Blogathon

Sexy crush…Peaky Blinders’ Tommy Shelby

I’d pretty much written this post (albeit unconvincingly)…then I went to Switzerland…

PeakyBlinders5My sexy crush was obvious from the very start – Tommy Shelby from Peaky Blinders. Yet somehow, I just didn’t know why. Last year’s choice for this Blogathon (here) was easy – a look back on a straightforward teenage crush. But now, 20 or so years later, what’s the appeal in a bad boy? I should be more mature than that. Actually, maybe that’s exactly it…as a teenager, the crush is probably more superficial, more about looks and visual appeal. Now, sexy (which goes hand-in-hand with a crush for me) is much, much more than that. It took me a week of time-out from the everyday with some awesome people* together with great conversation to realise this (I probably knew it anyway – I just hadn’t formalised it in my mind). In fact, one of the topics (co-incidentally) we contemplated one night was exactly that – what makes a person sexy and appealing? We’d agreed (I think) that it was more than just looks. While we didn’t chat about it long, it did get me thinking…

So…I consider myself a good girl who doesn’t really fall for bad boys but ooh, oooh, oooooh, I just couldn’t help falling head over heels with Tommy Shelby. From the opening scene of Peaky Blinders I was totally smitten. Whwwwwew…it isn’t easy trying to write up a post while totally swooning over the character in question. Moving along swiftly…but hey…he’s just sooooo sexy…

Yes…sexy. What is it that makes a man sexy in the first place? Why do you fall for him? Why do we have that crush? One that almost wrenches your heart out? Because crushes are infatuations we have with the unattainable.

What draws me to Mr Shelby (and yes, that’s “Mr” to you or anyone else he encounters who isn’t family or exempt from formalities)? I don’t know. I really don’t. Maybe it’s that he’s always well dressed. Maybe it’s that se… that was pre-mini-break…
Now, I think I know. It has something to do with his presence…definitely. He’s the first person I notice in the room on the screen. The only one who draws me in. Inexplicably. Immediately. Some sort of combination of charisma, outward confidence and yes, naturally (because I’m human), looks. Not the society-conditioned-hot-hunky look but a mature, sophisticated, yet very attractive look. And outwardly, he acts and dresses that way too:

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I’d never consciously noticed eyes on men before, but strangely enough, the eyes seem to be a striking trait found in the men I’ve found sexy. Don’t take me wrong….I don’t often have crushes, but those few I’ve had, now thinking about it, have something about their eyes. Just look at these:

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And the crush in question has some “rough” edges…he’s definitely not a boyish man…no, he’s a manly man but never old man. Oh just look at him:

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There’s some ruggedness about him yet at the same time he has a softer way with women. What makes Tommy Shelby attractive is that Grace never needs to go out her way to attract his attention. He goes about doing his job and whatever else he deems important and the relationship just happens – a natural “gel”.  He’s also able to hold a good conversation.

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And…it is not about the “deed”, the “s” word…not at all. Tommy Shelby has all the appeal without that. The ultimate for me, the defining moment, is where he (spoiler alert) “rescues” Grace from the men who want their own way with her (even though the “off-putting, totally un-crushable” part should be that he led her to them but I’ll just file that away for now).

PeakyBlinders6He has a history that has shaped him. Hidden daemons. Depth. Dimensions. But he’s not scared to admit it. Through this, he makes me feel alive. There’s a sense of living dangerously (of course, glamourised, it being a series). And that gives even more flutters. Re-ignites something that the day-to-day life doesn’t have. In fact, one of the people I spoke to overseas said something along the lines of falling not for the person but for the euphoric, electric feeling one experiences from the person in question. A high.

Realistically, I know I shouldn’t like him. I mean, who likes a guy who’s every move, every action has an underlying motive? Tommy Shelby never, ever does anything “just so”. Absolutely everything is calculated and for the good of him (and his family – which is totally sexy in the right context) or his business ventures. And he’s mean, cold and pure work, no fun. He’s a gangster.

While crushes and sexiness are far more than just this, I’ll ponder those thoughts some more. In the meantime, my tummy flutters. I’m totally aloof, struggling to think straight. There’s been some profound effect on me.

PeakyBlinders7.jpgOk, ok, fine…I’ll admit it, I’m shallow – he just looks so damn good. There. Happy?

On a less shallow and infatuated note…if you haven’t seen BBC’s Peaky Blinders, I highly recommend you give it a go. Yes, it is gritty, dark and violent but it is really excellent with superb performances from all involved. They include Cillian Murphy, Sam Neill, Paul Anderson, Joe Cole, Helen McCrory, Sophie Rundle, Ned Dennehy, Ian Peck, Annabelle Wallis, Tom Hardy, Iddo Goldberg, Noah Taylor and many more.

Gosh, I could go watch Peaky Blinders right now…I think I will.

*To L and S (Ihr wisst wer Ihr seid), thank you for putting my post into perspective and for some good conversation last week.

Thanks to Silver Screenings and Font and Frock for hosting this hot, hot Blogathon. Head on over to Reel Infatuation to read more…and…for my teenage infatuation with Lucky Luciano and Will Scarlett have a look at my entry from last year’s Reel Infatuation Blogathon: Crushing on Will Scarlett and Lucky Luciano.

Heated Lust – Duel in the Sun 

Of course writing about Gregory Peck is going to come with a certain amount of bias from my side. But, hey…whatever…

The 3rd Annual Sex! (now that I have your attention) Blogathon asks for movies that imply rather than show. And not just a single sex scene (there are loads of movies with those) but oozing (maybe that’s not such a sexy word) sex appeal right through. While many movies fit the bill in a scene or two, I think Duel in the Sun (1946) is filled with sexual tension from beginning to end. So much so that it was apparently referred to as “Lust in the Dust” by critics.

Flirtatious dancing by Pearl‘s mother in the very first scene sets expectations for what is to come. Disguised as a western, we know this is going to be more than that. Circumstances have Pearl (Jennifer Jones) move to the McCanles ranch. She’s met in town by responsible Jesse (Joseph Cotton) and not a few miles later she’s already fluttering her eyelashes at him. She even offers to change her dark clothes right there and then. Admittedly, I doubt she knows the hormones she inadvertantly stirs by just suggesting this. Or maybe she does, as she does boldly ask Jesse if his brother is as nice as he is with almost dreamy eyes. Little does she know about the other, less gentlemanly brother waiting at the ranch. That he’s the one who would love nothing better than have her change clothes right there and then.

That’s where the real sizzling tension is. The bad, bad, baaaaad boy Lewt (Gregory Peck). But, make no mistake, he’s not all to blame. Pearl is just as guilty, for sashing around, fluttering more eyelashes and generally holding a tantalising posture and stirring wild dreams in the poor cowboys on the McCanles ranch.

Most of the time she acts as if she doesn’t want anything to do with Lewt but we know exactly that she does. He unsettles her but she likes it and she definitely wants more of that feeling. She denies it, oh, but she wants it. It is so obvious during the scene where she is helping count food stock – her mind is clearly elsewhere. And, what does she  expect to happen cleaning her bedroom floor on hands and knees with the door wide open? She slaps Lewt alright…but…well…that slap…it is more sex than the ensuing kiss and the lightning storm outside tells us all we need to know.

Even Jesse has his eye on Pearl and while he’s less direct and definitely less mean (Lewt lets her freeze in a pond just because he’d love to see her get out naked) there’s definitely a gesture here and a look there to show he has the same ideas as his brother.

There are so many scenes that I could write about but ultimately, they only make sense in context of the visuals. Besides, I’d hate to spoil this horrid but oh so good (don’t ask, I can’t explain) movie by giving away more than I already have. Let me just say…you haven’t seen bad boy until you’ve seen Lewt

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Captain Von Trapp…first impressions of Christopher Plummer

I’ll always associate Christopher Plummer with Captain Von Trapp from The Sound of Music (1965). The serious widower and father of 7 wonderful children. I watched this movie over and over when I was small but must admit, I never looked further than Maria (Julie Andrews), the children and the songs. I honestly didn’t care much for the gruff Captain who summons his children by whistle.

Only on watching this recently and naturally much, much older, did I take note of the entire story a bit more, including Captain Von Trapp. With a more “holistic” or maybe, mature, approach I realised what a wonderful actor Mr Plummer is. But, I was also more aware of the character of the Captain. His motives and the situation he finds himself all give him depth that as a child you don’t notice. Naturally so, because as a child we watch movies on a different “level”, noting only the obvious, if that makes any sense. I found myself warming up to Christopher Plummer. He portrays the Captain so well and with just enough emotion, or lack thereof, required for me to start sympathising with him. I’m a sucker for romance and for the first time found myself enjoying the relationship between Maria and the Captain develop. As a child I’d always wondered what Maria could possibly ever see in him. Most beautiful is watching them dance together at the party where he steps in for young Kurt who is not quite managing. But just lovely to watch is the stern patriarch showing little nuances of a smile here and there.

What I didn’t know until writing this post is that Christopher Plummer apparently despised this movie and made it known publicly. According to IMDB, he only eased up on this opinion in his 2008 autobiography. What I also learnt is that he is/was the only member of the cast to have met the real Maria von Trapp.

What I’d like to remember is The Sound of Music for the movie it is, so I’m going to disregard all comments supposedly made by Christopher Plummer to bring it down. Hmmmm, I think I may just give it another watch.

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Gunslinging Dentist?

Doc Holliday, gunslinger, deputy marshal, gambler and forever connected, through his friendship with Wyatt Earp, to the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Before I go on…if you are looking for historical accuracy, you won’t find it here. Just a look at Doc Holliday in Tombstone (1993). So, where was I?

Oh yes. So…having watched him in Tombstone played by Val Kilmer, you probably know that he was suffering from tuberculosis. You’ll also know that he was an avid gambler (which I believe was a respectable profession back in the day). Doc Holliday, born John Henry Holliday, continues gambling and drinking despite his illness.

oie_yqU5SVcKigzSWhat never fails to amaze me (and, I really admire him for it), is that, no matter how ill he is, he is there for his friend Wyatt. As for Val Kilmer, to me he is the star in this movie portraying the sickly, and later dying, Doc so convincingly. What a fabulous character both externally and internally. A man, who claims he wasn’t as ill as he looked so he could face Johnny Ringo rather than have Wyatt take the risk. Or, who got out there to ride posse and did what needed doing despite feeling dreadful. “I’m in my prime” he proudly announces when Johnny Ringo questions if he has also retired from the law despite his obvious suffering.

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“I’m in my prime”

What I appreciate is that he doesn’t rely on the excuse that he is sick and therefore has no need to put himself out there…quite the contrary, I think he knows his days are numbered and therefore makes sure he puts himself out there. What does he have to lose, after all? I think his last scene emphasises this in that he asks Wyatt to leave before he dies – the Doc Holliday doesn’t want to be seen as vulnerable.

But, can you imagine him treating your pearly whites? Didn’t think so. Yes, he was also a dentist, having been admitted to the degree at the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery. He even worked in a dental practice before heading to a warmer climate because of his tuberculosis. While Tombstone doesn’t mention this directly, there is reference to the fact that he is an educated man in the wonderful bar-scene “duel” with him and Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn, also fantastic in this role) showing off their Latin and gun-spinning talents.

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Quite an interesting character this Doc Holliday. Isn’t he? And perfect for this Medicine in the Movies Blogathon as he is both a patient and doctor.

As for Tombstone, if you haven’t watched this one, it’s high time you do. A wonderful movie narrated by Robert Mitchum and starring a host of well known actors including Kurt Russell, Sam Elliot, Bill Paxton, Powers Booth and many, many more.

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The Lost Boys (1987) – Decades Blogathon

We’re onto Day 3 of the Decades Blogathon – ‘7’ edition – hosted by myself and Tom from the brilliant blog Thomas J. The blogathon focuses on movies that were released in the seventh year of the decade. Tom and I are running a different entry each day (we’ll also reblog the other’s post) and […]

via Decades Blogathon – The Lost Boys (1987) — three rows back

Or read it here: (more…)

Tissues and Tears with a Walk to Remember

What list of tearjerker movies would be complete without a Nicholas Sparks adaptation? OK, OK…give me a chance here…I know not everyone likes the multitude of books-turned-movies….however, I must admit there are some that aren’t bad. But, there is only one that I really find good, very good…and one that has me watching through tears every single time. A Walk to Remember (2002).

The story seems very cliché…bad boy falls in love with good girl…but so what? It’s the emotional experience that counts. The fact that you end up caring so much for these two characters that  you cry! And, for the readers amongst you, the book achieves the same…I remember reading from beginning to end one night and going to bed in the early hours of the morning with bloodshot eyes from crying. I barely managed to see the last few chapters so teary-eyed was I. Three guesses as to what I looked like the next morning…

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The story is very simple yet sweet. Due to some silly teenage initiation/prank gone wrong, Landon Carter (Shane West), the school’s bad boy and cool dude is forced to join the drama club, give extra lessons and other community services rather than get expelled from the school. Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore), the school’s good girl who doesn’t care that she gets teased, is voluntarily and happily part of these extra-curricular activities. Through these circumstances, Landon is forced to set aside his pride (or arrogance) and interact with Jamie. Gradually, his preconceived ideas and perceptions of her start changing and he becomes a more likeable guy by being around a positive influence. Of course our two characters are jinxed when she says “You have to promise you won’t fall in love with me” when Landon asks her for help. His arrogant reply is “That’s not a problem”…but need I go further with this? Of course they will! And how lovely their love is. It is so tender and sweet. Genuine. Heart-breaking. Beautiful. True. I get all emotional just thinking of some of the beautiful scenes and dialogue they share. My favourite being one where he is there to “catch” her as his former cool friends play a nasty joke on her.

These two people are perfect for each other. Each one having a profound and everlasting effect on the other, present and future.

So, if you want a good cry…put your judgement of Nicholas Sparks adaptions away and give this one a go.

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Stormy days in Sweet Home Alabama…

When Movie Movie Blog Blog‘s announcement of the April Showers Blogathon came up, I naturally thought of all the great romantic rain scenes (because there’s something about that ultimate declaration of love just as the rain starts coming down) and to mind came Sweet Home Alabama (2002). But then I read the announcement again. Hmm, not simply any scene but one that is important to the plot. Oooh, yes, my selection still holds. Yaay. Why?

(The next bit may spoil things for you, so, don’t carry on reading if you plan to watch this one for the first time).

Here goes…

The opening scene is of two children, Jake and Melanie, running on the beach during a lightning storm. They are looking for the glass formations caused by lightning striking the sand and…they end up sharing a kiss. At this point Melanie asks Jake why he wants to be married to her to which he replies “So I can kiss you anytime I want” and lightning strikes them.  A present-day Melanie (Reese Witherspoon) is awoken from this flashback dream. We soon find out that she is a successful fashion designer and in a relationship with New York Mayor’s son, Andrew (Patrick Dempsey). When he proposes to her (and she accepts), she heads off to Alabama to tell her parents in person. However, the real reason she goes there alone is to finalise the divorce from her estranged husband…Jake (Josh Lucas). While in her hometown, she is reminded of her past and who she really is. Anyway…back to the rain…

The rain serves more than just a romantic backdrop. Firstly, we learn that Jake had, in fact, followed Melanie to New York shortly after they split up and at which point had realised that he needed to make something of himself before he could win her back. The sand formations, and subsequently a range of exclusive glassware, are his means of “conquering the world”. This would never have been possible without the rain, more specifically the lightning.

Secondly, it serves an important role at Melanie and Andrew‘s wedding. Normally, you’d expect sunny skies at such a special day, however, in this case, the rain brings the smiles. As soon as Melanie decides not to marry Andrew (I did warn you about spoilers), the heavens burst open. Like a huge sigh of relief (even if a little cliché). A washing away of the past and secrets to bring a new, fresh beginning. But, it also brings the story back to the two children we met in the opening scene, now adults, still in love: while Jake is gathering his glass formations (to avoid the wedding) and Melanie comes to the beach to collect her husband, there isn’t just lightning as in the opening but also rain. To me, a symbol that finally, he has made something of himself and she’s being herself. The storm almost shows their stormy relationship stage is over and they can move forward together. It is now his chance to ask her why she wants to be married to him to which she gives the same line he gave her as a child: “So I can kiss you anytime I want”

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