The Crush Letter No 164: The New Sexy Thriller That’s Going to End Our Dry Spell, Favorite Brands from a Sharp Looking Guy

. 13 min read

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Hello Crush,

Happy Father’s Day to all the CRUSH Readers who are fathers, and to all the CRUSH Readers celebrating the fathers in their lives.

We have a lot for you today, so let’s dive in.

In This Letter. +Hot Thots. Let’s hope the age of sexless cinema is over. The new film Hit Man suggests it is, thank god. +Favorite Clothing & Shoe Brands from A Sharp Looking Guy CRUSH Reader Kraig, a veteran in the apparel industry and a smart dresser, shares his favorite brands. +PrimeCrush & Chill: Steamy Films Worth A Re-Watch. By Christian Pan Body Heat But she has other plans. +The Crush Letter ‘Classified Ads.’ +Things I Tried from Readers’ Recommendations. By Dish Stanley I listen closely to any book recommendations made by CRUSH Reader (and contributor) Bob Guccione. +Culture / Comments. By Dish Stanley Part class study, part suspense novel, the main character grows into a psychological study in the vein of Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley. +Social Media I Loved This Week. +Our Song of the Week

Hot Thots. Hit Man Is THE Erotic Thriller We Need. Will It Start A Trend? By Dish Stanley

God I hope so.

A periodic column where Dish lets off steam.

Richard Linklater—the director of the Before romantic trilogy starring Julia Delpy and Ethan Hawke, as well as Slacker and School of Rock, among others—has brought sexy back to the movies. Just when we were losing hope. Linklater c0-wrote, produced and directed Hit Man, a dark, comic romance thriller with a level of panache and fun we haven’t seen since L.A. Confidential. It‘s the story of a dullish-seeming, nerdy Nietzsche-quoting philosophy professor named Gary Johnson whose side gig is to pose as a fake hitman to aid the police in entrapping customers soliciting his services. Glenn Powell channels Harrison Ford-level status in this film as Gary slides perceptibly further into the character of his altar ego “Ron,” both in both his get-ups and swagger.

Eventually “Ron’s” services are solicited by a sultry married woman named Madison whose husband, she says, is domineering and abusive. As “Ron” he’s in conflict—he wants to seduce Madison, not put her in jail—and needs to do some spontaneous shuffling to elude police attention while wearing a wire. Madison, whose character swings between sweet and devilish, is compellingly played by Adria Arjona.

But, one has to wonder, what kind of relationship could “Ron,” a guy who Madison knows only through his tough-guy alias, have with a woman willing to hire a hit man to off her husband?

A sexy, volatile one, with twists and turns that are fun to watch.

As entertaining as Hit Man is, its larger significance is what its big, horny energy says about the cultural zeitgeist. We hope it’s that this extended era of sexlessness in the cinema is finally over.

I bemoaned the decline of the erotic thriller in my review two years ago of the disappointing film Deep Water, the psychological thriller from Adrian Lyne (director of 9 1/2 Weeks, no less) starring Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas. And then in desperation from the lack of quality horny movies coming out, The CRUSH Letter started our regular column by Christian Pan PrimeCrush & Chill: Steamy Films Worth A Rewatch earlier this year to celebrate the best in the genre from sultrier times. (Scroll down for Christian’s brilliant, updated take on the hot 1981 thriller Body Heat in today’s Letter.)

Our collective dry spell may be over. On the new podcast Mixed Signals hosts Nayeema Raza and Ben Smith recently talked with Linklater about Hit Man and the broader topic of why the movie industry dropped sex over the last 20 years. It’s a fascinating discussion of not just Linklater’s latest, but also the drivers for this trend that we hope is drawing to a close.

Linklater’s best lines on sexless cinema:

Where did adulthood go, I think that’s what it comes down to … in the history of sex the best sex in movies was screwball comedy in the 40’s where they were wittily suggesting sex or titillation.”

What’s really been reduced, and this is just Hollywood and cinema of this generation, is it’s just less adult. When super heroes took over it’s clear they don’t have genitalia … it precludes sex when you don’t have the parts.

And on Hit Man:

The sex is such a part of the story. You don’t believe their [the main characters Gary and Madison’s] behavior as it goes on if it wasn’t based on passion, love and sex. They wouldn’t be doing things to risk their entire lives. Because that’s the kind of thing that motivates you in the world, right? Sex. To do really foolish and dangerous things and risk everything.

Listen to the full conversation between Nayeema, Ben and Richard on Episode 2 of Mixed Signals starting at 16:20. (And if you like this conversation, tune in for more of Mixed Signals—only on its third episode now but it’s offering a new, interesting take on the media (and it’s always more fun to be an early champion)).

‎Mixed Signals from Semafor Media: Brits vs Biden, Linklater on Sexless Cinema & the Song of Summer on Apple Podcasts
‎Show Mixed Signals from Semafor Media, Ep Brits vs Biden, Linklater on Sexless Cinema & the Song of Summer - Jun 7, 2024

Here’s to more new horny films.

Favorite Clothing & Shoe Brands from A Sharp Looking Guy

My friend and CRUSH Reader Kraig is a tall, fit, good looking guy in his late 50’s who lives in Boston. I would classify his style at cool, updated and clean, leaning toward a “modern classic men’s style.” He’s not trendy, definitely not preppy, but wears classics that are updated. He takes good care of himself all around, and always smart and stylish. It helps a lot that he is warm and outgoing, unpretentious and has an inviting, big smile.

As someone who has been a senior executive for over 30 years in the apparel and sneaker industry, he pays attention to brands and knows what works for him. He is tall, a former college football player who stays in shape, so that impacts his style as well. I asked him to share a few of his favorite brands with CRUSH Readers:

Updated Classics:

Untuckit Performance shirts. Light, wash great, stretch, close-fitting. I buy these in slim and tall and they fit great but the colors are limited in my size.

The Perfect Jean. I bought a pair of classic white jeans from them. Sharp looking with navy (or black). Just need to have the balls to wear them.

Revtown. This company was launched by former Under Armour guys. Nice stretch jeans, good quality and a decent price.

ABC Pants. I've been known to wear the black slacks with a black suit jacket for comfort. As a former college football player who continues to work out, I have big thighs and would never wear pleats but I like a straight look and these stretch great.

Banana Republic luxe long sleeve tees. Love these for all occasions. Come in tall sizes too. Their slim shirts in tall fit close to my body so I don't look like I'm wearing a boxy camp shirt.

Bonobos. I think everybody knows about their pants, and for good reason.

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PrimeCrush & Chill: Steamy Films Worth A Re-Watch. By Christian Pan

In this series from Christian Pan, we hook back up with our favorite ex's--as in classic steamy movies worth a re-watch.

Body Heat (1981)

Starring: Kathleen Turner, William Hurt, Richard Crenna 

Released: August 28, 1981 (USA) 

Basic Plot: A small-time lawyer thinks he is helping a beautiful woman murder her husband so the two can run away together, but she has other plans. 

In a tiny town in Florida, Ned Racine (William Hurt) is a lawyer with a reputation: sometimes, he´ll squeeze or bend the law to make it all fit, for him and his clients. Restless with women and hungry with ambition, he thinks he's going to enjoy some no-strings-attached sex when he meets the beautiful but married Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner). But when he discovers how rich her husband Edmund (Richard Crenna) is, and how badly Matty wants him dead, Racine thinks he's being the hero when he proposes murdering him, collecting the money from his estate, and then run away together. Too late, Racine discovers that Matty´s made him into the fall guy, and that this beautiful woman is far more cunning than he initially thought. As the cops get closer and closer to putting him in the frame, and as Matty continues to make her plans to take the money and run, will Racine be able to confront her in time? 

Why Re-watch: After co-writing the screenplays for both Raiders of the Lost Ark and the Empire Strikes Back, Lawrence Kasdan made his directorial debut with the erotic-thriller Body Heat, which he also wrote. The influence of film noir can be felt throughout the movie, from the moody score composed by John Barry to the crackling dialogue, subtle symbolism in the visual vocabulary (the fog, shots of the spider web along with the wind chimes, Racine glimpsing the clown). Set in the South during an unexpected and exceptionally hot summer, few seem to be thinking straight due to the heat; “It's all emergency time,” Det. Oscar Grace (J.A. Preston) warns ominously at one point.

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The Crush Letter “Classified Ad Section”


Since we started running our Reader-sourced column Three Things I’m Crushing On I have tried so many of your recommendations. With summer nipping at us, I wanted to do a shout out of some of the Reader-loved products that you might want to try, too, if you haven’t already. (PrimeCrush earns nothing from purchases of these Reader recommendations.)

Andrea Camilleri Inspector Montalbano Mysteries 10 Books Collection Set (Series 1)

Inspector Montalbano novels - I listen closely to any book recommendations made by CRUSH Reader (and contributor) Bob Guccione who reads and edits, he guesses, millions of words a year. But what could be a better escape heading into beach-reading season than Italian crime fiction. “Montalbano, surrounded by a gloriously entertaining, mixed bag of officers, is a complicated, never fully resolved, often insecure, organic character, who solves crime in a particularly Sicilian way, which means some things are sometimes deliberately left unsettled, and some people spared an indignity that would serve no one.”

Downy Wrinkle Releaser Fabric Refresher Spray, Odor Eliminator, Ironing Aid and Anti Static Spray, Crisp Linen Scent, 33.8 Fl Oz (Pack of 2)

Downy Wrinkle Releaser Spray - CRUSH Reader Lydia told us about this wrinkle releaser a month ago. Last night I spritzed it on a linen dress while I prepped for friends coming over to dinner and voila! it was ready to slip on.

Westman Atelier Petite Face Trace ...

The Westman Atelier - Through CRUSH Reader Mieke recommendation, I discovered my favorite contour stick. It blends better than anything else I’ve tried, particularly useful given that we’re not tanning any more.

The HexMill Pepper Grinder - CRUSH Reader Peter sent this in and I finally splurged. Every chef needs a good pepper grinder for all those grilled vegetables this summer, and this one has been reliably superb.

Quip Water Flosser - Also from Peter. At a recent dentist appointment I asked whether water flossers are as good as the traditional string kind and my dentist said: “Honestly, no. But since you should be flossing every single night, having an easy, convenient water flosser on hand for when you just can’t bring yourself to do it manually is a smart choice.” This travel one is perfect for summer trips, and a quick floss before putting my Invisalign’s back in.

RIA Eyewear Announced as Official Eyewear Partner | US Squash

Ria Eyewear - I’ve been wearing these for golf and tennis ever since CRUSH Reader Jerry told us about these. I never play outside without Sunnies, and I want the most protective, sun-shielding ones I can get.

Culture / Comments. By Dish Stanley

In a recent CRUSH Letter I told you about what’s in my summer bookstack. (Scroll down for the full article.) I have since gotten through two of those. Reporting back with my thoughts.

THE WINNER: A working class, down-his-luck recent law school graduate who put himself through college on a tennis scholarship (against all odds, playing on public courts in Yonkers) takes a summer job at the bluest of blue blood privileged enclaves on Cape Cod. There he falls into a torrid sexual relationship with a wealthy woman decades older who “way overpays” him for his “tennis lessons.” He desperately needs the money to buy his mother’s life-saving drugs. That relationship creates a crisis for him when he inconveniently falls in love a girl his own age. Part class study, part suspense novel, the main character grows into a psychological study in the vein of Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley. I wish the characters were more nuanced and less stereotypical, and it took me a third of the book to get hooked (for that reason). But hooked I got. This book will definitely be made into a series or film, so if you are one of those who prefer to read it before you see it, jump into the dangerous Cape waters.

THE PARIS NOVEL: If you loved Reichl’s memoirs, then you may enjoy this novel about a young professional New Yorker who learns to shed her caution in love and life (including dining) during a trip to Paris after the death of her Mother. Lots of yummy descriptions of meals in Paris! This book reads like a fairy tale—it’s a light, frothy “beach read”—enjoyable, though predictable.

Social Media I Loved This Week


@christie_ferrari I love these reels with suggestions on what to say when somebody is rude, which is unfortunately more common than we’d like, beginning with “Can you say that again? I want to make sure I heard you correctly.” She’s posted three reels (so far …).


@cinedrama_diaries It’s always good to take a moment to consider what Beth Dutton would do.


Song of the Week

Chaka Khan: Tiny Desk Concert

This Tiny Desk Concert just came out with Chaka Khan and crew. It’s so fun. She’s 71!

Listen / Watch here

Enjoy your week end, CRUSHes! And as Chaka Khan says, “Tell me something good. Tell me that you love me.” My love language is you, CRUSH Reader, forwarding this Letter to a friend.


Dish Stanley XO,

Things I Did In My 50’s To Meet New Friends That Worked By Dish Stanley
First I became a childless widower, and then in the last couple of years I moved. So I’ve had plenty of reasons to try a lot of things over the last decade to make new friends. Having grown up in the military, I knew that I could put those
Summer Bookstack By Dish Stanley
Laura Gassner Otting, author of Wonderhell: Why Success Doesn’t Feel Like It Should … and What to Do about It, sends a weekly newsletter that I’ve mentioned a few times. I read it because it’s a valuable prompt for me to take action from time to time on
Truly Great Date Moves. Shared by Dish Stanley
I recently encountered one of the best “early” date moves I’ve seen in a while. I thought I should share it. But then I also thought it would be helpful to all of us if every CRUSH Reader thought about a particularly great date move they experienced in their
Extended Encounters: A Series on Long-Term Love. By Lisa Ellex
Columnist Lisa Ellex launches a new series on long-term relationships by looking inward at her own need for connection…

If you love me as much as I love you (and I really do love you!), then please help me grow by forwarding this {love} Letter to a friend! And I'd love to have you join us on instagram.

The Crush Letter
The Crush Letter is a weekly newsletter from Dish Stanley curating articles & intelligence on everything love & connection - friendship, romance, self-love, sex. If you’d like to take a look at some of our best stories go to Read Us. Want the Dish?


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