Monday Rundown – That’s What She Read

book, book blogger, book blogging, book haul, books, classics, currently reading, Dickens, Jim Carrey, Man Booker, Margaret Atwood, Netflix, Penguin Books, recently watched, Shakespeare
So, eagle-eyed readers out there will realise that I’m a day late with my weekly rundown. That’s because I only got back from London today. I’ve had a lovely but busy weekend visiting my friend so decided to leave this until tonight. The weekend has been great. I watched a terribly Christmas classic in Jingle All the Way on Saturday night but balanced it out by watching A Muppet Christmas Carol immediately after. I listened to some poetry, visited the design museum and went round an incredibly patronising exhibition about the North. As two Northerners we couldn’t help but cringe about the awful way the Somerset House exhibition portrayed Northerners. It was totally misjudged in tone and, really, only helped strengthen unhelpful stereotypes about the North/South divide. But I don’t want to get into that right now. On with the rundown.

Weekly Blog Posts

  • TUESDAY’S REVIEWS – Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond (2017)

I’ve been waiting for this documentary to come to Netflix for so long and, when it finally did, I couldn’t wait any longer to watch it. Was it worth it? Find out in my review here.

  • BOOK POST – The Guilty Reader Tag

Amazing! I finally have something to say for this section of my rundown. It’s not very inspiring but this tag might give you a little bit of insight into who I am as a person. Find out for yourself here.

  • TBT – Man on the Moon (1999)

I couldn’t not watch Jim and Andy and then miss the chance to (re)watch the original film. Did the behind the scenes view have an impact on my viewing? Find out in my TBT post here.

Recently Finished

  • Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
It took god knows how long to get there but I finally have. I’ve got a fairly busy week but I’m hoping to post my review of this book on Wednesday. Check back later to find out if I manage it or not.

Currently Reading
  • Autumn by Ali Smith

When the winner of the Man Booker prize was announced I was really pleased because I loved Lincoln in the Bardo. However, that wasn’t the reaction of everyone. Some random on Instagram was poo pooing the winning book and saying this book by Ali Smith was the only deserving winner. In the name of fairness (and not because I’m really petty) I decided to see for myself. I started it on the train to London and it’s better than I was expecting. I didn’t get very far though. We’ll have to see.

Recently Purchased 
  • Cheap book haul

So I bought a couple of new books when I found them on offer on Amazon for Cyber Monday and I also snagged a few new Vintage Penguins. Amazing result.

  • Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie – I bizarrely don’t seem to have a copy of this book anymore so I couldn’t resist the gorgeous new (I think) hardback edition from Harper Collins. Plus, it was also only £4. Genius.
  • Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood – Another cheap buy and one that I’ve wanted for ages. Although, I’ve have a few of these Shakespeare rewritings on my shelf for a while and never got anywhere with them. The Tempest really isn’t my favourite play but this sounds really good. And if anyone can make it interesting then it’s Atwood, right?
  • Vintage Penguins – I bought a few more of these than I needed to but I can never resist a beautiful vintage penguin.
    • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
    • Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
    • My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
    • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
    • The Nuremberg Trials by R.W. Cooper
Recently Watched 
  • Netflix Binges: QI, Compete to Eat
I’ve not really watched a lot this week. I guess it helps that my days off have both involved me being really busy. I was either preparing for my weekend away or travelling to London. I did manage to watch a bit more QI, which is always a lovely way to pass the time. Then I binged watched Compete to Eat: a ridiculous cooking show where two chefs head to cabins in the Canadian wilderness and try to cook a 3 course meal with whatever they find in the cupboards. I love a good cooking show but this definitely isn’t one. I watched it whilst I was packing and only got the end so it wouldn’t show up on the ‘Continue’ section of my Netflix home page.

TBT – Man on the Moon (1999)

biopic, comedy, films, fucking weird, Jim Carrey, life story, TBT

As I said in my Tuesday’s Review of Jim & Andy this week, I’m sure that I’ve seen Man on the Moon at some point in my life but, for whatever reason, I couldn’t remember it. I guess it’s mostly because I really don’t know who Andy Kaufman is. Not only was he not really a ‘thing’ in the UK but I wasn’t even born when he died. I’d heard of him but certainly had no real appreciation of his popularity or supposed genius. My interest in this film will basically have come down to my interest in Jim Carrey. As with most people around my age, he was probably one of my favourite actors growing up. As I kid my sister and I loved his films. We rented the VHS of Liar, Liar on a number of occasions and I’m pretty sure we watched The Mask so much that the ribbon started wearing down. Oh my god, 90s kid problems, am I right? Kids today… etc etc etc. So, after watching the documentary this week and with the film currently being available on BBC iPlayer, I decided it was only fair that I rewatch it for today’s review. This isn’t exactly going to be a massive review but it’s taking me ages. Not because of the film but because I’m procrastinating. I’m heading to London tomorrow to stay with a friend and I need to get my stuff together. Instead, I’m watching some shitty cooking show on Netflix and not writing this. I’m definitely going to regret this when it gets to midnight and I still don’t have my clothes ready for the morning. I’m nearly 30, when exactly does the part of my adult brain kick in that gets me to pack quickly and efficiently? I miss the days when I wasn’t expected to do anything the night before we went on holiday. Conveniently, the days that this film would have been coming out.

Andy Kaufman was the kind of person that delighted in confusing and tricking his audiences. That’s why the opening to this film feels like the most appropriate tribute to him. It starts with the man himself (played by Jim Carrey) explaining that the film was so bad that he edited it down. In fact, the film was so terrible that all that could be saved was the end credits, which proceed to roll as Andy plays a record on repeat. Moments after the credits finish Andy returns to the screen to explain that was a test to ensure his audience were the kind of people that would understand his humour and appreciate what he was trying to do. It’s a simple but very effective way of getting across the real genius of Kaufman before we learn anything about him. It’s a stand out moment and a great way to kick things off.

After the opening things start to get a little less exciting. We see snippets of Andy’s life from being a child performing in his bedroom to his huge show at Carnegie Hall. He has a lot of difficulty in finding his place as people just don’t understand what he’s doing. A lot of what he does is intentionally terrible and playing up on the silliness. He doesn’t fit in with the traditional stand-up vibe so has to make sacrifices to get to the top. Most notably taking a job on the popular sitcom Taxi, a decision that he didn’t want to make but agreed to in order to get his own network special. Andy delights in confusing his audience and tricking them. The greatest example of this is his most famous alter ego; the obnoxious lounge singer Tony Clifton. Clifton was loud, difficult and insulting. The perfect antithesis to Kaufman’s own more innocent image.

Man on the Moon is your basic biographical film about a comedian. There really is only so far you can take it before it becomes a recreation rather than an exploration. Watching it now, especially after watching the documentary, I couldn’t help but feel that it didn’t really go far in getting to grips with Kaufam and, instead, just replayed the major events that lead to his success. We see Carrey perform snippets of his most famous routines but there it’s all too brief. We watch a lot of people trying to cnonvince other people that Kaufman is a genius but the evidence isn’t always there. Then there’s the fact that the film presents the entertainer as wholly positive. There is never a sense that anything he does, for whatever reason, is questionable. This isn’t a hard-hitting look at the life of a popular performer but more of a celebration of his greatness.

But maybe that has something to do with the tragic circumstances surrounding his death. Kaufman was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1983. The end of the film focuses on his struggle with the illness and, quite frankly, the scenes are emotional. Aside from the opening, it is the final few scenes that provide the greatest moments in the film. Watching as his friends and family come to terms with the news and seeing Andy struggle with the idea of his mortality are played as straight as they should be. Kaufman was only 35 when he died, which is obviously no age at all. I’m not say his short life shouldn’t be celebrated but I couldn’t help but wonder if Andy’s death pushed the whole film more towards the sentimental than the analytical.

There is a question, particularly with the image that Carrey and co. have created in the documentary, that there is a greater story behind the scenes. The documentary wanted, but failed, to start a conversation about the madness behind performance. In Man on the Moon Kaufman is hailed as a genius who subverted comedy and changed the fucking world. But how much of the innocent, man-child image the real story? What of the madness that lay behind Kaufman’s need to lie and cheat his audience? I couldn’t help but feel that there is a bigger question everyone is ignoring. Just what possessed Kaufman to act the way he did and why was everyone happy to let it happen? I’m sure he was funny but he also seemed like a huge dick.

Tuesday’s Reviews – Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (2017)

behind the scenes, Danny DeVito, documentary, films, fucking ridiculous, fucking weird, Jim Carrey, Netflix

I first saw the trailer for this Netflix documentary on Facebook and I was obsessed. To be fair though, I’ve been obsessed with Jim Carey’s descent into whatever kind of existential crisis or performance art he’s been going through over recent years. Watching him declare his love for Emma Stone and talk about his shitty paintings with absolute sincerity has been super fascinating. So to get the chance to see the supposedly buried behind the scenes footage of the 1999 film Man on the Moon. The trailer promised footage so outrageous that Universal didn’t want it to be released in case Carey came across as “an asshole”. I mean who wouldn’t be interested in that? Although, I can’t say that I really remember the film. I’m absolutely positive that I’ve seen it because I have the vivid image of its opening scene in my head. It may just be because it’s so iconic but I’m sure I remember watching that black and white shot of Carey as Andy Kaufman in front of a black screen apologising for having to cut the movie down to that opening scene. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter. I still really wanted to watch this documentary. Mainly because, as a kid, I loved Jim Carey films. My sister and I were obsessed with the second Ace Ventura film and I can’t even begin to describe how much I still love The Mask. Oh, and the bloopers for Liar, Liar, we would absolutely piss ourselves every time we heard him say the word “goose”. Plus, you know, I love it when famous people start to go insane. Like when Robbie Williams started talking about how he believed in aliens. I loved it.

There was such a lot of mythology surrounding the film detailing the life of entertainer Andy Kaufman. Possibly because there was so much mythology surrounding the man himself. How can you trust anything regarding a man who tricked so many people with his intricate performances and whose own death created a strong conspiracy theory about it being fake. So much of Andy Kaufman’s career was based around perception: how he wanted people to see him and how he manipulated their view. It’s a fascinating concept and it wouldn’t really be surprising to discover that all the stories of Jim Carey, who played Kaufman in the film, going super method whilst filming were all just fake. I guess it would be quite a fitting tribute to the man himself. However, Jim & Andy the new documentary from director Chris Smith, attempts to prove that everything we think we know to be true is, in fact, the truth.

The film knits together behind the scenes footage from Milos Forman’s Man on the Moon with clips of both Kaufman and Carey’s similar journey’s towards fame, and recent footage of an interview with Carey about his experience. The film tries desperately to present itself as an in-depth analysis of fame, performance, art and the madness that lies so closely behind it all. The only problem is, Jim & Andy isn’t as deep or intellectual as it thinks it is. On the plus side, the film is incredibly watchable. The behind the scenes footage is fascinating and there are moments within the present-day interview with Carey that are surprisingly thought provoking. It’s just a shame that it all starts to wear a little thin a bit too quickly.

There are clear connections between the two performers that the film seems too desperate to highlight. As if Carey was destined to play him because they were one and the same. It’s an interesting idea but it all starts to get lost when Carey starts getting too psychoanalytical with his career choices. After a while, this starts to feel like a great insight into a man who uses comedy as an escape but more about perfecting the performance of a man in his 50s trying to seem introspective. The problem with Carey, as it was for Kaufman, is that you never know how much to take seriously. What is real and what is just part of the act? Is this all part of the same build-up he’s been setting up in the last few years before he reaches the mother of all punchlines?

I mean how much can we really believe this documentary anyway? Did Carey really stay in character as Andy Kaufman or his alter ego Tony Clifton for the entire shoot? Or was it simply for the behind the scenes footage? Does it matter? I don’t know. What I do know is that the footage is great to watch as we see Carey refuse to be referred to as Jim whilst he embraces Andy and Tony totally. It, obviously, causes a load of tension on set and makes things incredibly difficult. Some of his co-stars think it’s hilarious whilst others are, understandably pissed. There are some weird but tender moments where Andy’s real family have encounters with Carey in the guise of Andy. It’s compelling viewing and, whether it’s real or not, is a great story. The family are able to get some form of catharsis thanks to this man who is pretending to be their son or brother. But, at the same time, it all feels a bit too weird to ring true. We’ll never really know and, to be honest, that’s exactly how Kaufam would have wanted it.

Jim and Andy sets out to tell the untold story of the making of Man on the Moon whilst also highlighting the talent of the two performers at its core. The documentary only highlights the original film’s argument that Kaufman was a one of a kind performer who has nor ever will be matched. It also goes to great lengths to do the same for Jim Carey himself. Jim and Andy is, as I’ve mentioned, a very watchable film but, really, it needed to be shorter. We get the basic message it’s selling very quickly so a lot of the film is just going back on familiar ground. Instead, there are moments when it starts to feel like a vanity project for an actor who has long since faded into the background. This is the Jim Carey show and he plays his part with utter sincerity. Either he’s doing a great job at playing the role he’s created or he really has just become absorbed in the idea of his own greatness. Your individual viewpoint on that topic will have a major impact on how you view this film. Either way, it’s worth a watch.

Dumb and Dumber To (2014)

Jeff Daniels, Jim Carrey, review, sequel
I remember a fair few of the key jokes so I’m sure I watched Dumb and Dumberin its entirety when I was younger. However, if I did, it wasn’t one of the films that made a massive impact on me. Still, when news of the sequel came out I was still hit with a wave of nostalgia at the thought of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels reuniting as Harry and Lloyd once again. At least until I saw the first on-set picture of the pair. Then I just felt sad, embarrassed and old. The only thing I’ve seen recently that’s more tragic is the S Club 7 reunion. I mean if Paul can no longer ‘get down on the floor’ then what’s the point?
Dumb and Dumber, the Farrelly Brothers’ outrageous road comedy of 1994, has become something of a cult classic in the last two decades. It’s responsible for helping reinforce Jim Carrey’s position as a key comic performer. Since its release there have been a few attempts to build on its success in the shape of a short-lived cartoon and an unofficial prequel, bearing little connection to the previous release.
2014 marks the reunion of the original quartet and their quest to show the world what has happened to Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carrey) since 1994. God knows we’ve all spent the last twenty years wondering. Never ones to push themselves too much, the Farrellys bring back the road trip idea of the first film. Harry and Lloyd set off to track down Harry’s newly discovered daughter so he can make use of her kidney in some much needed surgery. Needless to say, hilarity ensues.
Although a lot of that hilarity just made me cringe. I don’t think I’ve been this embarrassed to be watching a film since my curiosity led me to watch Sex and the City 2. Trust me, I’m still having fucking nightmares about it. Surprisingly, this wasn’t because Carrey and Daniels are so fucking old now. If anything the pair made this film as successful as it was. Despite their wide and varied careers, you can tell that the two were having a great deal of fun getting back into their old roles. It is particularly refreshing to see Jeff Daniels return to this world of silliness as his career has become kinda serious lately. It’s pretty difficult not to get swept up in their energy and joy. Basically Dumb and Dumber Tois the cinematic equivalent of a contact high: you can’t get away from it.
Besides, there are a still a few moments that are funny. After all, when you throw everything at a target you’re bound to strike it at least once. Of course this does mean that for every one joke that makes you giggle there are countless ones that just don’t work or are stretched to fucking breaking point. It doesn’t help that the only thing about the Farrelly brothers’ film that hasn’t moved on in the past two decades is the humour. Now I’m not saying I expected the pair to go sophisticated for this sequel but I have to admit that jokes that perhaps seemed fresh in the 90s just seems a bit too familiar these days.
The best way to describe Dumb and Dumber To is lazy: sitting watching it I wasn’t struck with the idea that any effort had been put into making any part of this. The script is littered with nicely silly moments but not enough to make it worthwhile. The plot itself is just an overly long series of events that happen to get Harry and Lloyd into ridiculous positions. It’s all just too complicated and too contrived. There are countless plot-points that could have been dropped in favour of a clearer main narrative. We have a main road trip; a long-lost daughter; Lloyd’s romantic intentions towards said daughter; a scorned step-mother; a murder plot; a Scientists multi-million dollar idea; and a marine and his brother. It’s exhausting even typing these into the post let alone trying to keep up with them on screen.
If the Farrellys had taken more care they could have trimmed a lot of the excess baggage and unnecessary jokes to create a fairly decent 80-90 minute feature. Unfortunately, what we have is nearly two hours of material that is more worn out, bloated and past its prime than the film’s main stars. Loads of people want to see this film based on the promise the first one made in the 90s. The reality is just fucking depressing and awkward. It seems that, unlike S Club 7, some things just don’t have a place in this modern world.


Benedict Cumberbatch, books, currently reading, Jim Carrey, Mark Gatiss, Neil Patrick Harris, Netflix, Sherlock Holmes, Steven Moffat

This is such a late post because I’ve been unusually active today. I spent my Sunday off visiting a friend of mine so have been out most of the day. It means I’ve done none of my usual day off lounging and watching Netflix, which is good, but it also means I’ve done no reading. So you win some and you lose some. January has been a difficult month for my family so I think I’m just a little preoccupied to anything that taxing. Reading just seems too much whilst I’m in the emotional space that I’m currently residing. So I’m trying not to be too hard on myself. Something that is much harder to do when you’re as neurotic about insignificant things as I am.

Currently Reading

  • The Plague by Albert Camus
I really love this book but it’s so intense that I can’t read it at night and I keep forgetting to take it to work with me. The writing is fantastic but the chapters are lengths that are conducive to a quick pre-bed read. I doubt I’ll finish this by the end of the month which means there isn’t a forecast for 2017 to end with an improvement on the number of books I read last year.  

  • Ball by Tara Ison

Because I was so upset at the prospect of not finishing a single book this month I decided to take a break from The Plague and read something a little easier. So I picked up this short story collection that I’ve had for a while. So far it’s been a charming and fairly quick read which makes a change from Camus. I just need something simpler to get me back into reading before I’m ready to tackle that again. This could be the thing to do that.

Recently Purchased

I’ve been really good this week and not bought a single new book. Something that I would call a victory if I had successfully managed to read more. At least then it would feel as though my TBR pile were getting smaller. Instead it’s just staying at it’s now standard huge length. 
Recently Watched
  • Sherlock series 4 again
I was having mixed feelings about the latest series so decided I needed to watch all 3 epsiodes again. I still kind of like the first episode. I mean it’s not the greatest but there have been much worse ones. I liked the second episode more than I did the first time but still felt bored. I love Sherlock and John’s relationship but this episode pushed it too far. The final episode? I still think it was possibly the second worst episode in the show’s history… and that’s only because ‘The Blind Banker’ is the biggest load of shit I’ve ever seen. I don’t know. There were good moments and I think all three actors were great. I mean I was in tears as Mycroft willingly sacrificed himself. But it just felt too much like a parody. It was all over the place and didn’t make sense. I want there to be another series so we can improve on this one but it also feels as though Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have kind of lost their way. 
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix)
I wasn’t sure that I was going to watch this new Netflix adaptation of the Lemony Snicket books but on my day off on Monday I decided to give it a go. I loved it. I mean it’s not perfect and, despite my absolute love of him and think he’s great in the role, I think NPH has been given a bit too much free reign. I mean that theme tune is just wrong for the show. Still, it improves dramatically on the 2004 film. Patrick Warburton is amazing as Lemony Snicket and the supporting cast have been sensational so far. It could be improved but is certainly worth a watch.  
  • Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (Film)
Decided to rewatch this after I started the television show. You can read my thoughts in the previous post.

TBT: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)

books, fucking awful, fucking beautiful, Jim Carrey, Meryl Streep, Netflix, TBT

I know I always tend to upload these things quite late in the day but today I have a genuine excuse for my rush job. Namely that I fell asleep at around half 8 and didn’t wake up until about an hour later. Okay it’s not a great excuse but it’s the truth. Work has just been so exhausting this week and I’ve been rubbish at getting to bed on time. Still, I’m here now, I’ve got the Les Mis soundtrack on full blast, and I’m ready to crank this out. It’s my day off tomorrow so I was always planning to sleep all day anyway. On my last day off, I decided to start watching the new Netflix adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events. I’d seen all the stuff about it but hadn’t thought I’d watch it. I’ve not read the books and I wasn’t a huge fan of the Jim Carrey film so I didn’t really care. On Monday, though, something told me to watch it and I fucking love it. I’m only about 3/4 of the way through but it’s so good. Patrick Warburton and Neil Patrick Harris are absolutely amazing and the baby is so fucking adorable. I’m obsessed. The show works so well because it gives each book enough time. Each book is given two episodes so the plot can move along quickly enough whilst still staying true to the book. As I’m at the point where I’ve just watched book 3 I decided it was time to rewatch the film, which also deals with the first 3 books in the series. It only seemed fair to compare the two.

I had something of a personal crisis on my way home from work tonight when I remembered that this film came out 12 years ago. It makes me feel fucking ancient. I was a youthful 16 year old back then and really wasn’t that interested in it release. I remember it being a huge deal, though, because it was another series of books that were deemed unfilmable or something. Plus, Jim Carrey was still something of a big deal back then and there are some huge names in the cast. In the months prior to its release, it’s safe to say people were excited about this. It’s difficult to look back now we have the knowledge that everyone much prefers the Netflix show. It makes me assume that people hated the film but I don’t think that was true. There are lot of favourable reviews from that time and, aside from book fans who obviously felt a bit hard done by, I think it did quite well.

It tackles the story of the three Baudelaire children after their parents die in a mysterious fire. Violet (Emily Browning), Klaus (Liam Aiken), and Sunny are put into the care of their relative Count Olaf (Jim Carrey). Olaf is an eccentric actor who lives in a rundown old mansion with his creepy acting troupe. Olaf accepts guardianship of the children in order to get his hands on the huge Baudelaire fortune, which the children won’t get their hands on until Violet turns 18. Count Olaf, it turns out, is also incredibly evil and spends the rest of the film attempting to dispose of the children to get to the money. When his plans fail to succeed the children are moved into other accommodation with their Uncle Monty (Billy Connolly) and Aunt Josephine (Meryl Streep). However, the evil Olaf won’t let the money get too far away from him.

I guess, in all honesty, that the film isn’t that bad for what it’s trying to be. It’s a children’s film that is trying to be both dark and incredibly silly. It never really dwells on the awful nature of the narrative and kind of side steps some of the more depressing aspects (something the Netflix show seems to be trying to embrace a bit more) but it isn’t afraid to amp up the dark humour. The problem it mainly faces is that Jim Carrey completely dominates everything. He was such a huge star that he was allowed to just do whatever he wanted and goes wild in the role. This isn’t so much the story of the Baudelaire orphans but the story of Count Olaf. He never quite feels right and, now that we’ve seen Neil Patrick Harris in the role, feels like a massive miscast.

The film also ruins the narrative by trying to cram too much in. It smushes together the plot of 3 books and messes with the running order so we’re going round in circles. There is never any time to dwell on anything so you can’t really connect with what’s going on. You never really feel anything for the orphans because you don’t have time to share their grief. You don’t really feel afraid of Count Olaf because you don’t really feel the weight of his scheming. Characters are introduced and dispatched in a matter of minutes meaning you don’t really give a shit of they’re alive or dead. It just feels rushed.

Which is a shame because, I have to say, I really liked the actors playing the children. I mean the 3 kids from the Netflix show are incredible but the casting of the children is the film’s only real win aside from it’s visual elements. They just feel more natural in the roles and fit better with the characters. It’s just a shame they’re not given the chance to develop on screen. If this had been cut down to just one or two books then we might have been able to understand the children more and empathise with their plight. However, we don’t ever really get to know them outside of the annoying voice-over provided by Jude Law’s Lemony Snicket, who is not a patch on Patrick Warburton’s incredible turn in the show.

Now that Netflix have provided lovers of the book at better adaptation of these novels, it seems as though this film is going to fall even deeper into oblivion. Except when someone needs to make an unfavourable comparison with the TV show, obviously. It’s fair though. This film wanted to be something for everyone but in keeping it family friendly it diluted the books’ tone. It placed the focus in the wrong areas and just wasn’t faithful enough. It just about beats Netflix on its visuals, set design, and the three children. Other than that it just feels like a sad and rather lifeless copy. Like all those shitty parody movies from the makers of Scary Movie. It’s trying desperately to be funny but all it’s doing is making you cringe.


book haul, books, currently reading, Jim Carrey, Netflix, Penguin Books, recently watched

Fair warning, I’ve just got to the end of a week of 7am starts and I’m feeling tired and melodramatic right now. 2016 is turning out to be a pretty dismal year all things considered and this last week has definitely been a tough one. It started with the news that the great Leonard Cohen had died at 82 and then continued to reveal that Donald Trump would become the next President of the United States. Then Nigel fucking Farage has been popping up spreading his usual bigoted bullshit and looking extremely pleased with himself. It’s too much. We’ve lost so many talented people and seen too many political upsets this year and we’re still only in November. I’m going to blame this difficult week for the fact that I haven’t done any reading. I’ve just been hiding in my room, listening to Leonard Cohen songs, and pretending 2016 isn’t happening. Only a month and a bit until we can start a new year and leave this awfulness behind us. 2017 has to be THE year, right?

Currently Reading

Not gonna lie, I’ve read nothing this week. I’ve just been so tired after work that I just fall asleep without warning. It’s been one of those weeks where I look at the time at 11pm, decide it’s time to get ready for bed, and suddenly its 1am. I just can’t cope. So I’ve been shit but I’m trying to reboot over my next 2 days off. Hopefully I’ll become a functioning human being again. 

Recently Purchased
  • Penguin Little Black Classics
I’ve been pretty good this week about not buying books. My only real splurge came to the princely sum of £3.60 and consisted of 4 new Little Black Classics. Whilst taking an Instagram picture the other day I realised my collection of this series was sadly lacking and, considering they’re so cheap, it seemed insane. So when I needed to increase a recent Amazon order to above the £10 threshold it was as if fate was telling me it was time. The four I bought were: O Frabjous Day! by Lewis Carroll; Only Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast by Oscar Wilde; On the Beach at Night Alone by Walt Whitman; and The Night is Darkening Round Me by Emily Brontë. I still only have about 14 in total so I still have a major way to go but it’s already looking a little healthier. 
Recently Watched
  • Mascots
I finally got round to watching this Netflix original film from Christopher Guest. Find out what I thought here
  • Liar Lair
I watched this film to make me feel better during the shitty week that’s been happening around the world. It was a childhood favourite and was guaranteed to make me laugh. It was also a good TBT topic for this week.

TBT – Liar Liar (1997)

childhood favourite, comedy, films, fucking funny, Jim Carrey, meh, TBT

This has been an absurd week really. Just when we thought no political decision could out crazy Brexit America decides it’s time to up the game. The world has changed dramatically thanks to the this weeks American election. We’ve been through weeks of incredibly mean campaigns and general horribleness only to be left with scenes of despair, fear and violence when the least likely Presidential candidate actually fucking won. Still, I also feel that it’s not really my place to go too far into how much of a fuck up this could be. It will have an effect on everyone but will have a major effect on the people who live in American who aren’t white, male and straight. It’s crazy and I can see why people are worried. Even if Trump does eventually tire of politics it won’t exactly leave us in a better position. Compared to the rest of his party, he’s fucking liberal. He goes and we get Mike Pence. Hardly comforting. Anyway, this has never been a political blog so it’s time to get back to normal life. So, for this TBT I decided to find a film that both summed up my feelings about this election and provided an escape from reality. Liar Liar is a film that works on both levels.

I have to admit that when I was younger I absolutely adored Liar Liar. I think this mostly came down the bloopers included in the credits which my twin and I rewound so much the VHS ribbon was nearly destroyed. They’re incredibly funny because it’s just Jim Carrey being Jim Carrey. I remember crying with laughter as we watched and it’s given me a great memory of the film. It’s been happily sitting within my nostalgia bank where it would provide happy memories and the occasional random quote when necessary. Upon watching it as an adult I realised that the entire film manages to be funny thanks to Jim Carrey being Jim Carrey. I mean it’s still funny because… Jim Carrey but, when you really look at it, the film lacks substance. The narrative is particularly uninspiring and, were it not for the sheer energy of it’s main star, this film would have been forgotten forever.

It’s a very basic premise that doesn’t really get much development and is intended to give Carrey the chance to gurn, shout and jump around on screen. Carrey plays Fletcher Reede, a very talented lawyer who is willing to lie and cheat his way to the top. In his desperation to become a partner of his law firm, Fletcher is jeopardising his relationship with his son, Max (Justin Cooper). After on too many disappointments, Max makes a birthday wish that his father spend one day without telling any lies. Unfortunately for Fletcher, who is in the middle of a career defining case, the wish comes true and his planned trial tactics are suddenly impossible. Then there’s the added threat of Flethcer’s ex-wife, Audrey (Maura Tierney), taking Max to Boston with her new boyfriend. Fletcher must find a way to win his case, make it up to his son, and stop his wife moving without being able to fall back on his talent for telling lies.

The premise is so flimsy that it’s hard to ignore the fact that in the hands of a lesser actor there would be little to keep an audience with the story. I mean it’s basically just one gag repeated in different scenarios: Fletcher being forced to confront situations with complete honesty and facing the disastrous consequences. It’s all fine but it’s hardly an in depth discussion on the social and moral consequences of lying. It’s just a load of absurd situations mixed in with some cliched emotional nonsense about a workaholic, negligent father finding out that, really, his son is the only thing that really matters to him. This film only succeeds because Jim Carrey is willing to do anything to get a laugh and, to be honest, he often does. He has a way of making his face and body do things that seem impossible. I still love this film as an adult but I do so without the rose-tinted glasses that youth provides us.