The Boyfriend of the Week

August 9, 2005

This week in Boyfrienddom brings us yet another installment in the ever-lengthening "What the Heck Have I Been THINKING All These Years?!" series. Because, what the heck have I been THINKING all these years? Why haven't I gotten Bryan Brown up here yet? Bryan Brown, one of the sexiest Aussies alive! Bryan Brown, a man I have been in love with for decades! DECADES! And yet, I'm featuring Brad Pitt before Bryan Brown? I'm featuring Keanu Reeves before Bryan Brown? I'm featuring SOCK PUPPET before BRYAN BROWN?!

Okay, maybe I can see the Sock Puppet thing. But, honestly, just where are all those priorities I was supposed to get when I became a grown-up? Or, for that matter, all the education that should've come from years and years (and YEARS) of dating Boyfriend after Boyfriend, week after week? Have I learned nothing from all this? Nothing at all?!

The good news is, I think I'm finally starting to get the picture. No, honest. I need to stop letting younger, spryer Boyfriends cut in line in front of all the old steady guys I've been mad about for years. Enough with the Eion Baileys and the Morgan Spurlocks -- the guys I hardly know and yet am suddenly willing to bear the children of (well, maybe not for Morgan, at least until he shaves off the 'stache). It's time to settle down and get SERIOUS.

And this is why I've been hard at work these days doing research on a bunch of old guys like Bry. I hate to say it, because the last time I did a series like this I got some complaints, but it's just got to be done -- the next few Boyfriends in the hopper are all, well, I believe the word used in some circles is "geriatric." Not that Bryan Brown is geriatric, exactly. But he IS old enough to be my really REALLY older Boyfriend. And he's actually the youngest of the upcoming "Get 'Em Up on the Site Before They Die" series. They're old, but they're also the Kings of Cool, so bear with me over the next couple of weeks, my friends. And I promise to feature someone in their twenties just as soon as I'm done with the geezers.

To be honest, though, this write-up more aptly fits into the aforementioned line-cutting category, because two weeks ago, I was slaving away at the Old Poop series when all of a sudden, Bryan Brown, who just baaaarely makes the Geezer cut-off age, jumped out of the bushes and went, "Blaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!" I leapt twenty feet in the air (not really), and came crashing down solidly in crush, and it's all because of, dare I admit to it? THE OXYGEN CHANNEL.

Now there's a sentence I never thought I'd utter. Wait, it wasn't actually a full sentence. Or, for that matter, one that I uttered. But you know what I mean. Because is there anything less hip in this world than the Oxygen channel? I just lost, like, 80 bazillion punk points -- ain't no way Joey Ramone would've even been caught dead watching that chick channel, and you know "Joey" is what the J in my WWJD bracelet actually stands for, right? However, in my favor, I will say I deserve to get some major points back for courage, because rare is the woman who will actually ADMIT to being a total Oprah-watching sap these days. Not to mention a total Oprah-After-the-Show-watching sap. I'm sorry -- Oprah totally won me over again when I heard she was having her viewers read not one but THREE William Faulkner novels this summer. As long as I live, I will never cease to worship her for that. Because as some of you no doubt know, Billy F. is my favorite writer of all time. And for me to find out that Oprah was getting millions of people to discover his books -- well, man, it was enough to make me willing to start sittin' through even the sappiest of episodes again. Plus, I must say, I loves me some good makeover action, and The Ope has not disappointed with those kinds of episodes this summer.

Anyway, back to my story. A couple of weeks ago, I was grounded for the weekend by an injured foot. And, as if being immobile wasn't bad enough, it happened to come at a time when I had poorly planned my Netflix receipts and didn't have a single movie out. Now, sure, I could've gone to the video store, but that would've meant an awful lot of hobbling around on crutches, and, well, let me just say for the record that if I am ever given the option of death by catapult (KAPOW! wheeeeee!) or another week on crutches, the choice will be an easy one. And how's that for the very definition of misery, by the way? No movies, no mobility, noooooo catapult. The only thing I could do, besides whine incessantly about how unfair the world is, was sit my big ol' hiney on the couch, elevate and ice my foot, and flip channels like every single moment of my day was an infernal, never-ending commercial break.

There, now I've painted you a detailed picture of Meg's Hell on Earth. Oh, but wait, I should clarify that my foot was not really on ice but instead on a bag of frozen soy beans. They were on sale and I figured they'd make really good ice packs which, as it turns out, they do. It was actually a pretty funny trip to the local grocery store because when I slapped down two bags at the check-out counter, the cashier lady said, "Oh I love these! They're so good with a little butter!" To which I replied, "Oh, I'm not going to eat them, I'm going to put them on my feet!" To which she replied, [insert horrified and slightly disgusted look here].

One woman's delicious buttery treat is another woman's 69 cent bag of foot relief, I always say. (Not really.)

Where the heck was I going with this?

Oh, right. So, I was sitting around giving my remote control a major workout and periodically yelling things at my husband like, "Fifty million channels and the best they can do is another MATLOCK movie? SHOOT ME NOW!" He got so tired of hearing it (well, of hearing me, really) that he retired to the office, put on headphones, and started shooting monsters on the computer. Left to wallow in my own woe-is-me, I was zipping through the channels again when I happened to pass by Oxygen. And who should I see there but, duh da DA DUH, Bryan Brown! As the incredibly unbearably immeasurably sexy National Geographic photographer boyfriend of Sigourney Weaver's character in "Gorillas in the Mist." How's that for a string of adjectives?

It had been ages since I'd seen "Gorillas," and I had completely forgotten how great Bry looked with two dozen cameras strung around his neck. Honestly, I thought to myself, the only thing sexier than a reporter is a photographer, and when you combine those two professions into one and make a photojournalist, well, I take one look and my insides go KAPOW! Wheeeeeeeee!

Anyway, faster than you could say, "Feche la vache!" (name that catapult movie!), I became so deeply engrossed in watching Bryan Brown, swarthy photojournalist, that my soybeans began to melt into little squishy piles of goo and my foot began to blacken from frostbite (not really). And the moment the movie was over I, yep, you guessed it, logged onto Netflix and put a bunch of his other movies into my queue.

Within about two days, I had five of them in my hot little hands. A happy state, except that I suddenly found myself with no time in which to watch them. However, this past weekend, I had some downtime on the homefront and while my husband slaved away in the garage and backyard doing all the chores, I planted myself on the sofa and started working my way through the pile.

I began with one of my favorites of Bry's old movies, a terrific little thriller called "F/X." I've probably seen it, and its sequel, at least a dozen times each, but for some reason, I just never tire of it. Maybe it's the exciting plotline and the really fun special effects stuff. Maybe it's the presence of Brian Dennehy, another old dude I have the major hots for. Maybe it's the really amazingly bad actress who plays Bry's assistant, one of those actors you can't take your eyes off as you become completely fixated on how utterly talentless they really are. Or, maybe it's because -- and yes, I think this might be it -- Bryan Brown IS TOTALLY HOT.

In any case, it's a very well-done romp of a movie -- exciting, funny, and just plain entertaining. And the sequel is even better, in my opinion.

But, I didn't have time for "F/X 2," because up next was another old movie of Bryan's, one I had never seen, despite my affection for, in 1988, the Beach Boys song "Kokomo." Yep, you guessed it. I figured it was about time I subjected myself to "Cocktail." I hadn't actually realized Bryan Brown was in this movie, or else I probably would've watched it a lot sooner. What made me stay away from it for all these years was Tom Cruise, who I have never really liked to begin with, but who I'm especially not liking these days because of his big fat stupid offensive ignorant mouth. But, hey, despite the vitriol I just spewed, I do actually try to keep an open mind about these things (you have to when you're a big fan of bad movies like me). And besides, I liked "Top Gun," so maybe it's not too late for Tommy to win me over.

Wrong again! The way this movie was concocted is just so glaringly obvious. Some writer came up with the idea of making a movie about Tom Cruise wooing drunk women by juggling bottles, ice cubes, and verbal barbs behind the bar, with, say, an older mentor type character (played by Bry). And then after they worked out all the fancy-schmany choreography and hilarious insults for those scenes they realized, whoops! We forgot to have a plot for this movie! So, quick! Pull out the oldest one in the book! Naive protege rebels against jaded mentor, and, in so doing, teaches jaded mentor, as well as himself, a serious lesson about life's priorities. Great! Now we can just figure out a way to move the story to the Bahamas, throw in some half-naked women and a sex scene in a waterfall, and voila! Summer blockbuster!

Sure, it SOUNDS like a Best Picture winner (not really), except, that instead, it's just boring, trite, stupid, and annoying. Well, not when Bryan Brown is on-screen, of course. He and Elizabeth Shue are the only two reasons to watch this movie, and I have to confess, I kept rooting for them to get together to teach holier-than-thou protege the lesson that snot-nosed brats who write terrible poetry NEVER WIN IN THE END.

Thankfully, the next movie in my pile was fantastic, albeit depressing as hell. It's a 1980 Australian film called "Breaker Morant," about three Aussie soldiers in 1901 at the tail end of the Boer War in South Africa. While out solderin', the three men had been involved in the execution of some POWs, and though they believed they were acting on orders at the time, the military decides to court-martial them all anyway (typical). The lawyer acting in their defense finds himself with only twenty-four hours to prepare his case, and the resulting movie is a courtroom drama as good as any I've ever seen. It doesn't have the happiest of endings, and you could tell it was based on a play (all the scenes not shot in the courtroom felt really constructed and tacked-on, though I could see they were just trying to give us more of a context for the war itself), but all in all, I was very, very impressed.

Ditto for my fourth movie, which was an even better film with an even more dismal mood. This one is called "The Good Wife" and it's set in Australia in what I think was about the 1930's (it said at the beginning, but I can't remember now). It's about a young married couple, Marge and Sonny, played by Rachel Ward and Bryan Brown (who are married in real life). Sonny is a logger, and one night he brings his younger brother Sugar home from the hills with him, asking his wife if Sug can stay for a few months. As the three spend more time with each other, Sugar falls for Marge and eventually asks Sonny if he can spend the night with her. Sonny asks Marge if that's what she wants, and when she just shrugs, he pretty much says the Aussie equivalent of, "Fine. Whatever." And that marks the beginning of the end for them all.

The next thing Marge knows, she's doubting her marriage and her entire life. She feels like nothing important, nothing big, will ever happen to her. Like she's trapped in a big huge stagnant mistake. And then a mysterious stranger arrives on the train -- a handsome Romeo played by Sam Neill. His character, who takes over the local bar, begins systematically sleeping with all the women in the town. And when he rejects only one of them -- Marge -- she becomes completely obsessed with him. He represents the big city -- the big, exciting world. And for him not to love her -- for him in fact to completely disdain her -- it's just like one more nail on the coffin of her horrible, boring life.

As she flirts shamelessly with him, in front of the entire town, Sonny is just absolutely torn to pieces. He loves her so much that he is completely paralyzed, afraid that if he demands that she return to him, she'll just hate him forever. So, he keeps repeating to himself and to anyone who will listen that it's just a "fancy" that's taken over her. That it'll pass. And in the meantime, Sugar is scheming up a way to run Neill's character out of town.

It's a simple, beautiful, intense film, and at its heart is such a longing, so much anguish, that it'll just tear you to pieces. Rare is the movie that affects me as much as this one did, and maybe it's because I could relate in some small ways to what both Marge AND Sonny were going through. Anyway, I can't recommend this one highly enough, though I'd suggest taking a hit of Prozac before popping it into the machine.

My fifth movie promised to be a bit lighter, but, alas, I was unable to watch it. And how weird is this? Twice in a row, I've been burned by Netflix when it comes to a Boyfriend movie I was really looking forward to seeing. Last time, they sent the wrong disk. This time, they sent the right one, but it arrived in two pieces! And all this coming about three days after I had attempted to convince a friend of mine that she ought to go back to Netflix because I hadn't had a single problem with them in all the years I'd been subscribing. I jinxed myself! Anyway, this one was called "Dirty Deeds" and it's a crime drama -- looked like fun (plus it costarred Toni Collette, who I have a big Girl Crush on) and I'm hoping to get a chance to see it in the future. Watch the movie reviews, all your BOTW list subscribers.

Okay, this write-up has ended up being WAY too long, so I'm going to keep the bio part short and let you get on your way. Bryan Brown was born June 23, 1947. 'Nuff said.

MacGyver Factor Score: 94.62% Points off for a couple of reasons. First, the obvious -- though I was trying to sound cute up there with the whole "'nuff said" thing, the real reason there isn't a significant bio section to this write up is that there are NO FAN SITES out there about Bryan Brown. Bry, this is just completely unacceptable. Do you realize how hard it makes my job when there aren't any fan sites out there for me to plunder? At the very least, you need to start an "Official Bryan Brown" site. And it'd be even better if you just gave $200 in start-up costs to about 20 random fans you met on the street. You can afford it, I know.

The second deduction is for being in the wrong upcoming remake of "The Poseidon Adventure." You guys heard about this, right? There are two in the works -- one is a TV miniseries, and the other a major motion picture. Both are slated to appear at roughly the same time. One of them stars Steve Guttenberg, the other one Josh Lucas. I'll let you guess which is which. In any case, bad enough they're remaking this movie, one of my favorites, to begin with. But Steve Guttenberg? STEVE GUTTENBERG? As Sock Puppet would say, "THE HORROR."

Boyfriend-Related Links
Bryan's IMDB Page
BBC interview with Bryan
Netflix's Bryan Brown collection
Hey, let me know if this Netflix link doesn't work for you? I'm trying this out.

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