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Archive for September 2009

“It were shit, but it were good…..”

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Bullseye (Challenge, Ch. 125, Sundays, 12 a.m.).  A simpler time on TV, and in general, life itself. Now, before you freak out, I am aware I am a mere 25, a quarter of a century years old. But in my short time on this planet, I have seen many cultural shifts.  But for now, let’s focus on the unbridled joy that was Bullseye.  Granted I was born in ’84 and the show was three years old by then, and I didn’t start watching it til I was six, in 1990. But I remember the sheer joy of seeing normal people enjoying themselves and throwing darts to win money. They were rewarded for skill, simple barter system, really.

On watching the re-runs, and ignoring the cheapness of the show (the most I’ve ever seen won was £700), that joy still shines through. First off, from the host, Jim Bowen. A stand up comedian, (after a stint as both a binman, and then a Head Teacher). His humour was the sort of end of the pier stuff, that still appeals to me. He doesn’t have the smackability factor of Vernon Kay, or the shiny breasts of Holly Willoughby, but a quick wit. Imagine if your uncle was a television host. My favourite one liner being:

“Now Steven you used to be what weight? Seventeen stone. Well done on the loss, you only look around thirteen stone now.”

The referee was Tony Green. Who let’s be honest looks like Elvis’ overweight father with that quiff. The contestants always were decent people, with no f****ing back story. Think about it, have you ever heard someone on Bullseye say, “Well, Jim. I wanna win this speedboat for my dead dad, who before he died, had all his limbs chopped off by Nazi Zombies, after they killed his dog?”. No,you didn’t. It was always Steve, a plumber from Stevenage, or a butch woman in stone clad denim. “Had a right good day, Jim…”.

That back story issue brings me, not as smoothly as I hoped, but nonetheless unto The X-Factor  (ITV). And similar “talent shows” such as Search For A Tranny Who’s A Granny, Can We Find A Male Chav That Washes? and The Saddest Back Story Should Probably Walk It. None of those shows exist in actuality. Well, until I assume power, at which point the following people will be shot:

Piers Morgan.

People who high five in public.

Anyone that has had any association, talks about, even thinks about Genesis.

Anyway, back to the point at hand. The X-Factor. I’m sorry, but let’s look at the “talent” they’ve produced. That stuttering, Beatle song-murdering, Jordan-botherer, Gareth Gates. Will Young. A man so bland, I half expected his middle name to be “Grey Face Flannel”, Ray Quinn, a butch lesbian trapped in a Liverpudlian teenage boy’s body. I could go on, but I won’t. They’re all shitcakes. Each and everyone of them.

Talent shows in the early 70’s and 80’s actually discovered talent. Talent that are mostly still around, working today. Lenny Henry is still packing ’em in. He was discovered on New Faces (ITV). Jim Davidson was also discov…. On second thoughts, scrap that comparison. Davidson is a washed up, unfunny c*** that should have been brought to the knacker’s yard years ago. In fact the only time I want to see Davidson on TV is in my new show, Afghan Rebels Hunt Down And Kill Jim Davidson.

Any good talent that was discovered, was. And they got by on talent, sheer natural, sometimes unusual talent. They did not have producers backstage asking them things like, “Yes, John that was fine. Do you have any family members that have any terminal illnesses. Because, let’s be honest, who wants to see a talented, yet ugly man? You don’t. You’re wasting your time here.”

So, please if you must watch X-Factor, think of this. You see a disfigured person, or a three legged dog in the street. Do you put on the kettle, make a sandwich and sit down to point and laugh? No, that’s disgusting. Who would do something as hideous? The ten million plus that watch The X-Factor. It’s a horrible, spiteful little Victorian freak show. And it needs to be stopped. Anyone have the number for Amnesty?

“That’s the Bullseye!”

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Written by thepanch

September 7, 2009 at 5:35 pm

The Beatles Week

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Ok, it’s not an official holiday, but damn it it should be! Whatever you want to call them, The Mop-Tops, The Four Lads That Shook The World, John, Paul, George and Ringo. Or indeed, The Beatles, you cannot deny their impact on the world, popular culture, and most importantly the music world.

Now a lot has been said about their greatness, and I don’t feel the need to add to the plethora of works that exist. I am merely a huge fan, and am going to let you make of that what you will. There are a treasure trove of things on the way, all to do with The Beatles.

The Beatles Rock Band hits the Wii, PS3, X-Box 360 next wedesday, the 9th of September. Also on that day, the complete reissued and remastered copies of The Beatles back catalogue. From Paul’s eponymous “1,2,3,4” start to I Saw Her Standing There on Please Please Me (1963), to the prophetic, “And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make”, from The End. The last song (unless you count Her Majesty) from 1969’s Abbey Road. The albums have merely been restored to the way they should have always sounded.

BBC 2 and BBC 4 are starting Beatles Week tonight on BBC 2. The schedule of programming is as follows:

Sat 5th September:

BBC 2:

9.40 p.m. : Timewatch : Beatlemania. An insight into The Beatles life on the road.

10.30 p.m. : The Beatles On Record : How the band developed in the studio over the years.

11.30 p.m. : Help! The Beatles second feature film. Not bad, but suffers from performances under the influence (ahem, of the herbal jazz cigarettes) and lacks the energy of A Hard Day’s Night, but a good fun film nonetheless.

Sunday, 6th September:

BBC 4:

8.00 p.m. : Storyville: How The Beatles Rocked The Kremlin : How The Beatles’ music may have contributed to the downfall of Communism in Russia.

9.00 p.m. : The Beatles On Record (rpt.)

10.00 p.m. : Pop Britannia: The history of British Pop Music.

 

Now stop reading, and go slap on The White Album. Great buzz of that album………

Written by thepanch

September 5, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Diluted Blood For The Bebo Generation

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If you say the word vampire to anyone, their immediate reaction, whether it be mental  or vocal, is usually “I vant to suck your blood.”. Which is quickly followed by a terrible over acted laugh, the image of Bela Lugosi pops up, complete with cape and oiled hair, everyone goes away happy. For many moviegoers, Lugosi was, is and always will be Dracula. (On a personal note, I agree). And vampires live in castles in Transylvania, they sleep in coffins and only feast on young buxom virgins. However, two recent movies have bucked the trend, and indeed the associated virtues of the vampire film. Both films focus on the relationships within the “vampire” movie, with vastly different results.

As in, one film handles it well, with sensitivity and grandeur. The other handles it with some pretty young things and a soundtrack guaranteed to make you vomit in your throat a little. (more on that later…) And because I’m a slightly cynical type of person at the best of times, coupled with a very personal, unexplainable dislike of Robert “I’m trying to play moody and angry, but I come across as though I’m just severely constipated” Pattinson, Twilight is the first under the hammer.

Firstly, I have to admit, I had little to no interest when I first heard of this movie. And after watching the full, gruelling hour and a bit of Catherine Hardwicke’s pedestrian effort, I feel justified in my knee jerk assumption. It begins well enough. A female voice over declares some sentimentality about love and hurt, then a shadowy figure can be heard breathing. A point of view shot, which leads to the pursuit of a deer accompanies the speech, needless to say it doesn’t end well for our four legged friend. And sadly, from this point on, it doesn’t go well for the two eyed viewer either.

 

The basic plot is about the new stereotype, sorry indie/emo/strangely attractive girl, Isabella Swan, arriving in Forks, Pittsburgh. Cue the troubled teenager checklist:

 

  1. Strained relationship with one of the estranged parents? Present
  2. Different to the majority of the school, apart from the other “outsiders?” Present
  3. Attractive in a quirky way, a way which will be seen later on? Present
  4. An emo soundtrack that seems to emanate from anywhere she happens to be? Present.

 

Anyway, hot emo girl has trouble fitting in. Go figure. A point that the director feels needs to be underscored by a slow – mo camera that shows the hot emo girl react to different social groups. A technique, while we’re here, that is overly used throughout the god-awful remainder. Most ridiculously in a fight (and I use that term loosely), between the two local vampire gangs. Don’t get excited, I was waiting for them both to break into a song and a dance. A pure waste of what could have been a tense confrontation.

Throughout, the film treats you like a moron. Robert “I’m still constipated” Pattison plays the lead, Edward Cohen like a panto villain, a very bad one. He raises his eyebrows when confused or angry. And if the fact that he is vampire was signposted anymore, he’d have an “I’m with Bitey” t-shirt on. If you have any knowledge of vampires, you will be aware of what happens when they come in contact with sunlight. They melt. Not in Forks, Pittsburgh, they light up like a cast member of The Hills.

The relationship between the two leads is also signposted straight off. Edward can’t be around Isabella (cos he’ll bite her, keep up). But he eventually falls in love and denies his inner lust. A possible decision by the studio, or the powers that be, to ensure they would not alienate all the teenyboppers who lap this claptrap up like catnip. Call me old, but I like my vampire films to have an animalistic, somewhat feral, possible erotic undercurrent. Genuine relationships between the vampire, and the lady he just cannot bring himself to kill. And not one that plays out like Vampire School Musical 4: Diluted Blood For The Bebo Generation.

Which brings me to Tomas Alfredson’s masterful telling of a similar story, Let The Right One In. The film focuses on young, Oskar. A genuine outsider, a fact that in this instance, the director handles fantastically with minimal examples. An absolutely terrible school life, with horrible, vicious little bullies. A home life that has an undercurrent of sadness, maybe divorce, but this is hinted at and not used as an opening. Oskar’s only ray of hope comes in the form of a mysterious girl, Eli.

Eli lives on the same estate as Oskar, is the same height as Oskar, but holds a terrible secret. A secret, which is shown in graphic detail at least four times. Oskar. Now I know what you’re thinking. “Jamie, that’s exactly what happened in Twilight”. I apologise, but I beg to differ. Twilight handled it like an extended version of an MTV music video, for a boy band video. Alfredson handles it like it is in real life. Sometimes, it’s hard to fit in, and eventually you find a person that you can be yourself with, in spite of each other’s flaws. And it’s handled without the use of slow-motion or cheesy emo / pop music.

To surmise, if you like your vampire films watered down, and if you’re 14, you will love Twilight. And you can Tweet something to your 14 your old friends like, “OMG, Robert Pattison is lush, pure lush!! LOL!! Xxxx”. You won’t find any LOL, or Xxxx’s in Let The Right One In. However, you will find an incredibly tender love story, which manages to generate emotion and ultimately love in among its sometimes violent story. Truly, a worthy find in this, the age of High School Musicals, Twitter and god-awful remakes. So do your self a favour, stop reading, put your coat on, and Let The Right One In. (I couldn’t help myself).

Written by thepanch

September 4, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Posted in Film Reviews

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