Monday, December 22, 2008

Inappropriate Epitaphs

Because sometimes I just get morbid.

For Sparacus

A thousand times before have so many ignored so few bickering over so little. But never before has it been quite as funny.

He couldn't spell Whovian. He couldn't spell smooth. He couldn't even spell his own name. But he didn't let that stop him.

For Paul McGann

Don't forget the lighter fluid.


For Graham Manou (he's a cricketer)

All he wanted was a baggy green. Now he does a fairly good impression.

For Nigella Lawson

Because sometimes, the worms should just spoil themselves.

For Russell T. Davies

He's not dead. Just resting. Come back in three years.

The butchest gay man to ever live. We salute you.

For David Hicks

Don't worry. He's used to it.

For Gary Russell

If I could be wanked by any fan - it would be him.

For Vladimir Putin

For those of you who wish to drive in a wooden stake, please form an orderly queue and follow the instructions clearly visible on the mausoleum walls. No time-wasters, please.

(Also acceptable for Phil Ruddock)

For Alan Stevens

Many would bring a gun to a knife fight. Nobody else would bring a chainsaw to a pillow fight.

It doesn't matter what gets said here. He won't be happy.

Now in a grotty hotel foyer with Gareth Thomas and Brian Croucher.

For Jack Black

Time tried to kill The Metal. Touche, motherfucker.

For David Gulpilill

Don't panic. His son can also stand on one leg.

I apologise in advance for this one...

For Helen Raynor

Now in the darkest alley of all.

I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry...

For Kevin Rudd


For Seth McFarlane

You know.. this really grinds my gears.

For Myself

In a world that strove for mediocrity he... wait, what was I saying?

Seriously, though I like Helen Raynor's stuff. I need to do a retrospective on The Sontaran Stratagem.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

R.I.P Ricky M.

Richard "Marslando Calrissian" Marsland
September 5th, 1976 - December 6th, 2008

I'm utterly, utterly shocked to hear the news that one of Australia's brightest but most underused comic talents has died, and at such a young age. And am also dismayed that the news of his passing slipped me by for eight days, as I also have been with the fact that brilliant comic director Bob Spiers, a hero of the British TV landscape, didn't warrant an obituary in the local news after all he did over his diverse career.

I find it strange to think that if I hadn't listened to Get This I never would have even known Marsland existed, let alone the brilliance of his comic timing, his quick wit, his near encyclopedic knowledge of music and film trivia, and his at times sickening love for puns, the creation of which seemed a second nature to him. (One of his one thousand-plus nicknames was 'the punel operator') He held the show together, and often seemed to contribute far more to proceedings than Ed Kavalee, who was the official co-host, and all while keeping up with Tony Martin's intense demands for wacky sound effects at every turn on the shows panel. A running joke in the series was that if, at any time, Rich couldn't find a sound effect he'd have to 'sing it' live - this only happened once. (And was hilarious as he tried to emulate the synth-panpipes of Toto's Africa)

So enigmatic and adored a figure was Marsland that the final days of the became pre-occupied largely with listeners speculating about how he lived his life, with most of the suggestions pertaining to a Buffallo Bill lifestyle of pits full of lotion and S&M gear, but along with more plausible alternatives, such as sleeping in a 'ditch filled with Whizz Fizz and pasta sauce', beating up octogenerians until they say 'you're the king, Marsland!', sitting awake in a Rambo style cave, and a sub basement in an abandoned factory filled with shelves of old VHS decorated with photographs of Lehmo taken with a long-distance lens without his permission. Whatever the true answer was is now, sadly, academic.

Marsland this year apparently also became the panel operator of Triple M breakfast show. I was unaware of this having blackballed the network after their unconscionable axing of their top-rating show, but it seems he has had the greatest of falls after reaching his highest success. Every news site that mentions the story, it seems, is copying off the same source, so here's all that is said on the matter.

FANS and friends have paid tribute to Melbourne breakfast radio host Richard Marsland, who was found dead in his car on a lonely stretch of road in Victoria's Dandenong Ranges.

A park ranger raised the alarm after finding the 32-year-old's body in his car at Shiprock Falls around 10.30am (AEDT) on Saturday but despite police resuscitation efforts, Marsland was later pronounced dead.

Victoria Police said an investigation had been launched and a brief would be passed to the state coroner but there were no suspicious circumstances.

It doesn't take a genius to work out what has happened, and the news is thus even more devastating. He deserved much better.

In the final episode of Get This, however, Richard Marsland did, hearteningly, tell Tony that working with him had been a dream over his entire radio career and he did so with characteristic flair and genius for two years. Solace can be taken, then, that he had fulfilled his dream before he passed away. What more can any of us ask?

Condolences to all friends and family of Richard Marsland, most notably his mother and father who both took part in the show, and of course Tony Martin, Ed Kavalee, Gary McCaffrie, Ryan Shelton, Anne Willes, Peter Helliar, Myf Warhurst, Greg Fleet, Nikki Hamilton, Katie Dimond and Shaun Michallef. He will be sorely missed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Alan Stevens is on my blog

If anyone else is in the mood to acknowledge this, please go ahead. But seeing as I glanced over his comment after coming back from two hours of lawn mowing and saw that his modus operandi was pedantic responses (who'd have thought it) I should respond to this:

Cynical? I'd say stupid, and a bit bitter, for some reason. What have I ever done to you, bar make a CD series which you weren't forced to buy, though somehow you seem to have bought and listened to every release, including the short play on the “The Actor Speaks: Paul Darrow” CD, despite having hated the first one so much that you feel compelled to deliver a two thousand, four hundred and twenty-two word rant on the subject?

1. I don't hate Kaldor City. Not everything's black and white. If I had actually written my reviews of Death's Head (from memory I think that's the title - Chris Boucher's one anyway) and Storm Warning you'd see that I hold at least two epiosdes of the series in quite high regard.
2. It's not a rant. If this should qualify, everything you have ever written in your life, including the play's themselves should be considered a rant.
3. I haven't bought nor listened to every release. (The one you specifically mentioned, in fact. Funny that)
4. As an extension to point one I have actually thought that Kaldor City could make a brilliant free-forming CRPG with the right developer and had actually wrote some stuff for a hypothetical seventh story.

If you're still here, Alan, respond to these points before replying under my name whilst copying-and-pasting 'Nope.:)' to simulate a conversation.

Anyway, how awesome is it that The Rani is finally coming back? What, haven't heard of that one? Hah, beat you in the spoiler stakes for once. For on Rani Chandra's wikipedia page there's the quote from Russell T. Davies saying she's "not the Rani". As we all know, the opposite of what RTD is almost always the truth, and why would he want to point out something so clearly apparent?

Rani v Brigadier v Sontarans. v Ice Warriors. It HAS to be.

Also, congrats to BBC Worldwide for making a DVD commentary so boring that even I can't bear to listen to it - Destiny of the Daleks with Lalla Ward, David Gooderson, and Ken Grieves. Grieves is a former cameraman, so his favourite topic is how much of a bastard it was to do ANYTHING in an old studio, and won't stop talking about it. Surely after 15 minutes straight he must have considered it would be in danger of getting old?

In an unrelated note to anything else, I today I feel a great surge of respect for RTD's ability to take constructive criticism and am in the mood to pirate some Faction Paradox audios.

EDIT: Sorry, that should be 'Alan Stevens is NOT on my blog'. 'Who's Gan'? For Christ's sake...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Blakes 7 is dead, Long Live Blakes 7!

Yeah, no reason for the dramatic opening line, apart from the fact that I may be about to review the final episode of Blakes 7 FINALLY. Yes, one of the most acclaimed TV episodes in the British pantheon, of pretty much the only sci-fi show (until recently) of which the British were not unreservedly ashamed of due to their near-pathological hatred of levity and imagination in all its forms. With the exception of Clive James who spaketh thus:

"...classically awful British television SF ... no apostrophe in the title, no sense in the plot. The depraved space queen Servalan, played by the slinky Jacqueline Pearce, could never quite bring herself to volatilize the dimly heroic Blake even when she had him square in the sights of her plasmatic spasm guns. The secret of Blake’s appeal, or Blakes appeal, for the otherwise infallibly fatale Servalan remained a mystery, like the actual wattage of light bulb on which the design of Blake’s spaceship, or Blakes spaceship, was plainly based."

I'm sure I don't need to point out the obvious errors in that drivel, so much as any of it can be understood but surely these two warrant especial notice and derision..

1) If anything it was the other way around, with Servalan in Blake's sights, but even then I can only think of a couple of cases. Furthermore, the suggestion of a love between them strongly suggests that Clive James has actually confused Avon and Blake for one another. Learn to watch TV, palski!

2) was obviously based on a light bulb... so obvious you could not tell what type it was? Furthermore, why does the idea of ingeniusly practical miniature design offend you so? Is it something to do with envy due to your own sheer girth?

Of course I am probably making a faux pas in trying to read the offending rant as an English sentence. To!

*Sigh* It did it's best.

I've been thinking quite a bit about Blakes 7 recently, having been rewatching the show from the beginning fairly recently (well, since Space Fall. Mum refuses to watch either The Way Back or Blake ever again, and fair enough) though we're now up to Star One. Do bear in mind we skipped a few episodes, and ISTR really, really not wanting to watch Orac a second time. Man, why the hell have all the good stuff in Part One???

At the same time, there's been the news of the SkyTV relaunch, anticipation for how bad it will have to be, some Miles-talk about a proper revamping, me bigging up pointlessly the snatches I've written of Calypso 5*, Ewen reviewing some dross that happens to have the B7 name appended to it like a toe tag saying "HRH The Prince of Wales" on the corpse of Leee John and some other errata. Noticeably me attempting to introduce a girl at TAFE who worships at the altar of Star Trek to what I (I would consider faithfully) described as "the guys who made Doctor Who making the Anti-Trek). I didn't try too hard, as I only gave her a disc with episodes 1-10 on it today, but still I'll be interested to hear her response.

I've also chatted with a mate about the traumatising final scenes, and today had a TAFE teacher reminisce about "the one where Adon tries to throw that guy out of the airlock" after she heard me mention the show's name. And.... erm, I'm running out of connections now. Though I saw a book on the shelf here at Ourimbah Uni library with an author named 'Restal' and knew a girl named 'Jenna' in highschool. Woooh, spooky!

Okay, maybe Blakes 7 hasn't ruled my life, but I have been thinking about it, and just recently I DID watch Blake.

It's hard to review, as there is so much perceived wisdom about it already, so many reviews, opinions, essays, such a sheer wealth of material written about it that it exhudes an intimidating aura of artistic indomitability. It has become Chris Boucher's colussus, and more than that, the single most famous episode of Blakes 7. To the point that when the show gets brought up, the events of the final episode are quick to follow in any situation. The amount of nerds who scream out "They kill off the entire cast!" is staggering. To all intents and purposes, Blake is as famous as the show itself. Blake and Blakes 7 have become one - with a perception that Boucher's last hurrah is an encapsulation of the entire series.

You may well think that, not having had much to say about this episode before, that I'm building up to a slamming of this episode, especially if you were odd enough to follow me around on OG and see that I recently referred to it as 'a re-write of Rumours of Death' (which it is). Not so. Blake is a tremendous piece of television, once past the slightly-too-long shots of the Xenon base self-destructing it keeps a mean pace for shows of its era, constantly surprising and manipulating the audience, and Boucher plays a lot of tricks to bind it all tightly together and keep the audience following every development. Wonderful moments like Vila whining "I can't imagine Blake doing that!" to Orac right after we've seen him as the ruthless bounty hunter shooting down his own man, are the glue that binds this all together.

Themes run through the story impressively, notably with the transposition of characters and their motives with one another. Blake's scarred face reminds the audience of Travis, once his deadliest enemy, whom he now behaves just as ruthless as. Similarly, Tarrant, the once thuggish and egotistical lieutenant who has learnt his place and gravitated towards the neutral position of moral authority is contrasted with Blake in their pairing. The man who was once the most self-centred member of the crew (well, with Vila it's debatable) offers to sacrifice his life for the rest of his crewmates, for once winning Avon's respect. After he awakes he meets Blake, who manipulates him in a grossly self-centred way - trying to trick Tarrant that Blake has saved him from his own assassins. That they are paired for most of the episode is very poignant, in that this episode is the first time that Tarrant has ever truly appeared to be a replacement for Blake, at the time when they are both doomed to die.

Interestingly, Soolin opens up a little in this story, after being the resident clam for a long while, along with Vila showing some rare bravery when he punches out Arlin, and Avon finally deciding to stand and fight the Federation as he has declined to do for the entire season. All of this happens such a short time before they are snuffed out of existence - just to emphasis the loss of these five humans? Or perhaps to say that we are all at our best under the threat of death?

And, yes, for the sake of this argument everybody's dead, Dave. Also worth noting that Dayna is the odd one out, as usual. I get the strange feeling Boucher didn't care for the character.

Beyond that, there are some questions to be asked about what message exactly the episode is trying to send. It certainly is made clear that death is inevitable. But that feels a bit more like commonsense than a strong message for the story to have. And here we come to the reason that I called Blake a re-write of Rumours of Death - it is. Both stories revolve around their endings, wherein there is a large, fatal misunderstanding that results in Avon killing the person he loves, destroying a resistance movement, and wishing death upon himself as a direct result. The big differences would be that Blake is written more competently, with more material to fill out the early stages of the episode, and that Rumours has a strong theme.

Rumours revolves around the central theme of identity, and how uncertain and fickle it can be in a world like The Federation. It is notable that 'Anna Grant' has three personalities - 'Sula', 'Anna' and 'Bartolomew', and by the end of the episode there is no indication which, of any, are genuine. Anna's words "I was only ever Anna for you" are telling, something of an admission that it was an act, but an act that she enjoyed. Likewise much of Avon's personality, his sense of identity has been based on his encounters with the Grants, shaping the very person that he is. Symbolically, once he has killed 'Anna', Avon prepares to lay down his life - Anna is a part of who he is, and if she is dead, then so is he. At the close of the episode Avon says at much to Tarrant, that he considers himself barely alive at all.

It's quite an intriguing look at how a world shaped by lies more than truths can affect those who grow in such a world, along with an unusual portrayal of revenge from Boucher, as an exercise laden by a chilly hollowness. When Avon corners Shrinker, deprived of his power (the foundation of the torturer's deluded identity as a strong individual) he is nothing but a weak-kneed, blithering coward. And of course, when he finds 'Bartolomew', he destroys the greatest enemy to Servalan on Earth, the best chance that the rebels have of any victory... and gets nothing but heartbreak in return.

Unfortunately, the story is some way from perfect, mainly due to an unnecessary preponderence of padding and Boucher's sometimes exasperating habit of sidelining the main cast in favour of his highly-disposable wise-cracking guest cast. But, the issue of identity gives it a rich thematic depth, which Blake sadly lacks.

The theme of Blake, amongst the various memes Boucher weaves through the script, is one of trust. Blake trusts Arlen. Blake and Tarrant can't trust each other. Trust is Blake's downfall, when he loses it from Avon. It has been noted that it's a very curious turn for the series, considering that Blake's great strength of character was his ability to trust others, thus bringing out their better qualities, and also his sound judgement of character. It isn't unthinkable that something could have happened to cause this unexpected change of character, but it feels like a bit of a cheat to the audience, by shrouding the matter in ambiguity.

Fortunately for Boucher, such defects can also be explained away as cohesion within the script - if the nature of the Federation's attack, Blake's plan, Arlen's scheme, and what exactly has happened to Blake (and Jenna) on Gauda Prime are all heavily ambiguous, then it can be said that he is simply expanding upon the nihilistic thos of the tragedy by creating a Universe of chaotic, unpredictable variables or even flaunting convention by preventing a limited view of proceedings, leaving the majority to the audience's imagination.

But, even so, it's a bit difficult to claim that it all hangs together effortlessly. Where on Earth do the Federation troopers come from - obviously the 'observer's' ship, but how does she land without the radars or blockade runners picking her up? Assuming Servalan is the observer, which is clearly the suggestion, how can she possibly have made her way into the High Council given the fact that she's operating under a terribly unconvincing alias and avoiding people who recognise her, and in the short amount of time that's passed since Warlord? Why didn't Blake set any procedures to follow upon Avon's arrival, if he was 'waiting for him'? Why does he appear so shocked to see Avon, when every ounce of his behaviour leading up to that point suggests that he strongly suspects that Avon is coming? And isn't Arlen's plan the most convoluted thing ever when you stop and think about it - she needs to raise a bounty for herself, make sure that Blake's chasing her, survive multiple attacks by bounty hunters, allow herself to be caught by Blake, pretend to be brainwashed and [via unclear means] help the Federation get in entirely undetected. That's a LOT for one woman to handle!

Due to these deficincies in plot and theme, I have to say that Blake's message is, somewhat sadly, summed up by the immortal words of an anonymous tool on Outpost Gallifrey - "the good guys lose, and the bad guys win". It may be good enough for most shows, but for a show as good as B7 you'd hope for something a little more nuanced once you've scratched the surface. Blake is an excellent piece of television, and as endings go it has to be perhaps the most unremittingly final ending ever devised (ironic, given its supposed 'cliffhanger' status)**
but it can be hard to reconcile with much of the show and its themes. Viewed in context of the greater pantheon of the series, it seems like little more than gratuitous nihilism that erodes the imagination shown previously in the series. Everybody's dead, Dave.

Oh bugger. I forgot to put all of the penis jokes in this review. Bah! It is WORTHLESS!

* Though, actually I haven't mentioned Calypso 5 in a while, thus depriving you, the humble reader, of highly camp dialogue that probably would only have been acceptable in television in the early 80s and no later, and considering the irony of that given that if the show was made then the B7 rip-off would be even more obvious.

Having glanced at one of my snippets of scripts, featuring the placid android Kitt and the insane gunman Esper I have to ask... have I just changed the names in a Vila and Avon scene?

KITT: No signal.

ESPER: Not much of a surprise. It would have to be stronger than me to still be active.

KITT: Without a signal it will be impossible to find.

ESPER: I've always said that nothing is impossible, Baal. Get looking.

KITT: Are you seriously suggesting that we blindly try to filter through 500 tonnes of rubble?


(Esper puts a friendly arm around Kitt)

ESPER: I'm suggesting you blindly try and filter through the rubble. I've done my bit.

Well... I guess not entirely. Maybe a bit more Tarrant in there.

**I think this is probably the most well known piece of 'trivia' in the world, btw.

How to... depress yourself

My first attempt at a Wiki:HowTo. It got knocked back, though, as they said it didn't have very practical instructions to follow. I'll let my readers (yes, both of them!) be the judge of that.

The Secret of Depression

1. Fail at everything

2. Make jokes about the greatness of your failures light-heartedly, thus prompting your friends to laugh in your face

3. Write down a list of your day's achievements

4. Upon noticing that this list is emptier than Michael Bay's trophy cabinet, turn it into a list of your erotic fantasies

5. Hurriedly cross out all of the ones that involve other men

6. Awkwardly turn it into a laundry list upon a similar realisation to #4

7. Weep all over it like a little girl, thus letting your tears wash your life into the sweet oblivion that you are so envious of.

8. Masturbate

9. Repeat steps 1-8. Every day. For the rest of your life.

10. Reincarnate.

11. Relive the sheer patheticness of your previous life every second

12. Go to a Halloween party as Nigel Verkoff

13. Try to explain to the people at the Halloween party who the hell Nigel Verkoff is

14. Realise that we don't really have Halloween parties in Australia, and you're actually at a Buck's night. Alternatively, being American.

15. Misplace your entire bathroom, thus causing you to remove the full-body-shoe-polish integral to this costume.

16. Stop and think about the obvious option you had of NOT covering your genitals with said shoe-polish.

17. Attempt using an industrial solvent

18. Get your first hospital breakfast

19. Get your first kick-in-the-balls from an angry nurse

20. Receive likewise much over.

21. See your extended family

22. Run away from your extended family.

23. Write 2 million words about Doctor Who.

24. Watch 2 minutes of Summer Heights High.

25. Have your career destroyed in a few year's time when people discover libellous rants against Chris Lillee on your blog

26. When being facing said inquiry, get confused and explain that all the child pornography is simply research for your performance as Nigel Verkoff you gave prior to your full-body skin-graft

27. Watch a marathon of Big Stan, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay and the complete series of Oz to prepare for your life in jail.

28. Discover that capital punishment is re-legalised, because you're in a dystopic future now.

29. Go with the whole "These charges are false!" angle and inadvertently cause your lawyer to be brutally murdered

30. You seduce the lawyer's now-widow, only to realise that you're actually making out with a dead dog like that really fucked up scene in Changi. (I'm sure I didn't imagine that...)

31. Escape with your analrapists and declare yourself a heroic rebel leader, only to realise your crew are arseholes and your spaceship wants to kill you.

32. Be crushed mercilessly... by a deathly pale lisping anorexic drama queen of all people!

33. Have a boot stamping on your face, FOREVER.

34. Wake up, and marvel at the sheer fucked-upness of your day-dreams

35. Look down and realise you ARE dressed as Nigel Verkoff

36. Look harder and realise... that you ARE Nigel Verkoff.

37. Jump out of the window like Denholm in The IT Crowd... only to discover the ground is made of sponge cake.

38. Remember you love sponge cake

39. But forget that you're diabetic

40. And incontinent

41. Holy shit, are you Nigel Verkoff at all??? .... yes. False hope there.

42. Do some assignments

43. Receive your marks on said assignments

44. Listen to your voice on tape

45. Play the demo of Sudden Strike 2

46. Read Sean Hughes' book

47. Watch An Inconvenient Truth

48. Watch The Great Global Warming Swindle

49. Watch the full five minutes of that YouTube video of a drunk David Hasselhoff

50. Watch the five second cameo of David Hasselhoff in Dodgeball

51. Actually, that last one is hilarious. I don't know, hit yourself in the balls with a claw hammer or something. But try not to make it too funny.

52. Clone yourself and make love to the clone

53. Get dumped by your own clone

54. Realise that was ANOTHER dream, and that your entire life is a lie told to a deaf man.

55. Hang out with Jym de Natale

56. Look back at the references you've been making and realise how beyond obscure they are.

57. Go into a door just like the one in Being John Malkovich, except that it transports you into Jym de Natale's body for a day instead.

58. Unsuccessfully attempt to get into the Grammys

59. Unsuccessfully attempt to get into the Tonys

60. Unsuccessfully attempt to get into the fat moustachioed gay S&M model of the year award ceremony

61. Unsuccessfully attempt to get into Burger King

62. Unsuccessfully attempt to get into Alan Jones

63. Unsuccessfully attempt to get into your own pants

64. Unsuccessfully attempt to get the lead role in some zero-budget fan audios

65. Unsuccessfully attempt to win an argument on the internet

66. Go home.

67. Realise home is a sewage outlet

68. Realise the process is irreversible.

69. Grow old

70. Die

Well.... that'd be a start. But it still won't get you as low as I was feeling a little while ago.

Feeling great now, though. So the moral of the story is: incorporeal mental punching bags are AWESOME. And if, say, anyone should feel the need to steal any slurs against a certain amateur actor mentioned above, they are all fair game.

EDIT: Good God, how could I leave watching Blake off that list? Ah, well. I think I covered that series fairly well in my usual subtle style...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Have you seen ANY films at all?

The above was a question I was asked the other day, and now I feel obliged to defend my right to complete nerdhood. Of course, I could have done so by reciting the entirety of MC Nerdalot's It is Pitch Dark, but I think I may be the only one in my programming class who knows about Infocom, so that would surely backfire and be interpreted as somehow cool.

Anyway, as I said in defense, it can seem as though I HAVEN'T ever seen any films, because I did not spend my child- and teenage-hood watching popular films, and many of the must sees I have never seen. For example, the following films I have seen not a frame of:

The Terminator films, Mad Max I-LX, The Rambos, Fight Club, Jaws, any Texas Chainsaw whatever and the like, True Lies, Predator (wait... saw the end) and most of the big, popular movies of the 1990s. The reason between this is that my dad, unlike I gather most dads, wasn't an action film guy. I have never seen Jean Claude Van Damme in action. He was a comedy guy. So just about every video rental brought back was a 1980s screwball comedy, and I thus see myself as an unwitting expert of the obscure titles of the eighties.

So, have I seen any films? Check out THIS list... if there is no film on this list that you have NEVER heard of, my cap shall be doffed to you like a motherfucker.

Neighbors - The dark and frankly disturbing comedy set entirely in one house that Jon Belushi and Dan Aykroyd made right after Blues Brothers.

Innerspace - One of my absolute fave films, with Martin Short as the everyman who gets a shrunken jet-fighter hero played by Dennis Quaid injected into him and has sex with Meg Ryan as a direct result. Brilliant comic action sci-fi antics haemoragghe forth.

Time Raiders - Terry Gilliams first major film. I think all of Monty Python are in this one, and I remember it being quite good though I'm hard pressed to remember a single scene.

Stripes - Bill Murray, Harold Ramis and John Candy go to military school and up being given a rocket-launching winnebago for reasons I never really got.

Trading Places - You SHOULD know this one, as it is an honest-to-God classic. Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Lee-Curtis, Denholm Elliot, rampant insanity.

The Silver Streak - Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor in a complete baffling combination of buddy comedy and bloodlust-fuelled thriller. Also features the dude who played Jaws in the James Bond films. (Or, if you're Gen-X, the psycho dude with unhealthy teeth from Happy Gilmore)

Detective School Dropouts - Modern re-telling of Romeo & Juliet that kicks Baz Luhrmann's arse. Starring Lorin Drefyuss and David Landberg. If you've never heard of those two guys, it's because they only ever did one other film...

Dutch Treat - ...wherein they're two guys who manage to commit manslaughter on a cruise ship and thus need to flee into Amsterdam, get chained up by S&M prostitutes and, upon escaping, convince a Dutch pop group that they're big time managers. Would be brilliant if it wasn't such a blatant attempt to sell this group to the American market. I don't think it worked.

The Hudsucker Proxy - Some comedy about a guy who invents the Hula hoop in the topsy-turvy business world of the 30s... and then goes bankrupt.

EVERY Terrence Hill and Bud Spencer film ever made. If you don't know them, they're like modern day Italian versions of Asterix and Obelix.

Black Sheep and Tommy Boy - David Space and Chris Farley make the same film twice. It's still funny the second time..

Life Stinks - Mel Brooks and Jeffrey Tambor star in the poor man's Trading Places. Still highly amusing.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off - Matthew Broderick's big break! Some dude named Alan Ruck is a dude who's the nerdy friend, but apparently makes himself cool by perving on Ferris' girlfriend. That's all I remember, aside from the Principal being completely insane.

Down Periscope - Kelsey Grammar and the chick from Dumb & Dumber in an ancient diesel sub, facing off against Bruce Dern and Philip Seymour Hoffman - crazy wargame style. Hilarity ensues.

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World - Again, complete classic. Everyone who calls themself a movie person should have seen this. Comedies may get better than this, but never bigger. Spencer Tracy, Phil Silvers, Sid Caeser, Milton Berle, Buddy Hackett, Mickey Rooney, Jonathan Winters... yes, they're OLD people names. It's an OLD film.

Spies Like Us - Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase single-handedly stop the Cold War, despite being a pair of bumbling tits!

On the Nose - Robbie Coltrane and Dan Aykroyd finally united on celluloid! Scamming the Dublin bookers using a cursed Aborigine head in a jar that predicts the winning horses. Serious. This is a real film.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - Michael Caine and Steve Martin face off as unscrupulous conmen fighting for control of Beaumont Seville in the South of France, taking Glenne Headley as their mark. Featuring Emperor Palpatine in a cameo.

BOTH Stake-outs - Emilio Esteves and Richard Drefyuss make wise-cracks while sitting in a house waiting for something to happen. Eventually it does and hardcore action ensues. The film-makers bafflingly decided that Rosie O'Donnell was just what the sequel was missing.

Sneakers - Robert Redford, River Phoenix, Sydney Poitier and Dan Aykroyd battle Ben Kinglsey through their new-fangled hacker-machines of the 80s. Probably slightly more thriller than comedy, but 100% cool.

To Be Or Not To Be - Mel Brooks running a theatre in Poland during the Nazi occupation, and fighting the good fight for the revolution.

Without a Clue in London - Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley play, respectively, the bumbling, alcoholic Holmes and the brilliant Watson.

Bullshot! - Boy's own spoof, recounting the adventures of Wing Commander Bullshot Crummond starring... I've no idea. Mel Smith and Billy Connolly make cameos.

Disorganized Crime - A host of crims show up at the appointed hour... but the boss has been arrested. So, they have to wing the bank job. Hilarity and much tension ensues.

Roxanne - Steve Martin retells the story of Cyrano d'Bergerac in a small American town with the help of a large prosthetic and Daryl Hannah.

Wilt - Griff Rhys-Jones and Mel Smith make, to my knowledge, their only big screen foray. Jones fantasises about killing his wife and - tada! - she dies. Smith is the pig-headed detective who's out to get him.

In & Out - Kevin Kline is gay. Wow, what a novel concept! This one sucks. But I have seen the whole thing.

Bowfinger - Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy, directed by Frank Oz. I do believe the last good film any of them were involved in.

Funny Bones - What the fuck was WITH this film? Jerry Lewis and Lee Evans, apparently. Oliver Reed as a villain who does nothing. I can't describe this.

Missing Pieces - Eric Idle and Robert Wurhl save a murder mystery involving Eric's estranged Buddhist monk foster parent and an ancient Chinese dagger. I swear, none of these films are made up.

Great Outdoors - John Candy and Dan Aykroyd go on holiday together. Gristle-eating hi-jinks.

Funny Farm - Chevy Chase goes on holiday. Testicle-eating hi-jinks.

The entire National Lampoon's Vacation series (Yes, even Vegas) - Chevy Chase and Beverly d'Angelo go on holiday. A lot. Featuring Mel Smith and Eric Idle briefly.

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid - Steve Martin makes a tribute to the film noirs of his youth by editing himself into the classics doing wise-cracks. Quite amusing.

Splitting Heirs - Eric Idle discovers that Ric Moranis is King of England. Or something like that. More nudity than you'd think the story would require.

Parting Shots - Massively unpopular but, IMHO, hilarious Michael Winner comedy about a guy who's going to die and decides to kill everyone who fucked him over in his life. Amazingly feel-good tone. John Cleese, Oliver Reed, Felicity Kendall, Peter Davison, Bob Hoskins and Ben Kingsley. (Only Eric's missing!) Apparently Nicola Bryant is also in this film but I have no idea where.

Canadian Bacon - John Candy's last film.

The Ernest series - I'm pretty sure all of them. Ernest Rides Again and Ernest Escapes From Jail are, of course, the best.

The Three Amigos - Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short manage to save a small Mexico town in between endless crotch-thrusting and camp singing. Cameo by Phil Hartman.

The Vidiot from UHF - Weird Al Yankovic and Michael Richards team up to save a community TV station.

Lady Birds - Rodney Dangerfield has something to do with cross-dressing boys playing soccer with the girls.

The Long Shot - Tim Conway, Harvey Korman and two guys you've never heard of (or, alternatively, FOUR guys you've never heard of) do a lot of very stupid stuff when gambling at the horse track.

Sgt Bilko - Steve Martin is the conman sergeant, Dan Aykroyd and Phil Hartman are his rubes. Quite good, in spite of its reputation. May contain an early appearance from Tony Shalhoub from memory..

Lost & Found - David Spade tries to crack onto a French chick. Hilarity ensues.

The House Guest - Sinbad scams his way into Phil Hartman's home by pretending to be a black friend he hasn't seen since college. Lots of education on the differences between Anglo-Saxon and African American gentlemen ensues.

Senseless - Marlon Wayans gets super senses from an experiment, which allows him to outsmart the villain of the piece, David Space.

All at Sea - Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau pretend to be performers to get a free cruise, and find themselves in a deadly game of cat and mouse with the prima donna bandleader Brent Spiner. Once again, these are all real films.

Nuns on the Run - Eric Idle and Robbie Coltrane go into drag as nuns to escape the Triads. Featuring a rare (for this list) Doctor Who connection with Camille Coduri featuring as Eric's short-sighted girlfriend.

Phew. Add to this both Caddy Shacks, both Rent-a-Kids and all three Cannonball Runs. That should do for the tip of the iceberg.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Conversations in a Library

(Written Friday, November 7th)

The following is a conversation that I have overhead in the past couple of minutes that I felt needed to be preserved in the public domain. It could well be of particular interest to my friend Cameron J Mason, who works as a teacher.

GIRL 1: Awwww, fuck! Fuck. Fucking shit!

GIRL 2: What is it?

GIRL 1: Have you found any of this shit? Fucking Australian serial killers? It's bullshit. You can't find anything.

GIRL 2: Who are you looking for?

GIRL 1: I don't know. Famous Australian ones? I got this site they gave me with fucking famous Australians but it's nothing. Fuck, I am so over this.

GIRL 2: Just... see if you can find a serial killer that you know.

GIRL 1: What?

GIRL 2: Y'know, see if you can find, like, on that site, a serial killer that you know the name of.

GIRL 1: I don't know any fucking serial killers!

GIRL 2: What, none?

GIRL 1: No. Do you?

GIRL 2: (pig-like snort) Yeah. Of course.

GIRL 1: Who?

GIRL 2: You know. Hannibal.

GIRL 1: Oh, right. (pause) Fuck, he's not on here this site is bullshit! Oh, shit, forgot we was in a library, eh?

GIRL 2: No, no, try this... Google.

GIRL 1: Aw, yeah. That one - Wikipedia! That'll have it.

GIRL 2: There, that's easy. So...

GIRL 1: Just copy it.

GIRL 2: This bit?

GIRL 1: The whole fucking thing.

GIRL 2: Right.

GIRL 1: Once we've finished this we can go watch a movie, eh?

GIRL 2: *Big sigh* Save.

Of course if you open up the wikipedia page on Hannibal Lector, the first half of the first sentence reads Hannibal Lecter, M.D. is a fictional character in a series of novels... which kind of gives the game away. Of course, the observant reader would have noted that the girls did not know said fictional cahracter's last name. Which means they opened up THIS page, which would explain the comment by one them, vis a vis "Fuck he's old"

I shall be using this blog entry as reference for when I read information that girls are, by their very nature, more intelligent than those of cursed by testicles.

Random Mind Grues

Something you often hear listed among the most annoying things in the world is getting a song stuck in your head. Of course, getting a bad song is worse. But I supposit now, that getting an esoteric and/or downright stupid song is the absolute worst case. I am speaking as somebody who, for about the last week, has had NWA's seminal anthem Fuck tha Police stuck in my head. It's very annoying because there's no outlet - I can't hum it because the 'song' doesn't really have any discernible tune to it, I can't sing because I don't know all of the words and, erm, well... I dunno I think this speaks for itself, surely? No? How about the fact that the song earned the Niggaz With Attitude the worlds shortest and most informal warning ever from the LAPD, quoted simply as "Watch yo' back"?

It's been driving me crazy as every time I think of something clever to say/write, the first candidate in my mind is:

"Right about now the NWA Court o' Law is in full effect! Judge Dre presiding, pros'cutin' attorneys MC Rinn, Ice Cube, an' EZ muthafuckin' E!"

Which isn't even clever!


I just realised this morning why I have given up on DW fandom. The new series has destroyed it.

Well, I've probably said something about it before, but no, people, I have made a breakthrough here...

In fandom, because DW was a cult show, hovering just above the fringe of obscurity, you had to be the sort of person who seeks out old TV to know about it, and then the sort of person who likes old TV to get into it. Then, because of it's obscure and seemingly frivolous nature, you had to go up a whole other layer of appreciation again to go online to talk about it.

Those same people like the new series. When I'm not blowing a gasket completely over a season finale so shit I refuse to even dignify it with a review, I'm living proof of it, along with several of my friends. In fact, Christ, ALL of my old-series fan friends like the new! So, why has OG become somewhere on the internet I can't even bring myself to visit?

Simple. Doctor Who is everywhere, and talking about TV shows is something that's just done now. Doctor Who is a massive, massive success... with a young audience target. That means...

Thousands of socially illiterate teenagers online!

Yes, it's IMDB syndrome. This is something I really should have picked up on a lot earlier. As I'm sure I mentioned once or twice, I really like Jekyll. I wanted to discuss my love of it with like-minded people online. However, for whatever reason, like-minded people had run away in droves from the TV section talking about said show - I'm guessing because of a sickening two-man self-congratulation society of inbreds applauding their own genius, either that or the show had too much sex for the prudes online. Bah and humbug to them all, but I still wanted to attempt an intelligent conversation about the show.

Turns out locking myself in a room would have been a far better choice, as when I pointed out that 'Steven Moffat illustrating that we all have an inhuman dark side' and that 'Hyde was a natural part of him' was a load of bollocks given that Hyde didn't appear until he met Claire, I was told to watch the show more carefully as "he doesn't meet Claire in the first episode" and "it isn't in chronological order, I can see it would be confusing". I cannot remember the exact furious response I gave, but you can imagine - mostly I remember saying "Believe it or not, I have no difficulty in the arduous task of watching a television screen for six hours" and lambasting them for the implied sleight on my intelligence, their own retardation, re-iterating the point of if it's natural I guess that explains why K.U needed a multi-billion dollar fucking clone for the most expensive project ever made to produce Hyde. Who is apparenlty natural, if you missed that part. Well, fuck me! Oh, and he DOESN'T meet Claire for the first time in the first episode. Wow. Who'd have thought it? I guess the children give it away when you think about it, but I must have been too busy injecting alcohol directly into my cerebral cortex at the fucking time.

Whoop, sorry, bit too much of a flashback there.

Anyway, the two I-can't-believe-how-fucking-stupid-they-are fellows were STUNNED that I should take offence at being treated like a moron, though quickly recovered to talk about how there HAD to be a second series* because we hadn't learnt who Klein and Utterson were. (Actually, some of us have)

It still slipped me by, though, until the other day, when I reflected on how the characters & actors forums had gone from casual, urbane chatter about character motivations and the obtuse swings and roundabouts of Tom Baker's career(s), to five pages of SQUEE! and bullshit groups like "Slaves of Susan", "Protectors of Pigbin Josh" and "Lycanthrops of Lytton". And my last visit to the Mythmakers, where I basically felt the need to give up on a vain dream of something legible.

Basically... it's great for the show, obviously, that millions of young people are watching. But... this is the worst thing possible for online communities, because what made OG great was that it was one of the places on the internet where the odd Aspergers inflicted teenager was an oddity rather than a fact of life. Now it's become just like anywhere else online. Eg, shit.


I get stressed easily. Something that occurred to me today during a driving lesson, near the beginning of which I was informed that, had it been a test I would have had 100, a state that continued for an amazingly long period. I have apparently mastered blind-spots, reverse parallel parking, 3-point turns, proper methods of acceleration, scanning, round-a-bouts (save exit signals) and whatever bollocksy new terms the RTA decides to throw at us.

But... I got stressed. Near the end a car pulled out from a service station into a side street, occupying the very road I was planning to do a righ turn into. So I gave way to it. I then had to turn very fast to get through before a complete bitch, who was meant to be giving way to me ran into me. This put my nerves on edge. Due to this I subsequently mis-remembered and got confused about the location of the worlds strangest Give Way zone, located on Wyong River where a flood washed away one half the road for about five metres, nearly speeding into it. I got more stressed out, which wasn't helped by having to turn into the Pacific Highway with my view of the oncoming traffic nearly entire blocked. Gahh. After I turned out, I was further stressed out by stopping too close to the car in front of me. Gaaah, it's not much but it was building up. I turn into a side street, which I do perfectly but MISS the shared pedestrian zone. That's a 10k speed limit and I'm doing forty. I slow right down. Right turn. I give way to a disabled pedestrian. And... he gives me a death stare.

WHY??? Sorry, mate, was I driving too quickly for you? Did you lose your legs to a car exactly the same model as mine, down to the giant "ABC Driving School" sign and dickhead in stripy shirt in the drivers seat? Did my evil twin kill your brother? I have no idea. But that was a look of pure, unadultered, unsolicited venom, directed straight at me. At a time when I didn't need it.

I couldn't withstand it for long - so after 3 seconds I pulled the fuck out of their, having judged the evil bastard as having way given upon his sinister arse. But... I was so stressed that I did a left-turn to the right.


I did not know it was possible to get that stressed. I assume soon afterwards my lungs would have forgotten that they process oxygen.

On the bright side, 49 hours, so I can get my Ps this month! Hello, unsuspecting road-users!


Due to the fact that this has been a text file I've been adding to in small increments over a couple of weeks, I need to update this. My curious obsession with Fuck That Police has since abated, but has been replaced with a similar one regarding Dancing in the Dark by Bruce "The Boss" Springsteen. Two questions: how the hell did he get that nickname, and why exactly CAN'T you start a fire in the dark?


Among the crap that I've been doing is my pitch for the BBC Writer's Room, which has stalled horribly. It shouldn't surprise anyone that it's a radio script with which I want to shout out "Hire me, Big Finish, you bastards!" due to the facts that there are no TV slots and I have a loose grip on reality at the best of times. After thinking quite long and hard about what the hell the show could actually be, assuming that the Beeb wouldn't be too impressed with The Professor and Ace, The Stranger and Ms Brown, or Cricket Boy and his Faithful Band of In-Grates based on previous cease-and-desist writs issued.

Obviously I can't write anything TOO serious, because my knowledge of Britain is limited. But at the same time, I liked the idea of showing I could work with a series. I also, probably surprisingly, decided no science-fiction because I'm unsure of my ability to avoid genre cliche. And there had to be a role for India Fisher, because her talent is going criminally unnurtured. What I came up with is an idea I gave up on in the past but, really, is probably quite good. At least I think so.

The idea is Mycroft, a show revolving around... Mycroft. Lord Mycroft, supposedly the descendant of the inspiration for Conan-Doyle's fictional character, who is still pulling the strings behind the government. Modernized slightly, with him operating out of a seemingly irrelevant Secret Service department, 'Cache 17', populated by characters I've put some work into yet cynically see as typical TV archetypes - Penny, the imperfect audience identification figure brimming with India Fisherness; Charles, the smug bureaucrat who is the titular (decoy) head of C17 and also the only person who takes his position seriously; Dr Bradley, the stand-offish polymath agent, psychologist and profiler who ties up loose ends and seems the closest thing Mycroft has to a friend; and Miranda, the perpetually busy and frustrated MI6 liason who has to shoulder most of the feather-soothing footwork. I've come up with eight basic ideas for plots, only one of which I'm proud to say is nicked from the world of DW. (An episode set entirely in a BBC Newsroom in the middle of a national crisis - an idea that came from "Hey, what if Live 34 (or whatever it's called) was actually good?")

But it's occurred to me in the wake of the global economic crisis.. that this is a time when people aren't going to like the idea of figure controlling the nation's government in secret, because via logic of extension they must also be a completely clueless twat. Because of this, Mycroft either needs to be recently re-hired, a maverick working outside of the system, or given new powers due to the economic crisis. These all have problems related to the series premise and keeping it politically netural. I also find it hard to fathom writing it and NOT acknowledging the current global crises, which beggars the question of how it can feasibly remain escapist entertainment. I don't want to write The Hollowmen, especially not for a country that I am considerably less familiar with. So... that idea's completely stalled at the moment. Which is something of a shame given that I basically have the first episode written.


Speaking of political neutrality, anyone else confused by the passion with which the Doctor proclaimed the evil of communist Daleks in particular in Brotherhood of the Daleks?

Interestingly, that was the only bit of the story that confused me, in spite of the behind-the-scenes clips being nothing but Alan Barnes and Nick Briggs wetting themselves screaming "Nobody will be able to follow this! NOBODY! Ahahahaha! Nothing can stop the Carthaginians of furious audacity, aha! NOTHING IN THE WORLD CAN ADUMBATE ME NOW!"

Seriously, why would the Doctor hate communism? Okay, I get that it's an impractical ideal, but the Doctor's a fanciful idealist! And the mad scientist played by Michael Cochrane (had no idea it was him for the whole time, actually) believes that he can rehabilitate the Daleks, doing so through a means that nobody else (due to the relative dearth of half-plant men wandering around the galaxy) has been able to even try, and the Doctor just bitch-slaps him down and tells him that he can't. Because he just can't. Cochrane asks him to share the dream, and the Doctor tells him to piss off basically. Wow. Tearjerker materials, guys.

Further disappointed when, after the Doctor leaves, those of us in the audience who AREN'T as big a manically cynical b'stard as Nick Briggs are also prohibited from sharing the dream with a complete pointless epilogue showing the Daleks regressing and blowing up the whole planet. Yes. Very satisfying.

At this point I feel the need to say that I really did enjoy the story for its brilliant use of Charley (as Alan Barnes always does), its strong characters and its madcap ideas**, along with the simple pleasure of Colin Baker as a singing Dalek. But, once again, Nick Briggs has shown his incredible skill of making me not 100% satisfied with a story he's produced at the end of the day.


The sort of thing that you're missing out on by living in the city: picking up a dead chicken, taking care not to cause it to fall apart and not to anger the swarm of maggots therein, carry it up a hill, rake a pile of compost over it, drag over a tarpaulin covered with cow manure and raking that on top. All in a day's work.

*There's been no word at all about a second series of Jekyll, from ANYONE, but I've noticed 'fans' (for want of a better word for the inebriated half-wits who talk about it online despite not understanding a fucking word of the show) keep banging on about it. Ahem. It's not going to happen! Or at least, it never should, under any circumstance. The story has been told. If people have a positive outlook like myself and believe that Sarah Klein is just bitter after being unable to destroy her own darkside and that Jackman HAS won, the story is over. If they think Sarah Klein is telling the truth... erm, what's the point? It's equally final. Hyde wins, end of story. That's the trouble with a nihilistic viewpoint. It can only end with a whole lot of nothing.

**Alan Barnes says it best - "Nation always had a gimmick for his Dalek stories - in Planet they were invisible, Death they didn't have their guns... so I sat down and wrote up my ideas for interesting things to happen to the Daleks. I ended up with 'Daleks think that they aren't Daleks', 'Daleks are on drugs', and 'Daleks become communist'. And I did all three."

Friday, October 31, 2008

No blogging no cry

I find it fascinating, what a commitment a blog is. Not that I actually commit to mine, at any rate, but the amount of work that goes into making a good one. There's something of a chore to go into what is, basically, a forum thread that nobody is going to read. A yell into the cold vacuum of space made purely in good faith, again and again. I consider myself lucky to have but one regular reader, as it is quite conspicuous that certain blogs don't allow comments at all, presumably to give their tenders the illusion that a myriad souls gorge themselves on their proferred wisdom daily* through the sheer absence of evidence.+

I wouldn't consider this a good blog, but at the same time I would consider no blogs that I've seen (aside from YOA's Blog of the Unusually Pointless, naturally - aye, I am a suck-up) to actually be a good one. I mean, honestly, if I want to make myself feel good I just have to look at ANYONE elses blog basically. Three posts a month is amazing output from an average one, and I have to say that most posts that I've seen tend to be three sentences surmising to "Did you see that on telly last night?" or "You won't believe what a bloke in the hardware store said to me yesterday", as if a randomised collection of all the deliberately boring and unfunny exchanges in Seinfeld is what the average net-user hungers for deep in their loins.

So, for these reasons given my inability to post anything but a fairly lengthy essay/review or ill-informed rant, I am able to salve my conscience when the constant, unerring guilt of not updating my blog niggles at my brain... even when I have a ludicrous number of assingments overdue in TAFE. (Pretty much every day inbetween TAFE starting and finishing for the year..) There have been a few topics that I have been meaning to blog on, though, some going back months, so I shall briefly cover them...

Batman: WTF, Mate?

The Dark Knight is some way away from being the greatest film ever made. In fact, if you actually replaced the cast according to the table below, it would be some way away from being a good film..

Bruce Wayne - Mark Wahlberg
The Joker - Chip Jamison
Harvey Dent - Chris Lily
Comm. Gordon - Gary Sweet
Token woman - Chris Lily/Rebel Wilson
Alfred - The reconstituted form of Frankie Howerd
Lucius Fox - Chris Lily in blackface
Scarecrow - Brian Croucher

Now, of course, the fact that making the most retarded casting decisions EVER would make for a bad film isn't exactly mind-blowing but think about it, aside from the fine work by Bale, Ledger, Gyllenhaal, Caine, Oldman, Freeman, everysinglepersoninfrontofthecamera WHAT'S left in the film? The direction is solid, but not particularly good - the action sequences of the film are confusingly shot, washed out, and very brief. While the dialogue is mostly solid, the films plot fails to really hang together at all once you stop and think about it. The film is a collection of supsense drama setpieces, and isn't direction or writing that holds them together - it's just the actors.

Heath Ledger is a good example given that so much has been made of the late actor's take on the Joker - look at the actual lines he's given. They're, really, just bad guy lines. There's a thousand different ways that they could be delivered. An actor not as deep into the character as Ledger, not as interested in showing psychosis oozing out of his pores, and nobody would even comment on who played the part.

You don't have to look far for parts of the script that don't work - plotholes are everywhere. What the fuck is going on in that scene where Gordon fakes his death, apparently in the spur of the moment is a mystery that shall haunt me to my grave. The fact that nobody figures out who Batman is when his trip via Wayne Industries to Japan makes it oh-so obvious is a niggler. The small matter of HOW you can create a sonar map of an entire city through rewiring the citizen's mobile phones from a single computer, WHEN all said citizens are in one isolated area of the city trying to escape is nearly as baffling as the matter of how to hardwire this data into your own eyeballs. The revelation that Two Face is going to be in the next film in spite of a) the fact that he's dead, b) police are on the scene immediately to confirm that he is dead, c) his funeral is in the final scene, scarcely comes as a surprise after pondering this curious details.

The incredibly bizarre result is that we have a Batman film that is best enjoyed on the level of dialogue between good actors. I know, what is the world coming to?

Wanted is fucking awesome

In comparison, the soon-to-be-obscure movie Wanted, in which Mr Tumnus learns how to bullet-dodge, is the purest form of action movie, brought to cinema screens by the same completely insane Russian dude who made the Night Watch films - I think it says something for the original that I have met two different people who couldn't make it all the way through, asked me how it ends, and after I struggled my way through an explanation of the plot they stared at me in blank confusion and that was the end of the conversation. That said, you have to love a film that closes with the villain imploring the hero to hit him, and the hero screaming his head off and punching him over and over again into the credits. Well, judging by their reaction not necessarily, but, hell, it's cool.

The plot of Wanted is completely irrelevant. That dude who plays Mr Tumnus learns that he is the Chosen One, which in this scenario means The Most Kick-Arse Assassin Ever Born, and is given a gun and told to shoot people. He does this. A lot. He is given the assignment to kill Man Who Killed His Father. He does this.

Some wusses would make that the end of the film. But if that was the case then there would be waaay too many characters who could be killed left alive. So to maximise the sheer level of carnage he discovers Man Who Killed His Father is actually just His Father, and then goes back and kills the ENTIRE secret order of Assassins in glorious bloody revenge, involving a dump truck filling with rats strapped with explosives.

Oh, yeah, spoilers.

It is impossible watching the film not to think that it is either a brilliant comedy satirising modern society's excess, or an experiment to create the ultimate action movie experience through ODD levels of cheesy dialogue, macho attitude, senseless violence and ridiculous spectacle.

Some people may remember back to the days of French Connection, when having a gun-weilding murderer on a train was dramatic enough. Wanted has two. But this isn't enough, so there's a third following the train, who wants to kill them both. To do this, she crashes her car into the train. Which makes a screw come loose in the trains wheel and forces the train to crash. Over a bridge above an impossibly high ravine. Which collapses. So all three have to fight their way through tumbling train carriage after tumbling train carriage. All that's missing is aliens showing up at the end, it is INSANE.

Of the two theories, though, I lean more towards comedy. Angelina Joelie has a massive automatic rifle on a hinge with a camera mounted, linked to a monitor by the trigger so she can see where she's shooting. Morgan Freeman's death is played for laughs. When Mr Tumnus slams a keyboard into his arsehole 'best friend's face, naturally the letters 'F', 'U', 'C', 'K', 'Y', 'O', and 'U' are the ones to come flying off directly at the camera, along with a gracefully spinning tooth.

Watching this film, in the same week as I did The Dark Knight, I could not help but feel that if they were somehow cross-pollenated, then you would have the ultimate movie. As it is, we have a bizarre spandex character piece and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World with grievous bodily harm. Go figure, Western civilization.

The AVs suck

Everyone who talks up the AVs needs to take that shit back. But then it could have just been Nick Briggs doing it, I don't know. But their reputation has been DISGUSTINGLY inflated.

To be fair, there are some good stories. Most need another round of script-editing, though, end too quickly, and they are spoilt by Nick Brigg's Doctor and the companions, all of whom are useless free-loading wankers.

Makes me appreciate

Big Finish

*Sigh*, yes I should really finish off talking about PMG's stuff. How's this for a quick run-through:

Terra Firma - Interesting continuity but borderline masterpiece
Fraidy Cat - Like having your mind suffocated in sleeping pills.
The one in the Cube - Like that but worse.
Time Works - Yeah, pretty good.
Other Lives - Headscratcher
Memory Lane - File it under "I-can't-believe-this-was-actually-good". Seriously, it was ace. Loved it. I'M NOT BEING SARCASTIC, OKAY, IT'S REALLY GOOD!
Absolution - WTF?

The next on my list of "Holy shit, this is good!" is Brave New Town. Just... wow. Auton audio story, I filed it under 'shithouse' immediately. But it's right up there with Paul's best!

So...what about the DWADs?

What about them? I really have no idea if I said anything about listening to them at all. Probably. I do stupid stuff like that often. But, no, not listened to any of them at all.

And Ashes to Ashes?

God, do you know hard it is to sit through an episode of that? No? Oh, it's really, really hard.

But... Arrested Development

Amazed to discover that the press about a show is accurate. Well, there's a big chunk that's inaccurate, because apparently the makers of this show are under the delusion that it's a Games/Office style mockumentary masterpiece, often making weird comments like "It's a documentary... it IS a documentary!". Presumably a documentary about actors given scripts filled with catty insults and double entendres but, hey, anyway...

Yes, this show is... well, the best American comedy since Frasier. Or, if you hated that, the best one since Seinfeld. Or if you hated THAT, the best one since M*A*S*H. If you hated that... erm... well, the first ever good American comedy. But then you'll probably hate it anyway and declare a fatwah on them all.

I can't really go into what's great about it, because American's only really know how to do one type of comedy right and that's farce. It doesn't matter if it's Malcolm in the Middle, Just Shoot Me!, The Office: An American Workplace, Scrubs or any of the ones that I mentioned above, the reason that they work is because it's all farcical larger than life characters in identical situations. AD is brilliant at this because it has the most functionally abnormal people in television struggling to deal with plot twists too bizarre to appear in most soap operas.

I fucking LOVE it and am quite sad that there's no more episodes to watch.

Finally... Doktor Cube

Ewen mentioned it the other day and reminded me of it's existence. What the hell?

Previously on Doktor Cube: "Here I come."
With a flash of trans-dimensional energy, a great white streak of
trans-dimensional energy seared through the sky, cutting away at the
70% industrial grade purple clouded sky. And with a roar from 8-BALL's
uranium titanium einsteinium coated mercury, the Doktor materialised,
AK pointing towards his destination above the pyramid, and began to
fall towards his destination. As the great purple mass opened up
beneath him he gained sight of his target and saw that a great army of
rain drops were losing the race to the roof of the plutonium titanium
marble laced temple roof.
As he descended at 140kph, the Doktor couldn't help but reflect on the
events which had led up to the present moment, 400ft above the temple.
What had happened after his mental blankout, sending him to Bon Ist
Tas Taion station was ever a mystery to him. The last thing he
remembered was the swedish "Protector" communicating to him to old
liquid smooth Polish. And then suddenly, things began to make sense…
as to just what the hell had happened.
The Doktor hit the previously analysed temple rooftop and created a
shockwave which rocked the outer three layers of marble lace. As he
hit, he spread the kickback throughout his body to focus in his AK, in
which the warp core sent it back to holding tanks back in 8-BALL's
super secret clandestine facility. The Dr walked over to the side of
the temple and extended his vision 32.5x with his CUBE vision. Looking
down into the wilderness, he could see the red points created by high
tensity focused laser pointers, no doubt created by undetectable TWO
clone snipers, perched in their trees, waiting for Dr Cube to appear…
by brilliant tactical planning, the Dr had not taken the ground route.
Firing his AK three times, 17 bodies fell limp 2.5 metres to the
ground, high powered magnum rifles in tow. Immediately afterward in
response, 498 TWO clone foot soldiers flowed from various points in
the temple wall, to begin mowing down anything in site, moving or non
moving, which stood over 6 mm from the ground. Very precise, thought
the Dr, but ultimately worthless. Apparently it was in fact remotely
possible that TWO had been stupid enough to leave his airways
"Apparently I was correct in assuming that you would come here, Dr Cube!"
The Doktor reversed his angle by 180 degrees and launched an RPG from
his AK at a 129 k velocity, just fast enough to put his weapons
supplier off balance when he dodged the carefully timed shot. "Damn
you Cube, you will pay for this insolence! I provided your hardware
for longer than I can remember… now what could that mean? Am I even
human? HAHAHAHAHA! Good bye, Cubey." The Doktor responded, in harsh
various Polish dialects. "You betrayed me. The trigger mechanism was
faulty… and now its up to me to show you how they're built correctly!"
Firing off explosive tip rounds off of his AK the Doktor cart wheeled
on his right thumb and forefinger to the right, using his other
fingers on the same hand to wedge an RPG in the roof tiles of the
temple. The weapons engineer produced an M-249 SAW heavy machine gun,
and slapped a belt of ammunition into place on the side. By this time,
the Dr had already expended his first clip of ammunition into the
plasma shields protecting the engineer and reloaded, all on schedule.
As the engineer let loose a barrage of destruction following the
ground where the Doktor had previously been standing 2.536 seconds
before, the Doktor whirled around and propelled the empty AK cartridge
at the RPG which then detonated. The resulting explosion caused a
build up of energy in the grooves between tiles of the temple roof,
which caused a massive uranium based reaction, and the tiles
superheated then moved in every direction against each other. Shards
were propelled in every direction, as the shockwave blew in every
direction creating a massive crater digging through multiple layers of
the pyramid. The Doktor launched an RPG down into the expanding blast,
which detonated, and then used the warp core to begin absorbing the
smaller energy at a manageable level, then as the threshold expanded
took on the greater power of the uranium/marble lace reaction,
allowing him to descend with ease down into the crater, where the limp
form of the weapons engineer now lay dying.
He spoke. "It doesn't matter Cube… it's not like you have your revenge
on me yet… or your revenge at all for that matter… I am not even the
real weapons engineer…" "What the hell are you talking about." "I am
simply a creation by your mind, manifested by TWO's technology, to try
and detur you from doing anything to his temple, he wants to kill you,
he wants so badly…" "Then you don't know where the real you is?" "No,
but YOU know that he isn't responsible…" "What?" "Some part of you
knows…some part…it's your mind putting the pieces together… find the
protecter… that's where you will get your answers…" And then the
manifestation faded away. Looking around, the Dr saw that he had
violently laid wast to the upper 16 levels of the Mayan temple
pyramid. He had now descended into what looked like the primary
communications chamber. Whilst outside of the pyramid, 8-BALL's
technology was highly accurate, mapping out a great deal of the area
which excellent detail. Inside the pyramid however, according to
8-BALL, it was left to his scenario probability programs, which
created very vague schematics, in the form of the Aboriginal flag,
which a purple sky, green each, and a triangle instead of a circle to
represent the pyramid. 8-BALL had drawn his own schematic onto the
napkin however, and provided it to Cube before leaving. Opening the
"map", Cube gained an approximation of the dimensions of the temple.
It was taller than the ground, did not touch the sky, and had 147
levels, 102 of which extended underground. There were seemingly
computers everywhere which were hardwired into the main system.
Putting a silencer onto his AK to maintain a stealthy entrance, the Dr
walked through the still smoking hole in the wall and took note of all
the TWO clones focused at the communication panels, attempting to
co-ordinate the gathering army of two clones outside the building. The
Dr shot one and the rest remained oblivious, unable to hear due to the
headsets preventing sound penetration. The Dr lifted the headset off
of the dead body and put it on. He yelled into the headset "PAY
HAZARD!" After they all turned around in mortal fear, the Doktor added
"Where is the – " looked at napkin notes "BAD MAINFRAME n SHIT." They
all pointed towards the lift. Having had bad experiences with lifts
recently the Doktor exiled them to the smoking crater. He walked over
to the lift and pressed the button. Almost immediately the lift
arrived. The door slid open, and the lift was empty. Reloading his AK,
the Dr stepped into the lift and examined the buttons. Pressing the
one labled "TWO's SHIT, DO NOT NICK" the lift doors closed. As the
lift started to move, the Dr looked to his right and saw ONE standing
next to him. "I don't suppose there is any point in killing you, just
another manifestation, yes?" "Say it again Doktor, this time in Norse.
No, there is no point. But then is there ever?" "You tell me, One."
"You know that destroying TWO will help me Doktor. The numerical power
in his reputation as a master controller of the internet earns him
much. Is helping me what you want to do?" "Your time will come TWO."
"Sooner than you think… and believe the me in you, you figured that
out from the moment we last departed." The lift doors opened. "See you
soon Doktor."
Stepping out of the lift, the Doktor saw a white room, with a single
computer with a desk and a seat in the middle of the room. The walls
which seemed to stretch off into the distance in every direction…
using his CUBE vision, the Doktor saw that there was but one path to
the desk, which curved the room twice on this side of the desk before
reaching jumping distance of the chair. On either side of the walkway
were great pits of oblivion, shining shades of dark purples and
greens, and the computer appeared to be make of a bone-like calcium
based substance… the other side of the desk appeared to be static...
Disabling his cube vision the Doktor made his way along the path from
memory and was making his way around to the computer desk the Dr was
able to jump to the near side of the desk using a series of carefully
timed manipulations of TWO's world physics engine. After landing on
the near side of the platform on which the desk was located, the Dr
carefully walked around the desk towards the other side. As he came
closer to the computer's screen it almost seemed to be bending away
from him, as though it was trying not to let him see it… As Cube
finally crossed to the other side of the desk he came into complete
view of the screen. There was a white piece of paper taped onto the
screen, it had wrote on it: "WRONG COMPUTER- OUT OF ORDER- NICE TRY
The Doktor looked up, but the elevator doors had disappeared… and the
room began to stutter with static, as if it was loosing reception.
Looking once again at the computer the writing on the note had changed…
"Yes, I have. It is only manifestations from my own mind, nothing I care for…"
He looked away and back, and the note had changed again.
"The train station… lost memories… what of it?"
"Then tell me."
"Very well. If it will help me defeat TWO… then show me."
And with that the static faded out everything and the room then turned
to black. All the Doktor could hear was the sound of his own
breathing. And CUBE vision only showed black inverted.
He reloaded his AK with explosive tip, RPG and charged his warp core,
straightened his coat, adjusted his armour, and waited…
The first memory was re-awoken.

*'Wisdom' there can be replaced with 'irrelevant anecdotes about Power Rangers'.
+Not universally, though. I mean, it's fairly safe to assume that Larry Miles doesn't activate comments out of fear of 12 million posts of "TWAT!!!"

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Double the Fist... what was all THAT about?

Since House Party circumstances and a lack of enthusiasm have meant that I haven't been able to stay up on Friday for an episode of Double the Fist, and so I've watched them all today and yesterday when my brother gave me a copy. I've said for a while that, due to the intense weirdness of the current series and the fact that it's gone all story arc, I wasn't entirely sure if I liked it yet, and would rather wait for the last episode. Having seen the last episode, I'm still clueless.

The reason I became a fan of DTF is simple. It's funny - it takes the strange idea of what it takes to be a 'real man' in a modern testocracy, willful ignorance and fearlessness of lobotomal levels, to an even greater extent wherein the idea of performing stunts with the explicit intent of hurting yourself seriously, often fatally. Perfectly demonstrated when the 'weak' magician becomes 'fistworthy' by locking himself in a cabinet in a straight jacket he doesn't have the key for, having it set on fire and pushed down a hill so he can jump over a roundabout. Without actually having the cabinet on wheels and not being any kind of escape artist. Heh.

The latest series, though, feels like it has a whole different agenda. So much work has gone into the writing that I've been quite taken aback. So much work has gone into writing it, I would go so far as to say, that they've barely worked on making it funny.

I have a theory for why this is the case - the featurette on the volume 2 DVD, "How To Make Double The Fist" recounts in quite a lot of detail how dejected the team felt in the aftermath of their well-deserved AFI award win for Best Comedy. Why? Because as I remember all too well it caused an endless tide of bitching from TV gliteratti wannabes like Michael Idato, mindlessly saying that nothing could beat Kath & Kim and that the awards were thus a joke. And, as the team notes, some of the hacks went so far as to trash DTF even though their comments made it clear they'd never so much as seen an episode of the show. In their words, if you won an award for being the best carpenters in the country, you'd have no trouble getting work. But they did. After DTF was over, they didn't get renewed, they weren't invited back and Doug "Mephisto" Bayne was forced to whore himself out to The Chaser.

So now, after several years and a change in the ABC upper echelon towards a slightly less weak, spineless and/or canine configuration, when these talented mofos actually get the second series that they so rightfully deserved... they have something to prove. Even though the strength of the show is in brief, self-contained sketches with machine-gun absurdism and SFX-aided pratfalling, they want to show that they're better writers than anyone else in the country (A pretty easy feat for these guys, really, but it's one way to get noticed). At the same time, though, this means that DTF goes from being "An extreme lifestyle program" to... well, the most fucked up sci-fi ever. Complete with nu-skool character development, flashbacks, story arcs and whatnot.

But the thing is, to be truly Fist it all needs to be completely retarded. For example, Steve is given a shitload of character development, but break it down... trying to run a successful furniture company selling goods that indiscriminately kill the owners is an epic failure which gives him a full nervous breakdown, leading him to wire his fans with explosives and give the team impossible orders, ala Hitler In The Bunker. He then murders his best friend, realises his mistake, and retreats from civilisation, meeting a band of man-loving hermits who teach him to feel emotion. This journey makes him a changed man... until he learns that he has EATEN the corpse of his best friend and finds himself more assured than ever that the Fist is the only true way so massacres the entire tribe and decides to kill the Monks that taught him in an act of Oedipal rage involving tossing a small flower across the room. He uses their time-bending chainsaw to travel back in time and kill Captain Cook, reclaiming Australia for himself - however, he is essentially betrayed by EVERYONE in his team. After screaming in desperation to Womp that he loves him, which leads to the day being saved, he then shoots Womp in the head to cover up what can only be assumed to be repressed homosexuality and declares him the arch enemy of his new totalitarian empire.

And... I'm clueless as to what this is meant to achieve. We learn a lot about Steve Foxx... but did I want to? He's just a psychopathic fat guy in flannelette who gives the Fist Team their orders, right? Do I need to know any more than that? It's my view that this a comedy, and so writing for the characters should have entertaining the audience as its perogative and not really anything else if we're trying to make this an American style /drama show.

That's not to say that NONE of it is funny. I defy anyone to not laugh at "The way of the flower!", and the flashback scene to teenaged Steve and Rod playing at the empty canals was gut-bustingly funny, mostly due to flawless casting. But.. most of it isn't. In fact a lot of it, like the death scene of Panda, followed by the heartbroken scream of "THIS IS WHAT YOU GET FOR TRYING TO MAKE PEOPLE BETTER!" and a demand that he be burned on her funeral pyre, left me staring at the screen in dumb shock at what had just unfolded. I don't know, maybe the fact that the character was just whichever cast member wasn't on camera pissing around in a rented panda suit was meant to make the ultra-dramatic killing-off of a character funny, but said castmember-in-panda-suit was a big part of the show. It's like a symbolic burning of the bridge in terms of style..

The big problem, though, is that the arc dominates the series utterly and doesn't really have a satisfying pay-off. Again, maybe I'm missing the point and the idea is that it's a parody of sci-fi arcs, but this doesn't really come across. And I consider this quite a serious problem given the fact that TIMESAW is probably the best episode the show has done, with a brilliant premise, but can't really be watched or enjoyed without having seen three previous weeks' of shows, and ending with a lot of issues unresolved that you need to watch the underwhelming finale to appreciate.

I've said for a while that I'd have to see the final episode of the season to know whether I actually liked the series or not. Turns out I was wrong because I still have no idea what to think about it. I want to stress, though, the final episode is not bad. It's just ten times more bewildering than anything else in the show due to being roundabout 100% arc rather than the usual far more comfortable 50%.

Anyway, a quick summary of all the awesome stuff in the show that I wish had been used without the plot.

Episode 1: Mephisto's vampire slaves, Shauno the Naughty Hypnotist (also Rod's nemesis)
Episode 2: Bruce Spence as a shapeshifting dinosaur, Tara, the council worker's Autobot, ghost pokemon
Episode 3: Insane elf slaves, evil Swedish furniture makers, Tara doing accounts, international travel through jet-mounted lounges
Episode 4: CRACKBOT!!! And the text adventure bit, "The website came through this cable, we can find it by following it!"
Episode 5: Everything to do with the house party. Everything. Especially Rod getting raped and "A thousand lasers!"
Episode 6: Ballistic Man, the world losing gravity when it stops turning, Mephisto fishing for dolphins, the way of the flower, "One of us always tells the truth.." "The sky's yellow!"
Episode 7: Just about fucking everything, but especially the 3D chess game and Joseph Banks being an X-Man.
Episode 8: Everything to do with the Medieavals, especially the tapestry theme for the episode and Mephisto finally being awarded Double Fist for making the most retarded plan since Baldrick retired.

I guess I have no right to complain looking at the above list, because it's all moments of insane brilliance that you get on no other show on television... but I can't help but think that trying to give the series weight has confused the mix, and taken a joyfully frivolous show and turned it into an improbably surreal one.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Mummy III - An Amazing Cinematic Experience!

As in "you will be amazed that this shit got made".

Firstly, I have to admit that I haven't actually seen any of the other films in the series and my first disappointment with this film was discovering that it wasn't revolving around a Rogue Assassin-style showdown between Jet Li and The Rock, but rather Brendan Fraser screaming and falling arse over tit endlessly versus Jet Li. Then actually seeing the film and finding out that Jet Li may as well not even be in the film because of the fact that his character is 100% CGI for just about the whole thing. They should have just paid the fucker for licensing rights.

Like a lot of recent 'epics' the film opens in storybook mode, with a voice-over artist giving us as simplistic and condescending a recount as possible of the strange backstory. The Dragon Emperor of the subtitle is Jet Li playing some dude named Han, mystifyingly portrayed as China's first emperor and builder of the Great Wall instead of Q'in - come on guys, this isn't exactly obscure historical fact here! Anyway, once he's done with enslaving all of Asia Han bitches that, despite seemingly being a fresh-faced thirty year old, he's going to die before he has a chance to fuck up even more enemies, so tells his loyal servant General Ming the Merciless to fetch him the secret of immortality in his lunchbreak. If the Zapp Brannigan/Kif nature of this relationship had been examined more this could have been a watchable film.

Anyway, in a plot twist that will shake you to your very core, the witch who is meant to guard the secret of immortality is actually a hot chick. ZOMG how novel. Also, she doesn't actually know where the secret of immortality is. So, er, not a good start. But then she promises she'll go to her local library and see if they've got anything on it. After a short while and falling in love with Ming, she finds some scrolls that give very detailed instructions on how to find immortality! Score! Han is so happy he repays her by tearing Ming apart and trying to murder her. Fortunately our witch knows the 'turn-entire-city-to-clay' spell and casts it to fuck Han up good and proper. The voice-over tells us that he will never be free until McGuffin A is brought to Setpiece B, which will surely NEVER HAPPEN.

The viewer is launched forward in time to Oxford in 1946 where Rick O'Connor (Brendan Fraser), some dude who apparently considers himself to be just below Richard Sharpe in terms of arsekicking quotient, is trying to live the life of a retired landed gentry, but infact simply creating that of a retarded landed gentry. With a little less of the gentry. It's at this moment a viewer with more than a cursory knowledge of how film is meant to work (ie me) will notice that the storybook style of the early scenes isn't going away. I'd say on average the length of a scene in this film would be about 50 seconds - we open in Oxford with quite a potentially funny scene featuring Fraser trying to fly fish for the first time and underdoing a series of brutally injuring mishaps before giving up and pull out a pistol and going postal. Trouble is, this 'scene' goes about 20 seconds, literally, edited as if by someone with ADHD.

The same with a scene where Rick and his wife (now played by the biotch from A History of Violence rather than the one from Enemy at the Gates) have dinner, the one where his wife gives a book reading for her pot-boiler mummy 'novel', and a scene where his wife's undergoing writer's block. And decides to jump up on a table and wave a sword around madly. This one particularly shows the problem with these bits - she's interrupted, naturally, by their impossibly stuffed shirt of a crotchety butler coming in and is horribly embarassed... only the butler just walks out again. Was he playing hide and seek with the scullery maid? No, it's just the two writers who bashed this dross out were seriously unable to think of anything for him to say. Such as "Mr Connor has returned from his fishing expedition" or "Dinner is ready" - wow, isn't that hard, is it?

Likewise have the Ministry of Defense bloke show up during Rick's fishing trip and, well, probably ditch the dinner bit because you move Evey's material forward to introduce the character - ideally have the opener to the England scenes being the book reading itself to keep the mummy theme palpable, segue straight into the writer's block scene which will be longer and illustrate the dissatisfaction with retired life between the couple. Look at this - I'm doing re-writes that any script editor should have been looking at TWO YEARS ago. No money for one of those guys in a multi-hundred-million dollar film??

But then I'm not the only one to notice this. Wikipedia informs me that the reason why Rachel Weisz (that beautiful raven haired lady who mystifyingly hasn't been given a role in DW despite asking for one - she's Romana III, people!) didn't appear in this film was given as "problems with the script". She's gone up in my estimations, and she wasn't exactly low in them to begin with.

Wikipedia also told me what some of the problems with the script are that I wasn't able to pick up on my own... Rick and Evey have a son named Alex, working in China with a certain Professor Roger Wilson. The mission they are given by nameless Ministry of Defense guy is simply to deliver disgustingly valuable big-arse crystal to Wilson - they're happy to do this because even though Wilson is a former cutthroat treasure hunter they've crossed swords with in the past, he's since gone on the straight and narrow. And then he betrays them!

Naturally, when watching this I assumed that this was all hangover from prequels. But... no, not at all. Alex and Roger have NEVER appeared before this film. Yes, they've tried to pull a Timelash*, always the sign of a weaker writer. As for Alex, it's hard not to feel like they're trying to rip off Indiana Jones even more by giving Brendan Fraser a college-aged son with attitude just like Harrison Ford got. Only difference being that Harrison Ford is actually the right age to have a twenty year old son, and Shia LaBeouf's Mutt Williams was actually funny, likeable, and wasn't disturbingly fixated on stealing the limelight. And for Christ's sake, of all the films to try and steal material from..

It was at this stage the film was almost getting away with it's crap, and for completely the wrong reason. DAVID CALDER! Yes, Nathan Spring from Star Cops, everybody's favourite acerbic and burnt out bald pommy guy was playing Wilson. Like all the best actors he made the characterisation himself and used brilliant delivery to cover up the impossibly bad dialogue that he was given. He shows up everyone else in the film furiously, and I was beyond upset when he got killed about half an hour in.

From here the film got worse. How much worse? So much worse I don't know how much worse. I walked out. Of a cinema. That's something I never do. If it's at home, I'll give up on a film (Especially if it's called Kingdom of Heaven), but a film at the cinema is a fiscal commitment I don't take lightly, and I intend to be entertained once there. This time I was at a disadvantage due to the fact that I was seeing it alone and thus unable to MST the film for my amusement - I'd gone for a nightout and my other friends wanted to see The House Bunny. A herd of wild horses would be unable to get me into that cinema, and when I saw the trailer for that hilarity vacuum in my own session I was relieved to be reminded that I'd made the right decision. Even though Eagle Eye would probably have been right-er.

Of course, an additional detail is that after I walked out I had to walk back in again, because their film wasn't done yet. Sigh. I walked out a second time in the climactic battle scene and that was thankfully for keeps. What is it with Pirates of the Caribbean-style battles now? Army full of clay dudes versus emaciated skeletons? Neither of them are alive, who the fuck's meant to win???

I haven't gone into much detail here, because frankly very little is needed. I could describe the film at length, but that would be pointless because every problem stems from one thing - the script. I wouldn't say it feels like a first draft. It feels like a brainstorm with dialogue from a couple of stoners. Do not watch this film unless you want an instruction of what not to do. Unless you have seen this film. In which case..

I am sorry. I am so, so sorry. Watch Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to cheer yourself up.

*In case you're reading this blog and AREN'T an obsessive Doctor Who fan, Timelash is a really, really, really, really bad story with a few more reallys in which the bad guy, Magellan** is a guy who the Doctor met and supposedly defeated in a previous adventure. That never happened on screen. And is referred to constantly. 'Endlessly' constantly. Like, more than I refer to tits in this blog. I am serious.

**No, not that Magellan.