Saturday, 25 December 2010

Five Blogs of Christmas: A Christmas Message

It's hard to believe that this time last year I was lounging in the sun, swimming in the pool, eating BBQ food and watching a bulldog furiously masturbate. Instead I've got Grandparents questioning their mortality, mild racism, commentary on Deal or No Deal and the news that my great grandfather thought war was a good idea as it would thin the population. It's good to be home.

So what have we learnt this year? What's the main thing we can take from 2010? What do we need to remember as we hurtle forward into 2011?

I've thought long and hard about this question. Consulted friends and scholars and I have come to this conclusion...

'If it ain't 140 beats per minute, it ain't grime.'

Merry Christmas one and all. Hopefully you had a great day and are fat and happy. A special mention to everyone rocking it last night. I hope no one was so hungover that they ruined Christmas (Doing a Liam).



Thursday, 23 December 2010

Five Blogs of Christmas: The Not To Buy List

Present buying is one of the toughest Christmas tasks going. I like to think of myself as a good gift giver but there are people even I find it tough to buy for. On an unrelated note I'm a horrible wrapper which is ironic considering how good I am at rapping.

For the past four weeks or so I have been working in the wonderful world of retail (Last day tomorrow!). I've not really come up with any ideas for things to buy but I have a couple of things NOT to buy.

1. A Vajazzling
Call me old fashioned but I don't think it's in the spirit of Christmas to buy someone decorative jewelry for their vagina. Especially not your Mum. Thank God I managed to talk Franco out of that one.

2. A Machine That Turns Cereal Bars Back Into Cereal
We've been bought a machine that does the opposite of this. No longer will I be eating cereal from a bowl like a chump. I don't want to go back - why should you be forced to live in the past?

3. A Subscription To An Online Dating Site
I imagine receiving this might be kind of offensive. Definitely not good to give this to someone who is currently in a relationship. Might be a good way to get rid of a friend's girlfriend you don't really like.

4. A 19th Century Printing Press
Didn't you hear? Traditional print media is dead. Get them an I-Pad instead.

5. A Book By Jeremy Clarkson
I just think he's a twat.

This isn't really Christmas related but I came second in The UK Scriptwriters Podcast Casablanca sequel competition. The task was to name a Casablanca sequel in a different kind of genre and then write a tag-line for it. I went for Casablanca 2: Attack of the Nazi Super Squid 3D. 'Here's lookin at you Squid'.
If you want to hear my name briefly mentioned then download the podcast here.




Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Five Blogs of Christmas: I Just Had Sex

This is more like a Christmas present from me to me. I love The Lonely Island, I also kind of love Akon. That's why I'm so happy they've got together and made a song. This is kind of what every Akon song is about just put much more simply.



Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Five Blogs of Christmas: Johnny Depp The Italian Christmas Donkey

This is one of my all time favourite Christmas songs. It's really weird but also hugely catchy. One of the only problems is that because the song is such an old classic it doesn't have a music video to call its own. There are a couple of generic efforts up on the old You Tube but they're kind of boring. Instead I present to you a completely FUCKING BIZARRE effort setting the song to a montage of clips of Johnny Depp. I'm not sure who is responsible for this but I'm pretty sure they're treading that fine line between genius and insanity.



Monday, 20 December 2010

Five Blogs of Christmas: Gremlins

I'm not sure why but I don't think Gremlins is widely thought of as an alternative Christmas classic. People recognise it as a bit of a classic but it isn't really categorised as a Christmas movie. This is wrong for a couple of reasons. Firstly it isn't just a bit of a classic it is an absolute classic. From the first moment Gizmo melts your heart to the assembled Gremlin army watching Snow White it's both hilarious, heartfelt and although it has a 15 certificate I'd say it's fun for the whole family (Just try not to use the word massacre at all). Secondly, the film has more to say about the modern concept of Christmas than almost any other recent Christmas film. It has a nice level of ambiguity both celebrating the modern Christmas and the American concept of Christmas whilst having the Gremlins represent rampant consumerism. Maybe like the Gremlins if you follow the rules / traditions things will be fine, it's when you compromise the problems start. 

Although, the story of the Santa in the chimney is very dark....



Friday, 10 December 2010

X-Factor Final Preview

Hey Blog Friends. Sorry about the length of time since the last update. I think I mentioned but I'm temping again but this time in the wacky world of retail. Face to face, eye to eye, mano e mano motherfucking customer service. To be honest it's kind of mentally exhausting. I won't go into details but it reminds me why it has been so long since I last braved the shop floor. Still, I get to meet plenty of characters and I've never been more informed about mobile phones. Anyway, I'm going to get back into the blog swing and start with some short posts to regain my momentum.

Tomorrow is of course the final of the X-Factor. Some of you may shriek in delight, others may stare into the dark empty void that the absence of the program will leave in your existence. Whatever your opinion it's going to happen and by the end of this weekend we will have a new champion. Here's my personal guide to your betting options.

Cher Lloyd (1000/1)
The only way Cher will win is if the other contestants hold a joint press conference on Saturday morning and announce they are all active supporters of the BNP, backing the increase in tuition fees and all feel The Weasel should have made it to the final.

One Direction (5 /1)
It's difficult to gage support for the boys as they've never been in any trouble. The sheer volume of their fans seems to have propelled them through. People have their own individual favourites (We like the one who just hums) but I still can't see any band overcoming the personality contest aspect of the show. Could be worth a cheeky punt though.

Rebecca ' Fergie' Ferguson (3/1)
Yes she has a great soulful voice, a (VOMIT) recording voice but is it just me or has she been kind of boring since maybe the third or fourth week. I'm sure she's a lovely person and a devoted Mother and she deserves to be singing professionally but I've never been excited by anything she's done.

Matt Cardle (2/1)
Word on the street would place Matt as the favourite. He reminds me of my old favourite of many a moon ago Diana Vickers in that when he sings I am woken from my coma of cynicism and actually properly listen to the song. He actually has something unique and doesn't have the factory line easy marketing appeal of the others. The most potential to make a song I'll actually listen to. For me it has to be Matt as this year's winner. Also I think Dannii has firmly established herself as the judge with the least stupid opinions so it'd be good if she won.



Wednesday, 24 November 2010

A Buffer Buffy Buffet

Apologies for the lack of updates. I'm temping again (This time selling phones!). This of course means less free time and less free time means less blogging - I really need to get my priorities straight don't you think?

Weird nerd news of the week is that Buffy is being rebooted in a new film not starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and without any involvement from series and character creator Joss Whedon. There has of course been a Buffy movie before but in all honesty that doesn't bare much resemblance to the series that defined the pop culture icon. I think it's all a truly terrible idea.

I'm not against reboots and re-tellings (see my recent Spider-Man related post) especially when they involve a translation to another medium but in this case something smells wrong. Maybe those behind the film underestimate the fans. As a comic fan my loyalty is to the books and the films will always be in comparison to them. Here the comparison is to a very recent television series where the audience will be the hardcore fans of the original. What I'm trying to say is that there will be a whole lot more people pissed off with any misstep and they'll be a lot easier to spot.

Buffy was always going to get remade eventually but I definitely thought it would take longer than 7 years. Maybe Buffy will be hunting the vampires from the Twilight films. This would definitely be the weirdest attempt to cash in on the whole sexy vampire trend.

Here's Whedon's response to the whole thing. It's all very funny and tongue in cheek. I think he'll be too busy smashing the box office with The Avengers to care.



Friday, 19 November 2010

Things I Like Week: Couscous

Things I Like Week: Couscous

I kind of hinted that I was going to drop you one of my legendary recipes this week but really I don't have that many of them so I'm going to give you half of one. To be honest it's not even really a recipe. I just want to say that I really kind of like couscous. You just put it in a bowl and then add boiling water and then put some clear foil over the top - it's that easy! Of course if you want a real kick then you can juice and then grate a Lemon over the top for a bit of a zing. What you don't want to do is just peel the lemon into very large strips and then dump them on top of the couscous. As much as I wanted this to be zesting it's not actually true. Also, if you are going to have couscous you probably want to have it accompany something as couscous alone might be considered kind of dull - unless you're Liam.

The first episode of Peep Show Series 7 is online on 4OD a week ahead of its air date. Head to the site to check it out now! Hopefully I'll have a peek tonight.

That is I'll watch it after I get back from Harry Potter. I'm one of the few who haven't read the books so I'm less sure of what to expect here. I'm basically hoping that even though it's part 1 of 2 the film will have a genuine ending. Not another Pirates of the Caribbean fiasco. The Potter films have been decent enough in general with this kind of thing so I live in hope. If anyone else is going to see it I'd like to suggest it might be quite funny to go up to anyone wearing glasses and say 'nice costume'. They really should have done special 3D Harry Potter glasses. Missed a trick.



Thursday, 18 November 2010

Things I Like Week: Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #1

Things I Like Week: Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #1

Non-comics fans please feel free to zone out. This is going to be a post about a comic I like but it will include some musings on the rebooted Spider-Man film so you may want to stick around for that.

So as you may or may not know the Spider-Man movie franchise is being rebooted with a new installment out in 2012 starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Whilst I'm not hugely keen on rebooting for rebooting sake there is ground for doing so in certain situations (See Batman Begins). With the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy I'm a massive fan of everything that was accomplished (I'll admit it - I even liked Spider-Man 3) but at the same time I feel they were burning through story and characters very quickly. What I like about what I'm hearing from this reboot is that it's taking the character back to high school. Not only did some of Peter Parker's greatest adventures took place when he was just a sixteen year old kid it was also a much better environment for creating drama between Peter and his supporting cast. In the Raimi films it seems Pete is destined to end up with Mary Jane and anyone in the way is just a roadblock that'll eventually be conquered.

Which in a roundabout way brings me to Brian Michael Bendis' comic book high school Spider-Man reboot. This annual (With Art by Brooks & Isanove) delivers not only one of the best representations of teenage super-hero romance but one of the best representations of any kind of romance ever seen in the medium. It's a simple concept but one that is very rarely explored in much detail. Instead of Spider-Man's secret identity putting the life of his girlfriend in peril as a kind of damsel in distress why not give him a girlfriend who is if anything more powerful than he is? That's what Kitty Pryde (Of the X-Men) is. It's one of those things that when someone pitches you the idea it leaves you scratching your head and asking why it hasn't been done before. Of course a good concept is just window dressing if the execution is poor but Bendis perfectly captures the awkwardness and nervousness about putting yourself on the line inherent within any teenage relationship. Credit must also be given to Mark Brooks who was stepping into the shoes of Mark Bagley who at that time had been the only Ultimate Spider-Man artist and to the whole team who played out the Kitty / Pete story further than this annual alone.

Ultimate Spider-Man is still going strong to this day and for my money is still one of the best books on sale. This story is available in the collection of all that year's Ultimate Annuals and can be picked up from Amazon or any other good online retail outlet. (Maybe my Amazon sidebar will start recommending it instead of Susan Boyle?) For more comicy goodness check out Liam or Celeste's blogs (Over there->) and join me tomorrow for a final day of things I like!



Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Things I Like Week: Blatant Product Placement

Things I Like Week: Blatant Product Placement

I'm not anti-product placement if that's what it takes for great shoes to stay on the air then let Michael Scott use a Mac or Jack Donaghy eat a McFlurry. When done well it can actually be part of a great joke - Burger King sponsoring scandal makers on Arrested Development and then Ron Howard's narration backing up the great taste of BK. When it's done right the product fills a role in the script rather than the script being made to fit the product.

However, I also quite like it when the product placement is done in a horrifically obvious and quite offensive to our intelligence way. Check out this clip from US Soap 'Days of Our Lives' where two characters are far more concerned with the nutritional advantages of Cheerios than anything as silly as the plot.

Thanks to Ken Levine for bringing this to my attention on his excellent screenwriting blog.



Today's Blog Post was brought to you by BLUE THUNDER! The all new energy drink with added BLUECOSE!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Things I Like Week: The American Office

Things I Like Week: The American Office

I've gone into detail in print on why I love The American Office. I think when I wrote this article it was only in like the third series and now it's in the seventh and still going strong. Back then I attributed the show's continued success to the development of the supporting characters. I think I was right. The show is at a stage now where some of the so called minor characters are even more interesting than the main characters. *SPOILER ALERT* Next season Michael Scott (the US equivalent of David Brent played by Steve Carrell if you didn't know) is leaving and I'm pretty confident the show will survive what would in any other case be a concept destroying loss. If Andy and Erin's love story is still going by then I'm sure I'll still be on the hook. I guess the only question is who is going to step up as boss? There's been talk of an 'outside hire' as it were but I'm hoping someone will step-up from within. Jim would be the obvious choice but then again The Office rarely go down that route.

Anyway, Series 5 is now showing on Comedy Central. I'm not going to do the hard sell but if you enjoyed the original there's no way it won't be up your alley. For my mind 30 Rock is the only other show on TV competing for sheer quality and laughs per episode.



Monday, 15 November 2010

Things I Like Week: Aiden's Reaction

So this week I'm going to celebrate a different thing that I like each day. I'm going to mix it up between films, TV, music, etc. Maybe I'll even throw in a recipe. I am renowned for my cooking skills.

Things I Like Week: Aiden's Reaction
Yeah it's Monday and I'm sticking with the X-Factor water cooler bullshit because I feel like Aiden deserves some props. I'm not going to go on about the whole mechanics of the competition and if he deserved to go or not (I quite like him and The Weasel definitely should have been out of there) instead it's his reaction that I enjoyed. He didn't react like a boring brainwashed drone whittling on about how this isn't the last you'll hear of them and how they're still going to keep following their dream. He was understandably gutted to have gotten so far and lost to this annoying interchangeable bore. When Dermot asked him if he was surprised he answered honestly that he'd heard he was in trouble via Twitter. By the by Dermot's whole party line response was quite rude and makes his whole chummy with the acts schtick seem a lot more fake. Finally instead of outlining some Hitleresque plot to dominate the globe he said he was going for a beer. It might not do him any good with the Heat magazine interviews and Xtra Factor bollocks but it left me with a good deal more esteem for the lad. Congratulations Aiden - you got liked.



Friday, 12 November 2010

Friday Feeling Feeling of the Week: Fear

Willow Smith - Whip My Hair ( Official Video HD )
Uploaded by tyhansofficiel. - See the latest featured music videos.

This week's Friday Feeling Feeling of the Week is Fear. I fear that Willow Smith's (Daughter of Will and member of the most talented family on Earth) new rap sensation 'Whip My Hair' will become the next big thing that everyone is talking about. I fear that I won't be able to get on the bus or do a dance in the club without someone going and whipping their hair all up in my grill. It's not that I have anything against Willow Smith - if anything she's setting a good example for her Dad and her brother and I don't have anything against the concept of whipping hair. It's just that I fear getting left behind. My hair is very short and it tends to always be quite short. What I'm saying is that I can't really whip my hair. If I try and whip my hair it kind of looks like I'm headbanging. I'm sorry Willow Smith. I wish you all the success in the world. I just don't want to live in a world where my inability to whip my hair makes me a social outcast.

The above horrendous photo is from probably the last time I could whip my hair.

If you'd like to feel some more fear then the second episode of The Walking Dead is on FX tonight at 10. It got off to a superb start last week and as well as the gore and drama it has the lead guy from Teachers doing an American accent. I've already series linked this mofo.



Thursday, 11 November 2010

Hey Steve Lawrence, What you doing Flo Rida?

I love Flo Rida. He clearly doesn't care for the conventions of normal society. I have to admit though that I find the beginning of his collaboration with The Saturdays quite confusing.

It's basically Flo asking the girls what they're up to on Saturday (They reply in song). He names each Saturday individually which I think is a really nice touch as to be fair I doubt even The Saturdays know what each member of the band is called. What confuses me is he also names himself as if he's asking himself what he's up to on Saturday along with them. You could suggest he was talking to himself but it doesn't seem likely as The Saturdays are there with him. Maybe he doesn't realise he is actually Flo Rida. Either that or the guy doing the intro isn't Flo Rida but is actually his evil twin Ala Bama.

Good episode of The Apprentice last night - the marketing tasks never fail to disappoint. How do they always mess it up so horrifically? Would anyone in their right mind make a household cleaner in red and black. It looked like poison. The adverts were also pretty horrendous but that's standard. Kudos to Sugar Daddy for some of his lines in the boardroom.
'You were all over this like a tramp on chips.'
I would love to be Alan Sugar's personal scriptwriter.



Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The Shocking Not Quite Return of Metro Man

This morning I was writing about the new DreamWorks Animation super-villain comedy Megamind for my monthly film preview column for Gallery. I was getting the usual details - director, writers, stars (This thing has a hell of a cast) and plot synopsis. I was making my notes when I came across a character name that seemed oddly familiar. Megamind's hero nemesis is called Metro-Man. Now I knew I'd heard this somewhere before and despite my encyclopedic knowledge of Marvel and DC Comics I'm pretty sure it wasn't in any comic book. Then it dawned on me. Metro-Man was the super-hero created by male beauty Sam in the 'Create Your Own Super-Hero Character' challenge during Season 3 of the ultimate social experiment Beauty & The Geek. I'm not going to suggest Megamind ripped off the genius of club promoter Sam as their character's power isn't I presume breakdancing and George Hamilton's tanning spray but it's a weird coincidence.

It's nice to see that Sam is still acting. Amazingly enough he was in Little Giants and Boy Meets World.



Monday, 8 November 2010

Making It Up As They Go Along

Good actors, never use the script unless it’s amazing writing. All the good actors I’ve worked with, they all say whatever they want to say.

Jessica Alba has been attributed with the above highly confusing quote. I hope she was misquoted or taken severely out of context because otherwise this is a seriously bizarre comment to make. John August (A successful screenwriter) takes her to task here. But as a wannabe screenwriter I think I also need to put this out there and maybe add a few points to John's take.

- Sin City. A great movie and one of the most faithful graphic novel to screen adaptations of all time. Was it a coincidence that the dialogue she was making up (presuming she classes herself as a good actor) was in some cases exactly the same as that in the graphic novel?

- What's the point of being an actor who also writes (Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, David Cross). Wouldn't it be better to just work at becoming a good actor so that you can just make-up your dialogue on the spot instead of waste time with a script? Maybe they get two pay cheques.

I don't know. It's all highly confusing. I really hope Jalba was taken out of context. Mostly because my girlfriend loves her. If she's right and this really is how Hollywood works then SERIOUSLY Jessica - what the fuck were you up to in The Love Guru?



Saturday, 6 November 2010

For Fawkes Sake

In my first thirty minutes of being awake this morning I'd heard 'Fireworks' by Katy Perry three times. I'm not complaining, I find Miss Perry and her pop stylings quite delightful. I think I had to hear the song played another three times before I realised exactly why I was hearing it so much today. Congratulations to Katy's Marketing team for creating what I imagine to be the first intentional Bonfire night anthem. Look next year for my song 'Boom! Boom! Bang! Bang! Ooooooh! Aaaaaah!'



Friday, 5 November 2010

A-Ha and Welcome Back!

Hello again friends. Sorry for the lack of blogging this week. I've had a few other pressing things come up and press me to do them. So Blatantly the big news of the day is that A-HA Partridge is back!

It is sponsored by Fosters but that hasn't seemed to have changed the output at all. In fact in this day and age I think it makes sense for Alan to have regressed to such a level that he'd only be available on digital radio or on the internet. Hopefully, Lynn or Michael might pop their heads in either that or this could provide a launch pad to a new series. With 'The Trip' starting last Monday on BBC2 it seems there will be lots of Steve Coogan goodness for the weeks to come. This is opposed to roles in questionable films that don't make the most of his undoubted talent.

Speaking of new series Red Dwarf has been commissioned for a new one. To be honest I found the recent Dave specials quite lacking in the kind of bite the old series had but hopefully giving them the luxury of a full series will allow the show to go back to basics.

I'm trying to Tweet more once again. Twit away at me on steveolawrence.

Finally, I have a new follower. Let's all join hands and welcome The Flamingo of Oppression (Great name!) to the fold. Have a good weekend everyone and if you're going to a bonfire please try not to put your face too close to the glowy red stuff.



Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Saw It

WARNING: Major Saw 3D Spoilers follow. Don't read if you're going to see it. Either that or read and then don't bother going to see it!

So I ended up going to see Saw 3D on Monday night. The 7th (Not 14th as Jose Franco thought) and hopefully last in the Saw franchise. I can't really recommend it. There's plenty of gore and a very inventive trap at the used car yard (featuring the lead singer of Linkin Park confusingly enough) but by way of story there's pretty much nothing. I didn't find the plotting as dense as the concurrent Saw 3 and 4 but it's still needlessly confusing. For me it all went wrong when they lost Jigsaw (Yes I know he was in the sequels in flashbacks but he isn't the guiding force). Hoffman just isn't as interesting a villain. The whole 'testing' aspect of it goes out the window and it all becomes just sadistic punishment and revenge. Plus when the bad guys are so infinitely superior to the good guys you know there's basically zero chance of them escaping the traps and in that pretty much any kind of tension is lost. The final third of the film just goes completely off the rails as Hoffman goes on a stabbing spree like some kind of cheap Michael Myers (Which after Halloween H20 is difficult to do). It all finishes with a twist that would have been welcome about six films ago.

There are a few good points. The character of Officer Gibson gives us someone we can genuinely root for (I enjoyed his manic repetition) though he is dispatched with quickly and in a fairly lame fashion. There also seem to be a few decent ideas in the story that just aren't developed enough. For once the opening trap takes place in view of the general public rather than in a dingy hospital / warehouse. I thought that by following this through there could have been an interesting through line on the public perception of gore these days. After 7 Saw films have we lost our disgust at the violence and become at best desensitized slack jawed gawkers and at worst willing participants? I also think more could have been made of the (genuine) Jigsaw survivor groups. Given this is the last chapter this would have provided more of a satisfying final judgement of Jigsaw's legacy.

I eagerly anticipate the forthcoming Scream 4 and hope it will consider the legacy of these films. Maybe sending us on a path to gore combined with characters and story rather than blood for blood's sake.

New issue of Gallery is out featuring Due Date, Movies 4 Men and the Jersey Amnesty International Film Festival. Check it out.



Tuesday, 2 November 2010

200th Post Spectacular!

200 posts! Congratulations everybody. It has been a long tough struggle to get here but we did it. We've outlasted governments, seen the economy go to shit and even witnessed Josh Franco acting. And we're not stopping yet. We might have changed our focus and experimented in different things (podcasting, short films, hard drugs) but the fact remains that we still love you and we're always going to be here for you. As we enter out third century I ask - what would you like to see from this blog going forward? Competitions, Boobs, Pop-Up ads? Drop me a line and let me know

Normally when I hit a big milestone like this I like to look back and today isn't going to be any different. But I'm not just going to look back at past moments of Steveitude greatness. I'm going way back like Marty McFly. What you may not realise is that before 'The Fortress of Steveitude' came the MSN Space known as Steve's Zone of Love. The first post on that dropped on the 15th of June 2005 meaning I've been blogging for over 5 years now (Laugh or cry?)! To celebrate my 200th post here - Here's that very first blog post in its entirety...

The Bloggingest Blog Around

Today my mood ring is Yellow..
That's right Steve has his own Blog and yes it's going to be the bloggingest blog around. You'll see me in the street and be like 'Hey Steve! Wanna go and get some ice cream?' and I'll be all like 'Sorry dude/tte but I gotta go home and blog, maybe some other time.' Thats how committed I am to this thing. I mean everyone knows I like a good ice cream. In my blog I'm going to do so much too, I'm going to give advice, write stories, give celebrity gossip and review all sorts of stuff. Basically I'm going to make everyone who reads it a better person.
I'll start right now, Hey reader go and download 'Papa Roach - Scars'! People are saying they're the new Good Charlotte. Celebrated rap superstar Nelly says they are 'Hot in Here'. Also commenting on last nights episode of the OC, nice job on the almost Rape. As most people will tell you my favourite things are platonic love, real life situations and rape. I already loved the OC before this because it reminds me of real life situations and this is just the icing on the cake. More please!
Keep on Bloggateering. Vote Pedro.

So how does it hold up? Surprisingly well I'd say. I'm still committed to delivering the bloggingest blog around and on many occasions I have been forced to turn down a trip to the ice cream parlour because of an intention to blog. Obviously I'm still a massive fan of Papa Roach and in particular the song 'Scars'. It was obvious even in 2005 that they were going to become the world's biggest rock-band. Sadly, The OC is no longer with us but I think it's been long enough now for them to attempt a remake. It worked with 90210. 
Anyway dear friends. I hope you enjoyed coming with me on this gentle stroll down memory lane. Please sit tight for the next great adventure. 

Friday, 29 October 2010

Halloween Movie Week - The Mist

For the final day of the week I'm going to go for a real favourite and the first Stephen King adaptation of the week.

Day 5 - The Mist

Sorry Mr. Kubrick but Frank Darabont is the official master of Stephen King adaptations with The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and The Mist under his belt. It's because he gets what the Master of Horror is all about. Certain critics attack King for his style and over reliance on plot but when he gets it right King is all about character. The Shining, Shawshank and even Stand By Me aren't about external threats but about character interaction and how these people play off each other. In his best horror efforts the external conflicts represent the inner conflicts of the characters.

In The Mist all these strengths are played up. A group of people trapped in a supermarket by a mysterious threat soon turn on each other as the threat outside escalates. The great thing that Darabont really manages to convey is that the true evil and the real horror is the result of the actions of these people and not the bugs and octopuses and other Lovecraftesque nightmares rampaging outside.

It's a brilliant film crafted by a director at the top of his game. There are genuinely scary moments, real character drama and a thought provoking message. It also has an unrelentingly bleak ending. I think it fits with the piece but I've known others to disagree and become a little depressed because of it.

In other Frank Darabont news he is behind the TV adaptation of The Walking Dead. Premiering on FX on November 5th in the UK. If it's anything like the comic it'll be insanely brilliant.

Have a great weekend. If you're wondering how I'm celebrating Halloween I'll be watching Paranormal Activity 2 tonight, dressing as a zombie mime tomorrow and then watching An American Wereworlf in London on Sunday.



Thursday, 28 October 2010

Halloween Movie Week - Final Destination 2

It's day 4 of Halloween movie week and a mere 3 days until the big day itself. Hope you've got your costumes sorted. If you see any zombie mimes rampaging around on Saturday night come and say hi. I won't say hi back but I will wave.

Day 4 - Final Destination 2

Apart from the Saw films there aren't a massive number of recent horror films that have spawned a true legacy of cinematic sequels. A decent few have had a bit of life in the straight to DVD arena but these are easy to ignore. Final Destination is one of the few horror films in recent memory that can seriously lay claim to starting a real franchise and I'm going to be controversial here because I don't even think it was the best one.

I'm not going to disrespect Final Destination here. I think if anything you want to double bill these two. It's a genius concept - death relentlessly pursuing those who've managed to escape its clutches leading to a series of inventive and gruesome deaths. The plane crash of the original is genuinely quite disturbing although I'd say the sheer scale of the car crash in FD2 outdoes it. It also has one of my favourite deaths of the entire series when the girl is hit by the bus - classic sucker punch. The plot of the original is also a great deal clearer with 2 throwing in a few confusing twists to do with defying death (Though there is a decent attempt to link the films together seemingly abandoned in the following sequels). Yet, I'd say the second is by far the most entertaining of the two films on the strength of its death sequences alone. You can see the filmmakers are far more comfortable with the concept and each gory end is its own mini masterpiece. From the ladder through the eye to the fence dismembering to the flattening with the plane of glass this film has a pitch black sense of humour.

With the sheer glee in which the characters are picked off you have to decide who you're rooting for. It might be a little morbid but I think it's more fun to side with The Reaper.

FILM NERD FACT - The original film was written as a spec for the X-Files. Mulder & Scully vs Death - pretty awesome high concept!

The above pic is from the novelization of the film. Seriously. Who the fuck is going to buy that?

I had to hand back my keys today. I finished my contract as a Temporary Facilities Assistant and I am no longer a white van man or a deliverer of milk. Anyone who wants to give me a non sexual job please get in touch. Jobs involving use of a white van preferred.



Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Halloween Movie Week - The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Just a short one today. A little short on time before The Apprentice.

Day 3 - The Exorcism of Emily Rose

This was a big box office hit in 2005 but I haven't actually encountered many people who've seen it. It falls  into the ghost story, possession, creepy child sub genre which isn't always my favourite. I think when it's done well then it can represent the absolute best of the horror genre (See: The Exorcist, The Omen, The Shining, The Ring) but much of the time films can be too in thrall to these classics. Whenever there's a hit there are far too many dreadful attempts to cash in by doing the same thing. For example, The Ring was fantastic but then I ended up sitting through Hide & Seek and White Noise. The Exorcism of Emily Rose deserves praise for its originality in telling an old story but in a fascinating new way.

It's your typical possession story but framed by a court case dealing with a priest accused of negligent homicide after performing an exorcism where the possessed girl dies. It's especially interesting in two ways. First of all it completely invites the audience into making their own decision. Through the use of different narrators it never completely falls down on who is absolutely right. Also via the use of these different narrators it provides a fascinating view not only of the religious context of the exorcism but also the American legal system and religion's place inside it. There are a few decent frights but it's more a character drama and an intellectual debate presented against the backdrop of classic horror tropes. Worth a look even if you're not into the horror genre.

Has anyone seen the trailer for Series 2 of Misfits? I missed the first series because I was away travelling but the trailer is so ingenious that it makes me want to watch. Very clever.

Local film 'Ghosts of Rome' are looking for people to film short vox pops to make-up part of their project. Check out their website here. I have to commend them for their choice of example film on the vox pop page. That guy is handsome and funny and me. Check it out.



Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Halloween Movie Week - Jennifer's Body

It's day 2 of Halloween Horror Week. Today - Jennifer's Body

It's difficult to say why Jennifer's Body didn't catch on. It had big stars (Megan Fox & Amanda Seyfried), a fun premise (cheerleader possessed by a demon eats classmates) and a script by the Oscar winning writer of Juno. I guess the reason that I enjoy it is the same reason more people haven't seen it - it's a bizarre film. Treading the fine line between parody and tribute the film is like a throwback to eighties teen horror with buckets of gore and a wicked sense of humour - it's genius. I watched it in a large group of people who seemed to think it wasn't so great but to be honest I just don't think many of them got it. There's none of the jumpy scares of a slasher or a ghost flick it's just plain fun in the vein of The Evil Dead. There are a few great supporting turns but absolutely stand out is Adam Brody (Seth from the OC) as the lead singer of the band who sacrifice Fox's central character to Satan.

'Do you want to be awesome like that guy from Maroon 5?'

Also, there's plenty of Megan Fox and though I doubt she appeals to the ladies I think the dudes will enjoy how much skin they get to see.

Overall, it's a really great film and it deserves a bigger audience. Just make sure you go in looking for laughs rather than terrifying scares.

In other news it hasn't been a good day for animals. Paul The Octopus is on his way to the big sushi bar in the sky and our beloved pet the 'Titan of Toilet Drinking' Doobie the Cat passed away at what we guess was the age of 17. I'll do a little tribute to him next week. We're obviously sad but he hadn't been well and it was definitely for the best. I like to think he is annoying Jesus by constantly rubbing himself against his leg and demanding to be fed even though we just fed him.



Monday, 25 October 2010

Halloween Movie Week - The Faculty

It's the week leading up to one of my favourite days of the year - Halloween! It does happen to fall on a Sunday this year but I think every Halloween should be a national holiday. Trick or Treating would be mandatory as well as dressing up, we could all eat Pumpkin Pie and drink Pumpkin soup and most importantly of all families could gather together and watch horror films. If you fat cats at city hall are reading this then take note. It has the potential to be as big as Christmas!

In the spirit of things I'm going to recommend a film each day that you might want to think about watching. I'm going to try and go kind of left field with this. I shouldn't need to tell you The Shining or Halloween are absolute classics. Instead I'll go with lesser known, forgotten, sequels or the criminally underrated.

Today - The Faculty.

I'll admit that I haven't seen this film for a while. It actually came out in 1998 - Christ that seems like a long time ago. I do hold a special fondness for it in my heart though because it was one of the first films I saw when I really started getting into the horror genre. I guess you could even question if it really is a horror or if it's more science fiction. I think one of its great strengths is in fusing the two genres so effortlessly harking back to an earlier era and fifties sci-fi like Invasion of the Bodysnatchers. It also does a pretty darn good at nailing the teen coming of age narrative with some great and genuinely funny dialogue. This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise given Kevin Williamson's (Dawson's Creek, Scream) involvement in scripting.

The film is smart, funny, self referential and at times genuinely inventive (the subversive snorting of the made-up drug as a way of ending paranoia rather than causing it!). There's also some very decent set pieces, the confrontation at the pool springing to mind. Again this shouldn't surprise too much as Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, From Dusk Till Dawn) directed the film.

If nothing else this film features Usher playing one of the smaller roles. If that isn't enough to convince you then I don't know what to say.



Sunday, 24 October 2010

Shy Ronnie FX

Rihanna & Shy Ronnie from Mathieu Carratier on Vimeo.

Back after a massive weekend of hardcore Lancaster korfing (It's not a sex thing. Click on the link if you don't know what I mean). It was weird being back after such a long time away. I think I had a little tear in my eye when I was sitting on the bus. Depressingly the majority of the current influx of freshers were 13 when I started my degree. Definitely starting to feel a bit old. I think I fooled them into thinking I was cool by constantly talking about the Tinie Tempahs and Flo-Rida. We were staying with the man, the myth, the legend - George Lincoln and he reminded me of the above video. I kind of think this is what Rihanna would be like in person. Happy Sunday everyone. Back next week with build up to Halloween and horror films!



Thursday, 21 October 2010

Fear of Vaginas

There's plenty of talk on the national scale about cuts and deficits. Sadly we here in Jersey are not immune to this kind of thing. One of the big talking points here is a massive reduction in subsidies to private schools. I'm not going to weigh in on the debate here in too serious a matter. Frankly Jersey politicians make British politicians look like upstanding citizens with common sense and vision. What I am going to respond to is an article in tonight's Jersey Evening Post. The good folks at our local paper have sought out a variety of opinions on the matter including asking a sixth form boy educated in public school for his views. As it turns out his views are moronic.

His main argument is that not only did he go to public school and turn out alright (You're a teenager mate. You haven't turned out anything yet.) but that because he went to a mixed sex school he is comfortable with the other sex. Of course if you go to an all male public school and speak to a girl you'll either cry, wee yourself, spunk in your pants or do a messy mixture of all three. He's just wrong and dangerously so. Is there really such a thing as a teenage boy (public or private school, same or mixed sex) who is truly comfortable with the other sex? I think from the Inbetweeners alone we can probably answer that as a big no. I'm twenty three and I've had a girlfriend for nearly three years and even I'm not completely comfortable with the other sex. I doubt any man ever reaches this point. I don't blame the kid writing the article for doing this but surely the editor could have coaxed something a little more interesting rather than boring cliches and undoubted inaccuracies.

The less mature response - If you want to know how guys from same sex schools relate to women then just ask your Mum.

Join us next time for hopefully less vitriolic attacks on teenagers and if you did make it to The Ritz in Brixton tonight please let me know what you think!



Wednesday, 20 October 2010

A Few Thoughts On A Wednesday

Sorry for the lack of updates. I've suddenly found myself between Gallery deadlines writing about Zach Galifianakis, Female Genital Mutilation and Galactic Gigolo (It's a real thing). It'll all become clear when the issue is out.

A few thoughts on the day's big (not big) news.

- Exciting news today as the Piranha sequel was announced under the title Piranha 3DD (Like Boobs!). It's set for August next year which is a pretty fast turn around and has a couple of the Saw writers attached. Surely you can't over complicate Piranha can you?

- Anyone still watching Hollyoaks? I think it's enjoying a renaissance - secret families, unconvincing cross-dressing and confused predatory gang boss homosexuals. Plus *SPOILER ALERT* Warren is coming back from the dead to raise some hell. It might be confusing at first but I think it's time to get back on board.

- I watched Real Madrid v AC Milan. Nice to watch a match without that depressing sense of dread or some over hyped backstory about ungrateful overpaid overgrown children. Jose Mourinho has assembled a team and got them playing his style in very quick fashion and as much as I hate to admit it Cristiano Ronaldo was awesome.  

- Back to Lancaster at the weekend for some hot fresh Korfball action. I hope no one is intimidated by the fact I have now played in an international Korfball match. I also hope my foot stops hurting before then.

- Finally, today's picture is a Marvel meets Tron variant cover. Ultimate Nerdgasm!



Monday, 18 October 2010

From The Ritz to the Glamour

Calling all Londoners! This Thursday you have a rare opportunity to experience some Steveitude in the flesh. It's on Thursday night upstairs at The Ritzy in Brixton. I have a sketch competing against two other sketches in the finals of The Ritzy Cup. It's very exciting - real comedians performing something I wrote for a group of people who've actually paid for the opportunity to be there. Actually, there more likely to be paying to see Abandoman, David Whitney and Matthew Highton but the important thing is they'll actually have paid. Anyway, if you're in London and you're free on Thursday night PLEASE go along and laugh very hard at my sketch (It's about Michael Myers - star of the Halloween franchise) and not so hard at the sketches it's going up against. All the details on the above poster. I wouldn't heckle David Whitney if I was you, he's currently facing charges for head-butting a heckler. For those not in London the sketches are being filmed and hopefully I'll have a link for you sooner rather than later.

So how was your weekend? I'm still feeling tired which normally indicates a good one. I can heartily recommend The Social Network. Brilliant stuff. Here's my usual X-Factor Monday thoughts:

- I was glad to hear a few wild proclamations this week. Simon suggesting One Direction were the best band in the world today was a good one. That's pretty good going given they've only been together for about two weeks. Hopefully this'll be the kick in the ass bands who've been working on their craft for years like The Arctic Monkeys and The Kings of Leon need to get their acts together.

- I found Cher's performance mildly less annoying than last week. I'm still a bit scared to watch her though. She looks like an angry skeleton with her limbs flailing around like that. Kind of like a Halloween decoration.

- I would pay good money for the Wagner vs Mary sex-tape. Especially if Dermot still had to do the post sex interviews. The XXX Factor? Too obvious I think.

- It was all a bit predictable this week. I think we need another twist. Maybe all the contestants could have to care for an egg for a week. They could draw a face on it and give it a name. If they lose or break the egg then maybe a different mentor could pick their song.

If any Londoners do decide to go please let me know how it all goes down. My brother will be there so say 'hi' to him. He looks like me but more Chinese.



Friday, 15 October 2010

Sloth of Allegiance

I'm here today to talk to you fine people about a very serious issue that effects us all. A blight not only on our society but on our whole planet. Today I want to talk about Alcoholism In Sloths.

Now certain 'scientists' will tell you that sloths appear lazy because of their slow metabolism and diet of low on nutrition, low on energy leaves. These people are almost certainly quacks and I'd hazard a guess sexual deviants. There is one clear reason why sloths appear slow and lazy (Seriously? Natural Selection? How did these guys make it? I'll take Creationism thank you.) - That reason is there love of a cheeky couple of beers. Don't get me wrong they're not going to get pissed up and start a fight. These creatures just love having a few and getting nicely toasted. The kind of drunk where you might just drift off in front of the telly. You might ask - what's the problem Steve? Sometimes I like a couple of beers and a nap. I'll tell you. Sloths are like this all the time.

Sloths have the potential to be awesome and acrobatic like monkeys. They could contribute to our society by being in the circus or starring in shows. But they don't. Their love of beer saps their motivation and decreases their ability to entertain. They might have a few grand ideas about things they want to do but they're never going to be sober enough to make their dreams a reality. It's a sad situation and only with your help can we round up these gentle souls and get them into rehab. What are you going to do?

Thanks to Sarah for the artwork that inspired today's blog. I think we should print it on a T-Shirt. We're coming up to our 200th Post! Very exciting stuff. Check back here at the weekend for something of a celebration. Once again Londoners keep Thursday free in your diary. Something is happening in Brixton. I'll spill the beans on Monday.



Thursday, 14 October 2010

Coming or Going

Why doesn't anyone else make videos like OK Go? As if they hadn't already cemented their place in history for 'Here It Goes Again' they then go and do this. It puts all those lazy artists doing literal interpretations or slut-fest videos to shame. The only problem with OK Go's videos is that they tend to overshadow their by and large excellent songs. Check out 'Get Over It' from their self titled debut album. It made it to the dizzy heights of number 21 in the UK Charts about eight years ago so I'll forgive you for not knowing it. OK? Go!

No response from the government regarding yesterday's post. I will take this as a cowardly acknowledgement that I am right. Steve 1 Government 0.

Today I managed to zip my shirt into my jacket. It was unfortunate. Not as unfortunate a wardrobe malfunction as going into a meeting and accidentally taking a women's jacket instead of my own and then having to go back to the meeting to swap. I won't name any names but for those who have been reading the blog you can probably guess. 'What have you done?'

Finally, London readers of the blog should keep next Thursday free in their diaries. An announcement is forthcoming when I confirm all the details. Maybe check out the tube schedules for Brixton...



Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Steve vs The Coalition: Tuition Fee Caps

There's quite a furore over the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition's plan to basically skull fuck students even more by raising the cost of higher education. My extremely attractive friend and former porn mogul Phil Scullion dives into the issue with the same amount of gusto as he normally reserves for diving between a girl's legs (He's a giver). It's actually a well thought out reasoned argument which I find surprising as I thought Phil was just a pretty face. Check it out here.

Now if you expect that level of reasoned debate here then you're obviously new. Welcome. Instead I present to you...

Three Ways to Make Savings Within Higher Education Without Raising the Cost of Going

1. University Jumpers
Everyone buys one of these. A jumper with the name of the uni on it. I didn't even really want one but I still ended up shelling out thirty odd quid for one. Unis need to take advantage of student's inability to resist a knitted garment with the name of the place they are currently at on it. Don't charge £37 charge £4000. People would still buy them. Shit I'd probably buy one and technically I'm an international student.

2. Late Essay Charges
Back in my day being late on an essay resulted in a 10% deduction if within a week of the due date or a big fat zero outside of that. Fuck that. Why not charge people for lateness like an overdue library book. £10 for every day overdue with a 1% deduction per day or £20 per day with no deduction. You could even buy the lateness in chunks for when you're planning some kind of crazy binge around deadline time. It'll also help raise educational standards as cheap students won't want to pay money for something as trivial as an essay.

3. Mugging Students
Instead of figuratively mugging students the government could train a team of ninja bad asses to do it literally. Walking home pissed with a kebab on a night out - you better watch out buddy because the government ninjas are lurking in the shadows! You got drunk and left the window to the kitchen open - well you're shit out of luck because government ninjas have stolen your food and sold it to fund your education. This has the secondary effect of reducing traffic cone theft.

BONUS WAY! - Ralf Little
Ralf Little and a gaggle of former Hollyoaks actors are always hanging around Unis doing shit all but still getting paid money for it. Why not give them important sounding titles and government jobs and send them on a non-stop tour of nightclubs raising the cash needed to reduce the deficit? Only out of work actors and Ralf Little can stop a double dip recession!

On the topic of the government why do they call themselves a coalition? That's totally evil sounding. If they wanted to be cool they would refer to themselves as The Rebel Alliance. What a bunch of tools.



Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Rejected Sitcom Ideas: Baby Out With the Bathwater

Here's the first in a new series of rejected sitcom ideas. Sometimes I like to start with a title and work back from there.

Baby Out With the Bathwater
John Bathwater is the ultimate bachelor. All he's ever known is a playboy lifestyle of the planet's finest things, utmost luxuries and sexiest women. But that's about to change...
When John's older brother and his wife die in a horrific car accident he's left as their 6 month old son's sole guardian. Left holding the baby, John faces the choice of either fitting the child  into his way of life or changing his way of life to fit the child.

If you'd like to buy the rights please contact me with your offer. I really like Steak McCoy's so that might be something to think about.

There's also a new featured blog on our sidebar. Check out Celeste's Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Comics and other good things blog. Go here for some book banging.




Monday, 11 October 2010

X-Factor Extra Extra: Reload

Hey there blog fans. Hope you enjoyed 'March of the Robots'. So far we've had nearly a hundred hits which presuming every single person watched it with 10 to 15 of their closest friends mean 1000 people have seen the film. If for some reason you haven't seen it (Seriously - What's your fucking problem?) then you can check it out here. Hurry along now.

Monday of course means X-Factor Extra Extra. Then ancillary show to the ancillary show that is in no way affiliated with the actual X-Factor. Basically, here are some observations from Saturday and Sunday's lean mean three and a half hours (Christ) of super hot singer on audience action.

- The twist was extremely predictable.Wouldn't it be cooler if the judges could gunge a contestant after a bad performance? If anything reality TV doesn't have enough ritual humiliation.

- The choice of 'Number Ones' for the theme was also pretty uninspiring. How about 'UK Garage Week' featuring So Solid Crew, Craig David, Oxide & Neutrino and DJ Luck & MC Neat or 'Orson Week'?

- After Cher's quite irritating Professor Green song Louis Walsh commented 'that could be a hit single'. It was a hit single... very recently. It's Number Ones week.

- The judges' table seems to have been raised a couple of inches to hide Louis' erection when One Direction hit the stage.

- Wouldn't it be a great twist if Diva Fever turned out to be straight?

Anyway, a solid enough start to the competition. Please God let there be less of it next week.



Sunday, 10 October 2010

March of the Robots

Here it is. The fruit of our labours. Please watch, enjoy and share. Any comments appreciated and please join the group here!



Friday, 8 October 2010

Soundtrack Preview!

Not long to go now. Today here's a cheeky peek at the soundtrack provided by Jersey's finest rap collective Hiphoperation. When we were putting the film together I e-mailed Dan aka Turner Prize and asked him if he could write a song fitting the themes of the piece. Then it turned out he'd already done it. 

Technology by Hip Hoperation

Click on the link and go and have a listen. It's totally moist. Also please join the group here. Happy Friday!



Thursday, 7 October 2010

Coming Attractions: March of the Robots

The time is finally here. The big reveal - what the fuck is happening this Sunday at 6pm? Well I'll tell you. 

Robots, Zombies, Hiphoperation and Josh Franco in his finest acting role to date! This is what's happening. 

March of the Robots
March of the Robots: Tensions run high as three scientists hide in a bunker awaiting death from a robot menace one of them created. However, one of them may have a way to save them and the human race. All it will take is a sacrifice.
So basically the project was born at the beginning of the summer when I was looking for ways to actually make one of my scripts. I spoke to Matt and we decided to make a short film together. I wrote the script, we got our super talented cast together (Basically I tricked Josh into it), we shot the film in my garage and at Petit Port and then Matt did all the hard work editing it together. And on Sunday you're going to be able to view the fruits of our labour on You Tube. 
We learnt many a lesson from this project (I go over them in detail in this month's issue of Gallery). I think the main one is that for your first project you probably shouldn't make a high concept Hollywood blockbuster on a budget of about £50. Still, I stand by my claim that it makes a shit load more sense than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. 

'So what can I do?'

I'm glad you asked. Matt and I have set-up a Facebook group for our Production company (oh yes) - 

Click on the link to head there and join the party. This won't just give you first details on everything Robots but it'll also give you the inside skinny on all future productions (of which there will be many). It'll also be the first place to get the link on Sunday night literally three or four minutes before I post it on this here blog. 

So what are you waiting for? Join the Facebook group and begin the countdown. The world is ending in three days. What are you going to do about it? 



Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Sugar Rush

The Apprentice is back! This means I have a reason to post my determined briefcase wanker photo. Sadly even with this photo and my sterling CV of film journalism, kiwi picking and temping I wasn't selected for the new series. Instead you'll have to watch other egotistical bastards babble incomprehensibly about their business acumen and make the type of business decision that an ignorant child with low self esteem and high blood pressure because they never had the chance to have a dog listen to them read would make. Personally, I can't wait. Also, am I the only one who sings along to the theme tune with their own made-up words - 'who will carry the briefcase? who will answer the phone? who will get fired will it be you?'

The big announcement I've been ruthlessly teasing you about all week is coming up tomorrow. I'm genuinely quite excited about this. It feels like I'm actually doing something rather than just shouting random opinions about X-Factor into the abyss (Don't worry this will continue).

Also, I have a new follower. That's 5! Welcome Celeste. It's always delightful to find a new follower or receive a comment so please indulge yourselves. Even if you're a French guy wondering what the hell you're looking at. It's all good.



Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Old Dogs, New Tricks

So as I mentioned yesterday, Saturday night I was out watching the X-Factor cringing as the starlets had their fistful of dreams crushed one by one. My close personal friend Jose Antonio Franco stopped on his way out to the Birthday party of a former Liquid cage dancer where he knew no one apart from the Birthday boy himself. And with him he had a story. To be precise he had this story...

Or at least he had his version of this story. It's quite a weird story as it is. Children reading to dogs in two schools to help them build confidence. Jose's version was a lot stranger. 

Jose Franco on Educational Reform
Dogs are to be introduced to EVERY school as teaching assistants to help children read. Dogs have been chosen as opposed to cats, goldfish or any other animal because they are non judgmental. Having them there stops the children getting stressed and helps reduce blood pressure. They won't be taking any other classes. 

There are many issues here. Even with the real pilot scheme. I'll start with the most baffling and move on from there. 

- Is there a problem with high blood pressure amongst Britain's children? Are dogs the best way to combat high blood pressure? 

- How will teachers know the kids are actually reading? If I was placed with a dog I would just stroke it and rub its belly. It's not going to tell on me. You can bring a supervisor in but then that defeats the object. Also, what if the child is terrified of dogs. If anything this could destroy confidence and raise blood pressure. 

- How will schools afford a dog in every class and how do they make sure they get non judgmental dogs? Do they get the kids to bring in their dogs from home? What if these dogs are judgmental of children who aren't their owners? I can say for sure my cat is very judgmental. 

- Will we see more instances of children being mauled by Pitbulls (not the Hip Hop sensation) for mispronouncing a word? Are we going to teach these dogs to read first? And what if this gives them high blood pressure? The logical conclusion to this is millions spent on hiring other non judgmental animals (sheep maybe?) to listen to trainee teacher dogs read. Is that a world you want to live in? 

So that's pretty much what's happening with education right now. Thank God I escaped whilst I still could.

Thanks for reading friends. Be sure to check back the rest of the week as we build up to something HUGE coming up on Sunday at 6pm. Put it in your Diaries. 



Monday, 4 October 2010

You Have Chosen A Three Wood

Greetings friends, fans and spambots and welcome to an all new week at the Fortress of Steveitude. We've got some fun stuff coming up this week including Jose Franco on Educational Reform and possibly the beginning of something that I've been looking forward to for a long time. Alternatively, I might just bitch and moan about last night's X-Factor. Seriously - what was Cheryl thinking? It's definitely a tad egotistical to put an exact copy of yourself through. I wonder if Cheryl looks at herself every morning in the mirror and says 'I see something special in you lass.' Also, is it me or was dressed as a Nazi officer?

All soul sucking reality TV aside this weekend has been all about the Ryder Cup for me. Why is golf so much more exciting when it's a team sport? (Though I'm not sure about the chanting.) Enjoy this classic Simpsons clip for a more standard reaction.



Friday, 1 October 2010

Minor Characters From American Pie Week - Coach Marshall

It's the end of the week and we say goodbye to this celebration of minor characters from American Pie not with a whimper but with a loud bang. Following in the proud foot steps of Glee Club Teacher, Jim's Mom, Kevin's Brother and Blink-182 - it's the man, the myth, the Coach Marshall. 

Minor Character 5 - Coach Marshall (Lawrence Pressmann)

I've been looking forward to this one all week. All the characters I have selected have contributed to the franchise in their own way but in terms of my own personal enjoyment of the film no one quite matches up to the Coach. He is iconic without falling into cliche. He is quotable without stealing the scene. In one quote he summarizes everything these films are about,

'I don't want any of you boys thinking, that you're gonna score. You don't score, until you *score*!'

There is something profound in the truth of this statement. Some principle deep beneath the surface that mere mortals like us are unable to quite fathom and express but in our hearts know is in everything we do. Take the journey our central protagonists go on. They think that they're going to score with the literal act of sex but they only truly score when they realise that having sex isn't the important thing here, it's the growing up, the emotional and mental journey toward adulthood. 

Also, Lawrence Pressmann has a brilliant name and was in Shaft so I think maybe some kind of lifetime achievement award wouldn't be out of place. 

And so it ends - thanks for joining me on this spiritual journey into what I truly believe is a genre defining film. I'd like to thank all the characters mentioned and everyone who helped bring this film to life. So until Minor Character from American Pie Week 2 or Minor Character from American Pie 2 Week I guess all that's left to say is:

'To the next step!'



Thursday, 30 September 2010

Minor Characters From American Pie Week - Garage Band (Blink-182)

I've tried to mix it up a bit with these choices and today is no different. What the previous characters have in common is that they helped to ground the film's crazy antics in a more realistic context. Today is the complete opposite. Not really one character but three who give the film a weird meta-textual edge...

Minor Character(s) 4 - Garage Band (Blink-182)

This is a bit of a personal choice. I love Blink-182 and the fact that they appear in American Pie is kind of just delicious icing on the already iced cake (or pie). However, there is something quite bizarre about their appearance and not just the fact they have a pet monkey. For those not paying attention (or who were drunk at the time) they're included amongst the viewers of Jim's Nadia embarrassment on the video link-up. They don't do anything special it's just that whilst Jim is sprinting between his friends and his bedroom it's Blink's classic 'Mutt' playing over the top. This isn't a music video - why have the band on screen whilst the song plays? 'Random casting!' you shout. Maybe, maybe not. Maybe the self reference matched with the webcam sequence is the filmmakers suggesting that the internet is connecting people in such a way that we're now influencing each other subconsciously without even the need for communication. This has terrifying implications for you dear readers.

Fine, I could be stretching a bit here but you have to admit it's a little strange. I think it would have been cool if Blink had featured in the sequels. Their development as a band paralleling the boys development into adults. Oz does eventually become a bit of a dick kind of like Tom DeLonge circa Angels & Airwaves.



Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Minor Characters From American Pie Week - Kevin's Brother

Here we are ladies and gentlemen. Three days in to this exciting journey into the recesses of my obsessive mind. So far we've reacquainted ourselves with The Glee Club Teacher and Jim's Mom. Today - a slightly more familiar face.

Minor Character 3 - Kevin's Brother (Casey Affleck)

That's right. Years before creating severe doubt in the public's mind about the mental stability of Joaquin Phoenix the man known worldwide as one of the top 2 Affleck Brothers was here in the background of American Pie uncredited as Kevin's brother. This was actually a tough one for me. With Casey's fame and the fairly serious role he plays in the film I wasn't sure whether he should be classified as an unsung hero. In the end I decided that because of the fact he plays such a large role but doesn't get much credit for it that he deserves to be here.

One of my major problems with American Pie: The Wedding is the fact that Kevin has such a tiny role (I have more but I won't go into them here). He is undoubtedly the leader of the group. It is his drive and determination that sparks their quest in the first place and ultimately results in Jim's marriage to Michelle. However, this motivation doesn't just form out the ether. It is Kevin's brother with his introduction of the fabled Sex Bible that gets things going for them. The presence of a mystical older generation gives American Pie a further edge over other teen movies (See also the Cops in Superbad). Some teen films seem to give the impression that this is the first time anyone has had sex ever. The concept is mystifying to the main characters, adult characters don't understand it. The presence Jim's Dad and Kevin's Brother underline that people have always had and struggled with sex and that what these characters go through is a universal experience. It's a nice message really.