Jaws, The Monkees and Happy Gilmore: Richard Kiel’s best movie moments

Posted in TOP FIVES with tags on September 11, 2014 by Ross McG


Richard Kiel, best known as the Bond villain Jaws, had died at the age of 74.

He will be remembered chiefly for sinking those steel teeth into anything that got in his way in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, giving Roger Moore’s 007 plenty to chew on.

Kiel made the most of his fame after his two James Bond adventures, riffing on his role as Jaws in a series of movies that followed.

Before Bond, he appeared in a number of US TV shows, including The Twilight Zone, Starsky & Hutch, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Lassie.

Whatever he cropped up in, Kiel made audiences bear their teeth as much as his most famous creation – he may not have been the greatest actor ever, but you just can’t help but smile when he appears on screen, whether he’s eating James Bond’s van or monkeying around with The Monkees. Here are some of those moments:

1. The Monkees (1967)

Who better to give The Band That Could Have Been Bigger Than The Beatles a good scare than Kiel?

Here he is in the 1967 episode, I Was A Teenage Monster. A more convincing Frankenstein’s monster than De Niro, we reckon.

2. The Longest Yard (1974)

Kiel may be the biggest bruiser in the prison playground for this American football movie with a twist, where inmates take on guards, but he isn’t the meanest. Here, he literally gets his nose bent out of shape.

3. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Can-opener? More like van-opener. Geddit? Kiel in the role that made him famous: Jaws.

4. Moonraker (1979)

Somewhere in the late 1970s, some execs gathered in a boardroom and one shouted: ‘You know what Jaws needs in the next Bond picture… a cable car fight! And a girlfriend!’

5. Cannonball Run II (1984)

Back in a movie with Burt Reynolds, Kiel and Jackie Chan feel the need for speed in the utterly crap yet utterly brilliant Cannonball Run sequel, finding time for a neat nod to James Bond’s submersible Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me.

6. Pale Rider (1985)

James Bond? Pah. Easy peasy. Clint Eastwood, on the other hand, now he’s tough. Even when he’s a preacher. Here, just like in The Longest Yard, Kiel takes a hefty hit to the nose, and then another blow to a region a little more painful.

7. Happy Gilmore (1996)

Richard Kiel… tormentor of James Bond… and Shooter McGavin.

8. Tangled (2010)

And finally, a role that sums up Kiel’s enduring movie persona – tough on the outside, a big softie on the inside. Here he plays Vladimir, a fairy-tale thug who likes collecting ceramic unicorns. Of course.

Spared no expense… Richard Attenborough’s best bits from Jurassic Park

Posted in TOP FIVES with tags , on August 26, 2014 by Ross McG


Sadly, Sir Richard Attenborough is no longer with us.

Moviegoers of various ages will have different memories of ‘Dickie’, both of his work behind the camera on films like Oh! What a Lovely War, Gandhi, Cry Freedom, Chaplin and Shadowlands, and his performances in front of it in Brighton Rock, The Great Escape, 10 Rillington Place and Miracle on 34th Street.

But for many film fans, Attenborough will always be John Hammond, the man who brought dinosaurs back to life in Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster Jurassic Park.

In Michael Crichton’s novel, Hammond is a bit of a nasty piece of work, whose main incentive from recreating dinos is to make a bit of cash. He also meets a bit of a sticky end. But in the movie, because he is played by loveable Attenborough, Hammond is more of a misguided figure, albeit one still obsessed with money (‘Spared no expense!’).

In the film, Hammond is one of the survivors, and even pops up in the sequel to get the plot rolling. But it’s Attenborough’s performance in the first Jurassic Park movie that will long be remembered. Here are his best bits:


1. ‘We have a T-rex!’

2. ‘Dr Grant, my dear Dr Sattler… welcome… to Jurassic Park!’

3. ‘It was a Flea Circus, Petticoat Lane. Really quite wonderful. We had a wee trapeze, and a merry-go… carousel and a seesaw.’

4. ‘I really hate that man.’

5. ‘Condors! Condors are on the verge of extinction.’

6. ‘It ought to be me really going. Well, I’m a… and you’re a…’

7. ‘Spared no expense!’

From Mork to Peter Pan to Genie: The many funny faces of Robin Williams

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on August 12, 2014 by Ross McD


The world has been left stunned by the news that Robin Williams has died in an apparent suicide at the age of 63.

Although he was best known as a comedic actor, he took on a huge variation of roles during a career that lasted more than four decades, attracting three Academy Award nominations for best actor and winning one for best supporting actor, as well as bagging two Emmys, four Golden Globes and five Grammys.

Here are just some of his career highlights.

Mork and Mindy

The role that launched the man, the merchandise and – of course – the catchphrase, Willams’ break-out TV role saw him play the alien who comes to Earth in an egg, endearing audiences everywhere.

Mrs Doubtfire

Easily Williams’ most popular role, people forget how sinister this plot is on paper. Dude dresses up as an old woman to sneak into his ex-wife’s house. If it wasn’t a comedy, the story could easily serve as a thriller/horror. He even tries to murder Pierce Brosnan in it.


A career-best performance and he doesn’t even appear on screen. Genie could possibly be Disney’s greatest character, a unique slot in that he’s not the main hero or the villain. Bizarrely, Williams and Disney had a massive falling out over the film because they used him in more promotional material than he’d agreed. Friend Like Me and Prince Ali are far better songs than A Whole New World, too. Can your friends do this?

Good Morning, Vietnam

If ever there was a role written for Robin Williams, it was the war-time radio jock who pisses off his superiors but is popular with the troops. I say written, but he improvised most of the radio broadcast scenes. The role earned him his first ever best actor Oscar nomination, and the fact that he lost out to Michael Douglas in Wall Street is considered by some one of the Academy’s ‘wrong calls’.

The Fisher King

Earning him his third best actor nomination for playing a homeless man (he would lose out to Anthony Hopkins for Silence Of The Lambs), this film was the first time I was introduced to the concept of suicide as a child; I never would one day be writing about its star actually committing it.

The Birdcage

It must have been a coin-toss to see who got to play the super-effeminate, uber-gay drag queen. Nathan Lane called it right, and Robin Williams nobly reigned it in as the ‘straighter’ partner, allowing Lane to crank the gay up to 11.


There simply is not another actor in the world who could play the grown up Peter Pan. In this scene, he finally makes the leap from old fart Peter Banning to the Neverland Hero with three simple words: ‘substitute chemistry teacher’.


Robin Williams a baddie?! Yup, and a pretty good one at that, as he’s chased across the eternal daylight of Alaska by Al Pacino in this Christopher Nolan thriller.

One Hour Photo

One of Williams’ best acting performances IMHO, he plays a super creepy photo developer obsessed with a family, yet you still sort of root for him.


Yes! He played Popeye! Not a lot of people realise this! Yes, the film is crap, but Williams is oddly convincing as the spinach-munching sailor-man.

Good Will Hunting

BFFs Ben Affleck and Matt Damon may have gotten all the attention for writing (and winning an Oscar for) the film while prepubescent, but it was also the film that finally landed Williams his first and only statuette, for his best supporting turn.


The board game every kid wanted for Christmas in 1995. Williams should have kept the beard though. Yet another display of Williams’ knack for mixing pathos with comedy.

Dead Poets Society

A million films have done the ‘unusual teacher’ bit, but none came close to the ‘oh captain my captain’ Robin Williams version, which got him a best actor nod and helped multiply the film’s meagre $16million budget by 15 at the box office

What Dreams May Come

This brilliant and somewhat underrated film also deals with suicide – which suggests those that kill themselves go to hell – and I reckon will be a much sadder watch next time I see it now.

Robin Williams was in some awful, awful movies – that’s why he was so great

Posted in COMMENT with tags on August 12, 2014 by Ross McG


In the early 1990s, Channel 4 screened a short season of movies based around particular actors.

First up was Robert De Niro. Across five or six consecutive Sunday nights, the channel showcased some of Bobby’s greatest work. It started with the big guns, things like Goodfellas, The Deer Hunter, Raging Bull and The Godfather Part II.

But later weeks weaved into movies such as The King Of Comedy and Jacknife – movies that may not have been easily accessed down at the video shop. The series was a simple but brilliant idea – it’s a wonder Film4 don’t really bother with it now.

As well as De Niro, there were a good run of Sunday nights dedicated to Robin Williams. It opened with Good Morning, Vietnam, quintessential Williams if you like, his motor-mouthing calling card. As a movie-watcher not yet in my teens, I found him mesmerising, a gag jukebox on legs.

I can’t remember the next movie in Channel 4’s series on Williams, but somewhere along the line they got to Popeye, Robert Altman’s disastrous live action version of the spinach-guzzling cartoon hero.

Even the 12-year-old me could tell this film was a mess. But that’s one of the reasons I loved Robin Williams – he did some awful films. But even the awful ones had moments from Williams which you could admire.

Jakob the Liar almost outdoes Life is Beautiful in the slippery slope of syrupy stakes. Look up ‘cloying sentimentality’ in the dictionary and you will find Patch Adams. And Happy Feet too.

He was in Nine Months and Licence to Wed. These are all bad movies, and yet Williams always managed at least one moment where he made you smile or made you laugh.

These sit at one end of the spectrum to Williams’ more celebrated selection – things like Mrs Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting, Jumanji, Dead Poets Society – but it was his middle ground where the actor was really interesting.

Speaking of Williams and De Niro, their work together in Awakenings, in which Williams plays the straight role of doctor to De Niro’s hospital patient, is terrific. And it’s a underrated movie.

The World According to Garp out-Gumps Forrest Gump a good 12 years before Forrest Gump came along.

What Dreams May Come is about heaven and hell and co-stars Cuba Gooding Jr – so is in places as bad as it sounds – but it’s also a beautiful failed experiment in filmmaking.

Cadillac Man is imperfect but sweary fun, while Williams’ voice work as Batty in the unheralded Ferngully: The Last Rainforest is the perfect dry run for his performance as Genie in Aladdin later the same year.

Not every movie touched by Williams turned to gold, but they all had their golden moments. Because he was in them.

As Williams himself once said: ‘Even mistakes can be wonderful.’

She-Thor: Why Thor was the Avenger who had to change sex

Posted in NEWS with tags , , on August 6, 2014 by Ross McD

 Lady ThorSo they drew names out of a hat, and Thor was the unlucky Avenger that has to undergo a sex change just to appease the girls. Will changing the gender of a superhero really make girls more interested in him/her/it? Comic book fans are comic book fans, they like good characters because they are good characters, not because of their chromosome sets. Also, I’m pretty sure the only reason female non-comic book fans go to see a film like The Avengers is because of Chris Hemsworth. 

Either way, it was bound to be the tall blonde with the big breasts that took the sex change hit for the team; the others simply would not have worked, and here’s why: Continue reading

The best orgasm scenes in movies

Posted in TOP FIVES with tags , , on July 31, 2014 by Ross McG


Today is National Orgasm Day. Of course it is. It’s right up there with St Patrick’s Day and No Pants Day as one of the worst holidays ever.

What’s that? It isn’t a holiday? We don’t get the day off? Screw that. Uh… precisely.

Some people think cinema was invented (by Steven Spielberg or James Cameron – I always forget which one it was) to show us the beauty and sadness of life, to take us to new worlds, to fire our imagination. Rubbish.

Movies came, ahem, along to do one thing: depict lots of actors and actresses showing us their O face.

In honour of National Orgasm Day then, here are the best and worst orgasm scenes in cinema.


Okay, let’s start with the drivel before we get on to the good, uh, stuff. And with most lists of terrible things, it begins with The Ugly Truth. Take it away Katherine Heigl… and take away my ability to forget about this awful, awful movie.

Don’t worry, we’re only going to subject you to one more bad orgasm scene. Amy Adams is a terrific actress. But she has one major blot in her copybook: Cruel Intentions 2: Cruels Control. Okay, so I made the ‘Cruels Control’ bit up, but it’s still terrible. And it has a terrible orgasm scene, in which Adams teaches her protégé the correct way to ride (sorry!) a horse.



10. American Pie (1999)

The original has been so undermined by its 200 terrible sequels and spin-offs that it’s easy to forget just how good – and sweetly innocent – the first American Pie movie is – like The Inbetweeners for US yoofs before The Inbetweeners existed. Its signature scene shows just how good an actor Jason Biggs is – he only ever needs two takes.


9. Barbarella (1968)

Jane Fonda proves that machine is no match for woman in this quite literally steamy scene from the 60s sci-fi classic.


8. Bruce Almighty (2003)

If you woke up one day and realised you were God, wouldn’t you give your girlfriend an orgasm through a wall just by moving your hands? Seems only polite. Jennifer Aniston obviously took some notes from her former flatmate Courtney Cox when it comes (sorry! Again!) to carnal pleasures. Ugh.. I used the word ‘carnal’ – gross.


7. There’s Something About Mary (1998)

Yes there is, and there’s something hanging from Ben Stiller’s ear that he’s not aware of. As if women actually use hair gel…


6. Private Parts (1997)

The movie of shock jock Howard Stern’s life isn’t really that shocking, but it does contain a pretty memorable on-air-radio/at-home-with-vibrating-speaker orgasm scene. Couldn’t do that these days with Spotify.


5. Pleasantville (1998)

You probably know Joan Allen best for chasing Jason Bourne, but here she makes a splash in more ways than one during a bath in Gary Ross’s underrated comedy drama. This orgasm is so good it turns black-and-white into colour, a feat previously achieved only by The Wizard of Oz. No magic wand jokes!


4. Amélie (2001)

Audrey Tautou pervs over Paris. ‘Quinze!’ Brilliant.


3. A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

If only more Oscars were handed out for performances in comedies. Kevin Kline is brilliant as crazy Otto in A Fish Called Wanda, even when he’s having sex. Don’t call him Stupid.


2. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997)

Not a real orgasm, but a great one, as Romy (Mira Sorvino) does some amateur acting to procure a car. ‘Oh Rrrrrrramone… You are Columbus and I am America – discover me!’ Talking dirty has never sounded so funny.


1. When Harry Met Sally (1989)

YES! YES! YES! More orgasm fakery now, and who other than Meg Ryan could top this list? Sally Albright is the one person you don’t want to be sat near in a restaurant… or maybe you do? We’ll have what she’s having.

Guardians of the Galaxy: The most awesome mix

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on July 24, 2014 by Ross McG


Guardians of the Galaxy is terrific. It’s probably the best comedy of the last five years. The fact that it’s set in space is almost an irrelevance.

But one of the big factor’s in the film’s success is its 1970s soundtrack – more specifically the central conceit built around a mix tape: to reveal any more than that might be a bit spoilery.

It’s safe to say though that central character Peter Quill/Star-Lord (played brilliantly by the brilliant Chris Pratt) has some excellent taste in music. Here are some of his choice tracks.

1. Cherry Bomb – The Runaways

What better way to soundtrack a ragtag gang of rowdy rebels – that’s the Guardians, by the way – than through the bubbling teen angst of The Runaways’ greatest song.

Band members Joan Jett and Cherie Currie were portrayed by Kirsten Stewart and Dakota Fanning in a biopic a few years ago – and they gave the song a good stab – while it has also been used in Richard Linklater’s cult classic Dazed and Confused.

Miley Cyrus has covered it. That’s how rebellious it is. ‘Hello Daddy.. hello Mom… I’m your ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-CHERRY BOMB!’

2. Come and Get Your Love – Redbone

Native American rockers Redbone’s biggest hit is the perfect feelgood way to signal that your space opera is going to be a little bit different to anything else seen – or heard – on the big screen.

3. Hooked on a Feeling – Blue Swede

Originally recorded in the late ’60s by BJ Thomas, famous for singing on Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head, Hooked on a Feeling became a ’70s staple six years later when covered by Blue Swede – yes, they were from Sweden.

The song was all over the first trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy and makes its mark in the movie too, following stints in Reservoir Dogs and Ally McBeal, where it soundtracked that annoying dancing baby. If it’s good enough for David Hasselhoff though, it’s good enough for us.

4. Moonage Daydream – David Bowie

There is one song on the soundtrack that fits the movie’s space setting. And who better to put into orbit than Bowie? Bowie’s in spaaaaaace…

5. Escape (The Pina Colada song) – Rupert Holmes

Guardians of the Galaxy’s soundtrack may be fantastic, but calling it original is a bit of a stretch. Case in point: this song. The Pina Colada song has been in every movie ever made.

There is a simple reason for that: it has the power to instantly make an audience smile. Yes, even an audience subjected to watching The Sweetest Thing. It’s been in everything from Wanted to Shrek to The General’s Daughter.

It’s a song about a bored couple inadvertently answering their own dating ads in the paper, which you can either read as incredibly romantic or as incredibly creepy.

Either way, it might not have made it on to all those soundtracks if it had have went: ‘If you like Humphrey Bogart…’ as originally planned, until Holmes took the wise decision to stick the name of a cocktail in there instead.

6. I’m Not in Love – 10cc

Any superhero movie that has the balls to throw this song in there early is on to a winner. 10cc’s classic tune may have borrowed an intro from Hall & Oates, but from then on it just gets you right in your gut. The lyrics say big boys don’t cry, but it’s pretty hard not to when you’re saving the galaxy.

7. I Want You Back – The Jackson 5

Without giving anything away, the title of this song on the film’s soundtrack says it all. Bring on Guardians of the Galaxy 2.


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