We’ve had the good, let’s look at the bad and the ugly – ‘Head bangers’ and ‘Clangers’ [Part 2]

Apologies in advance that this post has taken so long to write, exams have been priority recently but with them out of the way I can come back to focus on ranting about things other than exams. Also apologies for those who do not like my rants, but surely by now you must have figured how this isn’t really your cup of tea?

For those of you who read my regular posts you will remember that one of my previous entries was based around how to make a good film. I believe it was entitled “winners, headspinners and that was incredible for beginners”. That post was specifically labelled as ‘Part 1’ with the promise that I would write a follow up post based on how not to make a film. So it is with great pleasure I present to you examples of how not to make a film!

As I do so regularly I have labelled the two different types of film that I would consider to be bad: the ‘head bangers’ and the ‘clangers’. It only makes sense to briefly define what they mean, so firstly the ‘head bangers’ has two different definitions, the first of which is the sort of film that literally makes your head hurt. When i say head hurt, I don’t mean in an Inception style “wow my brain is thinking like never before” I mean more like a “this hurts my head, what were they thinking” style of pain. The second definition is the films where during or indeed after watching them you want to bang your head and weep at what you have witnessed. And then we have the clangers which is a basic term for a film that was just terrible and near enough without merit. To illustrate these definitions further I have narrowed down my long list of examples in order to share them with the world.

To begin, the first type of head banger (head hurting) can be illustrated perfectly by Transformers: Dark of the Moon. I have talked before of my dislike for this film but in this instance I cannot emphasise how bad it is. The film made my head hurt because of the nauseating special effects. Michael Bay has this strange idea of films where he seems to approach them from the perspective of a ten year old boy in the sense that they’re not entertaining unless there are a lot of explosions. It annoys me that people such as him are placed as the main director for a film when clearly he has been manufactured perfectly for being involved in the second unit. Giving him a camera is a dangerous move as we see films churned out with lots of explosions and pointless violence along with lots of up skirt shots of females. His films are like on screen adaptations of him playing with toys as a child; robots hit each other causing death an destruction with frequent visits from Barbie will very little clothes on. It is very hard to take him seriously as a film maker when his films have such a poor approach to gender politics.That is as far as I shall go with Michael Bay, if you want to see more about him then I refer you to my previous posts about 3D.

The second type of head banger (hitting voluntarily) is quite broad. There are a lot of films I have seen that could easily fall under this category but an example I have to pick for this is Tron Legacy, the much unwanted sequel to the 80s classic. It’s the film where we see the tron veteran Jeff Bridges thrown back in to the universe of the game accompanied this time by his son played by actor Garrett Hedlund. Nope me neither. In terms of special effects I can’t really criticise, but then it doesn’t have the same gritty feel as the original had, this film feels too polished and perfect to be like the original. Also the soundtrack by Daft Punk can’t really being looked badly upon, but they are the only two aspects of the film that I can be positive about, the rest of the film is beyond silly. Firstly the story is a bit pointless to the extent that by the end you feel as though you have achieved nothing by witnessing it. The addition in the story line is that there are now two Jeff Bridges; the older one that is the actual character, and the computer generated younger one which is a representation of the same character. Could have been quite interesting, it weren’t for the fact that the CG Jeff looks like you’ve made him in to a character in Toy Story. The screenplay is so basic it feels as though it was written by my six year old cousin with a dictionary of IT jargon. And lastly I have to say Jeff Bridges just doesn’t seem to care anymore. His character reminded me very much of his character The Dude from the Coen’s ‘Big Lebowski’, just relaxed and a bit lazy. The director can’t have had a rough time with his characterisation because Jeff probably just did what he wanted, which was very little. But who can blame him? Did anyone actually want to see this film made?

Now I have to confess that because ‘clangers’ is a very broad category it is difficult to pin point an example that illustrates it clearly. However after about five minutes of thinking I managed to find a film that is nothing but a clanger: Sex & The City 2. For those of you who haven’t seen it allow me to summarise: a group of self obsessed consumerists go on holiday and return as exactly the same people. Not sure why Michael Patrick King decided to stretch this out for near enough two and a half hours but I can safely say it is one of the worst films I have ever had the misfortune to see. The humour is beyond foul, with jokes being made that don’t even bring a slight smile to the face, but I think the worst aspect about it for me is the characters. I fail to see how a film that portrays women as self obsessed consumerists who care about nothing more than their appearance and sex is classed as entertainment.The prominent figures of the film are such bad displays of women that it’s surprising that it was made in 2010. The qualities of women that are displayed are those you would expect to hear from misogynist men, so why has there been money handed to people who want to make a film based on such rubbish? The screenplay is painful to hear, and the directing, well if you can even call it that. It appears that the actors appeared on set and the director said to them “right just do what you’ve been doing since the series started” which they have nailed on such an non-credible level. There is nothing appealing about the film with little substance and an after feeling of disappointment knowing that it took money at the box office.

So there you have it, the types of films that make you weep for humanity and want to throw spanners at the screen. It has been a bit of a rant sessions but I promised after I wrote the last film based post that I would write one of this nature. I would happily go in to more detail about other films that are bad, but in the words of the wise Mark Kermode: “It is really quite remarkably unremarkable. I know some people hate it with a passion, I don’t hate it, because to hate it would involve getting engaged it. To hate it would involve actually having an active interaction with it”, and I didn’t”.

As always please feel free to leave any comments, in this case I’d be interested to hear your views towards the films I have used and indeed examples of films you feel I should have used.

I am going to be writing more frequently now I have more spare time on my hands, so until the next time I shall say au revoir, and leave you with another timeless quote from the good doctor, Mark Kermode:

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?”

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Put the ignorance and the money to one side, with the revolving furniture, and stop being idiots.

Apologies, I know my next post was going to be a continuation of my discussion of films but this is a spur the moment post that has been set off like a fire work.

Now in terms of opinions I’m pretty open. I know I may not seem it at the best of times, but honestly I am open minded about most topics. So why then, did television have to take a moment of optimism from me and exploit it? I have tried to give reality television a chance, believe me I have, it just doesn’t work. It’s like me being in a relationship with a cactus; works well until you find out the other member is a prickly idiot you can’t stand to be around (interpret that how you will, it works both ways). With this optimism at the fore front of my mind I kept The Voice UK on when it appeared during a routine flick through the channels. I was not pleased, entertained or amused in the slightest.

See people have accused me in the past of being grumpy, and have labelled me “the grumpy old man” on the basis that I’m old fashioned in my views and don’t give things a chance. Reality television is one of the things they say I need to give a chance. In this case I did, and it ended with me shouting at the television, being needlessly aggressive and inappropriate before rushing to a computer to start typing. It was one of the most infuriating experiences of my life. Which isn’t easy to say considering I’ve been paragliding with my mother. Trust me, being suspended in the air with my mother talking constantly with death being the only escape was less painful than watching this abomination.

I’ll take you through it.

The judges are all sat there with their backs to the singer, listening eagerly to their voice and wondering whether to press the button and be in with a shot of being their mentor. If they press the button their silly little chair revolves and that’s it they’re in with a shot of helping a potential star, and if none of them do it then it’s a disappointing journey home for the contestant. So if the singer is the most important aspect of the show, and helping them is the priority, why are the judges looking at each others hands constantly? Why does the opinion of the others matter so much when they could be the one to help someone? I know, because they’re in it for themselves.

I watched contestant after contestant turn up on the stage, sounding exactly like so many other people and the judges are all eager to spin their chairs around, but only if the others do too of course. So it angered me massively to see a matured singer with an acoustic guitar doing quite a good cover of Pink Floyd faced with the backs of the judges. Not one of them turned their chair around on the basis that no one else did. Now I’m sorry but if you really wanted to help someone that you think has got immense talent then you would jump on them and hope and pray that none of the others do. Not in this show, oh no. It’s all about getting one up on each other and having the bragging rights in the dressing room back stage.

The result of this incident was that the man went home disappointed all because William Adams, yes I refuse to give a full grown man such a ridiculous stage name, decided that someone else who is like so many other artists in today’s industry is worth a better shot. I’m sorry but people as silly as that shouldn’t be given such responsibility. If they want to mess around with buttons then they should be taken off of the television and given one of those children’s toys that has different buttons that make different animals pop out and make a noise. It was disappointing to see the judges act in such a selfish manner, acting based on what the others are doing instead of keeping morality in check and going with their instinct. It was simply a case of Jessie wouldn’t turn because Tom didn’t, Tom wouldn’t because the Irish man didn’t, and he wouldn’t because William Adams didn’t, who wouldn’t go in the first place because Jessie didn’t. Can these people not think for themselves? They’ve shown that they can think ABOUT themselves well enough.

I think the concept of the show is flawed on a moral because it is basically just any other talent show with the added touch of moving furniture. The impact of this is that the judges are even more competitive to beat the other and benefit themselves. The contestants feelings and ambitions aren’t considered by the judges. If the person does eventually end up happy then that’s just an added bonus to the judges topped up bank balance. Loyal fans of the show would respond to my opinion as they have before with comments such as “the judges don’t care what the others think” which they clearly do because otherwise their eye line would not be directed towards each others hands, and “it adds a real sense of tension that other reality shows don’t provide”. Which is silly really because if you’re looking for tension in a reality television show then you’re really looking in the wrong place. It’s just the same as all other reality talent contests; the judges are looking to make money and this is achieved through exploiting the public who are manipulated in to thinking they have a chance. Did we really need The Voice to come to the UK? We’ve got enough reality television as it is without needing to create more shows.

So the show is still continuing, more contestants come and go with the average talented, cliched ones getting their big break and the niche market, unique acts being sent away. Jessie J is still as annoying as ever, can’t really look at her in the same way after ruining “we will rock you” at the Olympics, Tom Jones is disappointing listeners of old music nationwide, William Adams (again) still looks like a Tim Burton creation who’s been kicked through Top Man, and I’m not entirely sure who the Irish fellow is. Either way the four of them with some Ikea furniture and big buttons is enough to keep me away of television and loose faith in our society a little bit more.

The grumpy old man strikes back I know, but as long as there is awful television being created then I will have something to complain about. Mind you it could have been worse, I could have stopped on ITV to watch Britains Got Talent.