Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holly made her speaking début* today in the school nativity play. She was the Archangel Gabriel and was wonderful. By which I mean she entered when she was supposed to, stood where she was supposed to stand, delivered her lines loudly, clearly and in the direction of the people they were supposed to be directed at, and all without being prompted once and - and this is the really amazing bit - and she didn't pick her nose, or fiddle with her knickers once the whole time she was on stage (which is more than I manage to do in any shows I'm in).
She also exuded a golden mystical glow and hovered a good six inches above the stage, but that might just have been a wee bit of wishful pride on my part.

Better late than never (I know you've missed it) here's the monthly What I Watched On My Winter Holidays list for November. It's only two weeks late.
  1. The Man From Planet X - An American studio film set on a small Scottish island which happens to be the closest point on earth as a passing planet zips past (like they do). Lots of walking past the same plaster rocks, fog, and 'nightime' shots to disguise the small studio space and lack of scenery. The obligatory alien abduction of the heroine happens off-screen - this movie was that cheap. In fact not a lot happens really, apart from some of the most atrocious 'Scottish' accents ever committed in Hollywood; they were fun.
  2. Freejack - oh dear god. Based on a story by one of my favourite SF authors Robert Sheckley - I hope he got paid a lot. It was worth it though to hear Anthony Hopkins deliver the line: "Welcome to my mind..." as only he could. A moment you can enjoy here and now, without having to waste ninety minutes of your life like I did, by watching the trailer:

    Though it was probably better in context.
  3. The Addams Family - Slightly postponed from Hallowe'en's Friday Night With the Kids Movie. I love it - but try telling that to an angry mob.
  4. Lady From Shanghai - which, once you get past Welles' 'Oirish' accent, is a stunning little film. As with all of Welles' movies I would love to have seen the long lost original cut.
  5. Flight of the Navigator - meh!
  6. The Man With Two Brains - I laughed. A lot. Steve Martin used to be funny and still is. By which I mean the films he made then are still funny now - unlike people like Gerry Lewis, or Arthur Askey who were funny then but aren't now (and haven't been for a long time). Though there were people who went on laughing at Arthur Askey years past his (and their) sell-by dates so maybe I'm just laughing at stuff that I used to find funny but that isn't widely considered really funny any more and I just haven't noticed.
    I guess the acid test will be whether my children find The Man With Two Brains and The Jerk funny in a few years time. Fast forward six years and I can almost hear one of my girls saying to the other (or possibly one of the others depending on the sex of child number three, due in less than four months): "Oh crap! Dad's going to do one of his 'Is This Funny?' experiments on us again, just pretend to like it so he doesn't feel old, will you?"
    I love my kids; they're so considerate...
  7. The Earth Dies Screaming - Great title, lousy movie (a Universal Law I suspect) in which a small bunch of set-bound survivors of some unexplained catastrophe (possibly the dreadful score) which has left everyone but them dead, slowly discover that world's population (or at least the population of that village where they seemed to shoot every other episode of The Avengers) was destroyed by an alien force using killer robots (only two of which are ever seen on screen at the same time). The robots, it turns out, are controlled from a teeny weeny radio tower in the middle of a field nearby which our survivors blow up using some convenient dynamite. Huzzah!
  8. The Starfighters (MST3K) - a monumentally dull film which consisted for most of its running time of every single inch of US Air Force stock footage of the Lockheed 401 Starfighter intercut with a total non story of three new recruits making a lot of telephone calls. Starring a man whose later credits include several single episode appearances in TV shows culminating in: "Ironside" .... Paul (The Body) (1 episode, 1971). The Starfighters was probably the highpoint of his career. As highpoints go it's probably one of the lowest ever.


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