And so gentle reader I enter my terrible twos. Accordingly I intend to become more boisterous, opinionated, self-absorbed, mischievous and hysterical. What’s that, business as normal I hear you cry? If you’d like to get me a birthday present then I’ll always accept donations from the superb Criterion Collection, fascinating link on how they are upgrading to new technologies here.
May you live in interesting times – fuck that. Recent economics 101 here. Text heavy sure but I found it to be a brilliant synopsis of where we’ve arrived at including educated predictions of how the Jenga banking system could possibly come all crashing down – it was written in January so quite superbly prescient. As the immensely depressing fallout continues I’ve read and discarded many observations on the inevitable implosion, I cling hopelessly to the belief that such a shock may lead to a real and proper consideration of western values in light of the real challenges facing the planet. Exactly what progress could have been made on poverty and tackling climate change, investing in new technologies with (as I write this) £50 billion from the UK alone, $700 billion in the US, no doubt more to follow as the…look, its just too fucking much. It is a fucking disgrace. Words fail me. I don’t know about you, but I am continuing my training for the inevitable, although the upside is a possible new girlfriend. Clouds, silver lining etc…..
Riddle me this – what links ‘The Italian Job‘, ‘The Wicker Man‘, ‘Don’t Look Now‘, ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth‘, ‘The Deer Hunter‘ and a quietly admired early 80’s tech-noir Raymond Chandler picture? Go on, I’ll give you one guess? What, no idea? No idea at all? OK, I’ll put you out of your misery – it’s cult movie UK born supremo producer Michael Deeley of course, good lord do keep up. Last week I went to a NFT hosted book launch of Deely’s autobiography with the requisite on stage interview, interspersed with clips from his work and traditional Q&A follow up session. It pains me to report that this was far and away the most disappointing event I have attended at my beloved NFT as quite simply the whole evening failed abysmally to unearth any interesting insights into his career and work, mostly scuppered by the sheer ineptitude of the interviewer whose entire strategy seemed to revolve around the same line of interrogation – ‘what drew you to this project?’ That’s not a bad start but to repeat that for every stage without teasing out any tit-bits or revelatory moments was a real waste. Apart from the revelation that Steve McQueen hired Peter Yates to direct the Deeley produced ‘Bullitt‘ on the strength of the car chase in their early UK film ‘Robbery‘ there was nothing of any real value here, the old and well known tale of Kubrick submitting out-takes from ‘The Shining‘ for the final reels of the original cut of ‘Blade Runner‘ was trotted out as some amazing coup, must try harder. I don’t know about you but I’ve been using this question as a curve-ball in my interviews for years (one day those HR witches will understand my method) but now its tired.
Birthdays are always an apt moment for pensive reflection so I’ve nominated Ridley Scott as this months choice of director whose work I follow with interest. Along with Carpenter he’s one of the first filmmakers where I detected something of a particular style of approach and beautiful visualisation, even if they didn’t always result in a satisfying final product. I think it’s fair to say that Sir Ridley has had his ups and downs,after a stunning early trilogy he seemed to get sidetracked into poorly written mainstream rubbish that never made the best of his particular visual skills, recovering with ‘Gladiator‘ which put him back on the Hollywood A list.
I love the story of Russell Crowe discussing future offers on the set of ‘The Insider‘ with Michael Mann, uncertain whether he should take an offer of the role of a Roman Centurion in some complex historical production with a director whose pedigree had somewhat waned. Mann urged him to take the role, explaining that Scott was ‘in the top 2% of visual filmmakers at work’ and the rest as they say is history. Scott has been long attached to ‘Blade Runner’ sequels which I’m curiously ambivalent about, whether he or someone else makes them (must be mellowing in my old age), other projects like this seem far more intriguing and relevant.
So then, the best 500 movies of all time. I stopped reading ‘Empire’ a long time ago – bring back the sadly lamented ‘Neon‘ or morphed ‘Hotdog‘ for real fun cult/mainstream periodical perusal but such an obvious challenge to be offended and disgusted at the predictable results couldn’t be resisted. No late periodFellini? Philistines. Where’s Rivette? Sacrilege. Calm down, I’m joking of course as obviously it’s an English language centric list with the obvious pictures leading the pack, just as my favourites are and always will be. Gun at my head, family in gas chamber, every existing Kubrick film print suspended over a Volcano, what would Minty choose between the entire (a quick guess) of Tarkovskys 20+ hour work or ‘Escape From New York‘? One answer – ‘…I heard you was dead….’ What I do find fascinating as a film nerd are the choices of film makers I love, for instance Fincher has quite an interesting choice which was quite revealing, ‘Kane’ being the only prior 1970’s choice. I can’t find a link to his submission so you’ll have to buy the magazine to find out what I’m talking about but think ‘Chinatown’, ‘The Godfather’, ‘Days Of Heaven’, ‘Strangelove’, ‘All The Presidents Men’, that sort of thing. Nick Hornby must be sharpening his pencil as we speak.
That said, general discussion threads from this ‘Empire’ poll has lead me back to the Holy Grail of Film lists that I stumbled across some years ago. 500? Fucking amateurs. Any real film nerd must worship at the temple that is 1001 films you must see. Praise Allah, Jesus, Buddha, Thor, Odin, Thunderbird or any other fictitious deity you care to follow. As an antidote of sorts I have posted in the first comment of this post that omnipotent list which is real tough stuff – it covers the majority of my reasonably educated base of mainstream film (meaning narrative film, none of the Avant-garde experimental type stuff like the Warhol’s, Borzages etc.) and I think its superb. Yes, I pride myself on my twenty year plus movie obsession but there are many titles on there I have never even heard of which is a humbling experience, I stand in awe of such an encompassing and massively knowledgeable pantheon, purely by virtue of what it does cover by historical era and geographic scope. It flirts from Greece to Russia, Korea to Argentina, genre to genre, movement to movement. I love it when you stumble across things like this as it can lead a fan in previously unknown and unforeseen directions. As expected the DVD acquisition coverage ain’t great prior to 1930 but there are many titles in there from the 70’s to 90’s which are now on my research list. I have included the films in the first comment a separate entry to this post, purely as an memory aide for my absurd new cinematic endeavour. You can find the list below, should keep me occupied…
That’s enough movies for the moment. Lets finish off the ‘party’ with some music links which have been gracing my ipod during my commuting maneuvers over the past few weeks. I’ve pretty much got my podcast addiction under control with everything up to date (this was a recent find which is admittedly fratboy humor heavy but still fun to listen to, also recommended is this) so without further hesitation, over to the tube of you…..
Courtsey of Neil, my most learned friend when it comes to music. ‘The Monks’ are one of Mark E Smith’s favourite bands…
Shout out to the Bryski massive. Or something.
Forgot to thank the Scally for turning me on to this guy, apologies but it took me a while to get round to listening to the disks. Good stuff.
The closest any individual release have got to the original Mode for me. Rubbish video but I’m happy to hear that the Basildon trio are playing down the road at the o2 next year, tickets are hopefully en-route….
Best track when I saw them in Hammersmith a few years ago and the best live quality version I could find…
Looking forward to the new album. It’s possible……
Polysics or Die!!!
Good. Better but unable to embed in the blog for some stupid reason….
Just to fuck with you…..
I’ll always treasure having friends who worked in one of my local vinyl dealers back in my teenage years, I got the album this terrific track was on for free, slipped in with whatever noisy nonsense I was spending my hard earned cash on. RIP Andy’s Records…..
OK, just one. Has to be said though, it’s typical that my favourite bands leader had to be such a short sighted twat to call his musical collective ‘The the’ and then compound that moment of genius to name one of his most desired and rare albums ‘Pornography Of Despair‘ – fucking excellent web results I get from punching that combination into Google or ebay. I won’t argue that it doesn’t lead to some intriguing avenues of exploration but that is, as they say, another story….
‘The Hollowmen’ Posh Club. 1989. Not pretty. Some of you know what I’m talking about.
Just for laughs, some old and rare ‘Cure’ brilliance. You’ve got to love YouTube….