A Birthday Card from Pariah Rustbucket

February 12, 2014 by

So I got a birthday card from Pariah Rustbucket. In the card was a story. It was the best story I’d ever read. Here’s how it went:

“The Birthday Robot” by Pariah Rustbucket

One day it were my birfday and i got a BIG present it was all in papur I ript the papur and there it was a ROBOT. Mum and dad say there son it your burthday we have brought you a robot. well the robut waked up and say bleep bleep hello and then did a sound like zzt and we all laghed it sound like the robot fart. then the robot had a flashy gun and zappp Pickles our dog were goned. mum and dad say holy cow stop that thing the robut spinned round and round with all smoke. well the robut bursted through the front door. And we nevir saw it again and that was my butthday robot.

Iron Man

December 28, 2013 by

robot

Is Iron Man a bold, romantic knight yclad in hardy steel? Or is he a wiggly tapeworm of a smartarse prancing around in the intestines of a dirty robot? Don’t ask me, I’ve never seen the film.

Here is a detailed summary of the plot of Iron Man:

Barnacles on his rusty jib; boreholes in his exhaust unit. The scrapyard hobos used him so roughly that night beneath the Detroit moon. So roughly. “Purdy tailpipe, boy” they said. Must send a memo to Pepper Panza. Not to tell anyone.

Pepper Panza tumbles in a fat forward roll of a walk by his side. That earthy clod of paunch and moustache (played by Gwyneth Paltrow). How many scrapes has he got me out of? Too many.

And meanwhile Windmillosaurus is planning his final assault. His sinister sails glinting beneath the Detroit moon. Conventional weapons hadn’t worked against him. Prod a jousting lance in his stout bod and those swift swift sails snatch it up before it can puncture his navel.

And meanwhile he says nothing. Windmillosaurus! Your day is coming! I will dine on the fat of your jugular and shit on your sails!

 Iron Man swashes in the shallows: a sad salty cyborg, humping on the jetsam. A sexy-looking segment of corrugated iron drifts into his net. Score! Why do you do it to yourself, Iron Man? Leave me alone. Even Iron Men have needs. The sea spumes darkly beneath the Detroit moon. Iron Man discharges and is filled with loathing. For God’s sake, pull up your knickers and get out of here, he shouts at the corrugated iron. The corrugated iron says nothing. Forgive me, my darling, I’m a complicated man, he adds. The corrugated iron drifts away.

Iron Man is my favourite Avenger. Which is yours?

Pokemon: The Movie

June 27, 2013 by

Sad Yukio is shunned by his peers. Why? His regulation rucksack sits like an obedient cuboid upon his unbending plank of a spine. The other children like their satchels saggy and their spines curvilinear. Therefore Sad Yukio must be banished from their boyish communion like the tight perpendicular pansy he, alas, on first inspection, appears to be.

Is there a society, club or federation that will welcome Sad Yukio into its fold? Must he stand a perennial outsider, hovering like a beggar – albeit one sporting clean bright underpants – on the fringes of the infantine feast? Who will claim Sad Yukio as their own?

The Fraternity of Pokemon Breeders, Trainers and Affiliated Representatives (PBTAAR), that’s who. For who needs friends when you can be a member of one of the most exclusive, exciting and imaginary organisations in the world?

No-one.

Here are some fun Pokemon facts that Sad Yukio learned via his Pokemon Fun Fact FiloFax:

- A Pokemon is bonded to its master by a blood oath and by an unspecified, ritualised act of intimacy.

- The plural form of Pokemon is Pokemen.

- The most famous Pokemon in the world is Linford Christie

- Pokemen come in all shapes and sizes. Some are globular and viscous like frogspawn, others look like nan-nans, but with nasty skin conditions.

- Walt Whitman once wrote a poem about a Pokemon. Here is an extract:

                I’ve felt its tongue and tooth

                I’ve felt its velvet pelt

                And I SING the POKEMON, right?

- Here is a picture of Sad Yukio’s Pokemon, which is called ‘Cranking Pob’:

Cranking Pob: a Pokemon

Cranking Pob: a Pokemon

- Here is a picture of another Pokemon, called ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’:

Sonic the Hedgehog: another Pokemon

Sonic the Hedgehog: another Pokemon

Screen Legends 4: Danny De Vito

April 20, 2013 by

A while ago I started a Screen Legends thread on this site. Thus far we’ve had profiles of such mega-thesps as Peter O’ Toole, Armand Assante and Matt Le Blanc. In today’s installment, we’ll be considering the career of everyone’s favourite actorling, Danny De Vito:

When Danny De Vito was a baby, he was the size of a hamster. Now 58, Danny De Vito is size of a baby. Indeed, Danny De Vito is Italian for “Danny the Baby”. But De Vito has taken advantage of his homunculine proportions, for instance by insinuating himself into the unsuspecting papooses of breastfeeding mothers, so that he might dine in high style on their overburdened paps. He does this not because he is a sexual misadventurer, but because he is addicted to calcium.

Danny De Vito played Harry Potter in Harry Potters 3-5, and made for a more convincing Potter than the two actors who preceded him: namely, Pierce Brosnan and Steve Guttenberg (in Harry Potters 1 and 2 respectively). He was succeeded in the role by Daniel Radcliffe, who cast a spell on the minds of the cinema-going muggle population, making them believe that only Radcliffe had ever played the pubescent warlock. It is therefore difficult for film reviewers to evaluate De Vito’s performance objectively, on account of Radcliffe’s bad hoodoo gumming up their brain-valves.

In Tim Burton’s funny little filmy-wilmy, Batman Returns, Danny De Vito played ‘A Penguin’ (definite articles didn’t enter the Batman mythology until the Christopher Nolan muscled in on the franchise). When De Vito learned that he would have to share not only a trailer but a bed with the incorrigible biter, Michael Keaton, he threw one of his world-famous and widely-celebrated tantrums. This involved throwing food on the floor and other classic signals of grumpiness and/or tiredness, as outlined by the rogue babyologist, Gina Ford. But help was at hand. Tim Burton’s siamese twin/wife, Helena Bonham Carter, stepped in, or rather, leaned in (Burton has 90% control of their shared limbs) and swaddled De Vito up a treat. Result: a happy, restful Danny De Vito.

In conclusion, I give Danny De Vito eight out of ten.

The Babies

April 3, 2013 by

Here’s a short story about your new favourite boy-band:

The Babies

 

1. Pre-Apocalyptic Complacency

They were called The Babies, but they weren’t babies. They were pre-schoolers: four years old to a man. Duck was the heart-throb, a golden Ganymede in dungarees. Then there was Ruud the rebel, the delinquent, the separatist of eternity. Neither a pretty boy nor a pariah, Larry wrote the songs and the boys sung them with a song in their hearts, which Larry had authored too. It wasn’t clear what Master Thomas’s role in this outfit was, but everybody knew that Duck, Ruud and Larry would not go on stage without their fourth brother Baby. They were called The Babies and the world loved them tenderly in its final, oblivious days.

 

2. Literacy Crisis

Larry squinted at a chaotic arrangement of wiggly black markings on a discarded document.

“It’s Greek to me, boys” he said.

“Don’t grieve yourself Larry” said Master Thomas. “None of us is a scholar”

“Fellas” said Ruud, “I wouldn’t trust a bunch of words on paper even if I could reads. Y’ask me, we’re better off not knowing what horse muck is written here. The letter killeth.”

“…And the spirit giveth life” said Duck, with a handsome shrug.

“You said it brother baby”

And with that The Babies trilled out a seething spiritual, all about bald, blind Samson and his thirst for demolition. Better to be blind than to be a dupe, the song seemed to say. Better to be illiterate than a puppet on a writingman’s string.

 

3. Time for a Treat!

A pin-striped adult with a monstrous gut strutted into the room. One hand held a red lollipop, which he licked with a vexing air of self-satisfaction; the other twiddled in his pocket. Great beads of red saliva plopped on to the floor as he pulled the lollipop stick in and out of his mouth.

“Can I have a lollipop?” said Duck.

“Haw. No.” said the man, smirking.

“Why not?” asked Duck.

“Maybe I’ve not got any more. Or maybe I don’t want to give you one”

The Babies fell into a conference.

“What do you reckon my hearties?” said Master Thomas, “reckon we should press the issue further, get us some well-deserved lollipops?”

Ruud pulled out a tiny switchblade from the elasticated waist of his junior jeans. “I plan on slashing his pockets and seeing what falls out”

The other Babies nodded solemnly. “Slash him, Ruud” they said, “see what falls out”.

The insolent adult was looking at a magazine with a picture of a naked lady on the cover, and producing a laugh that was identical to his earlier guffaw, as if he were somehow withholding lollipops from the ladies in the magazine too. While he chortled, Ruud slunk up with an assassin’s gait. In one swift slash he filleted the adult’s blazer pocket, and a cornucopia of sweets fell out: bangers, fruit swagglers, fizzy colins, corn whups and the real prize: tens upon tens of lollipops. Ruud squirreled the confectionary into a shiny satchel and left a horrific surprise in the adult’s trouser pocket.

The Babies crept into the adjoining room to gorge on their loot, and everyone patted Ruud on the back and called him a true soldier. Ten minutes later a weak scream came from the doorway where the adult had been. Ruud snickered softly.

 

4. Do You Know Your Enemy?

There was a short interval for the sponsors’ messages. The audience brooded in their seats and The Babies were brought some refreshments. Lemon squash and two custard creams each. In his artery-blue armchair, the chatshow host squirmed and sweated into his makeup. He kept looking over his shoulder towards the backstage area and wincing. He pulled at his collar. “Do you mind if I smoke boys?” he said. The Babies all shook their heads. Except for Ruud, who held no quarter with smalltalk.

“Welcome back folks” said the chatshow host. “Don’ t worry. The Babies haven’t left the building.”

A genial babble of laughter and applause followed, but the audience was as still and silent as a jury.

“Well” said the chatshow host, “you boys sure like custard creams, right?”

“I’m going to square with you, Henry” replied Duck, “the way you’re sitting cannot be good for your sperm count.” Duck pointed his pudgy forefinger at the tense legs of the chatshow host, which were crossed tightly above the knee.

The audience laughed. But their laughter was cruel and sarcastic. Small diamonds of sadness welled in the eyes of the chatshow host.

“So” said the chatshow host. “So” he said. “So. So. So”

“So” said the chatshow host. “Everyone’s been talking about how you boys helped to bring that sex trafficking gang to justice. Perhaps you could tell us a bit about that.”

“Henry” said Master Thomas. “This is a light entertainment show.”

“Of course” said the chatshow host. “Of course. Of course.”

“So” said that chatshow host. “Err. Larry. What’s your favourite colour?”

Larry exhaled. “That’s a toughy Henry. I’m a fan of the old classics. Navy Blue. Forest Green. There’s a lot to be said for the old classics.”

The chatshow host warmed to the theme. “How about red? Do you like red?”

“Give me a break” said Larry, spitting on the floor.

A quietness followed, like the quietness inside a vacuum-packed chicken carton.

After a while, the quietness was broken by a pealing noise that seemed to originate from inside the nose of the chatshow host.

“Hey Henry” said Ruud, “how’s your sister doing?”

At this the chatshow host began to smile but then his face exploded into sweaty, messy tears. He put his face in his hands and his hands in his lap. From where The Babies were sitting, the audience’s tutting was deafening. A sound of synchronised bootfall on metal flooring could be heard.

“Oh no” said the chatshow host. “Help me boys. Help me.”

“I’m sorry” said Master Thomas “If you’d let us know before, our people could have got you out.”

The chatshow host shuddered convulsively.

Four men in bullet-proof playsuits marched on to the studio floor. Smooth black carapaces covered their faces. One of the carapaces opened to reveal a nasty man.  “Come with us” he said and held out the hand that wasn’t resting on his sub-machine gun.

Like a naughty but weary boy, the chatshow host took the hand of the guard and allowed himself to be led away. His trembling had ceased but a periodic sob made his gizzards vibrate.

“God speed you” said Duck.

Now the audience seemed happy and relaxed. They all turned to one another in a congratulatory manner. A young woman with a powerful haircut hailed The Babies.

“Hey boys, how about a song?” she said. And everyone else cheered, saying “A song! A song!”

Larry trod down slow and hard on the dying fire of the chatshow host’s abandoned cigarette. He clicked his finger and combed his quiff. He stared the audience right in its eye.

“Go fuck yourselves” he said.

THE END

 

Pan’s Labyrinth; or, A Labyrinth of Pans

February 15, 2013 by

The camera pans out to take in the general and his squaw. The camera pans out to take in  the general and his squaw but not to take in their legs. The camera pans out at an angle that cuts off the general and his squaw above the navel. The camera pans over to the bedroom window to take in the imposing panorama. The camera pans back to the general and his squaw, taking care not to pan down below their navels. The general is wearing ungeneral-like pantaloons so that the camera does not pan down below his navel. The camera does not pan down below the navel of the general not because he is wearing ungeneral-like pantaloons nor because the general is standing on two large-print copies of Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel but because the director has instructed him not to. The general is standing on two large-print copies of Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel because he has a Napoleon complex. The director has decided to pander to the general’s Napoleon complex. The general does not believe the director’s assurances that the camera will not pan down to reveal the two large-print copies of Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel on which the general is standing and so he is wearing ungeneral-like pantaloons. Unnecessarily, as it turns out. The squaw notes the irony of a tiny man standing on a book that has Gargantua in its title. The squaw is wearing panty-hose and a pannier. Her films to date include Pancreas (horror), Pandemic (thriller), Panty-Liner (adult) and Pan-Am and the History of Commercial Flight (TVM docudrama). During a difficult period in her acting career she was driven to panhandle. In the hospitality area the catering staff put the onions into pans. In the hospitality area the catering staff put the parsnips into pans. In the hospitality area the catering staff put the beef, the beef stock, the beetroot, the butter, the breadcrumbs, the beans, the biscuits and the bass into pans. The head chef stubs his toe on a kitchen panel. This aside the filming is panning out well.

Horror Film Titles

February 9, 2013 by

Sometimes you can learn all you need to know about a horror film from its title alone. With that in mind, here are some of my favourite horror film titles (obviously I’ve never watched them):

I Spit In Your Eyes

Dinner Time

Supernatural Unpleasantness

Gasp!

They Came From The Other Place

The Whistler

Don’t Be Frightened

Chain ’Em To Grandma

Mexican Burrowing Weevil

But I Turned Off The Tap…

Dead Chicks 3D

The Fiddling

The original VHS release poster of 'I Spit In Your Eyes'

The original VHS release poster of ‘I Spit In Your Eyes’

 

Banjo Chutney and John Le Baptiste go to Hollywood

January 20, 2013 by

So you all know, of course, that Banjo Chutney and I went to Hollywood to make a film? Well we did. And what’s more, we collaborated on a story about it, which you can read here:

‘Our Trip to Hollywood’ by Banjo Chutney and John Le Baptiste

When we awoke in our twin-bed hotel room, the air conditioning said ‘ming’. The big cars were honking and the maids were speaking in a secret language. Banjo said it was called Spanish.

We put our tiny white penises and tiny white bottoms into our tiny white underpants. And we did so shamefully. For was not the sin of Adam upon us?

Then we got a callback from the agent saying that the meeting was scheduled for 11. He said that the producer was excited about the project. That made us happy, but then we realised we would only have 45 minutes for breakfast, so that made us worried.

All of the waitresses in the breakfast diner were curling their mouths upwards at the ends and presenting their teeth. They called us y’all and wanted to be our friends.

I had biscuits and gravy. When I peeled back the sickly sauce there was a sad-looking spongiform beneath it. So it ate it and tried not to cry. Banjo ordered a sausage. Its legs were still attached.

After vomiting in the alley behind the diner for half an hour, Banjo and I caught a taxi to the studio. Our eyes were bleary and our knees were trembling but Banjo opened The Braveness matchbox and let The Braveness crawl around on the car seat for a while. It fed on a discarded crumb from a child’s food-unit then it did a little happy click. Then it got back inside the matchbox. We felt a lot Braver after that.

The taxi driver was humped, boweeviled, jerry-cocked, through with all that shit, he said. We shrugged and he said ain’t that the truth.

The taxi pulled away and the driver said shall I careen all over the road or career? Banjo said could he Kareem and the driver shot a finger-pistol full of respect-bullets our way.

We pulled up in front of a monolithic temple of success. It was where the big boys make their big boy pretend pictures. I got out and sucked the free air but Banjo just doubled over in a pool of whimper-fear. I took out a slice of marble cake I’d stowed in my cardigan and he came round enough to fall onto the pavement.

We hallooed the rentacop at the gate and showed our labels on our shirts, proving we were who we said we were. Tough times, he said. Damn if it ain’t.

The cobwebby forest of shame was all around us. We sure felt puny. I pulled a floral kerchief with a flourish, aiming to look emboldened as a cabinet. No, hissed Banjo. These types are wise to us. But I parped regardless. For clarity.

Banjo bucked back, the smell of wickedness in his nostrils. His hooves hammered as he twisted in his hackamore. Whoa boy, I said. Whoopsy daisy, said Banjo.

For two days we rode in silence through the pine-whiny glades. We’d stop now and then to share a cereal bar or take off our hats and dust the flies from our maws.

On the third day we came to a grove called ‘reception’, where a woman brought us coffee, hot and black and steaming from a plastic thermos. Don’t you be fooling none, said Banjo. I ain’t fooling none, I told him.

Could I have been fooling none?

Soon the hot, black coffee was snarling in our stomachs and we were on our way to see the Wizard of Oz. That’s what the receptionist said. I didn’t understand the reference. We walked down the hall of fame. Signed pictures of all of the greats were there. There was Philip Hardcastle, Steiner and Moobuck and, best of all, Old Blind Manhandle: The Talking Hobo. Banjo saluted as we walked past and Old Blind Manhandle saluted back, sort of.

At last we reached our journey’s end. It was the office of the producer. He offered us a Fillet o’ Fish. He confirmed that the o’ stood for ‘of’. You’ve got balls son, he said, pointing at my shoulder. He took Banjo by the cheeks and said, Welcome Home, Son. Banjo looked at my eyes, but my eyes looked away.

Excuse me, sir, said Banjo. We’re here to make a picture. And not just any kind of picture. Not the kind of picture, for instance, that you might find on a porcelain saucer. A picture of a smiling Jack Russell, for instance, on a porcelain saucer. No sir, not that kind of picture.

The producer tried to speak but Banjo caught his words using his special Bluegrass Claw. No sir, said Banjo, we want to make a moving picture. You can call it a filmic yarn if that helps you to understand it better. What kind of moving picture you ask? (The producer hadn’t asked, because his words were still spinning in Bluegrass Claw purgatory, like the souls of a trillion Anabaptists.) What kind of moving picture you ask, said Banjo.

It’s a simple story about a little boy who wanted to be a human, summarised Banjo. It’s a silent musical. It’s an inert action film. It’s a heartwarming horror. It’s got thrills, chills, banjo fills, and none of the above.

Did you boys write it, said the taxi driver, who had followed us into the office. Yes, I said, we wrote it together.

How? said the taxi driver.

I don’t know, but we did, I said.

The taxi driver sent for his lawyers, who brought round some contracts, which we ‘signed’ using short tubes of ink. The studio gave it the green light, and we went into production the next day.

So I guess by now you’re probably wondering when you can see the film that Banjo and I wrote. Well, the chances are, you’ve already seen it. For, here it is.

Martyrs

January 19, 2013 by

Martyr: noun - a person who is killed because of their religious beliefs.

But not if you’re in this film. ‘Martyr’ means ‘pretty woman wearing pants and vest who gets punched in the kidneys repeatedly’. Or does it? Sickened by the (alleged – I haven’t seen it) misogyny of this film, I turned to the wisdom of internet reviews for an insight into the true artistic meaning of slapping a woman about in a darkened room.

User JSh0k writes on IMDB that “…Martyr’s [sic] is definitely a dish best served cold” by which I assume he means that watching the kidney-punching is like eating a big bowl of ice-cream.

He (I’m assuming he’s a ‘he’, although ‘he’ may well be a ‘she’) also says that Martyrs “…will hopefully astound you with it’s gutsy originality” but that it is similar to “movies like Nacho Cerda’s Aftermath”. Hmm, I’m confused.

He does clarify things by arguing that Martyrs “….is guaranteed to divide audiences everywhere.” Divide them into sadists and non-sadists, presumably.

At least IMDB user Onderhond can add some meaning to the dismemberment: “…limbs are flying enjoyment to be found.” Right. “Don’t watch Martyrs to get a little horror kick, or to indulge in silly gorefests.” I won’t, then.

Still, I don’t quite know what all the slapping, punching, knifing, pissing and impalement means. I get that it’s ‘tough to watch’, ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘not for the faint-hearted’, but what’s underneath all of that?

In a last bid to unearth some sense I turn to the late William Burroughs. Using the Lazarus Corporation‘s fine Text Mixing Desk, I throw together some of the key points from the most avid internet reviews, and I paste the results below. I think you’ll find they render the film obsolete.

Not that I’ve seen it.

Lazarus Corporation Text Mixing Desk says: “Torture scenes watch this film is harsh. you wear an honour watched that! like the easily badge to say movie women have physical stabbed in the street to answer her warped kidnapping get a little horror gorefests. young girl girl captured wants laugier digs deeper into the forgotten. don’t watch martyrs story of horror and torture, I honour badge film there’s no genre ‘popcorn’ flying the capacity laugh harrowing extremely violent desires the enjoyment to be found. violence unfeeling squirm and accept the monster wrangled, the tension simply serve a human mind. the physically sick schizophrenic horribly monickered martyrs to and torture of a ‘torture-porn’ are emotionally exorcism bleak, depressive to be slasher gory, but you won’t people literally get kick, or joy, limbs are rather that idea behind martyrs truly is a ordeal to end must-see is not futile nor characters to indulge in silly and wear an understanding cold and inevitable extremely graphic presentation is cold, the her.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why some people like the film Martyrs.

Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series

January 13, 2013 by

Frak you, agoraphobia, I got me a home cinema! And the first thing I shall review is Battlestar Galactica on blu-ray laser discs.

Battletar Galactica is known for its sexy robots (called cyclons), rugged ladies (mostly cyclons) and shonky toasters (flying cyclons).

But did you know it was originally going to be called Battle-scarred Galacti-cops? And then Baffle-stumps Galactiballs? But the producers ultimately settled on ‘Battlestar Galactica’.

I don’t know why.

Set aboard the giant space-museum Galactica, the story focuses on interplanetary wrongness, which some dirty robots have done. Some of the dirty robots are really people, only they don’t know it. And there’s some war going on, but that’s on a different planet, I think. And some other people are running away from the robots.

Basically, it’s like the Kris Kristoffersen film Convoy, but in space.

Anyway, our hero is Commander Adamski (really a cyclon), played by a young Charles Bukowski. To accurately portray the rufty-tufty space-cop, Bukowski would wrap 158 elastic bands round his head before he went to bed every night, so that in the morning he would have the grizzled, spodgy-fleshed, lump-like depth of character needed to convey the psychological wear-and-tear of a ‘been there, seen that’ kind of man like Commander Adamski.

Commander Adamski

The commander struts the bridge like some cocky space chimp atop a shamelessly spacious spaceship-shaped tree.

The series poses many existential questions. What prize holdeth the stars for a man like this? What fortune may he seek, out in the cold, whiny fruitlessness of vacuous space? How does our grit-faced herald of the outer realm lead his champions to victory? And at what cost?

What’s an ‘FTL’?

Anyway, it all looks smashing. Except that whenever Adamski is on-screen, his craggy, pocked, moon-like landscape of a face absorbs all the pixels, making everything else blurry. The other thing is this smug, bossy woman keeps telling him what to do, and you’re like “Shut your face, he’s Captain Adamski!”

Also, this disc box includes some behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with Commander Adamski and the cyclons. I haven’t watched them. I mainly just fast-forward to the bits with the sexy lady cyclon and the wizard.

Exit Through the Gift Shop

January 4, 2013 by

This is a poem about that Banksy film, Exit Through the Gift Shop. I’ve never seen it. Come to mention it, who knows whether it really exists?

Banksy used red paint to create an authentic plum juice effect when creating the artwork for ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’

Exit Through the Plum Aisle, after William Carlos Williams

1.

The others asked me

If I eat.

Sure, I eat some.

I said.

So they I gave me a plum

To eat

So I ate it some.

It was a streetplum.

That’s what the others told me

Anyway.

2.

The others filmed me

While the squirty sap

Sat on my chin

Where it had dropped from my grin

And then it plummeted

Onto the flat gum

On the pavement

From the fat plum

In my mouth.

3.

Then the police turned up

And said we couldn’t do that there.

I tried to get them to chase me some

But they just waggled their sticks

A bit

And called us scum.

Plum-eating scum.

4.

Pretty soon

My plum-eating

Gained notoriety.

I ate plums all over the world

As a gesture of solidarity

To people and stuff.

But only streetplums

You understand.

5.

Later I looked up ‘streetplum’

On Wikipedia.

It transpires that there’s no such thing

As a streetplum.

It was a hoax.

I ate a hoax plum.

Lots of ‘em.

The value of my work plummeted

I became a plumber.

A real plumber

Not a hoax plumber.

I don’t eat plums so much anymore.

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

December 21, 2012 by
Strumpet! You have ruined Christmas!

Strumpet! You have ruined Christmas!

What is not to like about the Radio Times? Who could not fall for its knowing philistinism and insightful church-newsletter-esque platitudes? Who could fail to admire Barry Norman’s ability to review the same twenty films over and over again week after week (truly a reviewer after the AR’s own heart)? Who could not hang on pointy, serrated tenterhooks as Alison Graham describes, in real time, each micro-second of the cognitive process of first anticipating, then watching, then reflecting on a children’s film, e.g.

“At first I was sceptical about Pirates of the Caribbean as my aunt once told me that pirates were dirty people who stole things and also I knew someone who went to the Pirates of the Caribbean theme-ride in America and the man who operated the ride was really rude to her and it spoilt the whole trip. But when Johnny Depp turned to Keira Knightly and said ‘Arrr’ [the sound that pirates make – RT ed.] with a cheeky but charming smile on his acceptably greasy face, my preconceptions began to vanish.”

Truly, the Radio Times is a Cahiers du Cinema for short, fat English people who find the Empire Strikes Back challenging. You know: people like you and me.

Anyway, while reading the Christmas edition of said periodical this morning, I encountered a review of a festive film with the pleasingly tabloid-esque title ‘I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus’. Using only the review, I have attempted to imagine what the film might be about.

I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus

“Mother, you have defiled the marriage bed with your lewdness. Out strumpet! See how you grapple and grunt with your swarthy, hirsute lover beneath the palling face of Tinkytoes, the Christmas Tree Fairy. Look away, Tinkytoes, look away! See how the branches of that melancholy fir shed their spines with shame! Out jezebel, out! You have cuckolded my sire madam. Now his horns vie in size with those of your desperate, murder-eyed lover’s reindeer.

What care I how they do things in Lapland, mother! You are standing on an English hearth and an Englishman addresseth you (that is, I, your son, Marmaduke De Lancey Butterbury III, Marquis of Hamsbury, aged 8 and three quarters). What is this you say? “He’s not swarthy, that’s just the soot from the chimney, down which he slithered like a vile bat so that he might grasp at your bosom this Michaelmas Eve”? A pox, mother, a pox. I’ve never heard such villainy.

How shall my father greet his fellow lords? He shall be excluded from the hunt, mother. No more shall he follow on the heels of reynard and spear him through the eye with the ancestral Butterbury sword, watching the hot red life spill out of his furry eye-hole, bellowing at the forest gods, all the while cheered on by his fellows. A cuckold lead the hunt madam? They’d never allow it! Nay madam. He’s contaminated now. Contaminated by your sinful rubbings! Yea, it is true, as you point out, that Herne the Hunter sported a hearty head of horns. But then his wife wasn’t a vile drop-bloomers now was she, so it hardly applies.

Out, doxy, out! I too am besmeared by your offence. For did I not come via the same gates at which your dark, desperate paramour now hammers with his meaty cudgel? Is ‘Strumpet’s Son’ not branded into my pale marquis’s forehead? “Can anything make this go away,” asks your grim, bushy suitor? Yes. Get me a Scuba-Batman playkit with removable Batspeedoes by 6am tomorrow. Then we can talk.”

Celebrity Perfume: Christmas Round-Up

December 8, 2012 by

Christmas approacheth. Have you bought a gift for your sweetheart? No? Then why not bestow a celebrity perfume upon your best gal/gentleman lover this year? Here is a a festive guide to help you:

What Santa Claus really looks like

What Santa Claus really looks like

Angry Urine by Robbie Coltrane.

Want to smell like the Big Man o’ Glasgow? Simply rub yourself in chicken fat and the sweat of a dead hominid. Or buy Angry Urine pour homme by Robbie Coltrane. For best results, coat entire surface area of body with Angry Urine pour homme by Robbie Coltrane using a Robbie Coltrane own-brand baster, deep fry body for 4 hours then sprinkle with special brew.

Pussy Magnet by Bagpuss.

Although many celebrities are happy to put their name to a scent, few actually bother to brew it up themselves. Instead, they employ big-beaked perfumiers to devise a hot cologne that reflects their public persona in some symbolically suggestive way. Thus it is that Michael Barrymore’s perfume smells of chlorine, Jamie Oliver’s smells of packed lunch and George Osbourne’s smells of baby’s blood. Not so ‘Pussy Magnet by Bagpuss’. Eschewing the help of a perfumier, Bagpuss secretes a fragrant squirt from the sweet glands in his tight woollen anus, which is then siphoned into bottles by the Clangers. It smells of mothballs and delight. I would passionately love anything that was sprayed with ‘Pussy Magnet by Bagpuss’ – even an inexplicable monstrosity such as you.

Hitlerdaddy by Sylvia Plath.

This fragrance has the oppressive odour of an overbearing patriarch. I hate you Hitlerdaddy, with your biscuit bootheel and your krystallnacht kisses. Plus you stink.

Achieve by every X Factor winner ever

Achieve smells like water and air.

Melodique by Dog the Bounty Hunter

Surprisingly, this cologne’s aroma resembles neither a wet border collie nor justice nor sexual frustration. Instead, it evokes a fleeting memory of peaches and autumn leaves on a twilit veranda, with a topnote of regret. Enchanting.

Teen Angel

November 19, 2012 by

When I was a tiny brute, I’m pretty sure there used to be a program on TV called Teen Angel, starring Jason Priestley as a comely corpse on a mission from God. Sounds improbable, I admit. Here’s a little poem about it:

 

Teen Angel

1.

For I have stood on the yawning chasm

Between midnight and sun-up,

While the witches widdershinned about the arcade

And hexed Pac-Man

Causing his yellow balls to atrophy

And Pac-Girl to run into the spermatazoic sleeves

Of that creep from Bubble Bobble

(What do you think he spun them bubbles outta, bub?).

Now Pac-Man heaves his blighted sack about the mazes of

2-bit lonesomeness

Playing tag with my saggy-sheeted brethren.

2.

I’m a ghost too,

See,

But instead of rocking the damp eiderdown

I got this authentic-looking pleather jacket

And a pompadour.

And instead of chasing yellow balls around mazes,

I do God’s work and pout.

Sometimes the two coincide:

God works in mysterious ways.

3.

You might know me as the Disney James Dean.

Or you might know me as Teen Angel,

The pubic poltergeist.

But you can call me

Spooky Bagthorpe,

I guess.

Vertigo…

September 13, 2012 by

Problem solved

The flawed and deeply unjust British legal system needs no introduction. Suffice to say that I am required by the courts to complete no fewer than 16 “gay dates” (or “gates” as I call them) with that goblin When Hearts Turn Blue, for fouling on his lawn and deflowering his formerly virginal Yorkshire terrier Margaret.

I need not explain to the moral and goodhearted readers of the Agoraphobic Reviewer the craven injustice in this ruling, from which the only crumb of comfort to be gleaned is that I shall be holding my “no win, no fee” solicitors to their worthless word.

A clause of Lord Justice Bumbody’s sentencing states that WHTB may call in these “gates” at a moment’s notice. Thus it came to pass that on Tuesday gone, he called me via his usual intermediary (his great aunt) summoning me to the St Shrubbery Moving Picture House and Hall of Ill-repute with the intention of watching the latest summer blockbuster, Vertigo.

I am blessed with the gift of excellent foresight (I once had the sense to grow limbs and a penis a mere eight months before I was called upon to be born) and – though I had not foreseen this particular call – within a flash it was clear that I would be requested to pen a review of the new flick for the AR. Thanks to this almost superhuman prescience  I was able to imagine the entire content of the film in as few as 7 seconds. It is this vision that I hereby lay before you, as told to WHTB’s great aunt, who thoughtfully transcribed it on her portable typewriter, seeing fit to remove the majority of the swears.

Vertigo is a very singular film about a very singular man. So singular, in fact, is he, that he is in want of a wife. A girlfriend we cannot say, for he seems to have one of those – and a fine one at that – though her role seems to be that of the compound noun in its purest sense, to whit a friend who is a girl. She may very well be his social worker or carer, it is hard to understand her clipped and clean American accent, so different is it from the theatrical Noo Yoik drawl and Vegas bawl that the Shakespearean greats of television have accustomed us to.

Vertigo is a misleading title, referring obliquely as it does to the principal character’s fear of the words “verb to go”. The fact that the aforementioned girlfriend has vertiginous pink passion blancmanges is purely a diverting coincidence – or perhaps one of the many tricks deployed by director Alfred Hitchcock to throw the viewer off the scent that the picture makes no sense.  Still, who cares when with a pair of baby’s dinners like that in supporting roles the film is a shoe-in for an award.

Having established that the name is inappropriate, it is worth noting that a more fitting title would be I Tried To Wash Your Hair a Little – A Rapey Tale.  The story follows the exploits of Rowdy Roddy Peeper James Stewart as he scurries about generally disregarding society’s norms. This too is all by-the-by since, as WHTB remarked mid-film, one is incapable of listening to Stewart act his acting without hearing him say “It’s in Bill’s house and Fred’s house”. This is of a course a reference to a line in Stewart’s most famous work, the blue movie Jimmy Stewie Puts His Penis In People’s Houses and the only other film WHTB has ever seen. Indeed he insisted we re-watch this movie the other night in place of Vertigo which, of course, I have still not seen but which I hereby give two vertiginous funbags.

Vertigo has already been reviewed on the Agoraphobic Reviewer by editor in chief, John Le Baptiste. But to distract you from this, here is trad-jazz classic Tubthumping (on the theme of vertigo), as performed by its original writer, to play us out…

Alien

September 4, 2012 by

Accepting then that the face-huggers embody: that is, fembody, male fears re: the re-integration of the phallo-cervical matrix – to wit, the atavistic retreat of the male and female genitals into an androgynous pre-natal state – and, moreover, that the product of this reunion of penis and vagina is not the genial, inert and asexual Sakishantu-type (translation: Mr Womb) popularised by the lyrics of the Geisha-Rock movement – but rather a voracious scuttling pair of labia wielding a retractable cock – accepting this, then, we can begin to read Alien as a cousin germain of the Succubus of European myth, Circe in The Odyssey and The Witch from Simon and The Witch. Of course, the casting of a female in the role of Ripley reminds us that the fear of the arachnoid pussy-penis is not an exclusively male fear. Yet it is women who go scuttling around and making unreasonable sexual demands of men so they have no right to complain.

Take for instance it should be added yesterday my wife of thirty-seven years leaped at me pelvis-first and attempted to form a tight seal around my mouth with her pudendum, evidently with the hope of using me as a host for her young. I endeavoured to struggle but years of scholarly seclusion have atrophied my body. Plus the musculature of her legs is unusually well-developed (it was this lower-body strength that allowed her to launch herself from the settee pelvis-first) so she encountered little difficulty in neutralising my arms and affixing herself to my mouth. “Phase 1 is initiated” she said. “Beginning the seeding process.” This continued for roughly 12 hours. I couldn’t be sure of course because my NHS spectacles had been dislodged from my upper facial area by a high-impact vaginal collision so I couldn’t check my watch.

A few days later my wife of thirty-seven years noted with irritation and disappointment that “the seed appeared not to have taken hold”. Shortly after she attempted once again to latch her pelvis on to my face. This time I was ready, however. I ducked, quick as a biscuit, causing her to sail through the living room, across the threshold of the hall and off to some point that I was subsequently unable to ascertain. I then locked the door and phoned the authorities. Thankfully, they picked her up before she could cause any real damage, and I was able to go back to writing earnest critical explications of films intended for children.

Bill Paxton ruminates about the phallo-cervical matrix in Aliens.

The Olympics

July 24, 2012 by

God I love films and TV shows about sport. Here’s a review of the first of an exciting trilogy of dystopian fantasy films, called ‘The Olympics’:

Geoffrey Capes: Uber-Olympian

From the lotus-leafed valleys of the East they came. And from the canyons and frontiers of the West, they came too. And from the boiling plains of the South they also came. All four winds brought them here – the spear-lords, the Fosbury floppers, the velocipede operators, the swinging folk – all came to the ancient burgh of Londinium to do battle.

Ultimately only one man, or woman, would be left amid a field of underachieving cadavers. Some would die of dehydration. Some would perish between the pincers of the long-jump sandpit scorpions. Most would be executed by the Metropolitan Police, on suspicion of possessing firearms. Or for not doing their best. Or for sport.

The hero of The Olympics is a handsome peasant girl by the name of Catnip Humblepudding. Young Catnip has only one dream (‘money for old rope’ said Dr Fritz Jungun, the child psychoanalyst, as he took his fee from Catnip’s mother and browsed EBay for some vintage double-braid). Yes, young Catnip Humblepudding has only one dream. And that is to be worthy of the flag that adorns biscuit wrappers, tubs of butter, certain brands of male grooming product, the rotting bunting that hangs menacingly outside council estate pubs and bottles of Fairy Liquid. Yes, the Union Jack. That symbol of resilience. That image of a proud people.

That flag, that can also be found on tins of baked beans, cartons of minced cow, birth control items, the swimming trunks of the obese, in the small white claws of classical music fans, on the upper arms of people who live in prison, in the fading memory banks of Tim Henman, on cans of lager, hairspray bottles, pencil cases, cigarette lighters, wet towels, dry towels and the stiffened towels that holiday makers forget to take home from Spanish holiday resorts. Yes, that flag, which forgives all sins, accepts all colours, creeds and persuasions, and which stands between the good people of Britain and the horror of everywhere else. That majestic flag, in which will come considerately giftwrapped the collateral damage of tomorrow.

Yes, young Catnip Humblepudding has only one dream, and that is to be worthy of the Union Jack.

While Catnip goes about her athletic business, the camera pans outward to take in the audience. From a gilt–edged spectator’s box, the doughty emperor of Londinium looks down upon the games with a piercing stare reminiscent of Big Brother. Not the iron-moustached tyrant of George Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four, it should be added. Rather, your actual big brother circa his 15th birthday. Your fifteen-year old brother: the big-boned pustuloid who named his goldfish ‘Madame Speaker’ and claimed that girls were frivolous, while sweatily gripping Aunt Penelope’s copy of Frumpy Diversions and tugging agitatedly at his velcro fly (after the last entanglement, Mother wouldn’t allow a metal zipper within five metres of Boris’s johnson) in a manner that suggested otherwise. Emperor Boris looks down upon the carnage like a fat unlovely boy and sees that it is good.

In the course of The Olympics, Catnip finds herself assailed on all sides by the meaty boys and girls from other, hostile nation states. While performing the decathlon, she hides in a tree. Thankfully, some respite comes when her attackers are eaten by angry metal bees, which emerge from beneath the hurdles humming and ringing like apine mobile phones.  “There is a call for you on line 1” the bees almost seem to say, “And it’s Death!”

At the end of the film, Catnip has triumphed over all of the opposition and stands triumphantly, brandishing her medal in the sunlight. But wait! None of it was real! It was all a simulation. Or a dream. That’s it! A wild feverish dream in the brain of an over-worked junior advertising executive. ‘Heck!’ he exclaims as he leaps from his bed, ‘how are we going to sell certain brands of male grooming product now!’

In conclusion, this film celebrates all that is great about being British: to wit, state-sanctioned murder, biscuits and dreams with no basis in reality. I love it. 10 out of 10.

John Le Baptiste reviews the Fizzy Pops of yesteryear

July 20, 2012 by

In this post, I have decided to branch out a little bit. Instead of reviewing films I haven’t seen, I’m going to review some wines. Except I’m a teetotaller. So, instead of reviewing wines I’m going to review some old-fashioned fizzy pops. Before I do that though, I should probably go back to when it all started. You know: the beginning…

The international language of carbonated delight needs no translation.

 

Last year, when the dark was closing in, the fatty dollops were making my life a misery. Whenever it rained they would come pouring in through the catflap and slap about on the floor, leaving a sticky residue that gummed together the strands of shagpile something cruel. It was getting hard to relax. So I moved house.

Since moving, I have found my new neighbourhood to be a bonny one. The trees dance in the febrezed bourgeois breeze and the neighbours all have dogs called things like ‘Mr Jenkinson’ and ‘Brightsnout’. No-one challenges me to a knife-fight, even in jest, as such things are frowned upon here. It is a good spot to call home.

A day or two after moving in I discovered an intriguing shop on the corner of my street. It is a paradoxical place. Let me explain how. The proprietors are a religious couple. I know this because the husband has a special hat. Yet the top shelf of the newspaper section contains the most comprehensive selection of pornography magazines I have ever seen – an achievement not to be neighed at in this age of saucy jpegs and filthy peekvids. The magazines are arranged alphabetically, from ‘Accentuated Clefts’ to ‘Zipper Mishaps’. Besides vagina-themed periodicals, the shop also sells biro pens, ‘With Deepest Sympathy’ cards, baked beans, sponges, novelty make-up and some other stuff in the back-room that I have thus far been too frightened to look directly at.

But the most exciting items in the whole shop are undoubtedly its numerous retro fizzy pops. They are arrayed boldly and garishly in the refrigerator like an insane blind robot’s idea of what a rainbow might look like.  Since that first day when I discovered the shop, I have sampled every one of those pungent, sugary brews. Some of them are delicious. Some of them are disgusting, like Expendables 2. Here is a short yet instructive guide to retro-fizzy pops.

Tizer: This tipple, as I have had cause to remark elsewhere, tastes like lemonade mixed with the blood of Barry Chuckle. It is a cheerful savant of a drink. I would probably have a glass of this with a Scotch Egg and some alphabet letters.

Dandelion and Burdock: D&B is, in essence, a hipster’s version of Vimto. When quaffing this jazzy potation, try saying something ironic. It will improve your experience of the drink tenfold. D&B is probably my favourite retro fizzy pop. But then I would say that, because I am cooler than Coolio, the former rap star who now works in a coathanger factory.

Ginger Beer: A mouthful of this formula hits the gullet like a bracing, coruscating thump in the giblets. It is Banjo Chutney’s favourite fizzy pop, and he usually brings me a tin of it when he comes round to my house to help me kill the fatty dollops. He was first inspired to try Ginger Beer when he learned that it was the Famous Five’s potable of choice. That, incidentally, is also why he ended up becoming a professional catcher of smugglers.

Apologies, Fizzy-Pop fans. My Limeade review will have to wait. I have started passing luminous green fluid. I’ll post a sequel when I get out of hospital.

Sling Blade

July 14, 2012 by

Little Billy Bob Thornton wasn’t always this way. No sir. Once he was a superhero. That’s right – a superhero called ‘Sling Blade’.

So called because he had a penchant for throwing razor blades at the folk around town. And that’s how our story begins.

“Mmm-hrrrm,” grunts Sling Blade, placidly admiring his plate of chips and mustard.

Chips and mustard is uncommon in them thar parts. The townsfolk accuse him of witchery.

Sling Blade gets The Fear. He transmutes, growing in size until he dwarfs even the tallest cedar.

Aglow with radioactive energy, he uses a pair of parked pickup trucks as roller skates and proceeds to mow down the townsfolk. He’s all aplump with murder-glee.

Radcliffe P. Algernon Esq., a young orphan the meta-human has befriended, convinces Billy Bob to desist.

“There’s trouble at the old Fuley ranch!”

Sling Blade returns to normal size and rushes to the ranch. Young Radcliffe catches up to him around about three fifty three pee em.

Sling Blade's 'come see' moment

He din’t right know what to make of what’n he’d saw up in them woods. Fer t’were ol’ Billy Bob, that’s sure ’nuff. But what were in that old place, none could tell. And none would never speak of it again.

Legend

June 30, 2012 by

Who has seen ‘Legend’ starring Tim Curry and Tom Cruise? Not I, sir. Here is my review of it:

Satan peels on his mink leggings. Mmmmmm, they glide so smoothly and warmly over his goaty legs that he lets forth a luxurious baritone sigh. It is a sigh so fruity and intimate in pitch that Beelzebub blushes a shade of red hitherto unseen in the Chambers of Pandemonium. Mmmmmmmm. ‘Is this what it feels like to be a baby sheep?’ Satan asks.

Next, Satan moves over to his infernal dressing table, wherein he lustily eyes a hearty smorgasbord of puffs, powders, pomades and potions with which to beautify his crow-footed face. Yes, Satan is nearing the fag-end of early middle age, but he makes the best of it. A lick of mascara here, a bonk of concealer there, and Satan is a new angel. Everyone is always going on about how nice he looked before he fell. But even they have to admit, the old love isn’t doing too badly now. After a delicate swig of Lambrini and a bracing snort of blow, Satan is hot to trot!

Tom Cruise plays a rustic swain who stretches his listless length at undrentide under the cooling switches of a whistling willow. “Ah me, ah my, whither goeth my pretty maid?” he laments. A robin redbreast replies “Hark ye Young Marster Cruise, your love sporteth with the fauns of the forest”. “Crivens” exclaims Cruise, “my love is like unto the flower that swivels towards every yellow face it mistakes for the sun”. “Racist” comments the robin, but Cruise pretends he has not heard, and sets off in search of his wanton shepherdess.

On his way to rescue his love, Cruise encounters Satan, hanging fresh and loose at the crossroads.

Who are you?” enquires Cruise, with frightened curiosity.

I am the Deveeeell” says Satan, with gusto.

Who?” replies Cruise

The Devil” says Satan, with less gusto.

What you will” says Cruise “I like your leggings

Thank you” blushes Satan “they’re mink

What is mink?”

It is fluffy and magical” replies Satan, “and I will give you a mink waistcoat all of your own if you sell me your delicious, plump soul’.

Readers can imagine what happens next. In case they can’t, here is a quick summary:

Satan and Tom Cruise start a trad jazz band

While walking past a telescope Cruise discovers a comet heading straight for earth

Satan goes on a chat show and falls asleep

Brian Blessed rolls up on a foaming steed and shouts “What news Brave Fellows?”

The gang are finally reunited for one last job

The report is submitted on time

Your boss congratulates you on a job well done and allows you to have 45 minutes free time in the play area.

FINIS.

The Queen – a Diamond Jubilee Special!

June 2, 2012 by

Happy Jubilee fellow agoraphobes! Here’s a picture of HMS QEII drawn by the historian, Lord David Starkey of Cheapside, which I present to you under the spurious premise that it somehow constitutes a review of ‘The Queen’, a Stephen Frears film released in 2006. Obviously it isn’t a review, nor does it have anything to do with the film, but what’s it to you? And while we’re on the subject, what are you supposed to be, some kind of beastly roundhead or something?

The Story of Cinema, Part 1: An Agoraphobic Reviewer 3-year Anniversary Special

May 20, 2012 by

The Hollywood ideal of beauty has changed dramatically in the last 100 years

Tomorrow marks the third anniversary of the birth of the Agoraphobic Reviewer. What better way to celebrate than to begin an epic history of cinema, ranging from the nineteenth century to the present day. And who better to narrate such a history than I, John Le Baptiste, a man who has never seen a single film:

PART 1: THE ROOTS OF CINEMA

The first film ever shown in public was projected on to the wall of a Paris basement in 1870-8 (or thereabouts). Featuring a lithe gentleman in a washing bonnet hanging over the English Channel from the side of a hot air balloon’s basket, wiggling his little Gallic legs and appearing to shout  ‘mere’, ‘merde’ or ‘mer’, this film established the blueprint for everything that would follow. Indeed, when any film of the last 150 years (e.g. Vertigo, Easy Rider, The Rush Hour Trilogy) is boiled down to its core, what remains except a little wiggly man in a perilous situation calling for his mother, shouting about faeces  or exclaiming that he can see the sea?

(As a footnote, the Le Baptiste family had a holiday tradition involving the spotting of the sea. Basically, whichever family member first saw the ocean from the car window, and then exclaimed ‘I can see the sea’, was rewarded with 1 pound sterling from the Le Baptiste paterfamilias. I have long suspected that this contest would make for a great film).

In general, the visual quality of the early films was very poor. This is because the first movie cameras were made out of wishes and were powered by the radioactive bones of Marie Curie. On the whole, however, this blurriness and fuzziness was a mercy, since most films just involved dogs jumping through hoops, women dancing, dogs dancing, women jumping through hoops and/or antisemitism. As an added affront to the refined sensibilities of the fin-de-siecle viewer, all dialogue was conveyed by means of post-it notes stuck to the lens of the camera at inopportune moments. What a crock!

IN THE NEXT INSTALLMENT: HOLLYWOOD, THE STUDIO SYSTEM AND ‘THE TALKIES’.

Logan’s Run – An Old Rope 30th Birthday Tribute Review

April 28, 2012 by

All good things must come to an end. But all bad things must come to an end too. And so it is, as we approach the thirtieth birthday of one of cyberspace’s most prolific, profligate and profusively-bearded bloggers, that we wave goodbye to Old Rope, and wish him a short, efficient and hygienic death.

Our society is a simple one, built on immutable truths and sturdy logic. Who among us would sincerely suggest that the life of a 30-year old is as productive or as valuable as that of a 21-year old or even a 28-year old? No-one (except for that gentleman there with the seditious moustache. Security: please detain the Hercules Poirot lookalike for re-education). That’s right, no-one. With the commencement of an individual’s fourth decade comes decreptitude, dependency and sensible pullovers. And so it is, that our simple rational society has decreed that there is no place more fitting for those aged 30 and over than the death-pod.

We take no pleasure at all in euthanizing the crow-footed and the bepaunched. Logic, not desire, demands that we do so. Except in the case of Old Rope, who, I think we can all agree, most heartedly asks for it.

But before we deposit his wrinkled, brown, homunculus body into the death-pod like a breached teabag, let us tarry a while and survey the life of this hirsute reprobate.

We first became aware of the existence of Old Rope when we: that is, I, the evergreen and perma-youthful John Le Baptiste, moved to the north-western wilds of Airstrip One. Even amid the unruly, rug-haired roustabouts of that place, Old Rope stood out as an enemy to decency and a nuisance to any high-minded, high-waisted citizen who crossed his path. Delicate and bird-like of limb, he hopped into my consciousness like a tiny punk goldthrush, chirruping his countercultural cantatas and flapping his little wings to a 3-chord backing. At that time there were many popular musical acts preaching their messages of irresponsibility and scruffy sartorial values. Their names have sunk deservedly into oblivion, but a few linger still in the neural spam box: The Dirties, The Naughty Club, Facking Rotters, The Earnests, The Little Lenins, Heil Humbert Humbert, Bad Attitudez. Yet the most pernicious of all of these combos was Fuzz-Wah, of which Old Rope was the frontman or, as he styled himself, the frontbum-man, sporting, as he did, a prosthetic pudendum and inviting, as he did, members of the audience to ‘return to the womb’ via his ersatz birth-canal.

Since those days, Old Rope has spread his seditious seeds to far-flung corners of the globe, partly through his blog, and partly through his own horrifically-ageing person.

And although Old Rope represents, in many ways, the nadir of everything that humanity is or could be, and although he is now 30 years old and suitable only for the death-pod, I would like to wish him a belated happy birthday and, assuming he survives the euthanisation process, invite him to join me for a moderately-priced bowl of nutrient-paste at the soup kitchen of his choosing this Monday evening.

Battle Royale

April 11, 2012 by

I watched Battle Royale the other day. Then I wrote a little poem to my local M.P. Then I woke up in a junkyard surrounded by cat skulls and empty Sunny Delight bottles. But that’s another story. Did I say I wrote a little poem? Well I didn’t, that was a lie. But if I had written a poem, here’s how it would have gone:

1.

Their posture is WEAK

Their handwriting is FLAWED.

O what will become of today’s youth?

When the hem of a boy’s trouser leg

Hangs below his ankles

Great shame is visited upon

His father and his mother.

My daughter lost her pencil case.

Great dishonour must follow.

2.

O parents! O progenitors!

O thin-lipped fathers

And tiny-hooved mothers!

Look at the pigs you popped out

Of your slack reproductive organs!

Are you not scandalised?

3.

I think the solution is pretty self-evident

4.

Battle Royale

5.

Billy Bunter, the Fat Owl of Greyfriars School

Was the first into the lists:

A symbol of the decadence of the west

Or, alternatively,

A proto-Harry Potter

But rounder

And a muggle.

6.

Yaroo. You fellows.

And Oooooh

He cried.

I’m fashed. Have you got any jam?

He added as they chopped at his trunk

With little Japanese knives.

7.

Bunter was the first of the gang to die.

Takiki and Naruto followed hot

On his plump and well-heeled trot

-ters

8.

Their pickled heads now sit

In the Trophy Cabinet of Michael Gove

To remind him of the sacred duty of his calling.

His strokes them sometimes,

Paternally.

I shall be the victor of Battle Royale and there shall be no tuck for you Lord Teddington.

RoboCop

March 28, 2012 by

With a big budget remake due to hit the big screens in a big way next year, now is the perfect time to take an ill-informed retrospective squint at Paul Verhoeven’s original.

PC Jim Murphy is a maverick (non-robo) cop on the edge, who plays by his own rules and lives by his own law. He plays hard and drinks fast – and he loves even harder and/or faster. He walks the line between right and wrong but he always gets his man and he lives by his own code – and it’s a very special type of justice indeed. He doesn’t always go by the book but he gets the job done, whether the bosses like it or not, and if they don’t like it… well, that’s their problem. He’s also getting too old for this shit.

After being brutally twatted by drug dealers, Murphy is rebooted by (non-robo) scientists as part of a bleeding-edge information technology project, led by a collaborative group of inter-disciplinary innovators. Essentially, they turn him off and on again. This is great news for Murphy, as his files had become corrupted.

Resurrected as the mechanoid death-dispensing bullet-shitter, RoboCop, Murphy proceeds to scour the sins from the futuristic streets of a bleak, neo-Gothic Detroit.

“ERROR X1R44, PUNK!!”, he bleeps, throttling a pimp. “DO YOU WANT TO SEND ERROR REPORT?!”

Murphy’s (non-robo) bosses aren’t happy. Doors are slammed, paper cups of coffee are thrown at walls, and brows are furrowed. An investigation is launched.

Robo-Murphy meets with his (non-robo) union rep.

“It doesn’t look good, Murphy,” says the bespectacled humanoid union man. “Three counts of cyber-violence and it’s only Tuesday. And you need to oil your knees – they’re too squeaky. No-one can concentrate on their work when you’re walking down the corridor.”

Murphy jerks up from his seat, upturning the desk in the process.

“RAM DUMP!! DEFRAG MAIN DRIVE?!”

He exits and journeys to the land of Oz in search of a heart, but finds only corruption, corporate greed and  bureaucracy.

RoboCop

Rage (Again) The Machine - Murphy struggles with the paradox of having human emotions and a brain made of spreadsheets.

The film ends with a point of view shot of Murphy suffering the dreaded ‘blue screen of death’, kicking spasmodically and gurgling a pastey, milkish gloop from his face-holes.

“It’s probably for the best. The world just wasn’t ready for him,” says a passing (non-robo) janitor, sweeping away the shattered dreams of a broken society.

An interesting film, but one marred by typically Verhoeven-esque scenes of rancid copulation between the machine-like Murphy and the soft, squishy (non-robo) lollipop lady, Rita.

I give this film 5 megs out of 10. BZZZZTTT!!

The Lost Boys

March 3, 2012 by

Being the sort of elitist snob who cares not a jot for mainstream mass media, I’ve never seen Joel Schumacher’s classic ’80s comedy horror The Lost Boys. Thus, I set out about reviewing it, in order that we can all move on and get over ourselves. Forthwith and anon.

Starring the glamorous media darlings of the decade, Paul and Barry Chuckle, Schumacher’s update of the sexy vampire myth was an instant hit with The Kids, who consumed unprecedented quantities of popped corn at the box office. The resulting food crisis in Central America led to mass starvation and three civil wars – and, ultimately, the dissolution of the state of Cuecas Novas.

Still, The Kids were happy. For now.

Or were they? (Yes, they were)

'The Kids'. But are they all right?

Controversially, the Brothers Chuckle didn’t play on-screen brothers – in a move deemed an act of sheer vandalism, Schumacher cast Barry Chuckle in the role of ‘Angsty Teen Guy #1′, and Paul Chuckle as ‘Edgy Vampire Rebel Awesome Dude #1′. Setting the sizzling siblings against each other, Schumacher had orchestrated a chemistry so nauseatingly smarmy that, for the next six years, only he could abide to be in the same room as himself.

Most notably, the scene in which Paul proffers Barry yesterday’s takeaway for a snack is oft heralded as a masterpiece of mise-en-scene, juxtaposing Paul’s chicken tikka masala with Barry’s lamb dopiaza and half-rice-half-chips.

“You’re eating maggots, Barry. Those are maggots,” Paul chides, gloatingly scoffing his tikka masala wrapped in a stale slice of paratha. Barry looks down to find his half-rice is in fact all-maggots.

Barry casts his spoiled sustenance aside in disgust.

“Gah! By ‘eck, Paul! You’re right – they’re chuffin’ maggots!”

Paul squirms and smarms in his seat, relishing the moment as he chomps gleefully.

“Heh heh, you ha’porth,” he quips, “It’s just rice.”

Barry looks at his ruined dinner on the floor.

“Crikey,” he replies, “You’re not wrong, Paul. It is just rice after all!”

The scene culminates in a perilous moped race along the coast of Skegness, at the end of which Paul is horrifically injured after he crashes his moped while trying to avoid some sheep.

One of the evil pair's victims. Note how every ounce of flesh has been stripped from the bones of this poor soul.

It’s impossible to talk about The Lost Boys without mentioning the parade of A-list cameo performances. Frank Carson is unconquerable as ‘Grampaw’, peppering his performance with obscene gestures and an extended dance routine. Rick Moranis and Chachi Arcola are indomitable as ‘The Frog Boys’, a duo so unstoppable that if you were passing them in a corridor you would step aside to let them past without a second thought. Or even a first thought.

Onto the soundtrack then. Opening with ‘Locofoco Motherfucker’ by Fleshies, it goes downhill from there, like a big sweaty meatball, fashioned from chopped innards for some insignificant country fayre, ceremoniously rolled down a hill and followed inanely by a horde of bumbling, tumbling oafs, bent on getting their hairy chops in the local rag.

Utter piffle.

Rampart

February 25, 2012 by

Woody Harrelson and Sigourney Weaver survey their 'stash' in Rampart

As a keen philatelist, as a vegan and as a male who claims to experience menstruation-sympathy cramps, I could identify strongly with Woody Harrelson’s character, Graham, in Rampart. In this film, Harrelson plays that rarest of creatures: a cop who is also a quiet man of conscience and a radical thinker. Graham enjoys nut roasts and can put forward convincing arguments for and against polyamorousness. He never lets his work responsibilities get in the way of his duties as a dweller of mother earth. In one taut scene, for example, Graham’s corrupt boss instructs him to beat up a suspect and steal his drugs. Graham, like a bearded vicar in jeans, replies that he would love to, but that he has to go and help some disadvantaged children sew turnip seeds on an inner-city allotment.

Graham once wrote a song about a cricket called ‘Mr Noisy Knees’.

His teacher said it showed real promise.

Harrelson is chiefly famous for his turn as ‘Dr Koulikas’ in Cheers. Before Harrelson joined Cheers, most episodes consisted of a pickled fatsack called Norm flirting with an uncomely postman, called Stan or Chief or something like that. It was pretty grim stuff, even by the standards of the alcoholic self-haters who constituted its target demographic. But as Koulikas, a barman living a secret life as a disgraced Greek doctor, doling out backstreet abortions like peanuts or pork scratchings in the tap room of the pub, Harrelson brought a tingling intensity to an otherwise insipid sitcom.

Now Harrelson can put Cheers behind him. His performance in Rampart will go down in cinematic history. Harrelson, as Graham, is an example to males everywhere. He shows us that we don’t have to punch women in their reproductive organs in order to earn the respect of our fellow men. We don’t have to eat meat or spread our seed far and wide like a defective piece of farming machinery. We can be sensitive and thoughtful. We can eschew the flesh of fowl and beast, and live instead on a hearty selection of lentil dishes and non-dairy quiche. At least I assume that’s what Rampart is all about. I wouldn’t know, of course. I haven’t seen it.

The Last Waltz

January 20, 2012 by

Recently, I didn’t watch ‘The Last Waltz’, a documentary about The Band’s last ever concert at the end of the 1970s. Here is my review:

After two hard decades on the road, Bob Dylan’s old backing band, ‘The Band’, decided to call it a day. After all, one can only spend so long on a single municipal thoroughfare. In order to mark the occasion, the pin-sized director Martin Scorcese agreed to film it. Previously, Scorcese had cut his chops making entertaining fictional films, including ‘Taxi, ‘Taxi 2’ and ‘The King of Comedy and I’. But in ‘The Last Waltz’ he threw away all of the childish flim-flam of fiction and dedicated himself to recording the hard, gritty reality of five hairy men singing songs about obese women called ‘Fanny’.

The concert begins with Ronnie ‘the Hawk’ Hawkins. Ronnie resembles a hawk in much the same way that that Martin Sheen resembles a housemartin, i.e. not at all. Even so, he has dressed for the occasion, and swoops onto the stage via a zip-line, sporting a huge prosthetic beak and devouring live sparrows by the bucketload. The only way that the Band can get him to stay still and sing is by means of a vision-obscuring hood. While crooning he perches on the wrist of the drummer, Levon Helm.

Confusingly, Helm has the smile of a nice old grampaw and the eyes of Charlie Manson.

Next up is Van Morrison, the Gospel-Pig: O he of swinish pus and souly, squealy yelp. His tight teddy-bear bod is wrapped in purple velvet pyjamas. While the boys excrete a wet dollop of funk, Van wiggles his curly tail at them. “Squee” he says, “squee”. Methinks this little piggy has had quite enough white nose-swill for one evening.

After Van has bounced off the stage like a noisy ball of bacon, his place is filled by the maiden aunt of folk-rock, Boney Joni Mitchell. Her bearded nephews strike up a shuffle and each vies to supersede the others in her affections. “Look at me, Aunt Joni” says Richard Manuel, “I can play real neat. Now can I have some Victoria Sponge”. “Nay, Aunty” shouts Rick Danko, “don’t give that beastly Richard any sponge, for he is a naughty boy. Give it to me, for I have said my prayers and combed my beard. I am a good boy.’

Then cometh Eric Clapton, the dapper CEO of blues. Clapton does a little powerpoint presentation about why he’s such a good guitarist. Before exiting, he gives all of his employees a bonus and then takes a vacation in the South Sea Islands.

Throughout the concert Robbie Robertson, the guitarist of The Band, struggles manfully to contain his rapidly-multiplying teeth within his mouth. Meanwhile, Garth Hudson, a brainy bear with a tiny face, copulates with his moog.

Among the other guests is Neil Diamond, whose name evokes an angry emperor ordering a precious stone to prostrate itself before his majestic splendidness. Diamond’s music evokes stomach cramps and sadness.

Finally, just as the concert is coming to a close, a strange little man runs onstage and commandeers the microphone. He bellows atonally and snickers, as if parodying the other guests. Strangely, no-one tries to remove him from the stage. Instead, everyone comes back on stage and sings along, embarrassedly. The evening is ruined. The Band sigh, shave their beards and exit the stage. Scorcese’s camera zooms in on a clump of hair as it falls from Manuel’s cheek.

Is it not true, my friends, that the careers of rock stars end not with a bang, but with a whisker.

 

Jaws

November 27, 2011 by

Hollywood teaches us one thing, and that is not to stick cotton buds in our ears. But if it teaches us two things, it is surely that every killer, no matter how far beyond redemption, was once a reasonable and sensitive person who was driven to murder by the cruelty of other humans. If Speilberg’s serial killer biopic, Jaws, is to be believed, the same is true of sharks:

Amadeus

September 17, 2011 by

Amadeus is sort of a film about the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but one that uses his middle name instead of his forename or surname, like a freshman undergraduate who is trying out something a bit different for a change, but lacks the courage to adopt a new name altogether (such as Pee-Wee, Robo-Muffin, or Daniel).

Everyone knows Mozart was a young Austrian with a gift for the ladies and a taste for potted beef. But what else is there to know? Only the following:

Mozart flops up, out and onto the podium, smacks the pianissimo bang across its snout (a pert al pugno), and hoists a petard (his own) just to prove that he can. He is cocksure. Real cocksure. Yes, there’s no denying it. Mozart is exceedingly sure of his cock, like a gynaecologist who won’t take no for an answer. This is an unorthodox entry but the judges cannot deny that he has something special. For Mozart, you see, has supped the buttercup’s sap of musical inspiration. Jeez, has he supped. You can practically see the yellow snot coming out of his eye cracks.

Mozart squeezes the far end of the piano with a pronged pincer. It makes a sound no-one has ever heard before. As a direct result, a Pope dies. But a new Pope, taller, sleeker and faster, rises to take his place. Mozart does a teasing tinkle on the other side of the piano – just a little flirtatious finger-twizzle for the ladies. They like that kind of stuff, the ladies. Next he comes on hard and piratical in the middle of the keyboard, pump, pump, pump, like a pneumatic Nordic loveboy massaging a sentient German blob. The symphony has begun in earnest now. A billion notes leave Mozart’s ten fingers at once. His thumb alone hammers out enough symphony in a minute to feed the population of Luxembourg for a week.

 Think about that for a moment. No, don’t think about that. You think too much. That’s your problem. One of your problems anyway. Don’t think. Give yourself up. Throw yourself athwart the thunderous plinkety-plonk of unadulterated symphonitude. Climb among the stars like a galactic dwarf. Plunge into the amniotic fluid of musical rebirth. Dance. That’s right, do a dance. Not a big one. Just a little one. Do a little dance. And make love. Not loads of love. Just a love. A little love. Make a little love.

GET

DOWN

TONIGHT!

You have your instructions. Now get to it.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

September 2, 2011 by

I’ve not seen the new Planet of the Apes film, but I heard a brief synopsis the other day and it sounds quite sad. It reminded me of Albert Camus’ The Outsider and inspired me to write a short story.

My name's not Jim and who you calling a pansy?

Cocker of snooks

He cocked a snook and yucked a yuck. He bounced in and flounced off. He was full of piss and vinegar. They took him with a pinch of salt and said he had a chip on his shoulder.

They smirked when he got irked and called him a berk. He dug deep and came off shallow. His field of dreams was fallow.

They played ideas tennis and he was the ball-boy. They jammed freeform while he played chopsticks. He fell from grace and lost face. They put him in his place.

And now he’s one of them.

Spy Kids 4D

September 1, 2011 by

 

 

Hairy Spy Kids are Watching You!

Spy Kids 4D is an espionage thriller for our post-Wikileaks times. Starring the 2-year old Timberlake DuFont as Binky, an old-school (spy code for pre-school) CIA agent, and the 2-and-three-quarters -year old Princess Snortums as Ruthy, his fast-talking, incontinent partner, it offers us a terrifying opportunity to listen in to the baby monitor of modern-day spydom. Here is a little poem about it.

Peppa Pig Colouring Books

(Ah! How I remember delicately

Dragging a stubby pink crayon

 Across the inky borders of

Peppa’s regal concave snout

Back before it all got out of hand),

Donkeys, ice cream,

Hopscotch, dolls

-That shit doesn’t cut it anymore.

These days you ain’t nobody

In the nursery

Unless you can hold your own

In the high-stakes game of

International espionage.

Binky surveilled that fat man

That fat man, you know him,

That fat man with a funny broken mouth

And the dogs and the car

That goes ‘zoooom’

Passing a mysterious piece of paper

To the newsagent.

24 hours later he was being waterboarded

In an unspecified former-Eastern Bloc state.

Watch what you pass to newsagents.

That’s all I’m saying.

The kids are watching.

The Dark Knight Rises – exclusive photos!!!

August 15, 2011 by

Anyone with a basic awareness of the existence of the internet will be conscious this week of one thing and one thing only. The Nolan-Batman-Franchise Leviathan has awoken from its 3-year slumber. And it’s horny as hell. We, the public, are but trembly Jonahs. We shall all be swallowed by an irresistible mountain of publicity blubber (blublicity) and transported beneath a boiling sea of hype, flee as we might. We’ve seen the trailers, the teasers, the titillators, the spoilers, the limited edition tie-in Doilies. Now, friends, see the new batch of exclusive Dark Knight Rises photos:

Pic 1:

Batman and Bane face off, with devastating consequences!

Pic 2:

Batman upbraids a scoundrel, while Alfred zips past, Chagall-style

Pic 3:

Batman visits a convalescent Commissioner Gordon in hospital

Superheroes and Advertisements

May 14, 2011 by

 

Half-Price Sale on Dumplings at M&S

Advertising and comic-book superheroes have always gone hand in hand. But imagine what the advertising would look like in a world populated exclusively by superheroes. You know, like the one in that film “Superworld”. Now imagine you are travelling down a highway in Superworld, looking at all of the billboards, like a freckle-cheeked, travel-sick little boy in small blue shorts, peering out of the back window of his parents’ car, while they reproach each other monstrously in the front seats. Here is what you, i.e. poor little freckle-cheeks, might see:

A dogfood billboard advertisement. Thor has rabbit’s liver on his Nordic chin. “If it’s good enough for a god it’s good enough for your dog”.

This confuses the dyslexic superheroes.

Another billboard. The X-Men are in their underwear. Professor X kicks back in a chrome bathchair, aiming his jockstrap at the viewer, giving the psychic come-on to the brief-buying demographic.

Another billboard. Superman sucks on a red-Kryptonite cigarette, letting the misty vapours of meteor-induced moral ambivalence weasel up and all around his curious kiss-curl, like a sexy, curly weasel.

‘Wonder-Woman says “Drink mead from the teat of the sun”’

‘The Fantastic Four relax with a “Round-Eyes Plump-Crust Pizza Oval”’

‘Daredevil dares to use “No-Blobs Happy Tiles Roof Sealant”. Do you?’

The Homilies of John Travolta

April 20, 2011 by

Here are some aphorisms, authored by the venerable Scientological theologian, John Travolta. I have found them a source of solace and guidance when troubled by the iniquities of the world. I hope you feel the same:

What are the wind, if not a gassy blowing?

Love as you would love a pig.

Dance as if you had no legs.

The wise man knows that wisdom is foolish.

Follow folly and you will find a fool.

We would all like to have clean pants, but who among us deserve them?

God is a dream, dreamed up by an alien.

Realise your hurt.

Argos is a brothel and its brochures are the brides of Satan.

‘SNEEE’ is the only word you need to know. All other words are frivolous.

SNEEE.

Give your children to a bear. He would do the same for you.

Beneath the smiling veneer of the sitcom ‘Happy Days’ lurks a bottomless abyss of unholy unhappiness.

A poem about one of those Shane Meadows films

April 5, 2011 by

 

The cast of This is England

Here’s a poem about one of those Shane Meadows films. I forget which:

Urchins at play

1.

The 80s aren’t like they were in the 80s,

But, nevertheless,

Boggzy, Danno, “Grandma”, Milkmouth,

Kneesy, Weggso, Darren, etc.

Went down to the canal,

Booted, skinned and trim,

Whereupon a ruffian got lairy

And shook an old love

By the duffel coats.

I’ve caught a Thatcher he said

And his mates went wurrrrgh.

2.

One of the skins chucked a muffin

On to the train tracks.

What else are you going to do?

3.

With a hey nonny alright mate,

Watch out mumble mumble.

You can come round to mine for tea

Mam’s making proletarian crumble.

Black Swan

February 16, 2011 by

Here’s a monologue from ‘Black Swan’, in which Natalie Portman’s brain explodes like a thousand angry goslings. Note the fragmented syntactical stumps, which betokeneth the onset of insanity:             

Natalie Portman, goose-stepping in Black Swan

Get your beaky bits off my pumps

And give me three pliets STAT

Scrap that

Battu, Bras. Bras bas.

Just stick your arm out like a beak

You clumsy meff.

Adagio.

Fiddly-dee. Dieu!

Puff it out. The swan is proud now.

Why are your knees bent

Like a be-ricketed Crazy Legs Crane.

Sur Les Demi-Pointes you terrible arse.

Ronde de jambe.

Ronde de JAMBE!

Oh for God’s sake just get me a ham and mustard.

And a can of Lilt please too.

It’s my birthday.

My Name is Joe

January 28, 2011 by

If it weren’t for Ken Loach none of us would know what reality looks like. That’s a fact, fact-fans. Here is the opening voiceover to his (presumably) realistic social-realist film, ‘My Name is Joe’:

Follow me, gentle viewers, through the fizzing membrane of your teleportal to a twilit realm that I have named Proleworld. Make sure you pack woollen-wear and health-restoring flapjacks, for this is an untamed and inhospitable landscape, from which many never return.

And now as we secrete ourselves by the greasy windows of a sub-Tweedian cavern in the heart of Proleworld, known to natives as ‘The Glasgow Unemployment Office’, let us gaze in and marvel at the anthropological wonders now taking place…

See the tense crisp-fed jaw of the mother-prole honk out a cacophony of indignant vernacular noises. See the appointed elder, steadfast behind a gleaming Perspex shield, parry her prating with a Government incantation. The warrior, whose charge it is to maintain the dignity and solemnity of the Glasgow Unemployment Office, turns the awful oleaginous splendour of his white tumescent gut towards her as if to say ‘Fishwife: desist’. The bones of his former foes are stuffed in his capacious navel. His piglet eyeballs squeal curly-tailed murder.  Mother-prole effects a retreat. This is just another hard-luck tale from the Mean Streets of Proleworld.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

January 21, 2011 by

Narnia time again my DLFs. Here’s a poem about the second of the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Chaos Reigns in Narnia

 

1. This badger has a mouth full of words,

But he has no ‘yea’ and ‘nay’,

Only ‘gimswatch, plank and purds’

As the forestfolk say.

I hate them mummy I hate them I do.

(You can see in the hell of their snout-black eyes

That they hate you too).

‘Gimswatch, plank and purds!

Frogballs!Beaversnatch the birds!’

They say, incriminatingly

You will find no Dear Little Friends here Susan.

Aslan done a bunk and bought himself

A keyboard.

We are at war with the Mexicans.

2.

The forest is filled with beastly muck.

Edmund stole my tuck.

I’m ashamed to say it,

But he really is a beastly cunt

And I want to go home.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

December 23, 2010 by

This befel in the year of the Great Pussy Christ 2010 when the Bandy-Legged Gentile Babies fell into the land of the Mennonites Retail Park that formerly did shelter the Cursed Offal Eaters when they were banished from the Land of Tripes by the Black Pudding Jesus. And the littlest of the Seed-Bearing Mammalians, a smirksome Caucasoid, hight William, was tempted in that time by the bulging figs of confection that fell from the Whirring Fingers of that Womb-Wearing Lucifer, hight ‘The Witch’. “Ha Hee” cries she. “For your betrayal you shall live with me in my Sexy Hell with the Frosty Philistine Babies for a sweaty eternitude”. “But” says the recalcitrant sinner “it wert only fudgelumps good dame. Ye art o’er-hasty with talk of damnation”. But his protestations boot nothing. Bootless it were to fumble in wordy-ruffianplay with that terrible Busty Witch. Off to Sexy Hell with thee tiny scabrous infant.

Shortly in the afterwhiles, Jesus the Lion, that sleek, whiskered Messiah (lock up your springboks), did come to know of poor William’s fate. “Miaow” he spake. “To the Crucifixion Machine, children”. Leaving a devasted platter of breakfast bones jangling in his wake, Jesus the Lion sprang forth to sacrifice himself. “Checkmate” he roared at the sky, as he died on a special cross made for cats, thus absolving little William and a thousand other freckled satsuma-faced Sons of Adam with him. “Yeah” cried William. “I got to eat Turkish Delight and I escaped Sexy Hell. Double Whammy! Thank God for the Quadruped Christ!” And that is how, once again, the world was saved from unChristian folks.

Merry Christmas everyone.

I’m Still Here

September 19, 2010 by

Hip hop enthusiasts! Put down your uzis and stop spelling letters with your fingers! There’s a hot new sound busting up the aural spectrum. Forget your Marky Mark, your Shabba Ranks and your MC Handpump. All of the real rap fans are grooving to a whole new scene. If you like your rhymez [sic] sick and your beatz [sic-er] dope, get down to your local record shop and ask for the latest ‘Joaquin Phoenix’ single. You can trust me, or my name isn’t Timothy Westwood, the famous rap historian. But if my word isn’t enough, check this out:

‘Rap-Scallionz, a rap’ by Joaquin Phoenix

The sweaty breath of sorrow

The mutton chops of madness

The swollen popsicle of motherly love.

I am a son of a tough bitch,

Popped out like a leathery parcel

From a mad dog’s vagina.

Boingle boingle boingle.

The Rap-Scallionz are descending on St Petersberg.

“And whoosh,

And whoosh”

He cried.

“Even God’s bidet

Could never rinse

My sins

Away.”

Joaquin Phoenix, who put on 40 kg for his role in 'I'm still here', with his pocket-sized buddy, Pascal Diddy.

Sex and the City 2

September 17, 2010 by

Holy Overkill! It's your special day!

M’lady. An infinitude of lavendiferous blessings to you on this most special of days, when you are to pledge your troth to your hairy big-dicked brute of a bridegroom. As you stand, glowing in the lilywhite rapture of your wedding-dress, while the plainer womenfolk nip at the fluffwork with loving, sisterly pincers, allow me, your humble servant, to convey the well-wishes of the guests:

From Hindustan, the Rajah of Bombay has sent you the soul of a tortoise, embossed with the golden teardrops of a dying wizard.

From Bedfordshire, the Guild of Orphans has sent you a packet of Monster Munch and a balloon. Enclosed within the balloon (which cost them a year’s gruel money), was a petit-parcel of parchment, on which was written “we love yoo Carry”. Bless their little dirty faces.

From the Republic of Texas, President Houston has sent you a Cherokee Sooth-Sayer and with it a note in which he expressed, in his characteristically rambunctious fashion, disappointment that you had declined to be his First Lady (cf. Sex and the City, Season 2). What a rascal, eh M’Lady?

From Libya, Colonel Gadafi has sent you an exploding muff. They do things differently there.

Your good friend Charlotte has sent you a Latvian baby.

The enchanting Miss Miranda has sent you a Fraggle Stick. I’ll put it with the others, shall I?

Samantha has sent you a rude pun. Tee hee. She is incorrigible.

Unfortunately, your standard-issue gay friend sent you the same pun, but he did include a receipt so you can take it back to the shop and replace it.

…oh my m’lady. You look like a cross between Greta Garbo, Princess Diana and the Virgin Mary. I could cry. I really could.

The Human Centipede

August 22, 2010 by

Recently I saw the trailer for ‘The Human Centipede’, a Dutch horror film that makes a very convincing case for submerging the entire nation of the Netherlands and all of its population beneath a sea of holy water. My soul almost prolapsed in a tiny tsunami of moral horror. I started to imagine what this film might look like if it were made in a parallel universe, where people weren’t prurient and cruel and where entertainment was entertaining, rather than dreadful and traumatic. So here is the redeemed version of ‘The Human Centipede’, baptised in the waters of niceness and born again:

The film opens upon a wide-angle view of the outside of a prison. Inside, a six-foot creepy-crawly dressed in prison suit is led into an office, where he is presented with a box of his pre-incarceration belongings. Prison regulations require that he stands behind a line, a foot from the desk, when signing for the box. He leans over comically and marks his ‘x’. The prison official lists the contents of the box contemptuously. Ten dollars. A breath mint. And a harmonica. Sweet. The tall centipede picks up the harmonica and blows out a tremulous solo. The prison official frowns. The tall centipede puts on a trilby hat and sunglasses and exits the building.

Outside the prison, the tall centipede’s brother, played by Dan Ackroyd, is waiting outside a beat-up police car. They embrace rigidly, nay, robotically, then get into the car. Sam and Dave’s ‘Soothe Me’ floats from the radio, and off they drive, with a cigarette casually pincered in each of the centipede’s many legs. The adventure has just begun!

The plot of this film centres around the attempts of the tall centipede and his brother to re-unite their old band and, in so doing, rescue their old orphanage from closure. In spite of the attempts of piggy-eyed Nazis, Winnebago-driving hicks, and spurned ex-squeezes, the brothers triumph and rock the gussets off a baying crowd of music enthusiasts. First they throw down “Shake” by Sam Cooke, although their version owes more to the Otis Redding interpretation than the original. When the tall centipede sings “A ring-a-ling-a-ling, honey shaking is the greatest thing” you know he is singing from experience, as each of his many legs (each shod in its own exquisitely polished loafer) wobble to the idiosyncratic Stax-inspired rhythms.

Eventually, our heroes wind up in stir again, but not before they have saved the orphanage and struck a blow for Blues Power. There may be prisons and Nazis out there, but it is comforting to know that the spirits of the heroes – Gaye, Cooke, Redding, Wolf and Waters – are looking out for us from a heaven that is equal parts Detroit, Chicago, Clarksdale and Mount Olympus.

The Breakfast Club

August 20, 2010 by

The cast of the original Breakfast Club movie (L-R): Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Humbert Humbert, Joseph Goebels, Baron Harkonnen, Silvio Berlusconi

All around us, the 1980s revival is gaining momentum like a landslide of discarded school dinners. Soon we shall all be buried under a slurry of Turkey Twizzlers and A-Team lunchboxes. Hooray. In the spirit of this horrific and unstoppable cultural phenomenon I hereby propose a remake of ‘The Breakfast Club’. Roll up your sleeves, my honorary script consultants, and let’s work up a treatment for this badboy:

In the main, the changes will concern the teenage archetypes represented by the central characters. The original Breakfast Club featured a Jock (a Scottish person), a Geek (a performer of grotesque or depraved acts at a carnival), a Prom Queen (a man who dresses up as a woman), and some other chumps. But these categories do not apply to today’s youth. Today’s youth runs in a different set of packs, which the new Breakfast Club will have to reflect. Here are the characters of the new Breakfast Club, for your consideration:

Higher brain functions are for lame-os, right? Right! That’s certainly what Benny thinks. Benny is a Lobotomoid. The members of this youth clique shun intellectual exchange and scientific endeavour as if they were last year’s faeces. They listen to the Ramones and dribble. They hang around the swimming pool and groan. The really hardcore ones wear soiled surgical gowns. But Benny isn’t one of the really hardcore ones. In the course of the film Benny realises that he is just insecure about being annoying, but that it’s ok to be insecure and annoying.

Our next pubescent hero, Tilly, belongs to a subcultural group known as The Chucklers. These cheery chappies listen exclusively to novelty records and dress like children’s TV presenters. They each have their own hand puppets (Tilly’s puppet is a skunk called Teddy Tuppence). But watch out! Like orthodox Sikhs, The Chucklers conceal sharp curved blades beneath their brightly coloured garments, lest anyone try to interfere with their puppets or their limited edition Timmy Mallett ‘Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini’ 7-inches. In the course of the film Tilly loses her virginity to a meaty man-giant and burns Teddy Tuppence in a bid to distance herself from her former fellow gangmembers. Poor Teddy Tuppence: thou wert a martyr to the passing of adolescence.

The joker of this flimsy piece is Roland, who is a Tiny-Mouth. Tiny-Mouths register their disapproval of mainstream culture by refusing to open their facial orifices more than half a centimetre. It is through this narrow aperture that they issue withering put-downs, such as “Check out those Gapers” (in Tiny-Mouth-speak, a Gaper is a non-Tiny-Mouth). Tiny-Mouths subsist entirely on small seeds and tic-tac mints. At first Roland is hostile to his fellow members of the Breakfast Club (whom he refers to as “Gaping Fritzls”), but by the end of the film he has got over himself and eats whole Weetabix biscuits in one bite, like some kind of pornographic snake. Good for him.

The Average Student is represented in this film by the character of Bob. Bob likes sheds, pork chops, checked shirts, his uncle Colin, volleyball and masturbation. He dislikes death, being bored, indigestion, people with crazy eyes, his uncle Ernie and Saturday afternoon television. Although he is initially sceptical of the other students, with their high-concept lifestyles and eccentric mannerisms, he comes to accept them for their individuality.

By the end of the film all of the characters dance together in a liberating and affirming way, and collectively express their individuality in such a way as to challenge our preconceptions.  The film comes to be viewed as a seminal expression of the hopes and dreams of a whole new generation, until it is remade again in 2032.

Sherlock

August 11, 2010 by

Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson

Sherlock Holmes, literary heavyweight; a character who stalks the corridors of English fiction like a goliath. His name, exploits and intellect are renowned, the tales of his adventures famed from Alaska to Adelaide. His name is synonymous with deduction and reason. Not for nothing is there a popular sarcastic colloquial expression that evokes his name, “No labial mucus Sherlock, what you just said was cunting obvious”.

With over 6 bazillion existing adaptations of the classic stories at the last count, some may baulk at the idea of wheeling the Victorian sleuth and his suck-up dweeb of a mate out for another airing. Such deluded critics can go hang, for you will find that Holmes has been described by all and sundry as ‘begging’ for a modern retelling. Which can surely be interpreted as “no one has thought of rehashing this old story in lieu of new ideas yet”.

With such admirable motives the BBC coughed up a three part primetime mini-series this summer, destined to win awards before it was even scripted, as these things so often are.

The show is set in modern day London, though the viewer would be forgiven for forgetting, since they are only subjected to tourist board shots of the ‘quintessential’ British sights and interior scenes of black cabs every five fucking seconds.

As usual our heroes, Sherlock Holmes the famous baker of Detective Street and his eternally perplexed room-mate, Nurse Watson, have a curious relationship charged with homoeroticism.

“Homosexuality is perfectly acceptable in this day and age!” exclaims Holmes, apropos of nothing. The odd couple quibble and dribble over each other as they attempt to solve various riddles (and bake lots of cakes). One such crime was the ‘Extraordinary Case of The Murdering Murderer (Best Served With Scones)’, documented meticulously by Watson in his blog:
“I asked Holmes how ever did he know the culprit would be in the ladyboy brothel at that exact time. ‘A ringtone, my dear Watson!’ he exclaimed, throwing in a modern reference that has become so characteristic of him of late”.

After a wasting an hour on Facebook together, they returned to the case.

“He has a penis”, cried Sherlock, grabbing the cadaver’s crotch. “Ergo we can deduce he is a man”. Holmes is doubtless being sarcastic, Watson tweeted immediately, using his brand new modern Blackberry, I’m sure he has ascertained far more information than us mere mortals could fathom with that rather prolonged cock-rub. Lol!

“iphone my dear Watson!” scoffed Holmes, spotting his thick colleague’s confused expression, a look perfected during the actor’s time in the company of Ricky Gervais. “People like Doctor Who,” he explained impatiently, “Ergo they want more of the same thing: long-coated smart-arses with shit hair pontificating to a moronic companion. No offence, John”. “None taken,” said Watson between mouthfuls of Sherlock’s arse.

“But how will we solve this murder in a plausible yet modern way?”  Sherlock flicked back a lock of his carefully sculpted ‘idiosyncratic genius’ hair. “Spotify my Dear Watson!” he exclaimed, whilst watching an HD television and doing his banking online, as though the producers had not considered that such nonsense would date his exploits in less than ten years.

“The victims jumper is blue,” explained Holmes, smugly, “Therefore we can deduce that he liked the colour blue… ergo ipso facto obvio, the killer does not like blue. Watson what is your favourite colour?”

Watson’s face, formerly the very picture of fawning sycophancy, once more looked perplexed. “Why Holmes, I must confess it has always been red…” he stammered. “Really…” mused Holmes, manically, “You CONFESS it to be red… Sergeant, I think we have our man!”

As the rozzers dragged the hapless Watson to Belmarsh to rot with all the other paedos, he just had time to log-on to Twitter one final time and note: I am beginning to suspect Holmes is not all he’s cracked up to be…

Bugsy Malone

August 11, 2010 by

For a bunch of lawless infants they sure is well dressed

I haven’t seen Bugsy Malone and by God I never shall. Or have I/will I? Here’s what I imagine the film is all about: 

Today Dandy Dan, Fat Sam and Bugsy came to tea and Dandy Dan put a bogey on Fat Sam and Fat Sam cried. Bugsy said he was the tallest boy in his class but he isn’t. Fat Sam drew a picture of his dog Bonker it had five legs it looked stupid. It’s not a leg it’s a tail he said but we said leg leg leg and he said tail tail tail until he started crying again. What a baby. Fat Sam sat in the den and wouldn’t come out so Dandy Dan said let’s make a new den that Fat Sam can’t come in and Fat Sam heard him say this and ran out of the den like a fat rabbit and he said it’s my den too but Dandy Dan said no it’s not. Fat Sam gripped Dandy Dan’s cheeks and Dandy Dan screamed. Mum came out and said play nice boys or you’ll have to go home. They stopped fighting then Bugsy said I know a new game and we all stopped and listened and Bugsy said it’s called the moonshining liquor game and he sang a little song about it like this:

The prohibitionists have got us in a squeeze boys

But I gots an idea so listen to me please boys

Let’s brew us up some devil water and open a speakeasy

With an entrance so labyrinthine it coulda been drawn by Piranesi

He’s an old Italian artist, don’t fret your dumb-bum noodles

Just thinka the money boys, we’ll be making oodles

All we gotta do is learn about the fermentation process

It can’t be too difficult, what do you boys supposes.

Then Bugsy did a little dance. It was strange. Mum wouldn’t let Bugsy come round to our house anymore after that and Fat Sam trembled and whimpered whenever Bugsy tried to talk to him.

Yellow Submarine

August 6, 2010 by

The iconic Yellow Submarine

Every fool knows that the Dave Clark Five were the most successful band to ever roam the face of this our planet Earth. Their name is synonymous not only with the swinging sixties, but with pop music itself. It is them we have to thank for literally millions of billions of trillions of songs; songs that we sing in the bath, the shower and on the bog, pooing in time with the catchy idiosyncratic melodies.

The DC5 were not only Britain’s foremost popstars, they also made a bunch of films, including this animated psychedelic classic, Yellow Submarine. Drawing from the group’s extensive catalogue of hit records, the film was based on a their finest work, their masterpiece, their greatest gift to the artistic cannon of the human race: a shitty cod nursery rhyme sung by the drummer.

This 1968 arthouse magnum opus happened to be showing at a cultural centre not 20 blocks from my house and I availed myself of the opportunity to swing by. Since Old Rope believes moving drawings to be an affront to god, and furthermore one that can make your brain overheat and explode, I elected not to watch the film itself. Rather I confined myself to reading the Spanish subtitles. From this I could hazard a guess as to the film’s content.

Epitome of cool

Largely spoken in Aramaic, the plot focuses on the travails of a fictional group, not altogether dissimilar to the Dave Clark Five (DCF), and their attempts to sanitise the world. In a universe populated with lunatics and bedlam, our heroes must insert rods up backsides and make sure everyone gets a proper job and returns to their natural place in society.

Since DCF were unavailable or unwilling to disentangle themselves from London’s more exclusive opium dens, a number of former US presidents were exhumed to voice the protagonists.

As Benjamin Franklin croaks “Hey, fellas, look at this fab moteycar!” and Roosevelt chirps “Gear!” through a dusty, wormy voice, it is almost impossible to distinguish them from the real deal. It is exactly as though the DCF are in the cinema with you, synchronising their own voices with the moving pictures.

I shant spoil the ending, but suffice to say that there is a parade of rheumatic lepers, a horse with three willies and a banana that talks (possibly the illusive and never-explained allegorical “Yellow Submarine” of the title?). Goodness, it was enough to remind me of college and my own ill-spent youth, time divided between a gang of lepers, talking to a banana and looking at horses willies. Happy days indeed.

From what I could discern from the faces of those around me, the drawings were well rendered, and perfectly captured the straight-laced, uptight style of the time. Indeed the slight drooling of one viewer positively cried out “I am watching a perfect period piece”.

With cast-iron casting, high-art visuals and lashings of DCF’s finest concertos, it is a unfathomable that Yellow Submarine failed to win more awards (a mere 14 Oscars seems an insult in its paucity). I enjoyed not watching it immensely.

Superhero Catchphrases

July 18, 2010 by

Grant Morrison, tense with catchphraser's block

Sorry agoraphobia fans: I have been culpably inactive on the writing front. Here’s an inadequate wisp of an entry to tide you over until Season 4 of The Agoraphobic Reviewer hits TV screens in September.

Everyone has a catchphrase these days: nuns, hairdressers, miners. I haven’t decided on a catchphrase yet, but I’ve managed to narrow it down to “Shingles!” and “Thank God it was Roger” (I’ll let you know which I settle on). But back before everyone else got on the catchphrase bandwagon, the only people keeping the noble art of catchphrasing alive were superheroes. Here are some of my favourites (write your own in the comments section):

Superman: “Satan’s horses are strong. But Superman is stronger”.

Red Kryptonite Superman: “Stick it in your ear Lois”

Spiderman: “Back to the Arachno-Pod!”

Fantastic Four: (said in unison) “No-one messes with El Cuatro!”

Batman: “Take heart, young man”

Captain America: “Here come the sanctions”

The Flash: “Hold on to my magical hamstrings, children”

Watership Down 2: Rab-bot’s Revenge

July 4, 2010 by

Sequels are difficult things. Will the sequel retain the pace, spirit or charm of the original? Will it be sufficiently different from its predecessor to justify its existence? Will the characters and storyline of the first be meaningfully developed in the second film?

The writer and director of Watership Down 2: Rab-bot’s Revenge has clearly pondered these questions. He has clearly lain awake at night, staring at the ceiling, deeply interrogating his motives and vision for the film. Evidently he has sat at his desk, head cradled in his hands, searching within himself for the answers.

The writer and director of Watership Down 2, searching within himself for the answers.

And then, the writer and director of Watership Down 2: Rab-bot’s Revenge has clearly thrown all of these questions into the bin (a metaphorical bin, not an actual bin as might be made of plastic, or steel, or wicker-work) and made the film anyway. I didn’t get the number 18 bus into town, where I didn’t pass through the foyer of the large multi-screen cinema, past the large posters bearing the sad, pallid, haystack face of Robert Pattison, past the popcorn (sweet and salty), overpriced bags of Jelly Babies and medium drinks. I didn’t purchase my ticket, didn’t enter the darkened auditorium, and didn’t see this film. Here is my review.

“General Woundwort was never seen again. But it was certainly true, as Groundsel said, that no one ever found his body, so it may perhaps be that after all, that extraordinary rabbit really did wander away to live his fierce life somewhere else and to defy the elil [enemies] as resourcefully as ever” (Richard Adams, Watership Down (London: Penguin, 1974), p. 477).

So reads the Epilogue to Watership Down, and so ends the first film. No one ever found Woundwort’s body. But what if his body had been found? Such is the premise of Watership Down 2: Rab-bot’s Revenge.

Woundwort’s injured body is discovered by a renegade veterinarian who takes him back to the laboratory and, through many hours of labour, painstakingly rebuilds him. So much the better to defeat the elil, the veterinarian rebuilds him as stronger, faster, more fearsome than before. He creates a cyber-rabbit. A rab-bot, as the title punningly states. This rabbit has legs of steel, lasers for eyes and craps grenades.

Woundwort returns to the now-thriving and co-operative Watership-Efrafan warren. He looks about with disgust and disdain at the cheerful scene. A young buck lops by, happy in the warmth of the sun and the verdant grass. Woundwort powers up his lasers. Pew! Pew! Within seconds, the young rabbit is a small heap of smouldering carbon. Woundwort moves on towards one of the many entrances to the warren. He positions himself strategically, and fires a couple of grenades into the opening. Holy cow! Soil and the corpses of dead rabbits fly up into the air.

The film continues in this vein, and is by all accounts a worthwhile action flick if somewhat lacking in depth and profundity. The animation, being CGI, is more polished than the original, and lacking some of its wistful charm. However, the kick-ass SFX more than make up the difference. You want explosions? You got explosions. After all, isn’t shit being blown up what any movie-goer asks for in a film? Indeed, the original starts to look inferior for its sheer lack of red-hearted, smoke-billowing detonations. Sure, the plotline of Watership Down 2: Rab-bot’s Revenge is a little weak in places, and by that we mean it is entirely non-existent, but this takes the very essence of the original and boils it right down to the bare bones. It doesn’t sugar coat it, nor (thank God) include any instances of the Brillo-haired Art Garfunkel singing ‘Bright Eyes’. This is a film about survival and about having balls. Balls made of reinforced concrete. Balls you could cut diamonds with. It doesn’t pull any punches. It defies the inevitable wrath of the animal rights activists, some of whom have already delayed the film’s release by beating the writer and director to a pulp outside his home (an ironic event, given that the writer and director is in fact a chimpanzee – see image above).

All in all, this is wholesome family entertainment, and sure to be a hit with the kids and grandma alike. I give it conkers out of ten.

The Colour of Money

July 2, 2010 by

Yesterday someone asked me if I’d seen Martin Scorcese’s ‘The Colour of Money’. I said yes, then ran away. The joke was on them, though. I hadn’t seen it at all. Tee hee hee. I do love a good prank. Here is my review of ‘The Colour of Money’:

‘The Colour of Money’ belongs to the noble tradition of ‘Rain Man’, ‘I am Sam’ and ‘Forrest Gump’. It stars Tom Cruise as an endearingly handicapped man, who, in spite of his handicap, or perhaps because of it, succeeds in brightening up the lives of the normal people around him. Dustin Hoffman provides support as Cruise’s brother, Brucie, fulfilling the clause in the Rain Man contract stipulating that he would have to ‘play the normal’ in his next film, and that Cruise would ‘get to be the disabled [sic] this time’.

When we meet Cruise’s character, Teddy Redbrown, in the first scene, his condition is undisclosed. Through the subtle inclusion of understated cues by the director, however, we begin to suspect that there is something compellingly wrong with Teddy. Note his khaki shorts pulled up to his ribs. Mark his child’s combover. Observe the way he says “Hi I’m Teddy” and sticks his hand out rigidly in a sort of actor’s approximation of a child’s approximation of an adult greeting. See how he squints at traffic lights in anxious perplexity. Teddy seems to tick every box on the movie checklist: he is really shaping up to be a Classic Hollywood Savant! I can’t wait to see what kind of scrapes he will get into! (contd. below the picture)

Tom Cruise's acting in 'The Colour of Money' was reputedly inspired by Al Jolson's performance in 'I am Sam' (pictured)

Sadly, the viewer’s (that is, my) high hopes prove (that is, proved) to be premature. Teddy’s handicap is decidedly underwhelming. He is colour blind. Screenwriters take note: this is really scraping the barrel as far as disabilities are concerned. Teddy’s distinct lack of a severe behavioural disorder and/or genetic condition make it very difficult for me to sympathise with him. A harsher critic might say that he is just a normal with defective eyes.

The plot of the film concerns Teddy’s quest to perceive the hue of an American dollar bill. “I got to know what colour that note is, Brucie” he implores, “I got to see the Colour of Money”. Brucie and Teddy set off on a road trip. Teddy finally gets to experience the vernal greenness of the dollar bill. But at the very moment that he learns what it is to be a normal, he loses all of his innocence. “We gotta go back, Brucie” he says. So they get in a time machine and go back to the time before Teddy was able to see the colour green. His innocence is successfully restored. The conclusion is somewhat confusing and inconsistent, but these are the vagaries of time travel, no?

I was very disappointed by this film. It promised to do a full Rain Man but it did no such thing. Who cares what the colour of money is? No one. Who cares how many matches fell on the floor? Everyone. Tom Cruise has the acting ability to play a convincing challenged person, but he is wasted on this film. His heart-rending squinting does little to render Teddy interesting to the sensitive and broad-minded viewer. The sensitive and broad-minded viewer knows that Teddy’s problem is only eye-deep, and so the sensitive and broad-minded viewer is thwarted in his attempt to feel sorry for him. The sensitive and broad-minded viewer deserves much better. Give us a savant we can get our teeth into, Hollywood.


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