Posts from 13th April 2005

Apr 05

The Girl From Un Cool

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 291 views

I mentioned here how lousy Be Cool is as a movie. I want to reiterate here how uningaging, and uninspiring its version of the music industry is. Don’t get me wrong, I believe the music industry is a dog eat dog world where little favours work and big favourites get the rewards. Payola, back handers, etc – I’ll accept that. Organised crime cannot be far away. But really, is everyone still hung up on Aerosmith?

The celeb music cameos in the film are Aerosmith (playing a surprisingly small venue for them) and the Black Eyed Peas (playing in a piano bar!). The rap contingent including Andre 3000’s comic foil we never get to hear. Basically the film, about music, is scared of music. Look at its soundtrack.

Nothing more so than in its climatic scenes starring Christina Milian as Linda Moon, r’n’b superstar. She wins an MTV award for best song, and best video. Despite the video being a very boring straight performance, with a man burning to death in the background. And despite the song being dull as ditchwater. For Be Cool to convince, the song itself would have to potentially be a hit. Instead it is a dull r’n’b standard with even duller guitar licks. Your star is Christina Milian: come on, she shits out better records than this. For Be Cool to convince as a music satire, its music has to convince. Instead it embarrasses.


Proven By SciencePost a comment • 304 views

Not a riddle. Not a puzzle. Just how do you say it?
(Thanks to Doctor T for this one).

If 60% of students say they would do X and 90% say they would do Y, how much more likely are they to do Y than X. 50% more likely (i.e. 60 + 30, half again)? 33% more likely (i.e. 90-60 = 30, a third of 90)? or 150% more likely (90 = 60+half again)?

This question has upset some of the finest minds of at least one generation so far.

Be Cool was not a very good book.

Do You SeePost a comment • 316 views

It had the trademark Elmore Leonard snappy dialogue and had a neatly packed plot. But it was clear that Leonard knew very little about the music biz, and therefore it lacked the edge that his obvious bitter dealings with the movies had informed Get Shorty.

Be Cool the movie is not a very good movie. Not just because it takes pretty much the setting and a few character names from the book and junks the rest. Like I said, the book is not all that. Indeed the idea of inserting gangster rappers into the plot improves the soft country/rock setting of the book: it genuinely gives you people who might carry guns. It genuinely does not think of the consequences though. A major character shoots someone else in a public office, and nothing happens to him. This, like the version of the music biz we see, does not convince. In particular hiring Christina Milian as your hopeful starlet and making her since lousy songs. And since when would singing with Aerosmith break an R’n’B act?

As the film cannot keep the audience sated with its plot, it attempts to stuff the supporting roles with comic quirks. This is successful in as much as Vince Vaughn in Made mode, and The Rock get to show their comic chops. The Rock’s gay Roger Moore-a-like actor is so full of glee it reminds you what a good comic actor can do. Unfortunately everything else in the film is second hand: in particular the bizarre reprise of the Pulp Fiction dance between Travolta and Thurman. There it was stylised and cool. Here it is granddad dancing to the Black Eyed Peas and excruciating. Be Cool as a film is as bad as Be Cool is a title for a film.

The Joys Of DVD Rental: 1

Do You SeePost a comment • 404 views

Time Out offered a free pair of film tickets and a free month rental of DVD’s from LoveFilm two months ago. Usually disdainful of such offers I wondered what I had to lose. Nothing, and I had a free cinema ticket to gain. But whilst signed up I might as well see a few DVD’s of films I had missed in the cinema.

Suckered and sucked in. The promotion worked perfectly for me. I am hooked. My previous objection to DVD’s have weakened, and what is more, my consumption of these little packets are not affecting my moviegoing at all. So here is what I use it for (in order of cultural importance):

1) To watch acclaimed US television programmes I don’t get round to seeing
2) To watch rubbish films that even I refused to see in the cinema, often to uncover the odd under-rated gem (and improve my already obsessive completist MENTALITY)
3) To watch films from ver canon that I have never seen (cf the conversation had with Sarah Sonic, Mark S and Mark C at the last Club Freaky Trigger)
4) To double check if old favourites are still any good.

So to talk about 1 first, the watching of television I have missed. The best thing about this is that as you only get one DVD at a time, your watching of the TV series is slightly staggered. I have a few spectatorship problems with devouring an entire TV series in a day or two (as I did with 24 season 3). The programmes were not designed to be consumed this way. Also the forty minutes a US episode lasts is perfect to watch before I go to work, go to bed, on a coach journey or while in the bath. With DVD rental for VFM you want a fast turnaround time and episodes are effortless at this. And all without having to buy combersome box-sets.

I shall return to the other reasons soon…

DAY 35: Graceland

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 347 views

We were led, in the dark, into an underground encampment. Once inside it had all the set design nouse of a rubbish mid eighties James Bond film. You know , the ones that had themes by no mark pop bands like Duran Duran or A-Ha. The only eighties Bond film I could ever tolerate was Licence To Kill, as I imagined what I would do to Gladys Knight and her Pips if I had said licence.

“Here we are, Ms Headon, Mr De Savary. The never centre of the hush hush very secret Department Of Extraterrestrial Affairs. In the heart of Tennessee, just outside Memphis, in Graceland.”

This news was enough to make me pass out.

I awoke to the sounds of Bossanova Baby, a feeling of utter despair and the gurning face of Agent Turner. He had in his hands a piece of the rubbery substance that the giant space hopper was made of.

“I’ll ask you one final time. Where did you get this stuff.”
“A big eared alien on the moon,” I told him for the fifteenth time. Like I owed The Listener anything.
“See, I knew you would say that. Looks like we will have to wheel out the big guns. Ms Headon. May I introduce to you, the Director of the Department of Extraterrestrial Affairs. Mr Elvis Aron Presley.”

A man who looked good for a seventy year old, and exceptionally good for someone who was supposed to be dead hip swivled into the room. Greasy hair, less fat on him than to be expected, I could tell it was really Elvis just by my bodies natural defences. I am ashamed to say I threw up.

“Ms Headon. Pleased to meet you. I’ve heard so much about you.”
“Elvis. You were supposed to have died on your toilet in 1977.”
“Well, as you can see ma’am, I am alive and well.”
“No. I mean you were supposed to. I paid people good money for that just. All of my pocket money for a year. I knew I couldn’t trust those boys in year five. So what is this then. Some secret base in the heart of Graceland that you run to save the American people from extraterrestrial danger?”
“Why yes?” He looked shocked at my ability to summaries all of the information. But then he did star in Blue Hawaii so he isn’t the smartest man in the world.
“My question to you then Elvis, is who is going to save the American public from you?”

Not those boys in year five, that’s for sure. You can never trust a punk.


Paul Simon I can understand. You can see why a relative Johnny Come Lately like that sprout faced turd might write a song about Graceland. But why would Willie Nelson cover it? Readers, I offer you some potential reasons:

a) Willie Nelson hates Paul Simon and therefore thought he would spoil the song (not possible)
b) Willie Nelson hates humanity and therefore thought that juxtaposing his gravelly voice with a weak-ass Paul Simon song would bring about Ragnarok
c) He hated Elvis and therefore decided to sing a song about his house rather than him
d) He was killing time until the acting role of a lifetime came up, thus recording whatever tat his record company threw at him. Luckily the acting role of a lifetime has come up now, as Willie Nelson is playing Uncle Jessie in the Dukes Of Hazard movie, so we need not worry about him making any more rubbish covers like this anymore.

(By the way, I was tempted to do a piece of You Will Never See Graceland by Boo Hewardine, but I Will Never Hear You Will Never See Graceland. Unless I am really unlucky.)