Wednesday, 31 August 2011

One Day: not as good as the book

Fact: they removed Emma's glasses from the marketing materials. Fascists.

It seems a given these days that directors will struggle to make worthy adaptations of well-loved books on the big screen (unless your name is Peter Jackson, of course). Sometimes this due to the miscasting of lead characters, or re-writes of the screenplay, but in One Day's case it is down to the format of the book itself. Having a chapter devoted to each passing year of a 20 year story works great on the page, but just feels rushed on screen.

There are other missteps as well. Hathaway is miscast (although she tries valiantly to make it work) and key plot points are missing. But these are nitpicking in comparison to the scene by scene, year by year structure of the film. Whilst the book could use throwaway lines to subtly hint the future of our 2 protagonists, the film has to use every single line of dialogue as a means to drive the plot forward. This is due to the time restrictions of the film -107 mins (and to be fair, if it were any longer, I probably would have tried to choke myself with my own popcorn).

This means the complexities of the book (loneliness, infidelity, love) are boiled down to simplistic issues that can be found in most so-so rom-coms. Even the characters become cartoonish caricatures of themselves in order to keep up with the breakneck pace of the movie.

However, Lone Scherfig (An Education) does inject some genuine affection into the film, and Jim Sturgess makes for a good Dexter. So whilst it's not a complete disaster, the fantastic source material has been slightly wasted on an average film adaptation. Fingers crossed Richard Linklater will remake it into a HBO series.

Friday, 26 August 2011

I have a life... honest

Whereas most people on a Friday night would go out, get drunk, and kiss each other's face off, I spent the evening compiling my favourite 'bad British accents' from movies. This was inspired after watching the trailer for One Day and hearing Anne Hathaway's attempt at a Yorkshire accent (just listen to the way she says 'top', it's quite incredible).

Anyway, I'm gonna go out tomorrow and have fun. I swear.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Where I compare The Inbetweeners Movie to my own miserabe experiences

My best mate Jamie shows off his new Simpsons towel in our Ayia Napa holiday apartment. "Almost lost his shorts in the Rip Tide, Man!" Bart exclaims, on this shoddy piece of rip-off merchandising. And this towel would only lead the way for one of the most nauseating and deafening 2 weeks of my life, way back in 2005.

So, as much as I love The Inbetweeners, I was also slightly dreading the inevitable comparisons the movie would make with my own 'lads holiday'. Nevertheless, I had high hopes that this would be the sign off that Will, Jay, Simon, and Neil deserved. And it certainly doesn't disappoint.

The director's brief: 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it'

Apart from some flashy camera movements (most noticeably on the club strip), there is nothing distinguishing about the style of filmmaking. Which begs the question: why a movie? Why not a TV special? Mike Skinner apparently composed the original score, but there is absolutely nothing here to indicate a substantial budget or unlimited resources. Instead, the magic is purely what we have on screen: the undisputed chemistry between the 4 lads, and their pitiful attempts at attracting the attention of the opposite sex. This is where The Inbetweeners Movie shines: observational comedy at it's best. From the awkward unison dancing, to the awful 'morning afters', nothing has captured the modern youth of Britain so succinctly as The Inbetweeners.

This is obviously all great news for us fans, but it's unlikely to convert non-believers. There's nothing here that we haven't seen before in previous episodes (except Jay's cock perhaps). Even some of the new characters, especially the girls, are carbon copies of characters in the original series. And given this was the final outing for the likely lads, I was expecting more of a sentimental tone to the proceedings. But what do you expect from a movie that features 4 teenage boys trying to clean a turd out of a bidet?

So if you find the word 'gash' or 'bender' amusing, this will undoubtedly be the quickest 97 minutes you will spend all summer. However, those who are easily offended need not apply.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

How to quit your job… according to the movies

As the economic situation becomes an ever worsening nightmare of epic proportions, I thought it would be a good time to quit my steady well-paid job, and pursue my dream of working in the film industry. There’s no point reasoning with me, I am an idiot.

However, my rather underwhelming resignation only reminded of how films misrepresent quitting your job as some sort of manic display of contempt for everything their employer’s stand for. Here’s how the movies expects you to burn your bridges...

Insult your boss

From: American Beauty (1999)

Let’s face it, who hasn’t wanted to call their boss a ‘bongo-head’ and play their head like a drum at some point or another? Never has it been bettered than Lester Burnham’s speech in American Beauty: “My job consists of basically masking my contempt for the assholes in charge.” Risky? Yes. Bold? Yes. Realistic? Probably not.

Flip out

From: Jerry McGuire (1996)

Reminiscent to Arnold J Rimmer’s ‘I am a fish’ routine from Red Dwarf, Tom Cruise shows us the dignity in being fired. This scene is a personal favourite of mine because I could totally see Tom Cruise doing this in real life.

Tell everyone to go f*** themselves

From: Half Baked (1998)

Succinct and to the point. Just don’t expect a good reference.

Beat yourself up

From: Fight Club (1999)

Not the most conventional of quitting routines, but it certainly leaves an impact on the previous employer. And hey, you might even succeed in your little blackmailing ploy!