To hell with romance, let’s thirst together shall we?
If there’s one thing I have too much of, it’s actor crushes. Heck, if you follow me on Twitter, you know it’s dizzying to keep up with my thirst posts.
I grew up on movies; I idolized the people I saw on screen at an early age— and this fostered an unhealthy attachment in the form of posters and magazine cutouts on my bedroom wall. It was often a point of embarrassment growing up. Aunts or uncles will recall how obsessed my cousins and I were when it came to the movies and TV shows we consumed as kids – one had a poster of Amy Jo Johnson’s Power Ranger, another of Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider – and the whole family would laugh at our expense. (Those same uncles had posters of Tia Carrere in Wayne’s World AND NO ONE SAID SHIT)
Thing is, I’m not ashamed. My prepubescent crushing is no different to the way my uncles fawned over Cassandra Wong. (Okay fine, me too.) And this is absolutely no different to the thirst posts I see every day on social media – tweets bearing an actor’s name followed by simply, “That’s it, that’s the tweet.”
Crushing then was just a trial run for the thirsting we shamelessly do now. So, to take it back, and pay tribute to my heart-struck 10-year-old self (who is NOT a creep—just a kid who had too much time on his hands), here are my shameless movie crushes:
Winona Ryder – BEETLEJUICE
Winona Ryder was the first movie crush I recall having. Her entire look as Lydia was my whole inner aesthetic going into middle school. Lydia’s parents are posh and uppity, while Lydia herself couldn’t care less— piling on the veils, the layers, the gloom. She evoked a mystique I could easily identify with. (When she says she wants to die because she hates the living… yeah, I felt that.) Not to mention Ryder is so damn adorable in the role. I DARE you to watch her do “the shake” and not smile the entire time. It’s a performance that relies remarkably less on being deadpan, and more about playing the character’s gothic sensibilities SINCERELY. (Lydia isn’t the joke, everyone else is.) I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned when Lydia was about to be married off to Beetlejuice thus granting him freedom in the mortal world. Really, I was just angry that I wasn’t the groom 🤷♂️
Michelle Pfeiffer – BATMAN RETURNS
Batman Returns remains in my mind as the best Batman movie ever, and Pfeiffer’s Catwoman is a key reason why the movie stayed in my childhood memory. Obviously, her skin-tight leather has something to do with my fixations. (When she cracks that whip, READER, I feel things.) But costuming is nothing without a fearless performance to boot, and Pfeiffer upstages BOTH Michael Keaton and Danny Devito whilst reigning as the best Catwoman to date. Pfeiffer’s Selina Kyle has had it up to here with men’s bullshit. She has her fun making a mockery and smoldering ruin out of the patriarchy, but she’s also cracking under the seams – a thing Pfeiffer conveys with her eyes. (Her stare could literally kill me.) It’s like she’s been told she has 24 hours to live and laughs maniacally in the doctor’s face— not that Selina is suicidal, but lives voraciously on the edge. What’s not to love?
Lucy Liu – CHARLIE’S ANGELS
I did say shameless, didn’t I? Charlie’s Angels panders to just about every male gaze and video game fantasy of women that it’s basically a big budget porno. It’s also a fascinating time capsule of a breed of cheesy action movies that Hollywood used to bank on before comic books took over, and on that note, Charlie’s Angels is forgettable fun. This is the movie that introduced 8-year-old me to the goddess known as Lucy Liu, and for that I’m immeasurably grateful. (The proper honor goes to Shanghai Noon, but Liu kicks more ass in Charlie’s Angels so it takes precedent.) This is the same movie, mind you, where Cameron Diaz shakes her booty and Drew Barrymore practically shows her boobs, but the sultriest scene features Lucy Liu as a fierce dominatrix. (I think I’ve zeroed in on my kink and it’s just… violence???) The most frustrating part about revisiting this movie? Lucy Liu hasn’t aged A DAY.
Rachel Weisz – THE MUMMY
Rachel Weisz as Evelyn is the reason why the phrase “sexy librarian” is a redundant one. Evelyn may be clumsy as we are introduced to her, but she’s brilliant to the point of being geeky. The way she beams “Take that, Bembridge scholars!” as Imhotep’s undead army surrounds them is exactly why I love her. Yes, there are immediate life and death stakes, but who’s to say you can’t take pride every once in a while? Plus, this scene where she’s drunk opposite Rick O’Connell is one of my favorite things ever. The Mummy is the rare movie where everybody knows exactly the kind of movie they’re making at all times. Brendan Fraser is the swashbuckling hero, John Hannah is the comedic relief, Arnold Vosloo as Imhotep is the world-ending villain. And Rachel Weisz? The light of my life 😍
Anne Hathaway – THE PRINCESS DIARIES
They say miracles happen once in a while, and I say that miracle is Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries. Hathaway’s Mia Thermopolis is the posterchild for us millennials who grew up on Disney’s animated classics. That was the surreal wonder of arriving at The Princess Diaries – seeing a live-action rendition of the tale with all the heart of a good old-fashioned underdog story. Mia’s comeuppance is as endearing as Mia herself. (I still think it’s funny that her glow up basically boils down to Invisalign and straightening her hair.) When she falls over trying to cross her legs, or breaks the champagne glass when clinking her fork, and ESPECIALLY when she cries that her foot “didn’t even pop”; I fell hilariously in love with Anne Hathaway in one movie. That she then went on to become Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises was a melding of two crushes that my chest couldn’t handle.
Liv Tyler – LORD OF THE RINGS
I wish I could describe the sensation of watching Lord of the Rings for the first time— of witnessing a whole new world come to life before my very eyes. But I can describe what it felt like when Arwen waltzed effortlessly into frame and into my heart at 9-years-old: a dream come true. That she spoke so softly and in a language I couldn’t understand made me fall head over heels. Confusion – it’s an afrodesiac. Her badass stare down with the Nazgul only complicated these feelings further. (The way she says, “If you want him, come and claim him.” 👌) Frodo might see her beaming with light because he’s on the verge of death, but my lovestruck eyes saw her like that all the time. You could tell me that Liv Tyler is an actual angel elf and I would 100% believe you. Arwen was the peak of my childhood fantasies, and a damn good reason to stay invested in Middle Earth.
How about it, reader? Who were your movie crushes growing up?