There's a film that, once upon a time, I watched religiously. At least once or twice a week, for months. Because this film was that hot.
It was White Squall, a 1996 Ridley Scott offering, chronicling the fateful final voyage of an American school sailing ship, The Albatross, in 1960. Based on true events recorded by one of the boys on-board, Chuck Gieg, the movie followed the trials and tribulations of the boys under the guidance of their captain, Christopher "Skipper" Sheldon, and his wife, Dr. Alice Sheldon. Skipper brings the young men together as a crew, teaching them respect and teamwork, and leading them in an adventure of a lifetime, until they run into trouble amidst a storm at sea.
Back in '96, I bought the VHS tape for one reason. No, check that. I bought it for eight reasons. The eight guys from around the USA that boarded the ship for eight months of schooling and life-changing events. Scott Wolf, Ryan Philippe, Jeremy Sisto, Jason Marsden, David Lasher, Eric Michael Cole, Balthazar Getty, and Ethan Embry were the young men who played the roles of Chuck, Gil, Frank, Shay, Robert, Dean, Tod, and Tracy. And they were well worth the price of the movie. An hour and a half of watching them aboard a windchimer, shirtless, working and sweating in the hot sun?
I hadn't watched the flick in quite some time, so on Monday, my day off, I decided to revisit White Squall and refresh my memories of those handsome young men who were just starting to set young girls' hearts a-flutter back then, and many of whom have gone on to strong acting careers in Hollywood.
I wasn't disappointed. Apparently, this movie just doesn't get old. They were still as drool-worthy as they were when I first saw it.
However, there was one man in the film that I had overlooked as a teen: The captain of the ship, Skipper, played by Jeff Bridges. It would seem that with age, I've gained appreciation for the older man. Or maybe it's because the flick has frozen the crew in their tender teen years, whereas Skipper seems more rugged and strong and...well...sexy.
Whatever the reason, I developed a very deep appreciation for Jeff Bridges, and couldn't believe that I hadn't seen it sooner. He was simply delicious!
So imagine my shock, when, in the wake of him receiving a Golden Globe for his movie Crazy Heart on Sunday, Ellen DeGeneres had him on her show yesterday, and I realized Mr. Bridges doesn't quite look like he did in White Squall anymore. Not even close. In fact, he looked like he'd just come down from the mountains to be on her show.
He's got a long, greying mane of hair. His face is wrinkly and half-hidden by a grizzly beard. And his body, once hard and muscular, has given way to a soft paunch. Even his voice seemed to have changed into an old man's rasp.
It's been 14 years since White Squall was released, and it's the only movie I can recall seeing Jeff Bridges in. I wasn't prepared to see how those 14 years had changed him. Now 60, the actor looks every bit his age, and he seems quite comfortable and happy with that.
It was a little unsettling for me, despite the fact that the man is obviously doing very well for himself, collecting nominations and prestitigious awards for his current work on the silver screen, as well as making a name for himself musically. (He strummed a tune on Ellen's show, in fact.) And after a quick browse around his website (http://www.jeffbridges.com/), it would appear he's got an artistic side that runs deep. The man is more than just an actor.
And definitely more than just a pretty face.
So now, 14 years after 'discovering' Bridges, I've developed an appreciation for him - there are many layers to him, and I'm intrigued.
I've even gotten over the fact that he no longer looks like Skipper. I'm fascinated by this artist, this actor, this musician, and I can't wait to learn more.
But it still doesn't hurt to watch that old favourite of mine from time to time and be reminded of what he once was... ;)