Manic Mondays – 16th July 2018

‘My champion/enlightened soul/Unchain the burden of all that I’ve become
My hero I have lost so much/My angel call my name’

My Champion/Berlin

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Interiors

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Okay. 3: Good. 4: Great

I can’t imagine many calling this out as a favourite from the band or from the album, given that it could easily get lost among the more well known singles, but this has always been a personal favourite of mine, and a much stronger song than say Kevin Carter or the title track. I love the non-intro, I love the stabbing guitars, I love the shouted, stuttered melodies, I love the warmth of the guitars in the pre-chorus and through the chorus, I love the twisting little middle section, but most of all I love Bradfield’s vocal – the way he unleashes that final ‘ say what you have’ – incredible.

Misheard Lyrics:

1. Say worry ’bout tomorrow

2. A beautiful landscape of damnation

Actual Lyrics:

1. Say where is the tomorrow

2. A beautiful landscape of your nation

Interiors: 4/Great

Nightman Top Ten Films Of 1974

Greetings, Glancers! We continue my new series of posts which will detail my favourite films of every year since 1950. Why 1950? Why 10? Why anything? Check out my original post here. As with most of these lists the numbering doesn’t really matter much, though in most cases the Number 1 will be my clear favourite. As I know there are plenty of Stats Nerds out there, I’ll add in some bonus crap at the bottom but the main purpose of these posts is to keep things short. So!

10: Black Christmas (CAN)

9: Stone (OZ)

8: Blazing Saddles (US)

7: Death Wish (US)

6: Chinatown (US)

5: Young Frankenstein (US)

4: The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad (UK)

3: The Man With The Golden Gun (UK)

2: The Godfather Part 2 (US)

1: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (US)

How Many Of My Films Were In The Top 10 Grossing Of The Year: Three (Including the top grossing film)

How Many Of My Films Were Nominated For the Best Picture Oscar: Two (Including the winner)

Stay tuned on Tuesday for my favourite films of 1975!

Best Writing (Original) – 1973

Official Nominations: The Sting. American Graffiti. Cries And Whispers. Save The Tigers. A Touch Of Class.

The Sting was the deserving and expected winner this year, even though the story was heavily inspired by real life events which had been previously documented. Nonetheless, it’s the nuances of the script, the dialogue, and the rapport between Gondorff and Hooker which helped the film become such a hit – you feel that even with lesser names than Newman and Redford the movie still would have been acclaimed, if not as financially successful. American Graffiti deserves a nomination more for its loose, near improvised feel which would go on to inspire many future directors, writers, and the slacker film movement. The script is both nostalgic and innocent, yet eternally prescient – the cars, the moves, the style, the lingo may have changed, but we grow, we explore, and we seek friendship, a mate, and the desire for freedom in an exciting and uncertain future.

Cries And Whispers doesn’t need to be here given that it was released in 1972, suffice it to say, it’s another dense exploration by Bergman, dealing with family, sexuality, life, and death. Save The Tiger is kept afloat by Jack Lemmon’s performance and in many ways it’s the perfect dramatic script for him, the everyman drowning in a world passing him by with the script highlighting his isolation and inability to stay relevant. Finally, A Touch Of Class feels like a film which would have had a greater impact in the 60s, with its depiction of marriage, affairs, sex etc. Its characters are finely drawn, though thoroughly unlikable even with the witticisms  on display.

My Winner: The Sting

My Nominations: The Sting. American Graffiti. Badlands. Day For Night. High Plains Drifter. The Holy Mountain. Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid.

Only two make it over to my list. Joining them is Terence Malik’s screenplay for Badlands – one of the finest examples of being sparse yet dense at the same time; when the characters aren’t talking, the pictures do the rest. Nevertheless, his two central characters and their dispute with the world is both universal, timeless, and symbolic of the USA in the early 1970s. Spacek’s narration feels innocent and alarming, while Sheen’s infrequent outbursts and speeches feel like they deserve iconic status. There aren’t many great films about making movies, or the love of movies, but Day For Night experiments with both of these themes playfully and cynically. Fresh off his work on The French Connection, Ernest Tidyman makes one of the great new US Westerns – new as in being influence by Leone, a story which throws out most notions of the glorious Wild West where enterprising individuals built North America. The Holy Mountain… well, I’ve got to nominate it for something. Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid is a Peckinpah film which is only now getting reevaluated after an initial critical mute response – a film with a torrid production, not least between writer and director with Peckinpah rewriting Wurlitzer’s script – a harsh, downbeat story.

My Winner: The Sting

Let us know your winner in the comments!

Nightman’s Top Ten Films Of 1973

Greetings, Glancers! We continue my new series of posts which will detail my favourite films of every year since 1950. Why 1950? Why 10? Why anything? Check out my original post here. As with most of these lists the numbering doesn’t really matter much, though in most cases the Number 1 will be my clear favourite. As I know there are plenty of Stats Nerds out there, I’ll add in some bonus crap at the bottom but the main purpose of these posts is to keep things short. So!

10: Badlands (US)

9: Robin Hood (US)

8: High Plains Drifter (US)

7: Mean Streets (US)

6: Serpico (US)

5: Don’t Look Now (UK/Italy)

4: The Wicker Man (UK)

3: The Exorcist (US)

2: Enter The Dragon (HK/US)

1: Live And Let Die (UK)

How Many Of My Films Were In The Top 10 Grossing Of The Year: Three

How Many Of My Films Were Nominated For the Best Picture Oscar: One

Drug Drug Druggy

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Okay. 3: Good. 4: Great

As I’ve said many times before, both fans, critics, and the band don’t speak too highly of Gold Against The Soul, due to album tracks like this. Sure it’s big, balls out rock, but I love that sort of thing – it helps that the Manics do it with more intelligence and authenticity than most. I love the lyrics here, the way they roll off the tongue, their humourous nature, and an ascerbic vocal – you’ve gotta love those final ‘drug drug druggy’s’ by James – starting with the ‘DRUGGAAYYARRGGHHH!’ and ending with an unholy screech. To top it off, he even finishes with a hilarious ‘a, b, c, d, E!’

The guitars and drums are fantastic throughout, Sean battering away like his life depends on it, and James cracking off riffs and fiddly solos in typical rock God fashion. Plus, who even calls a song ‘drug drug druggy’? It’s all about nipples and twerks these days. Kids, eh?

Misheard Lyrics:

  1. I can’t face the sun turned up to ten outside/I can’t face the sun, I’ll get a tan outside/I can’t face the sun and, and the dead outside.
  2. On this day it’s sex sex sex/On the street it’s sex sex sex
  3. Where this stuff is a lie/Where this stuff is still light
  4. I am a victim of designer bits/I am a victim of designer bliss/I am a victim of designer bills/I am a victim of designer pills/I am a victim of designer pins/I am a victim of design and (any of the above)

Actual Lyrics:

  1. I can’t face the sunlight and the dirt outside
  2. Wanna stay in 666
  3. Where this darkness don’t lie
  4. I am a victim of designer blitz

Drug Drug Druggy: 3/Good

Red Heat and Red Sonja double review

*Originally written in 2003

Another of Arnie’s minor 80’s hits which sees him play a KGB agent who must team up with the wise-cracking Art, played by James Belushi, to find an escaped Russian drug dealer. There is plenty of comedy between the two, Arnie maintains his most stern face, and the action is okay. It just lacks the real spark or something special which made his classics…special classics…

The cast is pretty good, with Fishburne and Gina Gershon giving decent minimal support while O’Ross is an average bad guy. The plot is basic, the script is fine, but there is not enough action to keep the film moving at a fast pace. While there are some good one-liners and it is all light-hearted, this was the peak period of buddy movies, and there are better -Arnie himself has made a few. Up against those more obvious buddy action movies, this seems stale and by the numbers. It is true that Arnie was beginning to show his comic side – he is a funny guy, and would go on to make both better action movies and comedies. Arnie fans will enjoy it, others will find some entertainment from it, but it has few memorable moments to keep us coming back for more.

Red Sonja (also written in 2003)

Rather than make another Conan film, someone decided to make this unofficial spin-off fantasy yarn staring Brigitte Nielson as Sonja and Arnie as Kalidor. The Evil Queen Gedren steals a mystical talisman from a group of virginal priestess warriors, and butchers them all in the process. She plans to unleash a great evil on the world, but one of her victims was the sister of Sonja, a fearless warrior. Sonja decides to find Gedren, stop her plans, and get revenge. On her way she meets an impudent young Prince and his servant, and Kalidor – a great swordsman. Together they try to save the world, but Kalidor and Sonja still wish to prove to each other who is the superior fighter.

Unfortunately the whole film looks cheap, and most of the effects aren’t great. Even the sweeping camera-work used to great effect in Conan the Barbarian is nowhere near as good here, and the plot is basic. Arnie is good in the role, but his part is not very big. Nielson is okay, credit must go to both for their training and stunt-work, but she fails to show any worthwhile emotion. The character is not given much depth, focused on revenge rather than going through any grieving process. The young Prince is constantly annoying, but he and his master do provide a few laughs. Sandahl Bergman is good as Gedren, but she has begun to be typecast which is unfortunate as she is a fine actress. The action is good, but without proper involvement in the story it seems hollow. Arnie fans should enjoy it, but it is vastly inferior to his later and prior classics.

Let us know in the comments what you thought of either of these two movies – low ranked in the Arnie canon, or a personal favourite?