Do you ever revisit the books of your youth? It’s one of those big dilemmas. Do you reread them to see if they’re as good or do you not take the risk? It’s awful going back to something that you loved and realising that it’s just not that great. That was my quandary with this book. I had thought about it for years but couldn’t find it anywhere. It didn’t help that I’d forgotten the full title and didn’t know who wrote it. There was a point where I genuinely believed that I’d made it up. Although, I also remembered how much I loved this book. I am sure that it was the reason that I love Greek mythology. It must have been my introduction to them. I can’t remember where I bought it but it was probably at the Scholastic book fair. Those places were magical. I miss the rush you’d get at one of those. Nothing in adult life can match it.Read more
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 like writing. I know that this won’t come as a shock to you considering I’ve been writing reviews that barely anyone reads for nearly 10 years. I also work as a copywriter. It’s not as if I’ve been keeping it a secret but it’s worth saying. I like writing. I pay attention to writing a lot and I often get jealous of good writing. When I rewatched his film for my post this week, I got irrationally annoyed that Trey Parker and Matt Stone came up with one of the funniest and stupidest lines I’ve ever heard. Seriously, I spent a lot of time wishing I’d come up with it (I was 16 when it came out and a fucking moron. It would never have happened.) and being sad that it would be impossible to get close to it. The line? When Gary gets in the flying limo and says “Okay, a limosine that can fly. Now I have seen everything.” Then Spottswoode replies with “Really? Have you ever seen a man eat his own head?” Greatest line ever. It gets me every single time. It’s so simple, so obvious, and so fucking funny. I’ll never be able to write anything that strong.
My sisters and I grew up watching Gerry Anderson’s supermarionation tv shows. We were obsessed with Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Stingray. So I have a certain love for puppets. Or at least, seeing puppets gives me a great sense of nostalgia. So, I was all in when it was announced that the creative minds behind South Park were making their own film starring puppets. I remember seeing this film with my friends. I was 16 and we’d gone to see it in Leeds. I specifically remember being a dickhead when Kim Jong-il said the line about friends being in movie theatres and gasping. I was a such an idiot. But I really loved this film. And why wouldn’t I? It’s silly, ridiculous, and has an amazing soundtrack. I listen to these songs now. They’re really good.
This is a film that hasn’t aged that badly either. And, let’s be honest, with the current American president, it might be becoming more relavant every day. Upon its release, there were plenty who praised Team America for its take-down of the liberal elite. The celebrities who lecture people about political issues while they sit in their huge mansions and holding their massive paychecks. And it does. But this is a film that also points out the ridiculousness of the gun toting republicans who think you can shoot your way out of political upset. Even though it doesn’t actually include George W. Bush and co. Within all of the silliness, this film looks into the experience of being an American on the world stage during George W. Bush’s time in the White House. Yes, everyone kind of hates you but you’re still a huge political power. This is the ultimate form of acceptance. Call us whatever you want but you can’t quite do without us.
It has all the trademark depth and intelligence that has become Parker and Stone’s style in the later season’s of South Park. I’m not a huge fan of the earlier sesons but they have turned it into a shewd and important example of social and political analysis. It’s also really funny and not just in the toilet humour sense that it used to favour. They have genuinely funny and clever jokes. Team America is a great mix of childish humour and more thoughful comedy. Take the scenes where real things become part of the scene. The scale of the puppets making a cat into a panther. It’s always going to be funny and it shows the detail of the world they created. As a contrast, the name “Matt Damon” has never been funnier for such a stupid reason.
I was worried that I’d watch this film again and think that I’d outgrown it. I had nothing to worry about. When something is this good and this creative, it will always be enjoyable. The way the pair parody the work of Gerry Anderson by purposefully making everything terrible is great and, though he didn’t approve of the language, Anderson himself thought they did a good job. Do you need any other recommendation than that?
I’m not saying I’m her biggest fan but Vanessa Hudgens has done some good stuff, right? Well, she was in Spring Breakers at least. So it does beg the question, how has she got stuck making awful romantic comedies for Netflix every Christmas? You have to wonder what they have over her? Do they know something she wants to keep secret? Or are they holding someone she loves hostage? We’ll probably never know. What we do know, is that she deserves better than that. Last we had her Christmas version of The Parent Trap/The Lizzie McGuire Movie with The Princess Switch. It was dreadful and she was forced to speak with a dreadful British accent for one of the roles. This year, she’s back with The Knight Before Christmas. And I have to say, I bloody love that title. Obviously, I love a pun in any situation but a Christmas pun too? There is a lot of potential in that title alone. But surely, knowing what we do about Netflix Christmas films, it wouldn’t live up to?
My Christmas film advent calendar has been full of some dicey films so far. You’d think I’d try and find the best ones to watch first, right? Nah. I don’t really like many Christmas films. Christmas films don’t seem to be held to the same standards as other films. There is an expectation that they are going to be cheesy and saccharine so nobody cares when there isn’t anything else to them. People are more willing to give a bad Christmas film a pass because it’s about Christmas. Not me. If a film isn’t well made or well written, I don’t give a shit if it’s full of snow and mulled wine. It’s not enough. Which is why I’m one of the seemingly few people who didn’t get all warm and fuzzy watching Nativity. In fact, it was on my list of Worst Christmas Films ever made. I just didn’t enjoy it. It made me cringe. The kind of film that thinks it’s funny just because it’s full of children.
You never really know what to expect from a film that makes headlines because of leaked photos showing a child actor in blackface. Good Boys caused a great deal of controversy when TMZ leaked photos showing one of the stand-in actors having been made to look darker-skinned. Seth Rogen apologised, obviously, but it’s a weird thing. In this day and age, why would anyone think it’s a good idea? Now, I’m not an expert but surely there are better ways of dealing with inconsistencies like this? For one thing, find someone who looks more like the main actor? There have got to be loads of kids out there who look similar enough to Keith L. Williams, right? Anyway, I guess it got the film noticed. Although, it’s a film that sees Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg producing a version of Superbad with kids. It was always going to get a fair bit of attention.