Saturday, June 30, 2007

June Movie Roundup

My husband started doing this on his blog (though he has been taking a blog break lately) and I felt like doing it, too. These are the films I watched during June:

Happy Feet - New to me

(All blurbs are borrowed from IMDb) "Into the world of the Emperor Penguins, who find their soul mates through song, a penguin is born who cannot sing. But he can tap dance something fierce!"


Knocked Up - New

"For fun loving party animal Ben Stone, the last thing he ever expected was for his one night stand to show up on his doorstep eight weeks later to tell him she's pregnant."

Laughed till I wheezed. Really liked Seth Rogen's performance.

The Importance of Being Ernest - Viewed again

"In 1890s London, two friends use the same pseudonym ("Ernest") for their on-the-sly activities. Hilarity ensues."

This play by Oscar Wilde is one of my all-time favorite things. Colin Firth is wonderful - can he be anything else? - as John Worthing.

Casanova - Viewed again

"Heath Ledger plays the fabled romantic as a man who, after failing to win the affection of a particular Venetian woman, strives to discover the real meaning of love."

Charming and wonderful to look at. Especially the scene of Venice at night. Gives me chills, the way the moonlight shines on the city.

Van Helsing - Viewed again

"The notorious monster hunter is sent to Transylvania to stop Count Dracula who is using Dr. Frankenstein's research and a werewolf for some sinister purpose."

This is a B movie but I needed to look at vampires in action and other gothic mood enhancers. Plus I needed to see some Hugh Jackman going through angst.

Stay - New to me

"This movie focuses on the attempts of a psychiatrist to prevent one of his patients from committing suicide while trying to maintain his own grip on reality."

Psychological thriller with fave Ewan McGregor. More angst. Interesting shot set-ups. Strange narrative that wouldn't be for everybody. But I like these weird flicks!

The Fountain - New to me

"Spanning over one thousand years, and three parallel stories, The Fountain is a story of love, death, spirituality, and the fragility of our existence in this world."

And talk about weird flicks - this is just the way I like 'em! Philosophical, mind-blowing, visually stunning, loads of Hugh Jackman torment. What could be better? (Did I ever mention I like tortured heroes? Or Hugh Jackman?)

X-Men - Viewed again

"Two mutants come to a private academy for mutants whose resident superhero team must oppose a powerful mutant terrorist organization."

Yes! More Hugh Jackman! I'm on a roll! He rocks in this part.

X-Men 3 - Viewed again

"When a cure is found to treat mutations, lines are drawn amongst the X-Men, led by Professor Charles Xavier (Stewart), and the Brotherhood, a band of powerful mutants organized under Xavier's former ally, Magneto (McKellen)."

(Shiver! Sigh!) The Hugh happiness continues. My husband gave this DVD to me today. It's an early anniversary present. He can never wait until the actual day when he buys me presents. I'm glad we had it for today!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Awards Season

The Thinking Blogger Award

Christine tapped me for this way back on May 9th, and because I'm such a thinker, it's taken me a goodly while deducing to whom I shall pass it along. In the meantime, Miss Frou Frou sent me a Rockin Girl Blogger Award. So I had to take a moment and get my nominating committee working on my short list.

After much consideration, and swapping people back and forth, here are five bloggers whose posts are guaranteed to make me think:

The staff at Bakka-Phoenix Books - Having worked in retail for nine years myself, their tales of running an independent sci fi/fantasy bookstore aften leave me howling. Their insight into the human condition is like an arrow piercing the one already sitting in the bulls'eye position. Like this post for example, where Ben delivers a cryptic Yoda-like observation. Think on, Bakka-Phoenix.

Kelly at It Was a Dark and Stormy Night - This was my first daily blog read, my introduction to the Blogosphere. I have to say, she set a Gold Star standard. Her blog is all the more astounding because I know her in 3-D life. I know how hard she works at her EDJ, how humongous her daily writing word count is, what an efficient and wildly successful 2-term president she's been for our RWA chapter, how much thought she gives to critiquing, how many novels she inhales, how much ground she covers on foot(walking, running) - and still she creates a blog filled with insight and a no-holds-barred look at the writing process. Her recent tribute to her dog Cooper should not be read while at work or without a box of Kleenex nearby. Think on, Kelly.

Akelamalu at Everything and Nothing - She's already been given the Thinking Blogger twice, and the Rockin Girl blogger award, but I'm forced to hand her a third Thinking Blogger because she's just that astounding. Her posts are packed full of Thinky Goodness. A personal favorite of mine was her listing of German motoring terms. Enjoy but not if you tend to spew coffee through your nose while laughing. She's also written her grandmother's biography which you can access from her blog. That qualifies as Thinking/Thinking/Rockin/Thinking to me! Think on, Akelamalu.

Red at Red Garnier's Red Pages - Red has a sidebar list of quotes from Oscar Wilde which already puts her high on my list. It took awhile for her to post a poem of her own on Rhian's Poetry Train Monday, but until then she gave us other gems such as The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost to enjoy anew. She has a passion for contemporary art which rivals my own passion for ballet. Think on, Red.

toni at In the Midst of This Season - Yes, I'm placing a Christian homeschooling mom after an erotic romance writer, but I am a Rockin blogger, after all. I can't remember how I discovered her blog, but she has a wonderfully wry sense of humor. I especially loved her post that described an incident out of Hitchcock's "The Birds". A former nurse and customer service rep for Eastern airlines, she now dreams of rockin' and writing. Think on, toni.

My criteria for placing people in the two categories was this: I gave the Rockin award to bloggers who constantly display a guitar-riff style and an eye-popping dimension to themselves. The Thinking Blogger went to the more erudite among us, but truly some of the Thinking Bloggers started off on the Rockin list. Without further ado:

Christine d'Abo at ...fantasies unleashed - Christine has a Sunday goals post which keeps me setting them and working away at them. Her Thursday Thirteens are what convinced me to do my own TTs, from which I derive an inordinate amount of pleasure. Her level of enthusiasm for her fellow writers' projects is really a joy and I love it when she sweeps me along with her. She's an A-class book pimp, she appeared on CBC's "Test the Nation" and she showcased 30 Second Bunny Theatre on one of her TTs. You rock, Christine.

La espia T. at Renacimiento - I google-translated her blogger name and blog title once I'd become a repeat visitor. 'The spy's blog 'Renaissance' is currently coming to us from Brazil where the Minnesota native is studying polylingual anthropolitical linguistics at the Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBA) located in Salvador da Bahia on the Northeastern coast of Brazil. She shares wonderful posts about motherhood, allowed readers a fly-on-the-wall visit to a sweat lodge, she's an artist and she takes extremely engaging self portraits. You rock, La espia T.

Devon Ellington at Ink in My Coffee - Devon Ellington is the nom de plume of a creative whirlwind. She works in wardrobe (I hope I got that right) in Broadway productions, writes articles like the one in this post about the Belmont stakes, and forges ahead on several novels and a script. She prepares press releases, coaches writers and gives Tarot workshops. In her spare time she does things like serve on her tenants' association ( though she recently let that one go.) I don't know how she does all of that and blog, besides. But I'm glad she does. You rock, Devon.

sans pantaloons - whose alter ego is Andres Miller, made this for me just because! He knows how to appreciate the finer things in life with a healthy dose of self-deprecation humor. Rock on, sans.

Angela/SciFiChick - She toils at a Fortune 500 company by day and reviews ARCS by night. She produces stunning portraits and gives us a heads' up on things like the upcoming season of sci fi/fantasy TV shows. She spreads the joy by taking us all along for the fun at the Comic Con in Motor City. You rock, SciFiChick.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - 12 - 13 Funniest Film Scenes

These scenes have all sent me into paroxysms of laughter.

1 - The search for a brain in "Young Frankenstein". Ending up with an Abby Normal brain is a sentimental favorite of mine.

2 - The Stupid Prince segment from "Blackadder's Christmas". Hugh Laurie's Prince Regent has an original interpretation of the New Testament. Technically not a film, but I think this is one of the funniest things ever committed to videotape.

3 - "He has a wife, you know..." from "Life of Brian". Pontius Pilate torments his legionairies with tales of his great friend in Rome, Biggus Dickus.

4 - In the original 1967 "Bedazzled", Dudley Moore's character Stanley Moon has a magical way of getting out of the bad situations which the devil keeps placing him in - blowing a raspberry. But in one of these cases, he's crying too hard and can't blow hard enough.

5 - "Springtime For Hitler" from "The Producers". The newer one is funny, too, but I vastly prefer the original 1968 version with Dick Shawn.

6 - The Huggies chase from "Raising Arizona". The part where the doberman lunged but was stopped a hairs' breadth from Nicholas Cage is sweet.

7 - The psychedelic brainwashing in "Zoolander". Will Farrell is a scream anyway, but in this section he nearly killed me.

8 - The performance where everything goes wrong in "Noises Off". The title refers to a play term when an offstage noise is required, such as a ringing telephone. The ensemble cast in this film version of a stage comedy builds to such a pitch that when the performance starts to go wrong, you may think you'll lose your mind from laughing too hard.

9 - Mysterious man joins pillow fight in "Shanghai Knights". Owen Wilson engages in a pillow fight with the salloon gals, only to have a man we hadn't seen before show up in the midst of the dreamy fun.

10 - The chase ending with "You're the devil" in "Over the Hedge". The comic build-up in this scene is pretty phenominal when you consider it had to be storyboarded out.

11 - The drunk dancer in "The Turning Point". Leslie Browne plays a young dancer who joins a NY dance company only to fall in love with principal dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov. When he breaks her heart, she gets drunk, then has to go onstage anyway. She dreamily sways left while the rest of the corps de ballet sways right. When she realizes her mistake, it's priceless.

12 - John Candy turns into the devil in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles". During their long road trip by car, while Steve Martin sleeps, John Candy gets distracted, drives down an on-ramp, gets stuck between two on-coming 18-wheelers, and Steve Martin wakes up to see John Candy temporarily appearing as the devil.

13 -The humorous secondary character is killed off in "Lady in the Water". Bob Balaban plays a film expert who functions as a secondary character in the film we're watching. When he finds himself in a life-threatening situation, he comforts himself with the statistic that humorous secondary characters are rarely killed off.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - 6

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tagged - I'm It! - 4

I just got tagged by Christine for an 8 Random Things Meme.

Here are the rules:
A. Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves.
B. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed.
C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

Here goes:

1 - When I was jockeying to finish my fourth year film at Ryerson, with a month to go, no more space available in the editing suites and absolutely zero funds left in my budget, my husband called around Toronto and discovered I could have an empty suite at the Film Board for a week. So I jumped at that magnificent chance, and got a lot done in that week, but was not finished by any means. As I packed up my trim bins (the carts with racks above to hold all the strips of 16mm film as you piece the rough cut together) a woman saw me and asked if I had anywhere else to finish up. I said no, my husband was in the process of looking for me. So she said I could use her suite overnight for as long as I needed, till my film was done. She was at that time working on a documentary for the NFB. Talk about Cinderella time!! She was my fairy godmother extraordinaire! Not only did she lend me her suite, she offered to look at my film and then offered suggestions till I got a third and more polished cut done. Such generosity. I'll never forget it, nor her - Miumi Jan.

2 - My first sale of my writing was for the narration and segue text for a documentary called "Tales of a Psychic Medium". This is an hour-long show done in 2003 for Canada's Vision network, about a Mi'kmaq psychic named Alan Hatfield. The program was narrated by Mi'kmaq elder Noel Knockwood, and I had to write in first person as if I was Noel. Considering I was explaining Mi'kmaq spiritual beliefs, that was rather daunting. But he agreed to speak everything I wrote, so that was a wonderful feeling!

3 - Part of the seasons of my life can be marked by spring and Christmas concerts, as I have always sung in choirs. My high school choir was very important to me - it holds a huge place in my life. I'm still very close to the friends I made there, and my first boyfriend was part of the choir, the Prince Andrew Chorus. I also sang with the Ryerson University choir, called the Oakham House Choir; the Yarmouth Community Chorale; and the Dartmouth Choral Society.

4 - I performed in plays and musicals throughout high school. My roles were:
Chorus/Adoring Girl - "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"
Miss Gossage (the English girls' school gym teacher) - "The Happiest Days of Our Lives"
Mabel (the factory secretary) - "The Pajama Game"
Amy Spettigue ( Victorian love interest for the college fellow ) - "Charley's Aunt"
Ado Annie (the girl who can't say no!) - "Oklahoma!"

5 - My uncle wrote and produced radio jingles when I was in junior high, and my cousin and I sang on two of them - "Atlantic Canada Plus" and "Farmer's Dairy". We went to the recording studio and got paid for our singing, which when you're 12 or so, feels awesome.

6 - I danced in the 1981 and 1984 Nova Scotia International Tattoos in Halifax with the Joseph Wallin Dancers. In 1981 we did a WWI number with the Charleston, the Black Bottom and the Cakewalk. I was also a German Doll in The Little Drummer Boy's Dream. In 1984 we did a 40's Big Band swing number and a Rockettes kickline.

7 - I directed two Nova Scotia Drama Festival entries (for high schools), "Box and Cox" in grade 11, and "The In Group" in grade 12. I discovered I LOVED directing while doing these plays.

8 - One afternoon when I lived in Toronto, I was looking up research books on the MetroCat computer, so I could have them brought down from the stacks at the resource library. I knew there was someone waiting for the computer, standing behind me. This is a given - there will never be a time that you're at the MetroCat and someone isn't waiting for it. So I finished writing up my request list, gathered up my stuff and turned to hand over the computer to the next person - Rick Mercer, from "This Hour Has 22 Minutes". Inside I'm "Wow! Rick Mercer!!" But outside I just continue on my way. I've got a strict don't-bug-the-celebrities-just-let-them-do-their-thing policy.

I'm not going to tag anyone, because I usually want to tag people who have already been tagged. Please feel free to play along!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Poetry Train Monday - 7 - Precious Friend

In honor of my best friend's birthday - today - here is a poem I wrote this past March, during my dad's last week of life.

Precious Friend

My heart can't find words
Your eyes fill with love
Your steps fall in with mine
My heartbeat lightens
You leave behind your day
Gather your own fear
You cross the threshold
Smile at my father
He reaches for your hand
Knowing for certain
He need never worry for me
With you there

Precious friend
The heart of the Happy Prince
The swallow who would not leave him
Nothing will stop the wave of loss
You merely place yourself
So my knees won't buckle

Copyright 2007 Julia Smith

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Don't Mess With an Ex-Marine

This morning while I was having coffee with my mom and reading the newspaper, I came across a story about a Georgia man who'd gone camping with his three sons. A black bear entered their campsite and started to make off with their cooler. When the 6-year-old threw a shovel at the retreating bear, its focus shifted to the child. Not waiting for the bear to charge, the father picked up a log from the campfire.

"(I) threw it at it and it happened to hit the bear in the head," Chris Everhart said. "I thought it just knocked it out but it actually ended up killing the bear." (Associated Press,

This wasn't your ordinary dad. He's an ex-marine.

Most dads would have been lucky to hit the bear anywhere, if they'd been able to think and act with lightening speed as Chris Everhart did. His lethal reaction makes me feel proud. It's the warrior spirit that lives in my heart.

I'm waiting, waiting for the DVD release of "300", so to keep me from going out of my mind, my husband brought home a History channel documentary, "The Last Stand of the 300". As we watched the Battle of Thermopylae take shape through the show, as we were shown the harsh, unforgiving warrior culture that was Sparta, my mind kept returning to the ex-marines among us.

It reminded me of another news item from February, where a group of three armed robbers confronted a larger group of Carnival cruise ship tourists on a walking tour in San Jose, Costa Rica. The tourists were seniors from the US, and the 20-year-old with the gun likely thought he was taking candy from babies. Until the geezer next to him suddenly grabbed him into a choke hold and snapped his neck. The would-be robber's body was loaded onto the tour bus by the seniors, where he was handed over to police in Limon. (Reuters, Feb. 23, 2007)

That wasn't an ordinary Carnival cruise vacationing senior. He was an ex-marine.

I know I should be having a different reaction than the one that makes my heart stir at these stories. But I know it's the warrior that lurks beneath my calm exterior. In word and deed, I am a dove. I use diplomacy to diffuse tension whenever I come across it. But I think it's very fitting that I was born on November 11th, the day revered for laying down arms. Because inside of me, my heart belongs to soldiers everywhere, of every time period, of every land.

A little while ago, at my new job at the pension agency, an older man came into the reception area while I was there over the lunch break. He was in no mood to be trifled with. He wanted to see the manager and wanted his long-delayed disability cheque. Ultimately, he had to wait about 15 minutes until this manager returned from her lunch.

My previous job at the live theatre gave me lots of experience dealing with 'do-you-know-who-I-am' types, and I settled the situation down quickly before he could get all worked up. I gave him one option and he knew he'd have to take it. He was an older guy but he was commanding and irritated. He would start trying to talk his way around me but I insisted in my 'I'm-nice-now-but-don't-give-me-trouble' voice. Also, my gaze did all the talking for me, and I saw what I can only describe as recognition in his eyes as he backed off and sat to wait.

Once the manager got there, he told her that I was very good at my job, that I was "guarding the office like a great dane." Then, when she went to get his cheque that had been locked in her desk, he told me he was a retired police officer. I can't tell you how my heart suddenly realized what that look of recognition in his eyes had been. Something inside him had recognized my warrior's spirit. And he'd backed off, knowing he could trust that I wasn't giving him the run-around.

I felt high, all the rest of that day.

It doesn't creep me out that the old guy standing next to me in the post office line-up might know multiple ways of taking out an attacker. It makes me proud. "Semper Fi" - "always faithful". Once a Marine, always a Marine.

Friday, June 22, 2007

"The Fountain"

Last September, my cousin and her husband went to a screening of "The Fountain" at the Atlantic Film Festival. I stayed at their place overnight to look after my little cousin, and once they got home they told me about the film. From the sounds of it, "The Fountain" was just my cup of tea. I couldn't wait until November for it to come out in wide release.

As often happens, both my schedule and my finances didn't co-operate when the film came out. I'd just returned from a dream-come-true trip to Toronto to see the gala opening of the ballet in their new theatre, so any money I had left was routed towards Christmas. Once Christmas came and I'd received movie passes, "The Fountain" was gone from theatres.

So I waited. Waited and waited. Not really patiently for me, and I'm known as very patient. When it comes to waiting for film releases, either first run or DVD release, I'm not patient by any means. I'd started to ask Brad if he would be bringing it home from work soon (he works at Blockbuster, and takes home films one week before they're released to the public so he can give an informed opinion to customers. This is encouraged by Blockbuster, but Brad takes this solemn duty very seriously. He pretty much brings home 10 films per week - the limit. The other Blockbuster coworkers are not nearly so devoted. But if you want to know anything about any film, ever, just ask Brad. By the way, this is an open invitation to anyone who has a film question. If you have one, leave it in my comments section regardless of the day's blog subject, and I'll find out for you.)

Last night Brad was at work and I settled onto the couch to finally watch "The Fountain" at long last. Hugh Jackman is a big fave and he did not disappoint. I knew from talking to my cousin that there would be lots of emotional scenes in it for him, and I love those! And Rachel Weisz is one of my favorite actresses, so we're into the win-win situation.

Plus, it's super-philosphical, highly spiritual, filled with gorgeous cinematography, has a haunting musical score and doesn't follow conventional Hollywood structure. Just the way I like 'em. Here's a few review comments:

"Some people hate this movie. It happens these days when the ambitions of a filmmaker, in this case Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream), rise above the level of Big Mama's House 2." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone magazine

"Hippy trippy space odyssey-meets-contempo-weepy-meets-conquistador caper starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. Greeted by booing at its first press unspooling. Audiences can parse which is going on when by paying attention to how much hair Jackman is sporting at any given time." - Lesie Felperin,

"The Fountain isn't "this year's Eternal Sunshine". It isn't the "next Space Odyssey", although I can assure you, if you enjoyed either of these two films (and preferably both), you should find much in The Fountain that will appeal to you. It's a movie that many people will not like, perhaps even hate. But I was profoundly affected by it. See it. Decide for yourself. It's definitely one incredible film experience." - Monotreme02, IMDb User Comments

"Film is an artform and Aronofsky is a Picasso" - : Erica von Essen (Flagrant-Baronessa), IMDb User Comments

"After hearing that this movie got booed by critics and hailed by the public audience in Venice, I knew it had to be good. A movie that could split crowds just had to be." - dj sam r i, IMDb User Comments

"There is a certain amusement ride feel to some of the cinematography and Special Effects. But, these shots are not gimmicks. They're premonitions and echoes of action in other sequences. They are crazy bold, like Van Gogh's brushstrokes tracing out a landscape. A new transcendental film" - warren-10, IMDb User Comments

I'm about to sit down for my second viewing of the film, now that Brad is home. He watched it earlier today. It's definitely a two-viewing sort of movie. It comes out this Tuesday for rental. All who dare, have a look.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - 11 - 13 Fictional Male Characters I Love

1 - Maximus

Even when he becomes a slave, he's such a charismatic leader that everyone treats him as the general he truly is. When he doesn't care much about his own life, he takes swift command in the arena in order to save as many of the men who stepped onto the blood-soaked sand with him as he can. He serves Rome right down to his last breath. The living embodiment of 'strength and honor'.

2 - Horatio Hornblower

A natural leader, insightful, decisive and courageous. Inspires deep loyalty among his men, even while he is still young and still learning. Manages to encourage senior officers to trust him and go against Royal Navy protocol when that is the only moral thing to do.

3 - Richard Sharpe

Another natural leader, his humble birth can't hold him back from being promoted into the officers' ranks. Swaggering bravado and the ability to stir the men to hold the line under fire, are matched by his touching friendship with Harper, and his devoted service to the King's Colors.

4 - King Leonidas

A king who loves his country so dearly, he defies its own laws to protect it. A man who values his wife's opnion before he makes a decision as king. A commander whose soldiers are committed to victory and move as one in battle. A Spartan who meets death head on, arms outstretched to embrace it.

5 - Aragorn

A man who cannot escape his true nature as king. Though he protests he is not the awaited ruler of Middlearth, he acts like one at every turn. His humility and reflective nature only make him a wiser, more compassionate leader. A commander of armies, protector of friends and a lover who remains true.

6 - Wolverine

A loner who can't avoid his own sense of responsilibilty. Steps into the leader role with the X-Men, even though he prefers his own company. Willing to risk literally disintegrating in order to save the woman he loves. And when those claws come out, it's time to sit back and enjoy the show.

7 - Corwin from the Amber series

A prince of Amber, he is one of 17 siblings jockeying for power, with the throne of Amber as the prize. Corwin protects several siblings from the clutches of one another, personally considering the throne only as a means of preserving the kingdom itself. He fights political duels and engages in physical combat with equal finesse. Though not the eldest, he proves he is the most worthy among an exceptional family.

8 - Obi-Wan Kenobi

Who could have suspected that Obi-Wan would turn out to be such a noble, tragic figure? Apprenticed to a master who flaunts convention, sworn to continue training a boy rejected by the Jedi council, Obi-Wan is nothing if not faithful, altruistic and perhaps even a bit arrogant. Not too many could live with themselves, having watched Darth Vader arise from a former pupil and friend. Obi-Wan is such a complex character. Meeting him at the point of his redemption in the original "Star Wars" turns his story of losing Anakin to the dark side into a real heart-wrencher.

9 - The Count Saint-Germain

What does it say about humanity that the most noble, compassionate character in this series is a vampire? In each story, Saint-Germain's treatment at the hands of men always deteriorates as their suspicions arise over his true nature. Yet no matter how many times they turn on him, Saint-Germain never fails to help those who need his protection. Savvy yet diplomatic, intimidating yet controlled, Saint-Germain has learned to live one step ahead of men while hiding in plain sight among them.

10 - Rothgar from 'Devilish'

These pictures are of other characters who display aspects of Rothgar, since there's no real images of this character. He appears in the Malloren series of historical romances by Jo Beverley. Head of one of the most powerful landed families in 18th cenury England, Rothgar wields his power behind the scenes of government. Fiercely protective of his family and his country, he cherishes his enigmatic persona for the freedom it provides. Beneath his polished exterior beats the heart of a brooding lion, aching for what it has lost.

11 - Prince Rilian from 'The Silver Chair'

As a girl, I was very attracted to this nobel prince who suffered the torments of an enchantment at the hands of the Green Lady. He tries to protect would-be rescuers from his own madness. Then we realize his 'madness' is a ploy by his captor to ensure no rescuer will believe him when he in fact comes to his senses. It set the stage for my future love of the tortured hero.

12 - The Phantom

The tortured hero gets a little darker here. As played by Gerard Butler in the film version, it's easier to see why Christine would be torn between him and Raoul, her childhood sweetheart. The stage version always left me feeling rather infuriated, since that Phantom is more obviously the controlling-stalker type of lover. But Gerard Butler's version carries enough emotional pain to make his motives understandable. The return of the ring at the end is a heart-crusher.

13 - Number Six

This is a character from a 1960's British TV series called "The Prisoner". He's a secret agent who hands in his resignation, only to be drugged and relocated to a place called The Village. Populated entirely by other agents from different countries, all of whom have no names, only numbers, The Village is effectively a prison with a life sentence. Number Six does not go gently into that good night. He resists every attempt by successive Number Two's to reveal his reasons for resigning. He simmers with outrage while plotting to escape and discover the identity of Number One. He wields barbed quips like weapons. A more-than-worthy opponent to the best that The Village can throw at him.