Archive for the COMMENT Category

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

WhatDreamsMayCome

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.’

Four simple rules for how to behave at the cinema

Posted in COMMENT with tags on November 4, 2013 by Ross McG

Judi Dence and Steve Coogan in Philomena

Did you go to the cinema at the weekend? I did. I went to see Philomena, starring Judi Dench and Steve Googan, which was enjoyable if not spectacular, and made me genuinely ponder if its director, Stephen Frears (My Beautiful Laundrette, Dangerous Liaisons, High Fidelity, Dirty Pretty Things), has ever made a bad film. Continue reading

Star Wars characters who won’t get their own spin-off but should: Bail Organa

Posted in COMMENT with tags , , , , on September 20, 2013 by Ross McD

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Disney has confirmed that the spin-offs from its planned Star Wars trilogy will be ‘origin’ stories. You know, like Batman Begins, but with lightsabers.

A host of the series key characters are being lined up to get their own spin-off movie, with the likes of Yoda, Han Solo and Boba Fett topping the bill.

But what about those unsung Star Wars heroes, the guys who appear one moment in the first six movies and are Bantha fodder the next? Wouldn’t you like to see one of those guys get their own spin-off? We know we would.

In the last of a six-part series, we take a look the best looking man in the Star Wars universe… Continue reading

Star Wars characters who won’t get their own spin-off but should: Cliegg Lars

Posted in COMMENT with tags , , , , on September 20, 2013 by Ross McD

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Disney has confirmed that the spin-offs from its planned Star Wars trilogy will be ‘origin’ stories. You know, like Batman Begins, but with lightsabers.

A host of the series key characters are being lined up to get their own spin-off movie, with the likes of Yoda, Han Solo and Boba Fett topping the bill.

But what about those unsung Star Wars heroes, the guys who appear one moment in the first six movies and are Bantha fodder the next? Wouldn’t you like to see one of those guys get their own spin-off? We know we would.

In Part 5 of our six-part series, we look at yet another amputee in the extended Skywalker family… Continue reading

Star Wars characters who won’t get their own spin-off but should: Jar Jar Binks

Posted in COMMENT with tags , , , on September 20, 2013 by Ross McD

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Disney has confirmed that the spin-offs from its planned Star Wars trilogy will be ‘origin’ stories. You know, like Batman Begins, but with lightsabers.

A host of the series key characters are being lined up to get their own spin-off movie, with the likes of Yoda, Han Solo and Boba Fett topping the bill.

But what about those unsung Star Wars heroes, the guys who appear one moment in the first six movies and are Bantha fodder the next? Wouldn’t you like to see one of those guys get their own spin-off? We know we would.

In Part 4 of our six-part series, we examine the most repulsive water-dweller since The Floater in Caddyshack… Continue reading

When was the last time you were genuinely excited about going to see a movie?

Posted in COMMENT with tags , , on August 6, 2013 by Ross McG

Alan Partridge in the studio

I saw Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa the other day. It was good. Not perhaps as good as it could have been, but good enough to have me laughing heartily throughout, albeit intermittently. It’s worth it for the first 15 minutes alone. Continue reading

Should the tornado scene from Man of Steel have been pulled or are audiences totally fine with acts of God?

Posted in COMMENT with tags , , , , , , , on June 18, 2013 by Ross McD
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Clark Kent does some superheroing in the tornado scene from Man Of Steel

Poor Ross McD. He just can’t get this whole Superman/Jesus/God thing out of his tiny little mind. Fresh from angering half of Christianity last week with his diatribe on Superman being like Christ (well…. duh, McD), now he’s waxing on about God and Man of Steel below. Luckily, he asked MoS director Zack Snyder – who McD has now spoken to twice (that’s one more than Ryan Gosling) – what he thought of the whole kaboodle. Continue reading

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