Wednesday, 28 December 2011
First of all, I want her earrings! JLo romcoms, it takes a committed sort granted but that's me. Committed to the cause of watching crap romcoms.
I've not seen all JLo's ouevre but I've seen enough to warrant a blog post about them.
Maid in Manhattan
This is the strangest film. What is Ralph Fiennes doing in a romcom? He is far too serious and dour to pull it off. And so it proves. This is not a good film in any way except a) Manhattan looks beautiful and b) so does JLo. Seriously, I think JLo is gorgeous in a way that few film stars are. Teenager rating: 6/10.
Shall We Dance?
On the one hand, I can't stand Richard Gere. On the other, Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci! It has dancing in it which is always good. Stanley is wonderful as he always is. It's entertaining enough. Teenager rating: 8/10.
I was on a plane, ok? And you know what? This isn't bad. It's never going to win any awards but I can always watch Jane Fonda and it's quite entertaining. Teenager rating: 7/10.
The Back-Up Plan
In all seriousness I enjoyed this. It's funny in places and quite sweet. The premise is fairly ludicrous but no more than many other romcoms. Teenager rating: 8/10.
No, even I didn't watch Gigli.
Saturday, 24 December 2011
I was just decorating one of my two Christmas cakes (not for me, I am not that much of a pig) with the radio on and this was played. Oh my word, I've not listened to this for a long time. I whacked up the volume to 11 and sung along as I rolled my marzipan. It has struck me that this is the perfect song and I don't know why I've neglected it or, for that matter, not posted about FGTH who I used to worship. We'll save them for another day.
This song is so wonderful and I love how emotional it is. I am transported back to the 80s when I hear it as it was such a huge hit.
Merry Christmas fellow teens. I hope Santa brings you all your dreams.
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
It pains me to do this post and introduce Cliff Richard to my otherwise flawless blog. But it has to be done because there are some truly dire Christmas songs out there. I was reminded of Cliff's effort the other week as I walked home and the local Rotary Club was doing that annual Christmas wagon thing where they drive around bellowing our atrocious music and people in silly hats shake buckets at you. They were playing Mistletoe and Wine. Had they been playing Last Christmas I may have dug deep, as it was I sniffed haughtily and walked past them. Their own fault, I don't feel guilty.
I bring you my list of worst Christmas songs, in no particular order.
Mel Smith and Kim Wilde - Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
I almost have no words. This is terrible. I will never understand the appeal of Kim Wilde, I can sing better than her. And I despise novelty records. It's also a stupid tune.
Wizzard - I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day
Oh my god. Firstly, Christmas every day would be horrendous. Secondly, shut up. Thirdly, the children, the freaky children. Make it stop.
Slade - Merry Christmas Everybody
I loathe this song. I loathe Noddy and I loathe its ubiquitousness. It makes me want to hurl things around and bemoan the humanity.
Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas
Why does anyone like this? Mariah caterwauling, running around in a stupid santa outfit singing something so patently untrue since she is so materialistic. It's offensive.
Paul McCartney - Wonderful Christmas Time
The man who gave us Yesterday. Yes, it makes me weep too (and not in a good way).
Shakin' Stevens - Merry Christmas Everyone
What was the point of Shaky? Anyone worth their salt just listened to Elvis and wept for the fact they weren't American and cool. Jesus this is terrible.
I'm too depressed to do anymore. I am not delving into the fact that Ronan Keating covered The Fairytale of New York. I am not posting a link to Mistletoe and Wine because then I have to listen to a snippet of it. And I am not going near The Darkness.
Normal service will be resumed tomorrow with a great Christmas song...
Tuesday, 20 December 2011
Pink Martini's Christmas album was my purchase in Christmas 2010, back when it was all trees round here. It's an absolute delight and I've been listening to it this year as well. It has the most divine cover and is full of gems. I love the version of Little Drummer Boy, I much prefer it to Bing and Bowie's. There I've said it. I consider B&B's version to be over-rated.
This is the perfect album to play if you are having a few cocktails for Christmas with your cool cat friends. Slip on an ironic santa hat, play this and watch your party gently rock.
My favourite song on it is Shchedryk (Ukranian Bell Carol) as it's Christmassy without being cloying. You may think you don't know this but trust me, you do. It depresses me that this has less than a thousand views on YouTube and we have to suffer Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber. There truly is no justice in the world.
Monday, 19 December 2011
The absolute best version of this is by Eartha Kitt. She sings it with such relish. I love this, it has wonderful lyrics. "Just slip a sable under the tree!" A girl after my own heart.
Check out the video. Fab-u-lous.
Sunday, 18 December 2011
It's very hard to pick a definitive version of these old songs to post about. This is such a classic Christmas song and I love it in all its guises but I think my favourite is Tony Bennett's. I adore Tony, such a great voice. I am not a Judy Garland fan at all and never have been, I know it's sacrilege to say however I don't think she is anything particularly special.
So here is my favourite version of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Take it away Tony.
Friday, 16 December 2011
This is the Christmas song that people who claim to hate Christmas love. It's utterly wonderful of course and I never tire of hearing it. It has a fantastic video with Matt Dillon in it!
Kirsty MacColl had a beautiful voice, nobody sounds like her. It has a beautiful opening that gives me goosebumps and then her voice comes in. Oh, it's heaven and I defy anyone not to sing along with a tear in their eye. Emmy and Tim covered this the other night and we all swayed along and sung. It was magical.
When I hear this, all my belly-aching about the commercialism of Christmas flies out of the window and I want to drink red wine, eat a mince pie and hug a friend. And that's what a good Christmas song should make you feel like.
RIP Kirsty, we still miss you.
Thursday, 15 December 2011
Last night I went to a gig which is not something I do often but this was special. I confess now that Emmy is my cousin and so I am biased but I think she is fabulous. She has made a Christmas album with Tim Wheeler (from Ash) and last night was a one-off gig of Christmas magic.
I really do think that you should listen to this album as it's great fun. I am obliged to buy Emmy's records but can honestly say (and you know I wouldn't lie) that I do enjoy them but somehow I've enjoyed this one the most. It must be my innate love of kitsch because this is so cheesy. Jesus the Reindeer is brilliant and was my highlight last night. That and having Last Christmas dedicated to ME! I can die happy now I've had a song from the stage dedicated to me.
The single from the album is Home for the Holidays and I should warn you it's an earworm. It has the cutest video that makes you feel quite nostalgic for Christmasses past. Plus Emmy has an awesome jacket that I want. It's the free single of the week on iTunes this week too.
Tuesday, 13 December 2011
Which is better? It depends if you want Brit cool or American glitz. Although nobody could ever call Marilyn cool. Or Status Quo.
I love Band Aid as much as the next girl. I had the poster on my wall and thought the whole thing was amazing. On the other hand, USA For Africa had Michael Jackson.
I feel a pro and con list coming on...
Band Aid pros:
- The sheer pastiness of them all and how they had obviously rolled out of bed and rocked up. You'd never get that now.
- George Michael
- Fab Macca Thumbs Aloft
- Duran Duran and special mention to Simon Le Bon's hair.
- Bono's line. I can forgive Bono a lot for the way he sings that line.
- Every single person's hair.
- Jon Moss and his maracas.
- Paula Yates and her baby. Makes me feel sad and old.
- The innocence of it - so English and lovely.
Band Aid cons:
- Why the hell was Paul Young allowed to open it? He was never any good. Then he gets more lines. WHY?
- The sheer state of Boy George. Rough.
- Bananarama. USA For Africa give us Bette Midler and we get sodding Bananarama.
USA for Africa pros:
- It was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones. Sorry Midge Ure but you didn't stand a chance.
- The cast list. This is a song that opens with Lionel and Stevie Wonder and then goes to Paul Simon. Not Paul Young.
- Then Kenny Rogers! KENNY ROGERS!
- Tina Turner actually pushes James Ingram out of the way to sing her line. Love it. Tina Turner by the way - not Bananarama.
- Billy Joel.
- Michael Jackson's wardrobe. He looks like a pop star for goodness sake. He's wearing a white sparkly glove.
- Dionne Warwick. Yes. Indeed.
- Bruce Springsteen. He bellows it out as only Brucie can.
- Kenny Loggins. I'm all about the Kennys.
- The way Cyndi Lauper sings her line - proper laugh out loud.
- I hate Bob Dylan but nobody can deny he is a legend.
- Ray Charles. Ray Charles.
- The only song where you get a duet between Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen. And it works.
USA For Africa cons:
- OK, we get the superstars but there are some duds too. Huey Lewis? Al Jarreau? Fair enough they were stars at the time but Bette Midler doesn't get a solo line and they do?
- No Madonna.
- The lyrics are far too preachy and religious for me.
- It's a bit over indulgent and goes on for too long.
Weighing it up, I have to say I prefer We Are The World. It's simply a better song with bigger stars and proper show business razz. If I could only take one with me to a desert island, I'd pick that one. Having said that, I do still love Do They Know It's Christmas because I have such fond memories of it and reading Smash Hits avidly.
We really did know how to do this sort of thing in the 80s.
Monday, 12 December 2011
To cleanse the palette, I bring you Elvis. Sublime. He just makes everything cool. When all else fails in life, when you've got 100 presents to wrap and can't be bothered, then listen to this and all will be well in the world.
Sunday, 11 December 2011
We come to simply one of my favourite songs ever. The innocence! Look at that cover. Hearing this always transports me back to 1984 and it was a very good year so I am happy to take the journey.
This is one of the most brilliant Christmas songs and it has it all: cheesy lyrics, almost breathy singing from George, one of the best videos ever made by any band ever. I know it has its haters (yes, my sister loathes this) but I cannot understand how anyone could not love this. It was kept off the number one spot by Band Aid and Wham donated all profits to charity. They are such heroes.
To the video. The enthusiastic waving when they arrive! The jumping around in the snow! The decorating of the tree! George looking moody in that ridiculous furry hood! Andrew's truly terrible white outfit! I love every single frame of it. I know every single frame of it.
Yet again we are indebted to the genius of George Michael.
Saturday, 10 December 2011
This is a song to glide around your kitchen to while wearing a long silk dressing gown and fluffy mules and clutching a snowball (the drink, not actual snow).
I've always loved this, it's sublime. And my go-to version was Barbra Streisand's obviously. No explanation necessary. However, I came across this gem from the much-missed Karen Carpenter. Nobody had a voice quite like Karen. I've just discovered The Carpenters did a Christmas album. Unrelenting joy!
Friday, 9 December 2011
I came late to Elf, I only watched it last Christmas but I blame everyone I know for not telling me how fabulous it is. If you've not seen this, then please do. Assuming you like Will Ferrell because if you don't then you're in trouble since he is in almost every scene if I recall.
I love Will Ferrell, just looking at his face makes me laugh. I do have a fairly infantile sense of humour and this story of an overgrown elf who ends up in Manhattan tickles my funny bone. My favourite line in the whole film is when he hears that Santa is coming to town.
I just laughed out loud watching it again.
Before you scoff and claim to be too intellectual for such nonsense, let me tell you that the script is very witty, it has James Caan in it and Bob Newhart. Legend. If you are a Zooey fan, she's in it too and she isn't annoying.
So watch out for Elf this Christmas, it will be on at some point and you can thank me later.
Thursday, 8 December 2011
Someone else who I had no idea about. Wayne Newton looks like a young Liberace doesn't he? Ahhh, I love this song, it's so swinging. It's a proper earworm though so be warned before you click on the video. This song always makes me think of Mean Girls and that's no bad thing.
It's a classic for a cocktail party and I am delighted to see it forms a compilation of Christmas Cocktails. I am off to see what else is on that.
Wednesday, 7 December 2011
I was out Christmas shopping yesterday admiring the London lights and this song popped into my head as it is indeed, beginning to look a lot like Christmas out there.
Perry sings this with the Fontaine Sisters but I couldn't fit that in the title. Let's skip along.
Monday, 5 December 2011
The chirpiest Christmas song ever. How could you be in a bad mood listening to this? In the course of looking for the right picture to go with this post, I discovered that Deano died on Christmas Day. How apt.
This is a song to jig around your kitchen to while you whip up a hot chocolate and watch snowflakes fall. It's also featured so beautifully in Die Hard which makes it the perfect song. Let it roll.
Friday, 2 December 2011
Hooray! It's December and I can start my series on favourite Christmas songs. Nothing makes me happier than listening to Christmas songs while looking at a Christmas tree, wrapping presents, making mince pies, opening presents or staring into a crackling fire. Unleash the Christmas magic!
We start with possibly my all-time fave, Winter Wonderland. I pretty much love any cover of this but none are as sublime as Ray Charles. The little bells at the beginning, the way he sounds like he's just got up and knocked it out. That, my friends, is effortless. It's the version used in When Harry Met Sally too so it's all good.
It makes me want to don a cosy hat and walk in Central Park. Any park will do though. We'll frolic and play, the eskimo way...
Tuesday, 29 November 2011
This song has always been one of my guilty pleasures. Even now, several years later, I still can happily listen to it. I am sucker for harmony and this is so 90s and earnest.
Bridesmaids was amusing enough and had its moments but the entire ticket was worth the price alone for the scene with this song. I nearly fell of my chair. My god, Wilson Phillips must have been in heaven with such profile.
I love watching them sing along. Tee hee.
How they've aged - check it out. Ahhhh, such nostalgia, I am loving it.
Coming soon, my Christmas series - films, songs... watch this space. I can't do it before it's December because that would be wrong but I am very excited.
Sunday, 27 November 2011
Picking up where I left off, and I realised I missed one more hit from the 70s, Crazy Little Thing Called Love. I wonder if they ever had an off day? It's astounding how many hits they had and how they all still sound so good.
Another one of my all-time favourites, Another One Bites The Dust. This is so catchy and it starts beautifully.
Flash! I have no words. It's a miracle.
Under Pressure. A genuine 80s classic and what a pairing, Queen and Bowie. I am feeling a bit sad now as I can't imagine a greater pairing.
Radio Gaga. Not one of my absolute faves but still a great song and most bands would be happy if this was their finest hour.
I Want To Break Free. One of the finest videos ever made. Roger Taylor's face makes me laugh every time.
One Vision. I don't know why I like this so much but I do.
A Kind of Magic. Again, not their greatest but Freddie makes it work.
Who Wants To Live Forever. This is very sad but a lovely song.
Finally, I Want It All. Something of a theme for my life I think. "I want it all and I want it now!"
Saturday, 26 November 2011
20 years ago this week we lost the great Freddie Mercury. Time for a little retrospective. In my opinion there was no greater lead singer/showman than Freddie, I touched on this in my Live Aid post.
I love Queen but I don't claim to be an anorak fan. I like the obvious songs that everyone loves. I always mean to delve deeper with Queen but somehow never quite get round to it. So with that disclaimer in mind, let's do my favourite Queen songs in memory of Freddie. Starting with the 70s.
Killer Queen. This is simply a fantastic song. I'm here to tell you that it's really hard on Guitar Hero.
Bohemian Rhapsody. Nearly 56 million hits on YouTube, wow. If you don't like this song, there's something wrong with you. It's wonderful.
You're My Best Friend. This song always reminds me of Peter's Friends. A film that I have a soft spot for. I love how Freddie sings this, it's very sweet.
Somebody to Love. A fabulous introduction and a great sing-along song. The genius of Freddie is he makes you think you can sing Queen songs. In reality, very difficult.
We Are The Champions. This song makes me quite emotional, I am not a sports fan at all yet it makes me want to wave a flag and sing along in a crowd.
We Will Rock You. Brian May chose this on Desert Island Discs. Normally if somebody picks their own song, I roll my eyes but kudos to Brian because have you ever heard better guitar than in this - I love how it makes you wait for it. I urge you to listen to Brian's desert island discs, the man is a joy to listen to. Really.
Fat Bottomed Girls. The hits just keep coming, apart from The Beatles, was any other band so prolific?
Don't Stop Me Now. One of my all-time favourite songs. I adore this so much, it's impossible to not sing along and to sit still. The very definition of a feel-good song.
That's my lot for the 70s. RIP Freddie and thank you for being a genius.
Friday, 25 November 2011
Yet again I am astounded that I've not yet covered the masterpiece that is Xanadu. This post is simply about the song, not the film because I've never seen the film. Yes, it's true and I can't quite believe it either. The song is magnificent however. One of the greatest introductions to any pop song, delivered with perfection by our Livvie (as I like to call her).
I implore you to watch this video, I am transfixed by it:
You don't have to thank me.
It also reminds me of another favourite scene in Friends. I can only find it with Portuguese subtitles but watch it here. It cracks me up every time.
Wednesday, 23 November 2011
It's time to examine the career of Lionel Richie. He may not be cool but I think we all know by now, I don't care about cool.
Lionel first came into my consciousness with All Night Long (All Night), a song I've already celebrated. Before that, I don't think I'd heard of him. I must have known some Commodores songs but the mighty Can't Slow Down introduced me properly to him. Let's wind back the clock shall we?
One of my favourite songs by The Commodores starts us off. In fact one of my favourite songs ever. Come on, we all love this. I especially love Lionel's outfit here:
What I love about Lionel is how effortless he is. Three Times A Lady is a song that makes me cringe but he sings it sublimely.
Ahhhh, Endless Love. A song of such immense cheesiness, how can one listen to it without crackers? This is truly a guilty pleasure.
Truly. I always forget about Truly. It's sort of a cross between Three Times A Lady and Endless Love and there's nothing wrong with that. You can watch it here.
I've covered All Night Long but man I adore this song. This is probably my desert island Lionel song. There is nothing I don't love about it and I argue that it's timeless, it could be released today and would still be a hit.
I had totally forgotten Running With The Night. How could I? Quite easily actually. This is a little weak and very dated. Smooth as silk Lionel. Hilarious video though.
Hello, is it me you're looking for? I admit I bought this single. Listen, everyone bought this single back in the day. It was mega! This is probably what Lionel will be most remembered for and clearly he's done much better songs but well, I am going to fess up and say I still like this. It's so cheesy and the video, what can we even say about the video? It's a landmark of 80s nonsense.
Can't Slow Down just had so many hits! I have a soft spot for Stuck On You, it's such a cute song.
Penny Lover. Another video with a talkie introduction; those 80s artists couldn't resist could they? Listening to all these in a row, it's undeniable that Lionel had a sound. Some might call him repetitive but not me. This is a song to drink a glass of white wine to and kick back baby. Watch it here.
Say You Say Me. Say it for always, that's the way it should be! Lionel is the King of Ballad. Before he played that crazy boyfriend of Carrie's in Sex and the City and before that other dude tried to teach Joey to dance in Friends, they starred in White Nights. Really, don't bother watching it but Lionel wrote the song for it. Marvellous.
Dancing on the Ceiling. Oh my GOD, I love this song. This is my second favourite Lionel song, the video is fantastic and I defy anyone to not dance to this. What a feeling!
I am going to stop there because it's best not to discuss Ballerina Girl or what followed. Lionel is someone who hit his peak in the 80s and in my mind will be forever associated with that decade. He may never be cool, he may not be handsome but here is a man who found what he was good at and could sure write a hit. Respect Lionel. Respect.
Saturday, 19 November 2011
Last week I was in New York staying with my friend and we decided to go to a modern jazz dance class at her gym on Sunday morning. I do zumba so I figured, how hard can it be? As it turns out, it was really hard. I realised our error as it slowly dawned on me that everyone else in the class were actually dancers. The instructor was surely straight out of Broadway and the whole class felt like a bad scene from A Chorus Line. We had a hoot though, the fact we couldn't follow the steps at all did not detract from our enthusiasm. I hopped around like a baby elephant doing jazz hands and generally enjoying myself.
It called to mind the fabulous episode of Friends (season 1) where Monica has her identity stolen and attends a dance class to try and find out who took it. All three of them are told 'you dance a dance class'. Quite right too! I love it and it still makes me giggle. Watch it here.
Monday, 14 November 2011
A 12 hour flight to LA and not one but two Aniston films were playing! Horrible Bosses and Just Go With It. I plumped for the latter as it's a classic romcom and it has Adam Sandler in it. Can't go wrong.
You're going to say I am crazy but it was really rather entertaining. Jennifer was actually allowed to be funny in it and she can be very funny indeed. It also has Nicole Kidman in it playing a total bitch and I truly believe Nicole is good at playing bitches because she is one. Most of it is set in pretty beach scenery and the kids in it are also rather amusing. Now, I am not suggesting you rush to rent this but it's worth a look if it comes your way on a plane.
Teenager rating: 7/10.
Saturday, 5 November 2011
This is, quite simply, one of the best films ever made. The spectacular scenery, the soundtrack, the marvellously witty script, the wonderful Terence Stamp in drag and Guy Pearce's muscles. I can't think of a single moment where the film drags, it's perfection.
All three leads in this are fantastically good, playing against type so convincingly. The revelation for me when I watched it was Guy Pearce, he's awesomely good; bitchy and flamboyant. Little Mike from Neighbours, who'd have thought? However, my mother's generation couldn't believe Terence Stamp who was so very male in the 60s and here he is a transsexual! It's all a bit much to take in. Hugo is fab too but then Hugo is always great.
From the opening scene of Charlene's I've Never Been To Me to Hugo saying at the end "it's good to be home!" Awwwwww. I just adore it. In fact, I need to watch it again. I have so many favourite scenes. I adore them dancing with Aborigines, I love the Alice Springs routine but I think my all-time fave is the scene on the bus to Mamma Mia right at the end. It's so joyful.
Monday, 31 October 2011
Jennifer has been around for some time now and there are a lot of films to wade through. In fact I just looked her up on Wikipedia and am a little overwhelmed by the task at hand. Yes, I've seen most of them, what of it?
She's The One.
Remember when Ed Burns was the hot thing in Hollywood? Yeah, I'd forgotten too. I've seen this and can honestly say I remember nothing about it. It has Cameron Diaz in it too yet I couldn't tell you a single thing about it. I remember it was reasonably well received at the time. Her film career started off promisingly didn't it? Hmmmm. I can't rate this as I really don't remember it well enough.
This is remembered chiefly for Kevin Bacon's awful hair. This should have been quite good, it has Olympia Dukakis as her mum and we all love Olympia. Kevin Bacon is always good value but Jay Mohr (yes, I had to look him up too) as the man she falls in love with? Ummm, no, don't buy it. Teenager rating - 6/10.
The Object of My Affection.
Paul Rudd! He always adds a point just by showing up. Alison Janney! Another point right there. This was a classy film but it was, well, a bit dull. Again, not seen it for yonks, I'd have to watch it again to rate it. But Paul Rudd!
Not strictly a romcom but too good a film to ignore. I love this film, it's hilarious. If you've not seen it, you really must give it a whirl. Anyone who has worked in an office will relate to it. Teenager rating - 8/10.
The Good Girl
Again not a romcom but it would be mean to leave out one of her best films. Where did it all go wrong Jen? This is a great little film with a really good cast. This stands up against any decent film. Teenager rating - 8/10.
We're on the slippery slope now. While this isn't bad as such (and not compared to Heigl's output), it's really not very good either and Jen has little to do. I have a soft spot for Jim Carrey films and this has some amusing moments so... Teenager rating - 7/10.
I can't even discuss Along Came Polly. So Rumor Has It.
You can really see why she made this. Stellar cast. Not a bad plot and it should have been quite good but oh dear, it's not, it's just icky. This film made me feel just a bit odd and not warm and fuzzy at all. Teenager rating - 5/10.
Friends With Money
I know Jen, let's make a film with other females and show you're really a woman's woman. Nice idea but you're going to need a better script. Teenager rating - 4/10.
The Break Up.
What happened to Vince Vaughn? This is much better and actually quite a sweet, sad little movie and I applaud the fact they don't reunite them at the end. Extra point for Jon Favreau. Teenager rating - 8/10.
Marley & Me
I really enjoyed this. I really like Owen Wilson and he is perfect in this and you really believe in them as a couple. Plus it as a doggie in it. Awwwwww. Teenager rating - 8/10.
He's Just Not That Into You.
The Bounty Hunter
Let's show off my kick-ass body and invent a love affair with my leading man. Whatever Jen, it's still rubbish. Teenager rating - 5/10.
That brings me up to date with my Jen films. She's made some more since but I've not seen them yet since I've not been on a plane for a while. Next week should rectify that with a 12 hour flight to LA. To prove my theory that there is always a Jennifer Aniston film playing on a plane, I've just looked it up and sure enough, Horrible Bosses is playing. I already know my first choice then.
Sunday, 30 October 2011
I love a romcom. I know, you're all shocked to your core and had me down as a horror fan, right? Well, sorry to disappoint you. My capacity to watch truly terrible romcoms is limitless.
In my defence, I do fly quite a bit. I'm not on a plane every week but I go through phases with my job and earlier this year I was flying every month. I'd love to say that I get on business class long-haul flights and make like a CEO, spreading papers around, tapping away on a laptop looking desperately important. But I'd be lying. No, I check out the inflight entertainment and work out how many fluffy romcoms I can squeeze in while sipping the champagne and think to myself that life is sweet. Just so you know, this is what everyone does. I've yet to witness anyone on a business class flight actually do any work. Then I get to my destination and there are so many opportunities to watch crap romcoms: in the hotel (always a given in the US that a romcom will be showing, I saw A Fish Called Wanda last time - not seen that for years, it was still funny) and there are evenings to fill and what is a girl to do? Go to the movies of course and that's how I saw Life As We Know It.
That's my excuse but really I don't need one. I love a romcom and will watch almost any of them, however bad, just so I can measure it against other romcoms. I didn't know this skill would be useful until now but here we are, my moment has come. It's time to talk about crap romcoms. The reigning queen of the romcom is Katherine Heigl and yes, I've seen most of her oeuvre so we'll start with her. I like Katherine because I am shallow enough to like pretty people and I think she is very, very pretty. There are not many movie stars I feel this way about, I consider most of them overrated in the looks department but I think Katherine is gorgeous and I like watching gorgeousness. Sue me.
First up is the aforementioned Life As We Know It.
The shame is that I paid to watch this. Premise is that our two heroes have a blind date set up by their respective best friends (who are a couple), it's a dreadful date and they hate each other. Cue a montage of them hating each other over about five years or so but being thrown together by said friends. Then, omg, friends DIE and they are left holding their baby. They move into the friends' house together and high jinks ensue as they work out how to look after a baby and of course, fall in luuuurve. A part of my soul died typing that. A romcom where two people die? We're not in Nora Ephron territory anymore. It's terrible, the still above gives you an idea of how bad it is. Added beauty is provided by Christina Hendricks (who plays the wife who dies so we don't get much of her). The guy in this is fairly hopeless. Teenager grade = 5/10.
27 Dresses is next.
This is better. It has a better cast, the guy in this (James Marsden) is also in The Notebook and he is conventionally handsome and a good romcom lead. He is great in this, quite sexy and nonchalant. The set up here is better than Life As We Know It. Girl is always the bridesmaid (the 27 dresses) and never the bride as she's hopelessly in love with her boss. Her horrible sister (played by one of the worst actresses ever let loose on screen, I can't be bothered to look her name up, she's awful) falls in love with the boss and manipulates him and yadda yadda. The best bit about this (as I said in my Elton John post) is the scene where our heroine gets drunk and sings Bennie and the Jets. I saw this on a plane and therefore may be remembering it better than it really is. Teenager grade: 6/10.
My final Katherine film (cos even I couldn't face The Ugly Truth) is Knocked Up.
This is genuinely a funny film. I saw it a while ago (yes, on a plane) and laughed quite a bit. It's probably not fair to call it a romcom as it's aimed much more at a male audience than your traditional romcom. I can't remember much about it except I'd watch it again. Surely a good sign? Teenager grade: 8/10.
A note on grading: I grade comparatively. If Some Like It Hot is 10/10 (which it obviously is as any fool knows) then that doesn't mean Knocked Up is only 2 points less good. It's not even in the same ball park and would get a 1 if we compared both films side by side but that way madness lies. So the grading is for crap romcoms, not good romcoms. This is a particular genre. All clear? Excellent.
Next up will be Jennifer Aniston. I do this so you don't have to.
Saturday, 29 October 2011
Like any sane human being, I cringe when I see Elton John these days. He's such a twerp with his hair implants, adopting a kid at 60 something (sorry but I think it's irresponsible) and his terrible dress sense.
But wind back the years and it's a different story altogether because Sir Elton gave us some gems back in the day. So let's take a stroll down memory lane together.
I have little time for Your Song but I do love Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. This is such a beautiful song and check out his glasses!
My favourite Elton song is Tiny Dancer, surely everyone loves this song? It's wonderful.
The 70s really were his decade. The hits just keep on coming. I adore Rocket Man.
I have a soft spot for Bennie and the Jets. This is a great song and I defend it to anyone. The best scene in 27 Dresses (yes, I watched it, ok?) was when they sang along to this.
Now then, after all that wondrousness, we hit a period of Elton I don't like. I can't stand Pinball Wizard. I loathe Don't Go Breaking My Heart and Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word was ruined by Blue forever. However, I do like Are You Ready For Love.
Into the 80s. It's a mixed bag, I'm not going to lie. One of my favourite songs ever is I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues. I love singing along to it.
And I'm Still Standing just sums up the 80s to me, I can't help but like this.
Nikita and Sacrifice? Urgh - awful. What was he thinking? Into the 90s and I cannot stand The Lion King songs either, mind you, I hate that film too. It's so sappy.
I had all but given up hope but then he released There's Something About The Way You Look Tonight and it's an average song I know but I like it.
To one of the best videos ever made. This Train Don't Stop There Anymore. This is a fab song and Justin Timberlake is so good in it. I think this is Elton's most under-rated song.
In the same vein, I Want Love is also a fantastic video. Oh Robert Downey Jr, how you break my heart.
Not a bad hit rate really. It's easy to scoff at Elton however he is a genius songwriter and he has a very versatile voice, I think he has one of the best natural talents we're ever seen. I still can't forgive him for Candle In The Wind though.
Friday, 28 October 2011
It's been a long and emotional week. At the end of such a week, what better way to soothe the soul than with some of those pesky Kids From Fame? I've discussed the kids before so no need to revisit here. However, nothing makes me laugh as much as this video, it's so earnest. The way Lydia belts out her lines, the way they all stare at the teacher, they way they raise their hands together at the end. Oh but it's fantastic.
Now I am currently obsessed with listening to the Desert Island Disc archive (as I've mentioned previously) and one morning recently I was on the way to work and listening to Matt Lucas, somebody who has never registered with me since I am not a fan of British comedy and think Little Britain is the worst show ever made. Anyway, Kirsty asked him for his next record and he said "well, this is a bit embarrassing but I just love this song so much and I sung along when I was a kid and I loved this." They started playing Starmaker and I burst out laughing because this song really would be on my desert island and I am not even embarrassed about it. Take that Matt Lucas - have the courage of your convictions and don't be ashamed of your Kids from Fame love.
Starmaker is a lovely song to sing along to and I defy anyone to disagree. Has Glee done a Fame tribute yet? Like those upstarts could come close to Doris and Coco. Pffft.
All together... "soul taaaakkkkkkerrrr, we're happy now!"
Monday, 24 October 2011
It's time to dance my friends. It may be Monday but it's always disco fever chez Teenager and what better way to blow away Monday blues by having a boogie in a shimmery dress with a glitter ball spinning above our heads?
How I adore and love a bit of disco music and tonight I am going to spin some of the all-time classics. First up is one of the best songs ever committed to vinyl. Any song that mentions Gucci has my vote. I love this because it captures everything that's great about saturday night dancing and it has some very clever lyrics. Sister Sledge - He's The Greatest Dancer.
Onwards with the finest introduction to a song, when this comes on, I defy anyone to sit still, it demands a shoulder shrug and a boogie. Rose Royce - Car Wash.
Now a song to go to the bar to and float around feeling wonderful like you live in Manhattan in 1973. Odyssey - Native New Yorker
Oh Jacko, you will never beat this masterpiece. One of the best videos ever. Be one of the 45 million to watch this thanks to YouTube. Legend. Michael Jackson - Don't Stop Till You Get Enough
No list is complete without the mighty Chic. The dilemma of what song to pick but it has to be this one. Chic - Dance, Dance, Dance.
I love this next one so much, if I was on the decks (just so you know, I've never been on the decks!) then I would just play two minutes and mix it in to the next track as it is repetitive but it has such groove and you have to watch this for some spectacular disco dancing. One of the most sampled track ever - you can hear Wham and Black Eye Peas in the space of 10 seconds. Fantastic. Sugarhill Gang - Rapper's Delight
A little more recent (well, if you call 90s recent, and I do) with the mighty Ce Ce. I still adore this song. Ce Ce Peniston - Finally
We reach that time of the evening, you're all a bit weary and it's time to sashay to Donna. I still adore this. Donna Summer - Love To Love You Baby
You have to check out this video - it's totally brilliant and this is one of the cleverest songs of the disco era. Labelle - Lady Marmalade
We round off the night with every gay's favourite. Gay or straight, nobody can resist bellowing along to this. Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive.
Honorary mentions to those that won't let me embed: The Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive (we bow to them), Dee Lite - Groove is in the Heart (really we can't embed? We can embed Michael Jackson for goodness sake), Abba - Dancing Queen (I love it but it's actually hard to dance to).
What have I missed. You tell me (once you've stopped boogying and grooving that is).