The Boyfriend of the Week

July 25, 2005

This week's Boyfriend is actually a guy I've come THIS close to featuring twice in the past, and both times, something happened at the last minute that made the whole write-up explode like a cherry bomb in the girls' bathroom. KABLOOEY!

The first time was a couple of years ago, when, after having been a fan of John Hannah's since his hilarious turn in the Hugh Grant romantic comedy “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” I discovered he was co-starring in a new television series, “M.D.s.” Every episode of the medical comedy/drama got me so crushified on both Hannah and his co-star William Fitchner that I was scribbling away like mad on two write-ups at the same time. In short, I was enjoying the show quite a bit, which explains why it was abruptly cancelled (and you thought I was kidding about the Boyfriend Jinx). In my shame for having caused the early demise of yet another wholly watchable television show, I decided to shelve both write-ups and try to put the entire incident behind me.

A year or so later, I was treating myself to a double-feature of Brendan Fraser's “Mummy” movies again while researching another Boyfriend I still haven't gotten around to featuring, Oded Fehr (who, coincidentally, was also on a medical series that was cancelled called “Presidio Med” -- I had nothing to do with the booting of that one, though, I swear. No seriously. I really mean it.). About twenty minutes into the first movie, however, I was reminded once again of just how insanely funny and adorable that cute li'l Scot John Hannah was. But, before I could blow the dust off his old write-up, I was distracted by somebody taller (hey, it happens), and poor Johnnie was once again relegated to the back burner.

What got me thinking about him again was when, a few weeks ago, I was flipping around the channels on a lazy afternoon and caught his face in a shot as I zipped on past. I immediately returned to the channel I'd glimpsed him on, and got a bit hooked on a movie I later discovered was called “I'm With Lucy.” After seeing it had not just John Hannah, but David Boreanaz (ex-Boyfriend) AND Henry Thomas (future Boyfriend) in it as well, I decided to quit watching since I'd missed the first half hour, and go rent it instead.

A few days later, I popped the DVD in and sat back to enjoy my Boyfriend drool-fest. It's about a young woman who wants to date a few other guys before deciding whether or not to marry Mr. Probably-Right-But-It's-Hard-To-Say-For-Sure, Henry Thomas -- a reaction I can kind of understand because while Henry Thomas is extremely cute (by which I mean, EXTREMELY CUTE), he's also one of those guys who comes off as a little excessively NICE. Being nice is not necessarily a bad thing. However, every woman must come to a point in her life where she picks a “type” for herself, and it can be somewhat difficult to come to terms with the idea that your type is “boring nice guy” when all your life you've been under the impression you were a lot more interesting than that.

I fully expected to find “I'm With Lucy” to be kind of stupid, and that's pretty much my reaction to it in a nutshell, though it's not without some redeeming qualities. However, since my other reaction to it involved finally getting this John Hannah write-up done, I'd say it was well worth the two hours spent rolling my eyes and swearing I'd never make myself watch another romantic comedy EVER AGAIN.

At least not until “French Kiss” came back around on cable. I love that movie.

Anyway, after “Lucy” was over, I immediately logged onto Netflix to see what other John Hannah movies I could quickly rustle up. I had to make some zippy decisions, because I've been running WAY behind on the site ever since I moved into our new house and going so long between write-ups is very frustrating for me, as I'm sure it is for you guys. And you guys are always so nice about the fact I'm slowing down in my old age, that I hate to keep disappointing you week after week. I promise to do better, although considering the fact I'm currently hobbling around on crutches after injuring my foot (long story, the moral of which is: never play Frisbee without shoes on unless you are four years old and have feet like Plasticman's), it may be a while before I'm back up to full steam. The good news is, though, I have SIX write-ups in the hopper at the moment, and all the guys are TOTALLY INSANELY CUTE. Also, one of them is purple and has a tail, but that's all I'm going to say about that (except to reassure you that said purple tailed Boyfriend is NOT named "Barney").

Where was I? Oh yes, quick decision time! I opted not to go for any John Hannah movies I'd seen before, despite the fact I was really dyin' to see “Four Weddings” again (because his character is so wonderfully sarcastic and great in that). But, no! I have only a limited amount of time, and I have readers to entertain! So, instead, I picked out three movies I'd never seen before, plunked them into the DVD player, and parked my butt into the recliner for a few evenings of Scottish dee-light.

The first movie was one I was really looking forward to when I saw he was in it -- it's one of the Miss Marple movies that recently came out, starring Geraldine McEwan (from the terrific film “The Magdalene Sisters,” for one, as well as “Mapp and Lucia”) as Jane. It's called “The 4:50 From Paddington,” and if you like great old-fashioned British mysteries, this is definitely one not to be missed (you can get it from Netflix, by the way). It begins with a friend of Jane's on a train -- the 4:50 from Paddington, to be exact. While she's looking out the window, another train pulls up alongside on the neighboring tracks. Just at that moment, the blinds in the window across from her (on the other train) snap up and Jane sees a man strangling a woman. Horrified, she rings for the conductor, but, of course, no one believes her story.

Except, that is, for Miss Jane Marple. Miss Marple talks a young blonde friend of hers into going undercover at the estate where she suspects the killer lives, and the two eventually enlist the additional help of Jane's nephew, the local constable, played by none other than this week's Boyfriend. As the three snoop and spy, Hannah's character and the young blonde woman start to kinda fall for each other. And honestly, I can't remember enjoying two hours quite as much as I enjoyed the two hours spent watching this. As soon as it was over, I put the rest of the disks in the series on hold (though none of the others feature Hannah, unfortunately). I loved his character -- a total underdog, but one with a sharp mind and very cute droopy puppy-dog eyes (more a feature of Hannah than the character, I suppose, but still a wonderful combination of features for a small town constable). I hope they bring him back for more later on in the series.

The next movie in my John Hannah Film Festival was one I'd heard a lot about (most of it negative) called "Sliding Doors." Hey, guess what? Everybody thought this movie was unbearably awful -- except for me! I actually thought it was pretty entertaining, despite the fact I really wish the director had sent me the script before shooting it so I could've told him the stupid double plotline thing was really unnecessary. It's about a young woman played by Gwyneth Paltrow, who gets fired from her job one morning. She's racing for the train back to her apartment, where her boyfriend is at home working on his novel, when one of two things happen -- in the first storyline, she misses the train, and in the second, she makes it. When she makes the train, she ends up meeting John Hannah's character when she sits down next to him -- and then she gets home and finds her boyfriend in bed with another woman. This turn of events eventually leads her into the arms of Hannah, and the two end up happily ever after. In the storyline where she misses the train, she doesn't get home until after the Other Woman has left, and she ends up working two miserable jobs to support her lame-ass boyfriend while he sleeps around on her and pretends to write his novel.

I can see that they wanted to do something other than just make the usual romantic comedy, however, it was just kind of hokey and pointless, and it would've been an absolutely delightful movie had it just focused on the plotline involving her relationship with Hannah. Of course, perhaps that's because I'm biased. No, like, REALLY biased. Because there's just nothing better than John Hannah as a romantic lead. He's sweet, he's gentle, he's kind, and he's wickedly funny. Plus, I believe I mentioned the sweet droopy puppy-dog eyes? Yeah, those. I love those. In short, John's the perfect Boyfriend in just about every way.

The bad news is, the last movie in my John Hannah Film Fest I still haven't seen -- it was called "Circus" and is some kind of crime movie (like, a movie about criminals, not necessarily a movie about crime-solving). Unfortunately, instead of sending me that movie, Netflix mistakenly sent me a documentary about a river in Canada. At least, I think that's what it was about. Anyway, I can't really complain since it's the first time this has ever happened. However, since I was a little wary of "Circus" (it really didn't look all that good to me), I'm taking it as a sign that I'm not meant to watch it. If you've seen it and you think I'll like it, let me know and maybe I'll reconsider!

John Hannah was born on April 23, 1962 in East Kilbride, Scotland. He's the youngest of three children, with two older sisters. Before John decided to pursue a career in acting, he was an apprentice electrician for four years, which only adds to his allure in terms of MacGyverish Boyfrienddom, in my opinion. However, said opinion might partly be stemming from the fact I did just buy a new house and it happens to be a house that has no outlets wired for three-prong grounded plugs. And while I'm getting by with those stupid adaptors which I have to screw into every outlet where I want to use my laptop, I long for the day when a sexy Scottish electrician will come over and rewire my house for free. Just because he thinks I'm a babe. Or whatever the Scottish equivalent of that is. Actually, I believe that would be "bonnie lass," but more on Robert Burns in a moment.

Anyway, after four years of wires and plugs, John quit the electrician scene and was accepted into the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. After years of struggling to get a foot in the door, he landed his critically acclaimed role as Matthew in "Four Weddings and a Funeral." From there, he moved onto a variety of films, including "Sliding Doors," "The Mummy," and "The Hurricane." Probably John's biggest roles, however, have been on two British mystery series, "Rebus" and "McCallum" (the latter of which I am dying to see, as it is about a pathologist, and hey, that's kind of a pun, isn't it? Dying to see a show about a pathologist? Anyway, if anybody has any episodes on tape or DVD and is willing to lend them to me, please email me -- I beg you. I promise to give them back! And I'll even make you my world-famous caramel brownies to send back with them!). Incidentally, John was also in two episodes of season one of "Alias," which you all know is my current favorite TV show (Marshall, Marshall, Marshall!). How cool is that??

Unhappily, John's been married since 1996 to actress Joanna Roth (who was also in "Sliding Doors," albeit in a small role) and has two children (fraternal twins Gabriel and Astrid). Happily, he's in three upcoming films, which I'm sure will help me get over my grief at having lost him to another woman. The first is called "Ghost Son" and is due out later this year. John's the star, and it's described as a "drama/mystery/thriller," so that sounds promising. After that comes "Burns," a movie about the life and work of Robert Burns (told you I'd get back to this) which will be starring ex-Boyfriend Gerard Butler in the title role and will surely involve lots of haggis. Because you can't make a movie about Robert Burns without haggis. It just wouldn't be right.

Lastly, comes a romantic comedy called "Houseboat," and I can't tell if it's a remake of the old Cary Grant movie or not. However, I'm thinking not, and that's probably for the best because, honestly, not even John Hannah could fill the great Cary Grant's romantic comedy shoes. Anyway, though I earlier swore never to watch a romantic comedy ever again, I had my fingers crossed at the time, and therefore I'll probably be renting this one when it comes out on DVD.

And now for a little goofy fun I happened to stumble across on the web the other day: find out which John Hannah character you are by taking this on-line quiz Which John Hannah Character Are You? After you click "Submit" you may need to scroll down past the Google ads to see your answer. I'm James Hammerton from "Sliding Doors," though I'm neither A: sure why, nor B: sure why this is important. However, how often do you get to take a quiz like this about a Boyfriend of the Week? Up next, find out which purple tailed Boyfriend NOT named "Barney" you are! You'll never guess! Not in a million bazillion years!

MacGyver Factor Score: 99.296% This week, I'm actually deducting points from MYSELF for making an assumption about a Boyfriend of the Week based purely upon comparisons between him and the people standing next to him. Earlier in the write-up, I sort of subtly made a crack about John Hannah's height (saying I was distracted by somebody taller when I was last working on his write-up). However, after all these years of thinking John Hannah was only slightly taller than an Oompa Loompa, imagine my surprise at finding out from his IMDb page that he's actually 5' 10" tall! Yeegads! In my embarrassment for having made such an inaccurate and unfair assumption about John's stature, I'm only deducting a fraction of a point from his MacGyver Factor Score. And he can have it right back just as soon as he comes over and grounds all my outlets. Does that sound dirty? I think it kinda does.

Boyfriend-Related Links
John's IMDB Page
John Hannah dot net (great site with interviews/pics/etc.)
The official "Rebus" site
An interview with John at the BBC

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