It's Hammer Time
by James Tuttle
Hello from the gentle winds of Palm Springs. When I say “gentle winds,” I mean there should’ve been a fucking storm warning issued for the 92264 tonight but, otherwise, it’s been quite lovely here. Even though the winter polo season is finished and I’m not hitting a little ball from a running horse up and down a big grassy field, I can still sit by the pool and have dinner at the Riviera Hotel with Scott and his mum.
I was on the fence about whether to write about this week’s Celebrity Apprentice or the action film Thor, which I’ve just seen at the Mary Pickford Multiplex in nearby Cathedral City. Multiplexes and Mary Pickford seem to go together about as much as Cathedral City and me, which is to say we don’t. The first time I remember being in Cathedral City —it was in the Target parking lot before we knew Target was chasing the gay dollar and then using it against us — I remarked how it seemed somehow different from Palm Springs. Scott’s mum said, quite matter-of-factly, “Well, James, you know that Cathedral City is where the help lives.” That made so much sense.
In the end, NeNe kind of scares me so I’m going to go with Thor. Aren’t you glad? I was, too, until I realized that, in a full two-hour movie, hunky Australian Chris Hemsworth only took his shirt off once. ONCE!! He looked great without the shirt but it was a little odd when he put it back on and you had time to focus on his hair, which was kind of jacked, and his eyelashes dyed black in a forest of blond. As for his acting, he is pretty annoying before he gets beaten down and learns the lesson of humility. Oh, spoiler alert! Damn, too late. Anyway, he’s quite genuine when he’s quiet and relaxed and we really start to feel for him.
The acting overall is quite even. Natalie Portman is a nicely balanced character, even a bit funny at times. The superhero types are mostly hammy and blustery but that’s to be expected. Anthony Hopkins is amazingly restrained and human in his role, ironically, as Thor’s father, the Norse über-god Odin. It’s the best I’ve seen from him in years.
In my eyes, director Kenneth Branagh scored the biggest coup by casting queeny Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir as Thor’s troubled brother Loki, who only does all those evil and nefarious things to win his father’s love. He should have just gone to the gym and done a couple of cycles of steroids. It even looks like he did his own costumes! Wait, what’s that? That wasn’t Johnny Weir? Are you sure? I could have sworn!
A further note on the costuming: Why do the government agents always have to wear blatantly inappropriate footwear? These guys showed up in the dusty New Mexican desert at the site of what they believe to be a satellite crash in black Oxfords and black socks. Do they wear hiking boots around their office building in Langely, Virginia? I think not.
All in all, I’d recommend seeing Thor. I’m aware of how odd that sounds coming from me but it’s a fun ride with some well-placed moments of humor and a story with some interesting twists. The CGI is pretty fantastic, especially in Mr. Thor’s stunning home territory of Asgard, even if it looked less Norse mythology and more Flash Gordon than one would have expected. Of course, you’ll need to suspend disbelief a bit more than usual due to some plot holes you could drive a truck through, but you just bought a ticket to a movie about a Norse god whose signature weapon is a big hammer. I’d say it comes with the territory.
Also over these past sun-drenched days in lovely Palm Springs, I’ve experienced a sad realization about men and their swimwear choices. They’re mostly terrible at it, especially the straight ones. Normally, I would have given a pass because all the best designers would have been sold out by the beginning of February. A few years ago, I wandered into Gucci to see about an amazing swimsuit I’d seen in their ad campaign. Mark, my sales associate of many years, looked at me in surprise. “Are you kidding? Those sold out at the trunk show.” Do you think “trunk show” was a play on words? Hmm. At any rate, I should have known better.
Back in those days of I’ll-take-one-in-every-color, one of my clients had come in search of python jeans spotted on the runway. When I told her that only two were being made and I could put her on the list for a hefty deposit, her boyfriend asked me, “So, since when did shopping become a blood sport?” I had to agree.
These days, however, there are no excuses. It’s an entirely different game after the Crash or whatever it was that made people stop spending money on important luxury goods. I went into Louis Vuitton to check out some square-cut trunks that were featured in a Details editorial last season and they were still in stock! In the end, I didn’t get them because they didn’t look nearly as good laying limp on the shelf as they did on that hot, skinny Brazilian guy in the wildly photoshopped magazine shoot. Isn’t it weird how that happens over and over?
So, here are the main trends in men’s swimwear for 2011:
- Less baggy;
- Vintage Americana plaids.
That sounds pretty easy, right? But when you add that you should take into consideration your height (shorter trunk for shorter people) and build (skinnier should wear baggier) it gets more complicated. I do have some personal favorites: Parke and Ronen make amazing swimwear for guys. Dolce and Gabbana did some great classic square cuts this season. On the edgier side, there’s a cool line called Rufskin that makes quite sexy swimsuits along with a little too sexy everything else. My friend New York photographer Rick Day has been doing their sensational campaigns. Finally, my friend Ethan Reynolds is involved an amazing new line of brief-type trunks called XWear. If swimsuit connoisseur Ethan likes it, I’m going to give it a thumbs up, but you’d better be in damn good shape for those.
Just do me a favor and go to the gym or get lipo or whatever you need to do to make your life in a swimsuit easier. In the end, just make sure you feel comfortable. After all, you’re nearly naked.
And don’t forget, if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it.