Panel vans, drive-ins, friendship rings & surfie beads. The ultimate coming-of-age film “Puberty Blues” is back. Based on the novel by the same name, written by the infamous Salami Sisters, namely Gabrielle Carey and Kathy Lette, “Puberty Blues” traces the adventures of Debbie (Nell Schofield) and her life-long companion Sue (Jad Capelja). Two teenagers are desperately trying to break into the “in” group who dominate Greenhill Beach. Once they are accepted into the group, they realise that the laid-back, ultra-cool façade is just that: a glossy cover-up. As they fall into all of the group’s vices, including drug-usage and casual sex, they willingly present themselves to the males of the group as virtual slaves, ready to serve their pre-chosen lover’s every need. Soon though, the girls grow tired of playing the victim role, and they work to regain respect and equality. From the Academy Award Winning Australian Director Bruce Beresford (“Driving Miss Daisy”, “The Club”, “Barry McKenzie” & “Black Robe”), “Puberty Blues” is the ultimate Australian beach classic.
1981 – Certificate: M – Australian Film
7.0 out of 10
As you should already know, I’ve recently become a fully fledged Pavement Warrior, in recognition of my bravery in standing up to greedy, urban footpath-hogging bastards. Just because this is an entirely self-administered qualification, shouldn’t reduce its significance. Indeed, as I’m the only Pavement Warrior in existence, it does in fact make the award all the more special. As part of my walk to and from work, I have to pass the planet-sized Tesco store on the Oxford Road in Reading. Behind the store is its car park, a car park so big that the other side of it is hidden by the curvature of the Earth. I have little choice but to cross this expanse of tarmac on my journey, corner to corner. Given its lack of surface features I need to navigate by compass; the tarmac interferes with GPS signals by destabilising the Earth’s magnetic field, as its metallic components combine with a thousand lost Smartphone signals to set up a sort of virtual Faraday Cage. Many a time I’ve come across lost shoppers, wondering hopelessly amongst the endless rectangular parking bays, surviving on the remains of their shopping, desperate to locate their cars before they starve to death; (which is somewhat ironic given the nature of Tesco’s core business). In winter I battle hurricane force winds and horizontal rain; whilst in summer baking hot temperatures and sunlight reflected from the ground, test me to my physical and mental limits. Now, you know those films where heroes walk out to their aircraft, before flying off to almost certain death? I’m thinking of “Battle of Britain” or Tom Cruise in “Top Gun”. (Except in the “Battle of Britain” they always ran to their aircraft and they were genuine heroes, whilst Tom Cruise swaggered to his jet like the overpaid Hollywood actor he is.) Well today in the Tesco car park I saw something very similar. Two guys were slowly walking out across the barren tarmac, their hair blowing in the summer wind, dressed in their Tesco high-vis jackets. They were going to their home delivery vans. I knew they were about to go ‘out there’ alone, face unknown horrors*, deliver their payloads and if lucky, God willing, return safely again. (*Such as ignorant home-shoppers who don’t even help them carry the bags from the vans to their kitchen tables, because they paid a few pounds for the privilege of having someone else do their shopping for them and expect to treat the delivery guys like their personal slaves for five minutes.) As they started their engines and drove slowly out of sight, I felt quite humbled and I’m not ashamed to admit it bought a lump to my throat. Home delivery drivers are the new heroes! This film has two heroes of its own.
Made in 1981, this movie is a nearly random slice of life in what I guessed passed for teenage normality in Australia around that time in the sort of place it features. This appeared to consist of thoughtless guys on surfboards who just put up with girls so they could have sex, (or root them as they tended to put it); and stupid young women who went along with this. It has all the normal stuff you’d expect, late periods, drug overdoses, drinking too much, ‘condom problems’, parental confusion, an ‘in-crowd’, drive-ins, ‘growing-up’, etc. This is an unusual film, in that it’s pretty boring but weirdly compelling too. For some reason Debbie reminded me of Wayne Rooney. (Facially at least; I doubt Rooney’s body looks like hers in a bikini.)
I hated the theme tune. Strangely it fitted the move well, but it was a dreadful dirge of the worst kind. However, I did rather like the version of Split Enz’s “Nobody Takes Me Seriously” that plays over the ‘climatic scene’ near the end of the movie.
Recommended for surfers, Australians, fans of Australian school uniforms (like they used to wear in “Neighbours”) and Wayne Rooney haters.
1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations. A lovely black cat makes an appearance in a bedroom scene. (No, not ‘that’ sort of bedroom scene). It provides a master-class in how to lay on a bed and look cute.
Top badass moment? After 77 minutes of film-time living in the gender stone-age, Debbie and Sue finally realise that they can be something more. Overcoming a lifetime of stereotyping has got to hard-core badass.
Intensely grotesque and shocking as hell, “Feed” is a heavyweight thrill ride through the depths of depravity. A veteran of cyberporn investigations, Australian cop Philip Jackson is no stranger to the dangerous side of sexual fetishes. He may have found his sickest case yet when he discovers a sinister side to an American website devoted to fat-admiring men and obese women called “feeders” and “gainers.” Could the man behind it all be force-feeding missing women to death? Tense, dark and deeply disturbing, director Brett Leonard (“The Lawnmower Man”, “Virtuosity”) takes the crime-thriller genre to a twisted, gut-wrenching new level.
2005 – Certificate: Not Rated – USA
7.5 out of 10
This film provided me with the ideal opportunity to review how my secret, special, weight management programme (aka my diet) is going. I’ve now been on it for 46 days. Mystifyingly, I haven’t lost 35kg yet, my initial target. I thought it would only take a week or two, but apparently it takes long than that. I don’t actually own any scales, so it’s difficult to be sure, but my wardrobe of retro trousers and other clothing from the 80s and 90s still remains stubbornly undersized. It’s amazing how modern washing powders make most clothes shrink, isn’t it? However, I do think I’ve lost some weight; if I breathe in enough, my trousers definitely seem looser. You know how they say that ex-smokers are the worst type of non-smoker? Well, what really drives me on is looking forward to being able to go up to fat people in the street and tell them they’re weak-willed, hideously ugly, pathetic, lazy, stupid and a serious drain on the NHS that people like me are forced to pay for; basically human garbage. Most of them can’t even be bothered to breathe in a bit; no community spirit at all, they’re just so selfish. In comparison, I have a Zen-like ability to control my mind and body, like David Carradine in the 70s TV series “Kung Fu”. Like him, my training and sense of social responsibility repeatedly forces me out into the open, to fight for justice or protect the underdog; which in my case would mainly mean telling fat people they’re fat, well once I’m not one of them, obviously. Sometimes you have to be tough to be kind. I’m not without compassion though. In school you learn about epidemics involving bubonic plague, flu, smallpox, malaria, cholera, etc; but I can tell you nothing’s as bad as the present Obesity Epidemic. I’ve seen what it’s like; cakes, sweets, beer, burgers, takeaways, chocolate, all sitting in shop after shop on the high street. It’s awful, having to stuff yourself silly with junk food and other crap; let me tell you it’s Hell out there. I’m glad to say I’ve never suffered from bubonic plague, but nothing could be as bad as having to sit on the sofa all evening watching TV and eating a big tin of sweets.
This is another ‘cop on the edge’ film, taking the law into his own hands, who doesn’t get on with his boss, etc, etc, zzzzz. Fortunately it’s also got a pretty unique focus for the story, some great characters and a nice, dark, stylish atmosphere; I really liked how the music was used in it too. And let’s not forget our hero’s somewhat vivacious girlfriend. Burnt out by his time as a ‘cyberporn cop’, Australian police officer Phillip Jackson begins investigating the activities of a guy who feeding a woman to death on the Internet, whilst others are betting on when she’ll die. When he gets told to ‘take some time off’, he decides to go to America to track down this guy. Depending on your world view, you’ll either find this movie perverted, cool or totally gross. I liked it, but I can image a lot of people hating it. Beyond the obvious plot, there’s quite a lot going on under the surface as well, about the nature of relationships, love, all that girly stuff. Interestingly, the deleted senses remove a whole subsection of the film’s plot; it’s a while since I’ve seen that happen. I recommend having a really big meal and then sitting down to watch it with some of your larger friends.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Recommended for fatties of course. It provides the idea incentive to go on a diet.
Top badass moment? Bad guy Carter’s conversation with Phillip Jackson in the hotel room. It’s a load of psycho babble but it sounds sort of cool, until you remember he’s a complete nutter. I’m not sure the coffee was that great though.
Watching the Power Rangers is a bit like standing on a bridge over a motorway and watching the traffic, secretly hoping you’ll see a crash. You know you shouldn’t do it, you know you don’t really want anything to happen and you know it’s going to be really horribly if it does; yet you stand there, staring at the road, as the cars, vans and lorries pass under you. The sad truth is, the Power Rangers are awful in just about every way that science has so far come up with to measure awfulness. They’re so nauseatingly wholesome; I can’t express in words the desperate, primeval need I have to see one of them, just once, swear, or something, anything. They’re so cheery, positive and supportive of one another, in the worst sort of way that only Americans can truly articulate. And why, in such a closely knit group of teenage friends that seem to basically hang out together 24/7, is there less sexual chemistry between them than you find in a row of teddy bears on a supermarket shelf? (The ‘relationship’ between Kimberly and Tommy doesn’t count; that’s just embarrassing.) If there’s a porn parody of the Power Rangers, it’s probably got a U Certificate. (Okay I just checked and yes they do exist). And in a series that’s featured more than its fair share of Yellow and Pink Power Ranger babes, why have they never managed to put any of them in something truly figure-hugging? A hugely wasted marketing opportunity if you ask me. However, I’m nothing if not balanced in my world view. So in an effort to see both sides of the story, I probably should collate the evidence for the defence, however pitiful that might be. So what do we have here? Well, as superheroes they don’t do a bad job; as of today they’ve been consistently on TV in one form or another for 19 years. It has to be said that they’ve probably saved the world more times than Batman or Superman, so for that alone we probably do owe them our thanks. That long, overarching story-arc does give them considerable gravitas too. And in the world of superhero franchises, which is ruled by a duopoly of DC Comics and Marvel, the Power Rangers are very much the Liberal Democrats. And let’s be quite honest here, who hasn’t moved their arm quickly through the air and made that “swoosh” noise that only the Power Rangers can truly make their own? Going on, admit it, you have haven’t you? And who doesn’t think it would be at least just a little bit cool to be able to fly a Zord or (even better) a Megazord? And finally, who hasn’t ever had a crush on one of them at some point? For the lads, the Pink Ranger has always seemed to be the focus of this, er, respect. In this case, tiny ex-gymnast Amy Jo Johnson; I doubt anyone in the history of superheroes has ever looked less likely to win in a fist fight than she does.
1995 – Certificate: PG
Rating Details: Language: infrequent, very mild. Sex/nudity: none. Violence: some, fantasy. Other: none.
Oh, the film itself? Well it’s pants of course, from the sky-diving start to the fireworks finale; but them being so nice and everything, I just can’t bring myself to hate it, even though that’s what it deserves. It has got a bikini-warrior babe in it. I saw this film when it was first released at the cinema. I saw it with someone called Tracy, who I think fancied me a bit; (look, it was a long time ago okay). So I do have a bit of a soft spot for it. And I bought the CD single of the soundtrack too. I also have to admit here that I’ve recently purchased Season 1 of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, with a view to buying all of them in the end, right up to next year’s Power Ranger Megaforce and beyond. Fact is, the Power Rangers may well be my most guilty secret. Blimey, I could write so much about this!
Recommended for grown-ups who’d rather not grow up anymore, (a bit like some sort of breakfast cereal, but I can’t remember which one now).
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws. (Wow, big surprise there…)
Top badass moment? Ninja Megazord, power up! Ninja Falcon Megazord! It’s morphin’ time! Sabre-toothed tiger! Etc! Taking time out to say stuff like that really, really fast in the middle of a fight, is definitely badass.