The Boyfriend of the Week

September 18, 2003

Okay, it's confession time. Seriously, guys, I've kept this inside far too long. It's starting to chafe. My soul needs cleansing, and where better to do it than here, where millions of people can read it, point their fingers at me, and then laugh themselves silly?

Right, so, okay, here goes nuthin':

When I was in seventh grade, I bought a "New Kids on the Block" album.

There! It's out! (And yes, I do realize I just lost about 85 gazillion punk points by admitting to this. Here's to hoping I don't have to pierce anything to get them back. I'm no big fan of pain, unless it comes in the form of excruciatingly bad horror movies.) But hey, a miracle! My secret's out, and I'm still here! You know, I was half-worried the moment I said the words "I" and "bought" and "New Kids on the Block," the God of Cool would hit the "smite" key and that would be it for me. But I'm here, and you're here, and so things must not be all that bad. Right?

Stop laughing, though. No, come on. Seriously. Okay, ha ha, yeah, it's pretty funny. But honestly, are you trying to tell me you don't have anything like that in your past too? Oh, you big liar, I know you do. You're just too chicken to admit it. I may have just announced to the world that I am a dork, but at least I've got gumption!

Okay, now that that's over with, let's get on to the point of my little trip to the Church of Lamesville confessional booth (the Rev. I. M. Loser presiding). Because I do want to point out that there is one part about the whole "New Kids on the Block" thing that gets me a little extra credit. And that thing was realizing, even back then, that one of the band members had some value apart from the astonishingly ridiculous boy-band whole. The only one I had a crush on, as a matter of fact. The only one I really cared about. And maybe that extra credit doesn't add up to the 85 gazillion points I need to break even here, but I think it's worth a couple of gazillion that I recognized early on that Donnie Wahlberg, this week's Boyfriend, was a man to watch. Even in the 80's I knew he was going to be a superstar. And, as it turns out, I was right. Because today, he's not only an established film actor, but he's the star of one of the greatest new television shows from last season, "Boomtown."

"Boomtown?" you ask. Oh for pete's sake, people, where have you been? What, were you too busy watching "The Bachelorette" all year or something (heh, I should talk -- "Cupid" was fun this summer, wasn't it?)? "Boomtown" is an incredible show, with a style that blows the nose off any of the other new cop dramas from last year. And Donnie's character, a detective named Joel, is the perfect balance of outward coolness and inner calamity. A man with a troubled marriage, a crush on a paramedic, a broken soul (he lost a child), and one of the fastest guns in the West (I think it's the West, that is -- it's set in L.A., right?). Oh, and did I mention he was cute? Because he's the very definition of cute, right down to the little button nose. And when he scrunches his face up in that worried, crooked smile way of his, I start getting all woozy on the inside.

"Boomtown," on the other hand, is really about the furthest thing from "cute" that you can get. It's serious business, and seriously great. Each plot is presented from a variety of perspectives -- detectives (like Donnie's character), beat cops, paramedics, lawyers, and even reporters. This narrative technique creates a lot more depth than you get from a straight, third-person style. Each character carries their own baggage, sees things in their own way. And all together, the result is an hour-long crime drama that shows instead of tells. It's a show for smart people who appreciate smartness. In short, it's rare and it's RAD.

So, start watching, already! Because I'm tired of all the great shows getting the boot! Boomtown's second season starts Friday, September 26th and as long as their desperate ploy for attention doesn't backfire, it ought to be a pretty darn good year (by the way, in case you haven't heard the news, the desperate ploy is that Vanessa Williams, hot mama, is joining the cast -- a place I'm not quite convinced she belongs. But we'll see what happens. Anything that gets it higher ratings is okay by me, as long as it doesn't compromise the rare radness.).

Now, if crime TV isn't your thing, but strong, silent types are, there are plenty of other places to get your Donnie Wahlberg fix. First and foremost is the absolutely terrific WWII series "Band of Brothers," which has been out on DVD for quite awhile now so put away that "I don't get HBO" excuse. I've already raved about BoB -- check out Damian Lewis's write-up for the details -- but it bears repeating that it is an absolutely stunning production. Donnie's character, 2nd Lt. Lipton, is actually not unlike the character he plays on "Boomtown," now that I think about it -- a quiet, thoughtful man with a fierce sense of duty and a shy smile that will make your knees go all wobbly. Rent it. Just trust me.

And as if that weren't enough, you can also see Donnie in a wide variety of other movies, starting with a phenomenal appearance in the fantastic thriller "The Sixth Sense." Don't remember Donnie from that one? It's probably because he lost about 40 pounds for his role, and then spent his 10 minutes in the film nearly buck naked, shaking and sobbing with fear. Not helping? Well, remember the thin, terrified, mentally-unstable man who shoots Bruce Willis in the beginning of the movie? Look closely next time -- that was Donnie. And as far as acting jobs go, that's one to remember, because he was amazing.

Another movie of Donnie's that I really enjoyed was "Purgatory," a made-for-TV Western that featured Donnie in the role of Billy the Kid. The movie also stars ex-Boyfriend Sam Shepard on whom I still have an enormous crush that will never ever go away. Sam, please come to me. I need you. Also in its favor is the fact that Randy Quaid didn't totally butcher the part of ex-Boyfriend Doc Holliday, though if I were Queen of the Universe, I'd only ever let Val Kilmer play that role from now until the end of time. And yes, I even mean I'd want him after he was dead. Just prop up the corpse and make it say, "You're a daisy if you do." That's all it'll ever take to make me happy.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. Donnie Wahlberg! Another movie under Donnie's belt, but not one I've seen yet, is Stephen King's latest flick, "Dreamcatcher." It got dismal reviews, but of course, that only makes me want to rent it more. This movie brings Donnie and Damian Lewis back together, and features Donnie in another part as a mentally-challenged young man (no jokes about being typecast please) named Duddits, who has a special friendship with a group of men who go out hunting in the woods together and end up encountering an alien lifeform that doesn't like them very much. The book was pretty good, and I'm sure Donnie will be incredible, even if the movie is a dud itself. Or even a dud-dits itself. Bah ha ha ha.

Pretend I didn't just make that stupid joke, okay? Thanks.

Okay, now that I've just spent the last 10 minutes selling Donnie Wahlberg movies to you, let's make like A&E and biographize this guy already: Donnie was born Donald E. Wahlberg (the E. stands for "Even Cuter Than Mark") in Dorchester, MA. He's got seven siblings, one of which is, of course, "Marky" Mark Wahlberg, an ex-Boyfriend of mine. Now, if you're wondering why it took me so long to feature Donnie, given my confession about how long I've had a crush on him, I'll tell you -- I had to get over my Marky Mark thing before I could move on to Donnie, in order to avoid weirdness. Ya just don't date brothers, you know? It's just awkward. Luckily, the last Marky Mark movie I saw, "The Truth About Charlie," was an insultingly awful remake of one of my all-time favorite films, "Charade," and it's badness soured me on Mark just long enough for Donnie to swoop in and woo me off my feet. But despite the fact I'm sure they're going to be fighting over this one, for the most part, Donnie and Mark have been close friends as well as brothers. When Mark was having trouble in his teens with crime and drugs, Donnie was the one who pushed him into music as a way to get him to focus on success instead of failure. Aw, shucks. Whadda guy.

As a kid, Donnie was always trying to be the center of attention. When he was ten, he joined his first group, "Risk," a rap group, big into break-dancing. How 80's can you get? During his years at the William Monroe Trotter school, Donnie formed his second group, "The Kool Aid Bunch." It was there he met fellow New Kid, Danny, and when they were approached by Maurice Starr to form part of an all-white, singing and dancing act, they jumped at the chance. And thus "The New Kids on the Block" was born. While Donnie's singing was not considered to be in the same league as the rest of the bunch, he did sing lead on several of the most famous New Kids tracks, including "Hangin' Tough," and "Games."

While in the band, Donnie started to grow more and more interested in production. He began writing and co-producing some of their albums, eventually also working with other bands (including his brother's). When the New Kids broke up, Donnie decided to try a change, and he began to pursue a career in acting. He's now married and has two kids, both of whom are totally adorable. Oh yeah, and his wife is pretty cute too, but let's not talk about her right now. Or, you know, EVER. And though he hasn't led a perfect life (he was arrested on charges of first-degree arson in 1991, but the charge was eventually reduced to second-degree criminal mischief and ultimately dismissed), he's definitely a guy I'd bring home to my mother. Except that I actually would never do that, as I know my mom likes him too. You think dating brothers is bad? Try a mother-daughter combination!

The good news is, Boomtown lives on, at least for another season. The bad news is, that's all there is in Donnie's IMDB list at the moment. Ordinarily, that might not bother me so much. But the thing about Donnie is, he's incredibly talented and has played so many different and challenging types of roles. I'd hate to see him get stuck in the cop part and not be able to shake it off later. So, Donnie, for me, find the time to read a few scripts. And if any of them are good and involve kissing scenes, give me a call.

Okay, and now a little extra bad news: with the end of this write-up, comes the end of the month of September here at the Boyfriend of the Week site. I'm heading out on a much-needed vacation to Southern California, and will not have access to email or the web. So, if you email me and don't get a reply, don't take it personally -- I'll be back to chat September 29th. But don't expect a write-up for at least a week after that. I'll need time to catch up on some movie watching! Have fun with the archives while I'm gone. I'll be back before you know it.

MacGyver Factor Score: 93.67%. Okay, even though I said I love that little scrunchy worried fact that Donnie makes a lot of the time, I do have to confess that he looks scrunchy and worried a lot more often than shiny, happy people usually do. Even when not playing scrunchy, worried characters on television. I've seen pictures of him at parties and movie premieres and he's still making that face. It's concerning me. Donnie, whatever it is, just let it go, okay? You're going to get wrinkles if you keep obsessing like that. And even though wrinkles are darn sexy, especially in a man who looks like you, I'd hate to see you age before your time.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Oommmmm. Better? Good.

Boyfriend-Related Links
A Donnie Fan Site

The Donnie Wahlberg Fan Listing
Donnie's IMDB page

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