The Boyfriend of the Week

June 29, 2009 [comment on this write-up]

You know how sometimes you can see the same guy over and over for years and never really move beyond thinking, "Nice guy, that one" whenever he saunters by? But then one day you'll be sitting around doing nothing, and he'll walk by you unexpectedly and WHAM! You'll be completely crazed with mad, furious love for him?

That's sort of what happened between me and this week's Boyfriend, Bruce Greenwood, a couple of weeks ago.

I've really liked Bruce for years -- I mean, what's NOT to like? For one thing, he's Canadian (I know that for some of you guys, I need go no further. And by "some of you guys," of course, I actually mean ME). And for another, I've never seen him in anything I didn't at least enjoy seeing HIM in. The movie could totally suck -- it could probably even star Kate Beckinsale (hate!) -- and I'd still come out of it thinking, "Nice guy, that one." But Bruce is an under-the-radar sort of fella', you know? I'd see him in something and it would cross my mind briefly that he might be Boyfriend material, but then someone else would come along in the next scene and I'd forget all about him. Pablo Neruda would call me "the fickle one," no doubt.

But it all changed on June 5, 2009. Oh frabjous day! Calloo! Callay! For June 5, 2009, was:



Readers of the Boyfriend News & Reviews blog already know that I went a little crazy over that film. I saw it twice in one weekend, for one thing, and then I practically made out with it in my review (which you can read here). The whole thing is a complete delight. The story was fun, the special effects were a blast, and the cast was almost completely perfect (Karl Urban stunk -- I'm not letting that go, I'm sorry).

But hands down, the best actor in that movie for me was Bruce Greenwood as Captain Christopher Pike. Hands down, I say. Hands down, hands up, hands in, hands out. Hands all around. A veritable hokey-pokey of hands, in fact. THE BEST.

There's a reason for this that goes beyond Bruce Greenwood's awesomeness, though. Because, you see, of all the original Star Trek episodes, my favorite has always been The Menagerie, a two-parter in which Spock kidnaps his former commander, Christopher Pike, locks the USS Enterprise into a course for a forbidden planet (the planet Talos, where those guys with the big pulsing heads live), and then turns himself in for court-martial. In case you've never seen it (which, what?!), I won't give anything away. But if you have seen it and want a refresher, you can read a complete description of both episodes on Wikipedia. You can also, of course, watch both parts on YouTube (part 1, part 2).

God bless you, YouTube. You make me want to be a better geek.

Little known fact about The Menagerie: it's actually a reconfiguration of the original pilot episode for the series. That episode was called The Cage and was supposed to be the world's introduction to the U.S.S. Enterprise. Unfortunately (or not -- I think it turned out pretty well), NBC thought it was too boring and demanded Roddenberry do something different to kick off the show. Which he did, of course, because, hey, it sure beat the heck out of getting the boot before it began, right?

Later, Roddenberry broke the original print for The Cage up into chunks, integrating almost all of its 63 minutes into the two-part Menagerie episode. It wasn't until 1988 that The Cage was finally put back together and shown on TV. I missed it, of course, because in 1988, I was an eighth-grader who had enough problems being perceived as cool as it was. The last thing I needed to be doing on a Friday night was watching the original pilot for Star Trek. Great gods.

However, it reran in 1996 on UPN and by 1996, of course, I had long since grasped the fact that "cool" was actually the same exact thing as "geeky," so I not only tuned in that time, I taped it and watched it, like, nine hundred more times.

What I'm getting at here, of course, is that Christopher Pike stole my heart before I even knew the meaning of the word "smitten." And getting to see him come alive again, played by Bruce Greenwood no less (!), was something that set all my nerdiest synapses afire. Bruce often plays people in leadership positions in his movies and television shows, and the more I see him, the more it becomes obvious why. I mean, his role as the U.S. president in National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, made me wish he'd run for office, frankly, because, DAMN was he a cool, cool kitty in charge. I mean, no offense to the Boyfriend of the United States of America, or anything, but still. In that role, Bruce was just so even-headed. So utterly followable. So inspirational. So scruffy-cheeked and eye-crinkled. He was everything I could ever want in a leader.

And his role as Christopher Pike -- just, argh! That final scene when Kirk walks up to him in the wheelchair and says, "I relieve you" [as Captain of the Enterprise] and Pike responds, "I am relieved" -- remember that? That line could've been delivered any one of a number of ways that would not have made me cry. And instead, t'weren't a dry eye on my face.

Of course, some of you are not Trek fans, some of you have not seen the movie, and some of you saw it and didn't like it. And so for you guys, I will now shut up about it, and present to you a list of other things Bruce has been in that I think you will love (or at least love him in):

John from Cincinnati (2007) -- Okay, so, this HBO series is not actually very lovable at all. In fact, it was rather infuriatingly terrible. I say "infuriatingly" because it's what David Milch did instead of making a Deadwood movie, and I still haven't completely forgiven him for that, especially now that the cast of Deadwood has scattered to the wind and he'll probably never manage to get them all back together again.

You had your chance to wrap up that brilliant series, Milch, AND YOU BLEW IT. In the parlance of my sister, that makes you a serious Reeg.

But there was one good thing about this weird show -- about a dysfunctional surfing family and the floating stranger that comes into their lives and makes them all wax poetic family-values cheese -- and that one good thing was this: Bruce Greenwood in a wet suit with messy surfer hair. See above, left. One, please!

Deja Vu (2006) -- I've already told you how much I loved this sci-fi movie, and I'm pretty sure I've told you more than once. You can read all about why in my review, if you've forgotten. But in all the times I raved, I don't think I ever once mentioned that Bruce was in it. He plays FBI Agent Jack McCready, a relatively small part (Val Kilmer's boss, if that's any help. Yeah, me neither), and to be honest, I have only a vague memory of him in this one at all. I'm going to blame part of that on the fact I spent most of the movie overthinking the relevant physics, and the rest on Bruce's under-the-radar thang. But in any case, the excuse to rent and rewatch this one to see what I missed is not an excuse that makes me unhappy. In fact, you may consider it a plan.

The Mermaid Chair (2006) -- Okay, before I say anything about this Lifetime-Channel-for-Really-Annoying-Weepy-Chicks flick, I want to say this first: Just shut up. SHUT UP, okay? I read the book, I HAD to watch the movie. It was mandatory. Plus, I confess to a bit of a weakness for monks. They just seem so nice, and they have such focus and direction in life. Try being married to a reporter for a few years -- just TRY it -- then you'll understand.

The bad news here is that Greenwood doesn't actually play the monk who sweeps Kim Basinger off her feet. Instead, he plays the cuckolded husband who is left behind muttering, "Really? With a MONK?" However, he plays it so well, it makes you wonder what Kim Basinger was thinking. Which is sort of the whole point. Bruce for the win.

Eight Below (2006) -- It's a movie about one man's love for his cute sled dogs. What's not to love?

I, Robot (2004) -- It's a movie about robots. What's not to love? (Also: Will Smith, James Cromwell, Chi McBride, and Alan Tudyk, who, along with Bruce, go a long way towards overshadowing the fact this movie was kind of a disappointment. Still: robots.)

The Core (2003) -- It's a movie about bad science and stupid acting. There is nothing to love. Rent Wil Wheaton and Craig Sheffer's far superior, low-budget rip-off, Deep Core, instead. Way better.

Below (2002) -- Ooh, this one was great. I'll tell you about this one. Below is about an American submarine (the USS Tiger Shark) during WWII that gets called out to a set of coordinates to do a rescue mission after a British hospital ship goes down. The crew of the Shark picks up the survivors, which include a badly burned German officer and a British nurse named Claire (Olivia Williams, so pretty). As the sub is stalked by a German U-boat it never seems quite able to get a location on, strange things begin to happen on board. Music blasts out at random, inappropriate times; people disappear; there are strange sounds; and, ominously, rumors are building about the true nature of the "accident" that killed the ship's captain just before the hospital survivors came aboard. And that's where the movie starts to go from psychological thriller (are they all just going nuts from being trapped together and bored?) to a full-on spooky ghost story. Ghosts, ooooooh! I love ghost stories.

Greenwood plays the replacement captain, who's contending with a crew that is becoming increasingly disturbed the weirder things get on board. And while the movie definitely has some flaws, it's still really entertaining (helped in no small part by comic relief delivered by Zach Galifianakis, who I recently expressed my adoration for in my review of The Hangover). Submarine movies have long been a favorite of mine (my introduction to the genre was Das Boot so you can hardly blame me for loving them), and this one is a fine addition, if you ask me.

Okay, let's see, what else. Oh, I also really enjoyed The World's Fastest Indian, though I don't remember Bruce being in that either (Anthony Hopkins, on the other hand, was totally great). And he's also in Capote, which was written by ex-Boyfriend Dan Futterman and features Catherine Keener as Harper Lee -- reason enough to love it right there.

Oh, and I almost forgot! He used to be on St. Elsewhere, remember? He was Dr. Griffin! I had no idea who he was at the time, of course, and was far too busy crushing on Denzel Washington to notice anybody else. But still -- major cred for that one, because that show was perfect (until the series finale, which I'm STILL mad about. A SNOW GLOBE? COME ON!).

Now a few you can skip: Thirteen Days (Kevin Costner, yuck), The Sweet Hereafter (book is better), Double Jeopardy (ugh, crap), annnnd, I'll just say it: every episode of Knot's Landing.

And now allow me to share with you the piece of information I learned about Bruce Greenwood while researching this write-up that made me love him 86 gazillion times more than I ever dreamed was possible: you know his wife? Susan Devlin? Who he's been married to since 1985? They met and fell in love when they were FIFTEEN, people. They've been in love with each other since before I was BORN. I'm sorry, I just can't help it -- I'm a hopeless, hopeless romantic, and this story just makes me incredibly happy.

Almost as incredibly happy as it made me to find out that A) he's over six feet tall, and B) he's left-handed. Tall lefties are the best, especially when they are also CANADIAN tall lefties. Hummina hummina.

Up next for Bruce Greenwood are two films in 2009. The first is called Mao's Last Dancer and is based on the memoir written by Cunxin Li, a Chinese ballet dancer who defected to America in the 1980s after he fell in love with a Texan girl. And the second is Cell 213, a horror movie I couldn't find much information on. However, I will posit that it has something to do with a cell. And the number 213. Perhaps even a cell that is numbered 213. Hey, whatever, I'm in.

And seriously, ladies and gents, if all that -- ALL THAT PLUS STAR TREK -- is still not enough to make you get a major Bruce Greenwood crush on, YOU ARE BROKEN.

MacGyver Factor Score: 98.293%. I'm taking a few points off for the slow burn -- the fact it took me this long to realize how much I loved him. All this time I've wasted! Life is too short for the slow burn, Bruce! Action first, reason later!

And then I'm putting almost all of those points back for that part in Star Trek where he asked Sulu if the parking brake was still on. Smart ass. God bless 'im.

[comment on this write-up]

Boyfriend-Related Links

Bruce's IMDb page
Bruce Greenwood stuff from Netflix
Official Star Trek site
Interview with Bruce on his role in Trek

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