Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Crazy 80's Project: Hairspray


As a big fan of director John Waters, the legendary Divine and the musical adaptation of the film, I'm really surprised it has taken me this long to see the original Hairspray. But I have now remedied this situation, and boy am I glad I did. The story is the same as in every other incarnation: plucky overweight teen Tracy Turnblad winds up on the popular teen dancing show The Corny Collins Show and finds herself fighting against segregation in 1960's Baltimore. Although far less crude than earlier Waters classics like Female Trouble and Pink Flamingos, Hairspray has its own peculiar charm which works in this family-friendly--at least for John Waters--film. It's easy to see why Hairspray was turned into a musical, as the original is already so dependent on its soundtrack of 60's hits to provide atmosphere. The film is so fun and bouncy you hardly notice Waters' racial commentary sneaking its way into the film, which was the 2007 version's only major flaw. There's one scene in particular where Tracy and Link are making out behind a building and they utter ridiculous, Waters-ian lines like, "Our souls are black, though our skin is white." Lines such as this give the Race Issue far more intrigue and depth than anything in the musical version. All in all, Hairspray is simply a gloriously fun time, and probably the only Divine film I'd let a child watch. B+

Friday, November 25, 2011

100 Hot Men and a Dame: #89 River Viiperi

89. River Viiperi
Occupation: Model
Nationality: Spanish
Age: 20
Best Known For: Starring in ad campaigns for American Eagle and Calvin Klein while landing the covers of magazines such as Coitus and Guapo--all within a very short period of time.

For this installment of 100 Hot Men & a Dame, I have my good friend Kameron (follow him on Twitter and Tumblr) helping me out. Kameron and I met online a couple summers ago and, as we used to live in the same state, he's the only online friend I've made that I have met in real life. Our friendship appears to be based on disagreeing about everything, but, somehow, we have agreed on a few men on my list. So enjoy the first of a few conversations with him!

Dame James: When did you first encounter River and, if it wasn't love at first sight, when did you fall in love with him?

Kameron: It was love at first drool. I was a Men's Underwear "expert" at Bloomingdale's and we began getting a new line of Calvin Klein's in called "CK One". They were cute, sexy, young, hip, all of that... but the best part was the sexy new adverts placed in my section. The posters made me want to umm... further my product knowledge *cough* and in doing so I stumbled across this:

First off, Yum. Secondly he is European and if you know me, you know I can't resist those Europeans. This fresh face Spanish beauty had me at "hola".

DJ: Sigh, and to think the hottest guys I see at work are the generic male models wearing Target clothing. If I got to look at River every day, I'd be a lot happier at work! It's easy to see why that advertisement deepened your love of him. That accent! Although, I always find it strange hearing models speak after focusing on their looks for so long. They never sound the way you'd think. Thankfully, in River's case, he sounds better than you'd expect.

I first noticed River sometime in early 2010. I had had a slight interest in male models for a time but River had something special beyond the requisite good looks. He could actually model! And he has a wonderful, unexpected range, quite the feat since most male models only have to look hot in skimpy underwear. Have you looked into his portfolio? Any favorite photos? I've always loved this one with the cat on his head.

K: I've never obsessed to the point were I looked up his entire portfolio but I have seen quite a lot of sexy pics on the Fuck Yeah Tumblr blog made in his honor. To have to choose just one photo is criminal but I am fond of this one:

And I'm also particularly fond of his photos were he shows... how do I put this classy like?... his man-hair patch above the goods.

DJ: Pubic hair. You can say it. Pubic hair.

K: The picture above is one of my faves cos it's his ecstasy pose

DJ: Do you like to imagine that's the face he makes when he orgasms?

K: ...Yes.

DJ: Not that you think of that often, obviously. You have a boyfriend and everything.

K: No...never. ;)

DJ: Question: Would your boyfriend, Uli, let you have a threesome with River?

K: God yes. He probably wouldn't think twice about it. Niether would I. You have to prepare yourself/your relationship for such situations, come up with a list of "couldn't say nos"

DJ: I'm glad you and Uli have made time to discuss such important issues in your relationship. And I'm glad he understands how important River is to you.

K: If he's isn't willing, he ain't marriage material.

And how about you? Does River not float your boat or would you like to ride the rough River all night long?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What I'm Thankful for This Turkey Day...

I'm actually thankful for this whole movie, obviously, but this scene is perhaps (it changes daily) my favorite in the entire movie. I can't wait to try this out whenever someone accuses me of being drunk.

By the way, it should be noted that I am always thankful for this. But it never hurts to celebrate it whenever possible:

Monday, November 21, 2011

In Which I'm Now Forced to Hate Emma Stone

I truly love Emma Stone, I really do. She won last year's Diva Cup Award for Best Actress, for goodness sake! But I love Andy more, arguably to the point of obsession, so that's why I must hate Emma now. Back off from my man, bitch!

But, goddamnit, these two are so cute together! Gah! So many conflicting feelings!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bridesmaids: A Personal Essay

Last June, one of my best friends from high school got married. When she had gotten engaged the year before, she asked me to be her "man" of honor, which I immediately accepted. By the time of her wedding (to, I should add, her first serious boyfriend, a great guy she had been with for over four years), she had just finished school and her student teaching and was on the verge of landing a full-time job at her husband's school doing exactly what she wanted to do. Meanwhile, her man of honor was finishing up his Master's degree, no job in sight, $50,000+ of student loan debt looming after graduation, working a minimum wage job in retail to make ends meet and not only no man in sight but no significant relationship ever. Now, I don't mean to make her life sound easy or that she had things handed to her because she worked damn hard to get where she's at. But, at that moment, her life lined up perfectly for her.

Around the time of this wedding hoopla, a little movie called Bridesmaids was released. Superficially, the film mimicked my life and, therefore, I found the film hilarious beyond belief. I wasn't sure the film would hold up, but in the months between the theatrical and DVD release, I found myself thinking fondly of certain scenes and cracking up with laughter (usually at work, completely out of context). So when the DVD came out, I rushed to buy my copy and immediately came home to watch it. Not only was Bridesmaids as funny as I remembered, but I discovered it also had a deeper, darker, more bitter core right underneath the raucous comedy. And it's this core which makes Bridesmaids relatable on so many levels, not only to myself but to so many others .

Is This Real Life?

When we meet Annie (Kristen Wiig), the maid of honor for her best friend since childhood Lillian's (Maya Rudolph) wedding, her life is in a state of chaos. The bakery that she opened a few years previously has gone under, completely wiping out her life savings. Her boyfriend left her soon after the business's collapse. She now lives with two horrible roommates in a crummy apartment. She works at a jewelry store, a job she was only able to get because her mother knows the owner. If her present is currently glum, her future isn't any better as Annie is stuck in a rut and has neither the ability or the strength to get out of it. "Maybe this your bottom," her mother (Jill Clayburgh), a non-alcoholic who regularly attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, thoughtfully suggests early in the movie. It's a lovely thought, but we all realize things will get much worse before they get any better.

So this is where Lillian's wedding becomes both a blessing and a curse for Annie. On one hand, planning showers and bachelorette parties are a welcome distraction from the drudgery of her everyday life. On the other hand, though, the wedding presents another problem for Annie's already burdensome life: Lillian's new friend and fellow bridesmaid Helen (Rose Byrne). Not only is she rich, classy, beautiful, a touch pretentious and snobby in the subtle way where she would never say anything mean directly to your face, but she is also blatantly trying to steal Lillian away from Annie. Or at least that's how Annie sees it after Helen gives a heartwarming, extremely personal speech about her friendship with Lillian at the engagement party. The moment soon devolves into a hilarious gag where Helen and Annie refuse to relinquish control of the mic and end up making asses out of themselves trying to "prove" to Lillian who cares about her more. The scene is one of the film's comedic centerpieces--I love when Wiig says a host of random words in Spanish in response to Helen's recitation of a Hindu quotation on friendship--but it also provides Bridesmaids with a portion of its bitter, true-to-life backbone: with the sudden emergence of Helen in Lillian's life, Annie is afraid Lillian is evolving beyond their friendship.

While Annie's life is in neutral, Lillian's life is changing quickly and for the better. The fact that Lillian has chosen a friend like Helen, someone Annie claims they would have made fun of in the past, scares Annie. If Lillian is now friends with someone like Helen, who is beautiful, classy and has her shit together, will she need Annie anymore? The fear of being replaced has crossed the mind of anyone who has found themselves slightly out of sync with their best friend from childhood. Bridesmaids' response to this, like many of its darker themes, is to laugh to keep from crying. Instead of moping, wallowing in self-pity or attacking the conflict head-on, Bridesmaids laughs at Annie's situation and her increasingly erratic reactions to it, in this case by setting up a rivalry between Annie and Helen for the imaginary status as Lillian's best friend. Instead of merely laughing off Annie's fears, though, Bridesmaids treats them respectfully, which is daring simply because of the fact her fears of seeing her best friend move on without her are more universal than most people care to admit.

The Perils of Being Single

If you have seen nearly any TV show with a female lead in the past 25 years, you will know that in the mind of most people there is nothing worse than being over thirty and single. Look at Dorothy Zbornak, Fran Fine, Liz Lemon, Christine Campbell and countless others if you don't believe me. Bridesmaids understands this stigma and addresses it in a bizarre yet ultimately hilarious way. As Lillian introduces Annie to her other bridesmaids at the engagement party, not one but two of the bridesmaids mistake random strangers who happen to be idling next to Annie as her boyfriend. It's as if the thought of someone Annie's age being alone is so unbearable they have to pair her off with anyone who comes along, even the odd, unlikely men who pause next to her. The fact that even Megan (Melissa McCarthy), a woman who is not exactly Emily Post herself when it comes to social norms and etiquette, comments on this shows just how ingrained in our heads this idea that women of a certain age should be paired up is.

But Annie isn't completely alone. She does have Ted (Jon Hamm), a narcissistic, immature jerk who uses Annie basically as a blowup doll with very little consideration for her feelings. Lillian knows he's a jerk, and so does Annie, but it's better to have a booty call every couple of weeks than be completely alone. And Bridesmaids completely understands the subtleties of realizing the guy you are with isn't right for you but not wanting to admit to yourself or anyone because, at certain times in your life, any attention from a male is positive attention. You make excuses for him, talk about how you're just having "fun", believe his intent to not become serious as perfectly acceptable. I know I have been there, a couple times, and it is a fuzzy area no other movie I can recall explores as succinctly as Bridesmaids does.

Officer Prince Charming

The introduction of Officer Rhodes (Chris O'Dowd) as Annie's love interest is both fascinating and refreshing for a number of reasons. First of all, O'Dowd's casting as Rhodes is a nice change of pace, as O'Dowd is hardly most people's idea of a matinee idol and the more conventionally handsome Jon Hamm is the asshole in the film. Secondly, the fact that Rhodes pulls over Annie because he thinks she's driving under the influence--which, sidenote, leads into perhaps my favorite sequence in the entire film: "If I was drunk, could I do this?"--is not the typical romantic comedy meet cute. There's no obvious sign that this guy is The One: he's just a nice guy who takes pity on Annie. Third, the progression of their relationship feels wholly organic to the film and resembles something out of real life rather than a stock romantic comedy. When they do meet up again after the night he pulls her over, whether they are eating carrots in the parking lot or grabbing a drink at the bar, their chemistry is palpable but never off-the-wall, only-in-the-movies electric like, for example, Damon & Blunt in this year's The Adjustment Bureau. They crack jokes, but they often feel like jokes real people would make in real life. O'Dowd & Wiig make their pairing realistic without moving into indie movie territory, funny without overdoing it and cute without pushing tweeness. It's a remarkable pairing, one that brings out the best in both actors and only serves the movie better. Without O'Dowd, would we work as hard to try to understand Annie's insecurities and fears? And without Bridesmaids, would we consider O'Dowd to be the Prince Charming he turns out to be by the final frames?

Bridesmaids is no doubt the funniest film of 2011, but, perhaps more importantly, it's also the film that captures my life as a post-graduate, stuck in a rut, trying to figure out what comes next. The film doesn't offer any hard and fast solutions for how Annie fixes her life, nor does its happy endinfeel completely out of place or undeserved. For these reasons, and many, many more, Bridesmaids will no doubt remain my favorite film of the year. And anyone who thinks my attachment to this film is hindering my ability to review this film impartially can go to hell. If we can't form unhealthy attachments to films, why in the hell are we reviewing films in the first place? Bridesmaids may not reach Malick-levels of Art, but nothing this year has moved me quite in the way Wiig and company have done with this film. Sometimes that's far more important in the long run.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Crazy 80s Project: The Shining

I watched Stanley Kubrick's The Shining right before Halloween, hoping that it would both get me in the mood for the holiday but not freak me out too much. It turns out there was no reason to worry as The Shining is, for the most part, not a typical horror film. Instead of scary, the word I'd use to describe the film is unsettling. From scene to scene, you never quite know what to expect, whether Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson in Angry Jack mode) is going to be affectionate toward his wife (Shelley Duvall) and young son (Danny Lloyd) or completely fly off the deep end. Kubrick makes great use of the cold, isolated environment of the secluded luxury hotel Jack has been hired to look after in the resort's off-season. At once empty and claustrophobic, the hotel not only takes its toll on the characters but the audience as well, who quickly become intertwined with this polarizing environment. This sense on unease would be hard for most directors to keep up for a film half the length of The Shining, but you have to credit Kubrick, with the help of composers Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind's eerie score and John Alcott's fantastic cinematography (I absolutely love the repeated shots of the camera following the axe as Jack tries to break down a door with it), for making it work nearly the entire runtime of the film. The Shining is not a horror film in the traditional sense, yet the creepiness and feelings of dread it arouses stay with you long after the final credits have rolled. A-

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rants on J. Edgar

It's an odd sensation, walking out of a Clint Eastwood film thinking, "God, that was a queer film." But I suppose anything is possible after the strange, constantly evolving career he has had. A film about J. Edgar Hoover (played here by Leonardo DiCaprio), the notorious director of the FBI who fought for decades cleaning up crime while wielding considerable influence to "keep tabs" anyone he considered a potential enemy of America, sounds right up Eastwood's alley, particularly with his recent trend of historical-minded film such as Flags of Our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima and Invictus. But when you throw screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, Oscar-winning writer of Van Sant's Milk, into the mix, things are bound to be shaken up. And boy are they ever, as J. Edgar, through its attempt to synthesize Eastwood's style with Black's queer theorizing, becomes something far more than its lousy trailer or a brief description of the film suggests.

Most of Eastwood's usual stylistic tics--muted color palette, heavy shadows, plinky piano score--appear in J. Edgar, but they take on a whole different meaning than they would in any other recent Eastwood picture. Black's screenplay covers a lot of issues and themes, but the one he is primarily focused on is the relationship between Hoover and his "number two man" Clyde Tolson (the dreamy Armie Hammer). The two were notoriously close, but it was only after their deaths that rumors started to swirl that they were lovers. No one knows the exact nature of their relationship, so Black is only able to speculate within J. Edgar, depicting Hoover and Tolson as would-be lovers whose sexuality is so repressed Ennis and Jack from Brokeback Mountain would find them odd. Eastwood's visual flourishes enforce this theme, shrouding Hoover and Tolson in shadows and darkness. Their environment is so dark and suffocating they can't express their true feelings for each other. Even in their final moments, when Clyde is led upstairs by Edgar's maid to see his dead body, Clyde grieving for the love of his life is shoved in the corner of the frame, hidden completely by a dressing screen.

Besides the sexuality of Hoover, J. Edgar also discusses the mythologizing of his legacy as the head of the FBI. Throughout the film, we are privy to scenes where Edgar recounts his life story to a slew of young writers compiling a history of the bureau. This is clearly where Eastwood and DiCaprio are the most comfortable exploring, and it's probably not a coincidence that this is what I was the least fascinated by in the film. Eastwood enjoys unraveling long-held myths, as Unforgiven proved so magnificently, but here it doesn't always work as well. Or maybe it works too well since Eastwood and Black seem positively riveted by Hoover as this monolithic figure, standing up for the America he believes it should be. They drink his Kool-Aid, so to speak, and barring one scene, they don't even begin to question his contradictions. This only makes his comeuppance at the very end that much more swift and tonally unexpected. DiCaprio certainly doesn't help in this regard, as he appears to be more interested in portraying the prestige of Hoover rather than any remotely human aspect of him. We can understand why someone in Edgar's position feels the need to make himself into a legend, but through DiCaprio, we don't understand why Edgar himself does it. Only when DiCaprio verges into the queerness of Black's script, such as the brief moment at a nightclub where he stammers in embarrassment when he is asked to dance by a woman, do we even start to see a real human instead of a ideological mouthpiece.

J. Edgar works best when it explores the queerness of Hoover's life. The way Black explores this reminded me, oddly enough, of Tom Kalin's Swoon. Not artistically or in the execution, mind you, but in the way Black twists rumors with facts to create a could-be version of what really happened. The two people who understand what Black is attempting better than anyone else are Hammer and Dame Judi Dench as Edgar's mother. Hammer plays Tolson like an unmistakable queen, the type of character you would read as gay in a 1950s film even if no one comes out and says it. From the way he gasps "No" when Edgar divulges a secret about Eleanor Roosevelt's personal life to the scene where he helps Edgar pick out a brand new suit and tie, Hammer certainly stands out amid the blandness of his surroundings. But it's an interesting way to play the character, especially one who is so completely repressed with his emotions as Clyde is. In a way, his queerness becomes an embarrassment to the straight-laced Edgar--it's not surprising that in an early scene depicting Edgar's later life we only see Clyde as a shadow hidden behind the door of Edgar's office, almost haunting him like a Ghost of Christmas Past.

Dench's entrance in J. Edgar provides one of the best and truest meetings between Eastwood's visual language and Black's themes. As Edgar enters his home, calling for his mother, we see Dench slowly emerge out of a shadow, in all of her Baby Jane glory, as Eastwood's plinking on the piano melodramatically underscores the danger that lies ahead for Edgar. It's a moment straight out of a Grand Dame Guignol film, which Dench brilliantly understands how to play without veering too far on the side of camp. Later on, when Dench's character is telling her son a story about a young homosexual who was tormented and then killed himself after his secret was discovered, she highlights the frightening coldness of the woman, even toward the son she has smothered with love for the last 90 or so minutes. She only has a few scenes, yet Dench brilliantly captures this woman's heart of darkness masked by motherly warmth.

J. Edgar is not a perfect film: the synthesizing of Eastwood, Black and the actors doesn't come together a good portion of the time and parts of the film are stuck in Biopic Cliché Hell. But this film has something to say, or at least presents certain viewpoints in ways that are fresh and intriguing. This isn't Clint in top form, but it sure as hell beats listening to Angelina Jolie scream, "I WANT MY SON!" for two and a half hours. B-

Thursday, November 10, 2011

100 Hot Men and a Dame: #90 Alexander Skarsgard

90. Alexander Skarsgard
Occupation: Actor 
Nationality: Swedish
Age: 35
Best Known For: Playing a sexy vampire on True Blood. And, of course, starring in Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" video.

In this installment of 100 Hot Men a Dame, I've brought back my bestie Sammi to discuss this Swedish hunk of a man. If you watched our last video together, you know that we get sidetracked really easily so join us in our not-so-timely discussion of The Help and other various shenanigans, including our introduction of the Armie Hammer Theory. (And, once again, I realize the sound is a tad wonky. I promise for our next videos we will get all technical issues sorted out, but, for now, headphones should make it all better).

So is Alexander Skarsgard the one and only vampire in your eye or does he not even rate among the many others? Also, does the Armie Hammer Theory exist or is it just a lovely thought?

Yeah, and The Kardashians Are the Assholes

I've never had a problem with the Kardashians. They have been called famewhores for years now, which they most certainly are. But I don't think the Kardashians would ever deny that fact, and that is precisely why I admire them. People hate them because they are famous for doing nothing; I admire them because they have conned millions of Americans into caring about them and their ridiculous lives to the tune of millions of dollars a year. I'm sorry, but I'd rather have Kris Jenner running this country than any idiotic GOP candidate currently gunning for the presidency. You know she'd turn this country around and make us profitable within a year.

So, no, I don't have a problem with the Kardashians and their ridiculousness. Let 'em be. They're not hurting anyone. The type of famewhores I do have a problem with, though, are the ones who aren't self-aware enough to realize they are famewhores. There are plenty of people in the Land of Reality TV who fall into this category, but none are more oblivious (or relevant) as the Duggars, the stars of TLC's reality show 19 Kids & Counting. Well, now we can make that 20 Kids & Counting as the family announced on Tuesday that mom Michelle is pregnant with her twentieth child.

I've always thought the Duggars were horrible people, even in the days when they "only" had 16 and 17 children. I come from a two-child family, so I must admit that the dynamics of large families are largely foreign to me, but I don't believe it's right, especially in 2011, for a family to have that many children. I don't care how loudly these parents protest that they love all their children equally and spend equal amounts of time with them: when you have 20 kids, there is absolutely no way in hell you can be a good parent to that many children at the same time. There will always be something lacking, no matter how hard you try to make things right. I would even qualify it as a form of child abuse. Those kids are going to be so fucked up and starved for attention it's not even funny. And can you blame them? Competing with twenty other kids for just a fraction of attention from your parents will most certainly take its toll on you. This sort of "farm breeding" the Duggars employ is both sickening and damaging to these children.

Mostly, however, I think the Duggars are selfish bastards. Their last child was born prematurely, spent months in the hospital and for awhile looked like it wasn't going to survive. To most people, this would be a wake-up call that maybe it's time to count your blessings and stop having so many goddamn babies. But, oh no! Heaven forbid we should mess up "God's plan" and go on birth control. We need to pop out another child because we have nothing else going for us except for our extremely fertile sperm and eggs. These assholes can go on and on about "God's plan" and how they are not in it for the money and fame, but let's be honest for one second here. They have grown accustomed to the infamy and the money TLC throws at them to chronicle their massive brood's every move. How in the hell else can they afford to take care of 20 children?! They admit that they are fundamental Christians and that's fine. Far be it from me to tell you how to raise your bratty children. But when you hide behind these "values" as an excuse to pop out more children for the cameras, that's where I draw the line. The Duggars are total hypocrites and frauds, and it's time to call these famewhores out on what they really are.

The Kardashians are not exactly beacons of society, but they are not harming anything or anyone--besides, possibly, the moral fabric of our society--in their exploits. Yeah, yeah, Kim's 72-day marriage is a slap in the face to gay marriage. But you can't exactly blame all of that on Kim, can you? The Duggars, on the other hand, are harming real people in the present, yet we pretend like they are this adorable family who are just good ole Christians making a simple TV show. Get your heads out of your asses, people, and wake up. The Duggars are awful people and a far more immediate threat than any of the Kardashian clan.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This is Not a Shameless Excuse to Post Pictures of Sebastian Stan

...Okay, that was a complete lie. If anything, this is post is a shameless excuse to post pictures of Sebastian Stan. But what in the hell else am I supposed to talk about in The Covenant, the 2006 precursor in many ways to Twilight and the film that put Stan, fellow Gossip Girl star Chace Crawford and Taylor Kitsch on the map? The Covenant is, without a doubt, a terrible movie, but you don't need me to tell you that. The only reason I watched the damned thing was because of its reputation as a homoerotic film and, aside from a couple of looks between Stan and lead Steven Strait, it even failed in that respect! As bad films go, however, you could do far worse than The Covenant. It's not good, but it is watchable and entertaining in its own way, which is perhaps the most important quality a film like this can have.

But the real story here is Sebastian Stan. He's actually quite fun in The Covenant, which surprised me because I never thought much of him as an actor until Kings. At first, it appears like Stan is the nice guy and you think, "Wow, this is a nice change of pace for Sebastian!" But then the plot twists and we realize that he's not as good as he once appeared and it's all "Oh, now this is the Sebastian Stan we know and love." And his completely mental monologues at the end of the film prove that he's a prime candidate to be the killer in the next Scream movie just so he can deliver said psychotic monologue. But you're not here for a critique of his performance. You want to see the goods. And boy does Sebastian have them! I couldn't remember seeing him shirtless before this movie--I think there may have been an episode of Gossip Girl that involved him taking it off--so I was very excited for these scenes.

He's so pretty it's almost criminal. Let's lock him up (in my basement).

Monday, November 7, 2011

100 Hot Men and a Dame: #91 David Henrie

91. David Henrie
Occupation: Actor
Nationality: American
Age: 22
Best Known For: Playing the nerdy (yet still smoking hot) older brother to Selena Gomez on Disney's best sitcom Wizards of Waverly Place.

To help me discuss this teenage idol transitioning into adulthood, I have my good friend and birthday twin--we were born on the exact same day!--Will (you can follow him on Twitter here) here with me. I hope you have fun reading this post!

Dame James: When did you first encounter David and, if it wasn't love at first sight, when did you fall in love with him?

Will: I love that the first entry that I'm going to be featured on is also the one that's going to make me feel the creepiest.

I'm trying to remember how I possibly could have started watching Wizards of Waverly Place. I really can't remember specifically, but I started watching it at some point when I was in college with a friend of mine. There may or may not have been a Saturday afternoon in which we rushed over to another friend's house to watch the Wizards of Waverly Place movie.

And by may or may not have been, I mean there absolutely was.

Once I discovered that the show was streaming on Netflix, it was pretty much over for me. I spent a lot of nights eating goldfish and watching it after coming home from a night out.

I feel like some of the first episodes I watched were a little ... early in the show's run, so he was a little young for me to (comfortably admit) to ogling ... but he's definitely grown UP, hasn't he?

My desire to ogle him has developed over time and crept up on me. It still feels a tad creepy to say, but what are you gonna do? Maybe inside every homosexual, there's a 13-year old fan girl.

DJ: I think my first encounter with David was on a whim as well, but I'll never ever forget it. I was sitting in my dorm room, bored on a Friday afternoon, when I happened to flip past Disney. With nothing better on, I left it and Wizards of Waverly Place was on. Not just any episode, oh no, it was the one where David's Justin Russo starts playing baseball to impress a girl. I'm sure you are aware I have a "thing" for guys in baseball uniforms so this was an immediate attention grabber. It was until much later that I truly fell in love with him and the show, but I can definitely say this was a fantastic introduction.

I didn't watch the show, much less think about it, for months until I happened to hear that they were doing a silent movie parody and that David would be dressing up as Charlie Chaplin. As a huge Chaplin fan, I knew I had to check this out. Like you, I discovered it was streaming on Netflix and, coming after my devouring of Sonny With a Chance and JONAS (back when it was actually a comedy), I was a goner. This episode, in particular, really turned me on to both the show and David. I've seen it at least three times and the silent movie section only looks better with each viewing. And who knew that this Disney actor could do such a fantastic Chaplin imitation?! From the nose twitching to the dead eyes, David really did justice to such an inimitable icon. It's the moment I truly fell for him, which I think is saying a lot because he has only proven himself to be a more diverse comedian (and hotter guy) as the show goes on.

I must say I'm a bit confused about why you feel creepy talking about David. He's only a year younger than us, so by the time you started watching him, he had to have been 18. Is it simply the Disney stigma, which forbids you to feel any sexual desire for any of its stars (unless it will help them make more money and only if they apologize and cite ignorance whenever a controversy erupts--hey Miley!)? Or is it because we've seen him grow up from a teen twink to a very mature young man right before our very eyes? I can understand that moreso, as it's in that same category of unspeakable sexual desire as watching a friend you've known since childhood mature into an adult. But a) I've never really seen David as a "Disney star" in the same way Miley, Selena, Demi & the Jonases were/are. He has always been the rare Disney actor who was never pushed to be a mega heartthrob teen idol. If anything, David has kind of been left alone to develop his craft and become a legit actor in his own right, which doesn't happen every day in the House of Mouse. And b) I could feel guilty/dirty but then I look at that bangin' hot body and I forget how to think.

Will: You have a thing for baseball uniforms?! You NEVER talk about it.

DJ: You're an asshole.

Will: I think the reason it feels creepy to talk about is that, like you said, the way the Disney machine has perfected the art of keeping their stars in a state of arrested adolescence through savvy media manipulation and careful control over their images. This has blown up in their face a few times (i.e. Miley, Demi, etc.), but they still do it ... mostly, I think, because it lets them sell 'sex' to its maturing audience while wearing a 'family friendly' badge. Parents will put their kids in front of it, but the Disney channel is definitely aiming to get their hooks into its audience by appealing to their growing libidos.

But all of this is really besides the point, isn't it? People aren't reading this for a treatise on the Disney channel star model. Let's talk about David Henrie's essential doability.

Do you remember when you first noticed that he was really filling out nicely? Because it sort of seemed like overnight he went from the goofball twink of the earlier episodes to jacked and practically busting out of his wardrobe. I'm wondering if it might not be one of these between seasons things that happens sometimes (see Hunter Parrish in Weeds ... no seriously, look at him). I fell out of watching Wizards of Waverly Place for a little while, and, when I watched some newer episodes, I definitely registered a difference.

There's an episode that involves the younger brother becoming a girl or something (?) that involves a karate class of some kind, and there's a slapsticky scene of the little girl totally kicking his ass and he's wearing clingy shirt and rolling around on a mat and crawling and jumping around so you get little flashes of his stomach and his hips...well, it was not what I had remembered from the show.

DJ: You make a great point about David going from twink to buffed out hottie overnight. At the mercy of whatever Disney decided to air, I watched most of the episodes completely out of order, so I never got that sense of "Holy fuck, when did this happen?!" But if you look back at earlier episodes, there is an extremely noticeable difference. For the better, I must add. He was always a cutie, but when his body filled out, he became almost unbelievably attractive. Similar to what happened with Hunter Parrish, now that you mention it.

Justin & Zeke: A Lovers Quarrel?

One of my running jokes while watching the first couple seasons of Wizards was that David's character Justin was a homosexual in love with his equally gay "best friend" Zeke. We all know Disney would never deliberately write a gay character in one of its shows, but making fun of all the effeminate things he did was part of the reason I fell in love with him. Do you think David deliberately played Justin as gay or, as a gay man, am I just accustomed to reading between the lines far too much to find gay characters wherever I can? I can see me making this all up in my head, but in the first few seasons there is at least one moment in every episode that deserves a #JustinRussoIsAMo hashtag. I think there are far too many instances for me to be overreacting.

Will: I think you're probably reading way too much into it, but I've noticed that's an epidemic in the gay community. We're constantly starving for decent gay characters anywhere. So at the first sign of a theatrical hand motion or a character with a love of hair products, we get rainbows in our eyes and a million Tumblrs explode with GIFs and capital letters.

All of that being said, I'd be willing to bet my dibs on Charlie Day that you can find a slash fiction about Justin and Zeke on the Internet somewhere. I mean, there are apparently people writing slash fiction about one of the guys from Supernatural and HIS CAR, so...

DJ: One time, someone sent me a link to slash fiction featuring David, Nick Jonas, Sterling Knight & Gregg Sulkin, so, yeah, I'll believe that any sort of slash fiction imaginable exists.

Like I said, it's perfectly reasonable that I'm digging far too deep into Justin & Zeke. Lord knows I'm looking for gays everywhere and am usually pretty good at spotting them on TV before they get their big coming out moment. But it can't just be a coincidence that as soon as I started talking about this on Twitter they decided to hook up Zeke with Harper and tone down Justin's more feminine traits, hm?

Before we go, I just want to say one final thing about David's appearance on this list. While there's no doubt about the fact that he's a mega hottie, he didn't make it on here based solely on that. In the Disney stable, there is a line of charismatic hotties or hotties-in-training, including Sterling Knight (who is charismatic as hell but hasn't quite grown into his looks), David's Wizards co-stars Gregg Sulkin (bangin' body, not sure about his talent yet) and Jake T. Austin (underage, sadly), and Zeke & Luther star Hutch Dano (who has proven himself comedically but isn't one of my favorites yet). I obviously couldn't include all of them, so I chose David as a representative, a figurehead, if you will, for all of these guys. But don't take this as a slight against him! David, especially for his age, has the looks and the talent to make it on this list on his own. What do you think? Does David make your heart go boom-boom or is he just another forgettable Disney star?