Tuesday, 30 June 2009

When It Plops Out

Further to my recent post about musicals, here’s another one, except like an M Night Shyamalan film from the olden days when he was good (i.e. The Sixth Sense and… er… that’s it), there’s a clever twist! Yes viewers, this one’s about films being turned into stage musicals, and the merit, or lack thereof, thereof. Don’t blame me for poor sentence construction, that’s the English language for you.

You may or may not be aware that some satanic fiend in a dank corner of Hades is fashioning a Broadway musical based on the Spider-Man films called, bizarrely, “Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark”. Well the first thing that springs to mind is “erm, what?” and the second thing that springs to mind is “I wonder what to have for tea”, because this seems to me like such a bad idea that it warrants no further allocation of brain juice. And so that you don’t have to, let me investigate further on your behalf, metaphorically taking the bullet like Clint Eastwood in In The Line Of Fire, only marginally less grumpily.

I think what’s happened here is that the makers have spotted the recent “success” of the Lord Of The Rings stage musical and thought, “hmm, massively profitable movie franchise based on much-loved literary legend becomes bowel-looseningly expensive stage show which ran for about four performances and lost millions... we should do that again!”

Just to ensure that we all think it’s a terrible idea from the off, they’ve given it that spectacularly woeful title. I mean, just what does “Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark” mean? You can’t “turn off the dark”, even if you do have superhuman strength, the ability to cling tenaciously to any surface and a subconscious precognitive sense of danger. You can reduce the level of darkness by, say, turning on a light, but that’s nothing special. I could do that if I really concentrated.

And if that wasn’t enough to guarantee an empty house on opening night, the music is being written by Bono and The Edge. I have about a thousand words to express how I feel about that, but there isn’t room here. Fortunately a picture can speak a thousand words, so:

I ask you. He actually looks like one of those drunks who leap into the shot just as you’re about to take a nice holiday snap.

Anyway pay no attention to my rambling; fork out a small fortune to go and see it when it plops out onto a Broadway stage next February and let me know how good it is. If it’s fantastic I’ll turn green with sickness and gobble my words up. In fact, you could say I’ll be Green (and) Gobblin’! AHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Hmm. That doesn’t really work does it?

Monday, 29 June 2009

A Bolt Of Lightning Up Your Bottom

When a gentleman has a close lady friend – possibly one who’s married to him or at least has agreed to spend large swathes of their life with him – he finds himself at some point watching several films that feature Reese Witherspoon or Alicia Silverstone.

Such films are usually “chick flicks”, aimed predominantly at a female audience who can turn off important parts of their brains at will, thereby allowing them to experience surprise and enjoyment when the heroine leaves their selfish, morally bankrupt city-slicker boyfriend for the rough-and-tumble guy next door who has never worn a suit in his life but knows how to deliver a baby cow.

While watching chick flicks is an important stage in any relationship – along with many other sacrifices couples make for each other, like giving up half of a perfectly good bed or agreeing to deposit toenail clippings into an appropriate receptacle rather than onto the dining table – it’s one that continually leaves me confuddled because I can’t for the life of me tell the difference between Reese and Alicia.

If you showed me a picture of one of them and asked me who it was, I’d say “well, that’s Reese Witherspoon, or the other one... er…” and then spend valuable minutes trying to remember which one was in Batman And Robin, which one was in Clueless, which one was in Legally Blonde and then attempting to put a name to the face in my brain, which looks like this:
This mental image is fundamentally useless because it’s a morphed picture of both of them, a gestalt entity my brain calls Areesia Silverspoon. Yeah, thanks a lot, brain. That really helps.

Why do we need them both? Is it because Hollywood churns out so much chickery flickery that there’s simply too much work for one unbearably kooky starlet? Do they get together and cheekily (but kookily) swap scripts to see if baffled directors notice they’ve got the other one? Or are they in fact the same person? I trawled the internet for a picture of them being kooky together, but guess what? No such picture exists!

I can only, therefore, draw one conclusion. Alicia Silverstone is the super-hero alter-ego of Reese Witherspoon. When producers need a pretty, kooky, initially vulnerable but eventually independent and forthright character they hire Reese, but if the script’s a bit lacking or the male co-star is a bit too famous, they get on the Silver-phone and call for Alicia to provide that advanced level of extra-prettiness, super-kookiness, mega-vulnerability, ultra-independence and hyper-forthrightitude. I believe they’re that way round because ‘Witherspoon’ is a silly, dull name, like Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne, while ‘Silverstone’ sounds like one of the X-Men women.

And another thing: why are the X-Men women also called X-Men? Don’t they get cheesed off being called men all the time?

“Oh, hello Storm from the X-Men”
“Actually I’m a woman, and to help you remember here’s a bolt of lightning up your bottom”

Friday, 26 June 2009

"Stop Getting Bond Wrong!!"

Just finished reading Roger Moore's autobiography, “My Word Is My Bond.” It occurred to me that an autobiography written by his eyebrow (the one that did all the acting) would have been much more fascinating. It could have told of how it gradually rose through the ranks, climbing Roger’s forehead until it could gaze down at its lowly, pathetic twin, and how the true driving force behind its continuous upward trajectory was the desire to get further and further away from the horrendous safari suits its host insisted on wearing.

Anyway, while Rodge is undeniably a nice bloke – his work for UNICEF over the last 20-odd years is truly commendable – he was, by far, the worst thing that ever happened to James Bond. His insistence on turning Bond into a rubbish comedian will haunt my very soul until I breathe my last. What really scrapes my gums is this sentence from Moore’s book, something he’s trotted out ad nauseum as his defence whenever he’s accused of not taking Bond seriously:

“How can he be a spy, yet walk into any bar in the world and have the bartender recognize (sic) him and serve him his favourite drink? Come on, it’s all a big joke.”

Well, I might be wrong (unlikely), but I can’t think of a single example in any of the Bond films when this happens. Roger Moore has made up a big stinky whopper to excuse his avoidance of anything approaching acting. If Alan Partridge were ever to meet his hero, it would be Moore himself on the receiving end of Partridge’s rant: “Stop getting Bond wrong!!”

There are several other things in the book that made me want to tie Roger to a seatless chair and take a knotted rope to his nethers, including: his insistence on repeatedly referring to his most famous alter ego as “Jimmy Bond”; his tales of staggering arrogance as a young actor in Hollywood; and his recounting of advertising cigarettes on Japanese TV with the explanation: “as opposed as I am to smoking, I’m a bit of a ponce when it comes to earning a few quid.” Quite right. I’m opposed to people shooting each other but if Smith & Wesson chucked me a tenner I’d happily go round telling everyone to buy their guns.

So having vented my not inconsiderably gassy spleen, it’s time for the twist. Not the dance you understand, that would be incongruous and pointless. No, the twist lies in the excellent 1970 film The Man Who Haunted Himself, starring Moore in a dual role as Good Roger and Bad Roger. It’s not just a cracking supernatural mystery and a fantastic document of 1970s London and British filmmaking, but it’s also proof that the man can actually act seriously, despite all the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Which, now that I come to think about it, just makes me even MORE cross that he couldn’t be BOTHERED doing it for Bond! GAAAHHH!! I’M INCANDESCENT WITH RAGE!!! DAMN YOU, MOORE!!!

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Noel Edmonds Was Right All Along

ShortList Magazine today published the results of a poll to find readers’ Top 20 films from the 1980s. The results were predictable but I more or less agreed – except for their Number 1, Raging Bull, which is as overrated a piece of cinema as Citizen Kane if you ask me, which you probably don’t, but then this is my blog so I’m afraid you’re just going to have to sit down and be quiet. The definitive five greatest films from the 1980s are obviously:

1. Raiders Of The Lost Ark
2. The Empire Strikes Back
3. Back To The Future
4. Die Hard
5. The Shining

But I digress. Publishing a list of top films from the ‘80s is as inspired as putting the front page at the front, and about as interesting. Now obviously ShortList is a free rag and is intended to be read by bleary-eyed commuters dribbling overpriced coffee onto their suits at christ o’clock in the morning, but come on now, really. Must try harder.

So imagine a magazine like ShortList, only much better, called The Incredible Suit, only it’s not wasting acres of trees only to end up in a landfill somewhere thanks to selfish tykes who can’t be arsed to locate their nearest recycling point, it is in fact online and in the form of a “web log”, or “blog” for short. Now stop imagining, because it’s right before your eyes! How amazing is that? It’s like you can make your wildest dreams come true just by imagining them! Noel Edmonds was right all along.

The Incredible Suit refuses to do anything as lacklustre as the Top 20 from the 1980s, but in a groundbreaking act of inversion and self-congratulatory smart-arsery I hereby present…

***THE TOP 80 MOVIES FROM THE 1920s!!***

Except, good grief, that would be a long and tedious list wouldn’t it, so let’s use some artistic licence and just make it the Top 8.

Now this was a decade before CGI, before colour, before surround sound, in fact much of it before sound full stop, so obviously it was rubbish. And I say that with little in the way of justification, knowledge or proof, but let’s be fair – if there were stacks of good movies made in the ‘20s they’d still be knocking around today, but most of them aren’t. However the Top 8 that are, I can officially announce in this exclusive poll of myself, are:

1. The General (Buster Keaton)
2. Sherlock Jr (Buster Keaton)
3. The Lodger (Alfred Hitchcock)
4. Why Worry? (Harold Lloyd)
5. Our Hospitality (Buster Keaton)
6. Seven Chances (Buster Keaton)
7. The Kid (Charlie Chaplin)
8. The Kid Brother (Harold Lloyd)

No doubt you've spotted there's no Metropolis or Dr Caligari, and I realise that this list is populated almost exclusively by silent comedians (Mr Hitchcock being the notable exception, although he was a bit of a silent comedian himself – look at his cameos), but that’s what I’ve been watching a lot of lately so that’s the way the silent cookie crumbles. DEAL WITH IT!

Thanks to Jeremiah McDonald for the video!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Pesky Consumption

So last night I watched Chicago, which is officially A Great Movie. I don’t generally go a bundle on musicals, although having said that I do like Grease and Singin’ In The Rain a lot and I love Moulin Rouge! as if it were my only child. Maybe I do go a bundle on musicals after all. That’ll teach me to kick off with a rash statement. I must make a mental note to carefully consider my opinions before releasing them into the wild like that. Who knows what might happen?

Funnily enough Chicago has little going for it in my fascist book of what makes a good movie. I can’t stand Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger or Richard Gere and there’s really very little story of which to speak. However it is a musical and therefore its USPs are its songs, and this is where it wins almost all the furry toys at the coconut shy. I say almost because the song "All I Care About", which Gere sings, merely glances the side of one of the coconuts, causing it to wobble slightly but remain firmly in place as if it was suspiciously glued there by the lethargic pikey running the stall who hates the coconut shy and can’t wait to go and take charge of the waltzers where he can hang onto the cars of teenage girls, looking swarthy and making sure they get spun REALLY fast while geeks like me get a cursory shove which serves only to give a less thrilling ride than you might get in a reclining armchair.

"Cell Block Tango" and "We Both Reached For The Gun" are the winners for me; Zellweger looks worryingly sexy dressed as a ventriloquist’s dummy, which may explain all those strange feelings I had watching Keith Harris and Orville all those years ago. As you can see I’ve chosen a very bad picture to illustrate my point. I couldn’t be bothered looking any further than the first page of results when I searched for that shot. Sorry.

There’s also lots of dancing in Chicago, as you might expect, and that’s quite good too, especially in the last number which CZJ and the ‘weger perform together. Sadly CZJ is just a touch too toned and manly while Zellweger is too skinny so I can’t give either of them the special treatment I would give Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge!, that is if she would stop coughing up blood all over the place because of her pesky consumption. I mean it’s hardly a turn-on is it?

Top 5 Musicals, like, ever:

1. Moulin Rouge!
2. Singin’ In The Rain
3. Grease
4. Chicago
5. The Wizard Of Oz


Hello viewers, and welcome to The Incredible Suit, my new outlet for random witterings which I decided to start this morning because I felt like it. Hopefully it'll become a respected journal of thought-provoking musings, a long-standing record of life in the 21st century and a place in cyberspace for people to go to when it seems like there's no rationality to life and you need to read something - anything - to restore your faith in the human race. Alternatively it could be a massively pointless exercise in raging vanity and self-deluded twaddlesmithery and I'll be hounded from the interwebs by the guardians of common sense and decent thinking.

So why start a blog? God knows there are already plenty out there, some of which are very very good indeed - I'll link to the ones I like one day if I think it's worth learning how to - and some of which are shockingly dreadful. People start blogs because they think they're witty, incisive, original, important and various other things, or because they just want to write a diary but can't master a pen and paper. The worst reason to start a blog is because you've convinced yourself that the whole world might be interested in your internal mental noodling and by jingo you're going to let them have it. This, of course, is my reason for starting a blog.

My Mum once said, or at least I like to think she may have done, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." Quite right. In blogsville you could substitute the word 'nice' with 'witty', 'incisive', 'original', 'important' and various other things, and that's a rule I'll try and stick to. Someone else who wasn't my Mum, Abraham Lincoln I think, said "Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." Also quite right. However I'm not opening my mouth am I, I'm typing stuff on a keyboard, so I can write what I like and be as foolish as I want, so TAKE THAT LINCOLN! Stick that in your ludicrous hat and see if it still fits, you great nincompoop! You should have been called Lincolnpoop! Although I thought you were very good in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, so I'll let it pass for now.