Thursday, 15 July 2021

When I go see Tottenham, I know there'll be no stoppin em. When I go see spurs, Its cold.


Dang but  ICE ROAD (2021) is one dumb film.  It's basically an episode of a cartoon show from the mid-1980s about truckers fighting evil corporate polluters, and at one point even has a slimy corporate guy try to blow up the heroes with a stick of fizzing dynamite.
The plot revolves around Liam Neeson as mumblemumblemumble, a long-haul driver in the desolate wastelands of Canada who can't hold down a job because of his explosive temper which now and then prompts him to violently defend his brain-damaged veteran brother from mockery.  They dream of owning a Kenworth truck and Neeson's brother even carries a Kenworth brochure which he peruses onscreen while listing the many fine features of the Kenworth range of long-distance haulage vehicles.  When Neeson's brother passes, the coroner solemnly tells Neeson "we found this in your brother's things", and rather than a St Christopher, a treasured family photograph of the pair in happier times, or his Congressional medal of honor, it's the brochure for Kenworth trucks - his most prized possession, which Liam Neeson then takes a moment to peruse on-camera while his brother's corpse stiffens nearby.  I am going to go out on a limb and say that I think Kenworth trucks might have given the production some money.

I don't know why I'm bothering to write a review, to be honest: it's a Liam Neeson film - an actor who knows his lane and sticks to it - and you know what you're buying into.  I did like that the film featured a First Nation actor, though, as in acknowledging First Nation people exist, the film has already done better than the actual country of Canada, which tends to only acknowledge the existence of First Nation people when its politicians have to go in front of a camera to dismiss a pile of battered bodies that has mysteriously appeared without explanation in front of a First Nation drinking water reservoir, and by "a First Nation drinking water reservoir" I of course mean an oil pipeline construction site.  Like the Canadian government, I constantly get these two things confused.

Thursday, 17 June 2021

This is the whitest thing I've ever seen, and I've seen those shoes that have toes


Lucifer is not bad in the traditional sense of poor acting and writing - though it's not a good performer in those areas, either - but it is most definitely a cringe-inducing show for the viewer.  The concept of "engagement" as the ultimate barometer of a show's worth is a relatively new development, but in Lucifer's case it was unavoidable, from its beginnings as a One Million Moms-baiting concept to its eventual fate as a refugee from network television that found asylum on Netflix, where it no longer had to structure itself around the demands of advertising slots and the writers could do anything they wanted - literally anything, from more violence, nudity and swearing, to any possible storyline they wanted to explore being on the table.  Nothing was taboo, and all they had to do was keep their audience engaged.  Which they have done by making a show that is often amazingly bad.

While what has been produced is not very good, surprisingly, it seems to know it and doesn't care - like when a character has an epiphany in their relationship with the titular character by figuring out the plot structure of the average Lucifer episode and uses it to better understand his motivations and impulsiveness, saying out loud "he's projecting his latest issues onto the case" which for the show's writers is a bit like Donald Trump just absent-mindedly tweeting about his crimes.  No subterfuge or being coy, just... "that's what we did.  So what?"  No-one worries about telling the audience the simplistic formula writers have used on this and many other cop procedurals, because this is Netflix, baby, and we know exactly how many episodes we have to work with and then we're done with this nonsense forever.  Except Netflix renewed it for an extra 10 episodes, so it doesn't end when it was supposed to.  Presumably the ratings for this have been really good, the ploy to make something so embarrassing to watch that people tune in to hate-watch or rag on it with their friends has worked better than expected, or it is just really cheap to produce.  I suspect it's this last one, because it often looks really cheap for a show that can afford to licence so many pop and rock tracks.

Lucifer is really cringe, is what I am saying.  It is bad television and I would not recommend it to anyone, I am just saying it is interesting - to me, and possibly only to me - to see something autopsy itself in real time.  Some very capable and charismatic performers do their best with sub-par material, but there's only so much polishing they can do to that material before it starts smearing all over their hands and crumbling.  Tom Ellis, if nothing else, must be complimented on his very fine ass.

Monday, 7 June 2021

Every mining camp should have a hanging tree - makes folks feel respectable

I thought I would go back to blogging at some point, but then 2020 happened.

For what it's worth, while my last post in which I predicted humanitarian disaster for the UK was entirely correct in its central thesis that the NHS is this benighted and backwards nation of despair's one good achievement, I - like everyone else except perhaps the Wuhan Germ Warfare Planning Department THIS IS JOKE PLS DO NOT CANCEL - had no idea how or why this would turn out to be proven true, and yet doctors and nurses are still not worth a 1% pay rise because Britain is an awful country and I am glad it's dying.  Quite frankly, it can't happen soon enough, because I am tired of the white British male's refusal to integrate with modern society.  If they don't like multiculturalism and knowing people's preferred pronouns, they should just clear off and live somewhere else.  Oh no wait they can't because they voted for that Brexit thing.

Anyway, I guess for the good of my mental health I'm writing this blog again.  I only stopped for the good of everyone else's BDUM TISH etc but I mean, what could I really say about The Plague Year that wasn't already being said by far more eloquent others?  The depths of callousness and disregard for human life from the UK's establishment has been as unsurprising as its sociopathic opportunism, but the sadly-dwindling body of genuinely good and caring people of this nation pulled us through despite our best efforts to embrace oncoming disaster and pile bodies high rather than disrupt Business As Usual because we have been conditioned to sooner embrace the deaths of millions than ask for a momentary show of restraint from capitalism.  Sweet jeepers this exercise was supposed to be good for my mental health, but clearly things are already going badly.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

In whatsoever place that I enter I will enter to help the sick and heal the injured, and I will do no harm

I occasionally lapse into talking about The Politics on this blog, and it says a great deal about me that this usually happens when I'm trying to talk about the plot of an episode of Magnum PI and not when there is an actual General Election in this increasingly awful country.
Can you blame me, though?  The politics of a Magnum PI episode at least won't send a sane person screaming from the room like they've just watched a tentacled thing unfurl itself from a lower dimension like an origami swan made of rotting meat but anyway the election's nearly over and I guess in a week or so we say goodbye to the NHS, as the Americans come to improve it like they improved Bolivia, Chile, Afghanistan, Iraq - you know, all the other places they went to and made better for the inhabitants.
The NHS has not just made life materially better for us all but also made altruism a part of the country's DNA rather than the racism, atrocities and enabling of American corporatism's never-ending war on the poor that's pretty much the only other thing that's a constant about our failed empire.  We are at heart not a good people, I am sad to say, because we are descended from conquerors and their servile playthings and nothing good can come of a nation that is proud of this rather than angry or ashamed - but for a time, we had the NHS.  People would come from around the world to learn in the halls of its hospitals how to care for the sick and the disabled, and they knew this was the only place they could learn it because all they would learn elsewhere was how to deliver the most cost-effective treatment rather than the best.  We sent forth from our shores the best doctors, the best nurses, and being a country that spawned this wonderful institution which contributed not just to the treatment of the sick of this country but the betterment of humankind allowed us to lie to ourselves that this terrible, hateful nation was not a thing that needed to be scoured from the Earth and its patriots mocked for the damaged children they were and driven into the sea to be eaten by crabs or bummed to death by the Innsmouth people, because we were the British Flipping Isles and the worst thing about us was that occasionally we would produce one of Richard Curtis' films.
And now we're just the country that invented concentration camps.
In Yarl's Wood we refined positive spin for concentration camps because we knew that when people thought of concentration camps they thought of open-air prisons full of skinny people and ringed with barbed wire, and not anonymous red-bricked warehouses in a random corner of a business park in Bedford.  Through the finest British ingenuity that gave us 11,000 dead Kenyans, we've not just rehabilitated the image of the unthinkable but made it a profitable business model to export.  We laugh at the Americans' clumsy caging of brown children and then just letting any old senator with a camera walk in and take pictures because we don't even let our elected representatives through the front gates of our concentration camps - we do it right and hide them like the shameful secret they should be.
We may be a small-minded, racist nation of bull-necked gammon that will not stop until we hear only English spoken on our high streets and only white people have our dreadful low-paying zero-hour jobs because we are the British Fucking Isles and we are going to Hell and we're taking you all with us, but for a time, we were a people that helped.

Oh and also the planet is on fire.

Monday, 25 November 2019

I salute your honesty, my dear - not necessarily a quality to be despised

Let's take a look at a list of the utter garbage I've been shoveling down my mental gullet with all the awareness and distinction of a pig at a trough this last week or so, shall we?

Bull - a US tv show about a rich guy who tries to get money from other rich people who aren't as nice as he is and give it to poor people, because rich people only care about money, and not the important things like family and... puppies.  This is a show with a confusing set of priorities and a smug lead character that often confuses being an arsehole with being clever and/or right, though that's pretty much every lead character in an American tv show, and has been for quite a while.

Some thing with Jimmy Smits whose title I can't be bothering Googling but which clearly did not make a lasting impression: see above.  A law thing where Jimmy "HOLY" Smits plays the dad of a lady lawyer but it was so ham-fisted I can't even remember if she was the idealistic one or if her dad was, or which one of them had to convince the other to use their law powers for good - well anyway it's another Jimmy Smits winner.
I don't know why I'm being sarcastic - I like Jimmy Smits.
Make me a Bail Organa tv show, Disney, you cowards.

Magnum PI and also

Hawaii Five-0 - these are essentially interchangeable shows set in Hawaii about ex-marines tackling violent crimes while surrounded by underwear models.  Occasionally they help a sad child with a problem that involves either parental involvement in crime, or sexual trauma, they have big muscles and salute the flag at least once an episode.  Now and then a gay person will appear and they will be totally cool with that person's sexual orientation - most likely they will even take time to lecture someone about loving gay folk unconditionally, and then possibly within the same episode or even the same scene someone will make a homophobic gag of some description, usually implying that a male character is in some way too effeminate.
There was a recent episode of... uhhh.... let's say it was Magnum, not that I or anyone else really knows the difference, and there were some Hawaiian protestors doing their protesting about Hawaiian things that I know nothing about but I will still lay good money it boils down to something white people did wrong - because if you follow the news in even a cursory fashion it always is - and a Hawaiian character makes an appeal to some police officers who are also Hawaiian to consider their heritage and not arrest all the peaceful protestors who are doing nothing but occupying private land meant for property development and the cops take all of a hot second to decide they have their orders, and no kidding, "only obeying orders" is not challenged or redeemed at any point because these are shows 120% in the tank for both the military and militarised policing.  The unambiguous message is that cops will absolutely mess you up if you challenge capital, but they will do it "with a heavy heart", which as anyone who's been following British politics lately will know as the rallying cry of bougoisie bastards like Brian Cox and Robert Webb who are off to vote Tory on December 12th.
Okay I think I might be letting my personal politics get in the way of enjoying perfectly good Western capitalist propaganda, but getting back to these shows, they really are interchangeable to the point that the Halloween episodes of both shows were about escaped lunatics, and someone in one of the shows actually says "what are the chances of there being two escaped lunatics on Halloween night?" even though this happens literally every year, and is an annual Hawaii Five-0 event.  Yes I am steeped in Hawaii Five-0 lore - I might be an irredeemable communist but I'm still addicted to bullshit tv shows.

Friday, 15 November 2019

You won't solve all of the world's problems with kindness, but none of the world's problems can be solved without it

This will come as something of a surprise to the (checks view counter) three people who read this unpopular and despised blog, but I tend to watch an awful lot of really bad television and films.
I don't mean "bad" in relation to their objective quality or production values, though a lot of them certainly aren't good when evaluated in those terms, I mean in their philosophies and in what they contribute to culture, and what they say about us as people.  Years ago, I stopped watching US medical shows for reasons I didn't fully understand as I hadn't explored my own political views in any meaningful way, though I assumed I was some kind of limp-wristed liberal because I liked Star Trek, but it's only recently as I've slipped to the dark side - the left - that I've come to understand that my objection to American medical dramas stem from an understanding of one of the fundamental principles of anarchist political theory: that all cops are bastards.
I will assume you are not aware of the underpinning philosophy and explain: not all cops are actually  bastards by dint of incomplete lineage or in the vernacular sense of being a troubled individual with histories of questionable morals and/or actions, but all cops, in being cops, are representatives of an oppressive mechanism of control that acts in the interests of capital rather than the interests of the populace, and are - through collective guilt - to blame for its failings which at worst manifest in the widely-publicised actions of "bastards", thus all cops, in their active support of this system and its bastards, are bastards themselves, hence "ALL cops are bastards."
I realised that I had stopped watching medical dramas made in the US because all American doctors are also bastards.  Interestingly, this is not purely because they support one of the worst healthcare systems in the world that is essentially a glorified kidnapping racket in which paramedics roam the streets abducting the vulnerable and pressganging them into a life of debt slavery, though obviously a good person would never condone this atrocious state of affairs let alone actively participate in it, no, I mean they are bastards because they act like it.
I don't think that real-life American doctors are as big a bunch of assholes as the doctors on tv, but to be fair, I am pretty much certain that this is not possible as it takes literally dozens of overpaid writers months of creative back and forth to make doctors in American medical dramas as utterly unlikable as they are, and some schlub just out of medical school hasn't got the time or energy to replicate that kind of effort on top of managing their work-life balance while staring down the barrel of their own lifetime of debt.  Anyway, the doctors on US tv are assholes obsessed with money, so that's why I stopped watching medical dramas, but there is also a case to be made that since they support and materially benefit from a system which preys on the poor, they are not just assholes personally, but collectively.
Ugh I am pretty sure I started out this post trying to figure out if I should stop watching American cop shows because they're just propaganda - is "copaganda" a word?  It should be - for a corrupt imperialist nation of warmongering capitalist psychopaths but this is the kind of thing that distracts me now, and I just made you read about it.  So who is the real asshole?  Impossible to say.

Friday, 8 November 2019

I don't wanna go to jail again - when I'm gay I want it to be on my terms

A rather rude journalist once asked Gabriel Byrne why he stars in so many terrible projects, and Byrne responded "no-one tries to make a bad movie", and if he was saying that he does his best that is fair enough but... man does he ever star in some absolute shite.
Why yes, I did watch the French War of the Worlds television miniseries, why do you ask?

I powered through this in two days because there's only 8 episodes and I knew I wouldn't come back to it if I didn't see it all in one go because it is painfully apparent very early in the show that this is not very good.  What it most reminds me of is those BBC efforts in the 1990s and 2000s to dip a toe in the waters of popular genres from elsewhere in the tv world, particularly those daffy attempts to outdo the Americans in recycling dated sci-fi ideas and getting mixed results like that toss Invasion thing with Fred Ward, or that banal Survivors remake (although I did enjoy the second series a bit more).
So what's wrong with this adaptation of HG Wells' War Of The Worlds, then?  Well for a start it doesn't seem to have very much to do with HG Wells' War Of The Worlds, though these days that doesn't seem to be a particularly big problem with adaptations, and some of the changes like the "Martians" not being from Mars and not being tripods aren't necessarily deal breakers, but when there's no large-scale destruction and just extras laying around the street, you're arguably putting enough distance between you and the source material that you'd best have some ideas beyond cruising on the tired old "human nature under crisis is ugly" grimdark nonsense that stuffs pretty much every sci-fi show now.
Anyway, this wasn't very good, but it was nice to get back to something other than horror after the dreadful washout that was spooktober, and say what I might about this show, but getting back to watching rubbish sci-fi is a nice way to cleanse the old media palette.