Have you heard the news? Brett Goldstein isn’t CGI. Is it weird that this had to be confirmed? Yes but that’s the world we live in. And I can kind of see it. I mean, I’ve not seen an episode of Ted Lasso but the pictures do look suspicious. I guess he just has one of those slightly uncanny faces. It’s such a ridiculous story but is one of my favourite conspiracy theories in recent years. I love the internet. With the focus on Goldstein, I decided it was time to finally watch his 2015 British superhero movie. I used to listen to his podcast every week and always meant to watch it. Why not now?
You know me, I’m never one to miss out on a gimmick. I’d wanted to read The Unfortunates from the moment I knew it existed. It just sounded so interesting. So, I got myself a copy and decided it was the perfect thing to read for this month’s Spell the Month challenge. I mean, I had to do something to help me with August’s double U nonsense. It gave me a good excuse to read it and was a short read. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend much time last weekend reading it and it’s not the kind of book that I wanted to transport. So, it took longer to read than I expected. Thankfully, I finished it just in time for this review.
So, we’re at the start of the new month and I’m telling myself that I’ll make more time for reading in May. I was so close to not finishing my monthly reading challenge again and was reading Lanny right up to the last minute. I had such high hopes for myself. It was such a short read that I even thought I’d manage to fit another book in before the end of the month. That clearly didn’t happen and I found myself on a mad dash to get the last few pages in before April 30th was over. I just about managed it and crossed off my final letter of the month. I had wanted to read this book for ages, so I do kind of wish that I’d read it at a better time. I’ll probably have to go back at some point and give it the time it deserves. Maybe I’ll even try the audiobook. I’d be interested to see how they handle it. But for now, I’ve got to try and get my thoughts together to writer this damn review.
Considering the obsession with the royal family in last week’s newspapers, it seems appropriate that I’m reviewing this novella. I don’t know what the absolute fascination with the Queen and her offspring is. I’m don’t consider myself ardently anti-royal because I can see some of the benefits of their existence. However, I wouldn’t be sorry if we got rid of them altogether. It’s an outdated institution and they do waste a lot of taxpayers money each year. I know The Crown is trying to make the seem like ordinary human beings but you just need to look at the reaction to Harry and Meghan taking a step back from public life. Given the media response, I can see why they’d want to. The Queen and her family just seem so far removed from the rest of the world. It seems like such an odd dynamic. I realise that they’re meant to be part of our great traditions but do they have to be quite so archaic about it? But I’m digressing. The fact is, there is such a fascination about their lives that people have always used them as a basis for their stories. After all, nobody can really imagine what life as a royal is really like. There will always be a market for books like The Uncommon reader and there will always be writers willing to imagine life behind the scenes at Buckingham Palace.
I did something a little different on Tuesday and reviewed (if you can call it that) the most recent season of The Crown instead of a film. As you know, I like to try and tie my Tuesday review and TBT review together, so I had a couple of choices for what to watch today. It was between this or The Iron Lady. I’ve not actually seen the whole of The Iron Lady because I got bored quite quickly. Also, I remained unconvinced that Phyllida Lloyd should be allowed to direct films. I guess that meant that I should probably have watched Meryl Streep take on the role that Gillian Anderson made unnecessarily sexy in The Crown. However, I really couldn’t face it. So, I went back to this 2006 film that I have seen before. It’s not a personal favourite but I, at least, knew that I could deal with it.
Not long after Donald Trump became President of the United States, there was a massive increase in sales of 1984. The George Orwell dystopia received a boost after Kellyanne Conway uttered the phrase “alternative facts” in a TV interview. Everywhere you looked, people were turning to social media to make sure the world knew that they knew how Orwellian it was. That’s the great thing about social media. Thousands of people are having the same original thought at the same time. Just think about what Orwell would have made of Twitter. But I digress. The point is, it seemed that everyone had suddenly decided that we were living in a time that was just as awful as the one Orwell had imagined. In the same way that people had started to see the world as mimicking Gilead, we were suddenly living in a version of Airstrip One. It’s a fun idea but, let’s be honest, it’s total bollocks.
This is one of those books that everyone seems to have read when they were younger but it passed me by. I don’t know why but I just never read it. I mean it is often referred to as one of the greatest pieces of English literature of recent years. In 2019, BBC News included it in their list of 100 most influential novels. So, there must be plenty of people out there who think it was worth reading. I just never did. Maybe I just didn’t like the idea of reading a boy’s diary? As much as I don’t want to perpetuate the idea of gender stereotypes, I wasn’t exactly interested in what a 13/14-year-old boy had to say. Or maybe it was something about diaries in general? I never wrote a diary when I was younger. I think I was always a bit too embarrassed. It seemed too self-indulgent and pathetic. Why did I think my life was so worthy that it deserved being immortalised in a diary? Part of me is quite sad I never did, especially as my memory is o bad these days. Of course, every time one of my friends tells me about reading their old diaries, I am overjoyed that I never tried. Remembering what I was like as a teenager, I can be assured that it wouldn’t make for an easy read.
There was plenty of controversy surrounding the release of this film. After a mass brawl broke out at a Birmingham cinema, Vue and Showcase cinemas decided to stop showing it. This decision was widely criticised for many reasons and eventually reversed. The decision to pull the film was described as dangerous and racist. Dangerous because the film would be seen as taboo. This would change the way that people engaged with it and the message at its core. At the same time, the decision was viewed as racist. The idea that a film showing gang violence would definitely push young people into mass violence was only strengthening the link between Black communities and uncontrollable violence. Especially as the film wasn’t actually as violent as other entertainment that’s widely available. Whatever the reasoning, it did just look like another attempt to diminish the release of non-white films. Even when they are made, they were being pulled at the slightest provocation. To compare, nothing was pulled from screens when a white dude killed 12 people and injured 70 other when he brought a gun into a screening of The Dark Knight Rises. So, why was this incident so different?
After the travesty of Love Wedding Repeat on Tuesday, I wasn’ quite sure to go with today’s TBT review. In the end, I decided to give Dean Craig a second chance. His Netflix film was his directorial debut, so it’s entirely possible that he just got a bit overexcited. I’d never seen any of his other films. I remember the 2010 remake of this film coming out and having absolutely no interest in seeing it. But would I have an interest in the original? It wouldn’t be the first time America had taken a British concept and destroyed it.
I binged watch the latest season of Glow this weekend. It took me a while to get round to it but I absolutely loved it. It’s such a fun show and is making me believe that, if I worked a bit harder, I could definitely be a wrestler. I couldn’t but it’s nice to dream I guess. But I am in the middle of a bit of a wrestling period at the moment. So, when I realised I wouldn’t get the chance to watch something new for this week’s review, I decided it was finally time to watch this film. I’d tried to see it when it was out at the cinema but we couldn’t find a suitable time I don’t know what we saw instead but it was probably something silly. It was quite possibly Alita: Battle Angel and we all know how that went.