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Release The Jacinto Cut
On Top Gun: Maverick, movies about islands, and the long-awaited return of everyone's favourite Jon Bernthal-adjacent newsletter.
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I saw Top Gun: Maverick last Friday at the Peckhamplex. It was like coming home. There I was, in the neighbourhood I used to live in about to see a film about hot guys being dudes being lads. Nothing more Hyperfixatecore than that! The last film I saw at the Peckhamplex three years ago, if I’m not mistaken, was Hobbs & Shaw. Rye Lane has changed, of course, in my time away. Certain buildings and storefronts feel like they’re a few hundred meters further than I remember. We’ll get to that some other time.
Sitting behind us was a six-year-old boy and his mother providing some very colourful yet apt commentary (“Why isn’t he going to get the girl?” or “Only one of them is supposed to die, Mum”). I was unaware that Lady Gaga worked on and is on the soundtrack, making up for the lack of homoeroticism the first film so graciously indulged us in. Apparently, the cast flew real fighter jets, yet I’m not all that surprised considering Tom Cruise’s proclivity for cheating death with a little help from The Church That Shall Not Be Named.
The thing with US Military propaganda is that there is so much of it, and it is rarely well-executed. What a paragraph opener that was! There are so many action movies now that rely on an exhausting parade of American imperialism, rebranded as ‘heroism’, where a cis, white male actor is given the opportunity to beat John Krasinski’s record for getting jacked in 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. Top Gun: Maverick has put Miles Teller and Set It Up’s Glen Powell head-to-head for the coveted Kransinski slot, and honestly? They weren’t doing it for me as much as I thought they would! I can appreciate them from an objective place, but Danny Ramirez, whose call sign was ‘Fanboy’, very much had a hold on me. He’s a cutie, that one. Falcon and the Winter Soldier should’ve given him more screen time. But I digress.
Speaking of screen time, there was one hottie I was so excited to see do real flips in an F-18 under the tutelage of Mr. Cruise. That hottie was Manny Jacinto.
If you’ve known me for a while, you’d know I have a soft spot for The Good Place. Jacinto played the show’s resident himbo and positive Southeast Asian representative Jason Mendoza, a classic Florida Man with a heart of gold. When he wasn’t pretending to be a monk or loitering outside of Randy “Macho Man” Savage Non-International Airport, Jason was always providing well-intentioned insight with anecdotes about his 60-person dance crew, Dance Dance Resolution. Jason Mendoza falls in the same category with Community’s Ben Chang or The Suite Life of Zack and Cody’s London Tipton for truly progressive Asian representation: they let us be absolutely and utterly insane.
When I heard Jacinto would be in Top Gun: Maverick, I thought it was a match made in heaven. Almost divine intervention that a hunk of his caliber would be doing push-ups and playing some sort of sport on the beach during Magic Hour. And yet, here we are. Whilst those things did happen in Maverick, an obvious homage to the original film, Manny Jacinto was scarce in the picture.
This Vulture article put it best: Jacinto wasn’t an unknown at the time of filming, he had already gotten his breakout with The Good Place, so it was odd that he would just be a dialogue-less pretty extra in the group of twelve Top Gun graduates recalled for the film’s big mission. Did he have a bigger role initially and was, like many Kyle Mooney sketches, cut for time? Was there something going on contractually? Did they know putting him near Miles Teller was bad news for Miles Teller? We’ll never know, now will we?
Well, twelve characters are enough of a balancing act as it is under normal circumstances, especially more so if your leads are legacy roles. Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, and Val Kilmer all reprise their roles from the first film, and Teller and Powell play Goose’s son and Iceman-like rival respectively. Of course, you’d expect more than half of that twelve to fall by the wayside. I just didn’t expect Manny Jacinto to be one of them! His call sign was meant to be Fritz! How are you going to flex about yer military and sideline the sexiest person on set? America, I will never understand you!
I hope someone as smart if not smarter than me will realise that putting Manny Jacinto in Magic Mike 3 will be the best move anyone could ever make. One can only dream. All my Top Gun: Maverick redemption dreams lie with you, imaginary casting director. As someone also of Southeast Asian descent in the sexy community, I take it as a personal affront when one of our own is cut out of movies like this. We need all hands on flight deck: #ReleaseTheJacintoCut!
Nine Perfect Slayngers
I think Manny Jacinto is Hyperfixate’s front-runner for rent exemption inside my head. I find myself seeking out Jason Mendoza funny moments on YouTube just to hear him say “send nude pics of your heart to me” to D’Arcy Carden. After seeing Top Gun: Maverick and Bewitched (for an upcoming episode of Caged In: Coppola Connections), I figured it was appropriate that I finally start Hulu’s Nine Perfect Strangers.
I love a Nicole Kidman accent. Good, bad, or simply a straight up choice, it’s always a riot with that woman. Kidman plays Masha, a Russian wellness guru in charge of Tranquillum House that handpicks her clientele—in this case, very literally, nine perfect strangers. Jacinto plays Yao, her right-hand man/fuck buddy/former EMT that saved her life long ago. There is a point in the show where you discover that Yao is caught in a bit of a triangle between Masha and fellow employee/girlfriend Delilah. His hoe era!
Yao is a bit of a departure for Jacinto, at least to fans of The Good Place. There’s a serenity and calmness to him that’s immediately undercut by a suspicion of his motives that you can’t help. I love it. I’m almost done with the show and I’m not willing to let it go. It has, however, been renewed for a second season. Nobody tell me anything. Even if he dies at the end, shut up! Let ya boi dream!
B-Bring The Boys Out
I can’t look at Jack Quaid’s Instagram. It makes me want a boyfriend. I think I tweeted that in my Twitter Circle to a decent response. Because it’s true! I can’t believe a little white boy, a nepotism baby no less has me on the ropes! Actually, it’s not even that hard to believe, who are we kidding here?
The Boys returned to Bezos’ Streaming Service on June 3rd with a sneeze and a bang. If you know, you know. I’ve been really excited for the show to come back, not because I get to suppress a giggle and hair twirl every time Jack Quaid shows up on-screen, but because this is perhaps the first post-Supernatural project of Jensen Ackles’ that I actually know about. Ackles plays Soldier Boy, a dickbag Captain America type. The first three episodes have been great, and I hear the fourth is also a banger. We love to see it.
Jack Quaid just tweeted saying he loved The Last Jedi and it is taking everything in my power not to become thoroughly obsessed and in love with him. Sigh. Such is life. This season, Hughie works for the Federal Bureau of Superhuman Affairs and wakes up every morning in his little apartment with his super hot girlfriend who opens jars for him. I am at my wits end, me when, and all that jazz. Stream The Boys by Girls’ Generation.
Mini-Movie “Reviews”— Island Edition
Fire Island written by Joel Kim Booster, and directed by Andrew Ahn is a Pride and Prejudice-inspired gay rom-com that is pitch-perfect. Bowen Yang’s character Howie has the same Moleskine journal and Muji pen I do. As in, the exact same. I’m not joking. I cried a lot. I think Conrad Ricamora should be on Succession. I don’t know as what, but he would slay. I think about that My Cousin Vinny Heads Up bit all the time now. MUNA’s version of Britney Spears’ Sometimes has changed the trajectory of my entire life. Hyperfixate seal of approval!
I saw Bergman Island with a friend after a classic Platty Joobz barbecue and I adored it. I was a little woozy, again, Platty Joobz and all, but I was simply obsessed with Tim Roth riding around this Swedish island on his little bike. Mia Wasikowska and Vicky Krieps are everything to me. The meta nods to Bergman’s work and even the film itself as a self-reflexive bit on how grueling, cathartic, and embarrassing making something—especially writing—can be was fantastic. Amy (Mia Wasikowska) and her story really tugged on my wee heartstrings, showing how hard it is to want to be wanted by someone you know you can’t have. That part was cool, it implied that Wasikowska and Anders Danielsen Lie played themselves in the parts of the film that wasn’t the film within the film. I loved watching the guy from The Worst Person in the World play the absolute worst person in the film-within-the-film. If I saw Joseph on the street, I would dropkick him. Oh, and I always love a good The Winner Takes It All needle-drop.
The first look at Showtime’s American Gigolo reboot was released last week. I thought my newsletter would make a comeback on the very same day, but alas, the Platty Joobs got my ass. After months and months of producer dropouts and production halts, I thought the project would never come to fruition the way a Jenna Maroney picture would never see the light of day.
Of course, Bernthal looks fabulous. He has that floppy-haired Those Who Wish Me Dead vibe that I can’t get enough of. I’m curious to see how Richard Gere’s Julian Kaye gets an update for the internet era. As I was writing this issue of Hyperfixate, I was made aware of a certain Paul Dano Zoom Poker Club Reject/filmmaker Paul Schrader posting to his Facebook regarding the remake of his 1980 classic:
Reading that upset me a little, and I’m not one to take up arms for Schrader in the first place anyway. Big studios scare me. And I think they’re scaring a lot of other people too. Finding out Schrader was offered the 50Gs and took them in the same couple of weeks Netflix said they would stop funding “vanity projects” like “The Irishman” is a bit disappointing. Who will do right by our boys? And who will do right by the people that don’t look like nor have the same access as our boys? I’ll tune in to AmGig for Jonny B, that’s a given. Whether or not I’ll stick with it is a different story. It freaks me out the way IP is treated kinda blazé these days. But hey, what do I know?
Look Who’s Doing Stand-Up Again
To my UK-based friends and readers, if ya can, come and see me do some stand-up! Would love to see your gorgeous, gorgeous faces! Feel free to come and heckle me, but I will heckle right back! Am doing Frida KahLOL at Bar Doña tomorrow, Piñata on June 10th at the Old Nun’s Head, Slutdrop Charity Gig for abortion rights on the 16th, and coming home to FOC It Up on the 26th! Hope to see you there!
She’s An Actor Now
On the last day of my acting course, our movement teacher set us on a deceptively simple exercise. He put on classical music—from Beethoven to Chopin—and asked each of us to walk into the room and let the music affect us. It really affected me, to the point where after the scene ended, I cried. I don’t like crying in public, but I am a Pisces rising—it’s a whole thing.
I have learned a lot over the last four weeks—not just about becoming and being an actor or techniques for my toolbelt, but I learned a lot about people. About myself, too, of course. I think the classical music let the little girl still living inside me remind us how we used to practice those pieces over and over and over and were told our efforts weren’t good enough by teachers and authority figures that could have been kinder. I think I accidentally found out why I’ve spent most of my life being insufferably hard on myself. I don’t have to be that way anymore. (Easier said than done, we know).
I hope I keep with the acting thing. I had the most fun and met the most wonderful people I know I’ll cross paths with again. I hope I get to come back here to do it. I hope I’ll do it when I move to Vancouver. Either way, I’m just seeing where everything goes.
That’s all for this week! See you on Wednesday for the first issue of long story short, this newsletter’s fiction arm!