Saturday 25 February 2012

Kermode Us Apprehend I

The thing with really liking something is that when someone else really likes it there is a good chance you will like them. Now I really like films and Mark Kermode loves films. Ergo I quite like Mark Kermode. But, he’s a bit annoying. Listening to his weekly podcast with Simon Mayo can be a bit of hard work. Especially when they praise some email from a listener as a great point even when it’s shit. For example Ned Potter said this,

“A lot of your corresondants are simplifying War Horse. The message of the film is ‘war is bad’. Well any war film can do that. This story uses horses as a metaphor for the troops, and for all of us. They are just animals with no real grudge against their opposite number sent to run into bullets in a field somewhere at the behest of people who will never see battle themselves.”

This was claimed to be a good observation by Mayo and Kermode agreed. Well, I haven’t seen War Horse (not interested in horses in any other context than racing with small people on their backs) but I am pretty sure that he has not summed the film up well. And if he has then it sounds like a massive pile of (horse) shit. Why have a horse  as a metaphor for troops in war in a film about troops in war. For me the actual troops in war function perfectly fine without complicating it by having a horse alongside them – acting as a metaphor for them. And the film is set in World War 1 (unlike films the first war in the short-lived World War franchise got numbered) where the soldiers DID have something against the Germans.

Later on, in this week’s podcast, Kermode would use the word smug about the ensemble cast of The Exotic Marigold Hotel as looking smug. Now people have often accused me of having a class-chip on my shoulder* but I haven’t really. Unless you describe me being pissed off that other people had it better than me growing up a chip on my shoulder…what? Well okay, maybe I couldn’t afford the fancy ‘Recognising What A Chip On Your Shoulder Is’ classes they all had at their boarding schools.

Seriously, I don’t have a problem with the middle classes. But I don’t feel sorry for them often. Where smugness is concerned though. Are they not allowed to be happy with their lot without being classed as smug? A person who is middle – or upper – class is fucked if they are slightly pleased about anything to do with themselves, fucked by the smugness police. Conversely working class people can be pleased as punch with their tawdry existence and they still won’t be accused of being smug. Trust me – I’ve just winked at myself in the mirror I have set up to smile at myself when I make a funny joke and it’s just earthy humour. If I’d had well spoken parents with titles a smug assassin would have splattered by smug head across the living room.

AND…he had a big rant about Star Wars. It is acknowledged widely that the Star Wars prequels are shit and that George Lucas uses the films as a massive cash syringe to feed his addiction to loads of billions of dollars of money. And – of course – that the original trilogy is brilliant, a brilliance that was somewhat tainted by the prequels and then more so by Lucas allowing characters appear in adverts***. But, you know what? He made it, they are his. Get over it. He can do whatever he fucking wants – and it that includes giving R2D2 a sitcom where he runs a burger joint – and is a divorcee looking for love – then Lucas can do it. Actually that sounds like a great sitcom.

*I did once have a glass chip on my shoulder but that’s another story..**

**I didn’t and it isn’t.

***Apart from the Adidas Classics one.

Ups and Downs

I was watching the horse racing this afternoon and the commentator, talking about a horse that had been winning but fell, said, “epitomises the up and down nature of jump racing, up one minute down the next.” That would be the nature of anything that is ‘up and down’. Really, these people are paid to do this you know.

Phone Games

I want to make this clear: I am not saying because you are a woman you do this or because you are a man you do that.

In my experience, men tend to play games on their phone that involves running around – either shooting people or doing a sport. While girls, I have known, play games that involves grouping coloured balls together so that they disappear. I am not saying it says anything about people. I would not say either was evocative of a gender or gender stereotype. Actually I am clearly implying the latter. I am just trying to make sure I am not saying gender stereotypes are a good thing.

You can’t say someone can or can’t do something on the base of their gender, or think in a way. Or anything really. Some people take that too far – clearly you can say certain things have been more likely to be done by men or women in your experience. For example, I have never seen an adult man with a hot water bottle. I was just trying to make an observation about fucking games on phones ok? I don’t think anyone is better than anyone. Please.

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