#Thisisyourfilm 1999 – 2007

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1999:

Top Grossing Film: Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

My Favourite Film: Bangkok Dangerous.

Quite a few good films and big films this year – The Matrix, The Blair Witch Project, and Fight Club are all obvious choices. My pick though is one so very few have seen – there’s no excuse, it’s fucking glorious. Plenty of cult classics this year too.

Biggest Selling Song: Baby One More Time by Britney Spears

My Favourite Song: Unintended by Muse

I almost went for the title track, but then remembered how Unintended grabbed me. I’d heard some of their earlier EP from one of those old radio sampler cds, but it was their ballad that convinced me they would be huge.

Biggest Selling Album: Millennium by Backstreet Boys

My Favourite Album: Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Not too many huge releases this year that I could have gone for, really between this, Muse, and Lene Marlin. Californication is a beast though, a massive return to form and a huge commercial and critical success.

My Favourite Book:  Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

2000:

Top Grossing Film: Mission Impossible 2

My Favourite Film: Battle Royale.

A lot of strong foreign movies this year, aside from my winner. When I first saw Battle Royale I proclaimed it as the most important film of the new millennium. I still stand by that. Pick a better film from 2000, I dare you. 

Biggest Selling Song: Music by Madonna

My Favourite Song: Bumblebee by JJ72

The studio version is quite lovely in its torment, but seeing it live is an entirely different beast – it transforms into a destructive, euphoric masterpiece.

Biggest Selling Album: No Strings Attached by NSYNC

My Favourite Album: The Marshall Mathers LP

I don’t think there was a better album this year, a year which also included Rated R, JJ72,  Lost Souls, Brave New World, Kid A, Wishmaster, and more.

My Favourite Book: A Storm Of Swords by George R R Martin.

2001:

Top Grossing Film: Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone

My Favourite Film: The Fellowship Of The Ring

Plenty of worthy picks this year, but come on, LOTR wins every damn time.

Biggest Selling Song: It Wasn’t Me by Shaggy

My Favourite Song: Hurricane by Natalie Imbruglia

Biggest Selling Album: Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park

My Favourite Album: Origin Of Symmetry. 

White Lillies Island, Toxicity, Amnesiac, Blackwater Park, and a whole host of euro and american metal and rock coming back into the mainstream. Muse raised their game and easily bypassed any and all expectations for their second album.

My Favourite Book: Black House by Stephen King

I feel like I should apologize for how limited by reading appears on these lists. At this point in my life I was reading 2-3 books a week, mostly for University. Those books were almost exclusively old – pre-20th Century, or pre-1983 at least. What spare time I had was going on King’s latest releases. He had two this year, and Black House (which I stupidly read before The Talisman) is the better of the two. Looking at what else was released in 2001, I think my choice stands.

2002:

Top Grossing Film: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

My Favourite Film: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

See above.

Biggest Selling Song: Anything is possible/Evergreen by Will Young.

My Favourite Song: Under The Ice by Blind Guardian

Biggest Selling Album: The Eminem Show by Eminem

My Favourite Album: Century Child by Nightwish

Night On My Side, A Night At The Opera, Highly Evolved, I To Sky, Deliverance, and plenty more personal favourites.

My Favourite Book: Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King

Some of King’s finest short stories collected here, including Little Sisters Of Eluria and the award winning The Man In The Black Suit.

2003:

Top Grossing Film: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

My Favourite Film: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

See above. Again.

Biggest Selling Song: Where Is The Love by Black Eyed Peas

My Favourite Song: No More Lies by Iron Maiden

Biggest Selling Album: Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ by 50 Cent

My Favourite Album: Another Day by Lene Marlin

The Music, Damnation, Dance Of Death, Absolution, Souvenirs… probably others.

My Favourite Book: The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks.

Not to be an asshole, but I was on the hype train for this before anyone else. I even started an IMDB thread about a potential movie on the book before the book was even released. Anyway, it’s great.

2004:

Top Grossing Film: Shrek 2

My Favourite Film: Dawn Of The Dead

This wasn’t a great year personally for standout films. There were some very good sequels and plenty of films I enjoyed – not many that leap out as a strong favourite. My two obvious picks involved zombies. I’ve gone for the one most would not pick.

Biggest Selling Song: Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Various

My Favourite Song: Ghost Love Score by Nightwish

Biggest Selling Album: Confessions by Usher

My Favourite Album: Welcome To The North by The Music

Faded Seaside Glamour, Once, Until The End, Leviathan, Lifeblood, and more. But my album of the year is also the album of the decade and one of the best ever.

My Favourite Book: The Dark Tower by Stephen King

Well, I had to, didn’t I?

2005:

Top Grossing Film: Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

My Favourite Film: Batman Begins

Plenty of worthy comedies and dramas, but Batman wins it.

Biggest Selling Song: Is This The Way To Amarillo by Peter Kay and Tony Christie

My Favourite Song: Something In The Way by Gemma Hayes

Biggest Selling Album: The Emancipation of Mimi by Mariah Carey

My Favourite Album: Ghost Reveries by Opeth

Counting down The Days, Dirty Diamonds, The Roads Don’t Love You and not a lot else. A pretty crappy year.

My Favourite Book: Kafka On The Shore, by Haruki Murakami

Cats. Cats everywhere.

2006:

Top Grossing Film: Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

My Favourite Film: Casino Royale

A terrific year for movies and at least five I could just as easily call my favourite. I’m going to go with what might not be the best out of my favourites, but I think it just about cinches it for ‘rewatchability’.

Biggest Selling Song: Crazy by Gnarls Barkley.

My Favourite Song: Waking Hour by The Gathering

Biggest Selling Album: The High School Musical Soundtrack

My Favourite Album: A Matter Of Life And Death by Iron Maiden

Inhuman Rampage, Black Holes And Revelations, Blood Mountain, Home. Iron Maiden’s return to form culminates in their epic war-based monster.

My Favourite Book: Cell by Stephen King

I know I know, but it’s good!

2007:

Top Grossing Film: Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End

My Favourite Film: Enchanted

A bit of a crap year, actually. Even all the films which did well at The Oscars which most non-Oscars people like, I felt were a bit meh.

Biggest Selling Song: Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis

My Favourite Song: Bouncing Off Clouds by Tori Amos

Biggest Selling Album: Noel by Josh Groban

My Favourite Album: Send Away The Tigers by Manic Street Preachers

As you can tell, the number of quality releases drastically shrinks with each year this decade, so by this point there is’t much worth mentioning – naturally there’s a tonne I haven’t heard so there’s bound to be plenty of great albums and songs I’ve missed. I narrowed by albums down to three, but none of them are even great choices.

My Favourite Book: Unknown

You know, I don’t think I’ve read a single book published in 2007. I mean, I probably have but I can’t think of any which likely means any I did read I didn’t particularly enjoy.

Next time I’ll squeeze the remaining years into one post and I’ll probably remove the books section as there haven’t really been too many books in recent years that I’ve loved outside of the usual suspects. Maybe that’s what happens when you get old(er).

#Thisisyourfilm 1991 – 1998

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1991:

Top Grossing Film: T2

My Favourite Film: T2

What. A. Year. The top 3 highest grossing movies in the US among my top favourite movies, with T2 maybe being my favourite movie of all time and Beauty And The Beast being my favourite Disney movie ever. There’s a bunch of other classics this year too but Arnie, Eddie, Linda, Robert and co are never going to be topped.

Biggest Selling Song: Everything I Do By Bryan Adams

My Favourite Song: November Rain by Guns N Roses

As cheesy as it is, I do love Everything I Do – especially the long version. I should pick something else though so lets go with Axl’s epic.

Biggest Selling Album: Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey

My Favourite Album: Nevermind By Nirvana

What. A. Year. My winner could have been either of the Use Your Illusions, Metallica’s Black Album, Dangerous, Hey Stoopid, and several others come close. But my winner has to be Nevermind – the so called album of a generation ‘nevermind’ the album of the year.

My Favourite Book: Ringu by Koji Suzuki

It’s a different kind of horror from the one on screen, but clinically delivered.

1992:

Top Grossing Film: Aladdin. 

My Favourite Film: Fire Walk With Me

Unlike most years in this era there isn’t one film which leaps out as my absolute favourite – there are four or five which I could choose between, followed by a larger group of almosts. There are a lot of interesting horror movies this year, plenty of comedies and action hits, but for now I’ll go with Lynch’s masterpiece.

Biggest Selling Song: I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston

My Favourite Song: Winter by Tori Amos

It’s perfect.

Biggest Selling Album: Some Gave All by Billy Ray Cyrus

My Favourite Album: Generation Terrorists by Manic Street Preachers

Well, we also had Little Earthquakes, Dirt, and a few other near shots.

My Favourite Book: Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King

1993:

Top Grossing Film: Jurassic Park

My Favourite Film: Jurassic Park

Another terrific year for action movies, with a host that I hold dear, but those dinosaurs stand tall above them all. There are a few close runners so stay tuned for when I eventually reach the 90s in my Oscars posts.

Biggest Selling Song: I’d Do Anything For Love by Meat Loaf

My Favourite Song: Life Becoming A Landslide by Manic Street Preachers

My favourite Manics song is obviously my favourite song of the year.

Biggest Selling Album: The Bodyguard soundtrack

My Favourite Album: In Utero by Nirvana

Also efforts from Radiohead, Manics, and others but In Utero stands alone in it’s bleak rage.

My Favourite Book: The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides.

My most easily recalled memory of this is that I read most of it on the toilet.

1994:

Top Grossing Film: The Lion King

My Favourite Film: Dumb And Dumber

One of my favourite years in the history of cinema, there is any number of personal favourites I could choose from as winner. Comedy has been a bit light in my choices so far though, so I’ll go with The Farrelly Brother’s finest film.

Biggest Selling Song: Streets Of Philadelphia by Bruce Springsteen

My Favourite Song: Lost For Words by Pink Floyd

There’s a bunch I could choose from any of the albums below, and a host of other singles, but I thought I’d mix it up a little with Floyd’s last great song.

Biggest Selling Album: The Lion King soundtrack

My Favourite Album: The Holy Bible by Manic Street Preachers

Classics from Portishead, Nirvana, Oasis, Jeff Buckley and others but they all hold their heads in shame as they bow to the terrible majesty of The Holy Bible

My Favourite Book: Insomnia by Stephen King

1995:

Top Grossing Film: Toy Story

My Favourite Film: Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead

It was almost going to be Goldeneye but then I remembered Denver came out in 1995 and not 1996. It’s a perfect movie.

Biggest Selling Song: Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio

My Favourite Song: In Motion # 2 by The Gathering

I could have picked something from Jagged Little Pill but in the end I’ve gone for this Anneke era Gathering special.

Biggest Selling Album: Cracked Read View by Hootie And The Blowfish

My Favourite Album: The Bends by Radiohead

Brit-pop, general Indie music, and pop-punk albums were hitting their commercial and critical stride, while metal was roaring back to power in Europe. Only one winner here though. Michael Jackson and Alanis Morissette also sold a few copies of their respective albums.

My Favourite Book: Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

1996:

Top Grossing Film: Independence Day

My Favourite Film: Scream

A few standouts and personal favourites this year, but Stabby Joe and co remains a landmark in horror.

Biggest Selling Song: Macarena by Los Del Rio

My Favourite Song: Darling One by Susannah Hoffs

Lovely lovely

Biggest Selling Album: Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette

My Favourite Album: Everything Must Go by Manic Street Preachers

Not a lot to choose from this year, actually.

My Favourite Book: Desperation by Stephen King

1997:

Top Grossing Film: Titanic

My Favourite Film: The Fifth Element

Not a great year for huge personal favorites but a few make the grade with Luc Besson’s genre collapsing tale taking the top spot.

Biggest Selling Song: Candle In The Wind by Elton John

My Favourite Song: Sonnet by The Verve

Lovely lovely lovely

Biggest Selling Album: Spice by The Spice Girls

My Favourite Album: OK Computer by Radiohead

My Favourite Book: In The Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami

1998:

Top Grossing Film: Armageddon

My Favourite Film: Ring

A pretty crappy year for personal favourites, but there are a bunch of smaller, forgotten movies that I love. Japan’s Ring is peerless though.

Biggest Selling Song: My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion

My Favourite Song: Ready For Drowning by Manic Street Preachers

Another one of my absolute favourite Manics songs.

Biggest Selling Album: Titanic Soundtrack

My Favourite Album: How To Measure A Planet?

Only a few possibilities for me this year, but with one sure winner. How To Measure A Planet? is album everyone should, nay, must hear.

My Favourite Book: Loop by Koji Suzuki

Next time around I’ll let you in on my picks from the new decade/year/millennium! Down boy!

 

#Thisisyourfilm: 1983 – 1990

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Greetings, Glancers. So, if you’ve been lurking around blogs or tweets in the last few weeks, you may have noticed this hastag doing the rounds. It’s nothing exciting, but the brevity and transparency of the medium allows you to jot down your choices and share with the world in a matter of moments. What’s it all aboot? Thanks for asking. Basically, cryou pick your favourite film from every year that you have been plaguing Mother Earth with your presence. Me being me, most of the time, I have decided to branch out a little further so y’all can get to know and hate me a little more.

My branches will cover music and literature too. So, for every year I’ve (officially) been alive – starting in 1983 – I’ll pick my favourite movie, my favourite book, my favourite album, and my favourite song. There’s a caveat on the musical choices as I’m going to pick a song which is not from my favourite album, just to mix things up a little. On top of that, I’m not doing the music in any great detail – more of an afterthought so I’ll probably miss some songs I like more than the ones I give. The ‘official’ info may also be balls. From a film point of view, you’ll get an idea for what my future Oscars posts will look like when I get around to writing them and catch up to the 80s and beyond. As a final twist, I’ll give the top-grossing movie and best selling album/song of the year too, and see if there is any comparison. Today, it’s 1983 – 1990!

1983

Top Grossing Film: Return Of The Jedi.

My Favourite Film: Return Of The Jedi.

My favourite film from my favourite trilogy (yeah, suck it Empire fans), Jedi has all the adventure of the first movie, all the emotion of the second, tops off the series with a great ending, and has one of the most bad-ass fights sequences ever. The year also saw good efforts from Tony Scott, Coppola, Luc Besson, Cronenberg, Scorsese, Brian De Palma,

My Favourite Album: Piece Of Mind by Iron Maiden

Not too many great albums this year, but it did have possibly my favourite Maiden album.

Best Selling Album: Thriller by Michael Jackson (bit of a cheat as it was released in 82, but anyway..)

My Favourite Song: The Four Horsemen by Metallica

Or No Remorse or Seek And Destroy. All chugging, frantic epics showcasing the young band’s ability to play fast and hard, while changing it up throughout the song so that each is filled with ambition and vitality.

Best Selling Song: Karma Chameleon by Culture Club

My Favourite Book: The Witches, by Roald Dahl.

I have been reading this to my eldest daughter recently, and remembering just how creepy it actually is – Dahl beckoning the children to trust him with his promises of knowledge to protect you from the REAL WITCHES that grown-ups deny or don’t believe exist. I loved it when I was young, and now I pass it on. Also, for the books I didn’t bother going into research mode too much so I’m picking more or less off the top of my head – this means you’re going to see a lot of repetition of authors. Runner up?

1984:

Top Grossing Film: Beverly Hills Cop

My Favourite Film: The Terminator

Three films from this year feature in my top ten favourite films ever. The Terminator is probably my favourite film of all time, with A Nightmare On Elm Street being my favourite horror movie. But what about Police Academy? I know.. I know. The problem is you don’t know. You don’t know how hilarious this film is, you’ve been swayed by your smart-ass friends. It’s ok, you don’t have to tell them you watched it and laughed till your face fell off – just watch it and enjoy it on your own.

My Favourite Album: Ride The Lightning by Metallica

Losing a little of the youthful energy of their debut, this sees Metallica maturing and further bridging the gap between heavy music and commercial prowess.

Best Selling Album: Yep, Thriller again…

My Favourite Song: Summer Of ’69 by Bryan Adams

Why the hell not?

Best Selling Song: Careless Whisper by George Michael

My Favourite Book: The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub. King and Straub’s first joint effort is an instant classic – an adventure across worlds with a young boy as the major character. Featuring obvious parallels with The Dark Tower it stands on its own feet admirably and has a wealth of charm and magic.

1985:

Top Grossing Film: Back To The Future

My Favourite Film: Commando

It’s difficult to argue against Back To The Future but 1985 was a terrific year for now classic adventure and action film – many of which also featured in the top grossing list. 85 may well be the ‘most 80s year’ of the decade. It’s another Arnie winner for me, and one of the most watchable and fun and quotable pure action movies you’ll ever see. The plot is simply A to B, but necks are snapped, Sullys are dropped, buildings are blasted to bits, and steam is most definitely let off.

My Favourite Album: Brothers In Arms by Dire Straits

Actually a pretty crap year as far as I can tell, so I’m picking an album I haven’t even heard since my childhood and hoping it’s still good.

Best Selling Album: Born In The USA by Bruce Springsteen

My Favourite Song: Into The Groove by Madonna

There was any number of Madonna songs and good pop hits by other artists this year… but lets just go for this one.

Best Selling Song: Shout by Tears For Fears

My Favourite Book: Hard Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World, by Haruki Murakami. Probably still my favourite Murakami book, this one saw his one chapter per plot style perfected – with two central characters spread over two worlds drawing closer with every page. The inherent strangeness in the novel is downplayed by the semi-passive characters, and all the Murakami trademarks are there – music, food, sex, detachment, free will and fate etc. Throw in the converging plots and a clashing of realism with fantasy and we have a classic.

1986:

Top Grossing FilmTop Gun

My Favourite Film: Aliens

Even though there’s a vast number of personal favourites this year, nothing really comes close. Even the Arnie movie is crap. But imagine if Arnie had been in Aliens…. holy shit, just imagine.

My Favourite Album: Master of Puppets by Metallica

Metallica hit the big time with this one, belting out classic after classic while honing their craft and striving for ever more complex compositions.

Best Selling Album: Whitney Houston by Whitney Houston

My Favourite Song: Angel Of Death by Slayer

Listen. Just listen. As mind-blowing today as it has ever been – absolutely ferocious.

Best Selling Song: Rock Me Amadeus by Falco

My Favourite Book: IT, by Stephen King. Another year, another epic by the Master. It is longer than it needs to be and does ramble on and the start for too many pages. But beyond that, this is a terrifying tale with a large cast of characters which covers a group of friends on the cusp of adolescence and later, on the cusp of middle age. You all know the clown, but there is a lot more to fear here – bullies, psychos, sociopaths and more, and once you get over the slow start it flies to the finish like an arrow to the eye.

1987:

Top Grossing FilmThree Men And A Baby

My Favourite Film: Robocop

This was always going to be a tough year, given that Robocop and Predator both feature in my personal top 5 movies ever. So either one wins. Or both. Robocop is probably the better film but in my eyes they are both perfect.

My Favourite Album: Bad by Michael Jackson

Bad and Appetite For Destruction are arguably the two most important albums of my life, coming along before my later love of Nirvana and Manics. I can’t choose between them and they’re both flawless in my eyes. Bad does however have Just Good Friends which I have to skip EVERY TIME.

Best Selling Album: Slippery When Wet by Bon Jovi

My Favourite Song: Think About You by Guns N Roses

A great year and a toss-up between anything from Appetite or Bad for my favourite song. I went for Bad for my favourite album so I’ve gone for G’n’R here – with a song no-one ever talks about.

Best Selling Song: Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi

My Favourite Book: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. The Japanese maestro’s most famous work, a nostalgic coming of age story about love and loss – naturally it’s much more than that. Runner Up? Clive Barker’s Weaveworld or James Elroy’s Black Dahlia or Stephen King’s The Drawing of The Three.

1988:

Top Grossing Film: Rain Man

My Favourite Film: Beetlejuice

I don’t think there were as many classics this year, or at least personal favourites. Burton was on the rise though, and Beetlejuice is still great.

My Favourite Album: … And Justice For All by Metallica

I didn’t plan to have all these Metallica albums listed, but that is how it has turned out. Production issues aside, this is the high point of the band – the creativity and intensity coming together to create one of metal’s finest moments.

Best Selling Album: Faith by George Michael

My Favourite Song: Eternal Flame by The Bangles

One of my favourite songs of all time and one which cemented my obsession with Susannah Hoffs.

Best Selling Song: A Groovy Kind Of Love by Phil Collins.

My Favourite Book: Queen Of The Damned by Anne Rice. My favourite thing about Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles has always been the large cast of characters and their collective and individual histories. With Queen Of The Damned she perfected this focus while maintaining a pulsating plot and a vast scope – we fly through past millennia in this story which acts as both an origin and an end to the first era of her novels – the books which follow seem minute in comparison. Runner up? Clive Barker’s Cabal or Banana Yoshimoto’s Kitchen. 

1989:

Top Grossing Film: Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade

My Favourite Film: Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure

There are a few films here i could just as easily have gone with, from blockbusters to cult hits, to indie dramas with fresh faces, but Bill & Ted has probably stayed with me the longest out of all of those with its nonsensical slacker humour and quotable script.

My Favourite Album: Like A Prayer by Madonna

Yeah, after only recently listening to it in full, it’s clear what a fantastic album it is.

Best Selling Album: Don’t Be Cruel by Bobby Brown

My Favourite Song: Patience by Guns N Roses

This had been chucked about by the band in previous years but saw an official release here – one of my favourites by them.

Best Selling Song: Like A Prayer by Madonna

My Favourite Book: The Great And Secret Show by Clive Barker. Barker finally gets in there. It’s another epic as the man continued to move out of the realms of overt horror and into fantasy. Runner Up? Banana Yoshimoto’s Goodbye Tsugumi.

1990:

Top Grossing Film: Ghost

My Favourite Film: Edward Scissorhands

Some great entries this year – some terrific standalones and sequels from around the globe, including many of my favourite comedies, but there’s only one winner for me.

My Favourite Album: Facelift by Alice In Chains

Slim pickings this year with metal already collapsing with inferior releases by the big bands (Rust In Peace and Seasons In The Abyss are still good) and with grunge bands not quite hitting the big time yet. Facelift is a fine debut though.

Best Selling Album: Rhythm Nation 1814 by Janet Jackson

My Favourite Song: Man Of Golden Words by Mother Love Bone

I couldn’t be arsed looking through for one-off singles so I just went for a great song from a hit/miss album.

Best Selling Song: Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinead O’Connor

My Favourite Book: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. No stranger to science fiction, and a writer who convinces the uninitiated of the possibility of such science leaving the realms of fiction (like Richard Matheson before him), Crichton never forgets that it’s a book about people too. And dinosaurs. Most importantly dinosaurs.

Let us know in the comments what your favourite movies are for each year of your life so far, or alternatively get in on the action and write a blog post or tweet about it. The you can be cool too!

Ranking The Bond Women – The Middlers

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Welcome back, you sad, lonely perverts. Why are you even here when you could be watching the movies for yourself, or even better, hiding in the neighbour’s bushes and pretending to be a spy yourself? I promise you get caught this time. Well, I suppose I should continue now that you’re here. Pull up a pew and make sure the door’s locked in case someone should stumble in and see what you’re up to. That would be embarrassing now, wouldn’t it?

22: Verity – Die Another Day

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It’s hardly a surprise that Verity appears at the bottom of my list. As you’ll see elsewhere on the blog, I like a lot of Madonna’s music. Her acting…. yeah, I like her in some stuff. This is just product placement of the worst kind, in a movie littered with toys screaming ‘buy me buy me’! Die Another Day gets almost everything wrong, Madonna flirting and swinging swords is just one of many sins.

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21: Ruby Bartlett – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

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Part of me would love to stick Ruby at the absolute bottom of the Bond girl’s list, except that there isn’t really anything wrong with her. She just irritates the hell out of me – that face, that voice, that hair. Most people have OHMSS as one of the best Bond films, but Ruby, along with Lazenby and the dreadful Louis Armstrong song knock it way down my ranking. Angela Scoular, who also appeared in the original Casino Royale and various other British movies, had a troubled life and killed herself in 2011 after swallowing and dousing herself in acid. Makes me feel bad for not liking her Bond girl now. Shit.

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20: Bianca – Octopussy

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Bianca briefly helps Bond in Octopussy, using all her disguise – applying and thigh-showing skills. Another character who could have been more interesting with a bigger role, but as it stands she’s just another object to look at unfortunately. More unfortunately, Tina Hudson who performed here never appeared in another film or show as far as I can tell.

19: Miss Taro – Dr No

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The first henchwoman we meet in the series, Miss Taro is suitably sultry and wicked, but she is of course no match for 007 and fails to lure him into a trap before failing to seduce him. Miss Taro was played by South African actress Zena Marshall who sadly passed away in 2009, an actress who started out in the 40s before retiring in the late 60s and appeared in many movies and shows including Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines and Helter Skelter. 

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18: Pola Ivanova – A View To A Kill

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There isn’t anything wrong to say about Pola, she’s just another agent (KGB) who Bond gets the better of, after some sexy times of course. It’s a case once again of a character that I’d like to see more of, either in the movie or recurring in other movies, but of course the Bond series typically doesn’t do such things. Plus I’m not a fan of short hair. Sorry. Fiona Fullerton started out as a child actress before landing the role of Pola, and since then has become a Property Developer with the odd reality TV appearance or TV movie- Strictly Come Dancing, A Ghost In Monte Carlo etc.

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17: Lucia Sciarra – Spectre

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When I first heard that Monica Bellucci was going to be a Bond Girl, I was more than a little excited. Bellucci is a fantastic actress who I have been a fan of for many years, as well as being gorgeous, and on most days she should be near the top of any lady list. Her appearance in Spectre is disappointingly underwhelming to the the point that she doesn’t really need to be there at all. Of course the series has a history of throwing in a random hot woman just to facilitate a joke or movie the plot forward ever so slightly. But this is Monica Bellucci, and if anything she deserved to play in the lead Bond girl role. She’s there, and then she isn’t, and for most of the movie I was waiting for her to come back.

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16: Pan Ho – A View To A Kill

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One of many henchwomen in A View To A Kill, but probably the least impactful. A partner to Jenny Flex and underling of Mayday, Pan Ho helps Zorin and Co kill and cause general carnage. As loyal as she is, she unfortunately forgets that Zorin is a complete loon, and loses her life because of it. Papillon Soo Soo stars as the ill-fated mistress, a model and former actress who also appeared famously in Full Metal Jacket (‘me so horny’).

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15: Patricia Fearing – Thunderball (and Never Say Never Again)

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Fearing is played by two different actresses, most notably in Thunderball and later in the mostly awful Never Say Never Again. It’s Thunderball that we care about here, where Fearing is a bit of a silly character – first saving Bond’s life and then having sex with them because she’s afraid she will lost her job. Still, she appears in multiple scenes and gets the odd uncomfortable laugh from the audience. Fearing was played by Molly Peters, a model who made a string of appearances in the 60s in minor movies and shows before giving it all up in 1968.

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14: Jill Masterson – Goldfinger

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Famous for dying in one of cinema’s most iconic ways, poor Jill Masterson was immortalized after betraying her boss and being covered in gold paint from head to toe -both as punishment for her actions and a warning for Bond. Shirley Eaton is fine in the role, but aside from her brief early scenes it is her corpse which steals the headlines. Shirley Eaton had been acting since the early 50s in many British TV series and movies such as the Carry On movies, but in 1969 she retired to look after her family instead.

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13: Caroline – Goldeneye

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When I first saw Goldeneye, I mistakenly thought that Caroline was Moneypenny, such was the flirtatious banter between the two, as well as the character’s coy mannerisms and the fact that she didn’t really look like a typical Bond woman. She appears mainly to remind us that Bond is a bit of a lad, likes racing cars, and of course to introduce us to Xenia Onatopp. Caroline is fine, gets in a little bit of dialogue, and is another character who you would mind making frequent appearances throughout the series as a world weary spy evaluator. Unfortunately we don’t get to see her again. Serena Gordon stars as the first Brosnan Bond girl, known for British TV shows such as The Bill and Other People’s Children. 

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12: Molly Warmflash – The World Is Not Enough

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‘Faith, a word of advice – you’re an idiot’. It wouldn’t be a post on this blog without some sort of Buffy reference – it’s quite funny seeing a one-off Buffy actress popping up as a one-off Bond character – she even dresses in the same stuffy manner as her Sunnydale counterpart. Played by Serena Scott Thomas, who you may know as the sister of Kristen, Molly succumbs to Bond’s charms as his doctor, and later tells us that Robert Carlisle is basically Superman.

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11: Rubavitch – The Living Daylights

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Played by Virginia Hey of Farscape and The Road Warrior fame (two of my favourite things), Rubavitch doesn’t get a lot to do aside from lose her clothes and cry when she thinks General Pushkin has been killed. Hey is a terrific actress as well as being gorgeous, and therefore earns a higher spot on the list than others who may be more iconic or have a larger role.

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10: Jenny Flex – A View To A Kill

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Jenny Flex. JENNY FLEX. There’s jsut something about the character names in A View To A Kill which are unforgettable to me – Max Zorin, Mayday, and Jenny Flex. There isn’t anything special about the character, and in truth it is a bizarre name that isn’t as obviously memorable as many others, but for whatever reason that name and by extension that character are stuck in my head for ever more. JENNY FLEX. Flex was played by Irish actress and model Alison Doody, famous for starring as the ill-fated Dr Schneider in The Last Crusade.

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9: Nancy – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

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The least annoying, most attractive of the women Bond meets in Piz Gloria in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Nancy is a porcelain-doll looking woman who appears in numerous flirtatious interludes with Bond throughout the film, eventually popping up in his bed. Best known for her recurring role in Space: 1999, Catherine Schell has appeared in many shows and movies including Return Of The Pink Panther and Wish Me Luck.

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8: Solange Dimitrios – Casino Royale

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Casino Royale was by no means the first Bond movie to show the character in a tragic light, but it does one of the better jobs of highlighting the fact. Solange is the latest in a long line of women who meet their end (at least partially) due to meeting Bond. A victim of her husband’s abuse she hopes that perhaps Bond could be her way out, but she is murdered in an ugly message to Bond, and a sign of things to come for 007. Caterina Murino is another model turned actress who has appeared in a mixture of European TV and film.

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7: Corinne Dufour – Moonraker

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Speaking of tragic and ugly ends as a consequence of meeting Bond, Corinne gets one of the darkest deaths in the series when Drax allows his hunting dogs to chase and rip her apart. She works for Drax as a pilot but is seemingly innocent of his evil ways and when she shags Bond and inadvertently betrays her boss, her death is inevitable. Most famous for playing the title character in the controversial Story Of O, Corinne Clery also appeared in many French and Italian cult movies.

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6: Tilly Masterson  – Goldfinger

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Although it is Jill Masterson who grabs the headlines thanks to her Golden murder, Tilly is the more interesting character which the bigger role. She tries to kill Goldfinger several times as revenge for her sister’s death but in the end is killed by Oddjob. Tania Mallet made her sole big screen appearance in the movie, returning to the successful modelling career where she made her name.

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5: Saida – The Man With The Golden Gun

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Another character that I always remembered from my childhood, mainly for the amusing scene where Bond keeps trying to remove a bullet from her belly button. In fact, that’s her only scene in the movie but it’s all very funny and oddly sexy in that uncomfortable Moore way, and Carmen du Sautoy acts along playfully. She has appeared on stage in many roles, as well as appearing in many sitcoms and minor movies over the decades.

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4: Manuela -Moonraker

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Manuela doesn’t really do much in Moonraker to warrant being so high on my list, but she does appear in multiple scenes including one memorable one where she is almost gobbled by Jaws. She’s a Secret Service Agent, so you’d assume she’s bad ass – or at least bad ass cheek. She’s high on the list I guess because of potential – she’s another character that could have been someone who was recurring over other movies. But as we know by this point, part of the charm of the Bond movies are that they throw in needless one-off Bond girls in parts which could have been played by a smaller pool of actresses. Emily Bolton stars as Manuela, an actress who has appeared most famously in TV shows such as Tenco and Capital City before seemingly retiring and disappearing like so many other Bond Girls.

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3: Paula Caplan – Thunderball

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One of the earliest, if not the first instance of the tragic Bond girl, Caplan seems like a capable contact for Bond to work with. She flirts with Bond, as you do, but when she is later captured by the bad guys she seemingly kills herself to avoid torture and giving up valuable information. Caplan was played by Martine Beswick who we have already covered here due to her appearance in From Russia With Love. 

2: Helga Brandt – You Only Live Twice

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Is Brandt genuinely a Bond Girl, given that she is also a villain? Who cares, it’s my list. She shags Bond, tries to kill him on a few occasions, and appears in quite a few scenes. She also gets one of my favourite deaths, and favourite moments in the series when Blofeld feeds her to his piranha. Karin Dor played the part, a prolific German actress who is still acting today, mostly on stage, but still popping up in movies and TV. She is also known for Topaz and The Face Of Fu Manchu.

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1: Bibi Dahl – For Your Eyes Only

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I’m sure this will raise a few eyebrows, but I love Bibi Dahl. Or perhaps more accurately, I love Lynn Holly Johnson. I loved her in The Watcher In The Woods, and I love her in this. Okay fine, yes she is an annoying character, but she makes it so believable. And she’s hot as hell too. Her role in the movie is bizarre – she’s some horny kid who wants to get it on with James, but she’s also being trained as an Ice Skater by the bad guy, who does genuinely seem to care for her. She gets a lot of dialogue and screen time for a minor character but I enjoy every scene she’s in as she brightens up a pretty dark movie. She’s a fairly unique character in the Bond canon, and for that she gets my top spot. Yippee! Lynn quit acting in the 90s after refusing to do nude scenes, but returned in 2007 before suffering a stroke and it seems she is again retired now.

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Tune in next time when we’ll be getting the big guns out. And by guns I mean boobs. And by boobs I mean women. And by writing, I apologize.

TTT – Johnny Depp Movies

Greetings, Glancers! Ladies keep your pants on as today we look at my favourite 10 Johnny Depp movies. I’ve been a big Depp fan since as long as I can remember. I’m not sure what the first movie of his I saw was, but I’m farily positive it is something from this list. Depp has been a megastar since the early 90s and a star long before then, and he was my personal pick for that wonderful hetero-male schoolyard question – ‘if you had to shag one man, who would it be’. Kids these days.

Johnny Depp is known (increasingly so in recent years) for picking offbeat characters to portray, usually those on the fringes of society, or quirky, or with romantic burdens. These are the roles which he seems to enjoy, but he has also featured as more serious, straight types – most performances though he gives himself entirely over and even though you know it’s Johnny Depp you can feel the character rather than the actor. Below are my top ten Johnny Depp films – a mixture of performances that I think are his best while also thinking of my enjoyment of the whole film, with a greater focus on the performance. This top ten is actually fairly interchangeable – Number 1 is the only 1 that remains fixed, while the others are all essentially the same ranking, and quite a few other films not included are roughly similar in quality in my eyes.

10. A Nightmare On Elm Street

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Depp’s first major appearance was in my favourite horror movie of all time. A Nightmare On Elm Street sees the young star playing a typical teen boyfriend and his role doesn’t go much further than the tropes and expectations of the genre. This is Nancy’s and Freddy’s movie, but everyone remember’s Depp for his failure to stay awake and his gloriously bloody demise. He doesn’t quite have the look yet, or the star power, but the film is so good and he is an integral part, so it has to make my top ten.

9. The Libertine

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Has anyone even seen this movie? I feel like nobody has because nobody ever talks about it. Sure, it isn’t the best movie in the world, and is probably in the lower half of Depp’s filmography if we’re talking about good movies, but Depp’s performance is excellent – dirty, horrific, and with the venomous charm of a street addict looking for a final fix. Depp stars as the Earl Of Rochester, The Libertine of the title, a notorious pleasure seeker and dandy. As the film progresses, the hedonism comes back to bite the character in the body, if not the soul, and he begins to wither to an emaciated husk. Even as he falls to bodily corruption, he flies his singular flag, acting like a 17th Century punk hero who burned brightly for a few moments, then was snuffed out – except here he portrays the character as mostly unlikable and dastardly. It’s one of his bravest, most visceral performances.

8. Donnie Brasco

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I’ve spoken about this movie before, covering it in my favourite Al Pacino performances. Depp and Pacino work well together, and while Pacino’s weary, fading performance grabs the eye, it is Depp who goes through the changes – the loving cop husband seduced by the darkside. People never gave Depp’s ‘serious’ performances the credit they deserved at the time, and now moan about how every film now is some bizarro freakshow. You can’t have it both ways! Or more accurately where Depp is concerned – of course you can. Depp can play any sort of role, and here it is one of his finest straight shots. He gets to play a normal human, flawed and wretched like the rest of us, but without the need for grandiosity or make-up, and with all of that stripped away he still knocks it out of the park.

7. Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl

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As everyone knows, the sequels drastically went downhill while becoming increasingly convoluted, but the original Pirates Of The Caribbean Movie is as perfect a popcorn movie you’re ever likely to see. A fun adventure filled with larger than life scoundrels, daring escapades, laughs, romances, and good performances all around. Depp steals the show entirely in what may now be regarded his most famous role. Jack Sparrow is more of a Pirate to the public conscience now that Blackbeard or Long John Silver or Old No-Eyed Skip Stumpy Stump. His maniacal performance deservedly got an Oscar nomination, probably should have got the win, and is brimmed with swaggering confidence and anxious ticks.

6. Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street

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After some time away from bestie Tim Burton, Depp joined forces with his sullen goth pal once more to bring this musical to stinking life. I was genuinely shocked at how dark and depressing the film actually was, and that was after me already knowing the story since childhood. It’s one of the few instances where I felt kind of shaken leaving the Cinema, and that is as much down to Depp as it is the denouement and the gorgeous look and feel of the thing. Depp channels and then exorcises his Ichabod Crane and merges it with some malevolent, swamp monstrosity. The Demon in the title is key – this is a man, and a performance, possessed by something unspoken and arch, a foul parasite that destroys whatever it comes into contact with – and yet you still somehow manage to feel sorry for him.

5. Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas

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Going full Depp, is that a thing? It is now. Yes, Depp goes full Depp in Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, chewing the scenery as much as his own face, and making merry with Del Toro and go as they ravage Vegas to pieces in their quest for half-assed gonzo reporting and the finest highs the world can offer. It’s well documented that Depp and Hunter S Thompson were pals, and Depp takes his look, mannerisms, and speech, mangles them in a stoned haze, and tosses them through the looking glass to craft another colourful character and performance that can never be forgotten once seen.

4. Benny And Joon

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This was pretty much ignored at release and beyond, except for a few years after the turn of the century when everyone remembered it existed. Since then it has vanished from people’s minds once more. Or so it seems to me. It’s a gentle comedy, a quiet romance, and features Depp being just off centre enough to still be adorable but not off-putting. The film is never laugh out loud funny, or heartbreaking, or anything extreme – it is light and airy, without becoming preachy or sentimental. It’s simply a sweet story, with Depp showing us a different side to what he was known to at the time, recalling the physical comedians of the past.

3. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

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It’s Johnny at his most hearthrobby, whatever that means. DiCaprio rightly gets the plaudits for his performance, but Depp, Lewis,and all the rest all give it a damn good go to complete a touching portrayal of daily struggles. Depp is able to carry a lot of the film as the ostensible lead, and he doesn’t have the suit of armour or make-up to hide behind as in his previous hit. There is nothing inherently quirky about his character, name aside, but it is the situation he finds himself in which borders on the unusual. Depp is a strange mixture of passive, accepting, and keen – willing to be the father figure and brother, yet accepting of his lot even as he hopes for more.

2. Ed Wood

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Depp’s other film of 1993 allowed him to unleash his more madcap and exuberant side as he plays the title character in the cult biography. Teaming up with Burton after their earlier success, Ed Wood was a much smaller movie and for many years remained that Tim Burton or Johnny Depp movie that no-one had seen. Even with the critical acclaim which was given to the film and its stars, it was a commercial failure which has luckily found a cult audience in the years since. What is key to the success of the film is that it does not outright mock or laud its titular figure – it simply presents a captivating story of people with a dream and a will – people who will never succeed, people who have already succeeded but been spat out, and people who remain enamored by an industry that doesn’t care about them. Depp’s Wood is stellar, ably backed by a terrific Martin Landau – another instance of the supporting performer getting the plaudits over Depp when both performers deserve all the praise. Depp’s character is child-like in both enthusiasm and despair, a most human Peter Pan, and is just out of place and time enough to be noticeable – he is someone for the powerful to swat away and the needy to cuddle and protect.

  1. Edward Scissorhands

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Once again my Number 1 should not surprise anyone – Edward Scissorhands is in my mind a flawless film and one of my all time favourites. The only criticism I have ever been able to lay at its feet is that it just isn’t long enough. This is a star-making performance by Depp, creating an emphatic 90s outsider and anti-hero, and showcasing his ability as a physically expressive actor and someone who is able to play the audience for laughs and tears in equal measure. Much of the credit of the film goes of course to Burton – the ideas of isolation, the frivolous horrors of suburban America, and the bizarre realities and feelings of the outcast are his – but all of these are portrayed through the script, the colours, and the performances, with Depp at his best as Edward.

Ten great films and ten great performances – 10 films every film fan should see. I think seven of these performances are worthy of Oscar nominations/wins, so once I get to the 90s in my Oscars rundown, you’ll see most of these popping up. Let us know in the comments what your favourite Johnny Depp films and performances are!

Neighbours – Bonus Post 3

So, Dee is back, and it’s all as weird and convoluted as you would expect. 2 things:

  1. Why not just go for the ‘I banged my head, half-drowned, and lost my memory’ rather than all of the other guff Dee said before actually getting to that point. Obviously they’re setting her up for future conflict, secrets, and stories.
  2. I was disappointed by the lack of emotion in the reunion scenes – Toadie, Susan, Karl, Steph – this was someone you LOVED and someone you thought was DEAD. I don’t care how many years have passed, you’re going to be in floods of tears. Of course there’s more to come so we’ll see, but just those initial scenes weren’t what I was hoping for.

Oh yeah, another thing – I want to see some old friends coming back to see Dee, even if only for a handful of episodes or scenes. Make it happen.

Aside from that, i have enjoyed watching the comeback and it’ll make future episodes interesting. As a side note, I’m writing this on 1/31/17 and have not yet watched yesterday or today’s episode yet. I’ll try to finish and post ASAP. But enough of that, here are a few more of my favourite Neighbours characters!

Amy Greenwood –  Jacinta Stapleton – 1997 – 2000 (2005)

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Significant Others: Lance Wilkinson, Damien Smith, Anne Wilkinson, Toadie, Billy Kennedy

Ahh Amy, sexy, flirty, and a little bit dumb, Amy gave hope to all hopeless nerds and romantics across the globe by loving resident geekazoid Lance. She arrived with her mum and brothers who all left the show inside a matter of months, leaving Amy to navigate the perils of Ramsey Street with her friends. She was there during my peak watching period/favourite watching time and so was part of the core Ramsey Street teen group, getting up to the usual fun and games, notably her on and off relationship with Lance and for preparing the blokes for the Full Monty show.

Special Power: Tricking people into believing she is a time-travelling Madonna.

Where Are They Now:

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She returned for the 20th Anniversary Show and appeared in Annalise’s documentary – and although still working as a flight attendant and still married, she gave Lance (who was watching) a special mention – one of my favourite moments of that episode. As for Jacinta, she’s still a regular on Australian TV and movies but I haven’t seen any of them.

Annalise Hartman – Kimberley Davies – 1993 – 1996 (2005)

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Significant Others – Sam Kratz, Joanna Hartman, Mark Gottleib, Beth Brennan, Lou Carpenter.

Speaking of Annalise – here she is! Another glamour Queen for Erinsborough, Annalise was a favourite of men on and off the show, making a significant enough impression in her three years to warrant her return for the 20th Anniversary show as a focal point. A typical blonde bombshell (a phrase I’ve never really understood), she had a million jobs, survived a plane crash, got it on with almost every bloke on the street, and got jilted on her wedding day. There’s probably a lot I don’t remember about her period on the show, but I was pleased to see her come back.

Special Power: Immune to orc poison

Where Are They Now:

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As you know, she became some sort of film-maker and came back to document Ramsey Street and its people for the 20th Anniversary. After that, I’ve no idea. Kimberley Davies made guest appearances on some pretty big shows – Friends, Ally McBeal etc and has also appeared in various reality shows.

Boyd Hoyland – Kyal Marsh – 2002 – 2007

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Significant Others: Max Hoyland, Izzy Hoyland, Summer Hoyland, the other Hoylands, Steph Scully, Sky Mangel, Janae Timmins, Kayla Thomas.

Ah yes, Boy. Yes, I called him Boy. I always made fun of Boy because he always seemed like a bit of a tool in his early days, but I still liked him. As time went on, he was still kind of a tool, but always wanted to help people and was generally a good guy. I was a big fan of the Hoylands and was hoping they would stick around but around the time I stopped watching it was clear they were on their way out too. Reportedly Boyd was unhappy with some of the later relationship stories the Producers gave him, hastening his departure. He did have some good stories, acting as a surrogate father, getting on steroids, and developing schizophrenia. He was always protective of his sister and even though he was always butting heads with Max, it was clear they loved each other too.

Special Powers: Superior upper arm strength

Where Are They Now:

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After splitting up with Janae, Boyd deciding to leave with Sky. I know Steph has mentioned Max since I started watching the show again late last year, but I’m not sure if Boyd has been mentioned. Kyal Marsh quite acting after leaving the show, like so many others, but did appear in and win Circque de Celebrite. I’ve no idea what he’s at now.

Izzy Hoyland – Natalie Bassingthwaighte (WTF) – 2003 – 2007

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Significant Others – The Hoylands, Karl Kennedy, Darcy Tyler, Paul Robinson

The arch-schemer of the show, Izzy was a whirlwhind in her time on the show. I can’t say I ever really liked her character  – how could you – but she invigorated the show and caused trouble wherever she went. Her most significant moments were with Karl and Susan and Darcy, as she pretended Karl was the father of her unborn daughter. Later on it is revealed that Karl fathered a different child with her – Holly – who has apparently been in the show too. Her and Darcy marked the most scheme/wicked period in the show’s history.

Special Powers – Her lies can turn you to stone.

Where Are They Now

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Currently faffing around somewhere – sent her daughter Holly to leave with Karl and Susan for a while in 2013, but didn’t show up herself. Natalie has had a successful career outside of Neighbours as both a solo singer and as part of a group with various gold and platinum singles and albums – I don’t believe I’ve heard any of her stuff. She has also been a TV Presenter, Judge, and appeared in a few movies.

Max Hoyland – Stephen Lovatt – 2002 -2007

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Significant Others: The Hoylands, Steph Scully, The Robinson family

Good old Max – he always seemed stressed and in truth there was usually always something stressful happening to him or his family. Whether it be keeping tabs on his kids and looking out for the sister that everyone hated, or trying to keep his realationship with Steph going while dealing with the Robinson’s scheming (fair enough after he killed Paul’s innocent son thinking it was his evil twin… I know I know), Max had a tough life. But Max was a good father and always loyal, and hopefully after he departed for Fiji his life has been easier.

Special Power – Misfortune

Where Are They Now – Max left in 2007 after splitting with Steph and later got sole custody of their son. He’s still in Fiji and every so often Steph mentions calling him to talk with Charlie. It seems unlikely he’ll return now as Steph and him have moved on. Stephen Lovatt is a respected theatre actor who has also appeared in a variety of TV shows and movies, from Xena Warrior Princess to Ash Vs Evil Dead!

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Summer Hoyland – Marisa Siketa (2002-2007) and Jordy Lucas (2010-2013)

Significant Others: The Hoylands, Steph Scully, Andrew Robinson

Oh man, it would have been sweet if Marisa had returned to play Summer – that may have been enough to make me tune in back in 2010. Summer was mature beyond her years, conniving, and highly annoying, but occasionally sweet as time went on. I never saw anything of her second stint on the show so I don’t know how different her character or the portrayal was. You couldn’t help but like her, even when she was annoying as hell, thanks to Siketa’s performance.

Special Powers: Cries chocolate tears.

Where Are They Now:

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She left the show for the second time and headed for Paris. I’m sure her scholarship there is over, so it’s a ripe time for her to make another appearance in the show. Of all the Hoyland family, it’s Max and Boyd I’d love to see come back, but Summer and Izzy are the more likely options. Siketa was a child actress in Saddle Club and other shows but has since – you’ve guessed it – retired from acting and is now a traffic reporter on Radio. Jordy Lucas has had minor appearances in shows and movies I’ve never heard of.

I’ll only do a few more of these posts, I promise! Let us know in the comments what you thought of any of these characters!

Chart Music Through The Years – 1984

Yes! Back thanks to an almost universal lack of demand, I stretch back the scalp of time and feast upon the mushy innards of the past – in this instance I return to the UK music charts. If you’re interested, you can read my original post here – https://carlosnightman.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/the-uk-top-40/

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Behold, in 1984 we finally landed in the future. Big Brother was watching us, flying cars were flying us to our various space-age android sex factories, and other Orwellian words were flapping around like the head of a stoned giraffe. In 1984, I was a mere mewling babe, soiling my trousers and putting bowls of beans on my head while mum and dad took photos and emitted bizarre cackling gurgles – I don’t really know as I can’t remember. Outside of my pram, the first Apple Mac was released, Tommy Cooper laughed his last (laugh), AIDS was ‘discovered’, GCSEs replaced O-Levels, Reagan was re-elected, and the world learned of the terrible famine in Ethiopia. In the music world, Band Aid unleashed Do They Know It’s ChristmasRelax was banned from airwaves and went straight to Number 1, Alice Cooper took a break, Marvin Gaye was murdered, unborn meme fans rejoiced as Lionel Richie sang Hello, Iron Maiden headed behind the Iron Curtain, Tipper Gore got all in a flap and went on a moral rampage, and Bruce Springsteen reminded Americans what it was like to be American. A year of turmoil and unrest then, so you would expect the music to reflect the atmosphere of fear and paranoia – lets find out!

1. Stevie Wonder: I Just Called To Say I Love You

I know this song gets a lot of stick from people, especially hardcore Stevie Wonder fans. I still haven’t actually listened to a full Stevie Wonder album at the time of writing, and I only know his big hits. This is one of those big hits, and as cheesy as it may be, I love it. It has all the hallmarks of an 80s disaster – synth, flat papery beats, but it has Stevie’s voice, twinkling pianos, hilarious bass, ghostly whistle synth sounds, and an immortal chorus… all together now! I just called.. to say…. I love you! Take out the 80s crap and the melody remains true, focus it more towards a minor key and it becomes a different beast entirely.

2. Culture Club: War Song

I pity the fool who doesn’t get this reference. I forgot this song ever existed. The lyrics are hilariously bad, yet the the chorus is strangely catchy. Rhyming ‘stupid’ with ‘stupid’? We get a section of war chanting and Dark Side wailing followed by a strange bridge with marching drums which suddenly breaks away into that juicy, sunny Culture Club sound. An odd one, I’m surprised this got so far up the charts.

3. Wham: Freedom

Chinese stuff. Talking. More talking. Too much talking. Outrageous screech. Do do do doooo. Singing and clanging guitar and clanging something. Aaaand finally the chorus, which of course we all know. Verse melodies okay. Not much else, pretty funny stuff, I wonder what China made of it. There’s a happy lightness and joy to the song which feels real and infectious so I can’t criticize it for that. Unnecessarily long.

4. Ray Parker Jr : Ghostbusters

A movie soundtrack classic, though this one does go on a fair bit too. I don’t think you need me to talk about this one right? Who ya gonna call? I have always loved the weird, eerie build up to the famous intro though, so I’ll mention that at least.

5. The Cars: Drive

So many 80s sounds in one list. I was always a bit partial to this one, but I never went out of my way to find or listen to it. It sounds very sad and moody and atmospheric and even though it is drenched in 80s, it doesn’t sound dated or cheesy. Emotion people – add it to you music and watch it live forever.

6. Paul McCartney: No More Lonely Nights

I actually have most, or a lot of McCartney’s non-Beatles stuff, but haven’t listened to it yet. I think I was put off by listening to a lot of Lennon’s and not liking it – mostly I know Paul’s major solo and Wings hits, but looking at the title of this one I didn’t recognise it. Listening now I don’t recognise the verse. It’s pretty bland stuff. The chorus doesn’t do a lot either, but throws in some sudden guitar blasts. It goes on and on a bit too, a lot of songs here being longer than they need to be – and I love long songs!

7. Bronski Beat: Why

Terrible screech. And, even worse 80s noises. Know amount of emotion would stop this from being dated and cheesy. I’ve no idea what the song is about, but it sounds important from the snippets of lyrics I can make out on first listen. Trumpets and other assorted drippy droppy sounds. I think we can do without ever hearing this again.

8. U2: Pride

I’ve never been much of a U2 fan, a lot of that was probably to do with my upbringing and by the time I could have made my own choices I already thought Bono was a knob. Having said that, there are plenty of U2 songs that I do like. I’m not sure if I’ve heard this in its entirety before (probably have). As with a lot of U2 songs from this period this has the same jangling guitar by Edge and the stadium chorus. It’s actually a fairly plain and simple song, made stronger by Bono’s vocals.

9. Giorgio Morodor and Philip Oakey: Together In Electric Dreams

Another one which is on endless rotation on the radio stations my wife listens to. It’s another with dreadfully dated synth and that bland, deep male vocal from a million other 80s one hit wonders. Having said that, it does of course have a great chorus so I won’t take that away.

10. Prince: Purple Rain

So, since writing this post originally in Feb 2016, Prince has sadly passed away. Yet another legend traversing through space and light and time to pop out on the other side with all the other souls which have escaped their earthly bodies. Or some such. Truth be told, I’ve never been much of a Prince fan. The few songs of his that I’ve heard never really did a lot for me. But I must emphasis the few, as I’m aware Prince released nearly 40 albums, which is ludicrous. Hopefully a few of those appear in Colin Larkin’s Top 1000 Albums and I’ll finally be able to listen to them. Anyway, I’ve rewritten this song entry just to say that this song didn’t have much of an impact on me, but it does feel more poignant now. Still, the drums, the vocals, the production all irritate me and the melodies don’t do much for me. I must be some sort of monster. Good guitar though.

There you have it folks, 1984. But these songs only tell a little of the story. Elsewhere we had albums such as Defenders Of The Faith, self-titled efforts by The Smiths and Run DMC, Psalm 9, Born In The USA, All Over The Place, Ride The Lightning, Powerslave, Reckless, Like A Virgin, and many more. It was a seminal year for many genres. Have a gander and these 10 alternative songs from 1984 – your ears will thank me.

  1. Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – yes yes, from her 1983 album, but released as a single this year
  2. The Smiths – This Charming Man
  3. Weird Al Yankovich – Eat It
  4. Bruce Springsteen – Born In The USA
  5. Metallica – Creeping Death
  6. Iron Maiden – 2 Minutes To Midnight
  7. Van Halen – Jump (I know, I know)
  8. Madonna – Like A Virgin
  9. Bryan Adams – Summer Of ’69
  10. Joe Esposito – You’re The Best

Let us know what you were listening to in 1984, and which songs and/or albums from that hallowed year you still put on these days.