One of the most important award ceremonies of the year? No let’s just watch desperate people on ice.

As those well informed people will know tonight is the night of the Oscars. One of the biggest award ceremonies of the year and arguably the most important in terms of films. So I drag myself through a long day at work expecting to come home and relax to this momentous occasion, but what do I find? It’s only being broadcasted in America, unless you happen to be in Britain and have Sky Movies. So instead of watching some of the greatest work from the last year be celebrated, I’m watching that one guy who did that one thing that one time on Eastenders, attempt to be as elegant as a swan with razor blades on his shoes.  I think we all know which is better.

This just goes to show the extent of how terrible British television can be sometimes. We won’t try to broadcast something that actually matters and is prestigious, but we’ll happily go to the effort to broadcast the exploitation of desperate celebrities, clinging onto their fame like Jack on the wood at the end of Titanic. Well I’m Rose sitting on the wood, and I’d happily nudge them over the edge if they’re going to be that silly. So instead of sitting here eagerly watching to see if Daniel Day Lewis makes film history, which I greatly hope he does, I’m sat here watching some person who I’m supposed to care about make a fool of them self on a patch of frozen water. Why do we continue to celebrate this as a culture? If I ever get a job in television in the future I want to be the person in charge of the ticker tape line with the voting numbers for contestants. That way I change the text to “stop supporting this rubbish. Don’t even think about picking up your phone, use it for something more constructive, like tilting the screen to run away from a large monkey in a floating cloud city in order to rescue an idol”.

It’s just annoying how this is where our priorities are. Something that is is important and will be hammered in to the stones of history is happening, but we would rather see if Keith Chegwin is going to fall over on the ice. It’s not just because it’s the Oscars and I’m a big film fan, it’s because the whole reality t.v problem still raging on. More and more shows are churned off while the old ones still continue in all of their glory, exploiting person after person while the makers don’t even bat an eyelid as the money comes flooding in to their hands.

Just to clarify at this point; there wasn’t a toss up between the Oscars and Dancing on Ice. It just feels annoying because we go to effort to broadcast the dancing and put minimal effort in to trying to obtain events such as the Oscars. I can feel my faith in the human race draining out of me like a sand timer, someone flip it back over please!

The Oscars mean something to me, because films are a passion of mine and a lot of hard work goes in to the making of them so it’s nice to see the genius and effort rewarded. So to see that pushed aside and made way for whatever rubbish will make people money, is near enough offensive. It’s like winning the egg and spoon race in primary school and the head teaching turning around and saying “You won, but instead of receiving a medal or little trophy we’re going to drop the egg on your head because it’s funnier for us than seeing an outstanding performance, and my mate Barry bet a tenner that I wouldn’t do it. Everyone’s a winner!”. Possibly a little extreme but the point remains. I hope Simon Cowell never becomes involved in the education sector. He’d be the first teacher who doesn’t want his pupils to get decent GCSE results. As long as they can sing Mumma Mia while jumping through fiery hoops on a unicycle then he’s happy.

I know what some people are thinking by this point; ‘but films make a lot of money. Surely that’s just as bad as reality t.v because they’re greedy’ which isn’t the case at all. Films make money, yes granted, but they deserve it. The amount of money and hard work that is put in to the making of a film is worth the money it makes back. Being part of a film is more credible than being in a reality t.v show obviously because any credit that is gained as result has been well earned. Embarrassing yourself on t.v to gain money and slightly elongate your five minutes of fame is not even in the same league as taking something that started off as a little idea in a person’s mind, that is then put to paper and then developed in to a solid piece of work that entertains and inspires us. Well if it’s done well, there are exceptions to this of course (hint Avatar), but that is another post for another day.

The problem can only ever get worse from here. Shows like the X Factor will be broadcasted all year around to satisfy our need for dull singers who don’t write their own songs, and near unknown celebrities being crowned the one who stuffed up the least on the ice rink. And what happens when the awards are on? We’ll simply think “All that person is doing is standing on stage talking and clutching on to a little golden man. Turn it over to ITV, there’s a 36 year old woman singing Whitney Huston like an agitated goat, that’s far more entertaining!”.

It’s fine at the end of the day though, because the ‘celebrities’ on such shows get nowhere, and the people at the Oscars boost their careers and credibility just by being nominated. Sounds better doesn’t it? ‘they were nominated for an academy award in 2013’ rather than ‘they’re the one that was in the jungle who was covered in green stuff while munching on a kangaroo nose in an attempt to get votes’. The people who go on these shows get the publicity they deserve; bloody awful.

I’ll happily go out of my way to find the results of the Oscars online and eagerly wait to see the speeches of those who win awards tonight. I’ll also make the effort to turn the t.v off and write something constructive and creative such as this, rather than sit around and take part in encouraging such stupidity to be repeated.

Apologies for another rant, I hope it was as enjoyable for you to read as it was for me to write. Expect a follow up post from this related to the Oscar winners and nominees, feel free to comment leaving your opinions on them in advance.

Until next time; au revoir. 

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Want something different? Let’s wire Bowie up to a machine and watch the monitor.

For those who know me very well you’ll know there’s an expression I use that just came to me one days and it’s simply “Who wants normal? Normal is boring”. Now I know it isn’t anything deep or inspiring like Shakespeare or Lincoln, but it means a lot to me and it’s pretty basic. I use it as a way of showing how I like to be different in my personality because it makes life more interesting. By personality I mean sense of humour, behaviour, interests and other such factors, I don’t tend to delve to much in to material possessions.

Those who know me quite well will also know that I’m far from a fashion icon. I wear the clothes I want to because they’re comfortable and they make me blend in reasonably well in most social venues, as well as possibly wearing something that means a lot to me (such as a band shirt). I don’t have an in depth knowledge of what looks good or trendy, but I do have a good sense for what looks similar and what is different. The thing with fashion nowadays is that people try to be different, which isn’t a problem, if it done properly and correctly. If a new idea comes along that someone starts using in their appearance it is quite interesting because it is a way of expressing them self, but if too many people catch on to it then it makes the idea somewhat redundant. It’s silly when it’s a case of “Oh that looks good, because it’s different. I might try it” because it just removes the whole point of it.

Back the days of the 70s and 80s there was always this idea that David Bowie was ahead of his time. If you wanted to see what the next move of fashion was then it was something of an urban myth that you could wire Bowie to a machine, read his thoughts and you’d see what was coming next. He was always strutting around in something that was totally out of this world and yet suited his image. If anyone else even attempted to copy him they would have looked ridiculous because they weren’t him. Nowadays it’s a case of large collections of people wearing the same clothes but claiming to be different. Obviously in some cases they do add their own touch to an idea to make it their own, but the basis of them is still the same. It’s a strange feeling walking down the high street and seeing so many people with the same style, as if they’ve just been copied and pasted like year seven homework assignment. It messes with your head, with constant thoughts of “didn’t I just walk past him? oh no it’s just the same clothes” and “If i couldn’t see their faces then they could easily all be the same person”.

Now by this point I’m assuming some of you will be thinking that I’m ranting at people with the same fashion and who wears anything that is at all up-to-date, when I’m not. This frustration is aimed at those who say their ‘look’ is different when it is far from it. This is not a rant about fashion just to clarify, it’s about the choice of words people use when describing their fashion. Specifically “different” and “unique” are among the misused.

I understand the idea of wanting to look different because it is a form of expressing yourself, but why can’t some people do it properly then? Being different is about going against what others are doing. Not taking what others are doing and tweaking it slightly. Fashion admittedly isn’t a subject I’m too well informed on, but I know when someone looks different and when they don’t. It’s getting ridiculous how there’s no creativity or imagination in what people wear, it’s just a case of running with whatever is ‘in’ at the moment or not fitting in with the crowd. I personally do not care about what I wear because either way somebody somewhere will judge me for it, so as long as I’m happy with it then I’m not too fussed. There is this idea of people being “indie” nowadays which I understand means “individual”. To me they all look the same, so the term “indie” for me refers to the individual group of people within society, not specific people because it is a more plausible use of the term.

But the need to look different will get worse and I can’t wait for it. People frantically running around the house looking for something different to enhance their appearance and make them stand out.  Grabbing ordinary household items and attaching it to their clothes before leaving the house so that it looks unique. So the streets will be filled with people wearing combinations of suits, holiday wear and kitchen utensils. With mixtures of flip flops, bow ties and whisks we’ll be sure to be seeing something new on a daily basis. All shiny with a hint of formality, it will look like a low budget 70s sci fi film meets Downton Abbey. So while this issue rages on and people continue to experiment with fashion, David Bowie will be sat at home laughing and reminiscing about the times when he looked like all of us at one point.

So to sum up, this wasn’t a rant out fashion, it was more a rant about people’s choice of words. If you want to be different then do it properly. And most importantly; if you need advice on fashion to keep your look up to date then ask Bowie.

To end this post I shall leave you with a quote from Stephen Mangan talking recently about an unsuccessful band he was in. I think it shows quite well what being different is all about: “We were ahead of our time. And behind our time. There was no time that we would have fitted in at all”.

Quotations Strike Back (Similar to the Empire but less sinister)

For those of you who enjoyed one of my recent posts about quotations I’ve chosen to follow a similar theme for this post. This is however about quotes that don’t have big moral meanings behind them that are inspiring for all. These are just a collection of quotes that I find clever and that I can relate to. I’m not claiming credit for any of them and I do not own any of them, I am simply displaying them for others to bask in their genius. There will I’m afraid be a splattering of film related ones, if this annoys you then I shall refer you to my last post and then simply question if this blog is right for you.  Eyes down for a full house…

1. “Is it funny? no. Is it subversive? no. Did I feel at all entertained? no. Is it going to be number one in the box office next week? very probably.” – Mark Kermode reviewing House Bunny: I don’t like using this quote specifically for that film, I enjoy using it for mainy films. It sums up rather nicely how some films are complete rubbish and yet make a lot of money and become a hit. Silly cinema audiences and their low expectations. 

2. “Do I not know what’s going on because it’s incomprehensibly told? Or do I not know what’s going on because I don’t care?” – Mark Kermode reviewing Quantum of Solace: Yet again I don’t just like it for use on that particular film (though it does suit) I like it for the implication that some films just have no appeal. They lack substance to the extreme of me feeling bored. Possibly me being negative? Of course.

3. “Let me remind you, while my moral support is absolute, in a physical confrontation I will be less than useless” – Sheldon Cooper: Quite an apt description of me as a person. I’m not a violent person at all and most people will know this, but I have my way with words.

4. “If you didn’t mean to do it but you did it, you have to get angry about it to make sure it never happens again” – Jon Richardson: quite a good expression for those who don’t correct their mistakes; they’re not trying hard enough.

5. “Surely now post- credit crunch we hate rich people? So why do footballers get away with not being hated? They should be forced to emigrate, they should be forced to go South Africa, it doesn’t matter what they do there, but then never return because they’ve got loads of money for doing something that doesn’t matter” – David Mitchell appearing on Mock The Week: My opinions about Football are very strong as most will know, but I cannot even begin to comment on it in such a fine way this man has. Almost poetic really isn’t it?

6. (Yes another one from Mark Kermode) “Inception is proof that people are not stupid, that cinema is not trash, and that it is possible for Blockbusters and Art to be the same thing” – Mark Kermode reviewing 2010’s top five films: For those who have read my previous blog posts about films you’ll know that I have a lot of respect for Christopher Nolan, but this quote sums it up quite nicely. It shows how he is making films that are a big bold success, without being stupid. He is an intelligent man, and I have a lot of respect for him for treating the audience as if they’re not intellectually dim.

7. (Yes, and another) “If you’re going to remake something then remake something that was bad the first time. Remake something that wasn’t much good. Remake something you hated. Remake something you can do something with. I don’t understand loving something and therefore wanting to remake it” – Mark Kermode reviewing Clash of The Titans: Basically sums up all of my views about remaking a film. I too think it’s pointless remaking something that was fine in the first place. The only gain from doing that is the money of course, which is still not a plausible explanation for defacing perfectly acceptable films.

Apologies for the amount of film related quotes I placed in here, I happen to think they’re very clever and useful, you may disagree and that is entirely for you to decide.

As always feel free to leave a comment with some of your favourite quotes. As this is a more relaxed post feel free to hold back on the moral meanings. Also feel free to leave a comment with any topics that you feel would be good for me to cover. I’m looking for a bit of variety in what I post about so I’m open to whatever you have to throw at me.

Until next time I shall as always say au revoir. 

“Why do you get so serious about films?” “where to begin…”

This blog post is inspired by the silly people who have asked me why I am so passionate about films and why I take them as seriously as I do. It’s quite simple really, they matter to me.

I think for me it’s a classic case of I don’t just look for entertainment in a film. I look for the messages that are behind them, I look at the little details that mean something but most importantly I look for something to think about. If I go away from a film thinking positively, I know it’s one that has impressed me. It’s too easy to walk away from a film that is rubbish and think about all of the bad aspects of it, for me it’s more interesting to talk about what made a film particularly good.  Of course for me it’s easier nowadays to find a film that is terrible, rather than a film that is exceptional. I was so relieved to leave the screening of Skyfall on the night it came out thinking “Wow, now that is what British film makers are capable of” which is completely different from other films I could mention. 

It matters to me how much effort has been put in to the making of a film, because making a film is an art form, and it’s one that has to be mastered. It is very annoying when I see a film that has literally been assembled like a jigsaw puzzle with minimal effort and yet receives a lot of money. For a film to be good, it has to have substance to it. There was an amazing quotation from Daniel Day Lewis in his BAFTA speech this time last week in which he said “I’ve actually stayed in character as myself for the last fifty five years” which just goes to show how much the films he has a role in matter to him and how much of his life they control. It may sound a little exaggerated but for a method actor with as much talent as him I think it is shown in his performances just how much the films mean to him, which is somewhat admirable. 

I can rant for hours about films that are awful and what made them awful, but that is a different blog post for a different time. This is one is to simply say why I am so passionate about films and it simply is because they mean something to me. Once again I have to mention Skyfall because of how much it meant to me when I saw it and realised just how incredible it was. James Bond was a big part of my childhood, and with the downturn the franchise took with Quantum Of Solace I was relieved to see Skyfall lift the franchise back to the prestigious status it once had. 

Films show just how far we have developed as humans and how our culture has developed. They also show a level of talent and imagination. They show how a little idea that forms in someone’s mind can be transformed into a piece of art that manages to both entertain and move people. It is truly inspirational when someone creates a unique film and that is why some film makers of today’s world have my up most respect. 

This was a short post admittedly, but it was something I feel needed explaining. 

Quotations: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.

A little more optimism coming up, hold on to your hats. 

Now I’m all for quotations, anyone who knows me well will know this already but even I know where to draw the line. I use quotations as a way of saying things that I feel but in a better way, or as a way of deriving inspiration from what others have said. I very rarely use them as a form of empowerment. I use quotations such as “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years” as said by Abraham Lincoln which is clearly the words of a genius and I find that quote heavily inspiring. But what I try to avoid is silly little expressions like “Follow your heart” or “Follow your dreams”. They just annoy me, possibly because they’re over used and don’t actually provide me with any real advice . Kind of a problem for me because if I’m going to use or even appreciate a quote, it has to mean something. 

As I said before I like to use quotes as a way of getting inspiration, I find that they help find a way of saying things that I couldn’t even dream of saying as poetically. So I would like to take this opportunity to share some of my favourite quotations and why they mean so much to me. Trust me this is just a few I thought of tonight, there are many more I could have used happily. 

1. “It is a capital mistake to theorise before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.” -Sherlock Holmes – I think this applies quite well to today’s society because we do judge things before we know them fully, and it does lead to our opinions possibly being altered for the worse. It goes quit nicely with how I view an argument; you have to have evidence to back it up otherwise it is meaningless and weak. 

2. “Is everything a joke to you?”
“Only the things that matter” -V for Vendetta – I love this quotes, purely for the fact that it is exactly how I view things on a daily basis. If you take things too seriously it makes life boring, sometimes you just need a little bit of fun. Also because I’ve seen people who take certain things too seriously and trust me, it does not look appealing in the slightest. 

3. “You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world” – Fight Club – pretty much one of the greatest lines from a film I have ever heard. It just shows so well how we buy things to impress people despite the fact that our material possessions do not add to our personalities in any way. It just goes to show that what we do, is more important that what we have.  

4. “I see the worst in people. I don’t need to look past seeing them to get all I need. I’ve built my hatreds up over the years, little by little” – Daniel Plainview, There will be Blood – Now this one means quite a lot to me because people always seem to think that I’m just a straight forward negative person, when I’m not. And if I am negative about something then it is for a good reason. And it’s quotes such as this that really show how we don’t have to like everything, if there’s something we don’t like then we shouldn’t have to pretend to like it. 

5. “I am a perfectionist, who else is a perfectionist give us a cheer?” *massive cheer from audience* “yeah a fair few of you, the rest of you are annoying because you go around, you make mistakes and you drop things and you laugh about it because you think it’s part of life’s rich tapestry. It isn’t. You should be trying harder” – Jon Richardson – yes it’s pretty negative but I still like it because it shows how some people’s outlook on life causes problems for them. It shows how to have a happy life, you do need to put some form of effort in. 

6. “Some Animals like Bats, Dolphins and Dogs can hear within the ultrasonic frequency, but no human can. No one can truly know what anyone thinks or feels. We’re all travelling under the radar. Undetected. And no one can do a thing about it” – Oliver Tate, Submarine – If I had to choose a quote that best described being a human being, this would be it. Both beautiful and thought provoking, it is a quote I hold very close to me. 

And last but my no means least, one of my favourite quotations of all time. I’m afraid it does have a swear word in it, but I’ve blanked it out as best as possible so apologies in advance.

“You’re not a bad person. You’re a terrific person. You’re my favourite person, but every once in a while, you can be a real ****” – Bill, Kill Bill vol.2 – I love this for many reasons, but it is mainly for the sole reason that it sums up so many people I know. Because nobody is perfect that was always obvious, but to me I can tell if someone is a good person if they can admit they’re flaws. If somebody knows they’re not perfect and knows when they’re being an idiot, then I have a lot of respect for them.

I hope this hasn’t been too boring for anybody, I just thought it would be something different for me to try. I tried to be as positive as I can but I realise there was an element of pessimism in some of the quotes I used. Feel free to leave comments with some of your favourite quotes, I’ll be interested to see what you have to say, but above all I hope you have enjoyed reading this.

So until the next time; Au revoir.

Time for a change, I think

This is different experience for me, I’m finding myself actually wanting to post about something positive. I realised during the week that I spend so long focusing on the negatives that I can barely see the positives that are right in front of me. I won’t go in to detail about what specifically I’m on about but I will explain exactly what it made me think about, which is films. Apologies in advance there may be some spoliers for those who haven’t seen the films mentioned.

I love films, as most people will already know. There’s nothing more I enjoy than having a good old rant about a particularly awful film for an extended period of time. I’ve never gone in to a lot of detail about films that have genuinely moved me and proved to be very thought provoking, so I would like to take this opportunity to talk about the films that have been inspiring and moving for me.

As a strong film fan I’ve always found that even the saddest of films don’t make me cry. I sat through titanic with a face like a spade. I sat through My Sister’s Keeper (involuntarily) and didn’t particularly feel anything. So for someone like me to find them self crying at a film, it strikes me that the film must be very impressive. I’ve only found this with three films; The Lion King, Up and Toy Story 3. The Lion King was for obvious reasons, I’ve already stated in a previous post about how much I love that film so it can’t be a surprise for you to hear that it did have me in tears of both sadness and joy in different places. Toy Story 3 had me tears, not for the scene towards the end with the furnace, but for the very ending. Andy’s speech about all of the characters reignited all of the fond memories I have of Toy Story from a child and just made me feel uplifted by showing me the deeper messages behind the film about human life.

Now Up I’ve saved until last because it was one that came completely out of left field for me. It managed to sneak up on me and make me cry within the first ten minutes. I didn’t expect it, but it gave such an emotional story that just really had me gripped. I was touched my it, I was moved by it and it gave me a connection to the characters almost immediately. Not to mention the amazing soundtrack for the opening scene, consisting of the song “Married Life” by Michael Giacchino, which to this day still makes me emotional when I hear it. It’s not just the opening scene though, I found my self getting teary later with a particular scene concerning the house, because the film had me hooked. I cared about the characters and what happened to them, I knew how much the house meant to the main character so by this point it meant something to me. It was a new experience for me that I doubt will happen again any time soon but it is undoubtedly one that I will never forget.

But it’s not all about films making me cry or an emotional wreck, it’s about the films that made me think. The ones where once I reached the conclusion I was left thinking about life and assessing certain situations. Films such as Cemetery Junction, written brilliantly by Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais. I found it was a film that I could relate to because it made me laugh, it was interesting, it was simple, but most of all it made me feel happy. There’s a constant message throughout the film of making something of your life and it did genuinely make me think optimistically and make me want to just go out in to the world and do whatever I wanted. It may not be the best film that’s ever been made, but for me it really meant something because it showed you could make a film that was funny and entertaining, but also moving and thought provoking, which I don’t come across very often.

The next film I have to mention, which some people may be surprised to hear that I like so much but it was one of my favourite films when I was younger and I still hold it close me nowadays; About A Boy. I’m not going into detail about Hugh Grant and his acting ability because in this instance I found him very well suited to the role. A film that had such a simple story about connecting with others and where we are heading in life was enough to make me smile and feel happy for a period of time. Another film which isn’t particularly brilliant or well made, but you know what, I really like it.

The final film I want to mention, which I watched very recently that was inspirational was the new film written by Ken Loach and directed by Paul Laverty entitled The Angel’s Share. It was one of those films that had an underlying message that we only get one life and we’re in control of it, we should make the most of it. Which really stood out to me because it’s something quite rare to find in a modern film, because of all the 3D and special effects which is great and all but at the end of the day if the film made me feel optimistic and moved without being too high tech or flashy, then it wins hands down for me. It was a simplistic film that put a whopping big smile across my face by the end of it with eyes that were bordering on being teary. I was heavily impressed by it to the point of having goosebumps.

So there you have it. The grumpy old man that is symbolic of my opinions and attitudes has been broken down and tested this week. I’ve found myself thinking more about the positives in life rather than just re opening the wounds of the negatives. I’ve always said that being happy all of the time must be so boring, but you know what, being negative all the time is quite boring too. Perhaps my views are starting to change? If so, I’m not sure that it’s a bad thing if I’m honest.

I hope this has been a nice change for those who find my negativity annoying, apologies for not doing something like this sooner, I think it has been long overdue.

So until the next time I shall leave you with the Arab proverb used in Cemetery Junction:

“Throw your heart out in front of you and run ahead to catch it”