On a far less depressing note, Sebastian Stan impresses the fuck out of me. Jazmin is also a big fan of the Marvel movie universe, so we've been watching things, including the Captain America films. In between gratuitous but certainly not unappreciated ass shots of Chris Evans, it has come to my notice that Stan does know how to act. Quite well, in fact.

Bucky and the Winter Soldier share virtually no body language. To the point where I had to double check to make sure that was the same actor. And Sebastian Stan shares virtually no body language with either of them, to the point where I caught an interview of the leads from Cap2 and had to check again to make sure that was him and not some part of the head production crew being shyly silent on the end of the line. The only recognizable thing about him is that he does actually use Bucky's lopsided picking-up-girls grin on reporters sometimes. Stan isn't particularly uncomfortable on stage, but he has no pressing need to be the one talking, and left to his own devices will often just sit there and listen to (and laugh at) everyone else. He seems to still be just the slightest bit bewildered as to why people are talking to him when there are much more famous people at the next table over.

I went hunting down his film history, which is what I always do when actors come to my attention. There is a reason he disavows knowledge of most of it when asked. Stan has been in a lot of stage plays which have gotten wonderful reviews, and a handful of films that got scores in the single-digits on Rotten Tomatoes. The only thing he's done on TV that has gotten real praise seems to be Political Animals, and it's unfortunate that I am completely uninterested in the story. I'd be viewing it strictly to watch Stan take his clothes off. I feel a bit bad about that. Not wanting him to take his clothes off -- I'm backed by pretty much all of tumblr there -- but about not having any interest in the sincere acting talent involved.

I have watched terrible films for research purposes before. I have seen Karla (trust me, don't) and Zodiac (it'll do if you're bored and interested in the case). I sat through all the Star Wars prequels, a couple of them in the theater (I caved and began heckling after about two minutes of the one that starts with a dogfight between droids and Jedi, asking this is robots versus telepaths, WHY IS ANYONE USING THE VOICE COMMS?). I love brain candy TV like Supernatural, which is cheesy times a million on purpose. I thought I was prepared.

The Covenant is legitimately so bad that on my first attempt to get hold of it, it crashed μTorrent. Jazmin and I verified this by actually watching it once I hammered the client back into shape, because sometimes we hate ourselves. It's a movie about a group of warlocks at a private high school in Ipswitch, MA, written by someone who has probably never seen Massachusetts in person, is definitely not a woman, and has possibly never been a teenager. They have obviously seen The Craft, but weren't really paying attention at the time. IMDb says that it had a budget of $20 million, and a worldwide all-time gross -- not net, gross -- of $32 million, which by modern horror film standards is a giant box-office bomb.

There is one reason to watch this thing, other than morbid self-destructive curiosity, and that is that The Covenant is hilariously homoerotic. No one seems to be sure if this was on purpose. There is a pretty blonde girl in it, but her function is to be a plot point and tangentially to demonstrate, when her friend ends up in the hospital, that no one in this universe has ever heard of HIPAA. Theoretically, Stan's character is revealing his evil nature by making moves on the protagonist's pretty blonde MacGuffin, but in practice he is being equally evil by moving in on the protagonist's friends. One of the boys even has one of those whiny arguments with the hero about spending time with the mysterious new kid, involving the line, "It's not like I really like him or anything!"

You will never convince me that Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier is anything but the story of Steve Rogers going out to rescue the love of his life from Hydra brainwashing. In the unlikely event that the studio execs admit this and run with it, I can assure you that Sebastian Stan would totally go along with it. Most of tumblr is apparently convinced that his evil kid character in this film is gay, and I know exactly why now, because he spends an awfully long time looking the other guys directly in the cock for someone whose end goal is merely to lob dick-based insults at them. (You can totally do that without looking first -- most guys who think lobbing dick-based insults in the locker room is a legit conversational tactic do not actually care to check whether or not they are true.) He spends most of his screen time committing egregious violations of personal space. Also, he nails the hero kid once, right on the mouth. Granted, in context it's obvious that he's doing it specifically to be an asshole, but it does take a certain mindset to think it's funny to sit on your enemy, get right in his face for an extended period of time, stare deep into his eyes, and punctuate your threats with a kiss.

(I couldn't say definitively about Chris Evans, but probably. He tends not to be cast as the prettily gay one in anything, owing to his amazing talent for looking like the meathead frat boy he isn't. I'm told he's an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights, which doesn't surprise me at all. The internet has a remarkably compelling argument for him being Captain America for real, which is spoiled only by the fact that, if I read the local culture right, no native New Yorker would ever go on camera and claim to be from Boston.)

I will say that after seeing this, I know why the Marvel people let him do a lot of his own stunts. There are a lot of shots, especially in the final fight scene, where Stan is obviously doing his own wirework because he was not anywhere near famous enough in 2006 for there to have been any point in not letting him do his own wirework. (Also because he likes flinging himself around. Watch him in the Marvel press conferences. He is so thrilled whenever he talks about all the bruises he got slamming himself through fake railings and repeatedly missing his badass jump onto the top of a car.) He is strikingly graceful. He doesn't admit to any dance training, so far as I know, so apparently he's just generally aware of where all of his hands and feet are most of the time, and it shows. Stan makes a very pretty picture even when he's supposed to be getting blasted ass over teakettle into a wall.