The first time I heard the term “down under” it sounded like something rated R.  I know better now.

I first fell in love with Australia when I saw the movie The Man from Snowy River and later saw Crocodile Dundee with Paul Hogan’s jerked-meat face.

I’m still seething from years ago when Gwyneth Paltrow won Best Actress for Shakespeare in Love while the brilliant Australian actress, Cate Blanchett, did not win for her role in Elizabeth. When they announced Paltrow, I choked on some popcorn and for days hacked like a lifetime smoker.  Some of the academy awards must have been chosen by a blind drunkard throwing daggers at celebrity pictures spinning on a carnival knife board.

What was the problem?  Did Cate not have a father in the Hollywood royalty?  Well, never mind. Cate went on to gain a truckload of awards including an Academy Award in 2004 for The Aviator.  Cate rivals Meryl Streep in acting brilliance, but Cate is also beautiful. John Wayne was John Wayne in every movie (except that horrible role as Genghis Khan–the worst casting of all time), whether or not he was a cowboy, a sailor, or a lover. By contrast Cate makes you BELIEVE she is her character.

And I love Australia for all the other great talent they send us:  Eric Bana, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, and Sam Worthington.  And look at the talented actresses from down under:  Rose Byrne, Naomi Watts, and the incomparable Nicole Kidman.

You’ll have trouble focusing on Eric Bana and Rose Byrne in Troy with Brad Pitt because testosterone will cloud up the screen. In Gladiator I still get the chills remembering Russell Crowe caress the waving wheat on his way to rejoining his loved ones in the Elysian Fields. The first time I saw Nicole Kidman was in Dead Calm with Sam Neill and Billy Zane. The hunky monkeys were nice, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of this porceline beauty who could also act.

Yeah, I’m glad I get to go “down under” at my movie theather.  Good onya, and G’Day.