Monday, July 28, 2008

My 90s Crushes

You know, I spend a lot of time reminiscing about all those great coming-of-age 80s movies and the actors that defined them. But, the truth is, I was nine at the end of the 80s, so while I certainly enjoy those movies, at the time that they originally aired and caused hysteria among teen girls everywhere, I was probably playing with my Popples and beheading my Barbies (another story for another time).

Which is why, I think, it’s time to get on to the decade that really mattered: the 90s. I’d like to look back and say that I was way too cool for celeb crushes and that I’m not even just the littlest bit familiar with the mags Teen Beat, Bop and yes, The Big Bopper. But you know me better than that. I mean, I watch “Gossip Girl,” and “The Hills,” for god’s sakes.

So, since I’m in a bloggy and nostalgic mood, I think it’s about time I detail my Top 5 crushes from the 90s.

Jared Leto

Man, he’s an asshole now, right? No matter. Before Cameron Diaz, before the eyeliner, before that band with the terrible name that I refuse to look up, before I started reading detailed reports of his asswipey-ness everywhere, Jared Leto was simply Jordon Catalano on one of my (still) all-time favorite TV shows, “My So-Called Life.”

Why was Jordan so dreamy? Well, he was really hot. Looking back, I think that was pretty much it. I mean, he certainly wasn’t very smart, although he was quiet and brooding, which sometimes points to intelligence below the surface. Not in this case, but whatever. I remember being crushed by Jordan and Rayanne when they hooked up (although Rayanne went on to redeem herself in my eyes with a stunning perfomance in the school’s rendition of “Our Town”), and that was pretty much just one of many moments when I should have decided that he was not worthy of Angela. But I got over it, because he was gorgeous.

Jay Frank

Um, yeah. For those who didn’t obsessively watch every minute of every episode of every season of “The Real World” in the 90s, you may have missed Jay, one of the castmembers of the mostly uneventful London season. (Although remember dude that got his tongue bit off? That shit was fucked up!)

Anyway, Jay was sweet, smart, unassuming, and totally devoted to his girlfriend back home in Portland. In other words, he probably wouldn’t make it past the first round of auditions to get on the show now. But what I loved most about Jay was that he wrote and acted in a one-man show “Bedroom.” And he wrote it when he was, like, 16. Which made me love him because I already considered myself a writer, but also because I thought that through crushing on him (and his accomplishments) I might be able to accomplish some of those lofty achievements myself. Uh, yeah, so I didn’t end up writing and acting in a one-man screenplay. But I have seen pretty much every episode of "Law & Order," which is not necessarily related, but should be considered impressive nonetheless.

The Bros From Wings

I don’t care what anyone says, "Wings" was a great show. And even though I had no idea where Nantucket was for the duration of the show, I still tuned in every week (and later in re-runs) to see what shenanigans Joe and Brian got themselves into. Now, given my preference for brainy, thoughtful dudes, it would seem that Joe would be the clear object of my affection here. But! Joe was kind of a hard-ass, and sometimes it was to the point of being annoying and unattractive. And that time, my affections would switch to Brian, who wasn’t so obsessed with Helen, and was undeniably charming. I figured I could be the one to make him settle down. Or something.

Anyway, my crushes on these guys went on for a long time, until Tim Daly and Steven Weber started taking on roles in decidedly creepy movies-of-the-week, likely in attempt to be perceived as someone other than the guys from Wings. Tim Daly as David Koresh creeped me the hell out, and I’ve never seen the actual version of “The Shining” because Steven Weber’s sanitized NBC version of Jack scared the living shit out of me.

John Cusack in “Grosse Pointe Blank”

Yeah, sometimes it’s a little hazy, but there was a Cusackian era in-between his stellar, career-defining roles in 80s flicks like “Better Off Dead,” and “Say Anything” and the bullshit he regularly ends up in now, like “Must Love Dogs.”

John Cusack was still highly crush-worthy, in my opinion, in this 1997 movie about a professional assassin who goes back to his hometown and attends his 10-year high school reunion. Definitely not ‘80s-era Cusack anymore, but still a hottie.

Elijah Wood

Definitely saved the best for last. I was intensely, disturbingly obsessed with Elijah Wood as a teenager, something that only became OK with friends and family after he became famous again a few years ago. Well, to clarify, I was still mocked about this when we has playing a Hobbit, but then he was in Eternal Sunshine and Sin City and now he comes across as an affable, well-adjusted guy with some indie cred. So I’m not a total dork. Anyway.

Not sure why I loved Elijah so intensely, but I did. He seemed smart, I guess, and he was my age, which always seemed important should we meet in real life. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen every movie Elijah Wood was in up until 1996 or so… I also have managed to store lots of Elijah-related trivia in my mind from those years. Did you know, for example, that one of his first roles was in Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl” music video? AND! He was in extra in one of the “Problem Child” movies.

Yeah, he was. Bet you didn’t know those things. I spent way too much time obsessing over Elijah, which included clipping articles about him and watching “The Adventures of Huck Finn” over and over and over. I cheered when the mom dropped Macauley Culkin instead of Elijah off the cliff at the end of “The Good Son” and went out to the movie theater for the first showing of “North.”

Honorable mention:
Devon Gummersall as Brian Krakow. Yeah, he was the one who really wrote that insanely beautiful and thoughtful letter to Angela (Jordan took the cred) in “My So-Called Life.” Let’s face it—I probably couldn’t have hooked up with Jordan in real life, and since I’m a very practical person, Brian was a better bet. My crush was appropriately, uh, crushed, when Devon went on to play a character that raped the Red Ranger in “Felicity.” Sigh.


ShannanB aka Mommy Bits said...

The guys from Wings???? Interesting.

Not sure I could narrow down to five, but some I would consider include Ron Livington in Office Space, Ben Affleck in Good Will Hunting, Val Kilmer in Tombstone, Tim Roth from Reservoir Dogs.

It's tough. I commend your efforts, even at 1,500 words!

Loree said...

Good picks! Loved Office Space, of course. I was more of a Damon girl in GWH.

Melissa said...

I have to add Christian Bale to this list. The number of times I watched Newsies & Swing Kids just to see his goregousness cannot be overstated. He was hot even when playing a Nazi, for crying out loud!

Loree said...

You know, I totally thought about Newsies after I wrote this. In typical, I-should-probably-be-more-realistic fashion, my Newsies crush was actually David Moscow, since he seemed more attainable.

I just bought Newsies on DVD a month ago. There's a karoake-style singalong!

Swing Kids is definitely pretty great, too. Nazi Christian Bale broke my heart.

Amy in Ohio said...

I'll give you Cusack. That crush continues on for me today. Yesterday, today, tomorrow.

Loree said...

Cusack will always be pretty dreamy. I just wish he could get some good material now to work with. High Fidelity is the last movie of his that I love, love, loved.

Rob said...

I knew about Cusack and Elijah Wood, but I have to admit being disturbed by all the others. I refuse to believe any Real World cast member could be a worthwhile human being, and I similarly doubt Jared Leto could likewise pretend to be a worthwhile human being.

But since I, like every other boy in America, dreamt of early-Friends-era Jennifer Aniston and Heather Graham as she appeared in Swingers, I suppose I don't have any room to quibble.

Greg said...

I remember watching that David Koresh movie. And Grosse Pointe Blank and High Fidelity are the last two really "watchable" Cusack movies for me. Even though he scared the shit out of me in 1408.

Kristin said...

Jared Leto + John Cusack definitely would be on my list too.

As for Wings ... I had completely forgotten about that show. But I watched it at some point!

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