Posts from 4th June 2006

Jun 06

How United 93 Makes Poseidon Better

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Can United 93 be described in terms of Poseidon? Almost certainly not – but it isn’t going to stop me trying. Was it a stroke of genius for both films to be released on the same day in the UK? Almost certainly not. Do they make a good double bill? Without a doubt.

Okay one is an almost unbearable straight telling of tragic events. The other is a hopeless, special effects heavy remake of a pretty poor 1970’s film. But While United 93 allows a degree of catharsis, Poseidon allows it to come out. It has never been clearer to me the point of a poor disaster movie. Seeing fake, meaningless death on a huge scale, death justified by poor characterization rather than random as in United 93, allows us to attempt to make some sort of sense of the world. Of course it is not the actual sense of the world, it is a lie. And that lie includes Kevin Dillon with a ridiculous pencil moustache dying because he is a bit rude to the ostensible hero of the film.

Oddly there is about as much characterization of the leads in both films. Poseidon is a bad disaster movie, the lack of characterization is just poor writing. United 93 is a tremendous piece of work whose lack of characterization exists to illustrate the reality, the ordinariness of the set-up. You can’t talk after United 93, what is there to say. You can’t help but talk after and even me during Poseidon, even if its just to speculate when Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas is going to get it (and she does get it as she is not white, which is unfortunately the reactionary subtext of Poseidon).

Contrast is often the best form of artistic appreciation, and these two films contrast almost perfectly. The devastation of United 93 is restored by the jokey cheapness of Poseidon. Perhaps those buttons should never be reset, but you can’t walk around depressed all the time, so Poseidon comes out this weekend as being much more worthwhile than expected.

Day 65: Ceylon City

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 485 views

One Night In Bangkok is all I could take. Ping Pong balls shooting out of the windows of every cheap knocking shop, and all the other stereotypes which suggests the only experience I really had of Thailand was cheap Channel Five documentaries. But I like cheap Channel Five documentaries, they are much better than the I Heart 1976 and all of its cunting music. YES I KNOW GLAM WAS SILLY, THAT IS WHY IT HAD TO DIE.

(I was offered a I HATE XXXX series on BBC2, but apparently I had to hate Scooby-Doo and yo-yos as well. I don’t hate yo-yos. Infact they are tremendously useful when at a summer festival and you are on a Polyphonic Spree concussion spree.)

But I had painted myself into a bit of a corner. I missed Crispian, not so much for his whining about remakes of classic sixties horror films, but more because he had the Atlas. I kind of knew the shape of the world, and where bits were, but suddenly it was clear that I had been traveling south, rather than the requisite east. The only way around it would be yet another trip by plane, and the cheapest I could muster was a twin prop jobbie to Sri Lanka.

CEYLON CITY – Cat Stevens

Imagine how bad Ceylon City by Cat Stevens is. Start off with all the other Cat Stevens songs in you head and then multiply them together. Then consider the following evidence:

Exhibit A: The following lyrics:
My daddy will be waiting there
My sister will be combing down her silver hair
My mamma will be waiting there
Serving lunch to my brother, but he’s nowhere

Exhibit B: Cat Stevens changed his name to Yusef Islam shortly after its release in a bid to disassociate himself from the song. Considering he made the jump from one persecuted minority (singing songwriting hippie) to an even more reviled one (born again Muslim’s) shows how poor it could be.

Exhibit C: Not only did Ceylon change its name to Sri Lanka to remove any association with this song, but Ceylon City also changed its name to Columbo. It also changed its job from being a capital city to a shaby, one-eyed homicide detective.

That is how bad this song is.