The Boyfriend of the Week

May 1, 2000

Okay, everyone, I've finally gotten to him. This week's Boyfriend is the guy I get the most requests for these days ("Oh pleeeeease! I love him!!"), Aussie hunka-hunka Russell Crowe.

Why did it take me so long? Because I was waiting to see Russell's latest, "The Insider," so I could have something interesting and timely to say (well, timely anyway). And also so I could prove to you guys that I actually do watch something other than "Due South" reruns. Like the Oscars.

Except the truth is, I didn't watch the Oscars. However, I did see pictures and boy, did Russell Crowe not look like he was enjoying himself there. (Not a smile in sight. Not a grin, not a twinkle, not a guffaw, nuthin'). But enough about that for now (he was robbed!) -- let's get to the good stuff.

I think the first time I really noticed Russell was when I saw "L.A. Confidential" for the first time (in the theater, back when I was into throwing money around that way). In case you're one of the three people on the planet who still hasn't seen LAC, I'll fill you in -- Russell was the star. The guy who shoots the bad guys and gets the girl. The hero. The man all the ladies love and all the gents fear. As you may or may not remember, I have a weakness for macho tough guys who are actually romantic saps on the inside. That is why, after the first kissing scene, I got all weak in the knees. (In fact, just thinking about the first kissing scene is making me kind of queasy (in a good way)).

Not only is Russell Crowe a macho sappy tough guy, but he's also really incredibly amazingly good looking (hence the queasiness -- ugh! so cute!). Even better than that, though, is that he's really incredibly amazingly talented. How do I know this? I'll tell you -- I didn't even know the guy was Australian until about 5 months ago when I saw him on television doing an interview and he was just being himself. At the time, my first thought was, "Hey, why is Russell Crowe trying to sound like an Australian?" and then I realized it was because he WAS an Australian, and all the other Russells I knew were fakes! Jeepers!

It always impresses me when foreigners fake American accents. I can't explain this, especially considering I am far less impressed by Americans who fake foreign accents. Do not try to figure me out -- I'm an enigma!

Anyway, after L.A. Confidential, I started to watch for him in other things. I rented "The Quick and the Dead," which stunk to high heaven, (but since when have I held THAT against a western?). I rented "Virtuosity," which I didn't think Russ was all that good in (sorry, sweet pea). And, I rented some movie where he plays a WWII pilot who falls in love with his pal's sister (but it was TERRIBLE, so I only watched the first 25 minutes -- just long enough to drool over the (authentic!) Aussie accent). Actually, now that I think about it I have to say, aside from "L.A. Confidential," I wasn't all that impressed with him. The movies he made were mediocre and his acting wasn't all that fab either. It wasn't BAD or anything, but it didn't jump up and say, "Hey!" either.

So, when I heard he'd been nomindated for an Oscar, I was a leetle bit surprised. Foolish, foolish, naive, little me. I rented "The Insider" about three weeks ago and now I understand what all the hoopla was about! Not only does Russell do the amazing American accent, but he does the amazing blue-collar middle-aged-pot-belly American accent! Just try watching it back-to-back with LAC and see if that doesn't shock your pants off. It's just remarkable. He goes from total hunkaroo to totally, uh, NON-hunkaroo and he makes it look so easy! Cute. Icky. Buff. Flubby. It's amazing!

Russell aside, "The Insider" is also a fascinating and rather depressing film -- it's a true story, based on the whistleblower/60-Minutes incident of a few years ago (the guy who told all the cigarette company secrets). Interesting because I had seen the original 60 Minutes episode, but didn't know half the history behind it. And depressing for two reasons -- first, the real guy went through all this crap (death threats, etc.) to reveal all this stuff about the cigarette industry and it essentially didn't change a thang. It should've provided the fodder for the FDA to officially take over tobacco regulation and it didn't. Dang! Dang! Dang! Second, Russell's been a smoker since he was 10 and even though he now says he can recite every toxin added to cigarettes and every terrible thing they can do to your body, he likes the irony of being the star of "The Insider" and also huffing up a couple packs a day.


We forgive him for that, however, because if we do indeed someday end up his girlfriend, we will get to live on a ranch in Australia and that would be really really cool.

A little Russell history: he was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1964 and moved to Australia soon after. His parents were movie set caterers, so he was exposed to the biz from birth, basically (alliteration is awesome!). As a child, he was the star of a local Aussie tv show but he didn't break into films until 1990. He started off with a few little-known Australian movies over the next two years and finally broke into the majors with 1992's "Romper Stomper," a brutal movie about Hitler youth (makes "American History X" look like an episode of 90210). Sharon Stone caught Romper and thought Russell was a total babeazoid, so she hooked him and got him to play the preacher in her movie "The Quick and the Dead" and zee rest, as they say, eez history.

If you've been paying attention recently, you know Russell has a new movie coming out called "Gladiator" that has been getting some pretty decent reviews (and in any case, he wears skimpy clothes that show off the fact he lost all that "Insider" weight pretty well, and this will easily make up for any holes in plot that might exist). I'm not clear on when it's due to arrive in theaters, but sometime fairly soon, I think. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, rent "The Insider" and "L.A. Confidential" and prepare yourself for another Russell transition -- punk to hunk to chunk to guy-being-eaten-by-tigers. Man, he's just totally amazing, isn't he?

MacGyver Factor Score: 95.4%. Points off because he's just a little teeny tiny bit arrogant. Yes, that can be attractive, but it can also really get on my nerves, depending on the context. However, when we move in with him and start living the Australian ranch life, we will quickly cure him of all nasty habits and spend lots of time sipping lemonade, throwing boomerangs, and talking about wallabees. So, you see, it will all work out in the end. Trust me.

Plus, I like his doggie (see above photo). And that curve right as his neck hits his shoulder (see left). And his stubble (see left). And that little tiny bit of chest that you can see where his shirt dips down (see above). Oh jeez, I better go now.

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