Welcome to my movie blog, containing reviews and articles. I've been writing since 2004 - with a short break during 2009.


So I'm sitting at my computer, I haven't posted for days owing to being on holiday and trying to work out what to write about to rediscover my blogging umph. Die Hard, Ocean's Thirteen, In the Mood for Love, Shrek 3, the Lord of the Rings musical...(that's everything we watched while on holiday. We're unusual like that)

Thankfully, in my absence I've been hit with a tag and a blogathon.

So first things first, The Performance That Changed My Life...oooh, hard. Should I go for the best performance ever, Al Pacino in The Godfather? Bit predictable, maybe...or Kevin Spacey as Vincennes in L.A. Confidential? Love that film, and uber love that performance. Or should I go for something more offbeat, like Henry Fonda in Once Upon a Time in the West.

They've all changed my movie watching life be creating a series of hurdles most other actors trip straight over. But my actual actual life? Well, that'd have to be Brad Pitt as Jeffrey Goines in 12 Monkeys. "WHAT?!" I hear you say.

Movies are a cue to real life. How many times have you had an argument, then thought "well that was familiar, cliche-ridden and very badly scripted"? Or got married and wondered what the hell happens next, because films don't tell you what to do once you've managed to get to the altar. Or dashed around accessory shops for weeks looking for exactly the combination of bangles to emulate a particularly well dressed heroine (very guilty...) They sell us this fiction of the "happy-happy ending", teach us how to talk and act. After The Godfather came out, real life gangsters loved it. The FBI observed them calling each other Godfather, or kissing rings from respect. Films give us our most potent impression of experiences not our own. Who'd ever consider drugs after sitting through the Trainspotting cold-turkey sequence?

Now I'm fairly conscious of this failing. Yes, I've spent ages trying to dress like Emily from Brick. Yes, Eternal Sunshine still fills me with the desire to dye me hair orange, blue or red. Yes, I've got to go out of my way to swear less when the characters on screen swear more. But if there's one character that has influenced my behavior more than anyone else, it's Jeffrey.

We first meet Jeffrey hiding under a jumper in a mental institute. It's a Terry Gilliam film, our hero has just been catapulted from the future to the past, and the past have placed him here. He's disorientated, feverish and drugged up from the doctors. Cheerful music is playing from the TV in the background as he is moved into the patients room. You get the instant impression that, if you were mad, this'd be the least likely place you'd get any saner. As Jeffrey peers out from under the sweater, a "boing" is thrown into the mix of noise. And that's it, he's off, wound up like a wind-up flipping rabbit toy. Mr Gilliam keeps us off balance with skewed camera angles, endless corridors and something like three reverse-dolly-zooms in a row, while Mr Pitt just does his thing.

I know what you're thinking. Brad Pitt - young, handsome, always in the glossies - ergo he can't act. Wrong! Perhaps with more recent films like Babel and Fight Club the rest of the world will realise he's more than just a pretty face. Everyone, even you and I, has one default character they can play. Brad Pitt's is Robert Redford. Watch him in Ocean's 11 or Spy Game, where down to the smallest inflection and mannerism he uncannily resembles the smooth, charming and ultimately very nice older actor. Shock to the system seeing him like this.

Jeffrey is Tyler Durden without the glamourous seduction. He's got the wacked out theories, the grim view of life and the army he's going to change the world with: not space monkeys, but the Army of the Twelve Monkeys. But this time, there's no way you could ever fall for it - Jeffrey throws the kind of "madman performance" disability charities dread. He twitches, he jumps about, he laughs and stares into the camera with glassy eyes. Reputedly, director Terry Gilliam took his cigarettes away to make sure he cinched the rapid speech and nervy quirks.

At times, the similarity between the pair is uncanny. Here's Tyler on consumerism:

"Is this essential to our survival? In the hunter-gathered sense of the word? No. What are we then? Right. We're consumers. We're by-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty -- these things don't concern me. What concerns me is celebrity magazines, television with five hundred channels, some guy's name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra..."

And here's Jeffrey in much the same vein:

"We are not productive anymore, they don't need us to make things anymore, it's all automated. What are we for then? We're consumers. Okay, buy a lot of stuff, you're a good citizen. But if you don't buy a lot of stuff, you know what? You're mentally ill! That's a fact! If you don't buy things...toilet paper, new cars, computerized blenders, electrically operated sexual devices... (getting hysterical) SCREWDRIVERS WITH MINIATURE BUILT-IN RADAR DEVICES, STEREO SYSTEMS WITH BRAIN IMPLANTED HEADPHONES, VOICE- ACTIVATED COMPUTERS, AND..."

The joy of Apocalypse Now is that it's all so crazy: by the time you get to the end Kurtz is so mad it almost turns into a sort of sanity again. It makes sense. Ditto Fight Club - much of the film's fun is being taken in by Tyler's off-colour ideas, and mentally signing up to "Project Mayhem". There's none of that in Twelve Monkeys. Jeffrey is just a crank. He's strangely endearing, but at the end of the day "a fruitcake". And he likes animals. But maybe, just maybe, he's also destroyed the world...

I figure there's a great marketing oppertunity for a "Goines guide to life". One inspirational quote a day to remind you how *crazy-head-flick* the world truly is:

On TV: "look, listen, kneel, pray"

On morality: "There's no right, there's no wrong, there's only popular opinion. "

On insanity: "Crazy is majority rules."

On who-knows-what-it-means-it-just-sounds-profound: "Who cares what psychiatrists write on walls?"

Why, you may ask, did fuzzball of energy this change my life. Maaan, you've clearly never actually met me. Hyper fast speech, speaks constant nonsense which resembles sense, habitually gestures madly with hands and hops around the room to make his point? I even get ratty if someone takes my TV-watching chair! This is a great performance because it's totally unlike anything Mr Pitt has done before or since. This is one of my favourite performances because it makes me laugh, feel nutty and horrified all at once. But hey, they weren't the questions asked. And it's the peformance which changed my life because *flick*...*pause*...*dashes off camera*...GET OUTTA MY CHAIR!


If you're new here, hi nice to meet you. This is me, and these are my well written posts. This is not one of them.

And now the tag, thanks for this Catherine. But it exposes what a Scrooge I am about summer just as much as Christmas.

01. Name movies you watch every summer.
Nothing in particular, but I could never watch The Godfather just because the curtains aren't thick enough to block out sufficient light to appreciate all those deep browns...

02. Songs that remind you the most of summer.
My sunny selection. The Beach Boys. America, especially Ventura Highway. The Doors. The Lost Boys soundtrack (esp. "Good Times"). Any music which is good for driving down long, sunny American roads, as consolement for the rain.

03. What was the favourite summer holiday you ever went on?
Ooooh, possibly Toulon in Greece, or Virginia, or Wyoming...gosh I dunno! Does October count as summer? We went on a fantastic London jaunt in October...

04. Your favourite airport reads. I like the classics on holiday. If you're stuck in an airport, airplane, hotel cos it's raining, diner cos the car's broken down, coach journey, passport control e.t.c. bored out of your mind, you'll read anything. With that extra umph, you'll read anything. I've got a bad habit of forgetting to finish books. "Crime and Punishment" and "Les Miserables" stand out as fantastic books I'd never have finished at home.

There are some books I always take on holiday - namely "So You Really Want to Learn Latin" vols I-III, a Latin dictionary, a copy of The Silmarillion and the Picture of Dorian Grey. Because I always need to do more Latin revision; and there's nothing worse than being stranded in a foreign country unable to check the minutest line reference. one time, me and Friend 4 were embroiled in a terrible argument about the latter book. We had to sneak into WHSmith and take a peep at one of the copies for sale to resolve it. Never again!

05. Are you a sunbather?
Nooooooo. Remember back in Tudor times when pale skin was a sign of distinction? I don't see the attraction at all. I live in the shade. I feel queasy standing in the sun and get neurotic about the back of my neck burning. Also, I want to drink your blood....

06. Your ideal holiday destination this Summer that you haven’t been to before.

Theoretically that would be Egypt, because I've been wanting to go there since I was 4-ish. Mes parens keep saying it's too dangerous, and I keep saying it's only getting worse. But I probably don't want to be in Egypt in the height of summer.

07. Describe your Summer of 2006 in 10 words or less.
Can't remember it; I think I might have juvenile dementia.

08. What Summer movie must you see this year?
I must see Order of the Phoenix, whether I like it or not. Oh, you meant it in as in "I absolutely must see X" instead of "they're dragging me against my will"? My mistake...I'm quite looking forward to Phoenix quite a lot, mainly for the production design, but I'm dreading what they do with Sirius' house and I desperately don't want to know what I'm sure. I've no idea why I'm dreading that, because I'm not a huge fan in any way. I want to see This is England, but it's not quite a "summer movie". I've already seen Die Hard 4. Incidentally, my dad's must-see summer film is Ten Canoes, a slow paced meditation on Aboriginal legends. Oh dear...

09. Which Summer changed your life?
The summer of Lower Fourth, about five years ago. Don't ask. It wasn't in a good way.

10. Do you like the beach?
Negative. Sand gets everywhere, there's never any shade, the water's always freezing. Fish and chips tastes awful, and anyone who says otherwise is being nostalgic. I don't even like ice cream!

Sorry, I'm not really a summer person...besides, I live about ten minutes from the beach so it's not a really big deal for me.

11. Your earliest memory of a Summer holiday.
Dude, I can't even remember two years ago. I've got shaky memories of the last few months. I have no idea...

12. And finally, what do you intend on doing this Summer?
Definitely finishing my Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead fanny website. All I need to do now is name it. I wanted to call it "Stark Raving Sane", but one of the fanlistings has taken that one...playing the piano almost constantly...watching my backlog of recorded films...staying sane. I always go a bit batty when separated from my friends longer than a week, so the summer holidays are something of a struggle...

God, what a grump I am!

For this, I'm tagging my bebo buddies - here and here.

And finally, a headscratcher. Five films containing an airplane, in which the flight does not end up in peril, whether it be from snakes, Russians, or the Narrator's cruel imagination. Go figure...


Rob said...

Bah, that's a hard one. I had to go for very-minor-role-in-the-film planes:

1. Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia - Montage of them taking off, anyway
2. Kill Bill
3. The Shining, I believe there was more than what's in the film at the moment, but it was cut before release
4. Some of the planes in The Aviator
5. Life and Death of Peter Sellers

As for Pitt in 12 Monkeys, I have to say that he was definitely one of the more entertaining parts of the film but I don't feel he got the part down as well as he did Tyler Durden.

After reading Fight Club and watching it repeatedly, it's impossible to imagine anyone playing the role. To be fair, he managed to keep a sustained level of lunacy for 12 Monkeys that almost never toppled into OTT territory which is quite a task. He also managed to bring life back into the film when it began to slow down.

Still, very good read and interesting points about the similarities between those characters.

Ninquelosse said...

I was a bit disappointed with him as Tyler. It wasn't bad acting, it was just...exactly what I expected. He still looked like Brad Pitt. Although I suppose that...


Sorrie, that was for the rest of the world. Jeez that film loses its umph if you already know. What I was saying was the fact he still looks like Brad Pitt might be deliberate: Tyler's supposed to be the Narrator's "ideal", and thus...*gets tangled in own point*

Will said...

Movie with planes that are not in peril...hmm...

1. The Hunt For Red October Jack Ryan flies to D.C. in a plane (And is afraid of flying) and then back home at the end of the movie (but isn't afraid any more.
2. Hook Peter and family fy back to London.
3. Snatch. Dennis Farina flies in and then out and the worst that happens is that he drinks a lot.
4. The Terminal Haven't seen it but I think it fits
5. Catch Me If You Can In the same vain as The Terminal

Catherine said...

Very minor airplane scenes:

1. Punch Drunk Love - Barry heading to Hawaii.
2. The Day After Tomorrow - depsite Jake G's terror and constant M&M popping, the disaster in this film doesn't involve the initial flight.
3. R & G - okay, it's a paper biplane but don't I get brownie points?

Okay, I'm through.

Ninquelosse said...

Hard, isn't it? Well done all.

(yes, Catherine, I think we can award you two bonus points for the paper biplane :D )

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