Do you ever bother with signed editions? I’m not talking about being lucky enough to meet an author in person and getting them to sign it. I’m talking about those books that are already signed and, most likely, cost a little bit more than the usual hardback. I try not to care and will normally only bother with signed books by authors I really love. Of course, there may be an occasion when the signed edition is cheaper on Waterstones than the unsigned. In that case, I’ll definitely go for it but, really, I don’t see the point. If it’s not personalised, it’s just a bit meaningless, right? It’s not as I expect them to become investment pieces that I’ll hand down to my children. Nor am I showing them off to everyone I know. The signature is just a thing that exists and makes very little difference to my life. Why am I banging on about this? I pre-ordered the hardback signed copy of Come Again but it has sat on my shelf since April 2020. I do this all the time and I don’t know why I never learn. I am so desperate to get certain signed editions but then let them languish on my shelf. I definitely have a problem.
When watching Hubie Halloween last weekend, it was hard not to compare the character to other Adam Sandler characters. I mean Hubie is basically Little Nicky but without the religious aspect. Does it help that both films are directed by Steven Brill? Probably not but it does raise questions about just how long Sandler can keep going. I mean, he’s barely evolved since the start of his career and that would be fine if this latest film didn’t feel like such a throwback. And I know. Uncut Gems but he didn’t write that. Just look as his other Netflix films. Murder Mystery? The Ridiculous 6. How long can he keep churning out the same tired comedy films?
I have to admit to something, I never got round to watching Uncut Gems. Phew, that’s a weight off my chest. At the time that it was really doing the rounds, I was desperately trying to watch all of the Oscar nominated films and, unfortunately, it was totally ignored by the Academy. I always intended to catch up but it never happened. Not because I didn’t think it would be good but because it just seemed so heavy. I mean this year is heavy enough. The reason I bring it up is because Uncut Gems could very well be the reason that Hubie Halloween exists. Before awards season kicked off, Sandler made a vow that he would make the worst film possible if he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. 10 months on and another Netflix original hits us. So, was it really going to be the worst of his vast and often uninspiring career? There was only one way to find out.
You’ll no doubt have heard a lot about the second Borat film in the last few days. Mostly because of the outrage about a scene involving Rudy Giuliani and President Donald Trump’s reaction to it. The President has criticised Sacha Baron Cohen and described him as a “creep”. Of course, this will have done nothing but draw even more attention to the film. Not that it would have needed the help. It’s been nearly 15 years since the first film came out and we were all under the impression that Borat was never going to be seen again. After all, how do you make another Borat film when everyone is in on the joke now? Well, they obviously got round that somehow and, with the film being released on Amazon Prime last week, I had to check it out.
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.
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?