Do you know what we don’t talk about enough? Robert Downey Jr. was nominated for an Oscar for using blackface. Now I don’t necessarily want to criticise Robert Downey Jr or the film itself. I also don’t necessarily want to give it a pass either. I just think the fact that the academy thought it was Oscar-worthy is a bit weird, right? I mean, how often do they nominate a comic performance for anything? Then they pick the one where a white dude is acting like a Black dude? I find it weird. In terms of the film, I get what RDJ and Ben Stiller were getting at. It’s the lengths that actors go to fully immerse themselves into a role. Officially, RDJ is in blackface but it’s more complicated than that. The character isn’t a Black man but a white actor playing a Black character. I guess you can argue that it raises questions and adds to the conversation. At least more than something like Little Britain did. But, at the same time, you have to ask if nominating the actor for an Oscar legitimises the practice more. Instead of just being a humorous footnote in history. Read more
I used to listen to Brett Goldstein’s Films To Be Buried With podcast when I was working. For those who haven’t listened to it, each episode was based around a series of film question that Brett put to his guest. It included the question “what is the funniest film ever?” Comedy is one of those genres that is so subjective, which is perhaps the reason why comedy films don’t have the same lasting appeal as dramas. Some comedies do have staying power but funny films tend to age quicker than straight films. There are only a handful of really important classic comedy films, so most people answering this question would pick more contemporary ones. Of course, the one major exception is This Is Spinal Tap. It was the film that was picked most often in this category. So, is Spinal Tap really the funniest film ever made?
After watching the lovely but quite sad Ordinary Love for my Tuesday Review this week, I wanted to find something a bit sillier for my Throwback Thursday Review. After all, we’re living in quite a challenging time, so it’s important to find something to laugh about. I recently watched Horrible Histories: The Movie and it was pretty good. I know that I’m way too old for the television show at this point but I think it’s genius. I know that I read the books when I was younger but I’m not sure I ever truly appreciated them. If only the show had been around when I was a kid. I grew up loving history but I was always a little out of my depth academically. Although, if there’s one thing I do know, it’s literary history. So, of course, I appreciated the fact that the people behind Horrible Histories have also made a film about one of literature’s biggest figures. I never watched Bill when it came out. Maybe it was time?
I’ll be honest, I needed a quick read again this week. I wasted most of the bank holiday and only had one day to finish a whole book. So, I went to my bookshelves to find the shortest book possible. It’s not my favourite method for picking which book I read next but, sometimes, you have to just get something done. I bought this book back in March because it sounded really silly. We’ve had horror versions of classics in the past so why not drag queen versions? And a drag version of Dracula had the potential to be an amazing thing.
I’ve been a little off with my reading this week because I’ve been so bloody tired. Tomorrow I start working from home for a bit, so, hopefully, the lack of commute will make everything a bit easier. Not that it’s a massive one but I think I just generally need to take it easier. Being able to get up a little later and not worrying about getting public transport is going to help. Obviously, helping reduce my chances of actually getting Corona is a good thing. I just hope that it all works out. This is the first time I’ve ever been able to work from home. I’m not worried about getting distracted but it’ll take time getting used to doing things on my own computer. I’m so used to having everything that I need at hand. Still, we’ll get there and I’ll get everything done. I just wonder how long everyone can keep going like this.
During my TBT review of Sixteen Candles, I suggested that having the film as your favourite John Hughes movie probably said a lot about you as a person. The film is great, as I say in my review, and was a solid debut for him as a director. It was also a great breakout role of Molly Ringwald. The problem is, it’s quite rapey and kind of racist. I know it’s an 80s thing but watching it now makes me uncomfortable. To be fair though, most of them do. But I decided that it would be fun to decide which my favourite movies were by him as either a writer, director or both. So, here are mine. What is your favourite John Hughes film?
After finishing He Said/She Said last week, I found myself in the middle of audiobook fever and decided I would try and get another finished before the end of the week. On Thursday morning, I started listening to James Acaster’s narration of his book Classic Scrapes. I was a little worried about listening to it at work because I don’t always find it easy to fight the giggles. I’ve listened to a fair few funny podcasts and struggled to hold in my laughter. It normally ends up with my laughing silently at my desk. So, picture the scene. I’m sat in front of my computer, headphones in, and shaking with laughter but not making any sounds. It must be super weird. I shouldn’t do it to myself but I never learn. Any episode of the Adam Buxton podcast that features Joe Cornish or Louis Thoreaux will do it. Or any episode of My Dad Wrote a Porno. I was absolutely convinced that listening to James Acaster recount the ridiculous tales of his past would get my laughing. So, the question is, was I stifling the giggles throughout Thursday and Friday last week?
I had Monday off this week because of a hospital appointment. Officially, I didn’t need the day off but I thought I’d do it anyway. After all, taking the morning off and going in the afternoon would make me sad. So, I basically had a free day. I decided to take the opportunity to get another book read this week. I say read but, really, I mean listen. I’ve decided that audiobooks are going to help me get my reading groove back. Getting another chance to get through a whole book in one day means I’m back on track with my numbers and gives me a bit longer to finish my current read. It takes the pressure off a little. I’ve never been a massive fan of audiobooks because I find that I get distracted too easily. This is still a problem but I’m getting better. And being more exposed to them is helping me see the positives. There are certain books which just work better as an audiobook. Let’s not forget Lincoln in the Bardo which was one of the greatest listening experiences I’ve ever had. Then there are books that really need to be read out by the author. Like Nomad from last week. This is another one. I’ve never been a huge fan of celebrity memoir/self-help style books. It’s just not my thing. But I like Miranda Hart and wanted to give this a go. And it wasn’t like I had anything else going on today.
I’ve been a bit behind all week so I was forced to watch my TBT film when I got home this evening. Of course, what I actually ended up doing when I got home from work was sit in front of Amazon Prime Video and go through a load of films I didn’t want to watch. So, it was lucky that I came across this Jeff Goldblum comedy-horror when I did. Otherwise, I’d still be going scrolling through every film. You should all know I’m a huge fan of the Goldblum and I’ve watched him in a lot of dodgy films over the years. So, why not try another one? At least the comedy-horror theme fits in with my Tuesday review. And it was short. That has started to be my major criteria for picking a TBT film. The less time I have to spend watching it the better. I just need to get my schedule together so I don’t have to watch the film on the day I post. But I’ve been saying that for years.
I’ve had a copy of this film sat around for months waiting to find the perfect time to watch it. I was contemplating doing it for Halloween but, last week, the Japanese zombie movie got a limited release in America. So, it seemed like the perfect time to give it a watch. Plus, I didn’t really have time to watch anything new last weekend, so it was an easy fix. And it means I can get a more diverse range of films into my life in 2019. It’s not like I mean to ignore foreign films. I live in Yorkshire and, according to the people who matter, we Northerners don’t appreciate subtitles. I was listening to a podcast recently that tried to shame anyone who had watched Roma on Netflix and not during its limited cinema release. These were, obviously, people who live in London and have an easier time of seeing foreign-language and indie film releases in the cinema. I mean National Theatre Live has barely just made it up here. I know it’s on me to catch-up once films are released but there is still a point to be made about the release of foreign-language films. But not one that really matters right now. I’ll rant about it later.