I was driving home tonight and turning off the M3. At the junction a car had just broken down in the middle lane of three, at a set of traffic lights. (A BMW, ha-ha-ha). The driver behind it got all inpatient and started flashing and honking the broken-down driver. Then he suddenly pulled into the inside lane right in front of me, forcing me to brake hard and throw everything off the seat next to me and onto the floor, before he drove straight through the now red light. Asshole. If my car’s lights had been lasers (the sci-fi gun version, not the CD reading version), I’d have blown him to pieces, such was my annoyance. I doubt he heard it, but my language would have embarrassed more than just a nun too. People like that should be taken outside and shot. And no, I’m not going to give him a second chance on the assumption that he’d just had a bad day. My life might not amount to much, but I’m going to waste it at my discretion, not some stupid moron behind the wheel of a car’s. And talking of nuns, I thought this film was going to be about them.
2005 – Certificate: PG – USA
Rating Details: Mild language and sex references
Anyway, there I was, on Saturday evening, ready to watch what I thought was going to be a sleazy 70s, exploitation flick about nuns and kinky underwear. So you can imagine my disappointment when, on starting to view this film, instead of seeing nuns running around losing their clothing and wearing each other’s panties, I got a chick flick about four young friends and a pair of second-hand jeans. Bloody American’s, why do they have to mess about with OUR language; pants are, well, pants, not trousers or jeans. And a sisterhood really ought to have something to do with convents. With hindsight, I suppose the PG certificate and the “Perfect film for teen girls” splash on the front cover should have warned me, but I thought they were just part of the marketing; I didn’t think they, you know, really meant what they said. Anyway, to make the best of a bad job I watched it; I guess someone has to. After the first ten minutes I was already tiring of the four-teenage-girls-all-talk-and-giggle-at-once-about-nothing narrative. Still, a film has to be pretty bad for me to totally give up on it, so I persevered; and I’m glad I did. What I ended up with was a really great movie about four friends who are separated one summer for the first time and how they keep in touch with one another, grow as individuals and ensure their friendship remains intact. (Sounds a bit bluurrgg, doesn’t it?) To be honest, some of the subtleties of this were probably lost on me; I’m an old(ish) bloke, so I’ve next to no chance of understanding teenage angst or relationships; hell, I didn’t even understand them when I was a teenager, although come to think of it, that’s maybe the point of them. Okay, so it’s all a bit dumb, the ending is a bit too upbeat for my liking and the four main characters could basically be summed up as rebel, slut, wallflower and latch-key kid. But it’s all done with such sincerity that it’s hard not to get swept along with it. Most of it’s pretty lightweight stuff as you’d expect and the plot goes everywhere and nowhere, but every now and again a scene came along that enabled the whole movie to punch above its weight. It’s been done a million times before in films, but the scene in the hospital was a genuinely great bit of acting and you’d have to be made of stone not to be affected by it. I’m not sure if it’s a perfect film for teen girls, but it worked for this cynical old guy. I didn’t even miss there being no nuns in it either; (it does have some panties though). I wonder what the follow-up is like?
Recommended for teenage girls (according to the Sunday Mirror); and old blokes who are willing to step outside their comfort zones. (But if you need an excuse lads, it has some women’s football in it too.)
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.
Top badass moment? The subplot involving Tibby and Bailey is especially affecting; (or is it effecting, I can never remember)? This had lots of little scenes that are really quite special. Learning to care about someone is one thing; learning to show it is another. This is badass.
Let’s talk houseplants. I’ve just spent 20 minutes looking for a plastic container that I use to water my houseplants. It’s quite large and bright yellow. My flat isn’t exactly what you’d describe as huge, so a 20 minutes search for something so big and brightly coloured should have been about as difficult as locating a computer that has Google set up at its homepage, in Google’s headquarters. I was about to go into an explanation that part of my flat had probably passed through some sort of distortion in the space-time continuum recently and that my watering container had somehow fallen into a rip in continuum; but then I found it; (by which I mean the watering container, not a distortion in the space-time continuum). How it stupidly got itself wedged nearly behind the hot-water tank I’ll never know; perhaps there is some ‘new physics’ at work here after all? Anyway, I’ve watered all of my modest collection of houseplants now. One of my plants is an Easter Cactus. I’ve had this for more years than I can remember and it’s followed me about from place to place as I’ve moved homes over the years. It’s not that big but it does grow some new leaves (well technically I think their part of its stem) each year, as it quietly passes the time in a pot hanging from the ceiling. In all this time the ungrateful so-and-so has never so much as offered me a single flower. However, the BIG NEWS is that when I was watering just now, I noticed two, big, vivid red, flower buds on it! A discovery of this magnitude seriously rates alongside that of penicillin and fire. If an alien walked into my flat now and ask me to take (him?/her?/it?) to my leader, I’d be less interested in that than in the flowers-to-be on my plant. The level of excitement and anticipation in my life has just increased by a magnitude of, em, something really, really big; like the universe for example. After what’s been a pretty miserable start to the year in Cactus World, when news of this leaks out onto the streets there’s going to be some serious partying going on. Oh no, I’ve wet myself…again. By the way, this film didn’t feature any houseplants whatsoever. (Well okay, there was a pot on the motel front desk that looked like it might have some sort of plant growing in it, but it didn’t look very healthy. There was also a bigger plant in the room elsewhere, but I have a feeling that wasn’t real. The motel’s owner didn’t come across as the sort of person that would be that good with plants.)
2007 – Certificate: 15 – USA
Rating Details: Sustained terrorisation and strong violence
This is actually a very good movie. In fact I’d go as far as to say that in the crowded ‘group trapped somewhere and being stalked by a mad killer’ genera, it’s one of the best. Much of it is pretty generic, (broken down car, no mobile signal, spooky motel in the middle of nowhere, etc), but what makes it different is that its two main characters actually behave in a generally sensible, consistent and logical way; (I’d definitely have trashed all the ‘hidden’ cameras though, if it was me). This in turn makes it feel a much more realistic film and consequently a lot more scary than it might otherwise have been. It made me jump several times; all that banging on the doors! It’s got Kate Beckinsale in it too, looking lovely as ever. However much she kicks Lycan (or whoever’s it is) ass in the “Underworld” films, she’ll always be that nice, girl-next-door in “Shooting Fish” to me; the latter is also the only film I’ve ever been kicked out of a cinema while watching, although I have to say this was less to do with my behaviour and more to do with the fire alarm going off; it was quite a while before I bought it on DVD and saw the ending.
No cats and no decapitations.
Recommend for scary film fans. Not recommend for houseplant fans.
Top badass moment? When you’re being chased by thugs making a snuff movie, starring you, pretty well any excuse you use to turn the role down is going to be badass. They’re plenty of examples here, but when a director wants you it’s pretty hard to get across that “no” means no.