Archive for May, 2010

A Fistful of Dollars

May 31, 2010

Inexplicably, I have never seen ‘A Fistful of Dollars’. Here is my review of it:

Bob Hope in 'A Fistful of Dollars'

Old Cow-Jaw gulps a happy laugh like a teenage donkey drunk on buffalo piss. Haw haw. Haw haw.  He grips a shotgun to his chest like it was the Virgin Mary and he was a crazy shepherd in heat. Haw haw. Haw haw. Old Cow-Jaw never had too much time for Bible-learning. Mount Sinai might as well be a cattle ranch. And Moses might as well be a steer.

Haw!

The sluice from his gums fires out in torpedoes of brown silt. SPITOINK. His jowls are juicy with puddles of tobacco. SPPPOINK. It splashes on the hooves of the beasts and the boots of the men. PER-TOING.

This here is Devil Town, and Old Cow-Jaw is the most salivatory, sacreligious son of a nickel-tickling sinner old Devil Town ever saw.

He smacks a horse on the snout quick and mean. “Stay down mare or I’ll whipsnake those purdy nostrils offa your smellin’-parts. I can read mares’ minds and you are one mean-minded mare.” He puffs pipe smoke into its eyes. Haw haw. Haw haw. Stupid mare.

Old Cow-Jaw is played by Bob Hope. Big Bob Hope, the Beefy Blimp of the U.S. version of Bollywood. Big Bob Hope who lived to the ripe old age of 146. Big Bob Hope who was completely hairless like a baby, even when he wasn’t a baby. His wife had to talc him top and tail every morning to prevent chafing. Secretly Mrs Hope longed for a swarthy hirsute gentleman.

The Man With No Nickname AKA Ralph Beasly, is played by Clint Eastwood. Many men have tried to give him a nickname and now they’re six-feet deep. Ralphster, Ralph-Malph, R-Man, Bease-Master, T-Bone – before any of these nicknames could stick, Ralph Beasly shot a hole right through ’em. He’s got one name, and it’s the name on his birth certificate. Reckless nomenclature can get a man killed round these parts.

‘A Fistful of Dollars’ is directed by Sergio Leone. It’s pretty interesting. Check it out.

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Natural Born Killers

May 29, 2010

What is all the fuss about ‘Natural Born Killers’? Presumably this:

Malefactors

A Gentleman Shoemaker (Robert Downey Jr) was Today subjected to an Affront to His Person. The OUTRAGE took Place at 11am between The Strand and Stringy Lane. As the Shoemaker was plying his Wares in the Cabbage-strewn Thoroughfare, an UPRIGHT BEGGAR (Woody Harrelson) and his DOXY (Juliette Lewis) harangued Him with IMPERTINENT speech. The DOXY, described by One Onlooker (Sidney Poitier) as a ‘Lewd SLATTERN in disordered Petticoats’, demanded THREE Espadrilles of the Shoemaker in a Voice ‘Cacophonous and Hoarse, evoking THE SQUEALING of a Litter of Piglets’. The Shoemaker replied THAT his Espadrilles could only BE bought in Pairs, whereupon the UPRIGHT BEGGAR did a blasphemous DANCE with His Elbows that caused a Near-by AlderMan (Dirk Benedict) to PUFF and drop His Snuffbox. ‘But I wants free of ’em’ said the DOXY and then tugged the SHOEMAKER’S Wig (Tom Cruise), causing It to rest on his Pate in an ungainly and ASYMMETRICAL fashion.

The Malefactors were later APPREHENDED and HANGED.

Bella Y La Bestia

May 29, 2010

Before television and cinematography were born under a blistering star on Broadway, blighting mankind forever with a series of curses akin to those unleashed by Pandora’s Box – not least of which being the unforgivable act of giving The Agoraphobic Reviewer cause for existence – plays ruled the theatrical roost.

Before the endless Hollywood cinematic remakes of his works became ubiquitous, Walter Disney was one of Britain’s foremost playwrights. Such heavyweights asThe Aristocats’ and ‘The Lady and The Tramp’ were famed the land over, from Riddlesworth up to Loch Skinnydippin. Many a renowned thespian trod the boards under the guise of Disney’s legendary characters. Sir Bruce Willis’ turn as Dumbo in the 17th Century caused Samuel Pepys to note, “Ne’er afore has a role been lived with such vigour and virtuosity. Willis did serve the text well and honour the Bard Disney greatly. Elephant? I nearly cried!”

Of late, however, one is more likely to see a sexy and lithe young actor of the day, such as Brian Blessed or Zack from ‘Saved By The Bell’, flashing across the screen as a revamped Pinocchio; or Angelina Jolie as an oversexed and pornified Ariel, ‘The Little Mermaid’.

It was with joy in my heart and a lazy lob-on in my pocket, therefore, that Old Rope braved the Argentine autumn and the Bicentenario crowds, to watch ‘Bella y La Bestia’. Renowned as one of Sir Walter’s latter day masterpieces, “ByB” has been returned to the stage by the Royal Disney Theatre Company. And it’s about bloody time too.

Since Old Rope cannot make head nor tail of the fluid Porteno Spanish spoken here, I may as well not have seen it, thus ideally placing me to review it on these pages. Besides, I slept through four of the five Acts.

The play centres around the titular Bella, a scabrous and grotesque hag who likes to have sexual relations with animals, and Bestia a Geordie man who believes he is quite simply the “best here”. After much dicking about talking to the furniture (it talks back, who knew!) the two get on like a house on fire, before literally setting the house on fire. As the timbers turn to cinders and the crockery weeps for its shattered children, Bella clambers aboard Bestia and rides him the rude way, howling like a banshee as they frug on the talkative rug before the house collapses in on the star-crossed lovers. Warning: Plot Spoiler in the preceding paragraph.

I give this play one B&B (Bed and Breakfast)

Days of Thunder

May 27, 2010

I saw ‘Days of Thunder’ yesterday and I was blown away. I know I am seriously deviating from Agoraphobic Reviewer practice here, but I felt it necessary to write a serious review of it. We cannot always jest and joke. Sometimes it is necessary to lay our reputations on the line and venture a heartfelt opinion. With that in mind, here is my review:

‘Days of Thunder’ is a trenchant and timely rumination on the social and occupational pressures facing a young stock car driver. It exposes the hazards that surround this glamorous career, and examines their impact on the lives of those who live and, alas, often die by it. But it tactfully and sensibly (this reviewer thinks) avoids passing overt judgement on the racers, sponsors and motor enthusiasts who are all, ultimately, complicit in the fatalities and casualties to which the sport so regularly gives rise.

Some critics have suggested that the role of Bruce Fastman is Tom Cruise’s most challenging to date. It is hard to disagree. Fastman is a deeply complex individual, who longs for speed and visceral excitement on the track, but who needs reassurance and stability in his domestic life. In one scene Fastman is sitting behind the wheel visibly ecstatic to have triumphed over the competition in an important race. In the next he is curled in his partner’s lap, the very picture of masculine vulnerability. Cruise handles these tonal shifts with aplomb. It is a forceful performance.

It is an unfortunate truism that sports-themed films often feature substandard dialogue. Not so this film. The verbal exchanges are as quick and noisy as anything on the racetrack. Nicole Kidman’s bon mots are really something to behold. She is truly the go-to actress for top-notch repartee in Hollywood at the moment. Aspiring actresses could really learn something from her flawless diction and masterful delivery.

This film belongs to a well-respected tradition of dramas based around the conflicted psyche of the classic American male. Its forebears are ‘Citizen Kane’, ‘The Godfather’ and ‘There Will Be Blood’. It reveals the lies men tell themselves, and the truths that they daily embody in the sweat of their brows and the ache of their sinews. ‘Days of Thunder’ should be on every secondary school syllabus in the country. Someone should put a DVD copy of it in a time capsule so that future generations will know what it was like to be a man living in the twentieth century. I cannot recommend it enough.

Four Weddings and a Funeral

May 25, 2010

Wooed and married a'

Four Weddings and Funeral. Neffer seen it. Neffer will. Here poem:

Wedding 1: mother cried; groom chinese-burned bride.

Wedding 2: groom had fleas; vicar difficult to appease

Wedding 3: body-building theme; bride resembled He-M-

-an

Wedding 4: connubial bliss; best man smelt of piss

Funeral: Here lies John Le Baptiste, professional mortalitiste.

The Graduate

May 24, 2010

Hello. Have you graduated from university? If so, have you subsequently been asked for money by the university at which you studied, as if you hadn’t already paid through the nose for a degree? Somewhat exasperating, is it not? Anyway,  in ‘The Graduate’ Dustin Hoffman plays one of those avaricious little flunkies who carry out their college’s wicked bidding by pestering its alumni for money. It is a grubby representation of an even grubbier world. Here is an extract from one of Hoffman’s speeches:

Huzzah! Bonking Good Show Chaps! Now let's go and see if there are any jobs going at McDonalds!

Hi guys. I’m an alumnus of the University of Mammon,

And I’d like to talk to you about supporting

Your university after you graduate.

Now, I know you’ve already paid upwards

Of $50, 000 for a degree.

And I know you had to flip scabrous discs of cow

In Big Teddy’s House of Meat Buttons,

Or some other fast-food inferno,

And pimp your own wretched frame

To gasping executives on

Disenchanted ground

In order to afford this abject travesty

Of an education.

But we want you to pay more.

Heaps more.

Why?

Because we are Beelzebub’s minions

And all our delight is in ungodly pursuits.

Now are you going to harvest your own kidneys

Or would you like us to do it for you?

The Birds

May 24, 2010

I used to think Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ was a romantic comedy about a group of female friends in the Sex and the City vein. I erred sirs, I erred real bad. I have subsequently discovered that it’s actually about a demented redneck who is obsessed with a puffin. Check this out:

That's a nice crow Hitch, but it ain't no puffin.

Hey buddies. Let me tell you about m’Puffin. He’s the best thing that ever happened to me, no kidding. He’s got a proud feathered chest that swells out so sweet. People talk about Marilyn Monroe’s chest or Jordan’s chest, but they ain’t gots nothing next to m’Puffin. Sure, a Puffin’s chest ain’t everyone’s bag. But, I swears, it’s smooth and graceful and sleek, like a Ferrari’s hood. Sometimes, I looks up into the sky, where God the Cloud-Master lives. Then, all of a sudden, m’Puffin goes whizzing past and his shiny Puffin chest winks out benediction to all of the pathetic losers below, such as me, and I scream with happiness.

But, fuck, buddies, what about his beak! If God has a beak, I reckons it looks something like m’Puffin’s beak. You could imagine ‘Let there be light’ coming out of it, I’m telling you. You could imagine the Word coming out of it, get me? I once saw m’Puffin crack open ten snails with that beak, and those sorry snails screamed like Chinese peasants in the vice-like grip of an ancient dragon. KEEE-RRUNNNCCHH. That’s what it sounded like. You should have heard it. What a beak!

I used to be a real sap. I wore dungarees with the ass-pouch hanging down to my thighs and I had halitosis real bad. Everyone laughed at me and called me ‘Dogpants Brown’. My name’s not even Brown. It’s Winslow Porkwind. But still, they called me Dogpants Brown. I couldn’t even get my mother to spend time with me. ‘Dogpants’, she used to say, ‘I cannot believe such a deformed assemblage of broken atoms ever issued from my womb’, referring, of course, to me, her son. But then I gots myself a Puffin. Since then, everyone has given me respect.

Why, last week, three women gave me their phone numbers. ‘Call me’ they said ‘and let’s do lunch. But be sure to bring that Puffin’. I know they only want me for m’Puffin. But they ain’t getting their claws on him. I’m keeping m’Puffin all to myself. It’s jus’ me and my Puffin, buddies, jus’ me and m’lil’ ol’ Puffin.

If anyone tried to take m’Puffin from me I think I’d whack ’em with pa’s greasy skillet then drown ‘em in the creek in an ol’ swine sack. Yeah. That’s what I’d do. Drown ’em. Yeah.

Agoraphobic Reviewer 1 year anniversary!

May 21, 2010

The Agoraphobic Reviewer staff plus assorted chumps on a team-building exercise in Ipswich

Another year rolls round, disgustingly, like a fetid ball of putrid matter tumbling out of a tiny, grubby orifice in the fabric of reality, furtively imposing itself in all its rancid odium on our jaded, despairing attention like an unwanted dead Christmas pet returned from the grave and poking its necrotic snout through the catflap. Yes friends, that’s right! The Agoraphobic Reviewer is 1 year old! Hooray! Crack open the wet wipes! Turn on the air conditioning! It’s going to be one hell of a party!

The Agoraphobic Reviewer was first conceived as a means of gentrifying the internet and as an online haven for the world’s most tremendous minds. Very quickly it turned into a site wherein a little fat man with an overbite and a thesaurus (that’s me chums!) wrote pointless reviews of films he had never seen. Such is the entropic nature of all things, tending terminally towards decay and degeneration.

But hold your miserable horses mister! After an abortive beginning, things started to improve. The small, plump buffoon made some friends. He was joined first by the bluegrass bard Banjo Chutney (nee Fett), who seared his way onto our consciousnesses with a series of ‘Unnecessary Film Sequels’. My favourite Banjo Chutney piece to date is his poem on Omar Sharif’s beard of beef (check it out in the search bar to your right).

Next came Pariah Rustbucket, the mysterious scholar-visionary, who pumped her way into the minds of AR readers like a Puffing Billy steam train with a piece on the lost chapters of 1984. Rustbucket writes like Yeats would have written had he not wasted his life fiddling about with gyres in his potting shed. I recommend her review of Tron Legacy.

Spicy Eggnog touched down next with a hot slice of review flan on Invictus. This is Eggnog’s only contribution to date, but it is a devilish rectangle of Satanic genius. I demand more!

Last to join this motley band of reprobates was Old Rope. Before he became a contributor to the AR, Old Rope had already forged himself a large and loyal readership on his own blog, like a scientist creating an enormous titanium butler. Indeed, it was Old Rope’s site that inspired me to start up the AR in the first place. Thanks Rope. Of Ropey’s entries on this blog I would have to say that Kes is my favourite, followed closely by Furia di Titanes (Clash of the Titans to congenital gringos such as you and I).

Well, that’s all chums. Have a root round in the archives: see if anything wets your parched beaks. Meanwhile, the party plans are afoot! If anyone would like to join me tonight for a celebratory can of dogfood and a cry, I’ll be sitting outside WH Smiths in St Pancras Station, London, from 7pm. See you there not-watching-film-fans.

Congo

May 19, 2010

Did you know that the film ‘Congo’, starring Tim Curry, Bruce Campbell and a gorilla, was based on a novel by Robert Harris? It’s true. As I understand it, the novel was quite different from the film. In the original, a mysterious organisation subjected a group of monkeys to strange scientific experiments to try to get them to produce art. It’s pretty weird stuff, and by no means a worthwhile read, even by the standards of Harris’s weak, sloppy oeuvre. Anyway, here’s the first chapter of ‘Congo’, by Robert Harris. It’s quite long, so I wouldn’t blame you if you stopped half way through for a gherkin break or something:

 

 

Congo, by R. Harris.

Unsubtle monkeys. Their tongues lashing. Laughing from their guts up. One flicks a missile of shit up in a steep arc. Another stares at it in awe as if it were a shooting star. It lands in his eye. He screams. They scream with laughter. Unsubtle monkeys.

They begin The Dance Of The Gorilla Who Wished He Were A Monkey. They lumber forwards and backwards in rows. They pout and twist. One beats his chest and bows. The others bow to him as they pirouette round in circles which alternately dilate and contract. As it reaches its crescendo they dig snowballs of excrement from the mounds all around them and pound them into the sombre face of the one who is playing King Gorilla. Unsubtle, yes, but at least they are trying.

It is the job of Colin to deliver their injections. Colin got the job because he is ugly. Ugly, that is, to monkeys. His predecessors had suffered for falling within the parameters of the simian ideal of beauty. Paul’s eyes were ripped out as mementoes of a ferocious buggering that the chief perpetrators (‘an unruly minority’ say the directors of the project) still seem to remember with pride, if indeed their construction of a rudimentary display cabinet, in which to present the eyes, from bones, twigs and egg-shells, can be interpreted as an index of their collective sense of achievement. Michael, a veteran of innumerable official and unofficial wars, shrugged nonchalantly after being informed of Paul’s fate, and stepped into the enclosure. The females toppled him and used him as a seven-foot rutting post (‘He was killed almost immediately when his head hit the floor. Thank God for small mercies’). Colin, with his squat porcine face and hairless head is of no interest to the monkeys. The males spit on the floor when he enters the enclosure and the females make retching sounds.

Today they are tired after their dance. Colin moves among them like Florence Nightingale: soundlessly, sexlessly, diligently. Forty-two monkeys. All respond to the injection instantly. Their arms sag and their knees curl but their eyes widen and whiten.

Colin is out in less than ten minutes. The technicians nod at him. ‘Let me show you some photos’ says the director. Moving to Colin’s side, he lifts an elegant leather-bound album from a table and opens it to reveal a sepia portrait of a shit mound. ‘Yes,’ says the director, ‘I know’. He turns the page. Another sepia photograph: the same faeces, but separated into two medium-sized balls.

‘I don’t need to ask you what you think’ says the director. Colin smiles and nods.

‘Well, what do you think?’ says the director, a little agitated.

‘Ohhhh… I don’t know much about art…’

‘..but you know what you like. Yes yes. Never mind the platitudes. What do you think?’

‘Well. The lens is a little out of focus. And better use could have been made of the available light source.’

The director grips the album. His head sinks. ‘You’re right.’ His face tightens. ‘Fuck these fucking monkeys. They’re a bad batch. We could have been miles ahead of where we are now if we had only chosen the monkeys more carefully.’

‘There was no way of knowing how any individual subject would respond to the injections’ interjects a technician, defensively.

‘Stop making excuses for yourselves’ shouts the director, throwing the album across the room. ‘Listen to Colin. He’s the only one here with any sort of disinterested aesthetic judgement.’ After the director paces off the technicians glower at Colin. He looks down embarrassedly and walks out of the observation room to the staff canteen.

Two years later, Colin has been promoted to the position of artistic adviser. He might be ugly, in monkey terms, but he has a keen eye for beauty. This, at least, is the belief of his employers. His job is frustrating. The monkeys’ work has improved, but it is still substandard. ‘Look at this, for instance’, Colin sighs in his monthly report to the directors. He shows them a painting of a mound of shit next to a waste paper bin executed in the Vorticist style.

‘What is wrong with that?’ asks a director, awkwardly conscious of his own philistinism.

‘Humans were doing this 100 years ago. And when they did, they did so energetically, passionately. This is lacklustre.’

‘Have they produced anything you like?’ asks another director.

‘Yes. One of them painted a triptych showing the triumph of the monkey pharaoh upon his return from the bowels of hell.’

‘I see. So there wasn’t any excrement in it?’

‘No, no. There was, there was. As far as I have been able to infer from their artistic efforts, hell is an actual bowel in monkey mythology. So is heaven. Heaven, hell and earth are bowels. Bowels in the body of the universal monkey.’

‘It has three bowels?’

‘So it would seem.’

‘But can we use the painting?’

‘If you like. But it was a fluke. As I understand it you want to have a good body of work ready before you make this project public.’

The directors mutter and grumble. ‘What are we doing wrong?’ one of them asks. ‘Maybe the dosage is wrong’

‘It’s not the dosage’ says the chairman. ‘We need to keep going. Keep forging ahead. By next year we will have an academy of artistic monkeys to match the Royal Academy. And then we will be unstoppable!

(end of chapter 1)

Rocky Balboa

May 18, 2010

After the unmitigated failure that was ‘Rocky Balboa’, Sylvester Stallone was banned from ever making a film again. What was worse, they chopped him into little bits and sold the resulting Stallone-meat as merchandise to tie in with the DVD release. Most of Stallone is currently in frozen storage in a Hollywood warehouse. Here is the advert for the Stallone-meat in question:

Boxer Meat! Two for a pound! Get yer Rocky Sausages. Two Italian-American pugilist’s cheeks tubed and lubed into a sexy sausage skin. Stick it in yer hot dogs! Whack it in yer mash! Two long Rocky dongers for one pound sterling. Primo cheek-meat in a meaty donger. Get yer Rocky bangers here.

Balboa Burgers! You wanna ingest Rocky’s abdominal muscles? Now you can good buddy. Three fat patties spanked flat. No gristle. No grease. Just lean, mean Rocky-belly in a puffy bap. I’ll stick ’em in a carrier bag for you or you can hold ’em all bloody and bulbous in yer paws like Jackie Onassis clutching JFK’s exploded brains in her hands and wishing she would have had a snack before she got in that fateful Dallas limo. Look at you. Lickin’ yer lips. I don’t blame yer buddy. These Balboa burgers are so tasty I could regurgitate them up then eat them all over again. Yummo. Scrummo.

Stallone Bollock Haggis! It’s a traditional Scottish recipe. It’s organic. It’s hearty. It’s Sly’s big fleshy testes in a cow’s stomach lining. Each teste weighed 2 stone. There’s enough for all of the family. Yer kids’ll never starve again. Feed Little Bobby one of these Ballbag haggises and he’ll grow up to be a hairy colossus and the scourge of weaker children everywhere.