


Okay, a little biography on Hubsy -- he was born on January 31, 1959 in Adelaide, South Australia, to an Aussie father and Dutch mother. Though initially he worked as a shoe salesman, for the longest time, he thought what he wanted to do with his life was become a teacher. So, he went to school, got his credentials, and landed a job. But, and I have a lot of respect for him for this, three months into the job, he just knew it wasn't right for him. And instead of giving up and staying in a career that made him unhappy, he did some soul-searching and decided what he was really being called to was acting.

He began his career on the stage, and to this day is quick to admit that if theater paid as well as film, it would be all he ever did (and, since he's a Tony award winner, he could actually pull that off). But, he's gotta make a living, I suppose, and in 1989, he made his first feature-film debut in a small part in a small movie called "Slaves of New York." The movie didn't get much notice, and neither did Tony. But the next year, critics and audiences all agreed that he stole the show in the latest Molly Ringwald movie, "Betsy's Wedding. His surprisingly natural talent for playing mobsters landed him a few similar parts over the next several years. And while it was obvious to him he was quickly being typecast into the role of a New Yorker mob guy, since he loves acting and was getting steady work, he didn't worry too much about it.

After awhile, however, Tony started to get tired of playing those types of roles, and since he'd had a successful career so far, he decided he could afford to be more choosy. He moved into roles that primarily kept him on the right side of the law, and swore off playing mobsters until Sam Mendes offered him the role of Al Capone in "Road to Perdition." His part was actually cut out of the movie, but I'm sure he was great. I can definitely see Al Capone in Anthony LaPaglia.

Other movies of Anthony's that I've seen include: "He Said, She Said" (cute), "One Good Cop" (borrrrring!), "The Client" (great), "Trees Lounge" (also great), "Summer of Sam" (Adrien Brody!), "Autumn in New York" (ought to be burned at the stake), "The Salton Sea" (terrific!), and "Analyze That" (not as good as "Analyze This," but Tony's great in it). Movies of Anthony's that I will NOT be seeing include "The Guys" (which is about September 11th) "The House of Mirth" (which looks very dull).

Oh, and I never got around to telling you about "Lantana" (that was in the previous write-up too), but it's an excellent film and you should definitely not miss it. The backbone of the plot is the disappearance, and possible murder, of a local woman (a psychiatrist). But though the story is sort of a murder mystery -- Anthony plays the detective investigating the woman's disappearance -- it's really a movie about four relationships, each of which is on the verge of completely crumbling, and each of which is connected to the crime in some way. It's not at all a Hollywood movie -- it's unpredictable and it's haunting (and also, it's Australian). Of course, I can't remember the second half of it, which either means the second half is totally lackluster (which doesn't seem likely given how great the first half is) or means aliens are messing with my mind (uh, also doesn't seem likely, really, but how else can you explain it?). But based on what I've read from critics, the ending and resolution of the mystery is very unexpected and just really, really good. I'll try renting it again and see what happens.

Coming up for Hubsy is more, more, MORE "Without a Trace" (and coming up for the Boyfriend site is also more, more, MORE "Without a Trace" -- tune in for write-ups on two others from the cast), and also a movie this year called "Winter Solstice." The film is about a widower (played by Tony) who is forced to confront his older son's decision to leave home and his younger son's self-destructive behavior. It's in production right now and should be in theaters in a few months.

Until then, I think you know what to do. You need to rent "Empire Records" and see Tony with the earring. And then you need to rent "Lantana" and see Tony without the earring. And then you need to go to bed and dream about smooching one of the sexiest FBI agents ever to cross a television screen.

Just make sure you return him to me in the morning.

MacGyver Factor Score: 94.279%. Points off for not telling me sooner that he was in an episode of "Father Dowling Mysteries," which is still one of my all-time favorite television shows. If he'd told me this about 3 years ago, I might have had a chance at catching his ep, because back then, the Hallmark channel was showing the occasional episode of "Father Dowling" around 11pm. But now it's gone, and how likely is it that it will ever show up on DVD? And it's just really unfair, because how thrilling would that have been for me? REALLY darn THRILLING!

Anyway, it just sucks. And so, points OFF, and I hope you've learned your lesson, mister!

Boyfriend-Related Links
Hubs's IMDb Page
The CBS Without a Trace site
Venice Magazine interview with Tony
Who Is Anthony LaPaglia? (fan site)
Anthony LaPaglia (fan site)

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