My Blog – February 2020!

Greetings, Glancers! Without sounding too much like I’m swimming (naked) in a puddle of Glee while (naked) supermodels douse my flesh with 100 pound notes and feed me pavolva by the tit-full, I’m in a good mood. My beloved Liverpool are riding high at the top of the Premier League and although it’s not over yet, they are on course to pick up their first Top Flight English Title in thirty years. Arch enemies Man Utd are hilariously floundering, further proof that Alec Ferguson was the only reason they were ever successful. We are European Champions, World Club Champions, and hopefully in a few months will be Premier League Champions, as long as I haven’t gone and jinxed it.

But none of you care about any of that. What you want to know, what you spend your lonesome nights in bed thinking about as you clutch the duvet to your jaw to keep the darkness at bay, is what my favourite breed of dog is. Nil Desperandum! I am here to shuttle your fears away like so many fleas from a bull’s bollock. I am here, and I am listening. And, only marginally more disturbing, I am watching. So here are some more fiendish conundrums I hereby solve for you via the power of finger-tapping. Observe:

  1. Do you have any siblings?

Yes. An older brother and a younger sister.

2. What do you want to be when you grow up?

What didn’t I want to be? Or what do I still want to be? I wanted to be a paleontologist – mainly because I hoped to find real life dinosaurs. I wanted to be an explorer – mainly because I hoped to find real life dinosaurs. I wanted to be a stuntman, because throwing yourself off bridges and crashing cars looks like fun. I suppose my mainstays have been in more creative outlets – writing, whether that be stories, lyrics, music – yet I do each of those things now for my own enjoyment and sanity while making zero effort to making money from any of it.

3. Who was your first best friend?

Probably one of the girls on the street I grew up on, as they were around before I got to school – if you can have best friends before school. Julie was born on the same day as me, back in ’83, but moved away shortly after we started school together. I still saw her regularly up till University age before employment and all that guff got in the road. Hannah too, she moved away around my fourth year in school and we never kept in touch after that. In terms of actual school friends – Scott, who remained in my class all the way through seven years of Primary school, seven years of Grammar School, and into the first year of University before he dropped out, though we were never really best friends. So that leaves Simon and Kyle – who may well be reading this – my main partners in crime for a good few years. Hiya!

4. How tall are you?

6 ft exactly. I think.

5. What is the least favourite thing about yourself?

Where to begin? I’ve never had a very high opinion of myself. Beyond me being able to talk for days about movies, music, Greek myths… I don’t have much going for me. When I was young I didn’t like how knobbly my knees were and how thin my wrists were – I used to say ‘why do I have useless pieces of fat or flesh here where they’re not needed – why can’t they be transferred over there instead?’ There’s a multi-billion dollar industry now for such vanities. I think I don’t like how passive I am about certain things – about keeping in touch with friends, about making a damn good go at anything with what meagre talent I have.

6. Funniest moment throughout School?

I couldn’t pick one. And many wouldn’t be funny to anyone else, because they involve farts. I remember the boys bathrooms used to have narrow windows about 8 feet off the ground which opened outwards into an adjoining playground – they were directly above the urinals. So of course we would try to pee up and out the windows to see who could ‘make it’. I remember sitting cross legged on the Assembly Room floor in the middle of Morning Assembly (where some guy would come and pray and the Headmaster would deliver his weekly sermon about the value of the Green Cross Code or some guff) and every so often feeling a low down rumble in the put of my stomach which signified an imminent expulsion of gas from my brown cave, praying and clenching and holding it in, but on one occasion someone beside me farting first, which made me laugh, and which of course resulted in me unleashing an ever louder, longer one which quivered from my ass mirroring the laughs coming from my heaving chest. That happened several times. I remember me and Kyle coming back from a trip to Newcastle and both of us just happening to look out the car window and seeing two cows humping – that kept us laughing the whole way back to Ards. That’s probably not School though. Bigger School? Well, I was older and more mature then so… yeah, more farts.

7. How many countries have you visited?

I’m sure I could list them all but I can’t be arsed. It’s not as many as all you gap-year types, but the joke’s on you; I have Google Maps so I can pretend I’m there anyway, without having my wallet stolen by Erik from Duisburg or picking up Herpes by simply being in Venice.

8. What was your favorite/worst subject in High School?

High School? Grammar School, thank you very much. English – favourite. Physics – worst.

9. What is your Favorite drink? Animal? Perfume?

Seriously, what is with these questions. Drink – I don’t know, it depends on what I feel like. Coke or Lilt or fruity tropical breakfast juice or Sake or beer or Kraken Rum or JD. I love all animals – Tigers, any big cat really, and chimps. I don’t know the names of perfumes – they all taste like Grannies.

10. What would you (or have you) name your children?

I have named my children by picking a name and then giving it to them, and then popping down to the council offices and registering it legally. I plan to do the same with my next. Which isn’t what you’re looking for, but tough.

11. What Sports do you play/Have you played?

I have played many sports. I was never good at any of them beyond a period in Grammar School where I was the top lunchtime scorer in our football matches. I played in our School’s Basketball team as we remained unbeaten for two years. My school desperately wanted me on the hockey team because I was apparently a natural special talent. That’s actually a funny (not really) story – my School was known to be led by posh types – it has a Prep School and all the wealthy mummies and daddies would feed their little privileged darlings through and into the Rugby and Hockey Teams. One day for some reason, the Hockey Team decided to have a practice game against all of the people like me who refused to be part of any school team – the outcasts, the lazy, the fat, weak, unfit, etc. In short, the big boys wanted to bully us. Me being me, I was either not going to be part of it, or stick up for the little guy. Proceed to me, single-handedly, absolutely destroying the Senior Year’s First Hockey Team, scoring like 16 goals, making them look like nothing, in probably my greatest sporting achievement. They didn’t know what had hit them. Sadly, they’re probably all top bank executives now, with bored trophy wives and a bit on the side, so who’s laughing? Still me, actually.

12. Who are some of your favorite YouTubers?

I have issues with YouTube – it’s such a circle jerk of copycats and is mostly a vacuum of talent where only the worst rise to the top and it allows those who least deserve success a platform where they can showcase the worst of humanity. It’s just like School again then, where the entitled and the most troublesome gained the most attention while the rest of us just go the hell on with things, except now everyone shrieks ‘CONTENT’ every eight seconds. But it does offer plenty of opportunities to weirdos, outcasts… anyone really, to do whatever the hell they want, and because of that it’s great. Of course YT or Google or whoever is doing their damnedest to remove freedom and make it even more shitty and generic, but you still get plenty of gold. I go through phases – I watch Kermode videos regularly for my movie review fix, I’ll sometimes drop in on the Fine Bros to marvel at the State of American Youth, and I keep an eye out for any new ‘Reacts to Buffy’ or ‘Reacts to Manic Street Preachers’ types that are on the go. Recently I’ve been watching Dragons Den clips, mainly because the comments are so funny, and a guy who scams the scammers – Kitboga. And of course Digitiser2000, because it’s still the best thing ever. Some of the people I’ve been subscribed to for years include Vanoss and Delirious – their videos are usually well made and amusing and remind me of my own teenage gaming nights, though they’re not the sharpest tools around and some of the humour is questionable. My boi Dashie. Weregonnalose is the best troller around.

13. How many Girlfriends/Boyfriends have you had?

This is quite the adolescent site we have here – the site I nicked these questions from, that is. Boyfriends – zero. Girlfriends – I don’t know, like five or something? Less than ten anyway. Do we braid each other’s bra now or something?

14. Favorite memory from childhood?

I don’t really have anything specific – probably something from Christmas or just all of the days arsing about with friends after School or during the holidays. It was like being in a coming of age Stephen King book, but with balaclavas instead of Pennywises.

15. How would you describe your fashion sense?

Unchanging. I wear jeans and T-shirts. Usually Band T-shirts, sometimes something TV related. Fashion is entirely pointless.

That’s it – if you have any pressing dilemmas which are impinging on your eight hours a night, ask me in the comments and I’ll get around to curing you. Till then, have a gander at the cornucopia of delights right underneath this sentence.

Reminder on blog links:

A-Z Reviews: This category is a single post with links to all my movie, music, and book reviews. It’s the best place to start and you can check it via THIS LINK. I try to update it regularly.

Amazon Vine: I’m a member of Amazon Vine, a program where Amazon’s best reviewers are provided with free products for reviewing purposes in order to drum up publicity before the product is released to the general public. You can find links to the Products I have received here.

Book Reviews: Something I don’t really do anymore, even though I still read plenty. I need to get back into this, but movies are so much easier to review. Maybe I’ll come up with a different format.

Blogging: A new category! This is where I’m going to put this exact post, and the others like it to follow.

Changing The Past: This category is where I go back through every Oscars since 1960 and pick my winners from almost every category. I pick my winners from the official choices, and then I add my own personal list of who I feel should have been nominated. It’s based on personal preference, but it’s also not based on any of the usual Academy political nonsense and I bypass most of their archaic rules. It’s not quite me just picking my favourite films, but it’s close.

DVD Reviews: I should probably just change this to Movie Reviews. It’s what you would expect – reviews of the movies I’ve watched. I’m not a big fan of reviewing every new film which comes out – there are a billion other blogs out there all doing the same thing. I don’t often watch new movies as they release, unless they’re streaming, so instead you’ll be getting reviews of those films a few years later, once I get around to them. Here you will find horror, actions, classics, foreign, indie, sci-fi, comedy, drama – everything. A word of warning – I frequently post reviews that I wrote almost twenty years ago when I didn’t have a clue – they’re crap, but I add them here in all of their badly written glory.

Essential Movies: I’ve only published an intro post for this category, but I have written some other posts for the future. I’m basically questioning what actually makes a film Essential, because it cannot be a definitive statement. What’s essential for you, may not be for me, so I’ve broken down the definition into a few generic user types, then gone through some lists of the best movies of each year to see which ones are essential for each viewer. It’s pretty boring, and I already regret starting it, but that’s me.

Foreign Cinema Introduction: This category hasn’t been published yet, but once again it exists and I’ve written a bunch of posts for the future. The idea came from my many years of hearing people I know IRL or on the internet dismissing anything not mass-produced by Hollywood. If you only watch movies made in the USA – you’re not a movie fan, it’s as simple as that. I follow a few Facebook fan pages and blogs on WordPress which completely dismiss foreign movies – it’s ridiculous as you are missing out on many of the best films ever made. More than that, you are missing out on films which I know for a fact you will adore. So, this is me breaking down all that bullshit about subtitles, about foreign stuff being boring and every other excuse you’ve ever heard, while giving some very basic thoughts and introductions of the various countries of the world from a film perspective.

Lists: Here I post lists – some with comments, some without. All sorts of lists – from monthly previews of the year’s upcoming movies, to my favourite movies by actor or director, to best horror anthologies, best Christmas songs and TV shows, best movies for Halloween, my favourite episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, my ranking of Bond movies, songs, and girls, my favourite albums by decade, my favourite songs by artist, bands I’ve seen live etc. I love lists.

Manic Street Preachers Song By Song: One of the first reasons I started this blog was to try to spread the Gospel of my favourite band, especially as they are not well known outside of Britain. Defo not in the US. Then I found out there were other blogs doing it too. Ah well. These are my thoughts on each song. Don’t know them? They are a Welsh rock band who have been around since the late 80s, early 90s. They are highly political and intelligent, on the left wing, and they are probably the finest lyricists in the world. Their main lyricist suffered from various addictions and mental health issues and disappeared in 1995 – although there have been sightings, nobody has ever confirmed they have seen him and no body has ever been found, though the band, fans, and family are still looking. After three albums with him, they suddenly became commercially successful after his disappearance. If you like rock music… if you like music in general, please give them a try.

Music Reviews: This is the same as movies, except for music. Reviews of albums I’ve always loved, as reviews of albums as I’m listening as a virgin. I take a look at the Top Ten UK Charts from a random month in each year and review each song, while giving my own alternative ten songs from the same year, I am reviewing albums that I’ve never heard by artists I am familiar with – filling the gaps in those discographies. I’m listening to spin-offs of my favourite bands, I’m reviewing the Disney soundtracks. I was a metal and grunge kid, but also had a love for the best in 80 pop when I was young, so I like to listen to anything though since around the mid-noughties chart music has gone from extremely bad to entirely worthless.

The Nightman Scoring System ©: This is something I truly love, but something which nobody really pays attention to. You’ll notice in my reviews I don’t give a score. I just talk about the thing I’m reviewing. Scores are arbitrary and when given, people jump to the score and form a conclusion and a bias. If they read the content of the review, there will be a better discussion. That made me think, in a very unprofessional, semi-scientific, ill-examined way, to come up with a fair, universal scoring system which tries to avoid personal and systematic bias as much as possible. If you look at sites like Rotten Tomatoes which are stupidly becoming reference points for quality or to convince you to watch something, or used by advertisers, it’s a completely flawed system. Anyone can post whatever they like, and drag down or push up an average. The same used to happen on IMDb. There are a lot of posts online recently about the disparity between Critical and Audience consensus on RT and it leads to more worthless arguments, because if there’s something the world needs more of these days, it’s people fighting online about pointless stuff.

I devised two scoring systems – one for movies and one for music. To use it, you have to follow the guidelines and be honest. If you’re not honest, it will be obvious, and your review won’t be valid. For both music and and movies, I break down the scoring into twenty different categories of equal weighting – out of five, for a total out of 100. Categories include acting, directing, sales; or for music – charts, influence, musical ability etc. Say you hate the Marvel movies or The Beatles. You can’t score them a 1 out of five in the Sales category because both of those were factually monster hits – they can really only be 5 out of five. In other words, some of what is opinion and bias is removed from the equation. In the same vein, the disparity between critics and audiences is reduced – typically you may think that a movie or music critic care more about how arty or original or influential something is, while the audience might care how many boobs are seen or how catchy the melody is. I’m making sweeping assumptions – but you get the idea – each category is equally weighted so that influence is only worth five points, chart performance is only worth five points, directing, advertising, whatever – each is five points. I’d love to see people use this, and I’d love to run an experiment where a group of people each use the system to score the same thing, and see how similar or different the results are. I’m positive the average would be a more true reflection than anything on RT or IMDB or anywhere else. The only issue with it is, it’s more suited to scoring once something has been out there for a while rather than a pre-release or first week review.

Nightman’s Favourite Films By Year: Self-explanatory. I list my favourite ten films from every year since 1950, with no comment. Then I give a list of my top films from each decade once I’ve done each year, but this time share some comments. There’s also some stats in there, such as how many films I picked which were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, which were top ten grossing movies etc.

Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: A journalist called Colin Larkin made several of those popular ‘Top 1000 Albums Ever’ books. I grabbed one of them, I removed the ones I had already heard, and in this series I go through the ones that I haven’t heard, give my virgin thoughts, and whether I think it deserves to be called one of the best ever. I want to sync up my Nightman Scoring System © with these. Just one word of warning – I don’t plan or put any thought into these ‘reviews’. I literally listen and type at the same time. Not the best way to give thoughts I know, but that’s the format.

The Shrine: People die. Famous people die. But they live on, in our hearts and minds and in the work they left behind. Here I offer the chance to remember and offer thanks.

The Spac Hole: Each Monday I post a random lyric from a random song. Every so often I write something which doesn’t fit in any other category. Usually it’s weird. That stuff all goes here. There are more semi-regular pieces like those posts where I use Google translate to change the lyrics of (s)hit songs or dreadful imaginings like what I would do if I owned my own Cinema.

The Spac Reviews: Carlos Nightman is my alter ego. Derek Carpet is his alter ego. He is an idiot. He likes movies. These are his reviews. They are…. different.

TV Reviews: I sometimes review TV too. I talk about my current shows and my all time favourites.

Unpublished Screenplays: Derek Carpet sometimes likes to pretend he’s a writer too. Here are some of his original works, based on other movies and TV shows.

Videogame Reviews: I do these sometimes too. Usually retro. Usually with a humourous bent.

Walk Of Fame: Hollywood has a Walk Of Fame. I have one too. Mine’s better, except I don’t update it anymore. Not only do my inductees get a star, but they get a statue too! And, in each post one lucky soul gets a special building concerning their work or life dedicated to them!

 

The Walking Dead – Unpublished Screenplay 8

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INT. LIVING ROOM. DAY

MICHONNE: I’m every woman, it’s all in me!

RICK GRIMES: Hello, sweetheart, what are you up to?

MICHONNE: Oh! You startled me! I was just, um, practising my sword skills.

RICK GRIMES: Really? Because it looked like you were singing Whitney Houston’s greatest hits.

MICHONNE: No, that was me thinking of something witty to say for when I finally kill The Governor.

RICK GRIMES: I see. You know, Whitney Houston’s probably a zombie now.

Nightman’s Updated Favourite Films Of 2009!

Greetings, Glancers! As they say in Pointless, it’s time to come back down the line. Yes, it’s time to go back through my favourite movies by year lists and update them with additional thoughts and information to expand beyond simplified originals, starting with 2009 and working backwards towards 1950.

Lets begin briefly with those who almost made the cut. Although we’re now ten years plus removed from 2009, the year was always going to be remembered for one movie above all – the all conquering Avatar. While we continue to wait for the next blue tinted extravaganza from James Cameron, time has been kind enough to the film. It still looks glossy and the 3D technology involved is still a marvel. The story was never very interesting first time around and it quickly collapsed into Transformers Vs Jurassic Park, but it remains one of the most important spectacles in Cinema history. It’s not one I will see myself revisiting often as time goes on but you can’t go without experiencing it at least once.

Harry Brown is like Get Carter for pensioners – or Get Off My Lawn. Capitalizing on much of the fear of ‘hoodies’ and society’s post millennium breakdown and paranoia it tells the satisfying story of an ex marine, now elderly man living in a run down council estate. Having lived through many years of war and violence you’d expect him to be enjoying his twilight years in luxury, but instead he has to deal with gangs and hoodies and chavs who prevent him from seeing his wife in her dying moments. With the police unable to help and refusing to end his days in fear, he goes on the warpath. It’s all a little right wing in the vein of Michael Winner, but I’ve always had a soft spot for vigilante movies – who hasn’t wanted to flip out and beat the shit out of a gang of scumbags or bullies? The cast certainly helps elevate matters – Michael Caine hasn’t been this badass since the 70s and a host of GOT faces will be familiar. There is the usual assortment of go-to thugs who have made a career of these types of roles – Jack O’Connell, Sean Harris, Ben Drew, and Joseph Gilgun all give committed performances. There were quite a few films of this ilk at the time, from Eden Lake to Gran Torino and director Daniel Barber went on to helm the Hailee Steinfeld/Brit Marling ‘Western’ The Keeping Room which is always well worth a look.

Moon is a film I was interested in from Day One, but took a few years to actually see. It’s Sam Rockwell alone (mostly) on the Moon near the end of his three year term as the only living worker maintaining a mining facility. It would be entering spoiler territory to give away anymore of the plot, but if you’ve seen the obvious influencers – Silent Running, Solaris, 2001, then you won’t be too far off what unfolds if you were to hazard a guess. It’s an opportunity once more for some moral and philosophical wondering under the guidance of Duncan Jones and writer Nathan Parker who specializes in this sort of high concept hard genre stuff. Rockwell is terrific and it was a little misguided when he was overlooked at The Oscars.

District 13 Ultimatum is… well, if you liked the original (and you should), it’s more of the same. This series has some of the best physical action you’re likely to find, taking the visceral quality of the Bourne movies and throwing in copious amounts of parkour. Both films have me wanting to leap out the living room window and begin tearing my way through the neighbours gardens – over walls, through bushes, up drainpipes and bounding from rooftoop to rooftop. Bringing back both David Belle and Cyril Raffaelli from the original we see quickly that the French ghetto is still in bad shape, with rival gangs fighting over filling the gap left after the events of the original. Again there are plenty of obvious allusions to political situations but we cam here for the action and it doesn’t disappoint. If you’re bored of superheros and CG and building crashing to the ground this will revitalize your interest in action.

Up is yet another near perfect movie from Pixar. I don’t love it as much as most people do and its best moments are in that opening, but it’s still a lovely tale about dreams and friendship that it’s hard to criticize. My only issue with the recent Pixar and Disney animations is the ‘chubby’ nature of the art – almost every film and character follows this style and even by the time Up was released it was long past time for a change – a change which neither Company has made since.

Bruno is exactly what you would expect if you’ve already seen Borat or the Ali G Show. It’s basically a carbon copy of Borat but with a different character – an excuse to ridicule the vain, the stupid, and the generally right wing. It’s offensive, it’s hilarious and the only reason I don’t enjoy it as much as Borat is that Borat is such an endearing character, in spite of being a terrible human. My wife’s parents loved Borat – they had to switch Bruno off within ten minutes. Ok boomer comes to mind.

District 9 got a lot of positive reaction this year, critics suddenly deciding that genre movies were worth discussing as long as they had a political subtext, however on the nose it may be. Never mind the fact that horror and sci-fi have always done political subtext better than almost any other genres. I came for the gore and the swearing and the ludicrous over the top performance by Sharlto Copley. I like the low budget creative approach and the fact that the aliens aren’t what we were used to seeing, and the descent to action in the final sections feels like a fun payoff. Again, I don’t think it’s as good as the praise it received at the time, but I’d take something like this over almost every other Best Picture nominee this year. Finally, The Road possibly should have been nominated in that category – a bleak and uncompromising take on McCarthy’s book with a great lead performance by Viggo Mortensen. John Hillcoat follows the approach he showcases in The Proposition and makes it a film well worth re-watching.

Just one final late entry, which probably should have made it into my original Top Ten, but I somehow overlooked that it came out in 2009 – The House Of The Devil. It’s a great slasher throwback, and everything simply works.

Now into the top ten.

10: Dead Snow (Norway) Tommy Wirkola

2009 was peak, or end of peak zombie renaissance territory, and even then most viewers were tired of the whole shtick. Enter Tommy Wirkola who smashes fun back into the genre which had become a little too serious. Dead Snow is one big episode of Wile E Coyote And Road Runner – a natural stepson of Braindead if not Evil Dead. The pitch is great – what if a gang of Nazi soldiers who had been frozen in the mountains woke up again in an undead search for gold? Actually, that’s not great, but it is hilarious. To set up the story we throw in your standard Cabin In The Woods tropes – friends staying in the wilderness for a weekend with all of their relationship crap and then unleash the zombie Nazis. The film neatly balances the shocks and humour and goes wildly overboard with the gore and kills to satisfy any gore-hound. While the cast and characters are almost irrelevant, Vegar Hoel impresses as a modern day Euro-Ash and expands upon that role to ridiculous levels in the sequel. It’s just silly, mindless fun with particularly chunky gore effects.

9: The Princess And The Frog (US) Disney

Call me old fashioned, but I still prefer hand drawn. It largely avoids the aforementioned chubby animation and just feels more tactile and committed. I’m not discounting the work CG animators perform, but when I see hand drawn it simply pulls me in more and gives me a greater sense of the the person behind the creation and the love and care which went into the work. The Princess And The Frog is yet another lovely, simple story from Disney – it’s them going a little meta, recognizing the tropes they helped perpetuate, and having fun turning them around. The voodoo setting and the first African American Princess are all positives, the voice work is particularly strong with the likes of Keith David, Anika Noni Rose, and Jim Cummings standing out. The songs may not be the huge hitters which translate well to the charts, but Almost There joins the ranks of classics which the Company has created over the decades and there are enough sentimental and scary moments to make it memorable. It’s not top tier Disney for me, but it’s in that large and wide B Grade territory where much of their material resides.

8: Micmacs (France) Jean Pierre Jeunet

I’m not sure why this film flew under the radar so much. It’s the director of Amelie making another utterly charming and quirky comedy drama, complete with all of the visual flair he is known for. It deserves a hell of a lot more recognition and while it’s no Amelie, that’s a bit like saying Heat is no The Godfather. It has that exaggerated colour scheme not quite comic book look which you’ll be familiar with from Amelie and A Very Long Engagement, and several of his usual cast members pop up, from Dominique Pinot to Urbain Cancellier.

The film follows a man who seems to be incredibly unlucky when it comes to weaponry – first his dad is killed by a landmine, then he is shot in the head by a stray bullet at work one day. Becoming something of a freak due to the bullet remaining in his head, he joins a group of similar outcasts who happen to live in a junkyard – a contortionist, a maths genius, a human cannonball etc – he has a history in mime. Essentially they become their own circus and they plot to get revenge on the weapons manufacturers who are causing so much grief in the city and around the globe using their unique talents not unlike The A Team. It’s all very charming, fast-paced yet gentle, and is one of the more unique comedies you’re likely to catch – old fashioned yet with a dark satirical streak. Something like this is always more interesting to me than generic rom coms or alpha male comedies.

7: Jennifer’s Body (US) Karyn Kusama

Karyn Kusama doesn’t make many movies, but each one is worth watching – maybe with the exception of Aeon Flux. I kept away from Jennifer’s Body – assuming it was another generic teen horror with a cast picked for their looks rather than their talents. If you’re in the same misguided mindset as I was, consider that it was written by Diablo Cody – Juno, Tully, Young Adult – and very much follows the dialogue and smarts of those movies. The film made me a supporter of Megan Fox – she’s great in this – and also features Adam Brody, Amanda Seyfried, and JK Simmons. It’s a film which has seen some deserved re-evaluation since the mauling it received at the time – when I watched it a couple of years after release I couldn’t believe that so many critics, and myself, had been so wrong.

Seyfried is your typical awkward teenager, ironically (?) called Needy whose best friend is her polar opposite – Jennifer, the popular cheerleader. Best friends since they were young children, the film truly captures the urgency and closeness and ‘us against the world’ feeling you have with such intense friendships when you’re young. Unfortunately, Jennifer seems to pick up some sort of disease which turns her into a killing (eating) machine impervious to harm. Naturally the friendship becomes strained.

The film ticks all of the boxes for horror fans – it’s bloody, some kills are inventive, and its funny. But at its core it’s a character piece – we care about the two leads, the writing is so sharp and the performances endearing that it’s difficult not to see yourself in them. The film is largely told in flashback too, but I’m not sure if that was a conscious decision to allow the audience to reminisce – it seems more likely that teens are the core audience, but ten years later the script still works. It also works as a take down of macho tropes and of some of the seedier aspects of masculinity.

6: Antichrist (Denmark/France/Germany/Italy/Poland/Sweden) Lars Von Trier

Lars man… who never know what you’re going to get with a Lars Von Trier movie, but on the flip side you always know exactly what you’re going to get. Controversy, and a whole lot of messed up shit. And recently – lots and lots of talking. Antichrist starts off in a tame enough way – a couple are shagging while their infant child takes a stroll out of their upstairs window and topples to his death. Naturally, this is all filmed in glorious, beautiful slow mo in a disconcertingly tender way. This intro kicks off the remainder of the plot – the grieving parents cope (or don’t) in their own ways, with the husband (Willem Defoe) a therapist electing to take his wife (Charlotte Gainsbourg) to a good old cabin in the woods where he can treat her personally. Things… don’t go to plan.

This being Lars, the film doesn’t simply descend into the torture and mutilation the tabloids would have you believe. No, we have our usual lengthy insights into the human psyche, merging philosophical jargon, music, literature, history, and manic foxes. Reality gradually becomes skewed, dark believes and fears carve their way out from beneath the skin, and scissors come into play. If you’re familiar with the turn the last act of The House That Jack Built takes, that’s quite similar territory to the final stages of Antichrist. You probably won’t want to re-watch this one, but every movie fan owes it to themselves to see it once. You can say the same for any Von Trier film – every one is worth seeing.

5: Trick R Treat (US/Canada) Michael Dougherty

Horror fans and Halloween go hand in hand, with movie marathons on the day or in October being a staple of each passing year. The same films come up each October – Halloween being the most obvious choice, but Trick R Treat deserves to be second on that list. It’s such a fun, creepy anthology – the stories just the right length and with the right festive tone and variety. Hell, there’s even a new mascot in Sam. Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, and Dylan Baker all feature, but it’s director Michael Dougherty who ties it all together. With only the Godzilla sequel and Krampus to his name in terms of directing, this is his best work. Even if you don’t enjoy horror, there is something here for everything – even the most ardent anti-horror watcher still succumbs at Halloween, and this is perfect for everyone.

4: Triangle (UK/OZ) Christopher Smith

Another terrific little mind-bending, overlooked horror movie with a great premise. Firstly, Christopher Smith has been hit or miss for me – mostly hit. Creep was a disappointment, not making use of a great location, Severance was sort of fun but inconsequential, and Black Death was very good. Triangle is his most ambitious and enjoyable movie.

Having Melissa George in any movie is a plus – a modern scream queen who generally picks better material than most. She stars as Jess, a single mum who is heading out for a boat trip with friends. They hit a storm and lose their boat but stumble upon a deserted liner. Although the liner is seemingly unmanned, there is fresh blood and various signs of people having been there very recently. As the friends search, they suspect they are not alone and we fall into a slasher style one by one pick off march. Except nothing is quite what it seems and without getting too much into spoiler territory, some time-looping stuff happens.

I usually enjoy these sort of high concept horror movies – there have been quite a few which take or twist a similar premise recently – TimeCrimes and Coherence being another couple I would recommend. If the snapshot above doesn’t interest you, possibly the fact that Liam Hemsworth is in a supporting roles might? It is a twisting affair which should be of more interest to non-horror fans and it raises a lot of questions which The Babadook would later be heralded for. It’s one of the best horror movies of 2009 and one of the more challenging and unique of the decade.

3: Inglourious Basterds (US/Germany) Quentin Tarantino

After Kill Bill, Quentin began slowing things down for himself – he’s pretty much a one film every 4-5 years kind of guy now. For years he had been dropping hints about making a WWII movie, his own Dirty Dozen and in 2009 it dropped – instantly becoming everything we would have wanted. It’s vintage Tarantino in style – vignettes, time-jumps, quotable one-liners, speeches, and set-pieces. He rips up the history book and makes his own alternate version of WWII and populates it with plenty of sinister character types – yes, none of the people here feel real, they’re more like heightened stereotypes. Brad Pitt is more fun than he’s ever been and Christoph Waltz is a revelation. After this Tarantino went on a bit of a down turn for me – Django was fine, The Hateful Eight was less than that. But this remains great – not Pulp Fiction great, but almost, and just as watchable.

2: Drag Me To Hell (US) Sam Raimi

Sometimes when you’ve been out of the game for so long, you just lose it. While Sam Raimi had hit a commercial peak with his Spiderman movies, something was calling out to him from beyond, a niggling rat gnawing at his creative cortex and saying ‘blood, cats in mouths, hoofed demons, vomit geysers’. Thankfully for us he embraced that voice and gave us one of the most fun film experiences of the year – a return to his slapstick horror roots with a film which both judders, disgusts, and tears belly laughs deep from within.

The films stars Alison Lohman (who is wonderful here) as a sympathetic loan worker who, against her own morals, refuses to pay out to a gypsy woman begging for her help. She wants that promotion you see, and her selfishness and annoyance at being seen as the whipping boy forces her to be harder than she normally would. After work, the gypsy attacks and curses Lohman’s character. Over the next few days she is tormented by attacks, nightmares, and visions and realizes the curse is true – finding out that if she does not find a way to reverse the curse she will be, literally, dragged to hell within three days. Cue mouth cats and vomit.

Raimi is having a whale of a time here – sure he employs plenty of cheap shocks but they mostly work – his mojo has not been lost and the film’s shocks are an antidote to the morose and stale torture porn of the time. Lohman is backed by the ever reliable Justin Long, with Dileep Rao providing some of the lighter moments. Horror doesn’t get much more fun than this.

1: Orphan (US/Canada/Germany/France) Jaume Collet Serra

My number one is the only film from this year which made it into my favourite films of the decade list – click the link to read my more detailed thoughts on it. It’s just a dirty little horror film raised by an exceptional performance from Isabelle Fuhrman who I feel should have got an Oscar nod. Of course that would never happen, but it is easily one of the best performances of the year. The film is more than just that performance, its creepy, has a neat twist, and also features Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard. Highly recommended, as everything else here is.

Let us know your picks in the comments!

My Blog – January 2020

Welcome back! It’s a new year, a new decade, and a new… something else probably. However, it’s the same old faux-idiosyncratic writing style you keep coming back for here, as evidenced by the first three sentences. I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year, whatever you believe or don’t. My family ate lots of junk, watched a lot of truly terrible Christmas movies (which may warrant upcoming reviews), and received plenty of gifts. That means my house is once again overflowing with lurid plastic and copious vials of unknown alcohols.

I did these monthly, more personal blog posts last year and they were often my most read and liked posts. Always one to please the masses, I’m going to embark on the same voyage this year, bringing another bounty of ‘insightful’ meanderings to you, my dear Glancers! As always I have no idea what I’m going to talk about in these posts, probably a mixture of upcoming blog posts and random questionnaire crap. If there’s something you want to ask me about or have been dying to know, slap it into the comments.

One thing I want to do this year is finally complete some of my long-running series – I have a lot of posts written on the Nightman Listens To Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Madonna, Roxette posts, so i’ll bash those out over the coming weeks then get around to listening to whatever albums are left over. That means I can focus on the other Nightman Listens To series – some already started, and some yet to be announced (but well underway). In addition, I want to get back to more regular lists – so if you want me to cover a particular actor, director, genre in my Top Ten Tuesdays posts – let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can do. I’m already fully engaged with updating my Favourite Films By Year posts and have written a few of the Least Favourite By Year lists too – those are going to cause some outrage.

Lets kick off the New Year with another ‘get to know you’ type of post. Many of you probably had to suffer through crap like this in your various Christmas Office Parties and get togethers. Maybe some of you will be going to a new School or getting a new job in the new year and you may have to deal with a ‘lets go around the room and introduce ourselves’ session. Nobody likes those. I’ve done so many of them now that I’m an expert. With the blog though, I’ve looked for something a little more offbeat and found a page called rootreport.com. It claims to have 50 questions that no-one asks. I’ll stick the first 15 here and see how we get on.

  1. Are you named after anyone?

I’ll have to ask my parents, but no that I’m aware of. The Carlos name? That’s just something I came up with in School when my mates and I went through a ‘Spanish phase’ where everything Spanish was funny. Sminky pinky bang bang, and all that.

2. When was the last time you cried?

I don’t know. With my hay fever and hatred of wind, my eyes are always tearing up outdoors. I’ve been known to shed an unconscious tear when watching people’s reaction videos of Buffy, especially in something like Passion, or The Body. 

3. Do you have kids? If no, how many do you want?

I have two daughters, who recently turned 9 and 7. And there’s a baby on the way. Honestly, if I was a billionaire playboy and not so concerned about the problems which come with over-population, I’d have as many kids as possible.

4. If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself?

That would depend on the type of person this other person would be. I float between periods of being extremely charismatic and having people easily get to know me, and times when I just can’t be arsed so I appear to be a closed book/maniac. Like everyone else then. But yeah, I like a lot of cool stuff, so why not?

5. Do you use sarcasm a lot?

Yes, to the extent that it sometimes gets me into, and out of trouble. I think my humour, which if you know me face to face, veers into sarcastic territory quite frequently though I don’t use it for ill. I’m pretty self-deprecating and into non-sequiturs, yet I like to think I’ve very quick when it comes to… what would you call it – reactive humour? Like I can on the spot blurt out a crowd-pleasing punchline in any given situation based on what someone else has just said or done, yet I’m not very good at proactive humour – setting up or telling a long form story or joke. In any case, I’d say I’m known for sarcasm.

6. What’s the first thing you notice about people?

Their face.

7. What is your eye color?

You tell me:

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Blue, with a ring of green?

8. Scary movie or happy endings?

Scary movie of course. There are no happy endings.

9. Favorite smells?

I don’t care too much about smells to be honest. I don’t know, petrol always smells good… chips straight out of the chippie smothered in salt and vinegar…. Christmas. That smell you get when you step off the plane in somewhere like Spain – the mixture of warmth and air and whatever the plants are.

10. What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home?

This is the Spac Hole – I have been further than any man has ever been. Or I don’t know – which is further, Mexico or St Lucia?

11. Do you have any special talents?

I can write blog posts which no-one cares about. I can spit like a snake from a small hole underneath my tongue. Can you do that? I think most people can but don’t realize. It’s great fun. Oh yeah, I can keep going after I’m done, if you know what I mean.

12. Where were you born?

Newtownards. No, I haven’t heard of it either.

13. What’s your zodiac sign? Do you believe in it?

Aries. Do I believe in sheep? What are you on about?

14. What are your hobbies?

The usual – movies, music, books, games. But also writing music, lyrics, playing guitar. If I had the time and no commitments, I’d be ass deep in all sorts of nerdy shit.

15. Do you have any pets?

Just one – Cooper The Cat.

Right, that’s enough of that nonsense for now. Don’t you feel you know me better? Now, do me a solid and click through the slew of links to my other posts below. It doesn’t earn me any money, but it makes me feel better about myself or something.

Reminder on blog links:

A-Z Reviews: This category is a single post with links to all my movie, music, and book reviews. It’s the best place to start and you can check it via THIS LINK. I try to update it regularly.

Amazon Vine: I’m a member of Amazon Vine, a program where Amazon’s best reviewers are provided with free products for reviewing purposes in order to drum up publicity before the product is released to the general public. You can find links to the Products I have received here.

Book Reviews: Something I don’t really do anymore, even though I still read plenty. I need to get back into this, but movies are so much easier to review. Maybe I’ll come up with a different format.

Blogging: A new category! This is where I’m going to put this exact post, and the others like it to follow.

Changing The Past: This category is where I go back through every Oscars since 1960 and pick my winners from almost every category. I pick my winners from the official choices, and then I add my own personal list of who I feel should have been nominated. It’s based on personal preference, but it’s also not based on any of the usual Academy political nonsense and I bypass most of their archaic rules. It’s not quite me just picking my favourite films, but it’s close.

DVD Reviews: I should probably just change this to Movie Reviews. It’s what you would expect – reviews of the movies I’ve watched. I’m not a big fan of reviewing every new film which comes out – there are a billion other blogs out there all doing the same thing. I don’t often watch new movies as they release, unless they’re streaming, so instead you’ll be getting reviews of those films a few years later, once I get around to them. Here you will find horror, actions, classics, foreign, indie, sci-fi, comedy, drama – everything. A word of warning – I frequently post reviews that I wrote almost twenty years ago when I didn’t have a clue – they’re crap, but I add them here in all of their badly written glory.

Essential Movies: I’ve only published an intro post for this category, but I have written some other posts for the future. I’m basically questioning what actually makes a film Essential, because it cannot be a definitive statement. What’s essential for you, may not be for me, so I’ve broken down the definition into a few generic user types, then gone through some lists of the best movies of each year to see which ones are essential for each viewer. It’s pretty boring, and I already regret starting it, but that’s me.

Foreign Cinema Introduction: This category hasn’t been published yet, but once again it exists and I’ve written a bunch of posts for the future. The idea came from my many years of hearing people I know IRL or on the internet dismissing anything not mass-produced by Hollywood. If you only watch movies made in the USA – you’re not a movie fan, it’s as simple as that. I follow a few Facebook fan pages and blogs on WordPress which completely dismiss foreign movies – it’s ridiculous as you are missing out on many of the best films ever made. More than that, you are missing out on films which I know for a fact you will adore. So, this is me breaking down all that bullshit about subtitles, about foreign stuff being boring and every other excuse you’ve ever heard, while giving some very basic thoughts and introductions of the various countries of the world from a film perspective.

Lists: Here I post lists – some with comments, some without. All sorts of lists – from monthly previews of the year’s upcoming movies, to my favourite movies by actor or director, to best horror anthologies, best Christmas songs and TV shows, best movies for Halloween, my favourite episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, my ranking of Bond movies, songs, and girls, my favourite albums by decade, my favourite songs by artist, bands I’ve seen live etc. I love lists.

Manic Street Preachers Song By Song: One of the first reasons I started this blog was to try to spread the Gospel of my favourite band, especially as they are not well known outside of Britain. Defo not in the US. Then I found out there were other blogs doing it too. Ah well. These are my thoughts on each song. Don’t know them? They are a Welsh rock band who have been around since the late 80s, early 90s. They are highly political and intelligent, on the left wing, and they are probably the finest lyricists in the world. Their main lyricist suffered from various addictions and mental health issues and disappeared in 1995 – although there have been sightings, nobody has ever confirmed they have seen him and no body has ever been found, though the band, fans, and family are still looking. After three albums with him, they suddenly became commercially successful after his disappearance. If you like rock music… if you like music in general, please give them a try.

Music Reviews: This is the same as movies, except for music. Reviews of albums I’ve always loved, as reviews of albums as I’m listening as a virgin. I take a look at the Top Ten UK Charts from a random month in each year and review each song, while giving my own alternative ten songs from the same year, I am reviewing albums that I’ve never heard by artists I am familiar with – filling the gaps in those discographies. I’m listening to spin-offs of my favourite bands, I’m reviewing the Disney soundtracks. I was a metal and grunge kid, but also had a love for the best in 80 pop when I was young, so I like to listen to anything though since around the mid-noughties chart music has gone from extremely bad to entirely worthless.

The Nightman Scoring System ©: This is something I truly love, but something which nobody really pays attention to. You’ll notice in my reviews I don’t give a score. I just talk about the thing I’m reviewing. Scores are arbitrary and when given, people jump to the score and form a conclusion and a bias. If they read the content of the review, there will be a better discussion. That made me think, in a very unprofessional, semi-scientific, ill-examined way, to come up with a fair, universal scoring system which tries to avoid personal and systematic bias as much as possible. If you look at sites like Rotten Tomatoes which are stupidly becoming reference points for quality or to convince you to watch something, or used by advertisers, it’s a completely flawed system. Anyone can post whatever they like, and drag down or push up an average. The same used to happen on IMDb. There are a lot of posts online recently about the disparity between Critical and Audience consensus on RT and it leads to more worthless arguments, because if there’s something the world needs more of these days, it’s people fighting online about pointless stuff.

I devised two scoring systems – one for movies and one for music. To use it, you have to follow the guidelines and be honest. If you’re not honest, it will be obvious, and your review won’t be valid. For both music and and movies, I break down the scoring into twenty different categories of equal weighting – out of five, for a total out of 100. Categories include acting, directing, sales; or for music – charts, influence, musical ability etc. Say you hate the Marvel movies or The Beatles. You can’t score them a 1 out of five in the Sales category because both of those were factually monster hits – they can really only be 5 out of five. In other words, some of what is opinion and bias is removed from the equation. In the same vein, the disparity between critics and audiences is reduced – typically you may think that a movie or music critic care more about how arty or original or influential something is, while the audience might care how many boobs are seen or how catchy the melody is. I’m making sweeping assumptions – but you get the idea – each category is equally weighted so that influence is only worth five points, chart performance is only worth five points, directing, advertising, whatever – each is five points. I’d love to see people use this, and I’d love to run an experiment where a group of people each use the system to score the same thing, and see how similar or different the results are. I’m positive the average would be a more true reflection than anything on RT or IMDB or anywhere else. The only issue with it is, it’s more suited to scoring once something has been out there for a while rather than a pre-release or first week review.

Nightman’s Favourite Films By Year: Self-explanatory. I list my favourite ten films from every year since 1950, with no comment. Then I give a list of my top films from each decade once I’ve done each year, but this time share some comments. There’s also some stats in there, such as how many films I picked which were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, which were top ten grossing movies etc.

Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: A journalist called Colin Larkin made several of those popular ‘Top 1000 Albums Ever’ books. I grabbed one of them, I removed the ones I had already heard, and in this series I go through the ones that I haven’t heard, give my virgin thoughts, and whether I think it deserves to be called one of the best ever. I want to sync up my Nightman Scoring System © with these. Just one word of warning – I don’t plan or put any thought into these ‘reviews’. I literally listen and type at the same time. Not the best way to give thoughts I know, but that’s the format.

The Shrine: People die. Famous people die. But they live on, in our hearts and minds and in the work they left behind. Here I offer the chance to remember and offer thanks.

The Spac Hole: Each Monday I post a random lyric from a random song. Every so often I write something which doesn’t fit in any other category. Usually it’s weird. That stuff all goes here. There are more semi-regular pieces like those posts where I use Google translate to change the lyrics of (s)hit songs or dreadful imaginings like what I would do if I owned my own Cinema.

The Spac Reviews: Carlos Nightman is my alter ego. Derek Carpet is his alter ego. He is an idiot. He likes movies. These are his reviews. They are…. different.

TV Reviews: I sometimes review TV too. I talk about my current shows and my all time favourites.

Unpublished Screenplays: Derek Carpet sometimes likes to pretend he’s a writer too. Here are some of his original works, based on other movies and TV shows.

Videogame Reviews: I do these sometimes too. Usually retro. Usually with a humourous bent.

Walk Of Fame: Hollywood has a Walk Of Fame. I have one too. Mine’s better, except I don’t update it anymore. Not only do my inductees get a star, but they get a statue too! And, in each post one lucky soul gets a special building concerning their work or life dedicated to them!

 

My Blog – December 2019

Well would you believe it? Another year is almost over and… AND I managed to do this regular post for the whole year. I’m not big on routine and consistency, so that’s quite an achievement for me, however hollow and meaningless it may be. I hope the lustre of moonlight is gleaming off the newly formed snow on your lawn, I hope that Santa will be slopping his obese love handles down your smoke chute soon, and I hope that all your dreams for the festive period are realized in wondrous beauty. What is on your Christmas List this year? I don’t mean any of that World Peace malarkey or seeing those damn liberals/republicans/brexiters/remainers/others get what’s coming to them – I mean, what stuff do you want to find under the tree for you on the big day? I find as the years go on, my list gets smaller. A lot of this is to do with time and space, but a large chunk of it is because of streaming – physical media is fading and although I’m a fairly large collector, I just can’t be arsed buying or asking for something anymore unless I really really want it. And in terms of movies, music, games etc, there’s few that I really really want now. Nevertheless, my list is mostly made up of games, music, and movies… TV and books too. And maybe whiskey and rum.

I’m still a big kid. Christmas is still my favourite time of the year and no matter how cynical you get about the commercial side of it, no matter how guilty you feel about the waste, excess, and those worse off, I still get sucked in by the magic. I want to get sucked in by it all. I want the miracles Hollywood has sold us to come true, and I want my kids, my family, my friends, to all create memories to last a life time.

So what is your Christmas routine? Mine now, at thirty six years old, isn’t much different from how it was at six years old. In the run up to the day I make sure to buy that TV mag and circle all the shit I’m going to watch and record. When I was at home I would plan to wake up early, switch on my TV and catch whatever cartoons or movie was on before I was allowed to go downstairs and play with my big ones. Ahem. We would have our stockings filled and hung on our bedrooms doors at night, so in the morning that kept us busy before the excitement was too much and we launched ourselves down those stairs. My younger sister would hear me waking up and bring her stocking into my room to see what she got and to compare – chocolate coins, an orange, a toothbrush, a pound, whatever sweets were on offer in Tesco etc. My elder brother would usually appear afterwards before we kicked down mum and dad’s door and demanded that it was time to get up. Nowadays we let our girls wake up whenever they want and they come running into our bedroom to look through their stockings together. Of course, I still get my own and fill one for Mrs Nightman.

When my little sister was born, she got to be the first to enter the living room to see what Santa had left. We had two sets of presents – Santa’s stuff, and the family stuff, with Santa’s presents rarely being wrapped and the family stuff being under the tree. We would sit together and tear into the Santa stuff first before Dad would head out to feed the birds or do some gardening or do whatever weird stuff it is that dads do and Mum would start thinking about lunch. Now, Mrs Nightman is usually first up because she has to head to the garage to bring in the turkey and start pre-heating the oven. I go into the living room to make sure Santa has been and gone, and to grab the camcorder to record the excited faces coming in and reacting. The main tradition Mrs Nightman brings is Santa Sacks – all of Santa’s presents are stored within giant sacks – when I was growing up the presents were just sitting unwrapped in three piles.

I used to hate going to relations on Christmas Day – most of my huuuge extended family lives ages away (in Northern Ireland and hour’s drive ins considered ‘ages’) and thankfully as we got older we did this less and less. That’s something I’m clear on now – people can come to us on Christmas Day, but I ain’t going nowhere – I have too many toys to play with. After a few hours, Mrs Nightman’s family show up for lunch and to open the presents under the tree while she freaks out in the kitchen that the turkey is too big/small/burnt/not cooked/her feet are sore/that her mum won’t just leave her to do it all herself/that no-one is helping/that I’m just arsing about and not doing anything constructive. All true of course. Then on Boxing Day, or some other day during the period we drive down to my parents and do it all again – though this probably won’t happen this year with Mrs Nightman being very pregnant and the car journey won’t be the most comfortable, given that my lot live ‘ages’ away.

There’s usually Champagne and Crackers, the usual turkey and ham and roast potatoes and absolutely no sprouts or green crap for me. Shloer, sweets, and the same stories about how the various dogs no longer with us also loved Christmas and could unwrap their own presents/leap over a wall/grab a leg or turkey when no-one was looking. Mrs Nightman’s mum will disappear as soon as she can and shortly after it’ll be just us again, with everyone seeing what’s on TV and wondering where the hell all the new stuff is going to live. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

So what about you? What is your Christmas routine? Do you build up to the 25th by watching classic Christmas movies and shows? Will Alexa be blasting Christmas songs from December 1st so that you hate them by the 8th? Do you stay in or go out, do you have a home-cooked meal or find a fancy restaurant? Let us know in the comments. Next year, I’ll try to continue this monthly series and till then I’ll be on the look out for blogging ideas to try – if you have anything you want me to try or write about or share, stick those in the comments to and I’ll see what I can do. For now – Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Reminder on blog links:

A-Z Reviews: This category is a single post with links to all my movie, music, and book reviews. It’s the best place to start and you can check it via THIS LINK. I try to update it regularly.

Amazon Vine: I’m a member of Amazon Vine, a program where Amazon’s best reviewers are provided with free products for reviewing purposes in order to drum up publicity before the product is released to the general public. You can find links to the Products I have received here.

Book Reviews: Something I don’t really do anymore, even though I still read plenty. I need to get back into this, but movies are so much easier to review. Maybe I’ll come up with a different format.

Blogging: A new category! This is where I’m going to put this exact post, and the others like it to follow.

Changing The Past: This category is where I go back through every Oscars since 1960 and pick my winners from almost every category. I pick my winners from the official choices, and then I add my own personal list of who I feel should have been nominated. It’s based on personal preference, but it’s also not based on any of the usual Academy political nonsense and I bypass most of their archaic rules. It’s not quite me just picking my favourite films, but it’s close.

DVD Reviews: I should probably just change this to Movie Reviews. It’s what you would expect – reviews of the movies I’ve watched. I’m not a big fan of reviewing every new film which comes out – there are a billion other blogs out there all doing the same thing. I don’t often watch new movies as they release, unless they’re streaming, so instead you’ll be getting reviews of those films a few years later, once I get around to them. Here you will find horror, actions, classics, foreign, indie, sci-fi, comedy, drama – everything. A word of warning – I frequently post reviews that I wrote almost twenty years ago when I didn’t have a clue – they’re crap, but I add them here in all of their badly written glory.

Essential Movies: I’ve only published an intro post for this category, but I have written some other posts for the future. I’m basically questioning what actually makes a film Essential, because it cannot be a definitive statement. What’s essential for you, may not be for me, so I’ve broken down the definition into a few generic user types, then gone through some lists of the best movies of each year to see which ones are essential for each viewer. It’s pretty boring, and I already regret starting it, but that’s me.

Foreign Cinema Introduction: This category hasn’t been published yet, but once again it exists and I’ve written a bunch of posts for the future. The idea came from my many years of hearing people I know IRL or on the internet dismissing anything not mass-produced by Hollywood. If you only watch movies made in the USA – you’re not a movie fan, it’s as simple as that. I follow a few Facebook fan pages and blogs on WordPress which completely dismiss foreign movies – it’s ridiculous as you are missing out on many of the best films ever made. More than that, you are missing out on films which I know for a fact you will adore. So, this is me breaking down all that bullshit about subtitles, about foreign stuff being boring and every other excuse you’ve ever heard, while giving some very basic thoughts and introductions of the various countries of the world from a film perspective.

Lists: Here I post lists – some with comments, some without. All sorts of lists – from monthly previews of the year’s upcoming movies, to my favourite movies by actor or director, to best horror anthologies, best Christmas songs and TV shows, best movies for Halloween, my favourite episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, my ranking of Bond movies, songs, and girls, my favourite albums by decade, my favourite songs by artist, bands I’ve seen live etc. I love lists.

Manic Street Preachers Song By Song: One of the first reasons I started this blog was to try to spread the Gospel of my favourite band, especially as they are not well known outside of Britain. Defo not in the US. Then I found out there were other blogs doing it too. Ah well. These are my thoughts on each song. Don’t know them? They are a Welsh rock band who have been around since the late 80s, early 90s. They are highly political and intelligent, on the left wing, and they are probably the finest lyricists in the world. Their main lyricist suffered from various addictions and mental health issues and disappeared in 1995 – although there have been sightings, nobody has ever confirmed they have seen him and no body has ever been found, though the band, fans, and family are still looking. After three albums with him, they suddenly became commercially successful after his disappearance. If you like rock music… if you like music in general, please give them a try.

Music Reviews: This is the same as movies, except for music. Reviews of albums I’ve always loved, as reviews of albums as I’m listening as a virgin. I take a look at the Top Ten UK Charts from a random month in each year and review each song, while giving my own alternative ten songs from the same year, I am reviewing albums that I’ve never heard by artists I am familiar with – filling the gaps in those discographies. I’m listening to spin-offs of my favourite bands, I’m reviewing the Disney soundtracks. I was a metal and grunge kid, but also had a love for the best in 80 pop when I was young, so I like to listen to anything though since around the mid-noughties chart music has gone from extremely bad to entirely worthless.

The Nightman Scoring System ©: This is something I truly love, but something which nobody really pays attention to. You’ll notice in my reviews I don’t give a score. I just talk about the thing I’m reviewing. Scores are arbitrary and when given, people jump to the score and form a conclusion and a bias. If they read the content of the review, there will be a better discussion. That made me think, in a very unprofessional, semi-scientific, ill-examined way, to come up with a fair, universal scoring system which tries to avoid personal and systematic bias as much as possible. If you look at sites like Rotten Tomatoes which are stupidly becoming reference points for quality or to convince you to watch something, or used by advertisers, it’s a completely flawed system. Anyone can post whatever they like, and drag down or push up an average. The same used to happen on IMDb. There are a lot of posts online recently about the disparity between Critical and Audience consensus on RT and it leads to more worthless arguments, because if there’s something the world needs more of these days, it’s people fighting online about pointless stuff.

I devised two scoring systems – one for movies and one for music. To use it, you have to follow the guidelines and be honest. If you’re not honest, it will be obvious, and your review won’t be valid. For both music and and movies, I break down the scoring into twenty different categories of equal weighting – out of five, for a total out of 100. Categories include acting, directing, sales; or for music – charts, influence, musical ability etc. Say you hate the Marvel movies or The Beatles. You can’t score them a 1 out of five in the Sales category because both of those were factually monster hits – they can really only be 5 out of five. In other words, some of what is opinion and bias is removed from the equation. In the same vein, the disparity between critics and audiences is reduced – typically you may think that a movie or music critic care more about how arty or original or influential something is, while the audience might care how many boobs are seen or how catchy the melody is. I’m making sweeping assumptions – but you get the idea – each category is equally weighted so that influence is only worth five points, chart performance is only worth five points, directing, advertising, whatever – each is five points. I’d love to see people use this, and I’d love to run an experiment where a group of people each use the system to score the same thing, and see how similar or different the results are. I’m positive the average would be a more true reflection than anything on RT or IMDB or anywhere else. The only issue with it is, it’s more suited to scoring once something has been out there for a while rather than a pre-release or first week review.

Nightman’s Favourite Films By Year: Self-explanatory. I list my favourite ten films from every year since 1950, with no comment. Then I give a list of my top films from each decade once I’ve done each year, but this time share some comments. There’s also some stats in there, such as how many films I picked which were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, which were top ten grossing movies etc.

Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: A journalist called Colin Larkin made several of those popular ‘Top 1000 Albums Ever’ books. I grabbed one of them, I removed the ones I had already heard, and in this series I go through the ones that I haven’t heard, give my virgin thoughts, and whether I think it deserves to be called one of the best ever. I want to sync up my Nightman Scoring System © with these. Just one word of warning – I don’t plan or put any thought into these ‘reviews’. I literally listen and type at the same time. Not the best way to give thoughts I know, but that’s the format.

The Shrine: People die. Famous people die. But they live on, in our hearts and minds and in the work they left behind. Here I offer the chance to remember and offer thanks.

The Spac Hole: Each Monday I post a random lyric from a random song. Every so often I write something which doesn’t fit in any other category. Usually it’s weird. That stuff all goes here. There are more semi-regular pieces like those posts where I use Google translate to change the lyrics of (s)hit songs or dreadful imaginings like what I would do if I owned my own Cinema.

The Spac Reviews: Carlos Nightman is my alter ego. Derek Carpet is his alter ego. He is an idiot. He likes movies. These are his reviews. They are…. different.

TV Reviews: I sometimes review TV too. I talk about my current shows and my all time favourites.

Unpublished Screenplays: Derek Carpet sometimes likes to pretend he’s a writer too. Here are some of his original works, based on other movies and TV shows.

Videogame Reviews: I do these sometimes too. Usually retro. Usually with a humourous bent.

Walk Of Fame: Hollywood has a Walk Of Fame. I have one too. Mine’s better, except I don’t update it anymore. Not only do my inductees get a star, but they get a statue too! And, in each post one lucky soul gets a special building concerning their work or life dedicated to them!

Nightman’s Updated Favourite Movies By Year List!

I promised I wouldn’t do it, but if you didn’t know by now I’m something of a liar. A couple of years ago I posted a series of Top Ten movies lists by year, and they were just that – a list of my ten favourite movies of the year with no gloss, no explanation, no guff. For those who like to get into the nitty gritty, I then wrote my favourite movies of the decade posts in which I did go into detail about why I loved what I loved. The purpose of the list posts was just to give a simple snapshot of what I enjoy without verbose embellishment; a quick snack before bed.

Now I’m going to go back to those Top Ten Lists and do the embellishment. I’m not going to change the ordering or add or drop my choices – I’m simply going to add a few lines about why I love the movies and maybe encourage anyone who hasn’t seen them to give them a shot. And because I like talking about what I like. Rather than starting with 1950, I’m going to go backwards from 2009. In addition, I might complete the original series by adding simple lists from 2010 – 2019. I still don’t feel I’ve seen enough movies in these last nine years to create lists which I can standby, but at least they’ll act as a current snapshot.

So, for anyone who likes to ready my ramblings or who has been waiting for me to cover in greater detail some of my picks – the time has come. Also, remember this post? It was my argument over ‘Essential’ being a subjective term when it comes to movies, because as viewers we have our own needs and desires and backgrounds – so to decide what is Essential you must first define the viewer? Yes, it’s as crap as it sounds. I’m going to begin posting some of my lists based upon that notion – essentially (sorry) looking at some of the most beloved movies of each year, starting in 1960, and arguing if they are truly essential (spoiler alert – they’re not).

That’s that then. If you like what I do, tell your friends. Recommend my humble blog to the guy who keeps coughing on your commute to work. Tell your da that you have some new toilet reading material for him. I’m not earning money from any of this, but knowing I have billions of followers is bound to be an ego boost and might even make me put a bit more effort in to what I write.

Lies.