When I was 17, I became obsessed with Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park. The unbuttoned shirt? The scene where he drops water on Laura Dern’s hand, tracing its path while purring to her about chaos theory? Lord.
By this point, the movie was already 21 years old, but I didn’t care. I went straight to his Wikipedia page and, then, the filmography section, to find more of his movies: 1978’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, David Cronenberg’s body-horror classic The Fly, and campy alien rom-com Earth Girls Are Easy. My grandmother, who shared my passion for Goldblum, kindly called one day to let me know his Law & Order re-runs were on. That’s the thing about these kinds of fixations — you tend to make them everyone’s business.
My crush led me to watch stuff I never would’ve otherwise, movies that I’ve since learned are fairly well-regarded cinema. No version of myself would’ve willingly watched a genre called “body horror” — which revolves around physical, disfiguring frights — if a crush weren’t involved. But like a dog can be tricked into taking a pill with peanut butter, I lapped up The Fly. And I liked it.
As one X (formerly Twitter) user put it, “i’m not a cinephile i just pick an actor to have a crush on and then i watch their entire filmography.”
Now, if you do this with enough actors, you’ll eventually see a lot of movies. Several Bustle editors have taken their own filmographical journeys, too: one with Robert Downey Jr., another with Jake Gyllenhaal.
On TikTok, it’s practically a guarantee that stars attached to big projects — think Steven Yeun in BEEF, Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer, Idris Elba in Hijack — will appear in swoony, edited clips of their past roles, proof that their oeuvres are being examined by fresh, thirsty eyes. The platform democratizes the cinematic crush experience, with viral videos of supporting actors ensuring that household names aren’t the only ones being lusted after.
And the subject of such a crash course — crush course, if you will — doesn’t have to be currently making headlines.
“With classic movies, which I love, sometimes I’m like, This feels 80 years long. I don’t want to keep watching this movie,” says Rachel Leishman, who writes for The Mary Sue. “But if there’s someone like Jimmy Stewart... I’m gonna watch anything with Jimmy Stewart. Or Frank Sinatra.”
By curating your screen time in such a personal way, you can accidentally cobble together quite the watch log — a cross-section of genre, history, and filmmakers that can become your favorites. (My love of Greta Gerwig’s writing, for example, started after seeing Frances Ha during an Adam Driver deep dive.)
It’s great if your crush has a hefty filmography (Leishman loves Harrison Ford, with his nearly 60-year career), but you don’t need to pick someone with an immense resume. Barry Keoghan only has a handful of major roles under his belt, but they’re a visionary mix of oddball stories from innovative filmmakers. So what if your Saltburn obsession is the reason you discover them?
That’s part of the beauty of an actor crush: finding projects that’ll shake you out of your comfort-watch rut. It encourages you to be curious, to honor your inner teenager, and to trust that even after you think you’ve seen all the good movies (and all the cutest stars), there will always be another to obsess over.
This article was originally published on