Posts from 11th August 2005

Aug 05

What Fully Loaded?

Do You SeePost a comment • 316 views

I have seen the film. And I still cannot understand the ways in which Herbie is actually fully loaded. VW Bugs are small, but to load them fully you want the trunk full up and a couple of kids in the back. Whilst Lindsay Lohan seems to be smuggling a pair of small children in her T-Shirt, just putting her in the car does not fully load it.

Anyway, that aside, Herbie: Full Loaded is the You Only Live Twice of the Herbie series – a slight return to form. What am I saying, Herbie films are cheesy nonsense? And H:FL opens with a cheesy junk yard scene of Herb squirting oil at a nasty car junker. Nothing that would have been out of place thirty years ago. The kids in the cinema laughed like drains. You know, gurgly drains which make laughing noises.

Nevertheless same old Herbie and the endlessly entertaining Lohan (no-one turns to the dark side and then repents like her, nobody) is no match for the undescribably dull NASCAR racing the film falls into being about. IT IS DRIVING CARS IN AN OVAL. There is barely any room for Herbie’s usual tricks. No splitting apart and come first and third for them (still the definitive Herbie moment from The Love Bug). Also the film straddles fantasy and reality uncomfortably. Lohan dreams of being the first major female NASCAR winner which may be a reality but considering the numerous female racers in previous Herbie movies it seems a step back. Even if those women were there primarily as Dean Jones’s love interests, they were seen to be good, competent contenders. And you also have to bear in mind that Lohan herself pretty much accepts that all of her success is down to Herbie. So you think about the sexism, and notice that this is a remarkably white film. Again, probably referencing the whiteness of NASCAR, you would imagine it was not an overly conscious decision by Angela Robinson the director (who is black, and a lesbian, and made an equally fun lesbian Charlies’ Angels schoolgirl romp DEBS a while back which is almost the anti-Herbie in daring).

What I am trying to say is that Herbie: Fully Loaded is basically a continuation of a remarkably safe franchise. But that franchise might not be the Herbie one, but rather the third film in the National Velvet trilogy. NASCAR Velvet is about the teenage girl who battles to compete. Nice safe, positive messages. Except the one sour note: namely that Herbie rides off with a new VW Beetle in the final reel. He(r)bie is 37. The new VW She-Bie or Her-Bie (cheers Alang) can be no older that 9. I bet Disney did not consider Herbie being a paedophile as a potential message of the film.

“Charities, Police, Opposition Parties and Church leaders”

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 250 views

The weirdly-timed backlash against the forthcoming increased flexibility in pub opening times continues.

“Tory leader Michael Howard said the legislation should be shelved until binge drinking has been brought under control.”

As far as I am aware, binge drinking has never been under control in British history. It’s a largely unpleasant part of the culture here and to think that it’s controllable through the pub opening hours is delusion. The various quotes in the Guardian piece seem to be saying “relaxing licensing laws won’t make any difference to binge drinking”. Agreed: so why bother restricting freedom of choice unnecessarily?

Maybe there are ways to deal at a cultural level with binge drinking: I’m not sure what they might be*. I’m sure that our legislature deciding for me whether I may remain in an alehouse after 11.20 on any given evening isn’t it. I don’t see how it’s any of their business, and it’s an ongoing irritation that they think it is.

The Government agreeing to a review of the effects of the changes after a bit seems sensible, especially if it shuts the irksome puritans up. But why aren’t these analyses talking about Scotland, where more sensible licensing hours appear to make a sum total of no difference whatsoever to levels of drunkenness or alcohol-fuelled crime?

* Perhaps seeing pictures of other drunks would do the job. I’ve been out in Rugby and there seemed to be plenty of drunks to look at without having their pictures projected onto the buildings.

The unexpected joys of a forthcoming Conference season #2 (niche marketing division)

TMFDPost a comment • 660 views

Football seasons, eh? They seem to start earlier and earlier every year.

This year, the combination of (a) the season starting at the height of August, and (b) my team playing at a level at which an uncovered away end is by no means a rarity, has driven me somewhere I wouldn’t normally go: Boots.

See, two hours spent standing in the hot summer afternoon sun leaves me at risk of unsightly and uncomfortable sunburn on my rapidly balding pate. But I can’t be rubbing any old suntan grease into my head because there’s still (just) enough hair to go greasy and look horrible.

Surely capitalism can provide for this urgent need? Yes, it can: Boots Soltan Hair and Scalp Sun Protector. A boon for slapheaded bad football bores everywhere. Hey! Sometimes the p0rn0graphy of minimally differentiated products throws up something I really, like, need! Or want, I suppose.

While you’re here, here’s a Cement Industry Heritage Centre Update: I’ve heard nothing back from Lafarge. When I have any cement-related business to do I’ll take it elsewhere, and I urge you to do the same. Hmph.