The Boyfriend of the Week

Ross Partridge Ross Partridge

July 16, 2011 [comment on this write-up]

You know what? I'm not even going to apologize for the fact this write-up is four months overdue. You know why? Because in order to complete this write-up, I had to watch Amityville: A New Generation, and if you don't understand why mustering up the requisite courage for that task might take a lady a few months, then, you know, there's just no. . . there's not enough explaining in the world, my friends.

Amityville: A New Generation, people! It's about a MIRROR that KILLS. You try getting yourself to sit down for something that unbelievably dumb, see how long it takes you. Whew. The things I do for love. I tell ya, it's a lot.

To be completely honest, though, this week's Boyfriend, unlike the other three I've been working on for months now (sigh -- can't seem to finish much these days), was a total impulse buy. That is, I've known who Ross Partridge was for a few years now, but it wasn't until I saw his latest film The Off Hours a month or so ago at the Seattle International Film Festival that it suddenly hit me I was madly in fake BotW love with him. Not only is the man a really talented actor, but he's pretty damn handsome to boot.

AND THAT NOSE. MY GOD, THAT NOSE. Second only to Nathan Fillion's when it comes to absolute lickability, and you know that is saying a LOT.

Oh, stop. I mean, I know all you guys thought that Nathan Fillion nose thing was weird, but I'm not really some freako nose fetishist, much as that write-up might've made me sound like I was. In fact, noses are generally the last thing on a face I notice. I usually see eyes first, then mouths. Chins, maybe, cheekbones certainly, hair, hairlines (lacks thereof), scars, moles, ear lobes (I do have an ear lobe fetish, I confess -- oof, so nice, ear lobes). Really, I take note of pretty much everything else there is to take note of before I take a good hard look at someone's nose. For the most part, a truly perfect nose is unnoticeable. It provides a little 3-D action to the face, but not a whole lot else, right? (I mean, besides breathing and stuff. That's nice too.)

But then I get in front of someone like Nathan Fillion or Ross Partridge, and suddenly the nose is not only the first thing I notice, it's practically the only thing. They're like a blank head with naught but a glorious nose for months and months. It wasn't until about a year ago, while watching Ross in the comedy-horror film Baghead, that I realized he also had lovely eyes, for example. And it wasn't until last summer's SIFF screening of The Freebie that I noticed he also had ridiculously terrific hair (really, it's almost unfair, that hair -- hey, that rhymed!).

And let's not even get started about his mouth, his ear lobes (!), his cheeks. Because that kind of talk is just going to send me spiralling off on some childish drooly tangent, and the fact is, his looks, while undeniably stellar, pale in comparison to his talent at taking on roles and turning them into people, which is just about the sexiest thing in the world, that sort of magic.

To wit, a few people he's made, some good, some, you know, Amityville: A New Generation:

Amityville: A New Generation (1996): Let's just get this one out of the way first, because it is the most RIDICULOUSLY RIDICULOUS. Okay, so, you know how in the original Amityville Horror, there was a house and a portal to hell and a guy who got possessed and killed his whole family? Well, in this sequel, the seventh in the series (you read that right: SEVEN!), a young photographer named Keyes Terry (Ross) is out with friends one day when he sees a homeless man across the street and takes his picture. He walks over to him to make sure it's okay he snapped his pic and offers him some money in payment, just in case the photograph sells and Keyes makes some money off it. The old man accepts, but offers Keyes something in trade -- an enormous old mirror. Keyes, being a nicer guy that I am (except for the part where I'm not a guy), graciously accepts the bizarre gift and takes it home.

Suddenly, his friends start going on berserk murdering rampages and it's not long before Keyes realizes the source of the evil: it's the mirror! It's making all his friends kill all his other friends! Thanks a LOT, homeless guy!

Annnnd that's right, folks, you read that correctly: this movie is about an evil mirror. AN EVIL MIRROR. AN. EVIL. MIRROR. What the hell? Who thinks this stuff up? Anyway, in one of the lamest lame attempts to connect a distant sequel that has nothing to do with the original, but which the writer thinks probably ought to, it turns out Keyes Terry's father was the original killer dad, or something like that, and the mirror is from the original killer house, or something like that. God, I don't know. I confess I wasn't really paying much attention after the first 20 minutes of its horribleness (can you blame me? IT'S ABOUT AN EVIL MIRROR!). I was far more intrigued by Ross Partridge's hair, which was amazing to be sure, but by no means amazing enough to cancel out the incredible train wreck of the rest of this flick. It's not even GOOD bad. It's not even LAUGHABLY bad. It's just dumb bad, and there are few things more tedious in this world than dumb bad (you know, like Fox News). Don't rent this movie, you guys. Really. Don't. I rented this movie so you wouldn't have to. ACCEPT MY GIFT, ALREADY. And Ross, well, I forgive him for his contributions to this disaster, because he was so very, very young. Not to mention good lookin'. We all do dumb stuff when we're young and pretty, right? Oh ho ho, yes we do.

Baghead (2008): I saw this film a year or so ago, after seeing Mark Duplass in Humpday and falling head-over-heels in love with him (Boyfriend write-up on Mark still hasn't materialized, but I'm sure it'll happen eventually). Seeking out more of his work, I came across this comedy/horror flick, which came highly recommended by none other than ex-Boyfriend Robert Redford (accepted into the Sundance film festival in 2008). Weirdly, and I cannot explain this, I apparently hated it the first time I saw it, and I never wrote a review of it either. I just gave it two measly stars on Netflix, and erased it from my brain.

I've been watching a lot more independent films since then, however, and independent films are a totally different beast, I've since learned. They take some time to get used to and fully appreciate, in my opinion, and the more I've seen, the better sense I've started to develop about which ones are good and which ones are bad. Watching this one again last week to prep for this write-up, I absolutely loved it. It's creative, it's well-acted, it's got an entertainingly goofball story line, and it involves Ross Partridge in a house in the woods for two days NOT SHAVING.

Stubbly Ross Partridge! I would watch Stubbly Ross Partridge in ANYTHING. Except maybe Amityville: Electric Evil Mirror Boogaloo. Oh, who am I kidding -- it's in my Netflix queue right now.

Baghead is about a group of independent movie actors who aren't getting many parts and are growing frustrated by their lack of success. At a film festival one night, they see a ridiculously low-budget naval-gazer and, after it's over, pepper the director with a bunch of questions about how he made it (with his mom's camera), how much it cost (a thousand bucks), all that stuff. It gives them an idea -- let's go to Chad's uncle's cabin in the woods this weekend and write, direct, produce, and star in our own picture (cue jokes about indie films here).

So the four set off -- Chad, Matt (Ross), and two girls, Katherine and Michelle. The group starts drinking right away, and plans to write a script fizzle when nobody can come up with a good idea. But that night, when Michelle gets up and stumbles outside to puke, she sees something in the woods -- oh, man, it's a guy! Wearing a bag over his head! She runs back inside, jumps back in bed, and in the morning wakes up thinking it was just a dream. When she tells Matt about it, though, he snaps his fingers -- BAM! PERFECT! Let's write a horror movie about a group of people in a cabin in the woods being tormented by a creepy guy wearing a bag over his head!

This idea promptly fizzles as well when the group can't stop pranking each other about it, pranks that get a whole lot less funny when it turns out Michelle wasn't dreaming. Suddenly, they ARE being tormented by a guy wearing a bag over his head, who has also cut the phone lines and disabled their car.

Though there's sort of a twist at the end, it's one you'll see coming from a bazillion miles away. But it doesn't matter, because what makes this movie fun to watch is the characters and their interactions with each other, which are so well-crafted you start to feel like you're spying on actual people. It doesn't feel contrived at all; it feels improvised, like real conversations are, and that improvisation is done so well it feels completely authentic. I appreciated that.

Also appreciated: Stubbly Unshaven Ross Partridge. And all his kissing scenes.

Feed the Fish (2009). I just watched this one for the first time a week ago, and if I hadn't already been in love with Ross, this is the movie that would've made it happen. Sure, it's your typical "fish out of water" rom-com, no doubt about it; not a lot of originality at play here. But the things it does right are so, so right. It also made me laugh out loud more than once and is packed with characters so charming I felt kind of woozy the entire time it was on.

It's about a Californian children's books author named Joe Peterson (Ross), who rocketed to fame with his first book, about a cat who gets tortured to death for breaking the rules ("Kids love violence!"), but has been suffering from terrible writer's block ever since. Frustrated with his lack of interest in ANYTHING anymore, his girlfriend dumps him, just as her brother, Joe's longtime buddy JP, gets to town. To cheer his friend up, JP invites Joe to spend the next several months with him in Northern Michigan. You see, JP's heading up to the family cabin in the frozen woods up there to "train" for this year's Polar Bear Plunge, a family tradition. Why doesn't Joe come along, help him train, and see if a change of scenery jump-starts his creativity?

Of course, as soon as he gets there, Joe promptly meets a delightful girl (played by the lovely Katie Aselton of The Freebie, though she's not very good in this, I have to confess) and slowly begins to develop feelings for her. You can pretty much take the story from there, though maybe not the part about the badger, and while that might make you think this movie is worth skipping -- been there, seen this -- don't do it. Feed the Fish is incredibly sweet and entertaining, the cinematography and setting are gorgeous, and Ross Partridge is hilarious and adorable. ADORABLE. Plus: it's available for streaming at Netflix. How much easier could it be? You don't even have to put on pants for this one!

The Freebie (2010) As I mentioned earlier, I saw this film at last year's Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) and while I enjoyed many things about it, I found it kind of frustrating overall. You can go read my old review if you want to know why.

The one thing I DIDN'T find frustrating about it (well, it was frustrating in a different way, nudge, wink, say no more), was Ross Partridge as the sexy barkeep Katie Aselton's character decides to have sex with on her night off from her marriage. Even though they end up nearly doin' it in the bar bathroom, which is a sex setting that always thoroughly bums me out for some reason, I have to confess if Ross Partridge were ever my bartender on MY night off from marriage, I'd consider that move myself, bummage-out or not. It looked like a clean bathroom, besides. I could probably swing that move. Or maybe. . . could we just use my car? I know where it's been.

Definitely worth a look, especially if you're a fan of Dax Shepard's character on Parenthood, because he's essentially the same guy here. I like that guy. S'awright.

The Off Hours (2011) This lovely, lovely, lovely film, which was the highlight of SIFF for me this year, is about a young woman, Francine, who works the night shift at a truck stop diner in rural Washington state. Her life has become stagnant -- dead-end job, series of meaningless sexual encounters in bathrooms (see above, re: bummage), etc. -- until she meets Oliver (the DASHING Ross Partridge), who ultimately ends up inspiring her to take control of her life and move on to bigger and better things.

There were so many things I liked about this gorgeous, good-hearted film I can't even begin listing them all here -- check out my original review for details. But this was the film that finally made me get hot on putting Ross up on the site. His acting in this one is intensely powerful and moving, loaded with depth and emotion. And MY GOD, IS HE EVER HANDSOME. He's going to be one of those guys who looks better and better as he ages and deeper crinkles set in at the corners of his eyes. Mark my words.

Watch for this one to hit DVD in about six months to a year. It's a don't miss, people.

Other things I've seen him in, but have absolutely no memory of seeing him in: The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997, he played "Curious Man"), Prom Night (2008, he played "Businessman"), and TV shows like Quantum Leap (!), CSI, Diagnosis Murder (with ex-Boyfriend Dick van Dyke, the lucky bastard!), Law & Order, and NYPD Blue.

Oh yeah. And he was in the movie Kuffs. But I'm going to pretend that he wasn't. MOVING ALONG NOW.

Up next for Ross are two more independent films. One is already making the film festival rounds, but I missed it when it was here in Seattle (Treatment -- see web site for it here). The other is a film called Low Fidelity, written and directed by Devon Gummersall, known better to most of us 30-somethings as Brian Krakow from My So-Called Life. I can't find any information about the plot of Low Fidelity, but I had a huge crush on Krakow -- sweet li'l underdog! -- so I'm game.

Also up next for Ross Partridge: MASSIVE SUPER STARDOM. Remember when I featured Heath Ledger and nobody knew who he was except for fans of Roar? And then he turned into HEATH LEDGER? That was all me.

Except for the part where his life ended in tragedy, of course. I had nothing to do with that.

So, brace yourself, Mr. P. Your life is about to change forever. Just you wait.

MacGyver Factor Score: 93.398%.

Points off for Kuffs. MEGA points back for Quantum Leap. Come on! Quantum Mother-Frakkin' Leap!! Beyond cool.

[comment on this write-up]

Boyfriend-Related Links

Ross's IMDb page
Official Baghead site (Sony Pictures)
Official site for The Off Hours
Interview with Ross (Christopher Stipp, Trailer Park)
Netflix page for Ross's films

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