Each summer in the UK an ever-increasing number of music festivals seem to be organised. Every year we hold Wimbledon on almost all open courts. We insist on trying to have barbeques. We invented a sport, cricket, which relies on almost totally dry conditions for it to take place. And this year we have the Olympics too. Why is anyone the least bit surprised that the weather is being especially wet at present? (June was the wettest on record and half the country seems to be under threat of being flooded as I write this.) We should be proud that the British weather has raised it game to give us the sort of summer that befits the Olympics. Floods, lack of sunshine, torrential rain. I’m just worried that by the time the Olympics start, we’ll find that the weather has ‘gone too early’ (like a 1,500m runner starting his ‘run for home’ at the wrong time) and it might end up being a bit nicer next month. I want all the millions of visitors that are coming to the UK to enjoy the full range of experiences our special weather can offer them. We don’t need the drama of hurricanes, tornadoes or years of drought, our naturally understated thunderstorms, grey, drizzly weekends and ‘unseasonally cool for the time of year’ days is what they’re really coming for; I don’t want anyone to go home disappointed. Yeh! Yeh! Jet Stream go! You rule! The idea that we might actually get what we technically refer to as ‘nice weather’ anytime soon, is frankly absurd; a little like this film really.
1983 – Certificate: PG – USA
This ‘historical’ drama would be so easy to ridicule and quite frankly it deserves to be. For a start, it has a pretty ludicrous plot. It conveniently ‘ignores’ loads of issues that would have made things a whole lot harder than they actually appear to be, (money anyone)? It majors on continually reinforcing the notion that men and women have to stick to a strict code of social behaviours and expectations (that would give even a Thomas Hardy novel a run for its money); but then when they’re ignored it doesn’t seem to produce any consequences. It has a 40-year-old woman trying to play the part of a young woman passing herself off as a teenage boy, (her ‘disguise’ is even less convincing than Batman’s), who frequently bursts into song; (yes, it’s a musical too). After about 20 minutes I was ready to give up watching it. I was asking myself, why on earth had I bought this film? I don’t really like ‘period pieces’; (grown-up’s translation = historical dramas). I don’t especially enjoy musicals either. But then something really weird happened; it actually got, well, interesting. As soon as it started up with the pseudo-cross-dressing-gay-lesbian stuff, things improved loads! Well okay it’s a PG film, so don’t expect anything very explicit, but for a movie that’s basically ridiculous on nearly every level, it actually manages to feel quite realistic and touching. It also builds a decent amount of tension around the idea that her true identify as a woman might be discovered at any moment; I was sitting there getting agitated thinking, when are one of these stupid people going to realise she’s actually a woman; it’s like so totally obvious)? I have to say that Babs (that’s what Barbra Streisand’s fans seem to call her) does look rather fetching in it too. So yes, in the end I did quite enjoy it and consequently have to now file it away under lock and key as a guilty pleasure.
Recommended for Avril Lavigne fans who want a new kind of idol.
No cats and no decapitations.
Top badass moment? Barbra Streisand’s character Yentl/Anshel sticking it to ‘The Man’. At a time and place when women weren’t allowed to go to school but basically had to just hang around at home making dinner and babies, Babs most defiantly gives the finger to all and sundry. That’s badass!
I went to the dentist yesterday. The good news was that I didn’t need any treatment. The bad news was that I need to have a wisdom tooth removed. Having spoken to three people about this since, all of whom it turned out have had more than one of these teeth removed, I now realise that having my head amputated would be somewhat less painful and traumatic. When a dentist has a look and goes “oooooh”, then you know her next line isn’t going to be good news. My dentist’s helpful suggestion was that I should see one of her colleagues, as he’s better at extractions; and stronger. I wouldn’t mind, but it’s not hurting me or bothering me in the least. Who named them wisdom teeth anyway? They’re clearly very stupid teeth! Probably my earliest childhood memory is of having a tooth taken out at the dentist, screaming my head off in pain and my mum coming in and giving the dentist a piece of her mind; I recall she had him pinned up against the wall, which was very out of character for her! To say having the opportunity to revisit this experience now I’m a grown-up is not top of my plans this summer, would be an understatement of galactic proportions. I’m seriously considering giving up food entirely and just living on tepid, filtered, distilled water. I’m sure I can probably do it myself anyway, with a pair of pliers or something. I’m struggling to identify what the connection might be between this film and my impending operation, but I felt I needed to share the latter.
2006 – Certificate: 15 – France
Rating Details: Moderate Violence, Suicide Scene, Brief Nudity and Strong Language
The Last of the Crazy People is a French film, in French. After quite a long run of other sorts of films, it was good to get back to one of my favourite sub-genera, the dysfunctional family. In this case it lives on a farm in France, not that there’re actually any scenes of farming going on in it. I’m not sure what to make of it really. It’s very slow, it has no music in it whatsoever and there are quite long periods when not a lot seems to be happening. The main character in it is a ten-year-old boy called Martin, who’s basically neglected and ignored by most of the other people in the film who are too busy with their own problems; most of what’s going on is seen from his prospective. I feel watching it probably ought to have had more of an effect on me than it did, but somehow I didn’t really feel very sorry for any of the characters and the more shocking scenes felt a bit flat. (I probably watch too many Hollywood blockbusters with lots of noise and explosions in them to help me to understand what’s going on.) The boy who plays the part of Martin, does manage to look suitably miserable for virtually the entire film and is really very convincing, which helps the quality of the movie greatly. He also walks exactly like Bod. (If you don’t know who Bod is I suggest you type “Bod” in to YouTube.) A few years ago I went through a phase of trying to write film reviews on the Amazon web site, which included writing one about this movie. I eventually realised that my irrelevant and childish ramblings didn’t fit well with the average, serious Amazon DVD buying person; my review for this one is presently being found “helpful” by 7 out of 14 people; or to put it another way, it’s being found unhelpful by 7 out of 14 people.
Recommended for pissed off ten-year-olds everywhere. Not so good for people interested in studying modern developments in agricultural land management in France.
1 cat and no decapitations. The cat, a big ginger and white one, had a speaking part and appeared in five scenes! Sadly it’s last one involved it being run over and then put into a freezer. It did look suspiciously like it had been drugged for this last one too, which didn’t impress me one bit.
Top badass moment? Any ten-year-old who singlehandedly takes on responsibility for sorting out his family’s problems, is badass personified. So okay, his solution was a little unorthodox, but it probably worked.