I have just been informed that Sainsbury's are selling the buggers now though and I'm almost tempted to buy them up en masse and set fire to them. Being plastic they probably wouldn't burn too easily so if we secreted them about the useless frame of, say, James Corden, then we would rid ourselves of two World Cup irritations in one fell swoop.
It's been a dreadfully dull World Cup so far though, but I'm not surprised because there hasn't really been a good one since 1990, as far as I'm concerned. I don't think anyone had high hopes of Algeria-Slovenia, in fairness, but the rest have been drivel too. I think I need Wimbledon to start a week early.
Obviously, it's pretty telling just how much those fucking horns have done my fucking head in during the four largely dull World Cup matches so far that they prompted my first journal entry for over a year. As far as I'm concerned they are completely without merit or use, but I did find myself intrigued by a comment that Danny Jordaan made. He said that if a vuvuzela (or 'tosserhorn' as I'm now calling it) was thrown on the pitch during a game then they would be banned. There must be some kindly Saffie out there who is willing to bung one on the pitch for us. Who knows, they could do it during tonight's match and as a bonus it might hit John Terry. Or Ashley Cole. Or Steven Gerrard. God, they're all twats, aren't they?
I suppose I might as well make some mention of what I've been up to in my 12 months (+) absence. I'm now working for Freeones.com as their senior reviewer (sort of) as well as working on one or two other adult site bits and pieces here and there, and am enjoying it thoroughly by all accounts. Somewhere in there I've become a fully paid up full-time writer, by some miracle. I've got a couple of other ideas in the pipeline that will probably come to nothing, as this is me after all, including a book treatment that I'm hoping to put together about the 6 and a half years I've been working in this mucky old industry.
On the recreational front, I bought this for Miranda for our 10 year anniversary:-
No looking for Miranda though, or you'll find how much I paid for it!http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220572669987
Watching the two poor buggers trying to get it up the stairs that we hired was one of the most traumatic things I've been through, and they had to take the lounge door off to fit it in. Completely thrilled with it though - and I've not enjoyed getting benefit from it at all, no way.
Not sure if there's owt else to report, really. Angelica and Natasha are bigger, louder, faster, heavier with the latter of the two cracking one of my ribs several months ago with her head. Angelica is now tremendously useful as she fetches stuff for you now and carries the shopping and everything - Natasha is more interested in eating anything you give her, but I'll train her up.
Oh, and I've got jury service in August and I'm coming over all Henry Fonda already. This is obviously not going to end well.
By the way, I did have a go at Twitter and I know a couple of you added me but, with monotonous predictability, I got bored of it almost as quickly as I set it up. Actually, the issue was that I knew that if I spent all day on it that I would not do ANY work (also mainly the reason for not updating this) but I have deleted those that I tried using and will set another one up soon probably mostly for work purposes an' that.
The problem I found with Oldboy
was not so much the intense level of violence or slightly blocky narrative. My problem was more along the lines of, "Okay, when am I going to start hating this because everyone I know seems to like it?" You know, because I'm like that. It's why I'm dreading watching Fight Club and Donnie Darko although I'm quite convinced for some reason that I will hate the latter.
I was never fully convinced though that I would hate Oldboy though, I have to say. I'm a sucker for weird violent Oriental films, live action or animated, for some unknown reason in the same way that I don't understand why I can sit through 3 hour French social dramas even if Emmanuelle Beart or Ludivine Sagnier aren't in it and are therefore unlikely to get their norks out. The two aren't really compatible. So maybe that's the reason why I thought deep down I would enjoy it.
In many ways it reminded me of Gozu
, Takashi Miike's gloriously stupid gangster film, in that the underlying plot was actually incredibly simple. But when you have the consumption of a live octopus, tongue snipping and a horizontal scrolling beat 'em up scene that had me checking to make sure I wasn't sat on a joypad, it is easy to be distracted from that. And that is part of the genius of Oldboy and, to a slightly lesser extent, Gozu. The occasionally unnecessary filler and flannel trick you into believing that you are watching something far more complex than it actually is.
It's along these lines that Oldboy has copped most of its rare criticism - that it's mostly filler and the main plot amounts to very little. But why is that a bad thing? I like filler. Without it, Quentin Tarantino would barely have a career and Death Proof
wouldn't be nearly as fantastic as it was. It is the absolute epitome of a movie that you will love or hate. I can't really see a middle ground with this and it's exactly the film that would make Tarantino haters hate him even more.
The long sections of obscure popular music. The pop culture heavy and seemingly endless conversations. The explosions of ultra-violence from almost nowhere. All are present and correct. Then throw in an action-packed denouement so obviously and shamelessly set up and telegraphed that it feels far too easy to enjoy it, and what you have is a film that you almost feel Tarantino made for his haterz, y'all. It's just so bloody stupid but it's just so bloody good at the same time. And I make no apology for the fact that I enjoyed Kurt Russell's performance as an unexpectedly feeble serial killer more than anything I've seen in a movie for quite some time. So I'm a Russell fanboy. Wanna make something of it?
Tarantino gets away with another, it would seem, and spectacularly so. Robert Rodriguez finds it slightly tougher to do so with Planet Terror
, as he did with From Dusk Till Dawn which I think I don't like now although I liked it when I first saw it. I hate it when things do that. It was like when I had scrambled eggs for the first time in about 3 years a few months' ago and after eating them wondered what the fuck I'd seen in these things in the first place and why I didn't just boil them and do toast soldiers and shit with them.
Yes, Planet Terror is a harder sell I think because it's more obviously over-the-top and if you're going to do this type of thing properly you need good actors to convincingly pull off the idiocy with a straight face and to commit to being utterly ridiculous at all times. Having seen Jeff Fahey and Freddie Rodriguez in the cast, alarm bells started to ring a little bit. But hey, you know what, seems like Robert Rodriguez saw something that I didn't and the whole thing is just brilliantly mental. The best thing in it is Marley Shelton, a ridiculously ignored actress who out-performs even the gun-legged Rose McGowan and a Bruce Willis cameo that, in all fairness, wasn't quite as exciting as it perhaps should have been. Best bit? The kid shooting himself. Good swerve! And to think, we might get a feature length Machete soon. I like it.
I also liked Infection
. Similar to Planet Terror in that it was a completely ludicrous and rather gooey horror, this J-Horror offering is rather more straight-faced but no less enjoyable for it. Set in a hospital that makes East Surrey Hospital look like, well, a good hospital, it never seems to quite know if it's about ghosts or a virus striking everyone down or what. It also has an ending that makes practically no sense whatsoever. Yet some genuinely startling horror set pieces and a constantly uneasy atmosphere that reminded me for some reason of the criminally ignored Prince Of Darkness
make this great fun from start to finish.Severance
somehow managed the impossible - it was a film with Danny Dyer that didn't make me want to vomit blood. And, actually, he shows some semblance of comic timing in the film. Mind you, I was watching it on BBC1 at 1am in the morning and was in the middle of an insomnia episode so I might have imagined it. I hope so. Fun film though and nice seeing Tim McInnerny in something fairly high profile again.
So. Some films there.
Looking through Empire's previews of coming seasons of films over the last couples of years has been a relentlessly depressing affair. There will come a point sometime in the next decade when there will no longer be a comic book or comic strip that a film hasn't been made of.
I'm not the type of person who dismisses out-of-hand an entire genre or movement of films - I give everything, regardless of its background, a chance. But with these I just cannot summon an iota of strength or excitement. Does the world really need another Batman film, for instance? Didn't we just redo the Batman series a couple of years ago and now they're doing it again? And The Incredible Hulk? Why do we need ANOTHER of those, wans't it only 4 years ago that Ang Lee did his version?
I'm sick and bloody tired of comic book adaptations, I just don't get along with the damn things at all, and now there's more of them than ever. Normally I wouldn't mind them too much as long as there was plenty of something else to see - it's the same reason that I normally don't care about remakes. I actually don't understand why people get so upset about remakes, especially when it's along the lines of, "It's a disgrace! It's ruined the legacy of the original!"
No it hasn't. The original is still exactly the same as it always was, some crummy rehash isn't going to affect its quality or standing one way or the other. I digress. Like I said, I wouldn't mind all these comic book adaptations so much if there was much of anything else to see - but there isn't, really. The great and the good of Hollywood are largely too busy with remakes, franchise-building or comic book adaptations.
What I wouldn't give to see Werner Herzog and the late, great Klaus Kinski let loose on a Hollywood movie shoot. There are just not enough mavericks around these days, not enough borderline lunatics prepared to almost put their lives on the line to ensure that their vision translates to the screen in EXACTLY the way they imagined it. Not enough maniacs who start shooting at fellow cast members because they're playing a card game too loudly whilst he's trying to rehearse.
You don't even really get any stars or directors even taking a chance these days. But then, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez try something slightly different with their directorial and distributorial approaches and what do they get? Practically no-one goes to see the damn films and they end up getting released separately, practically rendering the entire experiment pointless.
So who is to blame? The filmmakers or the film watchers? Whoever is to blame, I still can't help but wonder what would have happened if Kinski had have ended up taking that role on Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Harrison Ford would probably have had to change one of his famous lines.
"Kinski. Why did it have to be Kinski?"
It's appalling that I actually remember this bloody video and/or song at all, and I certainly wasn't pleased to be reminded of it flicking through the music channels the other day. So why suffer alone when I can inflict it on you lot as well.
I understand the concept of the video - lots of scantilly clad girls is a pretty successful formula. But a two-member boy band? One of whom looks like one of The Lone Gunmen and doesn't actually do anything? Win!
EDIT - Oh, by the way, it's Boys by BON. Like you didn't know.
When Super Hans splendidly pointed out in the latest episode of Peep Show, "What's that? He's done something there, how did he do that?" he could almost have been referring to Peep Show.
Constantly, they 'do something there' that doesn't seem, at the time, as though they're doing something classically comedic. Yet when you think about it afterwards, you realise that, yes, that was brilliant actually. But they didn't really do a great deal - all they did was talk about 'sucking off' a lot and lob in some superb jilting-related side-steps. But genius often masquerades as something deceptively simple, and that's what Peep Show does.
Yet at the same time, Goldenballs is also deceptively simple, yet total shit. Modern day quiz and game shows are just trying far too hard. What exactly was wrong with watching fat people throw a few darts and answering general knowledge questions whilst a cartoon bull occasionally made an appearance? Absolutely nothing, that's what.
But here we have another televised guessing game where there's not enough guessing and far too much time piddling around talking about why they might guess a particular way. It was inevitable that Deal Or No Deal was going to do this and spawn imitators, but I didn't think that one of them was going to drag down Jasper Carrott with it. Another series of All About Me would have gone down better than this.
And then you have It's Not What You Know, which is a quiz show where you don't have to know any answers, but merely guess who you think might or might not know the answers. In some ways, Challenge and Chris Tarrant are to be applauded for creating a quiz specially designed for people who can only get the questions about telly and football right on University Challenge (like me), but you know what? I want Fifteen To One back, dammit.
(I once auditioned for it but failed to qualify for the televised show probably thanks to questions about Shakespeare or classical music, I can't remember exactly, but it was probably those.)
Big Cook Little Cook (I nearly wrote 'Cock' there - all that porn is finally getting to me) is probably the most seen programme in our household these days, even more so than South Park. Our daughter has adopted it as her favourite show unfortunately, and as such its slightly disturbing jollity and the sight of a formerly edgy adult comedy duo prancing around with dusters and making some utterly bizarre recipes is constantly etched into my brain.
I've commented before that the names of these cooks don't make any sense - Big Cook is actually Ben, and Little Cook is called....Small? As if it isn't bad enough that the poor short-arse might get hoovered up in the next spring clean, you have to draw attention to his dimunitive nature. But the recipes are stupid as well - half the time they tell you that you have to get your 'grown-up helper' to do things for you.
I understand that we generally don't want our children plunging their arms into 200 degree ovens (not that our relic of an oven will ever reach that temperature anyway), but they're not going to learn much about the preparation of food if they're getting grown-ups to do everything for them. And they never make anything normal either - nobody wants cucumber on toast. If they're going to teach my children to cook, then teach them how to make chicken chasseur or bacon on toast as these are more appropriate to my personal tastes. If they're not going to let them get involved in the preparation of raw poultry or being spat on by frying pan fat, then maybe they just shouldn't be in the sodding kitchen at all, eh?
But I think the thing that irritates me most about it is the fact that the small one always sits down and reads a story whilst Ben goes off and actually does some work (probably as payback for calling him Small), and then proceeds to claim responsibility for the likes of Snow White living happily ever after. You can't do that! You can't go rewriting children's classics just to suit the ego of some shrunken git. What happens if some kid goes and watches the movie after seeing that and asks mummy where the vertically challenged halfwit is? It's just dreadful.
I've been revisiting some Star Trek: The Next Generation in the last few weeks when there hasn't been any cricket or Big Cook Little Cook on. I don't regard myself as a Trekkie - I don't like the films, didn't like the original, Voyager or Enterprise - I just like The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. I don't have any massive insights to add to the reams of stuff that has been written about the series in the last 20 years or so since it started, but just a small observation.
Jonathan Frakes just could not act, could he? Not one jot. He made Keanu Reeves look like Lee Strasberg. Still, I did like his reaction in that episode with what was, really, a malevolent oil slick, when he starts to get sucked into said slick. For one second you did actually believe he thought he was about to be tortured by an evil oil monster. Not many actors have had to display such a reaction over the years, after all.
So United won that The Premier League. By the way, that's what it's called. Not the EPL. I'm going to have to start culling people who call it the EPL that are from the United Kingdom. There's just no defence for this type of behaviour.
And the even better thing about this is the fact that we live above a Chelsea fan now, so that's all the better.
It was interesting watching interviews with Chelsea fans outside the ground on the news afterwards. For a start, one or two of them could actually form a coherent sentence. Secondly, one of them came up with a marvellous piece of reasoning:-
"Well, they won it today, fair play to them. But Chelsea will be back. We're the team to catch, not them."
How's that then? Did you change your allegiance before that last sentence?
I don't actually know what's better - winning the league or making sure that Chelsea didn't win it. The only problem is now United have to do the same with the Champions League, and given United's largely shambolic European past, I'm not holding out a huge amount of hope. Especially bearing in mind that Chelsea will practically be playing on their home ground.
Is anyone watching Sunday Supplement on Sky Sports 1 at the moment?
What the hell, in fact, scrap that, that needs initialising. What the HELL is with Bill Bradshaw's hair?!
He looks like a cross between Beavis and Herman Munster. Extraordinary.