Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tom Cruise: Apparently the New Messiah

Tom Cruise has always had a bit of an inflated ego hasn't he? When he's not telling women how to deal with their post-partum depression, he's arrogantly discounting the entire school of psychology as 'glib'. But the size of Tom Cruise's self opinion has reached such an all time high that scientist are speculating that Global Warming is actually caused by the dangerous gravitational pull of his giant oversized head. You see, accordng to The Church of Scientology, Tom Cruise now believes that he is Jesus Christ.

Long considered just "some stupid science fiction cult", it has taken a lot of special back massages at natural disasters for Scientologists to overcome the fact that their religion sort of reads like an X-Files fan-ficition written by an 11 year old. But despite the fact that Scientologists are still struggling for credibility these days, their leader David Miscavige has decided to reveal this week that a man
all women hate is their "christ-like figure". As quoted by The Sun: “Tom has been told he is Scientology’s Christ-like figure. Like Christ, he’s been criticised for his views. But future generations will realise he was right."

You just know that John Travolta is standing around somewhere angrily drawing an unflattering moustache and glasses on a photo of Tom Cruise then furiously tearing it into tiny pieces.

I have to say, I'm a little sceptical myself. Besides the fact that my mother always told me never to trust a man whose name rhymes with 'miscarriage', I'm really struggling to see what Tom Cruise has done to elevate himself to Messiah status. Yell at women for taking drugs that stop them from smothering their babies? Yell at Dustin Hoffman for two hours for being retarded? Try and sue some men who squirted him in the face with a water pistol? I'm really not seeing it. that I think about it, Tom Cruise does have a few god-like qualities. For example, divine intervention is the only way I account for public opinion of Tom Cruise plummeting from most popular celebrity ever to most hated man in the whole world within about three weeks. And it was more than a little spooky when he somehow got "no sex before marriage" supporter Katie Holmes pregnant a whole year before they actually got married.

But it doesn't matter what I think about a man who became famous by starring in a movie about a boy losing his virginity to a prostitute being declared a christ-like figure because I'm not religious. From an objective stand-point however, this revelation has interesting cultural ramifications. For example, this weird linking of Christianity and Scientology actually means that Battlefield Earth can now be considered a prequel to Passion of the Christ.

Similarly, this whole story really highlights the inherent problems with the deification of historical figures. I mean, these days we think of Jesus as a strapping handsome young gentleman with sexy blue eyes and a lovely, flowing well conditioned mane of hair and beard. But I bet if we used a DeLorean to go back in time to oldey time Jerusalem we would probably find that Jesus was a creepy, obnoxious, short, middle-aged man with a funny nose and a weird, glassy-eyed child bride. Likewise, in a thousand years people will probably believe that Tom Cruise was some sort of tall, charismatic genius instead of just that plonker who jumped up and down on Oprah's sofa.

Unfortunately for Tom Cruise, I actually think that he is supposed to die before he can be considered a messianic figure. Now, David Miscavige didn't reveal whether or not they were going to go for the traditional nailed to a plank of wood. But if they're looking for ideas for Tom Cruise's inevitable martyrdom, I'm offering keelhauled or crushed in heavy machinery.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Captain Great: "The Academy Awards are Shithouse"

So Academy Awards season is upon us once again. You know the Academy Awards: that annual event when all sorts of celebrities get together and masturbate while watching their own movies? Okay, so that's not what happens at all but it might as well be because lets face it, Hollywood's night of nights is the most excessive example of narcissistic, self congratulatory, self pleasuring nonsense on the face of the planet.

Alright, what the Academy Awards actually is is that night of the year when celebrities parade around a red carpet in dresses worth ten times most people's annual income, then they sit around looking smug and feigning modesty for several hours, then the next day everyone bitches about how the worst movie of all time Crash won an award over Brokeback Mountain. Usually, but not always, they are hosted by that weird looking actor Billy Crystal, star of lots of movies you probably don't like and City Slickers II: The Legend of Curley's Gold.

The Oscars also exist as a way in which to promote a whole bunch of pretentious movies usually about people with mental disabilities that would otherwise have no chance of making any money due to their complete lack of Johnny Depp dressed like a pirate. They also serve as a means to reward normal people for their odd decision to devote two hours of their life watching Cate Blanchett die.

Now, unlike other religious holidays, the Academy Awards isn't just a one day a year deal. What I'm trying to say is, it's unlikely that you'll have to listen to Jingle Bell Rock in, say, March. The Academy Awards, however, you have to put up with every other day of your fecking life, mostly due to idiot film critics who love throwing the words "oscar-possibility" into every review of every movie in which any actor emotes a little bit more than usual or plays a retarded character.

Basically the Academy Awards are shithouse. But people seem to care about this sort of nonsense so here's a list of this year's nominations, minus all the boring ones:

Best Picture: "Babel," "The Departed," "Letters From Iwo Jima," "Little Miss Sunshine," "The Queen."

Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, "Blood Diamond"; Ryan Gosling, "Half Nelson"; Peter O'Toole, "Venus"; Will Smith, "The Pursuit of Happyness"; Forest Whitaker, "The Last King of Scotland."

Actress: Penelope Cruz, "Volver"; Judi Dench, "Notes on a Scandal"; Helen Mirren, "The Queen"; Meryl Streep, "The Devil Wears Prada"; Kate Winslet, "Little Children."

Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin, "Little Miss Sunshine"; Jackie Earle Haley, "Little Children"; Djimon Hounsou, "Blood Diamond"; Eddie Murphy, "Dreamgirls"; Mark Wahlberg, "The Departed."

Supporting Actress: Adriana Barraza, "Babel"; Cate Blanchett, "Notes on a Scandal"; Abigail Breslin, "Little Miss Sunshine"; Jennifer Hudson, "Dreamgirls"; Rinko Kikuchi, "Babel."

Directing: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, "Babel"; Martin Scorsese, "The Departed"; Clint Eastwood, "Letters From Iwo Jima"; Stephen Frears, "The Queen"; Paul Greengrass, "United 93."

Foreign Language Film: "After the Wedding," Denmark; "Days of Glory (Indigenes)," Algeria; "The Lives of Others," Germany; "Pan's Labyrinth," Mexico; "Water," Canada.

Animated Feature Film: "Cars," "Happy Feet," "Monster House."

Monday, January 22, 2007

"Racism" is the New "Adopting African Babies"

Celebrities aren't all that different from us are they? I mean, sure, they get paid millions and millions of pounds to speak in funny voices and okay, not many ordinary folk attend extravagant awards ceremonies that give people shiny gold trophies of a naked man for pretending to have a mental disability.

However, one way in which celebrities and non-famous plebs are virtually dissimilar is the fact that both love following short-lived, rubbish gimmicky fads. But whereas normal people fads include hula hoops, Pacman and wearing your jeans so low that everyone can see your boxers, Celebrities are spending all their free time not eating, participating in wacky religions, adopting African babies and losing all their excess pregnancy fat exactly three hours after squirting out a sprog.

But just when you were starting to tire of seeing every 20-something year old starlet carrying a distressed looking Chihuahua around in a handbag like Paris Hilton, there is a new celebrity fad out there. Unfortunately, this latest celebrity fad is shaping up to be the worst yet. In fact, it is so dreadful that it has us all longing for those days when the worst thing famous people got up to was wearing all those stupid "awareness ribbons" at awards ceremonies. What I'm talking about is racism. Yes, celebrity racism has made it's biggest comeback since that time Adolf Hitler was named one of the 50 most intriguing people by the 1930's German version of People magazine.

First of all we had Mel Gibson who decided to get twonked on Tukkelah and tell anyone who would listen that all the Jews were responsible for all the wars in the world and probably also that shitty movie Crash. Then we had TV's Kramer who decided to forgoe telling actual jokes in his comedy routine in favour of just shrieking the word 'nigger' like some sort of ironic version of Martin Luthor King. Probably Bono from U2 did some racist stuff once as well, but I don't have any sort of evidence to back that one up. And now Hollywood's latest fad can claim yet another convert: Jade Goody, the flabby reality TV bint and apparent horrible, horrible racist.

Admittedly I don't watch Celebrity Big Brother but according to the footage plastered across every news program on every channel on the telly and the self righteous opinion pieces on every second page of every newspaper, magazine and internet column Jade Goody committed the terrible, unforgivable veritable hate crime of being a bit mean to a girl who happened to be Indian and also calling her 'poppadom' once.

Okay, so Jade Goody's racism is mostly just a product of shrill media hype. But the whole Celebrity Big Brother saga really highlights how swiftly this trend is catching on. Worst of all, it appears that being a dirty rotten bigot totally pays off. I mean, despite Mel Gibson's anti-semitism and widespread condemnation last year his vanity project made in a dead language Apocalytpo managed to gross over 70 million dollars at the box office. Similarly, Kramer's racist tirade inspired record sales of the latest Seinfeld DVD box set. And regardless of whether or not Bono is actually a racist, lots of people still go to U2 concerts.

Terrifyingly, it seems that it is only a matter of time until the likes of Nicole Richie or Lindsay Lohan jump on the fad-train bound for Nazi Germany. This time next week, don't be surprised if Paris Hilton's catchphrase "that's hot" is officially changed to "I hate Croatians" and Steven Spielberg decides to remake "The Birth of a Nation" and "Triumph of the Will".

When the inevitable happens, I suspect I'll have to become sort of wacky recluse, cut off from all forms of media like Leonardo Dicaprio in that Aviator movie. I'd do it right now actually but I'm pathetically interested in who will win the current season of Dancing on Ice.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Things I dig: Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan is quite talented really, so talented that I would probably have sex with him if he offered. In case you aren't keeping notes, here’s the official list of male celebrities that are so talented that Captain Great would probably fellate them if they asked him to: Bill Murray, Stanley Kubrick and now Bob Dylan.

But disturbing insights into my celebrity spank bank aside, I think Bob Dylan is really very good. Even a brief embarrassing stint as a born again Christian in the eighties hasn’t dimmed the man’s prestige such is the unbelievable quality of his body of work. Blonde on Blonde, Blood on the Tracks, Highway 61 Revisited, Bringing it all Back Home, Desire: the guy has any number of genius classic albums under his belt and should be considered the least overrated musician of all time.

My favourite Dylan album is probably Blood on the Tracks but when I was a teenager I used to listen to Highway 61 Revisited a hell of a lot. Most of the albums in his first twenty years or so as a recording artist are worth a listen, though. Even Bob Dylan’s lesser efforts are pretty good. For example, I’ve lately been listening to the soundtrack to the film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid that Bob Dylan penned. It’s mostly just instrumental blues and folk pieces but I’ll be damned if it’s not the best thing I’ve heard in weeks. And even his poorly received albums usually have three or four sensational songs on them.

Seriously, he's really, really great. I know everyone has a subjective right to an opinion and all that but I think that right should be revoked for people who hate Bob Dylan. The only thing I think of that anyone could possibly have a problem with is Dylan's voice but personally I love it. Sure it's unusual, coarse etc but he conveys more wit and emotion in his voice than anyone else I can think of. I would rather listen to Bob Dylan singing for an eternity than five minutes of Mariah Carey's shrill warblings.

But Bob Dylan isn't just great because of his musical abilities. I watched the Martin Scorsese documentary No Direction Home a few months ago and Dylan comes across as a really intelligent, witty and charismatic guy, a really great pop cultural figure without all the smug self importance of a John Lennon. It was a pleasant surprise because, at the time, I had only really known him through his music. I especially loved the bit where he played with his interviewers by providing weird random answers to all their questions. As someone who worked for a time as a journalist I can understand the frustration celebrities go through being asked inane questions all the time. But it was cool seeing Dylan deal with it in a playful, funny way instead of just being obnoxious like every other celebrity.

Dylan is also a good writer as well. His autobiography Chronicles Vol.1 is probably the best I've ever read. I also dug Tarantula, his contribution to the stream-of-consciousness beat genre. He has a very confident, appealing writing style with a great turn of phrase. In another life, Dylan probably could have enjoyed a successful career as a writer.

Sure, in his twilight years, Dylan has indulged in the sort of nonsense middle aged rockstars tend to get up to that makes you secretly wish they died of a drug overdose in 1973. I'm talking about wacky exclusive deals with Walmart or that time he tried to get a movie banned because it protrayed him unfavourably, all that sort of nonsense. And his musical output has been a bit ordinary in recent times. Modern Times got good reviews but let’s face it, whenever a great sixties artist is declared to be “back on form” after releasing a new album, it’s never anywhere near as good as everyone says it is. Similarly, I went and saw him live a few years ago and I thought he was a bit crap to be honest.

But he's Bob Dylan so I'll cut him some slack.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Britney's womb: "Give me a freaking break!"

Britney Spears' life has become a little bit like a Home Alone movie: just when you think slipping on some ice a bit and being shot in the head with a BB gun is the worst thing that can happen to you, there's always a red hot iron just ahead ready to smash you in the face.

In the past two years or so the I'm a Slave 4 U singer has had to suffer through marrying the worst rapper of all time, endlessly squirting out baby after baby after baby, getting a bit fat and having grotty pictures of her chuff box splashed all over the internet. But with the start of a brand new year I'm sure Britney decided to put all that behind her, start afresh and try to return to those glory days when teenagers used to think about her when they masturbated. Alas, this week she was metaphorically pounded in the face by a burning steam-press with recent reports revealing that she could be up the duff yet again. Cue late night talk show hosts and easy obvious jokes built around that "oops I did it again" song.

The rumours first started last week when The Sun printed pictures of Britney passed out in a car while her new boyfriend cleaned up vomit. Oddly enough, rather than proof that Britney is a pathetic drunken lush, it was decided by the tabloid journalism community that the photos clearly portrayed Britney in the first early stages of morning sickness.

But it was the US magazine InTouch that really got the "bleeding hell, what's in Britney's womb now?" ball rolling. According to one of those pesky blabbermouth anonymous sources that celebrities should probably stop talking to: "I've seen her during the last two pregnancies and she has the same look now. She's heavier, but that's not it. It's the sparkle in her eye. She always gets that sparkle when she's pregnant, like she's relaxed and happy."

Based on this flimsy evidence, it looks like Britney could be expecting another redneck baby for her to drop on its head and practice unsafe driving practices with. But the question everyone's wondering is, who is the father? The gossip rags have offered up such suggestions as ex-husband K-Fed and new beau Isaac Cohen but considering her recent penchant for wearing short skirts and forgoing underwear, who knows what she's sat in over the last couple of alcohol soaked weeks; the father could theoretically be anyone.

But future paternity lawsuits aside, Britney Spears probably should stop squirting out placenta and new born babies before she starts to do irreparable damage to her already battered public image. For example, in Japan her name has already been officially changed to "smiling happy making baby sumo factory".

Monday, January 15, 2007

Top Ten Most Pretentious Things About Pink Floyd

So, I'm guessing you know who Pink Floyd are, probably because you own a copy of Animals on vinyl because for some reason everyone does. I actually quite like Pink Floyd, mostly due to their original lead singer Syd Barrett who was, in my opinion, pretty goddamn great. Under him, Pink Floyd crafted exciting, fun psychedelic pop and created my favourite album of all time Piper at the Gates of Dawn. The later prog rock, concept album loving incarnation of the band were not as good but they were still pretty alright; I mean, even the staunchest Floyd critics have to admit that Dark Side of the Moon is a fairly impressive achievement.

That said, you really have to ignore a lot of pretentious self indulgent wank in order to apppreciate Pink Floyd properly. And I mean a lot. Here's my top ten list of things I force myself to forget everytime I hear Money on the radio and don't want to feel like a prat for enjoying it:

10. Refusing to Release Singles

This is a phase pretty much every vaguely pretentious band goes through: refusing to release singles on the grounds that it denigrates their art or something. Everyone from Pearl Jam to Radiohead have gone through this prog rock cliche and Pink Floyd is no exception, refusing to releasing any singles between 1968 and 1973 despite releasing six albums.

9. Stanly Kubrik
Alledgedly Stanly Kubrik originally wanted to used parts of the album Atom Heart Mother as the soundtrack to A Clockwork Orange but they refused. Now, if I was Pink Floyd I probably wouldn't be whoring out Wish You Were Here for the soundtrack to Van Wilder Party Liason 3 or whatever. But you're really overthinking the whole personal integrity thing if you turn down Stanley Kubrik. Besides, I know for a fact that Pink Floyd allowed Another Brick in the Wall Part II to be played in that teen horror movie about aliens starring Elijah Wood and Josh Hartnett, which makes them look like total hypocritical wankers really.

8. Basing an entire album around George Orwell's Animal Farm

The album Animals in case you were wondering.

7. Momentary Lapse of Reason
This album was made in 1993 when they stopped pretending that they were still a proper band and started catering to their original audience who had all grown up into middle aged new-age music listening yuppies. That's not why this album made the list though. Mostly it's because of its "sounds deeper than it actually is" title that just screams pretentiousness.

6. This Lyric

"Tell me true tell me why was Jesus crucified?/Was it for this my daddy died?"

5. Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict
Yes, that's the name of a song. Now, I actually don't mind when bands try to be cute or clever when naming songs and albums; I mean, I listen to lots of electronica and that sort of nonsense is practically that musical genre's bread and butter. Basically, I don't mind it as long as the band pulls it off. But at this point in their career Pink Floyd had just lost their charismatic lead singer and really weren't very good. Nice try guys but you didn't get away with it.

4. Shine on you crazy diamonds Parts I-IX
I actually kind of like Shine on You Crazy Diamonds in spite of it being a sprawling twenty minute exercise in self indulgence. What I can't forgive is their decision to split the song into nine parts. Let's face it, it's just one song. I mean, the vinyl version doesn't even have those little groove things that denote the point where each track ends. What I'm trying to say is, should you ever discuss the song with someone you would go "Hey, I really dug Shine on you crazy diamonds" not "Hey, Shine on you crazy diamonds part IV was pretty groovy but not as groovy as Shine on you crazy diamonds part VII".

3. The Final Cut
The Final Cut was, like, Pink Floyd's twentieth concept album in a row. I guessing the concept of this one was something to do with war but I'm just basing that on the picture of the soldier on the album sleeve. I've always felt that there is something inherently pretentious about concept albums. But in my opinion that doesn't matter as long as they are good. This album is not good.

2. The Wall - The Movie
Rock operas are always rubbish as are the films that they inevitably spawn. And the movie version of The Wall is no exception. It stars that Live 8 prat Sir Bob Geldoff and is mostly just him prancing around cheesy sets miming to Pink Floyd songs. It's really self indulgent and stupid and tries way too hard to be clever and unconventional. The bits where Bob Geldoff is some sort of crazy, eyebrow-less facist dictator are kinda cool though.

1. Building a wall on stage during The Wall concert tour
When Pink Floyd toured the album The Wall in 1980 they came up with a horribly pretentious little idea: an actual wall would be built between the audience and the band symbolizing the divide between the two. Now, the thing is, I'm pretty sure people go to rock concerts to be entertained, not to become spectators to some clumsily executed message about how their buying Pink Floyd records has alienated the members of the band from reality or something. And if they really felt that strongly about it, maybe they shouldn't be playing huge sellout stadium shows and just stayed at home and watched Deal or No Deal instead?

I'm sure reading this list made you hate Pink Floyd just a little bit. Sorry about that.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Harrison Ford: "Star Wars is shit!"

Star Wars is just a little bit overrated, isn't it? Admittedly Yoda, Lando Calrissian and Jabba the Hutt are all pretty kewl. And I think you would be hard pressed to find a better screen villain than Darth Vader. And sure, those movies starred the greatest fictional character of all time, R2D2. And when I was a kid I had a major hard-on for Ewoks. But apart from all that, they're kinda rubbish aren't they?

Okay, so Star Wars is actually pretty good. But not according to Harrison "I played Han Solo in Star Wars" Ford who recently shit all over the films that launched his career by turning down an offer to star in a Han Solo spin-off film and by slagging off Chewbacca a little bit. According to The Daily Star this week, Ford was all "I would rather fellate Barbara Walters" when offered twenty million dollars to reprise his star-making role: “George sounded him out about playing Han Solo again. Harrison was horrified...He told George he just couldn't face being stuck in a spaceship with Chewbacca again.”

What the bollocking hell happened to Harrison Ford anyway? Twenty years ago you couldn't take a dump in the middle of a deserted forest without mistakenly crapping on a Harrison Ford movie such was their quantity. However, the only thing Ford has starred in lately is lots of VH1 'Where are the now?' retrospectives. My theory is that he's been sulking for the last ten years because he didn't got any awards for Regarding Henry his token early nineties oscar-baiting 'act like a retard' movie but that could just be baseless speculation.

Fortunately, thanks to my newfound dedication to proper journalistic standards I decided to actually do a bit of research into the matter. Okay, turns out he made a movie last year called Firewall, probably about anti-virus software gaining sentience and trying to enslave humanity or something. I'm guessing it went straight to DVD. Also, Ford is apparently dating Skeletor from The Masters of the Universe although he calls himself 'Calista Flockhart' these days. So there we are.

Regardless of how tragically unfamous Harrison Ford is these days, turning down a role in a Star Wars spin-off was probably a pretty smart move. I think we can all agree that the new Star Wars movies stank up the joint worst than the last time an ex-Spice Girl released an album.

And it doesn't help that George Lucas is now richer than Jesus Christ. To use The Rolling Stones as an example, it wasn't all the booze, drugs and sexually transmitted diseases that turned Mick Jagger and Keith Richards into untalented nightmarish self parodies, it was all the money. I mean, who needs to make a half-decent album when you can just stay at home and swim in pools filled with hundred pound notes, especially when you have an army of mindless sycophants who will automatically buy any old piece of rubbish you decide to release. Well, the same thing applies to George Lucas. Plus, I think we all remember that embarrasing bit at the end of Revenge of the Sith where Darth Vader goes "noooooo!" in a stupid voice.

This whole story really highlights how bloated and ridiculous the Star Wars franchise has become. I'm sure in twenty years George Lucas will start running out of Star Wars characters to spin-off into increasingly stupid movies and TV shows and we'll have to put up with this sort of news story: “George sounded Toby Keith out about playing that blue elephant muppet thing that played the piano in Jabba the Hutt's palace again. Keith was horrified...He told George he just couldn't face being stuck in Jabba the Hutt's Throne Room with Cli'tor the Himd'orian dancer again."

Seriously though, I don't know why George Lucas bothered offering Harrison Ford twenty million dollars to reprise his role when I'm pretty sure Mark Hamill would have done it for 20p.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

TV's Screech at Center of Dirty Sanchez Sex Tape Conspiracy

Everyone loves a good celebrity sex tape don't they? Well actually, no they don't. That's because it's never Jessica Alba or Scarlett Johanson or even Gael Garcia Berna doing the old "ooh yeah baby, that feels good" schtick in front of a camcorder. Instead it's all those celebrities that you try to pretend don't exist like Kid Rock or Paris Hilton or that plonker from Creed that get filmed doing a bit of in out, in out.

Never was this better exemplified than that time it was horribly, horribly revealed that a sex tape featuring Screech from Saved by the Bell had been released. In addition there was a rumour going around that said sex tape featured a bit of "dirty sanchez", a rumour that would later be substantiated. If this is the first time you have ever heard this piece of information, I would advise that you lie down for a little bit; it doesn't stop the squealing but it does keep you away from any sharp objects with which you can take your own life.

Interest in the story was revived when Screech's former publicist David Hans Schmitt revealed this week that the sex tape was actually released by Screech himself, an announcement that was met with a bit of mild disinterest, mostly due to the fact that everyone had sort of already figured that one out. I mean, a sex tape starring an out of work, child star and failed comedian suddenly appearing just a few months after they declared bankruptcy is just a little bit convenient you know? Screech's appearance on The Howard Stern Show in which he boasted of his ten inch penis wasn't really the best defense either.

Now you might remember David Schmitt from last September when the story broke and he was all like "Who knows? Maybe it will help this loser get some sort of job." Now it's several months later and Schmitt has changed his tune somewhat. "[Screech] was in on the deal from the start," Schmitt revealed in an interview with Daily News. "He made this tape in a St. Louis hotel room with two girls last summer with the intention that I would sell it." But the vaguely shocking revelations don't end there. "I have reason to believe that is not [Screech's] manhood in the movie," Schmitt continued. "You never see his face and his manhood in the same shot." Classy.

This story has inspired an alarming number of different emotions in me. First of all I felt nauseated. Then I was vaguely amused. Then I felt a little bit sad for ol' Screech. I mean, he really has bollocked up his life hasn't he? Then I got angry. Saved by the Bell ended what, ten years ago? Why are we still being exposed to someone who wasn't all that talented to begin with? And the same goes for all those other vaguely famous losers still desperately clinging to their pathetic dwindling vestiges of fame. They're just embarrasing themselves and making me feel bad for feeling sorry for them all the time. And I shouldn't have to put up with that you know?

So, just a quick memo to anyone who has ever appeared on I'm a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here! or The Surreal Life or been a Brady Bunch cast member: Fuck off. Seriously, just go away. We don't care what you have to the offer the world of entertainment, we would like you to just the get the hell off our premises before we have to call security or Charlton Heston or something.

Monday, January 08, 2007

A Bunch of Celebrities Broke Up and Stuff

If 2006 will be remembered for anything, it will be for the huge number of celebrities who decided to end their relationships in an embarrasing, public fashion. Between Paul McCartney, Heather Mills, Kid Rock, Pamela Anderson, Britney Spears and Kevin Federline we were never really in want of a highly entertaining story about an ex-beatle beating his wife with a prosthetic leg or a white trash rock star calling a former Baywatch cast member a slut and a whore for appearing in Borat or a failed rapper using his wife's minge exposing antics to gain custody of their 5000 children. On top of that, 2005's most entertaining divorce spilled into 2006 a little bit with Denise Richards accusing Charlie Sheen of murdering prostitutes, having sex with little boys and girls, forcing her to abort babies and calling her a nigger.

But before you start thinking that 2007 could never compete with 2006 in terms of wacky celebrity break up antics, it's like eight days into the new year and already two celebrity couples have decided to call it quits! Yet oddly enough, neither of them are Antonio Banderas who still hasn't left that
bloated bar hag that he married a couple of years ago.

Okay, first up we have Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake who apparently broke up last week after a startling three and a half years together. Theirs was a whirlwind romance that survived any numer of ill-conceived film and music projects including Charlies Angels: Full Throttle, that annoying Sexyback song and Janet Jackson's exposed nipple. But sadly it was not to be with Justin confirming that the two had broken up on the third of January, though he refused to provide details of the split.

Fortunately I put my investigative journalism skills to good use and actually came up with a bit of a scoop. Thanks to a close personal friend of the In Her Shoes star, Cameron Diaz can be quoted as saying: "I just woke up one day and was all like, I'm a really famous attractive movie star who can have sex with whoever I want. Why the hell am I shagging a prepubescent lady-boy who once dated Britney 'check out my shaved vagina y'all' Spears?"

To which Justin Timberlake responded "Bitch, please. We both know that I dumped you after I saw all those hot pictures of Britney's chuff box." Okay, I'm just making stuff up now.

In other celebrities unable to maintain a healthy adult relationship news, Dita Von Teese (real name Heather Sweet) has filed divorce from Marilyn Manson (real name Brian Warner). Admittedly, I didn't even know who Dita Von Teese was so I did a bit of research and found out that she's some sort of stripper, sorry, burlesque dancer. Apparently she married Marilyn Manson in 2005, which seems like a weird thing to do really considering that by then Manson had already been culturally irrelevant for like six years. That would be like marrying the fat John Travolta of today instead of the skinny young Grease one. Or like marrying Ralph Macchio at any other point in history besides 1984.

Oddly enough, it has been reported that Manson found out about his impending divorce at the same time everyone else did, mostly because Dita Von Teese hasn't been able to contact him in over a month. Probably because Manson was too busy writing more music about Satan and dead people and other things perfectly catered to a target audience of angry fat teenagers. Or something. I don't really know because I was too busy listening to proper music in the 1990's.

Admittedly, these break-ups haven't really gotten all that ugly yet. As far as I know, Cameron Diaz has yet to accuse Justin Timberlake of mudering prostitutes for example. And Dita Von Teese has yet to expose her vagina...oh wait, that's actually her job. But as Stevie Wonder once sang: "Ma Cherie Amore, pretty little girl that I adore". That doesn't have anything to do with anything but it just that moment occurred to me that Stevie Wonder referring to a girl as pretty is odd considering that he has never actually seen a woman before.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Grindhouse by Tarantino and Rodriguez

I don't really want to be one of those people that just post youtube videos all the time instead of writing proper content but I just discovered this today and thought I'd share it with you guys!

Am I the only person on earth who thinks this could be the best movie ever made!? And more importantly, how have I not heard about this film before today?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

"What's an ipod?" asks Coke Snorting Record Exec

In terms of people who make meaningful contributions to society, record industry executives aren't really up there with heart surgeons or human rights lawyers or even Bill Murray are they? Unless every rock movie ever made has lied to me, all these guys do is sit around making lots of money, snorting cocaine and occasionally tellling Lou Reed to stick some disco synthesizer beats in his next album so it will sell more. What I'm trying to say is, no human rights lawyer has ever been such an asshole that Prince had to change his name to an unpronouncable symbol in order to get away from him like the execs at Warner Bros. And as far as I know, Bill Murray never invented Pop Idol, X-Factor and Westlife like Simon Cowell.

But rather arbitrary references to Bill Murray aside, music executives aren't completely rubbish. For example, in the nineties the executives at CBS chucked a few lawsuits at George Michael stopping him from making music for several years, something for which we can all be eternally grateful. And it's not like they're all just a bunch of talentless capitalist fat cats. They're actually quite good at some unleashing dreadful manufactured pop acts onto the world, pissing off genuinely talented, important artists, exploiting fresh unsigned musicians, making lots of cash off the talent of others and just genuinely cocking the entire music industry up a little bit.

Yeah, alright they are completely rubbish.

Anyway, in recent years these execs have been cocking the industry up just a little bit more than usual. Namely, in the biggest industry foul up since that time every record company in the UK rejected The Beatles, they have completely failed to do anything at all about the fact that most music these days exists and is distributed via MP3s and other digital formats.

"Huh?" says an EMI executive, pausing briefly from snorting cocaine through a thousand quid note off the chest of a former Playboy Playmate. "What the bollocking hell is an MP3?" Okay, I'm exaggerating; the execs know that this technology exists. However, oddly, instead of taking advantage of this new medium in which to distribute their company's main product these guys have dealt with the issue by ramming their fingers in their ears and humming that Milkshakes song in the hopes that it'll just disappear. Or by hiring corporate cronies like Metallica to try and get rid of it.

And the stupidity continues. This week, it was revealed that U.S. album sales have decreased 17% in the last year and all the execs ran around their giant gold plated offices breaking a sweat over the possibility that they couldn't afford to buy that 100 million dollar yacht they really wanted, completely missing the fact that digital sale have increased by 65%. Fortunately for these idiots, a little company called "Apple" is on the ball with these things and kick started the whole on-line sales thing that is currently keeping the industry alive.

I actually have the perfect solution to the crisis currently facing the music industry. It involves Canadian soft rock twats Nickelback, a really large stick, a high pressure hose and...well, I would elaborate further but I'm sure you would all think less of me if I did.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Things I dig: The Wind in the Willows

Winston Churchill once famously said, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." That doesn't really have anything to do with anything, I just thought I'd quote ol' Churchill in order to raise the tone of this post which is essentially just me rambling for a couple hundred words about how many times I've re-read what is essentially a children's book.

The children's book in question is The Wind in the Willows which is, embarrassingly enough, probably my second favourite book of all time. Written by Kenneth Grahame it charts the charming, well written adventures of four talking animals Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad in an idealized depiction of rural England.
The plot is kind of hard to summarize because it is somewhat episodic but I guess the overall story is wrapped around the specific character arcs of Mole and Toad, with Mole learning to be more assertive and brave and Toad learning to be less of a massive asshole.

Of the four main characters, Mole sort of acts as the POV for the whole book with the whole world of the novel introduced through him. Initially he finds the novel's setting overwhelming which is kinda cute if you've ever been to rural England and seen it's overwhelming combination of cows, hedges, drunken old hobos and more cows. But Toad is totally the star. He's a cheeky, naughty, self-involved, indulgent, spoilt, materialistic, fickle bastard whose selfishness almost gets all his friends killed, but he's so charismatic that you can't help but love him anyway. Ratty is likeable enough as well. And Badger is appropriately mysterious; when I was a kid he was my fave. They don't really have story arcs like Mole and Toad but they're pretty well drawn regardless.

The books centres around two different themes. On one level, it's narrative revolves around an aesthetic appreciation of the bubolic English countryside somewhat indicative of Romanticism. You know, all that Wordsworth/Coleridge "I love flowers!" nonsense you were probably forced to read in secondary school but here it's actually good and stuff.

On another level The Wind in the Willows works as a nice little critique of Britain's class system at the start of the twentieth century. For example, Toad is clearly intended as a critique of the indulgent frivolousness of the British aristocracy, especially when he completely takes over the book in its second half. The river bank characters like Ratty and Mole obviously represent the Middle Class because they both have nice little houses and don't have to work all that hard for what they've got. And the Wild Wood characters are probably the working classes with the weasels and stoats representing football hooligans or something. Hmm...talking animals critiquing British class systems? Nice plagiarism George Orwell!

But despite being a charming look at rural England, and class structures, the book also contains a batshit crazy chapter in which Ratty and Mole have some sort of trippy spiritual awakening involving the greek god Pan. It's a little bit great, more so when you consider that it was written by a conservative British banker. Funnily enough, the title of the chapter would later inspire the name of probably my favourite album of all time, Pink Floyd's The Piper at the Gates of Dawn which is a nice bit of synergy between all my fave things. I'm still actually looking for the link between Piper at the Gates of Dawn and the best actor in the history of anything ever, Bill Murray.

The Wind in the Willows has been the subject of several live action adaptations. I've only seen two of them, the Monty Pythony one and the 80' stop-motion one. The Monty Python one is really weird and features Eric Idle and Michael Palin running around in face paint. It's total arse. I used to love the stop-motion one when I was a kid but I watched it again a few years ago and it wasn't all that good either. So forget all film adaptations of Wind in the Willows. Just read the goddamn book ya pleb!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The O.C: Shit-canned!

Teenagers are just a little bit mediocre aren't they? A find a day rarely goes by when I don't wish all those whiney, fad following cry babies with assymetrical haircuts and rubbish tastes in music weren't just a tiny bit dead. Not completely dead - I'm not an asshole - just a little bit deceased.

Why we bother catering to this faction of society with crappy TV shows instead of locking them up in concentration camps, I really don't know. Well actually, it probably has something to do with human rights and The UN Convention for the Rights of a Child or some such nonsense; but clearly the people that coined these ideas have never been subjected to a My Chemical Romance CD or that episode of Saved By the Bell where Skreech dresses up like a girl and seduces Mr. Belding.

Anyway, the man, has struck a fatal blow to ironic Barbie backpack wearing, Arctic Monkeys listening, black fingernail toting adolescents everywhere with the recent announcement of the cancellation of naff American teen drama The O.C. Now you'll probably know The O.C. as the show that launched the career of Adam Brody and his own particular patented blend of stilted, awkwardly delivered dialogue and off comic timing. Or the career of Mischa Barton, the worst model turned actress since Denise Richards squirted out a bunch of sprogs and stopped getting given movie roles. Or the careers of Benjamin McKenzie and Rachel Bilson...but those guys are going to be completely forgotten after next month when the final episode of the show airs so I'm not going to waste space by saying anything about them.

However, if you choose not to watch adolescent melodramas because you're an intelligent, cultured adult here's a quick heads-up: essentially, The O.C is one of those nonsensical American explorations of adolescence that revolve around "jocks" and "cheerleaders" and "proms" and "Yale" and other made-up words. It features the light-hearted adventures of token nerd Adam Brody as he wackily tries to lose his virginity to best-friend, token bad-boy Benjamin McKenzie. Meanwhile, token popular hot girl Mischa Barton tries to win a bet by turning token ugly geek Rachel Bilson into a totally gear bird before Spring Break. Probably it also has some vampires in it too.

But alas, The O.C. is no more. Show creator Jason Schwartz released a statment saying "The O.C. Season Four finale will also be the series finale. This feels like the best time to bring the show to its close. Thanks to the hard work of our cast, crew and writers, we have enjoyed our best season yet, and what better time to go out than creatively on top." Translation: "Our ratings stunk so we got shitcanned! Adam Brody is now unemployed!"

Reportedly, a whole bunch of teenagers protested this cancellation by cutting their wrists a bit, going all "what-eva!" when their Maths teacher caught them smoking behind the bike sheds and writing a very special "OMG! My mum is suhc a bitch! LOLZ!" message on Myspace.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2006: It sucked!

Admittedly, the amount of blog posting I've done in the month of December has been pretty goddamned unimpressive.

Alas, I've been too busy drinking entire bottles of Jack Daniels, getting whiskerburn from great aunties, sobbing myself to sleep in fits of self pity, drinking entire bottles of Absinthe, waking up in puddles of other people's vomit and other assorted malarkey that people tend to get up to when they're forced to spend time with their awful family then violently overcompensate on New Years Eve. But it's a fresh new year and all that Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza/New Years nonsense is over so I can go back to posting properly! Hooray!

So really wasn't any good was it? At the close of 2005 I remember wondering if 2006 would be the year in which the rubbishly titled noughties would finally start to get interesting. Unfortunately, 2006 has proven to be the least interesting year of all time. Don't believe me? Alright then, here's a month by month review analysing all the mind-numbing lows of 2006:

January: A Bottlenose Whale gets stuck in the Thames. It later dies. Seriously, that's all that happened in January last year.

February: American Jack Abramoff is charged with being a massive immoral, capitalist asshole. During his trial, private e-mails are released to the public in which Abramoff refers to Native Americans as "monkeys", "troglodites" and "morons." "My kids were watching Pocahontas and I thought they were watching a sequel to The Jungle Book because of all the primates!" one e-mail may or may not have said.

March: The crappiest movie of all time Crash inexplicably wins the Oscar for Best Picture. Pulitzer Prize winner author Annie Proulx hilariously refers to the film as "trash". Also
Muhammad Ali dies, but probably not the one you're thinking of.

April: A man is disfigured by a Bear in China and becomes the first ever recipient of a face transplant. This event inspires a 44 year old man in Leicester to hire out the DVD Face/off but he is deeply disappointed when he discovers that said film stars John Travolta.

May: Tony Blair's labour party suffers its worst electoral defeat in just about ever. A survey conducted by The Sun reveals that 9 out of 10 Britons would rather have the Prime Minister in Little Britain leading their country than Tony Blair. "You're all a bunch of fucken idiots," Tony Blair says in response. "And by fucken idiots, I mean roguishly handsome, talented sex gods," he adds several days later when someone points out that 9 out of 10 people in the country already hate him.

June: Captain Great celebrates his birthday. Probably some other stuff happened as well but nothing nearly as important.

July: Everyones' least favourite ex-Beatle Paul McCartney files for divorce sparking an endlessly entertaining public marital breakdown involving petty lock-changes, allegations of spousal abuse, allegations of madness, photo after photo after photo of Heather Mills doing a bit of in out/in out with odd hairy men and a heavily pregnant Stella McCartney threatening to crush Heather Mills' spine with her prosthetic leg. This would later prove to be the only entertaining event in 2006's entirety. Also, Israel bombs some stuff.

August: Norwegian police announce that they have finally recovered the priceless paintings The Scream and Madonna which have been missing since 2004. However said event is grossly overshadowed by a video circulated across the net in which Britney Spears legitimately convinces Kevin Federline that Back to the Future wasn't just a movie but is, in fact, real. Mel Gibson later tries to convince Kevin Federline that the Jewish holocaust wasn't real but to less success.

September: Animal activist and annoying television personality Steve Irwin is tragically stabbed in the heart by Stingray, a character from Australian soap Neighbours. English composer Sir Malcolm Arnold, Japanese actor Tetsuro Tamba and New Zealand Cricketer Walter Arnold Hadlee also die but everyone is too busy getting all upset about the death of a man who considers himself an animal activist yet also unironically goes by the moniker of "Crocodile Hunter" to care.

October: Two schools in Las Vegas, USA are locked down after a student brings an AK47 to school. Said student is later further ostracized by his peers because schoolyard massacres are, like, so totally late nineties.

November: That whiny brunette from Dawson's Creek with the wonky mouth marries Tom Cruise resulting in the fulfillment of an ancient Scientology prophesy foretelling the miraculous virgin birth of a strangely Asian looking baby and it's Caucasian mother's marriage to an obnoxious toothy midget. Tom Cruise was also going to sacrifice Katie Holmes to Lord Zenu but he decided to wait until next year when he had a movie coming out and could use the publicity.

December: Captain Great realizes that he had less sex in 2006 than he has had in any other year since he was seventeen. Everyone in the whole world sees Britney Spears' vagina.

And that's pretty much everything that happened in 2006 with maybe one or two very minor events left out. I hope you all had a top New Years and feel free to post all your wacky New Years stories in the comments below! Here's to a less shit 2007!