Archive for March, 2008

Juno

March 31, 2008

Juno 

Warning – contains spoilers

It’s taken me a week to get over Juno. I saw it last weekend, geared up by the glowing reviews and Oscar receipts. I found out The Moldy Peaches were on the soundtrack well in advance, being a reader of Pitchfork who’s admired the lo fi twosome since their album came out in 2001. It’s fair to say I was looking forward to this film. It’s also fair to say I was massively disappointed by what I saw. I’ll go further… I was bloody annoyed by how utterly shit it is.

First off – Ellen Page’s performance as the eponymous Juno. Ok – so the dialogue she had to work with is soul-crushingly leaden and heavy on the half-arsed witticisms. Fine – she was dressed like the most unconvincing ‘geek’ you’ve ever seen… None of this makes up for the fact that she felt the best way to portray an outsider was to walk like a forty year old man and talk like a sarcastic five-year old. Possibly the most unendearing central performance I’ve seen since Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. This probably explains how she only has one friend in the whole movie – an unreconstructed airhead character who is treated completely one-dimensionally. Probably the only kind of chum she’d ever be able to make considering she speaks like a written-out Dawson’s Creek extra.

And that dialogue somehow won an Oscar. There is something inherently wrong with the world when critics and the Academy decide that overwritten rubbish like Juno deserves such an accolade. In one of her first exchanges, Juno says something along the lines of ‘I am fo’ shizz pregnant’ whilst speaking on her oh-so-amusingly-kitsch hamburger phone to aforementioned braindead pal. How amusing – a fifteen year old girl appropriating hip hop language. In the same piece of dialogue she says ‘silencio’ instead of shut up. Another example of how swamped this movie is with clunky, unappealing, unrealistic, smugly self-aware speech.

Page’s conversations with Michael Cera – the father of her unborn child – are supposed, I guess, to be charmingly innocent. He is a dork on the running team who can barely communicate. A mummy’s boy, in essence. A character who pretty much shrinks into the background of every scene. Not his fault, really – his dialogue is limited to yelps of unfunny reaction. Their relationship is unbelievable. I never for once believed that they’d met before, let alone procreated.

As the film drones on, Juno’s parents appear to speak in exactly the same kind of cliched child-speak she herself waffles in. So at least we know where she gets it from. But their acceptance of her having become pregnant, again supposedly meant to be endearing, actually stretches credibility to breaking point and from this point on, the film loses any grounding in realism it had already abandonded from the off.

When Juno meets the people she’s giving her baby up for, played by Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner, we see that they are yuppies with a lovely house and many, many rules of behaviour. It turns out that Bateman is actually a bit of a child at heart – he becomes friends with Juno away from the prying eyes of his control-freak wife. They watch horror movies together and discuss grunge music. It is entirely unlikely. And creepy by the end – specifically when we see them slowdancing together, sharing trust that really wouldn’t exist in that set of circumstances.

Bateman leaves his missus, just to add to his character’s bizarre air of creepiness and the baby is eventually given to Garner. This is exasperating. The only point at which she’s been able to attempt to convince us that she’s not an OCD-ravaged bundle of neuroses is when she puts her head to Juno’s swollen tum-tum and goes all maternal. With that one brief scene in mind, we’re meant to believe she’ll make a great mother.

This is patently bullshit. And convenient too, as it means Juno has offloaded her ‘problem’ without having to upset the anti-abortion critics (personified by an offensive Chinese stereotype who can’t say ‘born’ without saying ‘borned’). It also sets up the happy ending perfectly without anyone actually getting damaged by the experience. Indeed, the only result is happiness. Juno gets with her boy and Garner gets her babby (and is somehow miraculously transformed into a great Mum).

The final scene really made me gag on the booze I’d been driven to drinking. A wonderfully understated song on the Moldy Peaches debut album named ‘Anyone Else But You’ is pissed on by Page and Cera, who attempt to reinvent it for the purposes of the movie using badly tuned acoustic guitars. They somehow manage to make a lovely, charming, badly-recorded gem sound like a work of evil. Actual, atrocity-level evil. Page tries to embellish the half-spoken lines with Tori-Amosesque shrieks whilst Cera is devoid of charisma and it is woeful beyond explanation.

It’s a fittingly crap end to a mystifyingly celebrated movie. I advise you to avoid, unless you’re willingly swept-away by faux-quirky fakery on the back of misguided recommendations from film critics who should know so much better.

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The Apprentice 2008 – Ep. 1

March 27, 2008

Yer Fired 

Last night’s Apprentice was a winner. It’s good to see it back. Old Pa Sugar was on form as he listened to the explanations describing how one team went chaotic and the other split into two sub-teams of ‘cockneys and toffs’. A crowded and hard-to-follow episode, probably because there are 16 of the bastards to get through.

Last night he separated the girls and boys and set them to the task of selling fishies down a market of their choice in dirty ol’ London Tairn.

Young Alex, a budget Ethan Hawke who the ladies already seem to love, stepped up to accept the role of Project Manager whilst all the other lads bickered like little shitbags about it. Raef in particular decided to immediately stick his neck out in order to display to his fellow players that he was the peacock alpha-twat of the group.

Look at me!’ he seemed to yell – ‘I’ll be your Tre, your Saed for this series! Every opportunity I get I’ll make myself look like a panto villain for larks and chuckles!‘…

The project management delegation was interspersed by vox pops from the contestants. Sara excelled in this to-camera self-celebration, trotting out an aggressive spiel, but really nervously – with the effect of her looking like a completely adorable psychopath. The sort of girl who’ll win your heart whilst stabbing you repeatedly in the leg with a scalpel. Bless ‘er. She continued in her tender, fixated beration as all the ladies squawked at a hapless fishmonger they’d decided to quiz – barking queries at the poor sod like he was in Guantanamo.

Both teams decided to sell fish down at Chapel Market – a market attended by unemployed misfits missing teeth. The perfect demographic for blowfish and lobster.

The girls started selling immediately. Without actually looking at what they were selling. Sugababe Lindi initiated this as the others squabbled, selling stuff for figures that popped into her head at random. The others, headless chickens at this stage, all decided this was a ruddy good idea and joined in like a shower of fools. They eventually got their game together though and at least guessed better than the boys, as they ended up winning the task. They got served fish cooked by Johnny Christopher Novelli – that slick French character of Hell’s Kitchen, series 2. These reality types get about, eh?

The boys, on the other hand, gave the gig of pricing up to young Nick De-Lacy Whatsisface (don’t matter no more – he’s been booted) and he royally fucked it up – leading to his expulsion via the Sugar-finger process.

In the dizzy scenes of fish-selling, all a bit confusingly edited, we saw:

  • Teardrop headed Simon attempt to cleaver the head of a big fish, balls it up and decide to saw it off instead. This was one of the most brutal things I’ve ever seen on normal telly. My missus is a delicate old soul and actually had to look away at that point.
  • Sophocles getting mugged by a solicitor who bought all his pricey fish for next to nothing. Sophocles thought he’d got a good deal, but anyone who’s ever had to deal with anyone who works in the legal profession and didn’t feel ripped off by the experience is clearly an imbecile.
  • A fight rage between the boys about an apparent ‘class-divide’. How that happened in the space of two or three hours is pretty much down to Raef, the engineer of the rift. Basically he got all those with slightly posher accents onside and broke down any chance of winning.

In the boardroom, Alex quite easily beat Raef into a corner using that crazy little thing called ‘logic’. Apart from the fact he kept referencing his CV, he came across as alright, I felt, and made Nick De-Lacy Whadjermacallit look like a complete tit. Apparently the fact that the buffoon is into his art and his culture meant he couldn’t sell fish, or so his explanation went.

An amused Sir Sugar watched the fireworks with a distant grin on his face before firing Nick very quickly.

Raef was lucky not to have gone, but they’ll have to keep him in as he gives good telly – and that’s what this is all about. Right kids?

The Apprentice 2008 – Preview Part 2

March 26, 2008

Alan Sugar 

Ok – let’s have a look at the rest…

Katie Hopkins

What’s this? You’re not allowed a second pop at the Apprentice! This ain’t the X Factor Katie – so fuck off and take your Fido Dido look with you. You bloody cheat.

Jennifer Maguire

This is the one who got all confused in the trailer, mistakenly declaring herself to be the best salesperson in Europe. Jennifer can apparently sell pieces of paper for 50 quid and make a living out of it. I’ll wager those pieces of paper are hundred quid notes. You’re not going to make a living doing that Jennifer, but you’ll make plenty of friends – you moron.

Sara Dhada

‘Naturally glamorous’ Sara ‘da-da!’ Dhada is a trained lawyer with scary eyes. She wants to follow in her father’s footsteps (he was a millionaire by the time he was 25). But we also learn she had to ‘save the family company’ at some point – so presumably his millionaire status was flagging by the time his daughter was adult. Effectively, she wants to follow in her father’s footsteps by getting rich quick then fucking it up. Great.

Kevin Shaw

‘Never trust a Kevin’. That’s what my old ma used to say to me – and she turned out to be right. Just look at K-Fed, currently framing B-Speares for insanity and child abuse. Kevin Keegan? False Geordie messiah. So I don’t trust Kevin Shaw neither – what with his ‘come on, reckon yer ‘ard?’ expression and his lop-sided quiff. You’ll never win, Kevin. Never.

Simon Smith

When Simon visits the hairdressing salon, he asks the scissor-man to make his head resemble the teardrop his last employer shed when he realised what a pack of lies Simon had presented him with. Teardrop-headed Simon is 35 and falls for little old ladies.

Michael Sophocles

The first rule of manipulation? Never say ‘I will manipulate others if necessary’. FAIL.

Helene Speight

‘Single Helene is equally at home drinking wine with the girls and having a pint watching the rugby’. So she’s comfortable drinking with anyone then. That’s an attractive quality – alcoholism. Definitely one for the ‘hobbies and interests’ section of your CV Helene…

Alex Wotherspoon

Come off it, sunshine. At least brush your hair before a televised job interview. You’re not fooling anyone with your little-boy-lost routine. I know Ambrose won the last season by being an eight-year-old in the body of a twentysomething, but surely Sugar’s got wise to that by now? Having said that, Alex manages to be single while having a girlfriend. If he can market the secret to how that works, he’ll make a small bloody fortune.

And that’s your lot. Tune in tonight to watch them hash up a pointless task. Laugh at their idiocy. Avoid pondering the fact that you’d screw it up too. Go to bed. Talk about it at work the next day. Work until retirement. Die.

The Apprentice 2008 – Preview

March 26, 2008

The Apprentice

Take the nooses down, drop the razor blades, take the electric heaters out of the bathroom and get off the edges of those very tall buildings – The Apprentice is back!

Starting tonight on BBC1, 16 idiotic, unimpressive hopefuls will compete in British television’s only watchable reality tripe to win a not-particularly-good job in a beige office in Brentwood. And I, for one, can’t bloody wait. Even the trailer’s amusing, with one of the contestants declaring ‘I would say I’m the best salesperson in… probably Europe’. The lack of self-awareness and bravado on display is already marvellous and it’s not even started yet. I suspect the production team talk them into making these kind of bullshit statements, touching them up with toadying comments, offering them redbull and injecting charlie into their pert young buttocks whilst they’re not looking.

For those of you who, like me, are chomping at the bit to watch this rubbish, you can click here and have a preview of the pin-stripe pricks lined up for your entertainment. In fact, while you’re here, let’s have a look at the pick of the bunch together.

Nicholas de-Lacy Brown

ARGH! What the fuck?! What tree did they shake this weirdo from? I suspect it was the weirdo willow. With that clit-tickling beard, harsh parting and blank thousand yard stare, this bozo screams entertainment from the get-go. Your card’s marked, de-Lacy Brown!

Lindi Mngaza

She’s certainly winning me over on the pretty face front – but then we have a peek at Lindi’s credentials and see she’s achieved NVQs in Customer Services. Plural! Does that mean she’s worked in more than one branch of Specsavers? Well done, love.

Ian Stringer

They’re making these up aren’t they? ‘Separated from his wife – he still likes to spend time with his children’. You’ll not get any sympathy from me, Ian, especially not with that stern expression on your face. And have a word with your barber.

Raef Bjayou

‘Bluuuuue Bjayoooou’ as squinty eyed crooner Roy Orbison once didn’t sing in the past. There seems to be a weird haircut competition going on here. Can anyone join in, Raef? Raef’s interests include Cognac.

Jenny Celerier

Fiery redhead Jenny ‘is a stickler for detail’. She also has a very thin face and an unpronouncable name. Apparently she’s been named ‘Salesperson of the Year’ three times – but the source is unquoted. I’ve been named ‘Best Lover of the Year’ a record four times, by voices in my head whilst I’m having a Tommy Tank. IT MEANS NOTHING, JENNY.

I’m running out of steam over here… there’s SIXTEEN of the bastards. SIX bloody TEEN.
Eight now, eight later. That’s a deal.

Shazia Wahab

Shazia is unique amongst the other contestants in that there’s absolutely nothing in her profile to laugh at. Or take note of, for that matter. She’s one of eleven children who has, it seems, done bloody well for herself. Well done Shazia but you’d better have a personality or yer fired. This is television, not a job interview after all.

Claire Young

‘Johannesburg-born Claire Young is nicknamed the Rottweiler because of her ability to go after whatever she wants’. And also because she pisses in public without shame. And looks like a Rottweiler. She was once a club 18-30 holiday rep, so don’t go expecting anything particularly intelligent to come out of her face. Most likely to urge the others to drink ten shots in a row and get their tits out for the lads.

Lee McQueen

B-Tec educated Lee has a papier-mache face and an icy stare that could wither even the most robust cactus. He inevitably likes football and rugby and apparently does impressions of ‘reverse pterodactyls’. So that’s a gag to watch out for. Go Lee, with your hilarious impressions of things that existed years ago going backwards.

To be continued…

Get back to work.

Oh Bollocks

March 19, 2008

Captain fucking Birdseye’s dead.

 Birdseye

Motherfucker.

Please post tributes here.

I thank you.

Nickelback – Rock Star

March 19, 2008

Seeing as it’s apparently Music Week on Watch With Mothers I thought I would contribute with this little correspondence I’ve been having. I left the following comment on YouTube regarding this hateful song from the kings of unironic mullet rock, Nickelback;

‘Nickelback must have sold their soul to the devil because there is no other explanation as to how a band this mediocre, this banal and this damned awful could ever have achieved success. I know that taste is a personal choice, but really – there should be limits.’

Within 5 minutes of writing that I got the following email from MusiclandX

‘omgoshhhh
😛
How can you not like nickelbacks song they are amazing.  He has a great voice and the song is so orginal down to earth and true. You say there are limits to peoples opinion well i totally disagree with that. The last thing i could listen to would be classical but i can still understand why people like it
Maybe you should try harder…
 

Clearly a 14 year old girl. So this was my response, and I think it is a pretty fair review of the song as well:

Wow. If I was to nominate the one sentence that I never thought someone who say to me, it’s “how can you not like Nickelback?” It’s a rhetorical question, right?You have freedom of choice, and if you want to like this band then that’s your call – however, do you not think that emailing someone and suggesting that they try harder to like them is taking a bit too far? Trust me, when you’re older you will look back at this fleeting correspondence and a little glimmer of regret will raise it’s head, followed by full-on shame.Like I say, if you choose to think that this dictionary definition of banality is good music then I’m not going to argue with you – each to their own and all that – but please don’t go around saying that they are original, which is an insult to every artist who’s ever tried something different. Nickelback are a perfect example of abject unoriginality – that kind of horrific middle of the road AOR which has dominated the American music charts for so long and is truly the death knell of popular music.The song isn’t good – it’s horribly bad, painfully cliched and desperately hackneyed. The song structure is plodding and predictable, the lyrics empty and calculated and, please, don’t talk about the man’s voice because to do so you’d need to talk about every other rock singer who’s preceeded him first.

And as for the video – celebrity cameos, bouncing tits, abject sexism and xenophobic stereotypes do not a video make. Every aspect of this release is a carefully planned business strategy by a bunch of white men in suits working out how best to part you from your cash. There’s no creativity, there’s no communication with the audience – there’s just a very calculated strategy to make a shitload of money from teenagers.

Like them if you want – difference of opinion makes the world go round – but by doing so you’re just contributing to the further homogenisation of a genre of music which is meant to reflect everything that Nickleback patently aren’t. I grew up on rock music – proper anti establishment, fuck-you rock music – and to see it reduced to this ode to commercial rock, material possessions and wealth worship makes me weep inside. I struggle to understand how this band can write this crap when deep down they must know that they are selling everything that they once held dear down the river for a quick buck.

And as for classical – well, I’m kind of with you as (R+B aside) it’s probably my least listened to genre of music too. However, classical music contains more emotion, more experimentation and more originality than Nickleback could ever even hope to muster and will remain in culture a lot longer than Chad and his withered mullet ever will.

Have a nice day.

The Ting Tings – Great DJ

March 18, 2008

If the video doesn’t work for you either click anywhere in the window (which John Wagonwheel’s too thick to work out for himself) or click here.  

Researching what’s happening in the charts for Watch With Mother’s Music Week is truly fucking depressing.

First we had Vampire Weekend who I thought were rubbish, but then The Metros (who are about one hundred times worse) come along and spoiled my day. And then The fucking Ting Tings, just to put the icing on the cake, go and infested my ears with this piece of shit. Honestly, this rot just about takes the biscuit.

I freely admit I’m getting old but I’ve still got an ear for good music, you bastards, and this shit just won’t cut it. It’s so dire I can’t even be anused to go into WHY it’s dire. But I must. I MUST fight through the pain.

Here’s why it’s rubbish:

  • The ‘knocked up in two minutes on garageband’ shit synth / beats.
  • The couple of spare pricks in the video who I assume made this monstrosity – who, by the way – look far too old to be involved in such a caper.
  • The fact that I’ve seen this rubbish raved about in broadsheet newspapers by writers who should clearly be sacked.
  • The ‘knocked up in two minutes on iMovie’ shit video.
  • The ‘knocked up in one minute’ lyrics.
  • Everything about it. Absolutely everything about it.

I’m off to find more modern pop music to slag off.

En guard!

One Minute Review – The Metros: Education Part 2

March 18, 2008

The link doesn’t work for some reason, but just click here for the video… 

Happened upon these young upstarts whilst watching Lily Allen’s godawful offering a few weeks ago and somehow – unbelievably – they managed to make the preceding cavalcade of utter crap look vaguely alright in comparison. I also got cable installed recently and they make MTV Two unwatchable, what with the above video being on heavy rotation there. Not that it’s watchable anyway since it’s been taken over by the bland-spatter that is Zane ‘Completely Zane’ Lowe.

The generic, inevitable Libertines-theft makes way for perhaps the most unpleasant new voice in modern pop music. Look at the singer. Listen to his affected voice. Be revolted. But whatever you do, don’t even attempt to take the lyrics seriously. They are the most appalling excuse for song-words I think I’ve heard so far this year – even beating that shithouse ‘Rockstar’ by Nickelback. I don’t care that he’s a teenager (he’s probably 25 anyway and lying to shift units). These are shit, shit, shit lyrics and he deserves to be hanged, drawn and kicked to bloody pieces for this atrocity.

Let’s take a look at them words…

Education’s overrated, and I’m the monster that it created.
And doing homework’s anti-social, but I’m an A-star pupil
GCSE in Music, I don’t know how the fuck I’m gonna use it,
The time is of the essence, but the pills are a depressant
And I think I’ve learnt my lesson but I’m only adolescent

(WOAH) x2
Do it again.
(WOAH) x2

And all the wasted time I’ve spent, the grass is greener on the other side of the fence!
And to me, it makes no sense.
You get the grades, and then you pay the rent! x2

(WOAH) x2
Do it again.
(WOAH) x2

I had a mate called Paul, he was never too cool.
Got himself chucked out of too, too many schools.
Didn’t know what to do to, so he went and robbed a bank, with a sawn-off shotgun and his two-bit mate called Frank.

AHA!

Got on a plane, down in heathrow, got nicked in the waiting room and got ten years, and a fucking asbo!

(WOAH) x2
Do it again.
(WOAH) x2

Brilliant, isn’t it? He says the word ‘fuck’ two whole times and mentions asbos! And his face is a complete mess of boggly eyes and punchable teeth! I hope he fucks off with his gang of teenage shitbags and never darkens my TV screen again. Like I said – worse than Nickelback. And that’s saying something.