All Reviews A-Z

Here is a thing which I will plan to update each time I add a new review. This should make it easy for anyone who is sufficiently depraved enough to enjoy what I write and craves more. There isn’t a huge amount yet, but I do have a tonne of reviews written years ago for IMDB which I haven’t posted here yet, along with all my other Album reviews for Amazon. This list will grow. For now, click on anything you like!

Movie Reviews

11/22/63 – Bridget Carpenter

2001 Maniacs – Tim Sullivan

300: Rise Of An Empire – Noam Murro

A Dark Song – Liam Gavin

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night – Ana Lily Amirpour

A Quiet Place – John Krasinski

A Hard Day – Kim Seong Hun

A Mighty Wind – Christopher Guest

A Nightmare On Elm Street – Wes Craven

A Tale Of Two Sisters – Kim Ji Woon

Aftermath – Elliott Lester

After The Silence – Fred Gerber

Airwolf – Donald Bellisario

Akira – Katsuhiro Otomo

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa – Declan Lowney

Alien – Ridley Scott

Aliens – James Cameron

Alien 3 – David Fincher

Annihilation – Alex Garland

Arachnophobia – Frank Marshall

Assault On Precinct 13 – John Carpenter

Attack Of The Adult Babies – Dominic Brunt

August Rush – Kirsten Sheridan

AWOL – Sheldon Lettich

Bad Lieutenant – Abel Ferrara

Bait – Kimble Rendall

Bangkok Dangerous – The Pang Brothers

Baskin – Can Evrenol

Battle Royale – Kinji Fukasaku

Beavis And Butthead – Mike Judge

Beetlejuice – Tim Burton

Bedevilled – Jang Cheol-soo

Benny And Joon – Jeremiah S Chechik

Big Driver – Mikael Salomon

Big Trouble In Little China – John Carpenter

Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey – Peter Hewitt

Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure – Stephen Herek

Birdy – Alan Parker

Black Coal, Thin Ice – Diao Yinan

Blair Witch – Adam Wingard

Blood Father – Jean Francois Richet

Bloodsport – Newt Arnold

Bodyguards And Assassins – Teddy Chan

Body Shots – Michael Christofer

Body Snatchers – Abel Ferrara

Bordello Of Blood – Gilbert Adler

Braindead – Peter Jackson

Brooklyn Rules – Michael Corrente

Brother – Takeshi Kitano

Bruiser – George A Romero

Cam – Daneil Goldhaber

Cannibal – Manuel Martin Cuenca

Captain America: The First Avenger – Joe Johnston

Carne – Gaspar Noe

Cell – Tod Williams

Chasing Amy – Kevin Smith

Chasing Sleep – Michael Walker

Children Of The Corn – Fritz Kiersch

Cockneys Vs Zombies – Matthias Hoene

Come And See – Elem Kilmov

Commando – Mark L Lester

Conan The Barbarian – John Milius

Creepshow 2 – Michael Gornick

Cronos – Guillermo Del Toro

Cursed – Wes Craven

Cyborg – Albert Pyun

Dark City – Alex Proyas

Dark Tide – John Stockwell

Dawn Of The Dead – Zack Snyder

Day of The Dead – George A Romero

Daylight – Rob Cohen

Dead Of Night (1977) – Dan Curtis

Dead Snow – Tommy Wirkola

Death Sentence – James Wan

Death Wish 2 – Michael Winner

Demons – Lamberto Bava

Desperado – Robert Rodriguez

Dial M For Murder – Alfred Hitchcock

Die Another Day – Lee Tamahori

Dirty Pretty Things – Stephen Frears

Disturbia – D.J. Caruso

Dobermann – Jan Kounen

Dogma – Kevin Smith

Donnie Brasco – Mike Newell

Don’t Blink – Travis Oates

Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead – Stephen Herek

Double Impact – Sheldon Lettich

Dr No – Terence Young

Dream Warriors – Chuck Russell

Drug War – Johnie To

Dumb And Dumber – The Farrelly Bros

Dumplin‘ – Anne Fletcher

Eaten Alive – Tobe Hooper

El Mariachi – Robert Rodriguez

Escape From Sobibor – Jack Gold

Escape Plan – Mikael Hafstrom

Embodiment Of Evil – Jose Marins

Everyone’s Hero – Christopher Reeve, Colin Brady, Daniel St. Pierre

Evil Dead – Fede Alvarez

Excision – Richard Bates Jr

Extinction – Miguel Angel Vivas

Family For Christmas – Amanda Tapping

February – Oz Perkins

Final Destination – James Wong

Final Destination 2 – David R Ellis

First Blood – Ted Kotcheff

Fist Of Fury – Bruce Lee

For Your Eyes Only – John Glen

Freddy’s Dead – Rachel Talalay

Freddy’s Revenge – Jack Sholder

Freddy Vs Jason – Ronny Yu

Frenzy – Alfred Hitchcock

Frenzy – Jose Montesinos

Friend Request – Simon Verhoeven

From Russia With Love – Terence Young

Game of Death – Bruce Lee/Robert Clouse

Game Night – John Francis Daley/Jonathan Goldstein

Girls Against Boys – Austin Chick

God Bless America – Bobcat Goldthwaite

Goldeneye – Martin Campbell

Goldfinger – Guy Hamilton

Goodnight Mommy – Veronika Franz/Severin Fiala

Grave Encounters – The Vicious Brothers

Grave Encounters 2 – John Poliquin

Gravity – Alfonso Cuaron

Halloween – John Carpenter

Halloween 2 and 3 – Rick Rosenthal/Tommy Lee Wallace

Halloween 4 – Dwight H Little

Halloween 5 – Dominique Othenin Gerard

Hard-Boiled – John Woo

Hard Target – John Woo

Hansel And Gretal – Yim Phil-Sung

Heartbreakers – David Mirkin

Heli – Amat Escalante

Hellboy – Guillermo Del Toro

Hellions – Bruce Macdonald

Home Alone – Chris Columbus

Honor And Glory – Godfrey Ho

Horrible Bosses – Seth Gordon

Ichi – Fumihiko Sori

Ichi The Killer – Takashi Miike

Inoperable – Christopher Laurence Chapman

Into The Mirror – Kim Sung Ho

I Really Hate My Job – Oliver Parker

It Comes At Night – Trey Edward Shults

It’s All About Love – Thomas Vinterberg

Jaws – Steven Spielberg

Jaws 2 – Jeannot Szwarc

Jaws 3 – Joe Alvez

Jaws 4 – Joseph Sargent

John Wick – Chad Stahelski/David Leitch

Jurassic Park – Steven Spielberg

Ju-On Black Ghost – Mari Asato

Ju-On White Ghost – Ryuta Miyake

Kickboxer – Mark DiSalle/David Worth

Kids – Larry Clark

Kill Bill Vol 1 – Quentin Tarantino

King Kong – Merian C Cooper/Ernest B Schoedsack

Kingdom Of Heaven – Ridley Scott

Knock Knock – Eli Roth

Lady Bird – Greta Gerwig

Leatherface – Maury & Bustillo

Leon – Luc Besson

Lifeboat – Alfred Hitchcock

Last Action Hero – John McTiernan

Live And Let Die – Guy Hamilton

Loaded – Alan Pao

Lost Highway – David Lynch

Love On Safari – Leif Bristow

Macbeth – Orson Welles

Manuscripts Don’t Burn – Mohammed Rousalof

Megan Is Missing – Michael Goi

Milius – Joey Figuero

Mother’s Day – Darren Lynn Bousman

Mouth To Mouth – Alison Murray

Mr And Mrs Smith – Alfred Hitchcock

My Soul To Take – Wes Craven

Never Sleep Again – Daniel Farrands/Andrew Kach

Night Of The Demons – Kevin S Tenney

Night Of The Living Dead – George A Romero

Nowhere To Run – Robert Harmon

On The Road – Walter Salles

Origin: Spirits Of The Past – Keichi Sugiyama

Outrage – Takeshi Kitano

Out Of The Furnace – Scott Cooper

P2 – Frank Khalfoun

Pandorum – Christian Alvart

Peacock – Michael Lander

Perdita Durango – Alex de la Iglesia

Perlasca – Alberto Negrin

Pieta – Kim Ki Duk

Police Academy 1-7 – Various

Pontypool – Bruce McDonald

Predator 2 – Stephen Hopkins

Priceless – Pierre Salvadori

Pride, Prejudice, And Mistletoe – Don McBrearty

Problem Child – Dennis Dugan

Project X – Nima Nourizadeh

Q: The Winged Serpent – Larry Cohen

Radius – Caroline Labreche/Steeve Leonard

Raw Deal – John Irvin

Rear Window – Alfred Hitchcock

Re:born – Yuji Shimomura

Red Heat – Walter Hill

Red Sonja – Richard Fleischer

Resident Evil – Paul WS Anderson

Resident Evil 2 – Alexander Witt

Return To Oz – Walter Murch

Rhapsody In August – Akira Kurosawa

Ring – Hideo Nakata

Ring 2 – Hideo Nakata

Ring 0 – Norio Tsuruta

Rings – F.Javier Gutierrez

Rogue – Greg McLean

Room – Lenny Abrahamson

Room 237 – Rodney Ascher

Rope – Alfred Hitchcock

Rosewood Lane – Victor Salva

Rubber – Quentin Dupeiux

Rust And Bone – Jacques Audiard

Sabotage – David Ayer

Sanctum – Alister Grierson

Scream – Wes Craven

Scream 2+ 3 – Wes Craven

Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World – Lorene Scafaria

Seul Contre Tous – Gaspar Noe

Seven Samurai – Akira Kurosawa

Shanghai Kiss – David Ren/Ken Kernwiser

Society – Brian Yuzna

Someone’s Watching Me – John Carpenter

Sophie Scholl – The Final Days – Marc Rothemond

Spiderman 2 – Sam Raimi

Staunton Hill – Cameron Romero

Still Walking – Hirokazu Koreeda

Street Trash – Jim Munro

Stripes – Ivan Reitman

Street Hawk – Virgil W Vogel

Suicide Club – Sion Sono

Sukiyaki Western Django – Takeshi Miike

Survive Style 5 + – Gen Sekiguchi

Tag – Sion Sono

Tears Of The Sun – Antoine Fuqua

Ted – Seth MacFarlane

The 39 Steps – Alfred Hitchcock

The Art Of War – Christian Deguay

Thelma And Louise – Ridley Scott

The Birds – Alfred Hitchcock

The Blair Witch Project – Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez

The Boss Of It All – Lars Von Trier

The Craft – Andrew Fleming

The Crow – Alex Proyas

The Detective – Oxide Pang

The Devil’s Rain – Robert Fuest

The Divide – Xavier Gens

The Driver – Walter Hill

The Empress And The Warriors – Ching Siu Tung

The Evil Dead – Sam Raimi

The Evil Dead 2 – Sam Raimi

The Fifth Element – Luc Besson

The First Men In The Moon – Nathan Juran

The Forest Of Love – Sion Sono

The Ghost And The Darkness – Stephen Hopkins

The Gate – Tibor Takacs

The Gift – Joel Edgerton

The Girl With All The Gifts – Colm McCarthy

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time – Mamoru Hosoda

The Green Inferno – Eli Roth

The Grudge – Takashi Shimazu

The Guest – Adam Wingard

The Happiness Of The Katakuris – Takashi Miike

The Hitcher – Robert Harmon

The House Of The Devil – Ti West

The Idiots – Lars Von Trier

The Innkeepers – Ti West

The Isle – Kim Ki Duk

The Kings Of Summer – Jordan Vogt Roberts

The Last Boy Scout – Tony Scott

The Last Exorcism – Daniel Stamm

The Last Exorcism 2 – Ed Gass-Donnelly

The Last House On The Left – Wes Craven

The Lifeguard – Liz W Garcia

The Man From Earth – Richard Schenkman

The Man Who Knew Too Much – Alfred Hitchcock

The Mannsfield 12 – Craig Ross Jr

The Night Eats The World – Dominique Rocher

The Pact – Nicholas McCarthy

The Perfection – Richard Shepard

The Red Squirrel – Julio Medem

The Sand – Isaac Gabaeff

The Secret Life Of Pets – Chris Renaud

The Storm Warriors – The Pang Brothers

The Stranger – Robert Lieberman

The Stuff – Larry Cohen

The Tortured – Robert Lieberman

The Visit – M Night Shyamalan

The Wailing – Na Hong-jin

The Wisdom Of Crocodiles – Po Chih Leong

The Witch – Robert Eggers

The Windmill Massacre – Nick Jongerius

Train To Busan – Yeon Sang-ho

Triangle – Hark Tsui/Ringo Lam

Trilogy Of Terror – Dan Curtis

Troy: The Odyssey – Tekin Girgin

Twins – Ivan Reitman

Unbreakable – M Night Shyamalan

Universal Soldier – Roland Emmerich

USS Indianapolis – Mario Van Peebles

V/H/S – Various

V/H/S 2 – Various

Visitor Q – Takashi Miike

Wake In Fright – Ted Kotcheff

Wake Wood – David Keating

Way Of The Dragon – Bruce Lee

We Are What We Are – Jim Mickle

We Are Still Here – Ted Geoghagen

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare – Wes Craven

Winter Soldier – Winterfilm Collective

Wolfcop – Lowell Dean

Yellowbrickroad – Jessie Holland/Andy Mitton

You Were Never Really Here – Lynne Ramsey

Zombie Creeping Flesh – Bruno Mattei

Zombieland – Ruben Fleischer

TV Reviews

Are You Afraid Of The Dark

Back To School At 35

Breaking Bad

Friends

Game Of Thrones

Gladiators

Neighbours

Saved By The Bell

Strike It Lucky

The League Of Gentlemen

The Walking Dead

Wolf Creek

Wreslemania 34

Music Reviews

11 – Bryan Adams

18 Till I Die – Bryan Adams

3 Feet High And Rising – De La Soul

7800 Farenheit – Bon Jovi

A Hard Day’s Night – The Beatles

A Love Supreme – John Coltrane

A Night At The Opera – Queen

Abbey Road – The Beatles

Accessories – The Gathering

Aftermath – The Rolling Stones

Afterwords – The Gathering

Air – Agua De Annique

Aladdin Sane – David Bowie

Alice In Wonderland – Disney

American Life – Madonna

Atomic Jones – Tom Jones

Beaucoup Of Blues – Ringo Starr

Bedtime Stories – Madonna

Black Tie White Noise – David Bowie

Blaze Of Glory – Bon Jovi

Blood, Sweat, And Tears – Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Blue – Joni Mitchell

Blur – Blur

Bookends – Simon & Garfunkel

Bounce – Bon Jovi

Brave (Part One) – Marillion

Brave (Part Two) – Marillion

Bryan Adams – Bryan Adams

Burning Bridges – Bon Jovi

Cinderella – Disney

Closer – Joy Division

Clutching At Straws (2) – Marillion

Clutching At Straws (1) – Marillion

Conan The Barbarian Soundtrack – Basil Poledouris

Conan The Destroyer Soundtrack – Basil Poledouris

Confessions On The Dancefloor – Madonna

Crash! Boom! Bang! – Roxette

Crush – Bon Jovi

Destination Anywhere – Bon Jovi

Diamond Dogs – David Bowie

Disclosure – The Gathering

Dumb And Dumber Soundtrack – Various

Entroducing – DJ Shadow

Erotica – Madonna

Evita – Madonna

Five O’Clock World – The Vogues

For Sale – The Beatles

Fugazi (1) – Marillion

Fugazi (2) – Marillion

Fulfillingness’ First Finale – Stevie Wonder

Fun And Fancy Free – Disney

Get Up – Bryan Adams

Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter – Incredible String Band

Hard Candy – Madonna

Harvest Moon – Neil Young

Have A Nice Day – Bon Jovi

Have A Nice Day – Roxette

Heaven Or Las Vegas – Cocteau Twins

Head On – Samson

Help! – The Beatles

Heroes” – David Bowie

Hey Stoopid – Alice Cooper

High Roller – Urchin

Home – The Gathering

Holidays In Eden (1) – Marillion

Holidays In Eden (2) – Marillion

How To Measure A Planet? – The Gathering

Hunky Dory – David Bowie

I’m Breathless – Madonna

Into The Fair – Bryan Adams

Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette

Joyride – Roxette

Just Like Us – Paul Revere And The Raiders

Keep The Faith – Bon jovi

Ladies Of The Canyon – Joni Mitchell

Lazer Guided Melodies – Spiritualized

Let It Be – The Beatles

Lets Dance – David Bowie

Life’s Rich Pageant – REM

Like A Prayer – Madonna

Like A Virgin – Madonna

Little Deuce Coupe – The Beach Boys

Lodger – David Bowie

Look Sharp – Roxette

Lost Highway – Bon Jovi

Low – David Bowie

Madonna – Madonna

Magical Mystery Tour – The Beatles

Mandylion – The Gathering

Manic Street Preachers Live In Belfast – Manic Street Preachers

McCartney – Paul McCartney

Melody Time – Disney

Miles Of Aisles – Joni Mitchell

Misplaced Childhood (1) – Marillion

Misplaced Childhood (2) – Marillion

Music! – Madonna

My Fair Lady Soundtrack – Various

Never Let Me Down – David Bowie

New Jersey – Bon Jovi

Nighttime Birds – The Gathering

Night On My Side – Gemma Hayes

On A Day Like Today – Bryan Adams

Out Of Our Heads – The Rolling Stones

Our Favourite Shop – The Style Council

Pearls Of Passion – Roxette

Please Please Me – The Beatles

Pin Ups – David Bowie

Pretender – Jackson Browne

Pure Air – Agua De Annique

Ray Of Light – Madonna

Restless And Wild – Accept

Revolver – The Beatles

Rolling Stones – The Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones 2 – The Rolling Stones

Room Service – Roxette

Room Service – Bryan Adams

Rubber Soul – The Beatles

Saludos Amigos – Disney

Savage – Eurythmics

Scary Monsters – David Bowie

Script For A Jester’s Tear (1) – Marillion

Script For A Jester’s Tear (2) – Marillion

Seasons End (2) – Marillion

Seasons End (1) – Marillion

Second Coming – The Stone Roses

Sentimental Journey – Ringo Starr

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles

Shut Down Vol 2: The Beach Boys

Sleepy Buildings – The Gathering

Slippery When Wet – Bon Jovi

Song To A Seagull – Joni Mitchell

Souvenirs – The Gathering

Space Oddity – David Bowie

Speaking In Tongues – Talking Heads

Spirit – Bryan Adams

Station To Station – David Bowie

Surfer Girl – The Beach Boys

Surfin Safari – The Beach Boys

Surfin USA – The Beach Boys

Tattooed Millionaire – Bruce Dickinson

The Adventures Of Ichabod & Mr Toad – Disney

The Buddha Of Suburbia – David Bowie

The Circle – Bon Jovi

These Days – Bon Jovi

The Man Who Sold The World – David Bowie

The Marshall Mathers LP – Eminem

The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie

The Roads Don’t Love You – Gemma Hayes

The West Pole – The Gathering

The White Album – The Beatles

Tin Machine – David Bowie/Tin Machine

Tonight – David Bowie

Tori Amos Live In Belfast – Tori Amos

Transformer – Lou Reed

Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman

True Blue – Madonna

Urban Hymns – The Verve

Van Halen – Van Halen

Waking Up The Neighbours – Bryan Adams

With The Beatles – The Beatles

What About Now – Bon Jovi

What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye

Wonderwall Music – George Harrison

Yellow Submarine – The Beatles

YHLQMDLG – Bad Bunny

You Want It You Got It – Bryan Adams

Young Americans – David Bowie

Youth Novels – Lykke Li

Book Reviews

1000 Zombies – Alex Cox

Atmospheric Disturbances – Rivka Galchen

Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins

Dinosaurs – Navigators

Fang Of The Vampire – Scream Street

Japan Day By Day – Frommers

London 2008 – Time Out

London Free And Dirt Cheap – Frommers

Paris 2009 – Time Out

Play With Colours – The Happets

The Art Of Racing In The Rain – Garth Stein

The Devouring – Simon Holt

The Gargoyle – Andrew Davidson

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

The Invention Of Everything Else – Samantha Hunt

The Mayan Prophecies – Gerald Benedict

The Maze Runner – James Dashner

Undead – Kirsty Mckay

Best Original Score – 1980

Official Nominations: Fame. Altered States. Tess. The Elephant Man. The Empire Strikes Back.

Fame won the official award this year, but for me you think of the songs (or at least the title song) rather than the score. Deserves the nomination – not the win. Altered States getting nominated is pretty funny because… have you seen Altered States? It’s weird to me that such a weird and not remotely Hollywood film got nominated, but it’s wonderful that it did because it is a great score – horror movie strings and all manner of jump-scare sounds and offbeat rhythms. The Elephant Man is all carnival-esque rhythms and beats which recur over and over throughout the film reminding us of how most people feel towards Merrick even as his story progresses – the main theme for some reason always felt like a missing piece from The Godfather. 

The Empire Strikes Back builds upon everything that made A New Hope so good and adds a number of pieces which have become just as memorable and powerful – The Imperial March in particular becoming synonymous with ‘evil’. The pieces we know from the original often take on darker hues as you would expect given the nature of the film. Finally, Tess… not one of my most favourite Polanski movies, but another with a good score. If it has strings, if it’s emotive, then it’s for me.

My Winner: The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back (soundtrack) - Wikipedia

My Nominations: The Elephant Man. The Empire Strikes Back. The Blues Brothers. Cannibal Holocaust. Dressed To Kill. Flash Gordon. The Fog. Friday The 13th. Raging Bull. The Shining.

Only two make it to my list due to some other excellent scores this year. The Blues Brothers updates a number of Blues and rock standards while retaining their core power. It’s one of the only musicals I enjoy and definitely one of the few musical scores I can stand listening to. If Altered States is getting nominated, then there’s no way I’m not nominating Cannibal Holocaust. It’s a horrible, disgusting movie (I love it) but the soundtrack is downright beautiful – the choice of this wavering synth to play the main melody is perfect – beauty skewered. It’s weird because once you’ve seen the movie you can’t help but recall images from it when you hear the music, again making something so sweet leave the bitterest taste in your mouth. It’s a crime this wasn’t nominated with its outlandish disco beats and synthetic beeps and throbs merging with the more traditional strings wonderfully.

Keeping things Italian, Pino Donaggio follows in Riz Ortolani’s footsteps by creating another horror soundtrack which has a beauty all of its own, one which doesn’t (at least on the surface) seem to fit the film it was written for. Look deeper, like with Cannibal Holocaust, and it’s perfect. While Flash Gordon is mainly known for Flash’s Theme, the rest of the score by Queen helps to make a pretty bad film watchable beyond its camp value. Raging Bull’s score is a bit of a cheat nomination given that it’s a mixture of existing popular music from La Motta’s time, and other traditional classical pieces – but it’s the way they are mixed as a whole and how the score works alongside the dialogue and direction which earns its nomination.

Our final entries are all from horror films – if horror as a genre is (stupidly) usually passed over by the Academy for most categories, it should at the very least be a stalwart in this category. Out of my three picks, only The Shining stood any chance of officially being nominated – though its mixture of original and non-original pieces probably exlcudes it. No matter, it still works as an effectively creepy score, evoking birds eye views of cars travelling down winding rounds, empty ballrooms, long corridors, and little dead girls. Friday The 13th isn’t one of my favourite horror scores, but there’s no getting away from how famous parts of it have become, particularly the ‘ki ki ki, ma ma, ma’ and piercing strings of the main title. Finally, The Fog soundtrack is another winner by Carpenter – there haven’t been too many directors in the history of cinema who have also written the music for their own films, and none to the same level of success as Carpenter has. This one has all the creepy factors of his Halloween score, but it’s a little slower, more tense, more malevolent, but maybe lacking that all important widespread appeal motif. In any other year, this would be my winner…. in fact, Empire got my win from the officials so lets split the difference and give it to Carpenter.

My Winner: The Fog

Let us know what you pick as the Best Score of 1980!

Nightman’s Least Favourite Movies Of 1994!

Greetings, Glancers! As you’ll have seen in my other 1994 post, this was one of my favourite years for Cinema with maybe more personal favourites than any other year. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t a steaming pile of turds as well. Hold your nose, and dive in below.

Ashes Of Time

Wong Kar Wai is a director of phenomenal visual talent. Nevertheless, I do find his movies can be hit and miss in terms of character and storytelling – but sometimes his films use characters and story as a mere backdrop for metaphor and suggestion. Ashes Of Time is a mesmerising and bewildering affair – frequently gorgeous, but ultimately dull. The Redux version is a little more fluid, but the shorter running time still feels like a slog. It’s not surprising that Wong Kar Wai would make a Wuxia film with very little action, so if you’re coming to this expecting Crouching Tiger you’re likely to be disappointed and more than a little confused when instead you get Solaris with swords. The story follows a nomadic swordsman who interacts with various characters in separate yet intertwining chapters, as he works through love, loss, and longing. I think.

Baby’s Day Out

It is what it is. I’m sure kids at the time got a kick out of the antics of a baby being chased around New York by hapless criminals, and I’ve no doubt this would work well as an animation with a decent script, but as it stands it’s a bit of a mess.

Beverly Hills Cop III

I was never the biggest Beverly Hills Cop fan in the world, but the first two movies are classic 80s Action comedies. It’s rare that the third entry in a franchise is good, and it’s even more rare when there has been a significant gap between the second and third. It’s disappointing because there’s a good cast with (some) returning faces, it’s directed by John Landis, and it’s set in an amusement park – all things I approve of. Each of these normally positive attributes is spun into a negative – Murphy seems disinterested, Judge Reinhold is too old to be pulling the same shtick, Landis was on a major downturn in quality, and the setting isn’t used in any sort of interesting way. It’s simply not as funny or energetic as the others and the low stakes of the story mean we don’t care about any of it.

The Flintstones

I was never a huge fan of the show, but it was one of those ‘well there’s nothing else on TV on Sunday morning and I refuse to get out of bed yet’ cartoons so I still watched it. To the film’s credit, it kind of nails the look and the cast, but it also looks very cheap and some of the casting choices are miserable. I could see a bigger budget remake of this doing well now, just make sure the cast are all good fits rather than the 80% on show here. Obviously the story needs to be interesting and there needs to be jokes – both lacking in the 90s version.

Four Weddings And A Funeral

The bastard which started it all. After this the world was crying out for soppy British Rom Coms and Hugh Grants. It fares better than much of what followed in its wake and it does have a collection of British stars who deserve recognition for performances elsewhere. But it’s very dull, very foppish, hits all the quirky notes which nauseate my mind, body, and soul, and like all Rom Coms no matter how you dress it up they all end up in the same spot. I’d like just for once for the Rom Com to end in a shocking, completely random tragedy with no resolution or happy ending – just boom – wtf – end credits.

Junior

Another one of Arnie’s experiments at branching out from just punching heads off and exploding shit. Which is fine, some of those were good. Increasingly though you now look back at Arnie’s mid 90s output and think ‘man, you were still in peak physical condition, why didn’t you make another action movie’. Lets not forget – T2, Total Recall, True Lies, Last Action Hero, even End Of Days were all ostensibly action movies but which elevated the genre and did something different. Eraser and The Sixth Day tried but were not very good. An average Arnie action movie is still better than whatever bollocks this is, a diluted comedy free from the laughs of Kindergarten Cop and the charm of Twins, with added romance. It’s watchable, as Arnie always is, and there’s great cast support, but there’s nothing memorable, no laughs, no one-liners, nothing exciting or funny – the one joke (man gets pregnant) could have worked with any actor. Arnie could have made one more great action movie in that period – a true Expendables, King Conan, his version of I Am Legend. Sigh.

Muriel’s Wedding

It’s Australian Four Weddings. But somehow even more for women.

Mission To Moscow

I’ll defend the Police Academy series to the death. Even number 5 which didn’t know how to recover from Guttenberg leaving the series, and 6 which wasn’t very good. Mission To Moscow is basically unforgivable. There’s another fake Mahoney, most of the cast has buggered off, and it’s extremely cartoonish. Rather than being a series of loosely connected vignettes highlighting the ridiculous characters, this one somehow tries to focus more on plot, but forgets to make the plot interesting or coherent. There aren’t really any laughs – I mean, I’ll laugh watching Lassard do anything, even if that is him trying to communicate with Russian jugglers or whatever he’s doing here – and there’s a bit where fake Mahoney’s moustache goes ‘woop’…. you can see I’m struggling here. The most interesting thing is that we have Ron Perlman doing his finest Zangief impression, Christopher Lee as a Russian Cop, and Claire Forlani looking effing gorgeous. It’s best to forget this exists.

Renaissance Man

Danny DeVito – what were you thinking?

Sirens

It’s more Hugh Grant. Lets be honest, there’s only one reason anyone would watch this, and if anyone does foolishly watch this for that one reason, they’re going to be sorely disappointed. It’s about an English Church dude who goes to Australia and is shocked to see boobs. It’s somehow less interesting than that sounds.

Let us know in the comments if you enjoyed any of the films listed above, and feel free to share the movies of 1994 which you couldn’t stand!

She Is Suffering

I’ve always felt this to be the weakest song on The Holy Bible – too dreary and too distant from the more severe emotions which run through the rest of the album. This is unusual because it retains the quintessential Holy Bible atmosphere and obviously the Production ensures that there isn’t any other album it would work on. Maybe it’s the pacing -it meanders and plods and remains on a single level. It’s the weakest song, but it’s the weakest song on as perfect and harrowing an album as you’ll ever hear.

It does unsurprisingly have a superb lyric, and taken as a standalone song the melodies and tone work much better versus listening to it on an album run through. The US mix adds more depth and warmth and becomes the more interesting version musically, but it still lacks something which makes me love it as much as the rest of the album. It does have a blistering, basic guitar solo though, always a bonus.

The song was a single, reaching number 25, and accompanied by a truly unnerving and creepy video involving mannequins. It’s not very good, but it leaves an impact which is more than can be said for most Manics videos which are simply not very good.

She Is Suffering: 3/Good

The Story Of The Song: Like much of the album, this song is definitely about something but unlike the more overt political statements or concrete glimpses into Richey’s state of mind, She Is Suffering is more obtuse and open for interpretation. Logic dictates that the key to unlocking the song is deciding who, or what ‘she’ is and why or how she is suffering. Some have tried to identify a real life person, some have said it’s Richey and Nicky equating themselves to femininity, others that it’s the dichotomy between the pointlessness of and need for sex (stretching the narrative to being about a real life story of cheating or betrayal) but the most common interpretation is that ‘she’ is simply the personification of ‘beauty’. Beauty means suffering. Going directly to the source, Richey himself described the song as detailing the horrors of desire and the need to rid yourself of all want to become pure.

Misheard Lyrics: She is suffering upon her death.

2. Beauty she is God

3. It’s not an insult/it’s a body’s soul/into my own soul

4. Carry on

5. Unfair for all

6. The less she can stammer

Actual Lyrics: She is suffering yet more than death.

2. Beauty she is scarred

3. Into man’s soul

4. Carrion

5. Unfaithful all

6. The less she gives the more

Let us know in the comments what you think of She Is Suffering!

Nightman’s Introduction To Foreign Cinema – C

Let’s move on to C! See!

Canada

Neve Campbell | Attrici, Neve campbell, Canada

For any unadventurous Americans, Canada should be right up there with Australia and the UK to get used to the concept of Foreign Cinema. Many big budget and hit films and TV shows are filmed in Canada with a Canadian crew and cast to save money, while the Country also has its own expansive and dedicated industry featuring both English and French language productions.

Key Gateway FilmsBlack Christmas (The original slasher), Eastern Promises (sex trafficking and gangsters with Viggo Mortensen), Ginger Snaps (incredibly overrated but watchable teen werewolf fare), Incendies (twins discover war and mystery in The Middle East), The Decline of The American Empire (sex and laughs between intellectuals), Resident Evil Series (zombies and freaks loosely based on the game series), Meatballs (it’s not Star Wars), Porky’s (sexy teen romp), Scanners (head explosions), Splice (man makes creature and gets horny), Trailer Park Boys (movies based on the show).

Notable Directors: James Cameron (The Terminator, Avatar), David Cronenberg (Scanners, The Fly), Sarah Polley (Away From Her Take This Waltz), Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Prisoners), Jason Reitman (Juno, Up In The Air)

Notable Stars: Malin Akerman, Dan Aykroyd, Pamela Anderson, Will Arnett, Raymond Burr, Genevieve Bujold, Neve Campbell, John Candy, Jim Carrey, Hume Cronyn, Michael J Fox, Lorne Greene, Corey Haim, Laurie Holden, Michael Ironside, Joanne Kelly, Margot Kidder, Eugene Levy, Evangeline Lily, Rachel McAdams, Rick Moranis, Carrie Anne Moss, Ellen Page, Mary Pickford, Anna Paquin, Christopher Plummer, Matthew Perry, Keanu Reeves, Seth Rogan, Donald Sutherland, Keifer Sutherland, Jennifer and Meg Tilly, Michael Wincott.

China

Hero (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

The first thing to clarify for any newbs is that China and Hong Kong are separate entities – different place, different business, different movies, though there are obviously many similarities. If you want any more info, go to a news site as we’re here for da movies. Ho. China is huge, and it does make huge movies with many focusing on history and martial arts, yet I’ve seen far fewer films than those which fall under Hong Kong.

Key Gateway Films: Red Sorghum (Zhang Yamou drama about… pissing in booze), Raise The Red Lantern (that man again, gorgeously shot drama about one of many wives), Farewell My Concubine (Leslie Cheung masterclass about a circus/opera group destroyed by love and politics), The Opium War (ignore the plot and enjoy the sights), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (swordplay and skipping over rooftops), Hero (more epic swordplay), The Ghost Inside (fairly conflicting horror story with a dash of realism, or vice versa), Thru The Moebius Strip (3D animation sci fi), The Warlords (Jet Li, Andy Lau, Takeshi Kaneshiro are badass), Red Cliff (John Woo goes epic).

Notable Directors: Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine), Diao Yinan (Night Train), Feng Xiaogang (Aftershock), Huang Shuqin (A Soul Haunted By Painting), Tian Zhuangzhaung (The Blue Kite), Zhang Yimou (House Of Flying Daggers).

Notable Stars: There is too much of a crossover here with Hong Kong and Taiwan, so I’m not going to even bother – I’ll leave this for the Hong Kong entry.

There are also notable films from Chile, Croatia, and Czech Republic but I don’t know enough movies from those countries to adequately comment. If you have seen any from those places or any other ‘C country’ let us know what you thought in the comments!

Nightman Listens To Lightfoot – Gordon Lightfoot (1966 Series)!

Lightfoot! - Wikipedia

Greetings, Glancers! Never trust an album which ends with a exclamation mark. Anyway, I don’t know an awful lot about Gordon Lightfoot beyond that he’s a singer songwriter. At least that should mean we get an album of original material rather than the same old covers and standards. Looking at the tracklist, there is one song I recognise – a cover –  but it’s a song I like. Lets see what this is all about.

Rich Man’s Spiritual: Lovely folk guitar intro, fills you with warmth and happiness. Vocals a little too deep, too Country for my tastes. Lyrics hit that idyllic 60s vibe. The vocals don’t hit the emotional peaks I’d want and the melodies are too short and cyclical. Still, good enough start.

Long River: Great guitar again, smooth and sweet. There’s still that flicker of Country in the vocals, which makes sense given what he’s singing about. Vocals are nice though, easy to swallow without being too saccharine. A whistling part. Good, but too middle of the road for my tastes.

The Way I Feel: There’s something I love about just a singer and a guitar and no other crap. It does get samey after a while if I listen to too much – much faster than a standard band with full arrangement. The music and melody in this one are more interesting. It’s music for a contemplative mood. Too much of it puts me in a funk. Especially when it’s repetitive like this.

For Lovin Me: Faster. Definitely more Country. A more fun song but still missing the emotional hook or the quality melody or the sense of change and dynamics.

The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face: Lets see what he does with this. I’ve loved versions of this – I can barely listen to the original though. This is unfortunately closer to the original. It’s more palatable than the original, but it’s drained of emotion. He’s just singing sweetly and I feel no connection to the words, and the melody and phrasing are changed from those versions I like. He seems to never change his approach – every new verse is delivered in the exact same way – he may as well be reciting the alphabet.

Changes: Another cover I believe, though I’m not as familiar with the original. It’s sweet again but every positive and negative I’ve mentioned on every other song also applies here. There’s a lot more to go folks.

Early Morning Rain: Faster. Lighter. More singing. Competent.

Steel Rail Blues: Into the second half and more of the same. This has more of a hook, every so often. White boy blues. More lyrics about going home or going somewhere.

Sixteen Miles: The thing about folk music that I like and can listen to consistently always comes down to the voice – Lightfoot has a good voice, regardless of whether it’s the style I prefer – but it’s that lack of change in his delivery. Taylor, Mitchell, hell even Dylan will change it up from line to line – adding inflections, slurs, runs, a bit of gravel, a bit of force or restraint. This guy just sings at the same plateau and it really does make the whole repetitive.

I’m Not Sayin: Another faster, lighter one. Musically. The lyrics are typically good – descriptive if not overly poetic or unique. Better than most chart drivel. This one is more fun than most and I could see myself choosing this over the others. I’m not sayin I would, but if I was forced to choose.

Pride Of Man: This is in a similar pace to the one before. I prefer these faster ones – not just because he gets through them soon, but they feel more urgent.

Ribbon Of Darkness: Country whistlin’. Quite possibly while sittin’ on a rockin’ chair, drinkin’ and a spittin’ and a lookin’ o’er a field of wheat. Slows nicely before resuming for the verse. Or was it the chorus? It’s all just a bunch of words and unvaried guitar now.

Oh Linda: Well, this one is different. Leading with some sort of bass. That alone has allowed him to try something different with his vocals and melodies. Unfortunately he falls back on the same traps and just keeps doing the same thing over and over and over. CHANGE. SOMETHING.

Peaceful Waters: This is moderately different again. Feels genuinely melancholy. Too little too late, and not startling enough to truly stand out.

As is often the case with many of these albums, I dig the first song but then thee next few sound the same, and then it becomes apparent that the singer or band have one level. Or at least that’s how it’s conveyed to me. Towards the end of this album he broaches new territory but doesn’t actually do anything with it. Maybe that’s the restriction of folk, maybe that’s because he is restricted as an artist and couldn’t break through the tropes. Maybe it’s because I’m writing from fifty years after the songs were written and everything here has become so hackneyed and watered down that whatever truth and power it may have had has long since faded. Whatever emotion he put into these songs doesn’t translate to me, whether that be down to the genre, his voice, his vocal approach. There isn’t enough in any of the songs to grip me or speak to me on a melodic level and even as much as I enjoy the simplicity of a solo performance, the limitations of that approach become apparent very quickly over the course of a whole album. Unless you’re a beast. Lightfoot is not a beast.

Let us know in the comments what you think of Lightfoot!

Nightman’s Playlist Picks: None are bad, though none are really good. So take your pick as any is as average as the next.

Nightman Listens To – Bryan Adams – Shine A Light!

Shine A Light by Bryan Adams: Amazon.co.uk: Music

Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in. And by ‘they’, I mean Bryan Adams. Yes, even though I had finished my run through of every Bryan Adams album, he went and released another in 2019. According to the charts it has done okay so far, hitting Number 1 in Canada and Number 2 in the UK, no doubt helped by the fact that the title track was co-penned by everybody’s favourite talent-free flavour of the month Ed ‘I’m not Paulo Nutini’ Sheeran. I haven’t actually heard that song, or any others from the album, but it does close with a cover of Whiskey In The Jar so that’s one I’ll be sort of familiar with. Let’s do this.

Shine A Light: Immediately it has that Coldplay/Sheeran repetitive beat. The verse melodies are sweeter than most of what passed for melody on his last album, but the chorus is a mere extension of this with no great ideas. Adams voice – it still sounds like him but it feels somehow artificial. It’s too tame a single to make much impact, not bland or lovey-dovey or modern enough to appeal to the Sheeran crowd.

That’s How Strong Our Love Is: J-Lo’s involved in this? Never liked her as a singer, never much cared for her as a person, always thought she was an underrated actress. A guy I knew in school despised her and back then would have been a prime suspect if her house was ever egged. This feels like a 90s boy/girl band ballad complete with wafer beats. It’s a direct duet with drippy melodies, but with Lopez barely audible in the chorus. It’s boring, soulless stuff, though Lopez’s verse vocals and occasional yelps do add a sign of life.

Part Friday Night, Part Sunday Morning: A more driving traditional rock song, though light on the guitars at the outset. Adams does this drooling thing with the vocals during the verse, as if he’s slurring the words. Stronger lyrics than he’s done for a while and much better melodies. It’s not one of his best but in terms of his last handful of albums it’s one of the better songs.

Driving Under The Influence Of Love: Or, it’s hard to steer whilst receiving a BJ. This one starts like a shit-kicker, complete with beer drenched bar stool piano and crunchy guitars. Adams gives the vocals the old blues rock swagger and the lyrics are pretty funny. He’s clearly having a good time with this one and it’s one which will probably get the crowd grooving in the live shows – all the better if it’s played in a jukebox dive.

All Or Nothing: AC/DC? At least the album has picked up after a fairly bland start, the subsequent three tracks being much more what we expect from Adams, with the added plus of actually being decent. Again if we’re comparing with his best work this is a few rungs down the ladder but in terms of his recent stuff its much closer to the top. Better melodies, more feeling, and a genuinely catchy chorus.

No Time For Love: I couldn’t actually find a good version of this song to listen to – so your guess is as good as mine….

I Could Get Used To This: A decent riff given space to breathe, followed up with some catchy ‘woo ooh yeah yeah’ refrains – it looks like Adams and Vallance have remembered how to write something worthwhile. This one is very cyclical, a collection of verses revolving around the central riff and brought together by the ‘woos’ and harmonies. It’s very short though.

Talk To Me: Hmm, going for a Lennon Imagine feel with the beat, sound, and piano. It’s a straight to the point ballad. Guitars subtle in the background of the verses. It really does sound like Imagine. It’s more sleepy than that and not as exciting, the chorus not as strong as the verse.

The Last Night On Earth: Now he’s channeling The Strokes. Luckily, it’s good. The verse is anyway, the chorus is a step down even with the ‘wooo’ stuff. I wish he’d used real drums instead of that wafer crap. It’s fine, fun enough that existing fans should get a kick out of. The guitar lines are good, just the chorus didn’t go where I wanted it to.

Nobody’s Girl: A wispy intro explodes into life before a driving verse brings coherence. This time the verse and chorus are closer in quality, though I do still find the verse more potent. It’s a good foot-tapping Adams song, similar to what he was putting out in the second half of the 90s.

Don’t Look Back: An honest sentiment delivered with charm and simplicity. This is a good all-rounder with the melody, lyric, and emotion not peaking or dipping from start to finish.

Whiskey In The Jar: Lets hope it’s more like Metallica and not like the original. Well, it certainly ain’t Metallica – it’s more like an acoustic version of that or the Thin Lizzy take. Good vocals, though there’s some effect work going on which is either covering some cracks or making an ill-advised stylistic choice. That does mean the great guitar riff is replaced by some harmonica wailing. It’s decent, but you’re never going to pick it over Metallica.

Well, that was a significant step up from his last album. At least we can now confirm that he didn’t end his career on that dud. This does contain a number of good songs I wouldn’t mind hearing again, although I’m probably assigning more credit to them by virtue of them being better than the previous album’s songs. Still, no single song here is going to crack his best twenty or thirty songs but they do remind us that he can still write and rock this late in the game.

Nightman’s Playlist Picks: Nobody’s Girl. I Could Get Used To This. All Or Nothing. Driving Under The Influence Of Love. Part Friday Night, Part Sunday Morning. Don’t Look Back.

The Longest Most Pointless Post About Football In The World Of All Time… Ever!

New items added to Premier League champions range - Liverpool FC

Greetings, Glancers! We interrupt our usual programming to bring you this mouthful. Y’all should know by now that I spend about 95% of the day inside my own head – it’s a great place to be and it leads to such nonsense as this. If you’re a football fan, and even if you’re not, you probably heard about the Sport-shattering shenanigans of this past week involving 12 European Clubs signing up to join a breakaway ‘Super League’ as an alternative to the longstanding Premier European Club Tournament – The Champions League. While on the surface, some of the reasons for this were sound, noble even, and perhaps inspired by a want for improvement. The Champions League format will be changing soon, creating even more matches for those who qualify, further congesting a packed calendar which will naturally make success more difficult and injuries more likely. I don’t like it. No-one likes it. It’s all about money. Somehow though, the Super League is worse.

The Super League got it wrong from the start – offering inclusion to a series of clubs seen as ‘the best’ in Europe. There are easy ways to gauge ‘the best’ – UEFA (the governing body) has been running a point coefficient system for years, to show the current ranking of every team on the Continent. That wasn’t used though, because the Billionaires in charge want the most profitable, famous, and richest teams involved who also have a bit of a European pedigree (apparently). Out of the 12 clubs, 6 were from England, including my beloved Liverpool. Liverpool is one of the most successful clubs in European history. Man Utd have won everything. Chelsea have had successes in recent years. Man City have won nothing, but are one of the richest clubs in the world. Arsenal used to be good, but are a joke now. Tottenham…. the less said the better. The club selection was one of the many farces surrounding this.

The next, and perhaps most egregious, is the fact that it was designed to be a closed competition. These 12 teams would always be there, and each would always earn 350 million for being involved each year. Rather than the yearly scramble for wins to get into the top few positions in the league required to qualify for the elite European competitions, for these 12 teams it wouldn’t matter where they finished – Tottenham could finish 15th in the League and they would still get in. For that money, why bother even trying to finish high in the League? What about the other teams who finish higher? They don’t get in, they don’t get the money or the ‘big matches’? It’s a mess. Thankfully, due to immense fan pressure, most clubs have since pulled out of the system and apologised to fans and staff. Worst of all for me, is that the people who made the decision just went ahead and did it – zero consultation with managers, staff, players, or fans. They tried to force through the biggest change in European football for decades, without letting the bill payers or performers have any say. Every single one of these scumbags should be held to account – the frothing media claiming clubs should be suspended, removed from leagues, docked points – that is all useless scaremongering. If clubs had been involved in the decision beyond the owners, by all means they should be punished.

But all this got me thinking. While I enjoy the current European set up with the Champions League and Europa League, I don’t think it’s perfect. There should be more involvement from other nations and smaller clubs. Elitists will point to the fact that they don’t want to watch small teams play and inevitably be smashed by the big boys. I do, and what’s more, it’s fair. Now I’m under no illusion that it would be unfair to have a Champions League which only features the winners of each League – teams may miss out on winning their league by a single point, a single goal, a single VAR mistake. The biggest leagues simply are more deserving of having more teams involved in the top competitions. But all leagues should be represented. It gives a chance for smaller teams to earn more money and actually improve, it gives them a once in a lifetime opportunity to play against the best, and it increases the opportunity for those ‘giant-killer’ matches the media loves so much.

Personally, I’m not a fan of massive qualifying rounds like you see before the Champions League and Europa League. They’re pointless, they’re almost never televised, and when they are nobody watches them anyway. Likewise, I’m not a fan of play-offs. If you spend an entire season winning points and reach a certain position, that position should be rewarded. I’m also all for less games on the calendar for individual teams, but more games in total. What that means is a revamp to the two existing European tournaments, and a ‘new’ third one. Read on to hear about my proposed changes.

First up, there should be three European club tournaments. Over the decades there have been instances of three tournaments – the Inter Toto cup, the Cup Winners Cup etc. While each of the three Tournaments are classed as Elite Club Championships, there is a tiering system with the Champions League being the best of the best, the Europa League for the Runner Up type teams, and the Third Cup being for… well I may as well say it now… it’s basically a revamped Cup Winners Cup. Obviously money and all of that crap comes into it, but basically the better the tier the more money, but ultimately each competition affords all entrants the chance and ability to earn for income, success, and respect.

My next revamp is to the format of the existing competitions; no more league/group stages but each competition should be a two-leg knockout cup. My third revamp involves increasing the number of teams involved in each competition – from 32 to 64. Next, I’ll be removing seeding because that is too much of an elitist invention to protect the bigger clubs and ensure they last the longest in each tournament – in my competition anyone can play anyone at any time, so cry me a river. My final revamp involves scrapping the qualification rounds altogether – qualification will be based on League and Cup success in each respective Domestic competition. So that’s it – simple yeah? Let me know your thoughts in the…. wait wait wait. You didn’t actually think I was done yet, did you? Oh no, we’re only getting started. When you spend time in my head, you don’t get to simply walk away.

I’m going through each of these proposed new tournaments, talking about the set-up and qualification process, then I’m going to cover each of the 55 Countries who make up European football and how their qualification process should work, then I’m going to look at who should have qualified for each competition based on last season’s results, then I’m going to assign each team a numeric value from 1-64, and finally I’m going to make my own Cup draw for each competition and show you the proposed first round fixtures for each. Why. Why. Why.

Jose Mourinho Backs Liverpool for 3rd Champions League Final in a Row | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

The Champions League – the best of the best, formally known as The European Cup. There are just too many matches and even if you get knocked out in the first round you still have to play six matches. You can keep the name, though the ‘league part’ doesn’t really make sense if we’re abandoning the group stages, so lets call it The European Champions Cup. We’re increasing the number of teams who qualify from 32 to 64. Each round, except for the final, would feature a Home and an Away leg. Therefore finalists would play maximum of eleven matches. Money lost by having less matches in the group stages would be offset by the gains made in having 64 matches in the first round. These would obviously be spread over a number of weeks so the Telly channels get maximum bang for their buck. Who should qualify?

There are currently 55 independent nations in Europe, and 54 of those have their own Football Leagues. The winner of each Top Level League in each Country automatically qualifies. Qualification is based on League Results only, Cups are not considered. This gives 54 teams with a wide range of quality and leaves 10 spots remaining. I’m torn on this next piece, because I originally thought there were only 50 countries which left 14 remaining spots, which gave a bit more freedom about the next teams to qualify. I’m left with two options. Either those ten spots are made up the 2nd and 3rd place finishers from Europe’s Top 5 Leagues: England, Spain, Germany, France, Italy. Or, the first five spots are completed by the 2nd place finisher in the first five leagues, and the final five are from the 2nd place finisher from the next five Top Leagues in Europe. Rather than the current flawed coefficient points system, the Top Leagues will be scored on points table based on team finishes within the 3 Cup Tournaments. Winner = 20 Points. Runner Up = 15 Points. Semi = 10 Points. Quarter = 8 Points.  3rd Round = 4 points. 2nd Round = 2 points. 1st Round = 1 point. The most likely final 5 spots would be from Greece, Russia, Portugal, Holland… Denmark/Ukraine/Belgium etc. The first option is probably more favourable to the money men as it brings more of the big names, plus it’s easier, so lets go with that for now.

The Second competition would be a revised Europa League. Lets call it The Europa Cup. Similar to the above set up, the current 48 teams would become 64, and it would be another Knockout tournament only. Finalists would play maximum of eleven matches. There would be no more of the teams kicked out of the Champions League dropping into the Europa League and there would be no Group Stages or Qualifying rounds. Qualification is based on League Results only. Qualifiers are made up of the next highest finisher from each of the Top 54 Leagues who did not qualify for Champions Cup, so based on Option 1 above it would be the 4th place finisher from England, Spain etc, and the second place finisher from Sweden, Poland, Scotland etc. 10 Spots Remaining – these would be made up of next highest finisher from the Top 10 Leagues in Europe, using same pointing system outlined above. The Top Ten Leagues based on the UEFA coefficient for last season are England, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Portugal, Holland, Russia, Belgium, and Ukraine so for the sake of this post I’m going to pick those rather than trying to use my own points system – I haven’t got all day.

Our final, newest competition may be the most interesting in terms of qualification, and maybe in terms of teams involved. It’s the revamped Cup Winners Cup, so lets just call it the Cup Winners Cup. Many of the big nations have more than one domestic Cup competition. The winner of each domestic cup competition automatically qualifies. If a team wins a Cup and finishes high enough in the league to qualify for one of the other two European competitions, they can either choose to also play in the Cup Winners Cup, or offer their place to the Runner Up. Similarly, if the Runner Up has already qualified, they would pass their position over to the 3rd place team within said Cup. To spice things up, most domestic cups don’t bother with a 3rd place play-off, so the 3rd and 4th team may need to play a qualifying match against each other. This is a great opportunity for the smaller teams in the bigger leagues to get some travel, new fans, and bonus money. Just to ensure teams don’t start randomly creating 2nd Domestic Cup competitions for the sole purpose of getting into Europe, lets place a ten year limit on new Cups – it has to exist for 10 Seasons before a team is eligible to qualify for Europe. If it does ever reach that point, I’m happy expanding this (somehow) to a 128 team knockout, because that would be fucking ridiculous. For the sake of this post, if the winner of the Cup has already qualified, I’ll try to pick the next club. Sadly, no system is perfect and by my count this gives me only 60 teams, leaving 4 open spots. The Dutch Cup Final was called off so I’m going to just add both finalists which means 3 open spots. There’s no good way of assigning those – most goals scored, best Nations runner up again? Random? Just be like Eurovision and invite Australia and some other Countries? Lets go the Runner up route in Top 10 Countries, who haven’t qualified for some other competition.

I did spend a couple of minutes wondering if the Current Champions League format should simply be retained, except only the Top 4 teams from the Top 8 Countries qualify. Then there would be some slight modifications to my plans for the Europa League, and I pondered having a 4th Cup which would allow the runners up from smaller leagues and a few smaller teams from bigger leagues their chance for silverware. But balls to that.

Before going through each Country, let me deal with some of the criticisms you’ve likely been spouting:

‘You’re an idiot’ – never said I wasn’t. In any case, settle down, none of this will ever happen (even though it clearly should).

‘I only want to see the best teams’ – then only watch those matches. People will watch what they want. There is a high chance for many Crap Unknown Team versus Crap Unknown team matches, but those still happen now in the Champions League. How about we give the Crap Unknown Teams a chance to get better and become known?

‘Half of these teams are semi-professional and don’t have adequate Stadium facilities’ – to me, that’s fantastic. Teams may qualify with a shared stadium, or a pitch with only 1000 capacity, and they may get Real Madrid in the first round. That’s hilarious to me. It happens currently in the FA Cup and it’s a great way for the multi-millionaires to show that it’s about the game, the fans, and not the money. If the big boys don’t want to field their best players, that’s fine. They risk being knocked out. The potential rewards for the smaller teams getting on this world stage far outweigh the grumblings of the elite.

‘I don’t like football’ – get a job, hippy.

UEFA Logo | European football, Football logo, Soccer logo

Countries By Loose Ascending Ranking (and their most recent qualifiers):

Liechenstein: Only has 7 teams, and these teams play in the Swiss Football League. Therefore there is a high chance that no team from Liechenstein will ever qualify for any of the three European Club competitions.

San Marino: Famously one of the worst National teams in the world (perhaps unfair because they compete in Europe), San Marino nevertheless has its own league with 15 teams.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Tre Fiori

Europa Cup Qualifier: Folgore (with their awesome 700 capacity stadium)

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Tre Fiori

Malta: For a country with a population of around half a million, Malta has a fully fledged League and Cup football system. Its Premier League contains 16 teams.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Floriana

Europa Cup Qualifier: Valletta

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Balzan (whose Ground is part of a School)

Andorra: With a population lower than 80000, Andorra is unsurprisingly not a European Football powerhouse. Their position between the powerhouses of France and Spain does mean they know a thing or two about the game.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Inter Escaldes

Europa Cup Qualifier: FC Santa Coloma

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Inter Escaldes

Latvia: Perennial competitors against my own Northern Ireland, Latvia have a regular League and Cup system.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Riga FC

Europa Cup Qualifier: RFS

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: FK RFS

Faroe Islands: Another Country which acts as the whipping boys for everyone else, they have been better in recent years.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Havnar Boltfelag

Europa Cup Qualifier: NSI Runavik

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: HB or Vikingur

Gibraltar: This is where things get silly, as ‘The Rock’ has a population of less than 35000 – less than the capacity of most Premier League stadiums. Being a British territory, it has one of the longest histories of football in the world and they somehow have a domestic cup and multiple leagues.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Europa

Europa Cup Qualifier: ST Joseph’s

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Europa

Moldova: One of the more recent Countries, and one of several forming from the collapse of the USSR, Moldova still has a Cup and set of Leagues.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Sheriff Teraspol

Europa Cup Qualifier: Sfintul Gheorghe

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Petrocub Hincesti

Kazakhstan: Until recently the Kazakhstan Premier League was quite competitive, with 9 different Champions in its 29 year history – though Astana has dominated recently with 6 Titles in a row.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Kairat

Europa Cup Qualifier: Tobol

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Kaisar

Azerbaijan: Sadly the most famous piece of football history in Azerbaijan was that they were banned for 2 years by UEFA due to fraud.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Qarabag

Europa Cup Qualifier: Neftki Baku

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Gabala

Armenia: Another recent Eastern Bloc country, like others, Armenia has failed to qualify for any major national tournament. Also like other, their stadium sizes are fairly small and my be interesting if the big boys come to play.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Ararat Armenia

Europa Cup Qualifier: Lori

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Noah

Luxembourg: At the risk of sounding repetitive – another small nation with leagues and cup.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: F91 Dudelange

Europa Cup Qualifier: Fola Esch

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Etzella Ettelbruck

Belarus: We’re getting to the more interesting countries now. Another former Soviet Union State, Belarus has only been around since the early 90s, but one of their teams has appeared numerous times in the Champion’s League, and two teams have been regulars in the Europa League (famously BATE was knocked out on goal difference by PSG in 2010-2011). At least this way they won’t have the long slog of qualifying rounds.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Shakhtyor Soligorsk

Europa Cup Qualifier: BATE

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: BATE Borisov or Dynamo Brest

Kosovo: For a Country you probably know nothing about (beyond War) it has an impressive number of clubs and competitions.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Drita

Europa Cup Qualifier: Gjilani

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Prishtina

North Macedonia: The Country seems to be on an upward cycle, having narrowly missed out on winning Eurovision (if you’re into that sort of thing) and having qualified for Euro 2020 (or 2021 as it’s now called).

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Vardar

Europa Cup Qualifier: Sileks

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Akademija Pandev

Georgia: You know the story – former USSR – fairly new.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Dinamo Tblisi

Europa Cup Qualifier: Dinamo Batumi

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Saburtalo

Lithuania: See above.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Zalgiris Vilnius

Europa Cup Qualifier: Sudova

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: FK Panevezys

Slovenia: See above, but replace USSR with Yugoslavia.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Celja

Europa Cup Qualifier: Maribor

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Mura

Estonia: Estonia is one of those countries which looks set to finally begin qualifying for one of the major International competitions one of these years as those in charge change the rules to be more inclusive and expansive. As yet, the country has qualified for nowt.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Flora

Europa Cup Qualifier: Paide Linnameedskonde

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Narva Trans.

Cyprus: As a separate entity from Greece, Cyprus deserves its own representation. APOEL famously made it to the Quarter Finals of The Champions League in 2012 and has qualified on three other occasions. They also pop up in the Europa League from time to time, so they are not to be taken lightly.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: APOEL

Europa Cup Qualifier: Apollon Limassol

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: AEL Limassol

Montenegro: Splitting from Serbia in 2006, Montenegro is one of the most recent independent nations. As such the domestic league system has only been around for a couple of decades.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Budocnost

Europa Cup Qualifier: Sutjeska

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Lovcen (member of third league!)

Albania: We’re getting into the lower tier of nations who do actually qualify for major Championships.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: KF Tirana

Europa Cup Qualifier: Kukesi

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Tueta

Greece: Greek teams have been a mainstay of top tier European competition for decades, but in recent years they’ve fallen away a bit not least due to their economy crisis. Nevertheless, there’s always at least couple of Greek Teams in the major tournaments – this new system will ensure they keep up the trend.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Olympiacos

Europa Cup Qualifier: PAOK

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Olympiacos or AEK.

Romania: Romania had a Golden Age when I was growing up in the 90s, but they haven’t quite kept up in the decades since, remaining a periphery nation.  Romania has had two major domestic competitions over the years, but their League Cup was recently abolished again leaving a solo Cup. Currently the League winners qualify for the 3rd Qualifying round of the Champion’s League, with the Cup Winner and 2nd and 3rd place League finishers making it to the Europa League qualification rounds. With my system, teams would be guaranteed a spot. Two teams have dominated Romanian football since the beginning, but recently those two teams have been outwitted and been much less successful on their own turf.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: CFR Cluj

Europa Cup Qualifier: Universitatea Craiova

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Steaua Bucuresti

Hungary: Once a European powerhouse with one of the most successful teams in history, Hungary dipped into a deep decline for several decades. All points suggest a bit of a recent resurgence, though domestic teams have never had much success on the bigger stages. 4 teams make it to the qualifying rounds of the Euro Competitions currently, similar to Romania.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Ferencvarosi

Europa Cup Qualifier: Fehervar

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Budapest Honved

FIFA logo and symbol, meaning, history, PNG

Israel: I’m not sure why Israel football is ranked so highly, given they have not really achieved anything. They do compete on some of those other Cups that no-one cares about, but they’ve only appeared in a single World Cup and their domestic teams have not achieved much. Recent years have seen an impressive run list of appearances though. Current qualification is much the same as Hungary, however Israel does have two domestic Cups.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Maccabi Tel Aviv

Europa Cup Qualifier: Maccabi Haifa

Cup Winners Cup Qualifiers: Hapoel Be’er Sheva and Beitar Jerusalem

Bulgaria: Like Romania, these boys had a Golden Age in the 90s, but not much since. A number of domestic teams are mainstays in the Europa League currently.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Ludogorets Razgrad

Europa Cup Qualifier: Locomotiv Plovdiv

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Locomotiv Plovdiv or CSKA Sofia

Finland: The least successful of the major Nordic nations, Finnish domestic football isn’t exactly known for setting the continent on fire, with their biggest stars moving to bigger leagues.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: HJK

Europa Cup Qualifier: FC Inter Turku

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: HJK or FC Inter Turku.

Serbia: Now on its own after Montenegro split, Serbia still has a decent enough record in National and Domestic spaces, including memorably beating Germany in the World Cup (though followed up by losing to Australia). On the domestic front, teams from Serbia have been both finalists and winner in the major European competitions, though those days seem to be long gone.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Red Star Belgrade

Europa Cup Qualifier: Partizan

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Vojvodina

Norway: Norway has competed at the highest levels a few times in their history, but are not exactly a regular. Domestically quite competitive, with 17 League winners in less than 100 years, those clubs are not overly successful on the European front.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Bodo

Europa Cup Qualifier: Molde

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Viking

Scotland: While Scotland has produced a few all time great players and managers, their International form is poor compared with their neighbours, and their domestic League is dominated by two teams. Those teams do have a fairly decent record in Europe (along with a few notable exceptions in previous decades from other teams), and with my system we’re basically guaranteeing that Rangers and/or Celtic will be there every year. Plus we have genuinely big stadiums to host big teams. Scotland also has two Domestic Cups.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Celtic

Europa Cup Qualifier: Rangers

Cup Winners Cup Qualifiers: Hearts

Northern Ireland: As a Northern Ireland bloke, I have no qualms about saying our football is terrible. Sub-standard. Awful. But then again I’m not a patriot and couldn’t name a single player from our current squad. Billy Balaclava? Jonty Spud? George Best? The domestic front is a farce, with little or no dent on European football, but the National Team has improved in recent years to reaching the point of almost qualifying for things rather than being the laughing stock of the home nations. It amuses me no end imaging the likes of Barcelona and Liverpool possibly playing against Glentoran in the Champions League.  We do have two cups, so it increases the chances of glory/hilarity.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Linfield

Europa Cup Qualifier: Crusaders

Cup Winners Cup Qualifiers: Glentoran and Coleraine

Republic Of Ireland: Heading South of the border and things are only marginally better. The national team has had a fair go at things one or two times, but domestically there isn’t a huge history of success. At least my system guarantees a couple of clubs will be showcased worldwide.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Shamrock Rovers

Europa Cup Qualifier: Bohemians

Cup Winners Cup Qualifiers: Dundalk and Derry City

Turkey: Every so often Turkey sees a spike in performance both domestically and on the national side, though their domestic football teams see more consistently good results, with the same handful of teams outperforming the rest of the Turkish clubs.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Istanbul Basaksehir

Europa Cup Qualifier: Beziktas

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Trabzonspor

Slovakia: Slovakia have done well since splitting from the Czechs, and as a new independent nation they have had plenty of success – historically of course Czechoslovakia was a middling force in World football for 50 years.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Slovan Bratislava

Europa Cup Qualifier: Zilina

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Slovan Bratislava or MFK Ruzomberok.

Czech Republic: We’re getting into the big boys now. The Czech Republic had one of the best National teams I’ve ever seen for a period in the late 90s to early 2000s. It just so happened that other teams had their own brilliant individual players. A couple of the domestic clubs have real European heritage, though the lack of wins and finalists keeps them lower down the pecking order.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Slavia Prague

Europa Cup Qualifier: Viktoria Plzen

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Sparta Prague

Wales: The least successful of the home nations historically, with Wales being more of a Rugby country, Wales has seen one of the largest jumps in quality and success of any Country recently. On the domestic front, their best teams play in the English Leagues instead, but they do still have their own league and cups giving teams a better, but still small, chance of playing in Europe. Under my system, a couple will be guaranteed.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Connah’s Quay Nomads

Europa Cup Qualifier: The New Saints

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: The New Saints and Connah’s Quay Nomads or STM Sports

Austria: Austria is one of those Countries which surprises me when they are so high in the rankings. Sure they’ve been in plenty of World Cups, but haven’t achieved much. Domestically, it is only in recent years that a small number of clubs have been making waves in Europe, typically feeding bigger teams with great players, yet still achieving.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: RB Salzburg

Europa Cup Qualifier: LASK

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: RB Salzburg or SC Austria Lustenau

Russia (Top 10 Nation): The dissolution of the Soviet Union had the impact of creating a bunch of independent nations with their own teams, but didn’t really slow or change Russia’s progress or quality. Russia either always qualifies or almost qualifies, and a few of their domestic teams have a rich history in Europe.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Zenit St Petersburg

Europa Cup Qualifier: Lokomotive Moscow and Krasnodar

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Zenit St Petersburg or Khimki.

Sweden: Sweden have been so close to winning a number of times, and as such they are a significant European force. The domestic league is less impressive, with most if not all of the best players quickly being snapped up elsewhere.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Malmo

Europa Cup Qualifier: IF Elsborg

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: IFK Goteborg

Denmark: The most successful Nordic nation, Denmark’s fame is largely down to winning the Euros in 1992. Since then, their appearances and successes have been average. On the Domestic front, Danish teams tend to fare better in the Europa League but have had various impacts within the Champions League.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: FC Midtjylland

Europa Cup Qualifier: Copenhagen

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Sonderjyske

Ukraine (Top 10 Nation): The biggest success since splitting from the USSR, Ukraine have had a number of high performing players leading to impressive appearances on the World and European stages, though they have been on a downward slide. Domestically two clubs dominate, and both clubs have a strong history in Europe, including Championship wins.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Shakhtar Donetsk

Europa Cup Qualifier: Dynamo Kyiv and Zorya Luhansk

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Dynamo Kyiv or Vorskla Poltava

Bosnia & Herzogovina: The breakaways from Yugoslavia with the second most success, even if success is a bit of a stretch given they’ve only qualified for a single World Cup.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Sarajevo

Europa Cup Qualifier: Zeljeznicar

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Sarajevo or Siroki Brijeg

Iceland: These guys came from nowhere, then took the world by storm in the 2010s. Like many of the nations above I’m sure this success or hype won’t last, but it has been enjoyable watching a bunch of unknowns from a Country known more for being ‘oh so quiet (sssh…. sssssh)’ topple the big boys.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Valur

Europa Cup Qualifier: Breioablik

Cup Winners Cup Qualifiers: KR, FH, and Vikingur Reykjavik

Germany (Top 5 Nation): I don’t know Germany is ranked so low on this coefficient list, but there you go. It’s Germany – you know them, you know their clubs.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig.

Europa Cup Qualifier: Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayern Leverkusen

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Bayern Leverkusen or Bayerm Munich

Poland: Winners once at the Olympics (which no-one really cares about, but should) and fairly frequent also-rans at the World Cup and the Euros, I don’t think anyone considers Poland or the Polish league as better than, or even on par with Germany. But there you go.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Legia Warsaw

Europa Cup Qualifier: Piast Gliwice

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Cracovia and Lechia Gdasnk

Croatia: The biggest success story of the Yugoslavia split, Croatia have been more successful than the likes of England in the last 30 years, finishing 3rd and 2nd in World Cups. Their domestic competitions don’t match the success of their international team as once again the best players move to the big leagues.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Dinamo Zagreb

Europa Cup Qualifier: Lokomotiva

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Rijeka

Italy (Top 5 Nation): You know the Country, the teams, the players.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Juventus. Inter Milan. Atalanta.

Europa Cup Qualifier: Lazio. Roma.

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Napoli and Juventus.

Spain: (Top 5 Nation): You know the Country, the teams, the players.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Real Madrid. Barcelona. Athletico Madrid.

Europa Cup Qualifier: Sevilla. Villareal.

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Real Sociodad and Athletic Bilbao.

Belgium (Top 10 Nation): Belgium was a nothing team for decades, then had a Golden Age in the 80s -90s, and then in the early Noughties the odd very good player would pop up and there were whisperings of a new power rising in the East. Suddenly a batch of very very good players came at the same time, propelling Belgium into the big time. Will it last? Domestically the nation has a hit and miss history, with a few sides notable for their successes.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Club Brugge.

Europa Cup Qualifier: Gent. Charleroi.

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Antwerp

France (Top 5 Nation): You know the Country, the teams, the players.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: PSG. Marseille. Rennes.

Europa Cup Qualifier: Lille. Nice

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: PSG or St Etienne and Lyon.

Portugal (Top 10 Country): The underperformer when rated alongside neighbours Spain, Portugal have nevertheless had a lot of success domestically, and recently as a Country.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Porto

Europa Cup Qualifier: Benfica and Braga.

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Porto or Benfica or Academico de Viseu or Famalicao

Netherlands (Top 10 Country): Neither the force they had been in recent eras nationally or domestically, Netherlands still manages to produce some of the best players in the world and you can’t write the Nation or their teams off.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Ajax

Europa Cup Qualifier: Alkmaar and Feyenoord

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Utrecht and Feyenoord (Cancelled due to Covid)

England (Top 5 Country): It’s the biggest, most successful, richest, most competitive, and best league in the world. Or at least it was till they started making changes and employed shockingly bad referees.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Liverpool. Man City. Man Utd.

Europa Cup Qualifier: Chelsea. Leicester.

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Arsenal and Man City or Tottenham

Switzerland: No idea why they are so high, but they’re the last time on the list, thank thy Lord.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Young Boys.

Europa Cup Qualifier: St Gallen

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Young Boys or Basel

FIFA Club World Cup 2019 - News - Firmino writes Liverpool into Club World  Cup history - FIFA.com

So if we take the 2019 – 2020 Season as an example, below is what this season’s imaginary competitions could have looked like. Just look at the amount of unnecessary effort I put into this! For the Cup Winners Cup, in those instances where the Cup Winner had already qualified, I’ve just gone with the easiest route and let the runner up qualify.

Champions Cup First Round

Sheriff Teraspol VS RB Salzburg     Bodo VS Marseille                Zenit St Petersberg VS Qarabag

Juventus VS Budocnost                 Drita VS Istanbul Basaksehir  APOEL VS Barcelona

Liverpool VS PSG                           HJK VS Maccabi Tel Aviv        Borussia Dortmund VS Ararat Armenia

KF Tirana VS Sarajevo                    Malmo VS FC Midtyjlland      Ajax VS Porto

Slavia Prague VS Connah’s Quay Nomads                                   Kairat VS Shamrock Rovers

Riga FC VS Shakhtyor Soligorsk    Atalanta VS Vardar                 Athletico Madrid VS Man City

Ferencvarosi VS Red Star                                                              Shaktar Donestsk VS Inter Escalades

Rennes VS Inter Milan                   Celja VS Zalgiris Vilnius          RB Leipzig VS F91 Dudelange

Ludogorets VS Flora                     Dinamo Tblisi VS Tre Fiori       Man UTD VS Dinamo Zagreb

Floriana VS Linfield                                                                       Havnar Boltfelag VS Olympiacos

Young Boys VS Legia Warsaw      CFR Clug VS Valur                    Real Madrid VS Slovan Bratislava

Bayern Munich VS Club Brugge                                                   Celtic VS Europa

Okay, so the money men may not be happy with that draw given that a couple of the favourites will be knocked out at the first hurdle. Liverpool VS PSG is the pick of the bunch. PSG are multi time Billionaires, but haven’t won much in Europe, versus 6 time winners Liverpool. One of them will be going home with nothing. Ajax and Porto could be interesting – both former winners but both shadows of their former selves. Man City’s plastic billionaires could slip up against an always tricky Athletico Madrid but elsewhere the big teams should pass through – Brugge shouldn’t have enough to stop Munich, Madrid should get past Bratislava, while Utd could have a tricky enough time against Dinamo Zagreb. Barcelona, Inter, Dortmund, Juventus all go through untroubled. Plenty of tiny and middling teams will therefore progress to the next round and get more of that sweet sweet qualifying and viewer cash. Ironically, Floriana and Linfield met last year in the Europa Qualifiers, with Floriana winning so the Northern Ireland champions will be out for revenge. Eventually some of the minnows are bound to meet up with the big boys – and probably be destroyed – but it all raises their profile and could help them become true competitors in the future. At the very least – something to tell the grandkids.

Europa Cup First Round

Dynamo Kiev VS Benfica                Sutjeska VS Breioablik          Lazio VS Universitatea Craiova

Lille VS Sfintul Gheorghe               Partizan VS Krasnodar          Maribor VS FC Inter Turku

FK RFS VS St Josephs                     Maccabi Haifa VS BATE        LASK VS The New Saints

Lokomotiv Moscow VS PAOK        Kukesi VS Apollon Limassol  Chelsea VS Braga

Piast Gliwice VS St Gallen              Besiktas VS Viktoria Plzen    Crusaders VS AZ Alkmaar

IF Elsborg VS Gent                        Nice VS Neftki Baku              Paide Linnameeskond VS Feyonoord

Roma VS Lokomotiv Plovdiv        Sevilla VS Zorya Luhansk       Tobol VS Folgore

Dinamo Batumi VS Sileks             Molde VS FC Santa Coloma   Fola Esch VS Villareal

Fehervar VS Lokomotiva              Bohemians VS Gjilani             Charleroi VS Bayern Leverkusen

Leicester VS NSI Runavik             Zilina VS Valetta                      Sudova VS Rangers

Zeljeznicar VS Lori                       Copenhagen VS Borussia Monchengladbach

Lets take a look at the pick of this round – the first match out of the hat is the tastiest, two decent teams and only one can go through – no matter who loses, most other teams’ chances go up by one. Chelsea VS Braga could be interesting, on paper Chelsea should have no problems but Braga won’t lie down. Crusaders get a tough tie against Alkmaar, Europa League specialists should knock out Zorya, Leicester will enjoy a trip to the Faroe Islands. A few other tight contests and always the slight chance of an upset.

Cup Winners Cup First Round

Sonderjyske VS Gabala                    Hearts VS Basel                    Steaua Bucuresti VS FK Panevezys

Antwerp VS MFK Ruzomberok        Khimki VS FK RFS                 Prishtina VS Etzella Ettelbruck

Noah VS Arsenal                             Vojvodina VS Viking              Lechia Gdansk VS Inter Escalada

Budapest Honved VS Feyenoord    HJK VS Sparta Prague           Coleraine VS Siroki Brijeg

Lovcen VS Derry City                                                                     Vikingur Reykjavik VS Narva Trans

Balzan VS Hapoel Be’er Sheva        Lyon VS The New Saints        KR VS Tueta

Kaisar VS IFK Goterborg                                                                Tottenham VS Dynamo Brest

Athletic Bilbao VS Tre Fiori              Cracovia VS St Etienne          Akademija Pandev VS AEK

Bayern Munich VS CSKA Sofia        Europa VS Vikingur               Mura VS Glentoran

Dundalk VS Academico De Viseu   Rijeka VS Utrecht                   FH VS Trabzonspor

SC Austria Lustenau VS AEL Limassol                                           Saburtalo VS Napoli

STM Sports VS Petrocab Hincesti                                                 Beitar Jerusalem VS Vorskla Poltava

I admit than on the surface that’s a crappy line-up, and not a lot for the purists to enjoy. But that’s always been the case for these competitions and it’ll be the fans tuning in rather than the general public/fans of other teams. Still, a few matches stand out – Bayern Munich should easily be winning this competition (assuming they don’t play a B Team) but they have a tough first tie against CSKA Sofia. Elsewhere there’s little chance of giant killing – Spurs should comfortably beat Dynamo Brest, Arsenal should destroy NOAH (who have only existed for a couple of years), and Napoli should have no problems. Hearts VS Basel could be interesting, and for selfish reasons (given that I’m friendly with their manager and his wife) Coleraine travel to Bosnia.

Finally. There you have it. What do you think? What is your preferred format for elite European football? Do you like the current set up of the Champions League and Europa League? Would you like to see a third Competition created/reinstated to give other clubs that extra shot of money? Let us know in the comments!

Best Cast – 1979

My Nominations: 1941. Alien. Apocalypse Now. Kramer Vs Kramer.

Steven Spielberg’s 1941 is one of the least remembered in his filmography, and in line with this curio is quite the unusual cast, containing comedy masters, new faces, and veterans – Dan Akroyd and John Belushi, Toshiro Mifune and Warren Oates, Nancy Allen and Tim Matheson, along with Spielberg favourites and many many more – John Candy, Lorraine Gary, Robert Stack, Patty LuPone, Michael McKean, James Caan, Ned Beatty, Christopher Lee, Mickey Rourke, Dick Miller, John Landis, Sam Fulller – you get the idea.

Alien is one of the great centralized ensemble casts, an an example of of each actor bringing each character fully to life (only to be killed off). Sigourney Weaver is the standout, but John Hurt and Ian Holm aren’t far behind, without forgetting Skerritt, Cartwright, Kotto, and Harry Dean Stanton. Apocalypse Now is in a similar vein, but has the added benefit of the central group coming into contact with a variety of other characters – any film with Dennis Hopper, Marlon Brando, and Martin Sheen is always going to make a category like this, but then we also throw in Laurence Fishbourne, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Albert Hall. Kramer Vs Kramer is hard to avoid given both leads received Oscars.

My Winner: Alien

40 Years Ago: The 'Alien' Cast Gets an Actual Terrifying Surprise

Let us know your winner in the comments!

Nightman’s Least Favourite Movies Of 1995!

12 Monkeys' Speaks to Our Current Crisis - Hollywood in Toto

12 Monkeys

We’re coming in hot today, with the beloved by most 12 Monkeys, Terry Gilliam’s crazed tale of time travelling, airports, disease, and Brad Pitt’s hilarious attempts at acting. I have an amount of admiration for 12 Monkeys but a deeper look unravels what a shambles the plot is, and the twists are of the usual sort you find in time-travel movies. I came to the film late, spurred on by heaps of praise by people whose opinions usually mesh with my own. It’s good, but it’s not movie of the year good. If there’s any lesson here, it’s probably that your friends are dicks and you can’t trust their recommendations. BECAUSE THEY’RE A FUTURE VERSION OF YOU. But yeah, one of Brad Pitt’s early attempts at ‘big, real, acting’ following the much more interesting Kalifornia and Interview With The Vampire, are hilarious and I will never understand how he was nominated for any Award, never mind an Oscar.

When Nature Calls

I love the first Ace Ventura. I don’t love the second. Less interesting story, a re-tread of jokes and one-liners which were already over-stated by the time the second film was announced, but beyond that it’s simply more of the same. Normally I would say ‘bring it on’, but I would have much preferred more of the same of The Mask or Dumb And Dumber, or more of the same of Ace Ventura, but with some effort.

Assassins

I’m still not sure how you bring together 1995 Antonio Banderas, Sly Stallone, and give a Wachowski’s story about guns and killings and hitmen to Richard Donner, and make it a dull slog. It’s such a nothing story – the Wachowskis had clearly been watching a lot of John Woo movies and thought they could make their own take on homoerotic machismo (plus guns), but forgot to make it interesting, then everyone else involved didn’t bother giving it any style or attempt to flesh out the characters or assign any sense to whatever the hell was going on.

Get Shorty

Another one of the post Pulp Fiction movies which every studio was pumping out between 1995 and 2000, but this one comes with some genuine cred, based on a story by Elmore Leonard. Cool cast too. I don’t know why ‘cool’ is equated to jazz in movies, when any music fan knows that jazz actually equates to ‘shit’, so we’re subjected to a shitty score, people in sunglasses, dialogue which feels as if the characters are ripping pages from a bad book of poetry and passing them to one another instead of speaking. It’s a hideous bore too, though every time I’ve seen it has been late at night when I’ve already been tired.

Haunted

Haunted may be the most boring, sleep inducing movie of all time. There was a lot of it this year – it’s as if they knew Desperado and Goldeneye were coming out this year and thought ‘why bother’.

Moonlight And Valentino

I get there’s a market for this sort of thing – lonely, middle aged housewives for example – and because I’m not one of those, Moonlight And Valentino was never going to do anything for me. It’s not even good enough for any awkward ‘look, it’s John Bon Jovi’ laughs. As with any other year, there were a number of equally unacceptable shitty rom coms/dramas/costume nonsese that I could have added in this spot – The Englishman Who Climbed A Hill, The Scarlet Letter, Sabrina, Miami Rhapsody etc, but this one commits the cardinal crime of being such an up itself story of unrealistic soap opera relationships that you can neither take it seriously, not laugh at it. Plus it has Gwyneth Paltrow.

Nine Months

I’m surprised this didn’t have Gwyneth Paltrow, but it does have Hugh Grant which is essentially the same thing. It’s a remake of a French film where the comedy simply doesn’t translate. The story is basically about your typical bloke, drifting along, happy with his life, career, relationship who knocks up his girlfriend and begins freaking out. The Simpsons did it better in a single episode. Not only does the humour not translate, there is no attempt to attune the humour in any way, Hugh Grant will never be funny (unless he’s attacking snake people), and like every movie of its ilk you know precisely how it’s going to end from the moment the opening credits run. It’s a shame, as this year had a few decent movies in this genre – While You Were Sleeping, Waiting To Exile….. and Showgirls.

Rob Roy

What a load. Of. SHITE.

To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything Julie Newmar!

Another film where we have to whip out the checklist of things I don’t like; ridiculous name. Quirky camp comedy. Drag. Stockard Channing. Being tame. The only thing going for it are a few interesting cast choices and the fact that it’s a road movie, but those aren’t enough to save it.

Village Of The Damned

Carpenter was on the verge of checking out by this point. I feel like if he had achieved a hit with this, regardless of quality, he would have been more prolific throughout the rest of the decade and into the 2000s. To be fair, it had a lot of positives going in – unusual cast, the genre is precisely in Carpenter’s wheelhouse, and Carpenter has a track record of making good remakes. I would have loved Carpenter to have tackled a Bodysnatchers story, but Abel Ferrera got there first. Instead, he updates the 1960 British classic of the same name. Sadly it’s clear that Carpenter doesn’t give a shit – there’s none of his usual style or flair, the characters don’t feel like real people or even caricatures, and it’s dull. Even the Soundtrack doesn’t help. It does provide some darker twists which set it apart from the original, but it’s a disappoint on all fronts. It was a failure at the Box Office too, and so Carpenter stopped caring about movies.

Let us know in the comments what your least favourite movies of 1995 are!

Sex, Power, Love, Money

I think I would like this one a lot more if James had picked literally ANY other way to sing than the cringeworthy way he does. Is he rapping, is he speaking? It’s not right whatever it is. The chorus is fine, but the verse vocals make me want to pull my shirt over my face and hide until it goes away. Making matters worse are Wire’s ill-advised bonus vocals building up to the chorus, and the embarrassing old man lyrics. And whatever the hell that cowbell thing is – I CAST THEE OUT! It’s a shame because there’s a better song in there somewhere, and it even manages a decent guitar solo at the end. It’s best forgotten.

Sex, Power, Love, and Money: 2/Okay

Misheard Lyrics: A recycled novel, women inside

2: Its tone is truthful, it really never lies

3: Self fuck your tears as they rain from above

Actual Lyrics: It reads like a novel

2: It’s cold, it’s truthful, it really never lies

3: Set fire to tears as they rain from above

The Story Of The Song: Is it about money and greed, is it about the blurring of political and class lines when you reach such a level of wealth that such things don’t matter anymore? Is it about the self-made tech and social media billionaires? Fuck knows.