The Boyfriend of the Week

May 22, 2007

I often talk about my Mom on this web site, seeing as how she's the best bad-movie-watching buddy I have. And sometimes I talk about my spouse as well, seeing as how he's pretty awesome for not only not minding that I have a site called "The Boyfriend of the Week," but for also actually reading the site and occasionally telling me I made him laugh out loud. Always a nice thing to hear from your husband.

Sometimes I talk about my twin sister, who is both an inspiring and obfuscating force in my life. And occasionally, I even make a reference to Lucky, one that more often than not goes along the lines of, "TAKE MY CAT, PLEASE."

This week, though, I have to talk about my older brother. Because he's the one who, three or four weeks ago, loaned me his copy of Superman Returns, starring this week's Boyfriend, Brandon Routh. This means my brother is directly responsible for the development of my mondo-crush on both Brandon AND on his own brand of Supe'. I haven't decided yet if I should thank him for this -- when you get to the paragraphs below about the movie Karla, you'll understand why this crush has kind of been more painful than positive (oh, I'm just kidding).

My brother has always been a huge fan of superheroes. And, he has, over the 33 years I've known him, made ME a huge fan of superheroes as well. It's not as cuddly a process as it sounds, though. I mean, don't picture us snuggled on the couch as kids reading comic books together, or anything sweet and Hallmark-y like that. My earliest exposures to superheroes from my brother typically came via acts of physical torture -- for example, when my sister and I were kids, he would spend half of Saturday morning pummeling us into submission so he could have control over the remote and force us all to partake in our bazillionth episodes of Superfriends and Spider-Man (not to mention the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, though secretly I actually loved that one).

And trust me, woe to the misguided sibling who "accidentally" ate out of his Spider-Man cereal bowl on one of those early Saturday mornings -- that was a surefire way to make my brother go absolutely ballistic.

Which is, of course, precisely why I did it so often. Hi, Josh!

Anyway, after years of brainwashing by my brother, I too came to love and respect The Superfriends. And Superman in particular, as he's the guy who taught me how to get an eyelash out of my eye, a skill I still use to this very day (remember how sometimes a Superfriend would do a little PSA right before they went to commercial? The only one I remember is one that featured Superman demonstrating the eyelash-removing trick whereby you pull your top eyelid over your bottom one to make your eye water the lash right out. Great trick!). My sister and I frequently refer to ourselves as The Wonder Twins, even, sometimes going as geekily far as to sign off emails with "Form of. . . an ice bucket!" and then "Shape of. . . a gorilla!" Though, I will say I never understood why they called their pet monkey "Gleek," since in my family, that's what you call the crusty stuff you get in the corners of your eyes. Whatever, Wonder Twins. That's no kinda name for a monkey.

Anyway, despite my affection for the cartoons, as well as the old live action Batman and Superman series (which were just the KINGS of cheese), and, of course, the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, I confess that as an adult, I lack the full-on enthusiasm my brother has for the latest wave of superhero movies. I loved the first two Spider-Man movies, as well as the first two X-Mens (number three sucked, though), but, for example, didn't even know Spider-Man was two hyphenated words until I started working on this write-up and went to check. Hrm. My brother, on the other hand, went to the very first showing of the third Spidey movie a couple of weeks ago, a Thursday-midnight showing, even though he had to get up at the crack of dawn the next day to teach school. That's a level of dedication I only muster up for . . . hmmm, actually, I'm not sure there are any movies I'd stay up until after 2am to watch in a theater. The last time I went to a midnight showing was when they were playing Das Boot at the Neptune in Seattle, an experience I've never forgotten (the best way to watch that movie is in a small, dark theater with surround sound -- it heightens the claustrophobic effect, especially when the surround sound makes you start hearing dripping water coming from behind you. Gives me the willies just thinking about it! Awesome!). But that was years ago, back when I was in college and could just skip the next morning's classes to sleep in (not that I'd EVER cut class, of course. Hi, Mom!).

Stay up until oh-dark-thirty for a movie about a guy in tights who shoots webs out of his hands, though? Eh, pass. Maybe if they brought Serenity back to theaters, I'd consider it. Or made MacGyver into a feature film? But even then. . .

That said, I'm seriously thinking that if Brandon Routh dons his SuperSuit for a sequel, I might have to consider at least braving an opening weekend. They could call it Superman Returns . . . Again. I'd be there! Why? Because Brandon Routh's Supe is the best thing since. . . well, since Christopher Reeve's Supe. And given the love, affection, and respect I had for Chris Reeve (rest in peace, you awesome inspiration to us all), that's saying a lot.

One of the things I loved most about Brandon's Superman, in fact, was the way he looked. Not just because he's got a great butt for spandex (though, of course, that's not worth nothing), but because he just looked so right for the part somehow. Despite the fact Christopher Reeve was a total dreamboat, there was something even more believable about Brandon's face. I'm not sure if it was special effects of some sort (make-up, camera filters, whatnot), but he really looked cartoony and kind of unreal to me. My brother described his look as "alien," which is actually a much better way to put it (leave it him to get the terminology right). And while there were a few parts of the movie I didn't fully get (like, when he's able to fly the kryptonite-laden landmass out to space even though just minutes ago he was barely able to stand up on it -- how in THEE hell?!), there were so many other parts that kicked my metaphoric butt that it hardly mattered when I wasn't quite following the plot.

In any case, Superman Returns is two hours of solid entertainment, updated nicely for the modern age (including the throwing in of a love monkey-wrench by having Lois Lane be married to an awesome sweetie played by the dashing James Marsden) and featuring an extremely good-looking dude in tights. So, even if you've never appreciated superhero movies, I think you'll find something to enjoy about this one, if you know what I mean (nudge wink).

DON'T know what I mean, and not interested in finding out? Hmmm, well, usually that kind of reaction to the first movie I talk about in a write-up is okay, as you'd have other options for experiencing said Boyfriend's great(hot)ness, many of which I would talk about next. However, in this case, I'm afraid your choices are somewhat limited, as Brandon's what we computer nerds call a relative "n00b." Superman Returns was his big break into movies, and most of his TV stuff has been either short-lived (Oliver Beene) or soapy (General Hospital and Port Charles), making it hard to find much on DVD that features his Superness. I did manage to track down one other film Brandon was in, though -- a movie called Karla (2006) about Canada's most infamous serial killer couple, Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka.

It's not actually a bad little movie, despite my insinuation earlier about it having been torturous to watch. I mean, it IS a bad little movie. In fact, it's a REALLY bad little movie. However, there were still things I found interesting about it, mostly because it's based on a true story I didn't know anything about. I was intrigued, in fact, by the very idea that Canada HAS infamous serial killers, since I always thought Canadians were far too nice for that sort of thing. I mean, how can Canadians be so unhappy and/or angry that they are driven to multiple murders? Don't they know they live in the only country on the planet where you can buy sugar-free Juicy Fruit gum? Not to mention the whole Mountie thing. I simply don't understand.

In any case, the movie stars Laura Prepon (Donna from That 70's Show) as Karla and the very-handsome Misha Collins as Paul. Paul starts out seeming like a fairly normal guy when he sweeps Karla off her youthful feet using his undeniable charm and his ridiculously cute crooked grin. Alas, as it turns out, he's also a sadistic perv who spends a lot of time fantasizing about raping Karla's younger sister. Karla, feeling insecure about her new relationship with Paul, eventually agrees to drug Li'l Sis and give her to Paul as a romantic anniversary gift.

Gee, whatever happened to flowers and romantic, candle-lit dinners, I ask you? Somebody get these guys a pack of sugar-free Juicy Fruit, STAT!

Unfortunately, things get worse from there when Karla accidentally gives Sis too much mickey in her drink, and pretty soon, Sis is dead and Paul's gotten a taste of killing he finds he's unable to shake. The movie is set while Karla's in prison, talking to a psychologist about her participation in the crimes, however, the film definitely insinuates that Karla was, for the most part, an unwilling participant, driven to help her boyfriend out of insecurity and self-loathing. Based on what I read about this movie on the web after seeing it, many Canadians who followed the case in the news found this idea somewhat scoff-worthy. Overall, though, this is not as bad a movie as I expected it to be, and if you like flicks about true crime, you could do worse.

Hey, what about Brandon Routh, you ask? His role in this movie totally cracked me up, to be honest. I'd looked up Brandon's character's name on the IMDb site before watching the movie, so I spent the entire flick waiting for a character named "Tim Peters" to appear, figuring if he had a full name in the script, he must have a fairly significant part. I mean, characters with dinky parts typically have names like "Cab Driver" and "Second Garbage Man." "Tim Peters," though -- "Tim Peters" is a character the writer has given thought to. "Tim Peters" has substance, backstory, a major role in what's to come. Right?

Uh, wrong. As a matter of fact, Tim Peters doesn't show up until almost the end of the flick, and is in the movie for exactly forty-seven seconds (yes, indeedy, I actually timed it!). His pivotal scene opens just after Karla has left her abusive, raping, murderer of a boyfriend for the umpteenth time. She's in a bar, alone, looking miserable as she twists her sweaty cocktail on its dampening coaster. Tim sees her from across the room and approaches, speaking his one and only line of four words, four words that will change Karla's life forever:

"Hey, beautiful, wanna dance?"

Okay, so perhaps using the word "pivotal" isn't the best way to describe this scene . . .

For 36 of his 47 on-screen seconds, Tim gets down AND funky with Karla on the dance floor. And by "down and funky," I mean, "dances like a monkey on PCP." Lucky for us, it's over soon, as the final part of this short scene takes place in a bathroom stall where Tim and Karla take their relationship to the next level by having a "quickie." A really quick quickie, actually -- eleven seconds to be exact (Tim, you might want to work on stamina, if you know what I mean).

In any case, why did I find this so hilarious? Simply because it's a scene that is completely and utterly irrelevant to the movie, and yet, TIM PETERS! TIM! PETERS! An actual, full name that the screenwriter had to put some time and thought into coming up with. Is this not the most ridiculous thing you've heard all week? It is for me, although I'm sort of (in)famous for being easily amused.

Anyway, despite the criminal underusage of the fascinating Tim Peters character, Karla is not an irredeemably bad flick, and you do get to see Brandon smooching (for eleven seconds, anyway), which almost makes it worth a rental right there. Granted, he's not wearing spandex, but hey, can't have everything, right?

Now the bad(der) news -- despite the relative success of Superman Returns, Brandon's not really scheduled to be in much over the next year or so. He's only got one film in the works, and it's a movie about crack cocaine in the inner city (based on Buddy Giovinazzo's novel Life is Hot in Cracktown). I'm not sure what gives with this -- first of all, no Super-Sequel? Second of all, not much else? Am I the only one who noticed this guy was ridiculously hot and delightfully talented? Can't we at least get him a semi-regular role as a new hero on Heroes? I mean, the man's got x-ray vision, for sake of Pete. Does that count for nothing?

The good news is that he's still young and thus has plenty of time to make it big. As well as plenty of time to reprise his role as Clark Kent on the big screen. (Because, seriously, they HAVE to do a sequel. Don't they? Aren't they? Pretty please?) In the meantime, I'm definitely planning on scoring my own copy of Superman Returns on DVD, though it'll have to wait until after I've watched the three other superhero movies my brother just loaned me. Watch for more SuperBoyfriends coming soon? Will Daredevil finally be the movie that makes me come around on Ben Affleck? Ehhhhh, don't hold your breath. . .

MacGyver Factor Score: 92.296%. Points off for not . . . no wait, points back because he . . . Oh hell, I don't know. Whatever, man. Y'all know this score is completely arbitrary, right?

Instead, I'll fill this space up by telling you a funny little story -- after I discovered sugar-free Juicy Fruit gum in Canada (which is DELICIOUS, if I haven't yet made that clear enough for you), I wrote the Juicy Fruit gum company to beg them to bring it to the U.S. Know what they said? There wasn't a big enough market for sugar-free gum in the U.S. SAY WHAT? Dudes, I chew, like, SIX PACKS A DAY myself alone! Jerks.

Then again, maybe I'm on some candy company watch-list and they've all been told not to get involved with me? I did, after all, totally freak out the M&M corporation right after they took away TAN and replaced it with BLUE by spending an entire year collecting every blue M&M I could find, and then bagging them all up and returning them to the company, demanding that they exchange each and every blue one in the bag for a tan one, OR ELSE. I still don't know if they realized I was kidding, or if they get that kind of thing all the time from crazy people and simply assumed I was mental. Either way, their only response was to send me a coupon for a free 1lb. bag, which, thanks, but that doesn't exactly address the issue at hand. I've learned to cope with this, thankfully, but I still eat all the blue ones first so I don't have to look at them. Tan, I will never forget you. NEVER, buddy. Someday, we will be together again. Just you, me, and Superman, forever.

Boyfriend-Related Links

Brandon's IMDb page (new fan site!)
Unofficial Brandon Routh site
Brandon Routh Online (fan site)
Official Superman Returns site

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