Friday, March 13, 2009

Eye Candy for the Mentally Ill

Because I’m feeling dull and unwilling to address weightier issues--such as Who am I? and What am I supposed to be doing with my life? or even What am I going to do about the cat litter?--I’ve decided to indulge in one of my frivolous exercises, listing the most attractive talented actors according to moi. I’ve been doing this periodically ever since high school when my friend Caroline and I came up with groupings we called The British Triumvirate and The Australian Triumvirate. I think, at the time, that The British Triumvirate included Anthony Andrews, Rubert Everett and Jeremy Irons. Close, anyway. The Australian Triumvirate comprised Mel Gibson, the actor who played Scorpio on General Hospital and a Rugby player whose name I cannot remember. Or maybe it was called football. I don’t know. Whatever it was it was a violent game with a ball and well-muscled Australian men. We hadn’t the slightest idea about the rules or scoring, or anything mundane like that.

You get the idea. I haven't advanced much since high school, although I hope I have better haircuts. Okay, back to the list of incredibly hot talented actors.

Hugh Laurie. I’ve liked him since he played the hopelessly addled prince regent in Black Adder. Oh, he is a master of comedy. So when I heard about House, I was expecting great things, and I have not been disappointed. I’ve read that his character was based on Sherlock Holmes. Oddly, I had a crush on Sherlock Holmes as a young girl. (I found fictional men more acceptable than actual men.). House is so mean, so witty, so entertaining. And then he slices through someone with The Glare. Hugh Laurie has a fine pair of eyes with which to glare.

Tim Roth. Okay, I didn’t know who he was until Lie to Me. Reservoir Dogs isn’t my sort of film. Whacked earless artists are usually my thing, but somehow I missed him playing Vincent Van Gogh in Vincent and Theo. When I first saw him in Lie to Me, I thought he was rather ugly, but the accent wore away at my resistance. I love me some British accents. And there’s nothing like a stern, slightly overbearing male character to exert a fascination on me. (Dear Husband should not get any ideas from this that I would like him to be stern. That would be a Bad Idea.) Anyway, Dr. Lightman, his character, pelts his victims/clients with provocative questions until they squirm under his unrelenting gaze, ready to pounce on the slightest tremor or twitch of the eye that gives them away. “Oh now you’re lying.” I think I would swoon.

Aside. As you can see, it is usually the fictional characters rather than the actors themselves I find so compelling. Curious that my first two choices play characters who believe that everyone lies and who spend their shows sorting the lies from the truth. When I was a wee thing, I sometimes would daydream about being on trial for an unnamed crime. Heaven knows what I was working out, but it was always a great relief to have my crime found out, confess, and be sentenced. I very much enjoyed Crime and Punishment when I read it as a teenager, because I could relate to Raskolnikov’s overwhelming need to confess. Except, of course, being an ax murderer, he actually had something to confess. But back to my list.

Ioan Gruffud. Isn’t he pretty? I thought he did wigs and breeches very well in Amazing Grace, channeling charm, righteous indignation, and a love for little bunnies. Oh, how could you not like someone who spends his life championing abolition? And doing it with such good bone structure. I suspect the real Wilberforce was not quite so well knit together. I’m not sure I knew who Gruffud was before that movie, although I gather he had a rather prominent part leading Oscar Wilde astray in Wilde, which I did see. Not sure how I could forget Gruffud and Fry getting hot and heavy, but perhaps it was so tasteful I didn’t notice. Or so embarrassingly cringe-worthy I forgot it (When it’s obvious that actors are totally freaked out about kissing other men, well, it results in scenes you wish they would just leave on the cutting room floor. Remember Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve in Clue? Could it have been more obvious that they were thinking ooo gross the whole time?). Note to self: Revisit Wilde in the interest of education. I’ve never seen the Horatio Hornblower series, and I think it’s about time because Gruffud would look scrumptious in 18th century British naval attire, and no doubt his splendid hair gets whipped about a lot by salt spray. Ahoy.

James McAvoy. Penelope was such a charming film, and I really liked his scruffy, ne’r-do-well who discovers his basic human decency. At the beginning they put rather a lot of red around his eyes—it looked painful, like perpetual pink-eye. Didn’t like him so much in that film with Angelina Jolie. The film made no sense at all, and it seemed rather derivative, part Matrix, part Fight Club. I think Angelina is dead sexy in a scary not-with-a-ten-foot-pole sort of way, and watching the romance scenes was a bit like watching a cobra tracking its lunch.

Rufus Sewell. He was also in Amazing Grace, playing a radical abolitionist with rather odd, poetic-looking hair. For reasons I’ve never quite understood, late in the film he has a scene carrying a baby around a field. I’m not sure if it’s his baby or one he found while out for a walk. Now he’s the lead in the Eleventh Hour, which I thought I wasn’t going to like much, but I find his eyes are a sufficient reason to stick around. They are…startling. I am hoping beyond hope that they avoid any romantic tension between him and his stick of a costar. He would have to draw upon an enormous reservoir to create any chemistry there.

Colin Firth. Ah, Mr. Darcy. Another stern, rather aloof character. He is so very good at British reserve, which is, for some reason, insanely sexy. And what better way to serve up British reserve than in a wet shirt and some knee pants? And, it takes someone special to work those sideburns.

Alan Rickman. Did you know there are groups devoted to Severus Snape as sex symbol? It must partly be his voice, which is, hah, spellbinding. Oh, I guess the bad boys are just irresistible, and it doesn’t get much badder than a Death Eater in a fetching black cape.

Simon Baker, who plays the lead in the Mentalist. I really don’t care for blond hair, but he’s beginning to win me over. Now I think his hair is delightfully tousled. He isn’t cold, but like House and Dr. Lightman, he enjoys messing with people’s minds. It seems essential to cause as much embarrassment as possible to drag out the information you need. And he manages it with a bit of a crinkly smile around his eyes, just to let you know that he’s essentially a nice guy. There’s Tragedy in his past, and I gather he’s looking for revenge. But I think it’s hard to look vengeful with crinkly eyes.

James Spader. Yes, he got a bit pudgy as Boston Legal wore on, and he lost some of the mean, amoral edge that made his character so thrilling to watch. By the end he was almost cuddly. I prefer to think of his character in Secretary, the sadistic lawyer who likes to play interesting games with his willing secretary.

Do you get the feeling that I’m a smidgen submissive?

I’m sure my tastes are indicative of something or other. Such a preference for cold aloof men who relentlessly strip you of your comfortable lies until your true nature is revealed.

Huh. That actually sounds a bit like an old-fashioned psychoanalyst.


  1. Great stuff, and I love Hugh Laurie, did his comedy series with Stephen Fry ever surface over there. It was very British humour...

  2. oh yes...Laurie, Rickman & Firth are all absolutely drop dead gorgeous. Did you ever see Truly, Madly, Deeply (my all time fave film); Rickman & a cello. excuse me while I go & lie down :-)

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  4. Boo spammars! Yay good-looking people!

    Here is a link to blog post about Alan Rickman from an asexual perspective:

    P.S. I had/have a crush on Holmes, too.

  5. P.P.S. This made me laugh uncontrollably for reasons not known:

    "For reasons I’ve never quite understood, late in the film he has a scene carrying a baby around a field. I’m not sure if it’s his baby or one he found while out for a walk."