Monthly Archives: June 2014

Blue Juice

Surfing in Cornwall. God it looks chilly.

Surfing in Cornwall. God it looks chilly.

I saw Blue Juice before I had much concept of Cornwall as a semi-independent sovereign state clinging reluctantly on to the tail end of England. But even then (what was it, about 1996? Taped off the telly and one of the only things my older brother and I could agree on to watch, anyway) I could see it was a different kind of place. There were surfers where I came from, sure. But this was surf culture. In the north, anyone who was daft enough to venture into the sea was too busy getting their circulation back and self-treating incipient frost bite to retain the energy to think up new slang and grow their hair long. Quiksilver hoodies, beach raves and flip flops as functional outdoor wear were all exotic concepts of which we could only dream.

The surfing stuff is obviously going to be the draw of this film for some people (extreme sports fans, neoprene enthusiasts), and apparently the actors all had training beforehand. But endearingly they’re pretty obviously all rubbish at it, except for Sean Pertwee’s JD who you barely see in action until the big set piece at the end when he’s obviously being doubled. There might be some token chat about ‘perfect barrels’, ‘six foot and clean’ and the like, but I sort of appreciate the film doesn’t try to cram in too many duplicated scenes of virtuosity to make their point or drag in the enthusiasts. In the end, this is not really a surf film in the same way that Riding Giants is, or that – god help us – Blue Crush tries to be. Continue reading

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Some Kind of Wonderful

One of these people is pining

Keith (Poor Guy) and Watts (Poor Girl)

I’m supposed to like The Breakfast Club. Or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Pretty in Pink has its charms. I understand the connoisseur’s choice is Sixteen Candles. But I like this one best.

It is not exactly controversial to like a John Hughes film. His Wikipedia page calls him the King of Teen Movies, which (although the source remains woefully unattributed) I am not about to argue with. He made the first film I ever watched in a proper cinema (Home Alone, 1990 in the Coliseum with a packet of mint poppets). And he also made a slew of other stuff I certainly don’t associate him with (he wrote Maid in Manhattan!). But although Some Kind of Wonderful came out in 1987 during his golden era, it’s pretty much the underdog. Continue reading

What is this anyway?

I have never seen Citizen Kane. Or the Godfather Trilogy. Or any Charlie Kaufmann film. During Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind I was mainly concentrating on Kate Winslet’s hair dye choices.

I do not have good taste in films. If it has ‘auteur’ in the blurb then I’m going to skip it. ‘Harrowing’, ‘Seminal’, or ‘Heart-breaking’ are probably not what I’m in the mood for on a Tuesday evening. I can’t watch horror films. I’m oddly unmoved by animation of any kind. I’m not good with suspense. I don’t like unexpected expressions of violence (The Departed was a trial by fire. Did anyone NOT get suddenly shot in the head in that film?). I haven’t found the energy to start that box set you’re talking about by the water cooler. If I do accidently watch something highly acclaimed, I tend to be quietly respectful, and then never think about it again. I am slightly dissatisfied by all unhappy endings.

On the other hand, there’s plenty of fluffy stuff I should like and don’t. There’s plenty of rom-coms which aren’t worth the electricity they would take to watch. The majority of superhero films are pretty charmless, if briefly entertaining. I can’t find much to say about most Judd Apatow films, and all Adam Sandler films (not even The Wedding Singer) and pretty much anything that has a cast consisting of six men and a single woman who is the love interest.

None of this makes me a popular viewing buddy. I’m snobby about rubbish and unenthused by class. I’ll watch a whole mediocre film twice for one five minute scene in the middle – hell, I’ll even pay good money to see it again in the cinema – but I sulk when made to watch Oscar winners.

The reasons I do this – the rules I go by – aren’t clear even to me. Why will some unremarkable movie keep me glued while any amount of lavishly applied effort and time and money leave me cold?  How is it I manage to like anything I watch at all? I am stubborn and inconsistent in my devotions. But still, it is love. My DVD collection is creeping towards unmanageable. I stay up unwisely late on school nights because I can’t bring myself to stop watching until the end. In stressed moments at work I read the quotes section of Wikipedia like a soothing phone directory. In one particularly undemanding job post-university I’m reasonably certain I finished the IMDB. There are still few things better than sitting in the dark and watching a story unfold around you, surrounded by breathless strangers.

So this is what I’m actually watching. And why. Some of this stuff is well known, and some of it justifiably isn’t, and some of it I’m pretty sure should have been but somehow missed the chance. Maybe by the end of this, I’ll know why I watched it. And so, I guess, will you.