Jul 19, 2019

Is Dora the Explorer's City of Gold Worth Exploring?

Dora the Explorer (2000-2015) was a Nickelodeon cartoon series aimed at preschoolers, starring an 8-year old girl who had adventures in a Latin American jungle.  I never watched  -- preschool-oriented, and besides, the rhyme irks me: "explorer" is pronounced "explorer," not "explorah."

But I understand that it has become quite a media empire, broadcast in 35 languages (including Irish and Maori, even though all of the speakers are bilingual in English), spun off into toys, books, games, videos, and a series starring Dora's cousin Diego (2005-2011).  And now a live-action movie, Dora the Explorer and the City of Gold, with Dora as a teenager (played by 18-year old Isabel Moner, far right).

Wait -- a teenager?  What audience are they trying to reach with fart jokes and hetero-horniness?  Preschoolers who are still watching the show?  Young adults who grew up with Dora?  Teen idol fans?

Let's see if there are any teen idols or beefcake actors in the cast.

The top photo suggests that  Dora goes explorah-ing with three guy friends and an adult guide.  From the right, they are:

1. Jeffrey Wahlberg as Cousin Diego.  Even though he's the son of former underwear model Mark Wahlberg, I can't find any shirtless shots.

2. Nicholas Coombe, "a new face in the entertainment industry," as Randy.  According to his instagram, Nicholas is a "part-time actor, full time iced mocha connoisseur," and he has a girlfriend.

This is as close as I could find to a shirtless shot, Nicholas made up to be killed in the Australian zombie movie Infected Paradise.

3. Madeleine Madden as Sammy.  Madeleine seems to identify as  a woman, but Sammy is a boy's name and the character looks like a boy.  Maybe they're nonbinary.

4. No other potential teen idols except, down near the end of the cast list, Joey Vieira as Nico.  His favorite acting job so far has been an episode of The Simpsons.  When I search for shirtless or nude pics, all that comes up is his namesake, the Joey Vieira who played the sidekick on Lassie in the 1960s, and a female bodybuilder.

That's it, unless you look way down in the cast list for the Australian actors cast in "blink and you miss it" scenes:
Jace Fleming as Mean Kid
Lachlan Winters as High School Kid
Cameron Jackson as High School Student #23.

Well, maybe there are some adult beefcake actors?

5.  The adult guide, Alejandro, is played by Eugeno Derbez.  He's known for a lot of Mexican tv, Aztec Warrior (which is not about an Aztec), Geostorm, Overboard, and How to Be a Latin Lover.  Nice hairy chest, stupid expression.

6. Michael Peña with a beard play Dora's Dad.  You can also see him or hear him in Narcos, My Little Pony, Family Guy, and CHIPS (the remake; he plays Ponch, but never takes off his shirt).

7. Kiwi actor Temuera Morrison, as Powell, who I'm guessing is a baddie.  He's been in Star Wars, Aquaman, and other superhero movies, as well as Tatau (2015), a supernatural murder miniseries set in the Cook Islands.

We'll have to wait to see if there are any gay subtexts, but so far it looks like Dora the Explorah is a dud.

Jul 17, 2019

Hale Lytle: Beefcake and Buddy Bonding at Age 18

18-year old indie actor Hale Lytle has four traits that warrant fandom:

  • An androgynous, glam appearance
  • 35 photos on imdb, a third of which involve someone with his shirt off
  •  7 movie and tv credits, every one of which is about a same-sex relationship
  • And every one of which displays the physique of Hale or a buffed costar, or both.

1. Hale made his acting debut in the Sundance Award-winning short Henley, about a young young road-kill entrepreneur.  I haven't been able to find a streaming version.

2. The short Weasel (2013) is about "man, boy, and rope."  Hale plays the Boy, and Michael Joseph Robinson (left) plays the Man.  

3. Fort Apache (2013) is not related to the cop drama Fort Apache: The Bronx.  It's a coming of age story set in 1941, when a Boy must decide whether to "follow his brother down a path of violence and destruction" or leave town.

Brother is played by Josh Salatin, seen here taking off his shirt in order to have sex with a girl.  That must be the path of destruction.  Leave town, kid.

4. Hale's first full length movie, Young Bodies Heal Quickly (2014) has a weird surreal plot.  Older Brother (Gabriel Croft, left) on the run from some sort of institution,  grabs Younger Brother (Hale, who already has his androgynous look down).

While raising a ruckus, they go too far, accidentally killing a girl that they are harassing, and light out for the territory.

5. In the short Killer (2016), Dusty (Hale) discovers that anyone he looks at while masturbating dies.  He uses his newfound power to get even with the school bully.

6. In a change of pace from the indie films, Hale next guest-starred in the "Demon's Lair" episode (2016) of The Haunting (a series that recreates real paranormal experiences): A family gets a Catholic priest to exorcise a malevolent demon from their house.

Hale plays the teenage son David, who here comes down to breakfast shirtless so everyone can examine the demon claw marks on his back.

7. In the surreal indie film Don't Come Back from the Moon (2017), all of the fathers in town abandon their families, and the mothers left behind are utterly incompetent at raisng kids alone.  Neglected and abandoned, the kids turn to drinking, crime, and sex.

I haven't actually seen it, but according to the trailer, Jeffrey Wahlberg (Marky Mark's son) kisses a girl with his shirt off about 300 times.  Hale's character, Mark Mark Junior's cousin, meanwhile channels his rage into raising a wild parrot.

That's it except for some projects in post-production.  I can't wait to see what  Hale will come up with now that he's old for his same-sex relationships to have gay subtexts. 
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