There’s horror in the halls… lynching in the lunchroom… murder in the metal shop. Welcome to “Slaughter High”, where the students are dying to get out! In high school, Marty was the kid all the students teased, taunted and tortured mercilessly. One day, things went too far; one of their jokes backfired, disfiguring Marty for life. Now, five years later, Marty has arranged a special reunion for all his high school “friends.” The prom queen, the jock, the class clown, the rebel and a few select others have been invited… and it’s going to be a gala of gore!
1986 – Certificate: Unrated – American Film
7.0 out of 10
I’m crap at everything. However, I try very hard and surround myself with more able and talented people, which in some limited cases enables me to function in society without everyone pointing in my direction, or crossing the road when they see me coming. Yesterday was a good case in point. I spent all of it trying to complete a quotation (that a colleague had already done most of the work for), in response to a competitive tender document for a project to help set up a new community group, to care for the areas along the line of an old railway. It didn’t really come with any sort of structure for what it was asking for, which means trying to do it was like trying to play a game that no one’s explained the rules to me about. All that choice! Vegans don’t deal with choice well; it’s typically the green salad, or chips, or nothing for us. At about half past four I found myself staring at the words on the screen, able to read and understand them, but totally unable to work out what they meant, or how one string of them (a thing we call a sentence) related to any other. Talk about not being able to see the wood for the trees. Somehow I managed to complete about 98% of it, although when I proof-read it this morning most made less sense than a wall covered in a bucket full of scrabble letters and monkey sick. There was one little bit that I had to complete by hand and I swear it looks like a six-year-old did it. I don’t think I can write anymore; I used to have lovely handwriting too. Sometimes I feel like life is teasing me for a laugh. One day I’ll react like Marty in this film….
Oh dear, it’s the uncut version of a ‘forgotten classic’. To be fair it’s probably not that obscure and it’s probably not that bad either. It’s not boring anyway. Here we have a group of young adults who behave in an almost entirely irrational way, an isolated location, a seriously pissed off guy harbouring a grudge… and you know the rest. The murders are a mixed bag; I guess my favourite was the electric shock during sex, although the lawnmower one isn’t too bad either. Did I like Marty the vengeful killer? Well he was/is a dork, but clearly after his injury the law failed to provide him with the justice he genuinely did deserve, so in a way I can’t blame him for taking things into his own hands. The guy had probably had a very successful and exciting career ahead of him too. Actually, the more I think about it the more I realise that he really is the victim here. The fact that the group that bullied him didn’t even seem to have any remorse for what they did, even though the outcome probably was an accident and unintended, just makes things worse. What a nasty set of individuals. Awful. I’m glad they’re all dead now. And another thing, the level of health & safety in the school’s science lab was woeful. Seriously, no one would store a really large, glass bottle of nitric acid on top of a narrow, wobbly, free-standing shelf unit that itself is sitting on top of a table in the middle of a room, not even in the 80s. And the bottle wasn’t labelled properly either. And where were Marty’s gloves and protective goggles? He didn’t strike me as the sort of guy who wouldn’t wear them because he didn’t look cool. Then again, he does appear to take the time to take his Doddsville County High School jacket off in the middle of his science experiment starting to blow up all around him, so I guess his appearance did matter a lot to him, which probably explains why he got so worked up about being hideously burnt. For that matter, why wasn’t he being supervised? I know the school only appeared to have one teacher, who worked in the gym, but even so. I know, I’m probably over analysing things. Despite its intentions, the most offensive thing in the whole movie was the dreadfully racist scene involving the Black caretaker. I image this is one of Jeremy Clarkson’s favourite movies.
Musically we’re deep into 80s low-budget territory. Yes, very deep.
The trailer isn’t so bad, although it does manage to give away the entire plot and partly show a number of the murders too. Then again, the plot isn’t exactly an original and you don’t get to see all of the murders.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations. Surprisingly.
Top badass moment? No one likes a bully. And we like groups of bullies even less. So it’s high-fives all round for Marty, as he slowly dispatches them all one by one. Also, given the speed at which he appears to be able to get from place to place at around the school, he’s apparently invented some sort of personal teleportation device too. That’s seriously badass; or just dreadful editing.
I’ve not seen this yet, but we all like films about deluded psychos, don’t we?
Produced by actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna (“Y Tu Mama Tambien”), this sharp Mexican thriller focuses on two troubled teens, who attempt an impossible rebellion against the adult world and embark on a revolt against everything and everyone. This leads them to an accidental new intimacy and discovery of their sexuality, a bond that both unites and confuses them. But with the police and their parents in hot pursuit, will their actions have major consequences?
2008 – Certificate: 15 – Mexican Film
Rating Details: Strong language, sex and moderate violence
6.0 out of 10
I’ve been vegan for nearly 25 years. This probably makes me a better person than you mentally, emotionally, physically, sexually and anyotherlly. But it’s just a fact of life; don’t let it worry you too much. Throughout this time I’ve drunk soya milk. I’ve not been an especially big fan of the stuff, but it works okay in tea. It’s not something that I choose to drink on its own or put on cereal, although some of the flavoured types are okay. I’ve tried most of the other plant milks too, such as almond, pea, oat, rice and cashew; most of these (with the exception of the rice one which is really nice but very watery) cost more and taste worse. However, as part of one of my recent visits to M&S to spend the vouchers I’d won, (which have sadly all been spent now), I purchased a couple of cartons of soya milk. Nothing very odd about that, except this was the fresh type, not the UHT treated version I normally drink. I bought it out of curiosity; I’ve never actually tried any before as it’s so much more pricey than the UHT stuff. And wow, it’s like a totally different drink. It actually tastes really nice, is really creamy and totally yummy. I’ve since tried a different brand and although it tasted a bit different, it was still really good. Unfortunately, this now means I’ve developed a bit of an expensive, ‘real’ soya milk fetish. I hope it’s not illegal. Perhaps I should try injecting it? Like most films, this one has some illegal things in it. (Are there many that don’t?)
This is a Mexican film. For those of you that don’t know where Mexico is, it’s the part of the US that’s got a decent football team and its entire population is employed picking all the oranges everyone eats. If you’re Mexican, the police will also take you home from work each day, which helps cut down on commuting expenses. This is one of those movies that the overview tends to big up somewhat. “..an impossible rebellion against the adult world and embark on a revolt against everything and everyone.”? I’ll just translate… “…two youngsters that spend most of their time camping on the roof of one of their homes and spying on their parents getting pissed off because they think they’ve gone missing; and then going down and taking food and drink when no one is in, a fact that seems to go entirely unnoticed.” There, I think you’ll find that’s a lot more accurate. The boy, Román, is immensely annoying. His female sidekick, Maru, isn’t much better. They come across as selfish, clueless and nihilistic in that way that only those with sufficient money can afford to be, with an idea of what they want to do but no real plan of how to do it. I guess that’s exactly what they were meant to be, but it didn’t stop me wanting to give them a good shake and tell them to wise up. I’m afraid there just weren’t enough SMART targets for me. I find when I’m busy smashing the system, it’s helpful to have some Gantt charts and regular appraisals of my performance to help my forward planning in relation to overthrowing The Man. But that’s just me.
There is a great deal of music used in the film, although most of it tends to blend into the background and get on with doing its stuff there. There is one tune that’s used a number of times (and towards the end of the trailer) that’s really quite a decent tune. For some inexplicable reason, the overlong trailer uses a PiL song which has no other connection to the film. But then again, do we really need an excuse to hear John Lydon?
Recommended for slightly corrupt and/or self-aggrandising politicians, and kids of ‘absent’ parents with loads of money.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? These days young people don’t rebel. They’re more interested in finding out about pension schemes and getting pissed off because they can’t afford a mortgage until they reach the age of 60; assuming they can even get a job. I blame it on dull indie rock; Mogadon music for the masses. Román and Maru may have been immensity irritating but at least they were trying. Youth rebellion is always badass.
Neil (Guillermo Diaz) has been a vegetarian for one thousand two hundred and sixty-three days. He and his girlfriend Daisy like to spend their days skateboarding, drinking organic coffee, and driving around talking about the state of the world. Their idyllic existence is shattered when Neil’s father, Vic, reveals his grand plan for Neil to become a third generation butcher and work with him in the Father and Son butcher shop. With no job to support himself and nowhere else to live, Neil is left with little choice but to report to work with his father. Faced with the bloody reality of slabs of dead meat, Neil runs screaming from the shop, and keeps running and running and running, until he ends up in a deserted skateboard park. There he has a visionary encounter with a Chicken Man, who kicks his ass and shows him how hypocritical his pseudo-political lifestyle has been. With the Chicken Man’s inspirational words ringing in his head, “You know what you are supposed to do,” Neil returns to his life with a mission to change the world.
2005 – Certificate: Not Rated – American Film
6.5 out of 10
As we all know, vegans are inherently more intelligent and all-around better than anyone else. We also know that we’ll eventually inherit the Earth too; (I’m afraid the meek will just have to piss off down the job centre and look for something else to do). True, it will probably resemble the inside of a Chinese takeaway’s wheelie bin by then, but it’s the principle that’s important here. We look upon mere vegetarians as uneducated children, people with the potential to become civilised, but who have many dark sides to overcome and quests they need to undertake, before they attain true enlightenment. Yes, I know there’re a lot more vegetarians about than vegans but really, they’re a bit like the Lib Dems, no one takes them seriously do they? One pizza or the whiff of bacon cooking and they’re slobbering like a St. Bernard, apologising for their dietary ‘aberration’, in an attempt to appease their cannibalistic, meat-eating friends, in case the latter get offended. If a vegan walks into a room, people take notice; think The Terminator. (That’s probably not the best analogy, but it’s all I can come up with right now.) When I walk into a room, people make their excuses and leave. If I spot a non-vegan woman who I feel shows ‘potential’ and I explain to her that as a vegan we can’t actually breed as we’re basically different species so it’s okay for us to ‘do stuff’ together, she will inevitably make her excuses and leave too. I guess the offer is just too awesome and mind-blowing for them to cope with. I can appreciate that viewpoint; I have each and every one of the 453 times it’s happened. This film is about a mere vegetarian. One who realises that trying to negotiate your enemy into surrender isn’t always possible.
A lot of the time there’s not much really going on in this drama/comedy/horror; the characters mostly sit around and talk about uninteresting stuff. In fact it’s so bad, Neil even speaks directly to the viewers, to give us some insight into what he’s thinking. There aren’t a lot of films like that. There aren’t a lot of films without a trailer either, but I think this might be one of them. Actually, I think Neil is probably a sociopath; he really doesn’t seem to care a lot about those around him, even his family, girlfriend and best mate. He looks like he does but really, it’s all for show. A typical, serial killer personality trait. I personally blame it on all the milk and cheese he probably eats. I suspect there’s a tendency for all vegetarians to be that way inclined; can eat this, can’t eat that, I’m a lacto-ovo-talkbollocksaboutfoodo vegetarian so I can basically decide what I eat depending on what mood I’m in, etc. It’s so complicated, no wonder it messes with their heads. All that angst and guilt about everything. Even the word vegetarian is (if you’ll excuse the pun) a mouthful; does it really need five syllables? And vegetarianism? That’s seven. By the time you’ve explained what you are to someone and what you can and can’t eat, you’ll have starved to death. No wonder they’re all so thin. Look what happened to Robocop in “Robocop 2” when he had too many Prime Directives to deal with. They should all just be vegan, it’s a whole lot simpler; if you like it you can’t eat it. Even I can understand that. Oh the film? Actually it’s not bad at all; I’ve probably made it sound worse than it is.
The film sports a great soundtrack made up of songs by numerous and mostly obscure punk rock bands. It’s good.
Recommended for vegetarians, skateboarders, coffee shop workers and punks. Not recommend for butchers or pet shop store owners.
One cat, no chainsaws or decapitations. There’s a cute cat on a cushion in a pet shop, which does have to do a bit of acting. Stretching your paws out take real timing and effort to look good.
Top badass moment? In the most poorly hidden plot development of the century (especially as I’m about to blab it now), vegetarian Neil kills his butcher father and feeds him to the customers. Sorry, but that automatically qualifies as badass, regardless of the moral implications.
Based on the acclaimed short story from Clive Barker’s “Books of Blood: Volume II”, “Dread” is a psychological thriller centered on three college students who study other people’s fears. As the study unfolds, one of the students begins to seek salvation from his own obsessions by exploiting the terrors of his fellow participants. Starring Jackson Rathbone (“Twilight Saga”, “S. Darko”) and Shaun Evans (“Telstar”, “The Take”).
2009 – Certificate: 18 – USA
Rating Details: Strong language, once very strong, and strong bloody violence
8 out of 10
Last Tuesday I had to go to a meeting, in central London. I didn’t have to be there until 12:30, so I’d thought, great, that would give me a couple of hours to read the things I needed to go through, before taking a nice, comfortable trip (out of the rush-hour) on the train. I switch on my computer at 8:15. Nothing happened. No sound like I’m in a wind-tunnel (thanks to the eight fans inside the case), no meaningless messages on the monitor, no rattling of the metal case (because I’m too lazy to do up the screws from when I last pulled it to bits). No sound is not a good sign. Using my brilliant Homes-like powers of deduction, I quickly deduced that the power unit has failed, again; it’s only been about two years since I last replaced it too. (What is it with electronic things these days, does every-single one break-down after two years?) No matter; that’s a quick, two-mile round trip to Maplins for a new one and back, nothing that £70 won’t put right; then I’ll quickly put it in and it’s all fixed before it’s even 9:00. Now, Reading’s traffic system is ‘fragile’ at best. So when someone decides to try to get away from the police, crashes and gets killed, it tends to bring the whole lot to a grinding halt. I eventually got back home after 10:30; it had taken me two hours to drive less than three miles! I did get to see the aforementioned ‘incident’ on the other carriageway as I, very, very slowly, drove past it, which despite the crash happening the night before, was still totally blocking the main route into Reading from the M4. It’s not that I’m not unsympathetic. The poor guy, just 19 years old, was being chased by six police cars (including an armed response team and dog-handlers), crashed, got thrown from the vehicle and then run over by one of the police cars chasing him. I can only imagine he must have been an international terrorist, with an armed nuclear device and special powers that would somehow have enabled his clap-out Ford Fiesta to outrun any police vehicle, hence the need for such a response. He wasn’t even a Muslin, or Black either, just some local lad who’d probably done something he shouldn’t’ve. And now he’s lost his life, his family and friends are all devastated and one police officer has that on his conscience forever. I guess that puts my broken power unit into prospective. And I ended up having to stand on the train, in both directions.
The first 15 minutes of this film are a mess, as a desperate race against time takes place to introduce us to everyone and establish a back-story for them as quickly as possible. There was no sign of Judge Dredd either! Fortunately, things improved greatly after that. I have to admit that this is an excellent, modern horror, which manages to capture some of the essence of what makes films like “Saw” work so well, as opposed to just featuring a series of gross ways to hurt people. As the big ‘sticker’ in the middle of the cover proudly proclaims, it stars some guy who was in “Twilight”. No matter that this blatant bit of marketing totally spoils the cover art, (not that it’s especially inspiring but, you know, it’s the principle). Interestingly, one of the lead female characters has a huge birth mark, which I think is supposed to make us feel sorry for her. Unfortunately, they picked such a beautiful actress to play the part that she just came across as looking exotic and still really hot. Still, realism isn’t what I was watching it for; I’d had plenty of that in the traffic jam and it wasn’t fun or nice at all. Needless to say, as a vegan, the scene with vegetarian Cheryl and the bit of beef was of particular enjoyment. Will she or won’t she? It was probably horse meat anyway. If you can forgive its more irritating moments, this is a great horror and well worth watching, if you like that sort of stuff.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Recommended for masochistic vegetarians and the normal array of weirdos who get their kicks watching movies like this.
Top badass moment? It’s pretty predictable and to be honest a bit weak in badass terms, but I suppose it’s Stephen going off to try to find Cheryl after she’d been kidnapped. Not that it did either of them much good. He’d had the hots for her for ages anyway. I bet he wouldn’t have bothered if it had been someone else, me for example.
I got a feelin’ like a whipped dog. Someday, I’m gonna bite back.” Throughout his life, Sheriff Wade Whitehouse has been cowed and brutalised by his father, a venomous alcoholic. But a child never forgets a cruelty, and two suspicious deaths in their small New Hampshire town lead inexorably to a cataclysmic confrontation between father and son. Dark, powerful and moving, Paul Schrader’s adaptation of Russell Banks’ novel creates an indelible impression, enhanced by stunning performances from James Coburn and Nick Nolte.
1997 – Certificate: 15 – USA
6.5 out of 10
Apparently Tesco used its Store Defence Grid ground to air missile capability today to shoot down a helicopter in the centre of London, in an effort to deflect the news about its new range of delicious ‘horseburgers’ from the front pages. That’s pretty harsh, even for a business that’s run like Tesco. I can’t imagine Waitrose doing that, or the Co-op. I wouldn’t go shoplifting in Tescos if I was you, its store detectives don’t take prisoners. The way a lot of people appear to have reacted to ‘horseburgergate’ is rather like their reaction to the loss of the so many independent stores from our town centres. They shake their heads in sadness at the loss of diversity in the ‘high street,’ yet use the very shops that are causing the problem. In the same way, they react in horror at the idea of a horseburger, whilst happily chewing up bits of other animals made into disc shapes and given alterniatve names to disguse what they really are. What the fuck? That makes no logical sense at all. Be like the French and just eat everything with a face, at least that’s consistent. Meanwhile, that other destroyer of the high street and leading non-payer of what the tabloids think is a fair level of tax, Amazon, must be pissing itself laughing at the moment, in the week that Play, Blockbuster and HMV all rolled over and died. I went to buy a DVD from it this evening and for some reason they’re all now priced £30 or more. I guess the cost of plastic must have gone up… This is a film that I bought from Amazon, when it was the new kid on the block, the rebel outsider taking on the ‘big boys’.
This movie, despite its good points, I struggled to relate to. I probably need to file it under “too American”. Then again, a film about a son’s relationship with his abusive, alcoholic father is one I’m quite happy to feel I’ve missed out on. (My own father died almost 30 years ago; I wish I could remember more about him. He’s the person who gave me my love of music, even though his tastes and mine weren’t exactly the same; although I do have an inexplicable liking for easy listening, such as James Last, Mantovani, Franck Pourcel, Bert Kaempfert, etc. I still use the turntable he bought in 1969, a Thorens TD-150 Mk II, a wonderful bit of engineering.) This is a thoroughly depressing movie, on nearly every level. Nick Nolte does a great job of making the main character seem a decent guy, despite his failings. James Coburn is brilliant as his father; an evil motherfucker who’s as compelling to watch as he is a total bastard. What an awful character; my heart goes out to all those people who are (or have been) in the position of having someone like that as a father. It’s a shame he doesn’t get more screen time as you’ll really want to boo him and throw stuff at the TV. He won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for this role and I can see why. The rest of the film sort of gets lost in a weird narrative that doesn’t quite make sense, as we watch the life of his son, the local sheriff, fall apart. We get to see what happens but we don’t really get inside his head. I never got to fully understand why, after so many years, he suddenly got all weird about things. I’m a sympathetic guy, I wanted to understand his pain, not just watch him bugger up his whole life. He was a really crap police officer though; he should have become a dentist; (it makes sense if you watch the film). As a side issue, I thought his young daughter was a really whiny bitch. Geez, I’m bitter and twisted about everything today!
Recommended for James Coburn.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? It’s often hard to find a badass moment in a depressing film and this one is no exception. I accept defeat with good grace.
I’m vegan. This makes me better than most other people. I’m not being big-headed or stupid or anything, that’s just the way things are. (See “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” for more details.) I’m lucky, in that the whole population of Cactus World is vegan, which makes things a lot easier. However, the same can’t be said for some of the neighbouring areas. My flat has a couple of air vents in it with built-in fans. These appear to be connected to all the other vents in the building, via a series of pipes buried in the walls. They’re the sort of vents you can use to ‘enjoy’ a ‘domestic’ going on next door. If I lived in a Hollywood film in an old apartment in New York, I’m sure I’d regularly hear murders being committed through them, (which there’d mysteriously be no evidence for when the police arrived to investigate things); or perhaps a major terrorist attack (with a nuclear bomb of course) being planned. I suppose I should be thankful that the vents are in the kitchen and bathroom, as they don’t seem to pick up the sound from other rooms of happy couples em, coupling. So anyway, a little while ago I went to the aforementioned bathroom, to do some ‘bathroom things’. As soon as I opened the lounge door, my senses were assaulted by the smell of cooked fish. I doubt the world’s oceans smell as fishy as my flat right now. Unfortunately, the vents transport smells as easily as they transfer sounds. Four emergency incense cones have now been lit, in an effort to neutralise the insidious odour. (High-powered ones obtained from the US military, through a special arrangement with the authorities in New Mexico. They have “the fragrant aroma of smouldering Piñon firewood that is characteristic of the whole Southwest and the foothills of the Rockies.”) We’ve yet to hear any announcements regarding whether this is a deliberate chemical weapons attack on Cactus World, the result of a massive industrial accident, or simply the outcome of dinner-time for one of my neighbours. For a vegan however, it’s pretty crap; and annoying. The last time my flat smelt this fishy was the day I first came to see it prior to moving in. This was later determined to be a deliberate ploy by the previous inhabitants to disguise one of their leisure activities; it was about a year before it ceased to smell of dope; my predecessors were apparently keen on a joint or two. This film doesn’t feature any of these things. In fact, it couldn’t ‘unfeature’ them more if it tried.
2004 – Certificate: 15 – USA
Rating Details: Moderate sex
I need to go on a diet, (even more than I normally do). This film was so syrupy and sweet that just watching it has made me put on about 5kg. The plot twist at the end is also so obvious that it probably shouldn’t really count as one at all; it’s like one of those weakening fronts you see on weather maps, which by the time they arrive only consist of a few clouds, so if they weren’t pointed out to you you’d probably not even notice them. I’m not much of a fan of period dramas, so a movie set mostly in the 1930s and 1940s isn’t the sort of thing to really excite me. The chances of there being many big explosions, spaceships or gratuitous violence felt slim. Then again, any film with Ryan Gosling in is worth checking out. James Garner’s in it too, who was already old even when I was young. So anyway, okay, this is actually a great film, with the most romantic/tragic ending it’s probably possible to have. As a fan of Thomas Hardy, I’ve always had a soft spot for relationships that get fucked-up by families, class, money, etc. This film delivers a classic Hardy class-barrier storyline, rich city girl and poor country boy; (sounds awful doesn’t it)? Fact is, this film doesn’t really do anything very much else and it certainly doesn’t break any new ground, but what it does do it does really, really well. In fact the only part that felt a bit weak was the Mother’s ‘revelation’; it did feel a bit of a plot contrivance rather than something that fitted into the overall narrative. As a romantic period drama, this does deliver; and yes, it is, especially the ending, tissue-friendly.
Recommended for true romantics. In the perfect world, we’d all end up with our first loves forever. (Aw, see, I can be romantic too.)
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.
Top badass moment? I have to give this to Lon Hammond. He just goes to prove that even if you’re handsome, a war hero, successful, attentive and an all-around nice guy, you don’t always get the girl. Being a good loser is badass and he manages here to be a top bloke about everything, when he probably had every right to be really, really pissed off.
I’ve won £500 worth of vouchers for Marks & Spencer. I completed some questionnaire about holidays at http://www.tickbox.net and then got randomly picked by a computer as the winner. After getting over my initial excitement and then realising I wasn’t actually going to be able to retire on the proceeds, I got down to the business of deciding exactly how I was going to squander away my newly found fortune. At this point I realised that Marks & Spencer doesn’t actually sell anything I want/need. Whatever it’s demographic is, I’m not in it. There are only so many pairs of sensible underpants and socks you can wear. I guess it’s just a bit too upmarket for me. I could buy about 220 bottles of Lancashire Dark Mild I suppose; I’ve no idea what it tastes like but the M&S website says its vegan. And I ought to get a new bag for work; anyone who’s seen the torn and battered one I use at the moment would probably agree with that idea. I need a new potato peeler too, as I accidentally threw my beloved ‘high performance’ one away a couple of months ago, by leaving it in the bag with the peelings. A decent toaster would be good as well; the handle you push down has fallen off mine and some of the plastic at the top has melted. And some new drinking glasses, as I seem to have broken all but one of my nice ones; and a new duvet and pillows for the winter; and a couple of decent kitchen knives and some new pans. Humm, maybe I can spend them after all. Oh, and if anyone is interested, I’ve completed 895 questionnaires on this web site and this is the first time I’ve ever won anything. I reckon that’s works out at about £8.50/hour. Anyway, now I’m so filthy rich, this film should scare me….
1987 – Certificate: FSK-16 – United Kingdom
I love this film. It’s the sort of film that was only made in the 80s, at a time when Britain was producing lots of new, alternative comedy; okay some of it was rubbish but at least it was happening. Nowadays most comedy, at least what you get to see on TV, is pretty bland. This movie is a mess of politics, civil unrest, greed and generally awesome nonsense. And I have to ‘fess up that it’s one of those films that I quote lines from in general conversation, from time to time. It also has loads of cameos from properly famous and well-known people. Other reasons to like this film? I love the scene in the dole office; I don’t believe there’s a person alive who hasn’t wanted to do something like that, at least once in their life, when faced with annoying, inefficient and unfair, petty bureaucracy. As Alex says in the film, “You’d do the same if you had the guts!” I also love the basic premise of the story that demonstrates that vegans (as usual) would be able to take the moral high ground. It has a Triumph Herald in it (a V6 of course), which was my second favourite car when I was in my teens. Most of the outdoor scenes were filmed in Oxfordshire too; I’ve tried to work out the exact location but I’m not sure, but I think it’s probably south Oxfordshire somewhere.
Recommended for people who remember the 80s and how crappy they were a lot of the time. 25 years on and not a lot has changed, with many of this film’s themes in the news as much today as they were then. Depressingly so in fact.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws. A lot of people do get turned into mincemeat though.
Top badass moment? Alex in the dole office; one of my favourite all-time movie scenes. I’m fortunate that I’ve not had to make a claim for any benefits for quite a while, but in the 80s/90s I had to deal with many less than competent jobsworths, idiots and assholes at the DHSS; (no wonder it ended up getting rebranded as Jobcentre Plus). Alex is a true hero for the downtrodden masses and taking on the establishment is 100% pure badass.
Eat The Rich at IMDB (5.7/10)
One of the things that’s always puzzled me about trees is that you chop them down and then you chop them up. What’s all that about then? This film features no scenes in which trees play a significant part, (although one does have what you might call an important ‘supporting role’ at one point); there is, nevertheless, quite a lot of chopping up going on in it.
2007 – Certificate: R – USA
Rating Details: Violence (including rape), sexual content, language and substance abuse all involving teens
When I was 17/18, I spent most of my time either trying to learn things, or talking to my best mates, Jacob and Simon, about music and stuff. It’s true, sometimes life wasn’t much fun, but I don’t recall anyone being branded the “school slut” or any murders taking place amongst the school population. I guess everything really is bigger and, eh, ‘better’ in America. Despite the sometimes weak acting, this is a generally fun horror to watch. It’s especially fun if you like to see the clever, quiet girl at school (called Michelle in this example) get abused and then branded as the “School Slut”, before she takes revenge on her tormentors by killing them off, one by one; I know I do. I have to say I could see her point, bullies are bad. Her mum was the mother-from-hell too, with the film providing us with a master-class in how to be a bad parent. If I was Michelle I’d had dealt with her at the same time; in for a penny in for a pound as they say. Angelique Hennessy (Michelle) puts in a decent performance, some of the time anyway; but in truth all she really needs to do is look foxy (which she does) and let her unfeasibly long legs do the acting for her. (Why the cover art on the DVD doesn’t even seem to feature her, I have no idea.) She’s vegan too according to IMDB (the actress not the character), so as far as I’m concerned that means Michelle was just getting rid of a few carnivores, so we should all be thankful to her for that. What this film does do well is take its time giving the main characters personalities that aren’t all a carbon copy of one another and seem more like real people with real motivations, before the inevitable blood-bath starts up. It made watching them die more enjoyable! Oh yes, the main male character Aaron, looks an awful lot like Tim Wheeler from Ash, which was decidedly weird. On a technical note, it features a Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack. Where’d the base channel go? It did have a distinctly scratchy sound and would probably send any dogs unfortunate enough to hear it into a rage. By the way, don’t watch this and expect it to be very realistic, it will just spoil it for you if you do.
No cats or chainsaws, but 1 decapitation. The latter a one-swipe classic with a machete, in a full Jason Voorhees outfit. Excellent!
You know what sort of characters are featured in this film; you know what they get up to; so you know exactly the sort of demographic it’s recommended for.
Top badass moment? It was good to see Michelle, even during her killing spree, was taking the time to continue with her studies. A good education is very important and therefore badass; after all, you can’t be a serial killer forever.
I’m one of the lucky ones. Now of course, when I say this I do so with a degree of irony, as I’m talking of the current RBS ‘software glitch’ that’s prevented people getting money into (and therefore out again from) their bank accounts. Not only that, but I’m one of the extra-lucky 1% of its customers that banks with Ulster Bank, which still hasn’t managed to get things sorted out. I have most of my Direct Debits and credit card payments set up to happen at the beginning of each month, so I’m now looking forward to a couple of weeks of fun, as just about everyone I have any sort of financial relationship with starts hassling me for money. Anyone got Stephen Hester’s mobile number, so I can pass it onto these people? The only good thing I have to say about this is when I rang up my branch (not some stupid call-centre on another planet somewhere), I got straight through to a guy who was able to answer all my questions. RBS, great customer service, great corporate sponsorship (hey I work for a charity and it helps to pay for my wages), totally sucky IT. I’ve been consoling myself by considering that someone, somewhere, has had a seriously seismically cosmic bollocking over this; I’d have paid good money to have been a fly on the wall and seen that; oh, except of course I can’t get at my money… No one in this movie appears to have any issues with money, or banks, or IT; I guess that’s why it’s a fantasy film.
2010 – Certificate: 12 – USA
Rating Details: Moderate violence, sex references and bleeped strong language.
This is one amazing film. It’s got music, it’s got the awesome bass battle, it’s got an old computer game vibe, it’s got good-looking chicks, it proves that vegans are better than everyone else, it proves that ROCK (excuse the capitals, but it’s a word that you really have to always shout when you say it) is better than knob-twiddling keyboard-based dance music, it looks great and has fantastic sound; plus all the stuff you normally need in a film too, like a decent (and in this case quite original) plot and a ‘proper’ ending, etc. I’m starting to believe that Edgar Wright IS God. (I watched it on Blu-ray and this probably had more extras on it than any other film I’ve watched too.) So why am I not giving it 5 out of 5 I hear you ask? (Well okay, don’t ask then, but I’m telling you anyway.) Unfortunately, Scott Pilgrim annoyed me just a little bit too much at times; for a loser and a geek he was just a bit too successful for my liking; I have to work dammed hard to be even remotely adequate in life, so drifters that manage to do better than me without trying piss me off a bit. So I’m afraid the film isn’t perfect as I couldn’t totally engage with his ‘quest’. Yes, it loses a point because I’m bitter and jealous; (what, you going to make something of it)? Despite that, it’s a ‘must watch’ film because it’s brilliant and possibly my favourite film from 2010.
Recommended for everyone; no seriously, everyone, even you; and yes your granny; and yes your boss at work too; the dog yes, him as well; and yes the nice lady at the corner shop who occasionally lets you off a few pence when you don’t have quite enough to pay for something; and no, I don’t think she’s doing it just because she fancies you, she’s happily married and far too old you anyway; and what, no, I’m sure her sex life is fine and this really doesn’t have much to do with this film anymore has it? Well fine, ask her out then but don’t blame me when it all goes pear-shaped. Good, because I really don’t want to know about it.
No cats and no decapitations.
Top badass moment? Jeez, so much choice! However I’m vegan, so it has to be the timely arrival of the Vegan Police to strip the vegan superpowers from someone who hadn’t truly stuck to the faith. Everyone secretly knows that vegans are simply better than anyone else (not that we make a big deal about it), but nevertheless it’s good to see such a positive portrayal of veganism in a mainstream film; em, I think. Being vegan is entirely badass.
Today feels like a Sunday. It’s actually Monday but it feels like a Sunday because I worked on Saturday. Tomorrow is Tuesday, but I’ve no idea if it will feel like a Tuesday or more like a Monday. This film is similarly themed around confusion, except that it’s about a Jew who’s a Neo-Nazi. Okay, I’ve got a bit of a confession to make now. I’ve personally harboured a secret expectation for years that I might be a real Jedi Knight, who one day will be called upon to save the human race from some horrible fate. (I do actually do something very similar to this every day of life as part of my job, but somehow it’s not quite the same thing.) Sadly, up to now my attempts to influence people with my mind have been a singular failure; in fact I can’t even influence my own thoughts. I also can’t fight with a light sabre very well. If anyone remembers Star Wars Kid from a few years ago, you will probably be able to visualise just how well I can’t wield this awesome weapon; if I had one, which I don’t, obviously. I do however, enjoy waving a torch about when in a dark place as if it’s a light sabre, making ‘that’ light sabre sound. In fact I suspect I do this nearly every time I have a torch in my hand, probably not to anyone’s amusement except my own. I suppose I’m lucky that most people in Cactus World are pretty tolerant when it comes to care in the community.
2001 – Certificate: 15 – USA
This is a great film. Ryan Gosling makes a first class job of playing Danny, the main character in it, an anti-Semitic skinhead who’s actually Jewish. It’s all pretty engrossing stuff and the ending is far from clear until you reach that point. Despite his entirely repellent and ridiculous views (especially regarding Jewish people), the film does a good job of making Danny quite a sympathetic character at times. It’s often the sign of good writing and acting when an unpleasant character can still make you feel sorry for them. If the movie has a weakness, it’s probably that Danny seems educated and highly intelligent, yet his actions demonstrate quite a mixed up and confused outlook on life. It would have been good to have got inside his mind a bit more to find out what was going on in there. The film’s pivotal scene, where Danny and his gang get sent to ‘tolerance classes’ after a fight in a cafe, is genuinely powerful and heartbreaking stuff, from the point of view of both the stories that get told and the reactions to them. This movie also has Summer Phoenix in it, who as well as being a very beautiful woman also happens to be a lifelong vegan. Then again, all vegans are beautiful/handsome, clever, empathic, compassionate, determined, (please insert your 50 favourite human attributes here), etc. Except me, which is a bit annoying actually. And finally, I’d just like to remind people of the link between early reggae and skinheads. Being a skinhead doesn’t make you a raciest, although being a moronic asshole who frequently spouts uninformed and ill-conceived, generalised crap about other cultures, often does; so really, they should be easy enough to tell apart. Don’t fall into the trap of getting them confused and assuming they’re all the same, or you might just find you’ve become one yourself.
Recommended for people who like good films and topless vegans. (If anyone wants to see me topless I come pretty cheap!)
No cats and no decapitations.
Top badass moment? Danny in the scene near the end when he’s speaking to all the people at the fundraising meeting. Doing the unexpected with style and pissing just about every one off in the process is pretty badass.
Okay, I’m not really, but on Friday I made one of my rare trips to a real cinema. I’d heard about a great new horror film called The Iron Lady that I just had to go and see. (Well it’s a horror if you lived through the 70s and 80s, unless you’re from the Falkland Islands; or vegan, remember the playground chant “Margaret Thatcher Milk Snatcher”? Excellent idea, although I’m not sure she was doing it for quite the right reasons.)
So anyway, this is a well made film and entertaining as well. Meryl Streep is scarily convincing as Margaret Thatcher. Nice make-up work. It does come across as a bit of a Maggie love-in at times, but it’s often sadly amusing too. Had a bit of trouble taking Anthony Head as Geoffrey Howe seriously; I just wanted Buffy to burst in and kick a few arses; it would have livened up the cabinet meetings anyway. Is it a film that should have been made yet? Not sure really. I guess if she was a relative or friend of mine I might find it pretty distressing, but I thought the actual portrayal of her was pretty positive, especially during her early career. What a shame she ended up just like her Spitting Image puppet; talk about real-life imitating art.
However, the highlight of the film for me was the use of that obscure, new wave non-hit from 1980 by the Notsensibles, “I’m in Love With Margaret Thatcher”. To suddenly hear it blaring out in all its glory from the screen in 2012 was quite bizarre. It’s not a very long song either and it gets a good airing right in the middle of the movie. It’ll probably sell far more copies on the back of this film than it ever sold originally. I have a copy on the Snotty Snail record label. You don’t get record labels like that these days!
Right now I’m listening to “Tonight” by Erazerhead.
I’m sending this post from my secret underground bunker, so my apologies if it’s a bit of a mess as when I designed this place I forgot to include any lights, so it’s somewhat dark (well pitch black really) in here and I’m having to type from memory, never a popular option for me.
I’m in the bunker as I’m fighting a war against Them!. But let me start from the beginning. It’s hard to believe how hot it was just a few days ago, but, em, it was. So I decided to open my bedroom window to let some air into my flat. Penny loves the window being open too, as she can hang out on the window sill between the plants, smelling the air and generally watching what’s going on below. Unfortunately, unbeknown to me, ‘they’ had been spending the winter preparing their forces ready to invade my flat and take from me everything I hold dear. The open window and warm weather gave them their opportunity. Before I could work out how to pronounce “zcghrtjhewjg srdlrktl’s hzzwquft” they were in, ants, the size of people (probably). At one point during the ensuing battle there must have been nearly ten of them in my bedroom! It was horrible. One night I was even forced to retreat and sleep in the lounge, such was my worry that they’d take advantage of me in the night.
Now I have to remind people at this point that I’m vegan, although there’re three types of animal I have a pathological hatred of, wasps, sheep and ants. I don’t wish them ill but quite frankly the day someone lends me a time machine I’m going to go back in time and tinker a bit with evolution to ensure they never come into existence. Anyway, after a while I realised that The Ants were not taking my attempts at negotiation seriously; even my offer of a temporary summer home for them in one of the pot plants was rejected; I guess they thought they could take more by force. It became apparent to me by Day 2, that I wasn’t going to win this war through talking or conventional warfare, (keeping the window closed, flicking them outside when I found them, etc). They were just like the Borg. I was facing the ultimate fighting force, one that seemingly had an endless supply of troops that never lose morale; they also seemed to have perfected the ability to teleport into my room too, as I never did work out how the hell they were getting in; even with the window closed they still appeared, walked about and did there diobolical ‘ant stuff’ in my bedroom, whatever that is exactly. I even found one in my bed at one point, bloody pervert. I will probably never recover from the emotional turmoil of it all, but in the end I was forced to use the Nuclear Option. I had no choice. I reasoned that in the end it would shorten the war by perhaps many months and ultimately reduce the suffering of millions (well me anyway). It was a tough decision but that’s what I’m here for when it comes down to it. So I ordered the full deployment of a bottle of Dettol Anti-bacterial Mould and Mildew Remover (which I just happened to have in the bathroom) and a can of Johnson Raid Ant & Cockroach Killer “kills in seconds and last for weeks” (that I purchased from a local arms dealer, codename “the corner shop”). In fact they had to be deployed a number of times and I’m ashamed to say that the collateral damage was considerable, my hands smelt of bleach for days, two black t-shirts and some bedding were caught in the blast zone and now have brown bleach marks on them, whilst the window sill itself, the main combat zone, will probably never look the same again as the varnished wood surface has been partially destroyed. It was all pretty horrible and most annoyingly I felt really bad seeing these horrid little insects perish one by one. I feel like a mass murderer without a sociopathological shield to defend me from the emotional effects of what I’d done. I will probably need counselling now. However, as a means to an end it worked and my bedroom has been ant free for several days. Which makes me wonder, why am I still sitting in this bunker? Duh!
Writing this has actually made me itch all over. Eew.
Right now I’m listening to “Sad?” by the BMX Bandits.