Here’s some more early Tom Hanks weirdness … he starred in ABC’s cross-dressing comedy “Bosom Buddies” between 1980 and 1982. The show ran for just two scant seasons. I’m surprised at that, because I seem to remember it being a much bigger deal in the 1980’s — maybe just because it was a big hit at my house, when I was in second and third grade. I wanted to be like the guys in the show, albeit without the cross-dressing. I wanted to be grow up to live in New York City with my best friend and a beautiful blond girlfriend name “Sunny,” and get into zany hijinks.
I remember thinking that Hanks’ co-star, Peter Scolari, was the cool and funny one. I thought Hanks was annoying, even if he did look like Billy Joel, whose music my older sister had taught me to really like. (Joel’s “Glass Houses” album was stacked vertically with the others beside the living room record player, not far from where I watched this show on the family’s color television.) And that is indeed Billy Joel’s “My Life” playing as the show’s theme song — but it had a different vocalist, for some reason. (No matter how many times I hear it, that song will always take me back to the 80’s.)
Scolari’s career following the short-lived “Bosom Buddies” certainly hasn’t paralleled Hanks, but he’s still done a hell of a lot of television. (Among many other things, he surprisingly starred as Commissoner Loeb in “Gotham” in 2015. I didn’t see that one coming.)
As you can see from the opening credits below, the central plot device for “Bosom Buddies” was that the two guys had to pretend to be women in order to live at an all-women’s apartment building. It only occurs to me now as I’m writing this that the show’s title was a double entendre. I actually asked my Dad what the word “bosom” meant when I was a kid, and he gave me an answer that was accurate, if incomplete. (He explained the colloquial meaning of the expression — a “bosom buddy” was a best friend, who you figuratively held close to you. I subsequently told my best friend next door that he was my “bosom buddy” at one point.)
Yeah, I know it’s strange that I can remember a conversation from 39 years ago about an obscure TV show. It’s weird what people remember.
Phantom variant (after original artwork by Todd McFarlane). Marvel Comics.
As I believe I may have mentioned, I have a love-hate relationship with David Tennant’s onscreen performances. I find him inexplicably, positively grating whenever he plays a protagonist. (See 2011’s “Fright Might” remake, or his cringe-inducing stint as “Doctor Who.”) But it seems to me that the man is absolutely fantastic when he plays a bad guy. (See his frightening and hilarious role as Kilgrave the first season of “Jessica Jones” in 2015.)
“Bad Samaritan” (2018) thankfully presents us with the latter Tennant. He musters an intensity with his eyes and his voice that are incongruous counterpoints to his innocent-looking face, and this makes him a damned good antagonist in a thriller. (He is a highly organized, sociopathic kidnapper in this film. I don’t think that’s much of a spoiler, as all of the film’s marketing make it clear.) He’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch — and listen to.
With that said, “Bad Samaritan” is an average movie — not altogether bad, but not awesomely good, either. (I suppose I’d rate it a 7 out of 10.) It benefits a lot from another very good actor in Robert Sheehan as its anti-heroic young protagonist. (The plot setup here is interesting — a mild-mannered burglar discovers a psychopath’s captive while in his house, then struggles with how he can help the terrified victim of a far worse criminal than he is.) The movie’s biggest sin seems to be that it borrows heavily from comparable genre-defining works from the likes of Thomas Harris and James Patterson. But it’s still an enjoyable enough movie in its own right.
There’s someone else here that’s great fun to watch too — Kerry Condon as the kidnapee. Her voice is amazing, and she’s a superb actress; I think she’s strong enough to carry another movie like this. I just knew she looked familiar … it turns out she played Clara, the really weird woman that Rick found in the woods during Season 3 of “The Walking Dead.” (He asks her the show’s signature “three questions.”)
She is also to voice of F.R.I.D.A.Y., Tony Stark’s on-board A.I. in several of Marvel’s “Avengers” movies. Didn’t see that one coming. Weird world.