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Archive for the ‘Men in emotional pain’ Category

Control and emotion

Posts, eh? None for six months, and then three come along at once.

Since I was posting, I couldn’t not also post about the Spock stuff from the new Star Trek movie. It pushes sooooo many of my buttons. Few things do it for me like a guy trying and failing to control overwhelming emotion. Sadness/pain is best, but I love anger, too. There’s just so much tangled up here, thousands of years of cultural stereotyping and archetyping. The fact that whenever I write about this I always want to use the word ‘manfully’ to describe this attempt at stoicism shows just how ingrained this stuff is.

Of course, the more stoic the guy, the more delicious it is when he’s overwhelmed. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. And who is the ultimate in stoic self-control? Why, Spock, of course. So what could possibly be more delicious than Spock succumbing to grief and pain? And anger?

And we’ve got the H/C thing here, too. The ultimate H/C, when it comes to emotional H, surely. I mean, the guy’s just lost not only his mother but his entire planet, and become a member of an endangered species. Awesome. Women all over the world must have wanted to grab Zoe Saldana by her perky ponytail and yank her out of the way.

Plus, you know, Zachary Quinto, om nom nom.

I really wanted to post the clips for posterity, but sadly all the actual clips appear to have been removed from YouTube, leaving only the crappy crappy fan vids. Please, fans, stop posting crappy crappy fan vids. It makes it really hard to search for actual clips. And seriously, noone wants to watch your montage, no matter what soppy song you set it to.

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eagle-eye-shia-labeouf-1646I seriously doubt anyone’s going to be bothered, but just in case, I’m declaring spoilers for Eagle Eye.

I have a little Shia LaBeouf thing going at the moment. What a great manga-face. I looooove big eyes. To borrow a phrase from a young friend of mine, I would wreck that.

I mean, look at it.

Why am I boring you with my slightly sinister cradle-snatching lust? Because it represents a partial return to form for me.

You see, I haven’t been quiet just because I’ve been busy (though I have). Nope. I’ve been right off this whole bdsm&m thing. For a good month or so, my brain has been utterly refusing to engage with it at all. It hasn’t wanted to play. It’s been like, ‘You know, this thing is messed up. Let’s just not look at it. We can manage without sex. We can get by without intimacy. Wouldn’t that be easier? Move along now, nothing to see here.’

I’ve been feeling intellectually repulsed by it (I forget who called this ‘social nausea’, but it’s perfectly descriptive), and sexually detached from it.

And then I saw Eagle Eye, and found my… um, ears?… pricking up. And it quickly became apparent that of course it wasn’t the manga eyes that did it (though that helps), but that good old pain/shame/powerlessness/self-sacrifice thing again.

Shia’s character, Jerry, is a drop-out who is weighed down by feelings of inadequacy, having being consistently outshone by his twin brother Ethan and ignored by their parents. At the start of the movie, after being estranged from his family for some time, he hears that Ethan has been killed. Cue funeral scene, with some really top-notch crying.

God, I love crying men.

He then gets ‘activated’ by a mysterious woman who turns out to be a near-omniscient and -onmipotent computer, and spends the next hour or so being a helpless pawn, making futile attempts at rebellion, but ultimately being outclassed and emotionally manipulated. If only the computer had gone in for a little sexual harrassment as well. Sadly, she is a computer and wastes the opportunity.

Learning that his brother worked with the computer as a super-secret Air Force secret agent type, Jerry decides to go along with it and finish the job for him. He then discovers that Ethan actually tried to foil the computer because it was trying to kill the president, and so he has to race to stop the planned assassination.

And this was the yummiest bit.

To do this, he runs into the State of the Union address, where a tiny crystal bomb in a necklace is about to be detonated by a trumpet (I know, mental), climbs on a table and starts firing into the ceiling, knowing full well that, while this is going to save the day, it’s also going to result in him getting shot by every secret service man in the room.

The look on his face as he does this is simply gorgeous. He knows what’s coming and he can’t bear to look. So beautiful.

So, as I’m sure you expected, here are some clips. Funeral (with tears) first and aftermath, then we jump forwards to see him confronted with childhood memories, and then, of course, the grand climax. (If all you want to see is the look on his face as he sacrifices himself for the greater good and his brother’s memory, skip forwards to about 6.45.)

(Edit: Gah! YouTube hate me. You can watch it here instead.)

So, I guess I’m back in the game, dipping my toes in the water once more. I’m still feeling pretty uncomfortable with a lot of stuff – which I’ll write about another day – but at least I seem to be coming out of lock down.

(Edit 2: It seems he’s likely to be playing the last man alive (after a ‘plague’ wiped out all the men but left the women alive) in an adaption of Y: The Last Man. I can see some potential with that concept – but probably the series is miles away from my fevered imaginings.

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On Christmas Eve I went to midnight mass with a catholic friend of mine. Now, I don’t much like religion. I’m spiritual, but not religious, and dogma tends to make me uncomfortable. And this friend of mine is not someone I’m remotely attracted to. Not even a little bit.

However, he went up to receive communion, and then came back to the pew and knelt, in prayer, head bowed and hidden in his joined hands, and I suddenly felt hugely attracted to him.

There is something about religious men. Is it another kind of submission, religion? Perhaps it is. Submission to the will of someone or something else, to something external that you consider to be wiser and better than you, to its rules and guidance. To its judgement of your value and worth.

I find religion in males deeply compelling, in two kinds. One is a grown, strong, adult man who is religious, willingly submitting his own judgement to something external. The other is a boy or young man with religious feeling. I should make clear at this point that I have no actual sexual interest in actual underage boys. (*Shudder*) However, the archetype of altarboys is a powerful one. I think it’s to do with contrast. Boys are ‘supposed’ to be little tearaways, chaotic, insensitive, boisterous. The idea of a boy or young man with actual religious feeling – well, I guess it’s not just religious feeling. Adolescent boys who break the stereotype and are contemplative or sensitive – that’s always been a powerful thing for me.

‘Son of a preacher man’ always had a strong effect on me. With this archetype you get the imposition of religious discipline on a young, rebellious mind, and religious thought (because if you’re brought up in a religious family it stays with you whether or not you choose to believe), and the kind of cunning that allows him to present a respectable face to his parents while sneaking out after hours to be a very, very bad boy. Submission and rebellion all in one package.

Then there’s catholic priests, who are supposed to be celibate – how much fun if they fail. The fighting their own nature, the breaking, the remorse, the shame.

My head is messed up.

Russell Crowe’s repentant gunfighter-turned-priest in The Quick and the Dead.

Remorse. Repentance. Shame. Guilt.

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Johnny Castle

Another boy from the wrong side of the tracks relying on his body to make a living. Dancing is Johnny’s only marketable skill, and he’s poorly paid even for that. He depends on the ‘generosity’ of wealthy, powerful older women, who only want him for his body, paying him to dance with them, and sometimes a little bit more. They toy with him and then cast him aside at will. Meanwhile, all the ‘respectable’ employees despise him, seeing him as a piece of trash who’ll never amount to anything. Even Baby’s kindly doctor father assumes he’s a piece of scum who knocked up his partner and sent her to a backstreet abortionist. But however badly they treat him, he still has to swallow his pride and cowtow to them, because he just can’t afford to lose that job. His anger and resentment bubble away just under the surface, but can’t dispel his deep-rooted shame and feelings of worthlessness.

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I’m really not a big fan of Ben McKenzie. He’s the least convincing boy-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks ever. But I am a big fan of emotionally tortured men going cage fighting in a vain attempt to get a moment’s respite from their pain.

Here’s why I got sucked into the OC. I turned on the tv one day and found this playing:

A bruised and bloodied young man, living in squalor, avoiding the people who care about him, and sneaking off to a cheap motel to meet a wealthy older woman? Yep, sounds like my kind of thing. So I kept watching, and the episode progressed like this:

Cage-fighting, emotional dysfunction, and revenge.

And that’s how I ended up watching the OC. Of course, it turned out to be largely bollocks, but it does have good archetypes, and I love me an archetype.

Can I have my credibility back? Extenuating circumstances? Oh, screw it, sexuality makes us all do odd things. I embrace my inner cheap-tv-fan.

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I was talking a couple of posts back about men who fight for their sovereignty. Big tough men who fight the bad guys, protect the weak, save the day – how much more wonderful when they fall.

I love the Lost episode A Tale of Two Cities, the opening episode of season 3. I love it for many reasons, but especially for the interplay between Jack, newly captured by the others, and Juliet, assigned to break him.

I love the way Juliet goes about this. She doesn’t shout, or posture, or throw her weight around. Noone calls anyone bitch. There isn’t even any violence. Just one-sided power, vain resistance, and eventual surrender.

And, of course, a hot guy crying.

Beautiful.

Here are the key scenes. Apologies for the four videos – WordPress won’t let me embed a playlist. On the plus side, that means that if you just want to watch Matthew Fox cry, you can skip to the end.

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As I was talking about devoted, love-struck apprentices in the last post, and it reminded me of Hero. I loved Hero. I’m a big fan of the seriously beautiful Tony Leung, who always does very delicious emotional distress. Loved his guilt-ridden assassin in Hard Boiled. Mmm, shame. Must write about that some time. Where was I? Oh, yes, Hero. The red section was so chock-full of completely fucked up relationships, it was gorgeous. Here’s a clip.

A brief precis in case you haven’t seen Hero: Broken Sword (the lovely Leung) and Flying Snow (the also lovely Maggie Cheung) are political assassins, now living in hiding in a calligraphy school. They used to be lovers, but haven’t spoken in years because it was said she had had an affair with another assassin, Sky. His apprentice, Moon, is in silent, unrequited love with him. Enter the assassin Nameless (who I guess could be considered my namesake; it wasn’t intentional) with a proposal intended to bring down their mutual enemy, the emperor.

Naturally they’re all brick hard killing machines. Nothing like brick hard, invulnerable killing machines undoing themselves with their own emotions.

I love men in emotional pain. In any film, any tv show, I’m always drawn to the guy who’s suffering emotionally. Especially if he’s trying to be controlled and impassive, but it’s so intense that it’s slipping out through the mask anyway. Or if it’s being subverted into something more culturally acceptable, like, say, homocidal fury.

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