Welcome to my new series of cool things I have recently found/seen/read on the internet. I don’t suppose we need anymore introduction than that, do we? Continue reading Cool Things on the Internet #1
I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I despise this holiday. Valentine’s is the suckiest of all the special occasions, without a doubt. It tricks you into thinking that the things that really don’t matter matter – the red foil covered chocolates, the roses and the dinners, and I’m mad at it for that.
But Cupid already knows my views so I’ll spare you another year of rambling on about it. This year I think it’s much more important to acknowledge the most valuable long-term relationship you will ever have – the one you have with your fine self.
We live a long time (for the most part), a whole life in the company of one person we simply can’t avoid – so it’s vital we try and get along. Easier said than done though, innit? When we’re battling our demons, juggling stress and social anxiety – comparing ourselves to others on Instagram. It’s exhausting adding self-love to the list of things we ‘should’ be doing – and sometimes even that rhetoric is flawed. Like, love yourself please but not too much.
I say, do your best – do what makes you feel good and better. Whether that’s hanging with your Galentine’s, eating nice food – you get the drift. I think I’d be much more comfortable with St. Valentine’s birthday if it was about that instead.
As for my evening, I’ve been out for coffee and a gossip with a new friend, eaten roast chicken and we’re now watching Valentine (2001) because I’m in the mood for pretty people being picked off one by one by a vengeful cupid. You?
Happy Valentine’s Day, whatever you’re up to.
Jillian and I have sort of lost track of what theme we’re on, though we both think it’s still Romance. So this week’s pick is all about first love and stars a bevy of late 90’s/early noughties rom-com alumni. What’s not to like about that, right?
As always *spoilers*!
Down to You (2000)
IMDB Synopsis: A young man wins and loses the first serious love of his life.
Al and Imogen fill us in on how they met, fell in love and then lost it all via the popular crap movie medium of talking into the camera.
Their story isn’t anything out of the ordinary: they meet at a party, where Imogen passes on the opportunity to go home with a skeevy boy called Jim Morrison (Ashton Kutcher with a very lustrous hair do). Instead she sets her sights on Mr. Cookie Cutter, Al and they bond over a love of singer-songwriting or something.
Anyway, they quickly fall into a relationship and are very happy, picking out a special song to be ‘theirs’ and doing cringe-inducing lip syncing scenes all over the college games room. All the stuff we’ve all done a million times as young, beautiful college students. Oh wait.
The couple part for a short while when Imogen goes to Paris for three months and their bond is further tested when Al finds himself mildly attracted to Selma Blair’s amateur porn star, Cyrus. Not that he does anything beyond a little #selflove.
Of course, this might be the time to mention that Al’s BFF Monk is something of a porn baron, filming lots of lavish productions including one that has an actual battle scene. Like you do to finance yourself through college, right? No waitressing for these crazy kids.
But as always, that old stinker reality kicks in and Imogen begins to freak out about how serious everything is and how old mannish Al has become (I think he wants to stay in on a Friday night ONE TIME, the old boring bastard). She dreams she is with child and I think there was a scene at some point where she takes a test. Thankfully she isn’t up the duff and celebrates by making a huge mistake that betrays Al’s trust forever (or is it forever really, hmmmmmm?).
She also shouts that she hates Al in the middle of a party which, frankly, was my favourite part.
Will these lovers ever find their way back together? Will Al actually do something of note instead of just standing around relying on his pretty face to do all the work for him (though he’s not my type AT ALL)?
Are Freddie Prinze. Jr and Buffy still married, and if so, is she now Sarah Michelle Prinze Jr? Are you still reading this? All I know is that this is a romantic comedy and all bets are off.
Throw in that short, quite good-looking guy from The Faculty (1998) (Shawn Hatosy), The World’s Hottest Woman™ and Ms. Blair; and the gang’s all here. But is this all-star cast good enough to raise this really rather light on storyline ensemble piece into classic rom-com territory?
I already know the answer to this, obvs but finding your own answer is Down to You, I guess. (LOOOOOOLLLLL)
FFS. Welcome to Dullsville, population: Me.
I went in with all the optimism of the Andrex puppy because as noted above, what honestly is not to love about this? It has all the ingredients of a movie to rival it’s contemporaries including; 10 Things I Hate About You, Never Been Kissed and She’s All That (all 1999) but you know why I think it doesn’t work? No gimmick.
Call me old-fashioned but if I want to watch a film about a relationship breaking down I can shut my eyes and reminisce over my past love life. Sure the cast isn’t as sexy but still.
This is supposed to be about how they find their way back together, of course but it needed way more oomph. I was bored out of my tiny mind. I didn’t care if they stayed together or not, I hated both Al and Imogen (and most of the secondary characters) and I just wanted it to end.
In fact, I wanted to stand up and shout “I HATE YOU!” to the TV and leave the room, it was that shit. Selma Blair, Ashton Kutcher and Rosario should have hijacked the film and made it all about them instead, that would’ve been infinitely better.
1/5 – the lowest rating yet. Even worse than Lizzie Borden. Oh, but the soundtrack was pretty good, I’ll give it that.
Head over to Jillian‘s shortly to find out what she thought!
It’s hard to pick favourites when it comes to film, books and songs. I mean, there are so many amazing works out there, to pick just one as your champion is nigh on impossible. Plus, these things tend to undulate with your moods.
I have two* favourite movies that always stick and they have something in common, that old chestnut: the strong female lead.
I know Hollywood talks about the strong female lead like it’s doing the world a favour and it can be annoying. A lead is a lead surely, regardless of gender. But alas, this is the world we live in (for now) and this isn’t a post about that.
Both films have a Tarantino influence; one is directed by him, the other written by. Which shows me that, while he might come across as a annoying arse at times, he knows how to give us great female characters. Not great actually, THE BEST.
But to the subject of today’s post. Step up here, Alabama Worley (née Whitman), you angel.
Played fantastically by the beautiful Patricia Arquette, Alabama is True Romance (1993). Actually she is everything; a badass, a fighter – an ICON and surely one of the best characters in movie history.
Let’s look at the evidence. To the untrained eye you could be forgiven for seeing her as just another ditz, along for the ride with her bad boy husband, nothing but a giggling slice of arm candy with no real function. You’d be wrong though.
While Alabama narrates her own love story, she is anything but an empty vessel. Sure, she’s a romantic, impulsively marrying Clarence a day after meeting him, even proclaiming it”…so romantic!” when he later admits to killing her pimp in a violent showdown. Sure, she’s feminine in an overtly sexual way; all tight leggings and short skirts (best personal style ever).
She’s nurturing and pure of heart; she even tastes like a peach if Clarence (and his father) are to be believed.
But all these qualities live comfortably within a resilient, smart woman. Not once does she ask for help from her man, or anybody else for that matter. This is no damsel in distress. Clarence spirals out of control because he struggles with the idea that his wife was once a call girl. She’s cool with it and unapologetic. Clarence is the one who feels like he has something to prove: his own masculinity.
Alabama is strong and she’s brave too, taking a horrific beating mid way through the film from the mob’s hit man, Virgil (I’m writing this assuming you’ve all seen this film, ain’t nobody got time to explain plot). It’s horrible to watch but also illustrates who she is.
Alabama emerges victorious, proving that for love she will fight tooth and nail; and she’ll fight with her wits. It’s beautiful, once you come to terms with the violence and even Virgil has to concede that she really is something else.
Afterwards, bloodied and bruised, ‘bama’s still okay, still smiling and still standing. She is a BADASS.
I don’t need to tell you that she also saves her husband’s life in the end, when shit hits the fan on a messed up drug deal. As the bullets whiz past her and the blood flows, Alabama gets up and she walks her badly injured lover right out of harm’s way. She drives him to safety, never looking back.
It’s a happy ending (thankfully, the original script allegedly WAS NOT) and it’s the best. I will never tire of True Romance; of the characters, of the dialogue, of the aesthetic.
I even have a “You’re So Cool” tattoo on my wrist, homage to the loveliest mantra:
Amid the chaos of that day, when all I could hear was the thunder of gunshots, and all I could smell was the violence in the air, I look back and am amazed that my thoughts were so clear and true, that three words went through my mind endlessly, repeating themselves like a broken record: you’re so cool, you’re so cool, you’re so cool.
I guess that’s why I love Alabama so much, she’s real and a romantic, just like me.
*I’ll share my second favourite film in another post soon. Promise.
All image via Google.
But we’d both heard good things about this movie and never got round to sitting down to watch it, so Saturday night was a go. All I knew about it was that two actors I like were in it and that it was a black comedy about cannibalism. Where do I sign up, right?
Where to Watch:
Captain John Boyd’s promotion stations him at a fort where a rescued man tells a disturbing tale of cannibalism. (via IMDB)
The Uncondensed Version:
Handsome Captain Boyd (Guy Pearce) comes back from the Mexican-American War something of a hero, though he’s obviously been through the mill and is sickened by what he has seen on his travels. Sadly for him, his Commanding Officer soon finds out that he’s not as hench as first thought, and had actually chickened out in battle. That he finally came through to save the day isn’t enough and, as a punishment dressed up as promotion, Boyd is sent away to a remote fort in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Personally it looks and sounds like bliss to me, but Boyd doesn’t have time to kick back and think about writing his first novel, as – just as he’s getting to know his seven new roomies – an injured and distressed stranger appears out of nowhere. The stranger (Robert Carlyle), is unconscious when they get to him but it’s nothing a vigorous rub down in front of the fire can’t cure. It’s all quite erotic.
When he awakes, naked and wrapped in fur (yey!), the gents (and one lady, Martha) question him. He reveals a bloody thirsty tale of how he came to be on their doorstep.
In short, he and a wagon train of others come undone in the Sierra Nevada (a few days walk from the Fort). They take refuge against the elements in a cave where things turn very bad indeed as they run out of food. Once they’ve chowed down on all the cattle, horses and even Robert Carlyle’s dog, they start on the first member of the party to pop his clogs, beginning with his legs.
Eventually, one party member, a Colonel Ives, takes it too far and starts killing them off one by one, until there are just three left: himself, Robert Carlyle and a woman, the wife of one of the deceased. Robert Carlyle admits to being a pussy right about here and buggers off, leaving the woman. Basically, he’s in such a state because he’s walked day and night until he reached the Fort, where we are now.
The soldiers, including scaredy bum Boyd, see it as their responsibility to find the cave and check for survivors. Even I can see this is a shaky plan but no, they’re good men and so off they trundle. Before they do, however, their Indian guide, George tells them about the Wendigo legend; a myth about how a man consuming the flesh of his enemies takes on their strength but becomes a demon cursed by a hunger for human flesh. Oo-er.
Robert Carlyle insists on travelling with them to show them the cave. Everyone goes except David Arquette (here playing a scholar – jokes, he’s basically Dewey again in cattle hide), another soldier and Martha, George the guide’s elder sister. In fact, David Arquette and Martha have already gone to gather supplies before the men leave.
Off they trot. On the way one the soldiers falls and gets badly injured. In the night he wakes up to Robert Carlyle licking him (worse ways to wake up?). The others decide it would probably be best to restrain Robert Carlyle, who’s acting cray. As they near the cave, he gets more and more spooked.
Boyd and another soldier go into the cave, while the others keep guard outside. They find a well-like hole and the soldier climbs into it. There he finds the usual cannibalistic paraphernalia; crunchy skulls, fibulas, the usual. He then stumbles across a row of rib cages hanging artistically in the background. Of course, he has the good sense to count them (there are supposed to be five as per Robert Carlyle’s story) but there are way more than five and – gasp! – some torn uniform, very much like the blue one the soldiers are wearing…
They run out of the cave where, meanwhile, Robert Carlyle has gone mental and dug out a knife. He kills Colonel Hart (who’s in charge)and George, then chases down the young, injured soldier. Boyd and his mate go after him, where the mate is killed. Boyd exhibits some predictably cowardly behaviour but manages to shoot Robert Carlyle and jump off a cliff, where he lands right next to his friend. Boyd’s broken his leg in a major way and lies there for two nights, deciding what to do. No hurry, Boyd, Robert Carlyle only knows where you live.
On his second night at the bottom of the cliff, Boyd gives in and eats his friends leg. The next morning he can actually walk okay and hotfoots it straight back to the ranch. When he arrives, he tells his story to the three remaining housemates and nobody really believes him. The Commanding Officer from before arrives and strongly suggests that Boyd change his story, and admits that he got confused. Boyd refuses.
His superiors decide to bring in a stand-in to replace Colonel Hart (who’s been chomped earlier, remember?) while they figure out what the fudge to do. His name? Colonel Ives… *JAZZ HANDS* – it’s Robert Carlyle again!
Boyd is in the doghouse now, and Robert Carlyle’s Ives is the model solider, bearing none of the injuries Boyd claims to have inflicted upon him. Robert Carlyle goes to speak to Boyd and explains why he did what he did. He too had been told of the Wendigo myth and since he was on the verge of death with TB, he thought he’d try cannibalism on for size, what the hell, right? It’s obviously worked a charm as Robert Carlyle’s skin is absolutely flawless.
I don’t want to spoil the ending too much but there is a little twist as the rest of the gang end up as dinner. Some horses are killed. Boyd gets blamed for all of it and Martha is sent to get help. Robert Carlyle proposes that they join forces and live together in the fort, picking off travellers selectively as they pass and generally having a high old time. Guy Pearce ain’t 100% on board.
There’s a final showdown between Boyd and Robert Carlyle, handily set a tool shed. Will Boyd finally be a brave bunny or will he continue with wet wipe tendencies? Who will win the fight? And will Boyd do as Robert Carlyle advises, which is to, simply, “Eat or die”?
Why don’t you settle down with a nice steak dinner and see for yourselves?
This film was fantastic. It is very dark and gory, pleasingly.
Described as a black comedy, it is subtly funny in places with some decent one liners. Robert Carlyle absolutely relishes his part, or at least it feels that way, which really helps you to like his character. His proposal doesn’t even seem like too much of an ask really, he makes is seem like a logical move. Guy Pearce isn’t that horrible to look at either, let’s face it.
Some of their scenes together took on a homoerotic tone (in my eyes), which I enjoyed thoroughly. Again, I won’t give away the ending but when the film does climax, our two leading lads share some true intimacy. I guess dining out on your colleagues will really bring a couple closer together.
The music is also really good; a perfect example of using the soundtrack to illustrate true understanding of the film’s tone. It’s not something I usually mention, or notice really, but in contrast to last weeks review, in which I thought the musical choices spoilt the movie, I thought it was worth including. The score is co-written by Damon Albarn, for which he received significant attention.
4 Happy-go-lucky Doctor Lecters out of 5
Pop over to Jillian’s shortly to see what she thought.
All images via Google.