Jeremy Renner


I mostly knew Jeremy Renner from his part in “The Town,” with Ben Affleck. Jeremy played a thug / bank robber with great abandon, and he has big staring eyes and a strange dominating presence, and he’s very real.



This is a big deal in the movies. You need to look real.



I heard last spring that he was playing Hawkeye in the forthcoming Avengers movie, and I smirked a little. Minor role in a major movie: who cares?



Well, he was wonderful. He was creepy and elegant and very convincing. He also bulked up amazingly, and did not look ridiculous when appearing with Iron Man and Thor and the Hulk at all; in fact, he looked like their peer.



Now he’s playing a superhuman secret agent in “The Bourne Legacy.” He still has that huge bulked-up body, and those chilly eyes. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I’m already in love with him. My friend Apollonia (who has vowed herself to Robert Pattinson) has admitted to me that she finds Jeremy attractive.



And now I discover that Jeremy, before his very successful career as an actor, was a makeup artist.



Behold this sequence from a recent episode of “Ellen”:





He is adorable.



I don’t care if he’s gay or straight. (He looks straight to me, but I’ve been wrong about these things before.)



He is a fine actor, and is also very cute, and can do makeup, and packs on muscle very nicely when necessary.



As someone online said: “It’s nice to have something to fall back on, in case Plan A fails.”



Jeremy has lots of things to fall back on.



Whatta guy!



Tough girls: Anne Hathaway edition


Partner and I have not been to the movies much this summer. Neither of us has been feeling great this summer, and – frankly – the summer movies (since “The Avengers,” anyway) haven’t been that appealing.



Finally, last weekend, we went to the movies, and saw “The Dark Knight Rises.”



Oh, kids, it’s got everything: explosions, and Tom Hardy, and Gary Oldman, and Christian Bale, and the destruction of Manhattan (AKA Gotham City), and Liam Neeson.



You know I am mostly about the boys. You expect me to drool over Christian’s abs, or Tom’s gigantically developed chest and back. (All of which are fine, by the way.)



But I want to speak to you about Anne Hathaway.



I always thought of her as a lightweight actress, a comedienne: “Princess Diaries,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Alice in Wonderland.” I think she’s very pretty – I love her big dark eyes – but as a gay man, I realize that my estimations of a woman’s sexiness are maybe not the same as a straight man’s.



But Anne Hathaway is utterly wonderful in “The Dark Knight Rises.”


She is Catwoman. The movie is smart enough not to call her by that name. She’s a clever thief who dresses in a tight-fitting cat costume when it suits her. She is skillful enough to baffle the omniscient Batman.



That’s the character. But the actress – ah. Anne is funny. She switches from droll to deadly serious in milliseconds. Her voice goes from obsequious to flat to sarcastic in nothing flat. Her face, even behind a mask, is wonderfully expressive. (Spoiler alert! But not much of a spoiler alert.) At one point in the movie, she and Batman are working in concert. He’s trying to show her how to use his Bat-motorcycle.  He begins to speak –



And she leaps onto the Bat-cycle, revs the motor – vroom vroom! – and looks bored. “Yeah, I think I got it,” she says.



She is a certified tough girl.



There have been lots of Catwomen on TV and in the movies: Eartha Kitt, Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, Michelle Pfeiffer, Halle Berry.



Anne Hathaway is the best of the lot.



Vroom vroom!


Tough girls


Apollonia and I were talking the other day (don’t ask me why) about Flavor Flav and Brigitte Nielsen.  “I like Flavor Flav,” I said.  “I wish I had the nerve to wear an alarm clock around my neck.”



“I like Brigitte Nielsen,” Apollonia said definitively.  “She’s – real.  She’s very real.”



“Well, she’s huge, that’s for sure,” I said.  “I remember the first picture I saw of her, right after she married Sylvester Stallone.  She was at least six inches taller than him, not counting the ostrich plumes she was wearing on her head.”



“But real,” Apollonia said definitively. 



Like Apollonia, I admire women who take charge. Brigitte, for example; can you imagine what that marriage must have been like?  (Not that Sly’s not a scrappy little bruiser.  But still.)



Then there’s Grace JonesI remember her from one of the “Conan” movies as a terrifying-looking warrior. I also remember her from the Pee-Wee Herman Christmas special in the early 1990s, singing “The Little Drummer Boy,” swinging her arms and looking like a renegade android.



Also Tina Turner.  If you’ve never seen the movie version of “Tommy,” go watch it: Oliver Reed! Ann-Margret! But also, for a few scary minutes, Tina Turner as the Acid Queen, vibrating like you can’t imagine.



And let’s not even mention Cher (whom Partner and I saw some years ago here in Providence, and who was amazing, and who (I think) smiled at us).



I’m with Apollonia on this one. 



Tough girls: represent!


The ballad of Sonny Tufts




When I was a kid, there was a recurring joke on the old Jay Ward cartoon shows.  Someone would invoke the name of an old forgotten celebrity, and everyone would react with incredulity and amazement.  It was a combination of “Who the hell are you talking about?” and “Why the hell are you talking about him?”

The name was Sonny Tufts.

Here’s the story (paraphrased):

Radio show, early 1940s.  An  established movie star is finishing up his run as the announcer on a dramatic series.  He doesn’t know who his replacement is; he’s just doing a cold reading of the script he’s been handed.  It goes something like this:

“Thank you for tuning in tonight.  This is my last broadcast, and I have been glad to spend time with you every Sunday evening.  Tune in next week, when your new announcer will be – “

(Long pause.  Now, in a voice of total amazement:)

– Sonny Tufts?”

I do not need to tell you that this never really happened.  This story came from the same bizarre fantasy world that spawned the Uncle Don story, and the Bozo no-no story, and the day Julia Child dropped the turkey on the floor.

But no matter.  Sonny Tufts became a byword.  You couldn’t say his name without everyone in the room chorusing, in mock disbelief, “Sonny Tufts?”

Sonny was an actor. He was pretty cute, actually. His body of work, however, is scanty.  You may peruse it at IMDB, and I will bake you a batch of brownies if you have ever seen any of this movies (with the exception of “The Seven Year Itch,” and quite frankly I don’t think of that movie as a star vehicle for Sonny Tufts).

Then, of course, there were Sonny’s personal eccentricities.  Here is a summary, taken from

  • 1948: Actor Edward Troy fractured his knee while “riding piggyback on Movie Star Sonny Tufts” at an Arizona resort motel.
  • 1950: Sonny and three companions were arrested for public drunkenness after Los Angeles police spotted them “tight-rope walking” down the white line in the center of a busy street.
  • 1951: Sonny’s wife sued him for separate maintenance, claiming that he had been jobless for over a year and was “dissipating their community property” on alcohol and luxurious living.
  • Also 1951: Sonny and Hawaiian actress Luukiana Kaeola (of whom I can find no trace in IMDB, or Google for that matter) were arrested as “transient drunks” after arguing with a night-club cook over an unpaid bill for $4.55 worth of fried chicken.
  • 1954 (this is my favorite): Sonny was sued by two female dancers who claimed he had bitten both of them on the thighs.  In separate incidents.
  • 1955: Sonny was sued by a 22-year old woman who claimed he had approached her in a restaurant, “mauled her, then pinched her so hard she screamed.”
  • And finally, 1957, the year of my birth: Sonny and a female companion were jailed for public drunkenness after the two of them collapsed in a heap on the Sunset Strip.  Sonny managed to get a cut above his left eye in this incident.


There’s a great lyric in the Kinks’ song “Can’t Stop The Music”: “Let’s all raise a glass / To the rock stars of the past: / Those who made it, those who faded, / Those who never even made the grade, / And those that we thought would never last.”

Sonny definitely never made the grade.  He devolved into a walking joke.  And yet: here we are, talking about him, reminiscing about that warm evening in 1948 when he took Edward Troy for a piggyback ride in Arizona.

There are worse kinds of immortality.

To your health, Sonny.



A moment with Mehitabel: “Lousy and enjoyable”




This blog is still brand-new, so I can still set some ground rules.


Ground Rule #1: Sundays I’ll take as a day for contemplation. Instead of Something Original, I’ll just post a little text written by someone else.  Also, maybe I’ll bake something.


Today’s selection is from Don Marquis’s “The Lives and Times of Archy and Mehitabel.” Archy was a human being who’d been a bad poet; when he died, his soul went into the body of a cockroach. He still managed to write poetry by jumping around on the keys of Marquis’s typewriter at night (he had trouble with capital letters and punctuation, as you’ll see). Mehitabel was the office cat; she was very disreputable, but full of spirit, and always a lady.


This section was probably written 1934-35, soon after the Hays Code had cleaned up the “immoral” movie industry.


mehitabel the cat

says she is not scared

by the cleanup in the moving pictures

cheer up says mehitabel

television is coming some time

and who knows but what television

will be lousy and enjoyable

and by the time television is

cleaned up

the pictures will get immoral


there is always hope says


if you don t weaken

the artistic purpose

of these periods of reform is

to give

greater zest to the relaxation

which follows




%d bloggers like this: