In Magic Mike, Matthew McConaughey's character Dallas explains to the new kid Adam that their work is all about wish-fulfillment for the women who pay to watch them strip. These women get to ogle handsome men, sometimes get private lap dances from them, and maybe fall for them a little bit, all secure in the knowledge that they're not actually cheating on their husbands or boyfriends. It's all a fantasy, a line-up of men there for you to love for the course of an evening.
But obviously Magic Mike isn't the first time women have gone to a movie looking for men who have them make their hearts flutter. We've been falling for movie characters for as long as we can remember, whether it's wanting Prince Eric of The Little Mermaid to sing to you or being so struck dumb by Michael Fassbender's handsomeness that you can't really breathe when you see him in person (not that that's ever happened to anyone on this staff…) So in honor of Magic Mike, the ladies of Cinema Blend dug back into the memory bank and paid tribute to the first movie characters or actors who made our hearts flutter-- even if we were too young to have any real-life crushes at the time. Thanks for the memories, gentlemen…
Prince Westley (Cary Elwes) in The Princess Bride
by Jessica Grabert
I’m too young to say The Princess Bride charmed the pants off me when it came out, but it did manage to lure me by its charm for years and years after. While other girls my age were into Backstreet Boys and getting their braces off, I liked to pretend I lived in a magical setting with potions to restore life, with giants and heroes, give or take the screaming eels. I wanted true love and high adventure and just like writer William Goldman, I believed in it at once. For me, The Princess Bride’s Westley (Cary Elwes) was not just a farm boy or a pirate, or a man in love. He was witty and an adventurer and the sort of dude who knew how to win battles and make a girl understand she was the only one in the world for him. Acerbic wit was a bonus, but in lieu of this, I would certainly take a storyteller. To me, Buttercup was not the luckiest girl in the world because she had two men vying for her affections, but because she had Westley and coming to that realization made me dizzy and a little bit giddy inside.
I’d still take a Westley over a Humperdink, over a drunken Spaniard out for revenge, before a Sicilian with death on the line. In fact, I’d take a Westley over a hockey player, a businessman, or an heir. I still have a little of the damsel in distress inside of me, and I have no shame in admitting it.
Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) in Batman
by Kristy Puchko
Over the course of my adolescence, the photos of prettier, more primped men graced the walls of my bedroom, but Michael Keaton will always be the first movie star I ever adored. With his tightly curled hair, dynamic eyebrows and Cupid's bow lips, he was '80s handsome and had me at, "I'm Batman." 1989's Batman was my first exposure to the Keaton, and he won my girlish heart with his daring-do and fearless wit—scoffing at the sinister Joker even out of his protective superhero guise! From there, I've sought him out, seeing a wide range of movies, and he's given me so much in return.
Following him to Batman Returns and Beetlejuice, I discovered Tim Burton, who became the first filmmaker I became a knowing fan of. Keaton's supporting role in Much Ado About Nothing drew me to Shakespeare and the adaptations of Kenneth Branagh, and I discovered my interest in gangster movies thanks to the superb parody Johnny Dangerously. Of course, he has offered countless laughs in comedies like Multiplicity and Mr. Mom. But the biggest impact my Keaton crush had on me has only recently come to my attention. See, being as young as I was when it first sparked, my crush on Keaton wasn't sexual. It was more like I imagined I'd marry Michael Keaton some day. And now, all grown up, I'm married to a noble, curly-haired man who can make me laugh harder than anyone else. And his eyebrows aren't too bad either.
Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in Star Wars
by Kelly West
The Star Wars films are on the list of movies that contributed to the start of what would become a life-long love affair with cinema for me, so it seems only fitting that one of my very first movie crushes come from the trilogy. Though I was certainly too young for a crush on a grown man to be considered appropriate by normal standards, I have a very distinct memory of being completely in love with Han Solo. The sarcastic smuggler won me over little by little, much in the way he earned the affection of a certain princess. While he presented himself as a sort of loner-type, needing little more than his ship, his wookie pal and some work, beneath the tough-guy exterior was a decent man with heroic tendencies just waiting to be drawn out.
While I couldn't possibly pinpoint the precise moment when Solo stole my heart, in retrospect, it was probably somewhere in the area of the "I love you" - "I know" moment in The Empire Strikes Back. Han Solo was certainly not my only movie crush, but when considering some of the crushes that came later on throughout my youth (Val Kilmer's Madmartigan in Willow and Ford's Indiana Jones come to mind), I'm fairly certain Solo - with his blend of charm, bravery, that heart-melting crooked grin and a kind of confidence that teetered dangerously close to arrogance without crossing the line - set the standard for the kind of movie-man that could catch my eye and capture my heart.
Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) in Back to the Future
by Katey Rich
I have no idea when I first saw Back to the Future-- it's so embedded into my DNA that I can't remember a time when I didn't know about DeLoreans and Doc Brown and the Enchantment Under the Sea dance. But I do clearly remember being about eight years old and totally crushing on Marty McFly. It would be years before I'd get into the Tiger Beat kind of mass crushes-- JTT, I still carry a torch for you-- and since none of my friends were as into Back to the Future, Marty was entirely my own. Looking back, it's unclear if I wanted to be with Marty or be him-- it sure didn't look like much fun to be Jennifer, but I would have happily hopped on the back of his skateboard, gone toe-to-toe with Professor Strickland, or cooked up a scheme with George McFly.
Around that time my family took a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando, where we rode the Back to the Future ride and I gawked over all the props in the glass case while we waited in line. Afterwards my parents talked me out of buying a shiny Marty McFly Jr. beanie hat (I still regret that), but I picked up a "Greetings from Hill Valley" postcard and wrote excitedly to my friend Andrea. She, unsurprisingly, didn't share the excitement-- it was the early 90s, and culture had moved on. I was a kid slightly out of my own time with my love of Marty and Back to the Future and I think that's what made it so special. No one understood Marty like I did. Little did I know how many disastrous crushes that attitude would lead to down the road.