Archive for January 7th, 2008

Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack

January 7, 2008

Having announced that there would be no Celebrity Big Brother this year, Endemol then sneakily delivered this uppercut. No celebrities involved, just a load of potentially successful youngsters and celebrities acting as Big Brother, in command of the housemates. Interesting. Of course, they’re still irritating, constantly talking about how they can do amazing shits. But at least they’re a cut above your Maxwell and Aisleynnes, i.e. they have brains and aren’t just malicious spuds on sticks or pointless tit-carriers.

All of this is a good thing as it means nobody with a Jade Goody-like brain turned up, dragging their Victorian freak-show mother behind them and a big pair of stupid plastic wangers up front. Nobody involved, so far, has been irredeemably stupid. Watching the show is fractionally more pleasurable as a result as there’s not yet been any genuine spite – spite being the stuff critics say the likes of stupid-old-me tune in for.

It’s also better because there aren’t as many of the bastards to remember. And they’ll only be around for 12 weeks so those of us who are weirdly addicted to this rubbish will be spared the horror of Week 24 when racist foodfights, footage of people sleeping and unlikely and revolting sexual couplings tend to happen out of the contestants’ sheer boredom.

In terms of celebs, we’ve had a couple already. Firstly, Matt Lucas was effective, literally getting inside the head of housemate John via an earpiece and utterly humiliating him as soon as he entered the house, commanding him to act like a tit as his new pals entered, one by one. The highlight was the moment he was commanded to drop to the floor and scream ‘I’ve got cramp’. Inexplicably amusing. Then they revealed to everyone else it was a set up, relieving the tension before it could’ve got nasty, with the rest of the house bitching about the weirdo Scotch man.

It bode well, but then Ian Wright (who, being a gooner, I happen to have a soft spot for) turned up and started acting like a big fanny, blathering on about his charity work, apropos of nothing, and eyeing up the totty – of which there is admittedly a bountiful supply.

So let’s go through the housemates before they disappear into obscurity, despite their talents.

John: Aforementioned Scottish youth activist. Of gargantuan size. Eager to please, which is grating, but reasonably smart. Kilt was ill-advised. Got into hot tub on day one, forcing others to crush themselves into tiny corners in order not to make bodily contact with him.

Jade: Unfortunately-monickered beauty queen. From some angles incredibly beautiful, from others resembles a confused death mask. Desperately eager to please, which is grating, but has a top botty. And let’s face it lads, that’ll do us. Apparently a straight ‘A’ student, but she must’ve cheated.

Liam: Freakish boy/man/monkey with a thriving media-based business, the like of which I could never comprehend. Occasionally speaks, but happily keeps it to a minimum. Seems more concerned with the fact that his wig is on horizontally than with the fact he is on television. Wears stupid pants.

Latoya: Reserved and possibly calculating dancer who seems indifferent to anything other than watching herself doing the odd bodypop. Interesting haircut undermined by a seemingly small brain lurking somewhere beneath it.

Anthony: Successful boxer. Looks like a thug but turns out he’s quite the gent, and an affable one at that. I’ll give it two weeks until he aimlessly punches a window and gets asked to leave.

Calista: Musician who can certainly play a good piece on the old Joanna, but whose lyrics are, being harsh, shit. Desperately eager to please, specifically when it comes to Jay, but is so innocuous he can’t even remember her name.

Nathan: Mobo winning R&B type who let himself down badly when bum-sucking Ian Wright (he must be an Arsenal fan). That toadying was a real off-putter. Also, being over 21 and middle class, I don’t know what ‘stoosh’ means, so loses points again.

Amy: ‘Artist’ who is likeable enough, but whose talent consists of ripping off better artists. Looks like Vivienne Westwood as played by Heather Mills.

Jeremy: Racing driver with the snidest face in the house. Looks like Pete Doherty after a collision with Harry Potter in which much bile was spilt. His face is constantly in sneer-mode and it’s weirdy endearing. Is so calculating, the only explanation is that he smuggled in a calculator.

Amelia and Victor: Brother and sister contortionist combo. Circus performers who, in the words of Amelia, can ‘put their asses on their heads’. He is as thick as pigshit, and so is she, but she can put her ass on her head, which is probably sexually impractical but makes the mind-boggle all the same.

Jay: Bruno.You know Bruno? That Borat spin off? That’s Jay. I need say no more.

So Big Brother is back, in a very slightly different format. I suggest you revert to your usual BB default mode – complete ignorance peppered with the odd nasty remark when the subject is raised by others or complete, embarrassed immersion and self-disgust. I’m in the latter camp, sadly.

Enjoy…

St Trinians

January 7, 2008

Sex Lives of the Potato Men. Carry on Columbus. Fat Slags. Large. Cradle of Fear. Mr Bean’s Holiday. The Boys in Blue. Bring Me the Head of Mavis Davis. Shopping. Spice Girls the Movie. Up ‘n’ Under.

Above is a list of British films so bad, so woefully embarrassing, so resoundingly piss-poor in concept and execution that they serve not only to remind us why we have virtually no film industry in this country, but that we also really don’t deserve one. If the God of Film were to descend upon our little nation tomorrow, armed only with that list and he decreed that we were no longer allowed to make films then it would be a deserved statement.

That is not to say that we don’t make good films – we make incredible films when we want to – but for every ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’ or ‘London to Brighton’ there is an ‘Evil Aliens’ or ‘Fat Slags: The Movie’ waiting in the wings to fuck things up. It seems to me that we have three different types of movies:

  • Big Budget, co-financed with the US movies (‘Notting Hill’, ‘Sunshine’) that largely make their money back in international territories.
  • Low budget, lottery funded, arthouse relegated, critically worshipped movies (would Mr Loach and Mr Leigh please stand up) that are seen by relatively few people.
  • Sitcom spin offs, TV show and classic film updates or homegrown star vehicles (‘Alien Autopsy’, ‘Magicians’) which make their money back domestically by are never exported abroad.

Which brings us nicely to St Trinians; a film that while it doesn’t quite belong in the rogue’s gallery at the top of the article still manages to be indicative of all that is wrong with British cinema.

Firstly, the production values are so embarrassingly cheap it looks like an ITV drama premiere from 20 years ago. Secondly, it relies on hoary old concepts that we’ve been using since the beginning of time, namely men in drag and cameos from otherwise respectable TV personalities. And thirdly, it takes a British institution from a bygone era and dumps it in the modern world with all the finesse of a dancing drunken father at a teenager’s party.

It makes me weep. It really does. The opening half an hour of this film is so horrifically unfunny and so staggeringly amateur you begin to wonder if you’re accidentally stumbled into a sixth form media studies screening. It appears to have been written by the illiterate, shot by the blind, edited by the limbless, scored by the deaf and released by the idiotic because there is no other explanation for the sheer technical incompetence you are seeing before you. It appears to have been shot on VHS, so lifeless is the photography – and the editing seems to come from the Neighbours school of film-making where continuity and an internal timeframe are unnecessary burdens.

And then it picks up. Well, a little. After the initial horror of Rupert Everett in drag (desperately, desperately unfunny) the film develops some charm and you find yourself ignoring the technical faults – and then Russell Brand appears, then it’s the makeover montage, and the painful Stephen Fry on drugs sequences and by the time Girls Aloud pop up to play their new single you’ve completely forgotten that it’s meant to be a film about individuality and rebellion and are immersed in another advert for Just 17.

Updating it was a big mistake. The pop culture references, the jazzy styles, the cameo by that girl off of the OC all smack of forty-something writers trying to “make it more MTV.” Any anarchy or genuine risk that may have existed in the originals has been replaced by numbing consumerist tendencies and MySpace researched definitions of youth. When they try to be clever it’s with film references and in-jokes that would leave kids bemused and adults patronised.

It’s not the worst British film of all time, just another massively disappointing one. If this is the best that can be done with a potentially great concept like St Trinians then perhaps the Film God is right and we don’t deserve an industry. Shame on us.