Suggested Audio Jukebox ♬
 David Essex “Gonna Make You A Star”
 Donna Summer “Hot Stuff”
 The Gipsy Kings “Hotel California”
 The Psychedlic Furs “Pretty in Pink”
 Krush “House Arrest”
 Judas Priest “Breaking the Law”
 Kool and The Gang “Ladies Night”
I have to say that I find this all terribly exciting. After our maiden voyage through the asteroids, I find myself glancing over an embarrassment of riches and the only problem appears to be which shining star to orbit next. Precious few celebrities escape the roving paintbrush of caricature and that leaves me well and truly spoiled for choice. Like a kid in a candy store, only minus the head lice, I’m at a loss as to whom to run my eye over next. In such situations it is customary to drop my lids to low-mast and opt for the very first image that pops into my head and I know what you’re thinking right now. Given my one-track mind and its shameful record, it’s clearly going to entail a hot female right? Actually no, I have no great desire to be labelled a one-trick pony as I have at least one another suchlike caper tucked up my hoof and fully intend to reveal it pre-flop no less. Indeed, in honor of my female readership, there can be only one route to traverse. One for the ladies then? You’re damn straight and it is time for me to call upon my most significant man-crush for inspiration. Who could that be I wonder? Doesn’t take a degree in neuroscience to work out the answer to that riddle. It could only be the one… the only… The Gosling!
Okay, cards on the table then. I have done my calculations and, at last tally, it would appear that I’m around 8% gay. Indeed I can appreciate why certain alphas gravitate towards each other and it makes perfect sense to me. Almost. The obstacle is a particularly meaty one and clocks in at an average of five to seven inches traditionally. For as unattractive as I find the penis, beneath this veined varmint are a brace of similarly unsightly dangle pods, and they’re the deal breaker as far as I’m concerned. Try as I may, I simply don’t find the male form even vaguely arousing. That said, rules are there only to be bullied into submission by exception, and The Gosling happens to be one such aromatic anomaly. It’s tough to accept that the man generally regarded as the sexiest in existence began his career at Mickey Mouse Club which means there’s a good chance he once had to blow Sneaky Pete just to climb the Disney ladder to fame. However, while child actors traditionally struggle to shed their squeaky clean image and graduate to the major leagues, The Gosling had one thing in particular at his disposal that sped up the process dramatically – he was hotter than a camel’s ball sweat and way more fragrant to boot.
Now there are varying levels of hot and beauty is in the eye of the beholder so many would be expected to be granted immunity to his charms but this is not the case with The Gosling. Unlike The Pitt, men don’t tend to hate on him just because they feel threatened and he is widely accepted as kosher by nine out of ten alphas. This, in itself, is almost unheard of but it would appear that his cunning mix of innocence and gentle roguishness serves him well. Moreover, I would literally murder baby lambs for his abs and I’m not ordinarily a fan of the chiseled frame so go figure. In Crazy Stupid Love he granted women worldwide with their most pleaded wish by removing his shirt and letting nothing whatsoever hang loose. That shit was tight yo! More so than Kermit’s asshole once Miss Piggy slips on the strap-on. For someone who has never felt the urge to watch Magic Mike, the stirring beneath my loin cloth was totally unprecedented. Could I have been imprecise in my estimations? Perhaps that 8% had risen to 12%. Actually, where The Gosling is concerned, it’s more like a full twenty-five.
As The Driver in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive and Julian in the same man’s Only God Forgives, he looked way beyond fetching drenched in neon. In Lars and The Real Girl he fell in love with a mail-order blow-up doll and I felt like stubbing a cigarette out on her inner tube for hogging The Gosling. And as drug-addled schoolteacher Dan in Half Nelson I found myself begging for a hall pass just to follow him to the restroom and baptize myself a fully fledged Goslingite in his stool water before next period. Hell, I’m even happy to embrace my sappy side and sit through The Notebook just to curse Rachel McAdams for stealing that kiss. The bottom line is this – I’m forty-one-years-old and comfortable in my skin so there seems no shame in the game here. Just so happens I’d be comfortable in his skin too. Did I just think that out loud? Damn you efficient fingers for dropping me right in it. Time for a spot of damage limitation methinks. I know, I’ll talk about The Dude himself, Jeff Bridges. He’s a red-blooded alpha male too but you don’t see me thrusting my junk in his face do you? This should buy me back some man points.
The dude abides right? Does he have a choice? It seems like endure would me more fitting verb where The Big Lebowski is involved as this poor lovable loser just can’t shit a lucky brick thanks to a sidekick so inept that no amount of White Russians will bail him out with the all-important blackout. Whether fending off foul-tempered bath ferrets in the tub, brushing Donny’s ashes from his beard fluff after the world’s most botched scattering, flicking a joint butt from his car window only to see it bounce back onto his testicles, or having his car smashed to junk by an angry neighbor after his cross to bear Walter takes his cross-examination of a spotty high-school kid a little too far.
Basically, The Dude never leaves home without a shit sandwich to tuck into and, for all his tree-hugging hippy cool, he’s the first dude on the block forecast for a cardiac arrest by fifty through stress alone. Perhaps his only stroke of fortune is that Donny gets in first. Jeff Bridges is the balls as Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski and I make a habit of abiding at every given opportunity.
His résumé makes for diverse reading and he’s never more at home as when playing it completely straight. One example of this would be Arlington Road, a film with an ending so utterly paralyzing that you’ll be catching flies way beyond the end credits. Another is The Fisher King, Terry Gilliam’s glorious contemporary fairy tale, where Bridges plays no-time-for-punks radio shock jock alongside the late, great Robin Williams and softens those hard edges some. Then there’s True Grit by The Coen Brothers, where he plays Deputy U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn and spends most of his time being put to shame by an adolescent girl. One thing a director is guaranteed when casting Jeff Bridges is that he will damn well show up. Still, I have no burning desire to ride his beard tufts so it would appear I’m back down to 8% and out of the red zone. Best take full advantage of this momentum and head to the girls’ locker room to see what’s cooking there. Come now ladies, you knew it could only ever be a matter of time. I’ve adhered to the hos before bros rule for as long as was feasible so it’s only natural that I feel deserving of a swift sniff of Molly Ringwald’s pretty pink panty gusset. I’ve done my time dagnabbit.
We all have crushes growing up and Ms. Ringwald just happened to be my numero uno. Enter John Hughes as he cast Molly numerous times during the eighties and transformed the pretty all-American girl into an overnight star. Sixteen Candles burned brightly and The Breakfast Club demonstrated her canny knack for applying lipstick using only her cleavage. However, it was as working class high-school senior Andie Walsh for Pretty in Pink where I fell headlong in puppy love and could totally understand Duckie’s frustration as she opted for preppy rich kid Blane, leaving the poor Duck Man nursing a severely dislocated chest thumper. The fact that she lived on “the wrong side of the tracks” just made her all the more appealing and her relationship with her down-on-his-luck father, Jack, was sweetly observed and sincere. With flame-red hair that danced delicately around her soft neck, eyes that you could drop into and swim in perpetually, lips like cherry bubblegum, and a shy, reserved aura about her, Molly stole many a heart before swan diving spectacularly from our radars.
I’m not altogether sure what transpired as things were going according to form as the eighties drew to a close. The Pick Up Artist and Fresh Horses kept things ticking along nicely but suddenly the Brat Pack fell out of vogue and, along with the likes of Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, and Andrew McCarthy, Molly was considered surplus to Hollywood’s requirements. Nowadays she is considered one of the decade’s leading lights and rightly so, while I still carry that very same torch from way back when. Naturally I keep it in my pants so as not to arouse suspicion when I get the daily groceries. If I ever meet this delightfully dandy dame I will do three things: kiss her respectfully on her forehead, request compensation for dozens of odd socks I misplaced on account of her loveliness, and request a pair of those cotton candy panties to nuzzle into on rainy days. Bless you Molly Ringwald for guiding me through my own uncomfortable rites of passage and, three decades on, you still look just as pretty in pink.
Another young enigma who fell from grace after a strong start was Macaulay Culkin and, once again, Hughes had a hand in gifting him his big break. As resourceful brat Kevin McAllister in Home Alone, he made life a living hell for bungling burglars Harry and Marv and was rocketed to overnight success as the film took an unprecedented half a billion dollars at the box office. Culkin was ten-years-old when his popularity soared and ill-equipped to cope with the fame and fortune. Consequently, he went on to famously sue his parents and spoon Michael Jackson, before careering down a decidedly darker path.
His fifteen minutes of fame were soon up and he joined the ranks of child actors lost in time where he has remained pretty much ever since. Alas, while his charming turn as McAllister (in a “I still wish to punch you in the voice box and stamp on your Kinder egg” kind of way) ended up defining him and it has proved too long a road back from there.
While Home Alone co-star Joe Pesci was given a torrid time by the youngster, he fared somewhat better in the years that followed, largely thanks to his utterly terrifying turn as uppity mobster Tommy DeVito in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. While he’d already shown his mean streak for Raging Bull a decade earlier, Tommy truly broke the mould here when it came to meanness of spirit. Who can forget poor old skivvy Spider, as he made the pint-sized piranha look foolish in front of his partners in organized crime, not once, but twice and paid the ultimate price. If you’re looking for spokespeople for little man syndrome, then cast your eyes down to about knee level as, chances are, Tommy DeVito has a claw hammer pointed at your patellae and a devilish little twinkle in his eye.
After an affable stint as My Cousin Vinny, Pesci was at it again for Scorsese’s Casino and Nicky Santoro was every bit as repellent a character, perhaps even more so. Not afraid to crush a man’s skull-cap in an industrial bench vice, Nicky seemed intent on collecting heads for his already bulging duffel bag. Needless to say, it all ended in tears, as he was soundly battered to death and discarded in a shallow grave Vegas style. For as much as he often played hateful characters, I’d have donated my less corroded lung to watch him gain his comeuppance on Kevin just once, perhaps slam his puny little noggin in a car door repeatedly or something similarly inhospitable. Like fellow firestarter Wile E. Coyote however, it simply wasn’t to be. Despite his lack of vertical stature, Pesci is still one of the five men on earth I’d be least likely to call short stack even now. Goodfella or not, he’s one helluva bad egg to crack for your omelette.
I couldn’t possibly mention Pesci without a tip of the Crimson Quill to fellow “wise guy” Ray Liotta. While Henry Hill was a tad less quick-tempered than Tommy, he still had a tendency to unleash fury whenever it was deemed necessary and, when his beloved Karen was disrespected by neighborhood jocks, he made his point in terms most certain, using the butt of his handgun to knock some sense into her antagonist. Karen was horrified by this sudden rush of blood but also secretly aroused by the manner in which he protected her honor. As for me, I would have been happy just shining his shoes. His performance in Goodfellas is the one which Liotta is best known for but, as Ray Sinclair in Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild, he was at his sneering best in my opinion. Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels may have owned their leading roles with conviction, but Liotta stole every solitary last scene he was in and stated a fairly strong case for giving your high-school reunion a decidedly wide berth.
While we’re on the subject of Daniels, I feel like I’ve still got one more star in me, and Jeff fits the bill just perfectly. Jim Carrey can wait as that amiable rubber-faced goof could command a whole article on his very own but his partner in pratfall (not entirely sure whether Harry was Dumb or Dumber as they both appeared to share the same tiny brain) more than deserves a mention. My first introduction to Daniels was as the unfortunately named Flap Horton in Terms of Endearment but Something Wild placed him squarely on my radar. Three years later he popped up again, this time as terminal hypochondriac Ray Maklin in David Leland’s hugely overlooked Checking Out. Convinced he was at death’s door after a close friend drops dead unannounced, Daniels was superb as the fretful everyman and has impressed me on numerous occasions since. Whether playing it straight down the line or strictly for laughs, his attendance is never less than appreciated.
That’s two constellations down, heaven knows how many more to go. I have no idea where this voyage will lead us next as there are just so many stones still left unturned. Hollywood’s dream machine just pops them out so dang fast; I can barely keep up with the influx of fresh hopefuls churned out week-on-week. Anyhoots, that’s a headache for another day entirely. For now I have decided to take a temporary break for the silver screen and instead honor the crème de la crème of women in pop past and present plus… Kim Kardashian.
Jesus Kim, that thing produces some methane. I bet you don’t do that in front of Kayne. Truth be known, you should feel deeply privileged just to have made the cut as, had I left it up to Taylor Swift, then that bubblicious booty could never have hoped to feature. Fret not as one day you’ll be famous for something relevant other than recording private phone conversations and dripping your poison all over the social network. Now I’m not suggesting that Swift is a saint, likely far from it, but really? That reminds me, does Caitlyn Jenner count? Tell you what, I’ll even let you kick off our gallery. How does that sound erm… sweetcheeks?
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Savage Vault Enterprises 2016