Liz Smith: Swimmer, Sex-Symbol, "Aquaman?"

“I CLEARLY see that Paul Ryan has a whole lotta “rage”in him. A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically, the only thing he is not raging against is the privileged elite he’s groveling in front of for campaign contributions.”

That’s guitarist Tom Morello in the current issue of Rolling Stone. (The one with a cartoon of Mitt Romney on the cover, holding fistfuls of cash, while kicking a guy wearing a hard hat in the backside.)

If you’d rather not read political rants and musings, RS also offers sexy swimmer Ryan Lochte. He confides to writer Brian Hiatt that he was a better basketball player than swimmer growing up, and doesn’t dismiss the idea of returning to the hoops: “I know how to push my body to limits where other people don’t want to go, so I could become good at basketball.”

Lochte loves action movies (his favorite film-watching companion is his dog) and he wouldn’t be averse to starring in an action flick. Maybe even “Aquaman?” Writer Hiatt suggests that most people think Aquaman is the “worst” superhero. Lochte disgrees. “I don’t think he’s the worst. I mean, he’s in the water! That’s my kinda thing!” Hollywood has been tinkering with the idea of an Aquaman movie for years. Okay, you L.A. honchos and execs — you’ve got your star, if nothing else.

Oh, check out the picture of Lochte on page 38, in Las Vegas recently, brandishing a tiny water gun and wearing the teeniest, tightest white Speedo. All good for the big screen.

I MISSED the pilot debut of Matthew Perry’s new sitcom “Go On” after the Olympics. (It airs officially on the 11th.) But I have to say, judging by the ads, Mr. Perry looks just terrific. Healthy, handsome, a perfect weight. During the run of “Friends” Matthew suffered some issues and his appearance altered drastically season to season — from just right to plumpish to nearly skeletal. But Perry, an extremely talented comic actor (I’d put him near the late, great John Ritter) seems to have sorted everything out, and it sure shows. Good luck to you, Matthew.

I must say the creators of this show have a hero looking down on everybody. I hope this doesn’t last!

SPEAKING OF former “Friends,” Lisa Kudrow’s Showtime offering “Web Therapy,” is a scream. Kudrow plays a therapist who offers “help” via the internet, “Skyping” her patients. (Among them have been Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Alan Cumming, Rosie O’Donnell, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Molly Shannon, Conan O’Brien and several of her old “Friends” — Courteney Cox and David Schwimmer.)

The best part of this is that a good deal of the show appears to be totally adlibbed. Both Kudrow and her “patients” just make it up as they go along, so the sessions take bizarre turns.

Kudrow has always been the mistress of the withering retort, as far back as her days as Phoebe on “Friends.” (That character was supposed to be loveably goofy, but she always had a snarky, don’t-mess-with-me edge.) This talent came to full flower in 1998’s “The Opposite of Sex.” She takes it to an even higher level in her latest endeavor. The joy of “Web Therapy” is seeing how adeptly Kudrow handles anything her guests throw at her, and vice versa. Fun, and a fascinating look at actors improvising.

WHILE I still don’t think Tom Cruise’s career will be damaged by his quick divorce from Katie Holmes, or the current, compulsively readable expose on Cruise’s “spouse auditioning” process in Vanity Fair, I’ll admit he’s got a bit of an uphill battle on his hands, especially now that he is 50. He looks a good decade younger.

Can’t he just find a beautiful young, aspiring actress who is also a Scientologist? Surely, in all the world there must be at least one. Then, they could be devoted to their religion without stress and Tom, if he chooses, could help build her career.

WE SAID it would happen, and now it looks like it will. I do mean a reunion of the three surviving members of The Monkees — Mickey Dolenz, Peter Tork and the usually elusive, irascible, Michael Nesmith. They will play 12 U.S. dates and all the shows will honor the recently departed Davy Jones, who was the baby-faced sex-symbol of the group that briefly supplanted the Beatles in popularity, back in the mid-1960s.

EVEN THOUGH I thought “The Green Mile” was one of the most overwrought, overrated movies ever, there was no denying the power and vulnerability of Michael Clarke Duncan as the falsely accused prisoner with magical powers. Michael’s death, at the tragically young age of 54, is so shocking. He was such a sweet guy, and his presence in any film was always reassuring; even he when he played bad — which wasn’t often. He couldn’t conceal his essential gentle nature. What a terrible year this continues to be for the famous, who are dropping like flies.

NOW, WITH the Democratic Convention under way, a word to those “disappointed” in Barack Obama (“maybe I won’t vote at all”) and the unbearably smug (“of course Obama will win”) from Michael Moore: “Don’t get too cocky about Obama winning … the bad guys are very good at winning.”

As for those out there who are disappointed and vacillating, I have one thought for you — a Republican president, a Republican congress, a republican platform. Think about it, and get over yourselves. And get out and vote.

This column originally appeared on on 9/5/12

3 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Briana Baran says:

    I don’t “know” that Obama will win, and while there have been some disappointments, by and large I consider his first four years a success. Even though I am in Texas, and it would take an apocalyptic event for a Democratic win here, I’m voting for the incumbent, and hoping others will really consider the gravity of a GOP presidential victory. I am not left-of-Left, I am not wildly Liberal, and I am not party affiliated, nor am I on any government aid of any kind. I AM middle class, we DO and have worked hard for what we have, and I AM a woman, familiar with the actual history of this country, the meaning of the Constitution and the intent of the Founding Fathers as informed by their words and actions, and I do understand the Republican party’s current platform. It is a disaster based on an America that NEVER, EVER existed…not once in history, on anachronistic thinking, on fundamentalist Christian dogma more frightening than the most extreme of the oft-denounced Muslim sharia law, on flat-Earth theorizing, and the despotic tyranny of an elitist, privileged rich.

  2. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    Ryan Lochte – Ryan is most definitely a handsome young man and has a killer body, but that’s where it begins and ends for me. I have heard some of his opinions about life from himself and his mom, and they are incredibly shallow (pardon the swimming pun) The grown woman in me reminds myself he is a young kid that has yet to live life really, so I should expect him to understand about life values, women, respect, humility, etc. etc.  But the realist in me is reminded of the countless others that are his age that DO have all these aspects to who they are. Ryan appears to be a carefree boy sowing his oats. Good for him. I just hope he grows out of it. Speaking as a 50+ single woman that dates frequently, I have grown tired of running into 50+ year old Ryan Lochte types. 🙂

    P.S. Ryan, gentle suggestion…..try to have your photos taken from the waist up. Men that are not well endowed and lean more toward the really small penis side, they should keep that hidden.

    Go OnI LOVE THIS SHOW!   And I really hate that I love it because it is on NBC and they have idiots running their programming. They drop shows that are wonderfully entertaining and then will keep shows that are panned by the media and viewers alike. It makes no sense. Anyway Matthew is excellent in this show, it is well written and the  cast is perfect! Love it!

    RIP Michael… will be missed.    

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      Please don’t take this the wrong way, Ms. Joy, as I would be both bemused and amused by any woman of our respective age making the following comment:

      “P.S. Ryan, gentle suggestion…..try to have your photos taken from the waist up. Men that are not well endowed and lean more toward the really small penis side, they should keep that hidden.”

      A): So women with small breasts should hide them? I mean, personally this is not an issue, but are we suffering from a case of, o, double standards?
      B): Um, err, he may be what some refer to as a “grower”, not a “shower”. If this is a new bit of terminology, please remember, Google is your friend.
      C): Size, for some of us, not only does not matter, but does not, let us say, impress. Some men are, in fact, considered to be armed with a lethal weapon, and I would not let them anywhere near my dewy lady bits based purely on past, intensely unpleasant experience. Besides, mmm, talent is everything.
      D): “Talent” includes communication, interest, respect, and natural ability, just to clarify. Affection, and, dare I say, love may add something as well.
      And E): Delicately phrased, racial myths are just that…mythology. I’ve never discriminated when it comes to beautiful, sensual men regarding race/ethnicity. Packages of all shapes and sizes come in a stunning array of hues.

      I am not picking on you personally. I am amused that a woman of 50+ years who does claim a certain degree of experience would make such a non sequitur of a statement. Even if you don’t like Mr. Lochte (my opinion is that he’s more puddle than deep waters, and anyone diving for depth is going to end up burned by cheap gravel rather than scoring treasure…but he is only an egg) commenting on his, well, penis dimensions is just as shallow as he is.