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.



Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Minor Characters From American Pie Week - Jim's Mom

Of all the characters featured this week I think this is possibly the one in which casting was most important. You all know Jim, you all know Jim's Dad but what about...

Minor Character 2 - Jim's Mom (Molly Cheek)

There are of course more famous Mom's in the series (Stifler's Mom) but people seem to forget that in the first film she really doesn't show until the last couple of minutes with an extended cameo that for many people defined the whole series. Far more integral to the plot of the first film is Jim's Mom. Her role is understated and her main function is to act embarrassed by her son's various antics but it is character's like her who keep these early films grounded and prevent them slipping away into the farce of the direct to DVD sequels. The reason we share in Jim's pain is that his Mom is capable of representing the 'every Mom'. His Dad might be the more memorable character but it's much easier to empathize with Jim in his relationship with his Mom. She also bakes the pie that gave us the most famous scene in all the American Pie films so you've got to give her major props for that.

Molly Cheek is also the Mum from Harry & The Hendersons so I think it's safe to say she is one of the greatest screen Mother's of all time.

NOTE: I've used the American spelling of Mom for the most part here as it's her official IMDB character name. Also please don't try and do a Freudian reading of this post. I think it could take you to scary places.



Monday, 27 September 2010

Minor Characters From American Pie Week - Glee Club Teacher

On Friday night ITV took the brave decision to screen a generation defining film. A film that gave us great moments, great catchphrases and great characters like Stifler, Jim's Dad and The Sherminator. But what of those background characters who provide the framework for the whole masterpiece to flow together. The unsung heroes who shun the spotlight but still retain a special place in our hearts. Welcome to 'Minor Characters From American Pie' Week here at The Fortress of Steveitude.

Minor Character 1: Glee Club Teacher (Akuyoe Graham)
Glee clubs are everywhere thanks to the hit show Glee but I think we should look back and give some credit to the film that really came up with the whole concept - American Pie. It is the Glee club that allows Oz to ditch his whole jock self-image and become possibly the wettest character in the history of film. And who's there on the sidelines smiling and nodding and telling Oz it's OK to sing as long as you're doing it for the express purpose of banging Mena Suvari? It's the Glee club teacher of course. I'm not sure if she actually has any lines but that doesn't matter. These characters don't need words. It's a performance of subtlety and grace and I hope Akuyoe Graham you finally get the respect you deserve for it.

As an added bonus here's the famous Chris Klein leaked Mamma Mia audition tape. Maybe she actually isn't that great a teacher...

Check back tomorrow to see if your favourite character gets featured on the list.



Friday, 24 September 2010

Panic Stations

It's the Branchage Film Festival this weekend in Jersey and as the island's foremost film correspondent I'm covering this motherfucker action journalist style like some kind of hunky man shape Lois Lane. Today I partook in some crazy stop motion Belgian animation. Great stuff - so incredibly detailed and inventive. Check out the film if you have a chance or if not their online shorts.



Thursday, 23 September 2010

Synecdoche, New York

So last night I watched Synecdoche, New York as Nic fell asleep in front of Midsomer Murders and Liverpool were humilitated in the Carling Cup. It's a pretty incredible movie.

I bought the DVD about 2 weeks ago and I've been reluctant to give it a watch. I'm a huge Charlie Kaufman fan and although his films are renowned for being supremely complex and challenging I can usually go in with an idea of what they might be about. I don't think I've ever seen a film with anything even resembling Caden Cotard's quest to build a replica of New York City inside a warehouse. Still, the film manages to draw you in and despite some surrealist flourishes you buy into the characters, their emotions and the logic (I maintain there is one) of their world. I should also mention this is a supremely confident effort by Kaufman making it hard to believe this is his directorial debut.

Like most of my favourite films there is a sense that it is up to the viewer to take their own meaning from the story. For me it fits quite comfortably into the Kaufman canon. If Adaptation is a debate about the role of the writer and what it means to be accepted into the 'mainstream' then this is Kaufman musing on the responsibility of the artist. Cotard wishes to represent an all encompassing 'truth' that he sees in his real life. However, he equates this truth with suffering and therefore creates this replicating simulacrum (I knew that degree in English Lit would come in handy one day) of tragedy and sadness. Even the top layer of 'reality' is shown to be part of this fake repetition with the burning house and the jumps in time - Cotard loses his identity throughout the film but you have to question whether it's really all there to begin with. Like Inception is there a layer of consciousness above the ones we the audience see?

Basically the film is all about duality. Cotard tries to create an art piece that reflects what is real but what is real is constantly brought into question. His art is supposed to represent a whole world to be observed however everything down to what the actors think is controlled by a single person (The Director). Ultimately Cotard's vision of this live action theatre could be seen as a failure which may suggest Kaufman is endorsing the traditional modes of storytelling that he has proven a master of in his previous scripts. Yet, the film 'Synecdoche, New York' is so brilliant in its lack of convention that it in turn suggest these rules of filmmaking are outdated and can be bent and broken as the wrtier and director see fit.

Alternatively you can ignore my rambling and just watch the film for yourself. I'll warn you that greater concentration levels than those needed for Piranha 3D may be required.

Phew, that was quite an essay. Maybe tomorrow we'll take a look at another funny sign or something.



Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Unreal Madrid

You may have seen this mentioned in the news recently.

Former Togo coach Bana Tchanile 'sorry' over fake team

Basically it's the story of how a former Togo coach took a fake national team to Bahrain. Alarm bells were raised when the team turned out to be pretty shit and generally not of the standard you'd expect of Togo's national side (Even without former professiona footballer and retired international Emmanuel Adebayor.) It was  a wacky scheme on par with just about anything Zach Morris came up with on Saved By The Bell but it was apparently carried out with good intentions:

''I wanted to help youngsters in Togo who chose to play football, but who have problems making it because of a lack of competition at a national level,"

Still there are plenty of youngsters who have chosen to play football and found international opportunities lacking. I think if Tchanile is truly committed to this cause he should take it to the next level. Search out members of Cartmel College's glorious C Team 2007 and take them to Asia as an England side. Take the Jose Franco family as the Portugal mixed sex 5-A Side team. Help Geoff Horsefield crack the England squad. I'm throwing the gauntlet down Bana - do you accept?

A final note of congratualtions to St Peter who took home the Charity Cup last night after a solid performance characterised by firm rear guard action. That's 'firm rear guard action' if you're confused by the result of your Google search.



Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Oral Action

Who would have thought that titling a blog 'A Satisfying Erection' could lead to a big increase in readers? I think I will endeavor to title things in as sexy a manner as possible in the future. Instead of 'Fantasy Football Update' I'll have 'Hot Teen Fantasy Football Update.' Though I may have to justify this by putting a hot teen in my team which goes against the very principles of my management philosophy (Hot teens are more likely to be subjected to resting by their management than hot adults). Why is everyone hot all of a sudden?

Anyhow, I went to the dentist today. £95 for a routine check-up and clean. It almost felt as if the dentist was rubbing it in when he was telling me about the four day golfing holiday in Mallorca he was off on tomorrow. At least I wasn't tricked into getting unnecessary cosmetic surgery and it'll be at least another couple of months before I have to put myself through it all again.



NOTE: The poster featured in the post is for the black horror comedy 'Teeth'. I haven't seen the poster before as in the UK I think it was marketed more as a psychological horror. I think this is definitely a more amusing way to go.

Monday, 20 September 2010

A Satisfying Erection

Back on the rock again after a great week and weekend. Congratulations to Simon (check out his blog 'Spoonography' on the side links) and Vicky on becoming betrothed to one another. The above photo was taken just outside their flat in Hove. Although the firm is based in Brighton I suggest you employ them for all your scaffolding needs as a show of support for their brilliant sign. Pegasus I salute you.



Wednesday, 15 September 2010

More Naked Ladies

Hey there sports fans. Just a quick 'what is up' from the Wedding Tour. In Shrewsbury now for some parents on girlfriend's parents action. Barenaked Ladies (along with support from Joel Plaskett and Boothby Graffoe) were incredible on Monday night and if they're in your vicinity I implore you to check them out. Steven Page leaving the band seems to have given everyone else a little more room to shine and the BNL rocked a great mix of new songs, classics and slightly more obscure album tracks. Highlights include an acapella accompanied dance mix of Alicia Keys, Black Eyed Peas and Justin Bieber, Tyler Stewart stepping out from behind the drums for 'Alcohol' and a full band version of 'When I Fall'.

When else will you get the chance to hear The Big Bang Theory theme tune sung live by the guys who wrote it?



Friday, 10 September 2010

Naked in Brighton and Weddings in the West Midlands

It's been a busy day at Steveitude Towers as we're packing up our bags and heading to the UK tomorrow for a week of frolics. We're in Brighton tomorrow until Tuesday for the purpose of seeing my favourite all time band The Barenaked Ladies in concert (For the first time without Steven Page). After that we head up to Shrewsbury with a Thursday night trip to Liverpool for the Europa League match against Steau Bucharest. Then on Friday it's the wedding of Mr. Simon Wray to Miss. Vicki Jones followed by party time on Saturday. I won't have my laptop with me so my blogging output might be severely reduced but from the week after. It's pretty exciting, Si and Vic have insisted they're not going to have Ushers at the wedding but in my twisted fantasy world it's the job I've been training for my whole life. Peace Up, A-Town Down!

Fantasy Football fans will also be delighted to know I played my Wild Card today and I'm ready to start dominating the league. Things are about to get a whole lot more Drogbalicious.



Thursday, 9 September 2010

' Wet t-shirt... wet t-shirt!'

Last Thursday night my home boys headed down to Cineworld for the late screening of Piranha 3D. Those of you who follow my Facebook status down to a freakish detail might note that I've been looking forward to this flick for some time. It did not disappoint.

If you like boobs this film is for you. If you like gore this film is for you. If you like confusingly long underwater lesbian sex scenes then this film is DEFINITELY for you. Empire described it as the film Snakes On a Plane should have been and they aren't far wrong. It is gloriously over the top from start to finish not a minute is wasted with anything that isn't insanely fun. Maybe the 3D isn't as subtle as Avatar but I think there's room for the form to provide a penis being eaten or a Piranha bursting through a woman's head as well as sensuous detail. At least it bothered to use the 3D which is more than can be said about a few of the 3D conversions so far. Also the casting is inspired - Jerry O'Connell, Kelly Brook, Elisabeth Shue, Ving Rhames and the coup of all coups Christopher Lloyd. The only thing they missed out on was a lab assistant to Lloyd's character called Scott who says something really insightful to which Lloyd replies 'Great Scott!'.

The film succeeds because it knows what it wants to be. It has an identity. This isn't The Piano and doesn't want to be. In a way it reminds me of Jason X. Yes this is Grade A schlock but it is funny, gory and most of all entertaining. Go and give it a look. Your cash dollars make the potential sequel set at the Full Moon Party in Thailand all the more likely to happen.



Wednesday, 8 September 2010

39 Jerseys Later...

So another Jersey Live has come and gone. Another weekend of music, cider and over-priced food. For the 7th year in a row I had an awesome time.

It's interesting how the Festival has evolved. From the first year where you could waltz to the front barrier during the performance for Razorlight to the change to a 2 day Festival and now the multiple stages with a variety of different acts. This year it seemed to be only a few minor tweaks but the toilets seemed better positioned and drinks lines only seemed to be a problem in the Cider tent. I can't comment on the queing issues as we had arrived earlyish both days but I have to say the full body searches on pretty much every person seemed a bit much. Especially when the security guards took Paul's chewing gum. Confusing. I have heard some people complain about waiting for food but again I didn't experience this myself. Maybe because I opted against buying food on the Sunday after a confusingly worded sign led to me spending £9 on a Burrito and Wedges at Amigos on Saturday. Having recommended this stall in the past I can now safely stear people away from these rude and obnoxious rip-off merchants.

The main thing about a Music Festival always has to be the music. As I mentioned in my brief Festival preview there wasn't actually a huge amount I was looking forward to. The exception to this was Biffy Clyro and as expected they absolutely rocked it and for me were by far the best band of the weekend. I also have to say Paul Weller was far better than I was expecting and had everyone going pretty crazy with 'A Town Called Malice'. Professor Green managed to put on a more than competent live performance which can often be difficult when you're performing songs with lots of samples and rapping. The video above is Darwin Deez who put on an incredible performance including a number of dance breaks inbetween songs (Including a crab dance!). I would like to see more bands doing this in future. Can you imagine Thom Yorke shouting dance break and Radiohead then busting some choreographed dance moves to an ABBA song on the mainstage at Glastonbury? I can. Away from the Main Stage the Jersey bands provided plenty of entertainment on the Wild West Tease Stage (Which also had a very accessible bar!). Shout outs to The Mulburys, Hold Your Fire! (Who are playing at the 02 Arena next month! Nice one), Brave Yesterday, Frankie Davies and Hiphoperation who I admired from a distance. In my mind Rhodri Hart is the perfect spokesperson for Pear Wine.

I must also congratulate Tinie Tempah on saying 'Jersey' a whopping 39 times during his less than 30 minute set that included a Taio Cruz song. Hold me closer Tinie Tempah.

All in all I quite enjoyed freedom from my usual single minded desperation to see a long list of bands. It was enjoyable to just wander around and experience the Festival, sit on the grass and drink St Helier Cider. In this respect the glorious weather certainly helped. I think my energy levels are now recovering and I look forward to next year. Hopefully I'll see you there.



Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Weekend That Was

BIG WEEKEND! Hello friends and followers. We're back here at Steveitude Towers after a hugely busy weekend with visits from Mr Dave 'Wild Man' Henshaw, Adam 'H-Bomb' Hargreaves, Tom '5th Place' Haywood and Ms Paul Hinz. I'm completely exhausted after Crabbing, Jumping, Bowling, Golfing and Dancing so I'll save the big Jersey Live recap for tomorrow. Instead why not enjoy this excellent photograph of a Crab caught on a crabbing expedition to Archirondel.



Thursday, 2 September 2010

I Ran

If you're a running fan or a running related magazine fan then you may have noticed the article by a Mr Robert Lawrence in the new issue of Runner's World detailing his favourite Jersey runs. I can confirm this is the same Rob Lawrence who Fathered me and continues to be a Father Figure to this day. I'm not at all jealous that his first magazine article has probably reached more people than all mine combined! Check it out.



Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Is It You or Me?

Here at Steveitude Towers we're getting in the mood for this weekend's Jersey Live Festival. I have to say there aren't really the same number of bands that I'm crazily excited to see as usual but it's hard to tell if this is me or the festival itself. Go back to a couple of years ago and I was struggling at Reading just to fit in all the bands I wanted to see all across the stages nowadays those little known bands I squeezed into tiny tents to catch a glimpse of seem to have either fallen off the face of the planet or become the big names rocking the main stage. I don't really know who their replacements are. I think this could be a good thing though as I should have time to enjoy the festival itself instead of stressing over who I'm getting to see.

The only band I'm massively excited to see are Biffy Clyro. Old stuff, new stuff, they're one of those rare bands where it doesn't really matter what they play I know I'm going to enjoy it (Though I would LOVE Justboy). Also, judging by the last couple of times I've seen them I know it's going to be an awesome show. The other band who would have joined them on this list are Hiphoperation but sadly the organisers have stuck them in the V.I.P tent where pretty much none of their fan base can go watch them .Good work guys!