I’ve been writing for a good few years now but I’ve never actually had anything I’ve written reviewed before. And this is kind of a good way to start! Joseph Kearney of No More Workhorse has written an absolutely glowing review of Joanna which is running all this week in the New Theatre. I’m putting up a link HERE, partially because I’m a huge narcissist but also because it was your kind donations that
paid for the bribe that got that review made this show possible. Thanks guys.
Second episode of the Goo has now gone up. Once again, please read your nationality appropriate recommendation.
For Irish viewers
Shenanigans are afoot as Dave and Jonesy take “Baby Goo” Ste Murray under the proverbial feathered appendages and show him the ropes of Goodum. It’s all a bit of craic until the lads get a call from the Gooru himself, and all shite’s about to break loose. Will the lads be up the challenge? Jayus an’ anyway.
For non-Irish viewers
This week we are introduced to “Baby Goo”, played by Stephen Murray, who acts as both audience surrogate and a symbol of endangered innocence. Stephen is the man that Dave and Jonesy once were, the wide-eyed young man full of promise, oblivious to the fact that when he gazes on the wrecked and ravaged forms of these two men he looks not upon mentors or friends but his own terrible future. References to films abound in this week’s episode, the Godfather and Die Hard are both name checked. It is however Darren Aronofsky’s seminal Requiem for a Dream that the work references most strongly, but textually and subtextually, as Dave and Jonesy’s descent into the next level of addiction’s cthonic abyss commences with a summons from “The Gooru”. That Mephistophelean figure has hitherto remained hidden. Now, Dave and Jonesy’s trials shall begin in earnest.
Check out this interview that I did with Oisín Boyce of Belfield FM, where I talk about League of Volunteers, Joanna and of course, Unshaved Mouse.
(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)
Sorry. You’re right. I’m sorry but…oh God that poster. That poster pretty much encapsulates the whole problem with this movie. Just this weird, desperate attempt to be hip and funny that fails so badly you’re not even sure if that’s what they were going for. It’s one thing to come last in a race. It’s another to come last because you were pushing a bobsled on the track. One just means you were bad. The other is being so inept it’s hard for an outside observer to be sure that you were even trying to win. Like all the real turkeys in the Disney canon, details on Home on the Range’s origins are hard to come by. Wikipedia, TV Tropes and IMDb are pretty light on facts and presumably only God and Michael Eisner know where the bodies are buried. I do know that Home on the Range started pre-production all the way back in 1995, that it was once going to be called Sweating Bullets and that the premise was at one point that a young calf named Bullets taking on a gang of ghost cattle rustlers called The Willies. Yeah, so this thing was always going to suck, basically. There is no universe where this movie turned out well.
How bad is it?
Come. Let us gaze upon the carnage…
So today we awoke to the news that John Waters is being paid €30,000 (aka, more than Mouse makes in a year) by RTÉ because someone on TV implied that writing and advocating against gay people being allowed to marry might qualify you as a homophobe. The other persons mentioned by Rory O’Neill have also been compensated for this dreadful trauma (that’s the trouble with gays, they can’t know just how hurtful some names can be) and according to the Irish Independent the total sum being paid to these guys amounts to €85,000 of taxpayers money. My last post on this matter was criticised by some as being overly conciliatory. I agree. The time for reasoned debate is over. My friends, I’m here to advocate for blind, unthinking revenge. It’s got a bad rep, but I do think that its moment has come. What we need in this situation is sheer, vindictive malevolence. A complete lack of mercy. My friends, we need a total and utter bastard.
Let me explain. In the fourth episode of Blackadder the Third, “Sense and Senility”, Blackadder has to put up with a pair of insufferable, stuck up actors. He learns that every time he says the word “Macbeth” the actors have to go through a long, complex and extremely painful ritual to banish bad luck. Blackadder, naturally, treats this like a big, shiny red button marked “press here to feel total joy”.
I believe that RTÉ, unwittingly, has now given everyone in this country such a button. What have we learned? That anytime someone calls John Waters or the Iona Institute a homophobe, RTÉ has to pay them my annual salary before tax. So, let’s push the button.
I hereby announce the commencement of Operation Blackadder. It goes like this. Anytime you are stopped on the street by an RTÉ newcaster looking for your opinion for one of those stupid Vox Pops, casually mention that John Waters and the Iona Institute are homophobes. Call into an RTÉ radio show and say that John Waters and the Iona Insitute are homophobes. If there’s an event where you can be sure RTÉ cameras are rolling, make sure to be there with your “John Waters and the Iona Insitute are Homophobes and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt” T-Shirt. Macbeth, Macbeth, Macbeth. If done successfully, there will be two possible outcomes.
- RTÉ goes bankrupt within a week. This will also mean that John Waters and the Iona Insitute will be obscenely wealthy so this is not ideal.
- RTÉ realises very quickly that they backed the wrong fucking horse.
I am under no illusions that Operation Blackadder has any real chance of success, these things rarely do. The only way something like this could have a real chance is if people working in RTÉ, gay employees and straight allies who are livid at their employer for its craven surrender and enrichment of bigots decided that they wanted to send a message. I mean if, hypothetically, enough RTÉ employees decided that there was safety in numbers, enough casual on-air mentions could bring the entire organization to its knees in a matter of days.
Completely fanciful of course. If however, anyone working for RTÉ is reading this and is feeling rather pissed off right now? Do share, won’t you?
Unshaved Mouse has been nominated for Best Blog Post at the Blog Awards Ireland 2014. Please take a minute to click on this link and vote for me. You can vote once every week. Thanks a million, Mouse.
Sigh. You know, I told myself if I just stuck my head in the sand and pretended that this wasn’t happening everyone involved would gradually realise just how ill advised the whole endeavour is and this movie would quietly die like the sequel to 7even where Morgan Freeman’s character has psychic powers or the live action Akira remake with white actors. But no, this thing is apparently happening and what’s more Disney have released a trailer that proves once and for all that their marketing department is staffed by wizards who can make anything look good. Sorry, that sounds unfair and I know any movie should only be judged after it’s actually been released but…I have serious reservations about this. Now, granted, after seeing the trailer I am a little more optimistic for reasons that I’ll get into in a bit but firstly let me just point out that the basic logic behind this movie is flawed. That logic is as follows:
1) We need to make a movie about a character that people love.
2) People love Maleficent.
3) We should…what, you want me to spell it out?
Now, Maleficent is undoubtedly a fantastic character but it’s more complicated than that. She is specifically, a fantastic antagonist. Saying that a great villain will make a great leading character is like saying an astronaut is the perfect guy to perform your heart operation. It’s a completely different skill set. Villains, by and large, occupy less screen time than heroes. A villain is someone who you’re glad when they show up, do something outrageous and cool and then vanish again. A good protagonist is someone you have to be willing to spend two hours with. Villains are great in small doses, but the larger than life traits that make them so entertaining tend to get really wearying after too long. Of course, that’s assuming that this movie is just Maleficent as she was depicted in Sleeping Beauty but for two hours. It won’t be. Maleficent in the original doesn’t have an arc, her character progression in the movie is evil, evil, evil, evil, dragon. So of course this movie is instead going to make her an anti-hero, a troubled misunderstood figure whose motivations we will be able to understand and sympathise with through seeing her backstory and all the horrible things that happened to maker her who she is. This approach, historically speaking, has killed more awesome movie villains than cliffs and Arnold Schwarzenegger combined.
This is how..
Now, if I’m wrong I will happily eat my words. I’m just saying I got history on my side. Okay, so let’s take a look at the trailer.
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/_pgmFAOgm5E” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>
Alright, so here are my thoughts in order.
- Angelina Jolie’s eternal status at the top of the A-List has baffled me for some time. Not that she’s bad, but surely you should have to have some critically/financially successful movies under your belt before they crown you Queen of Hollywood. Seriously, look at her filmography and find something that you’d give more than three stars. Having said that, that is an absolutely phenomenal impersonation of Eleanor Audley she’s doing, almost to the point where I’m not entirely sure they didn’t just dub some dialogue from the original movie over her. Also that smile she flashes is a good sign. Jolie looks like she’s having a blast. Above all, Maleficent should enjoy being evil.
- Gotta say, loving Lana Del Ray’s dreamy, sinister rendition of Once Upon a Dream. Love the atmosphere.
- Three fairies hovering by a crib while Maleficent stalks through the court. These aren’t Flora, Fauna and Merryweather even though they’re colour coded the same. According to wikipedia the fairies are Thistlewit, Knotgrass and Flittle and are all played by actresses in their twenties. Godammit, I loved that the heroes of the original movie were three dumpy middle aged women. Where else do you see that?
- Maleficent standing with arms raised, wreathed in green flame and vanishing from the court. So it looks like we’re going to get a pretty faithful recreation of the cursing scene.
- “NOW FIND OUT THE TRUTH” Ohhhh…first big warning sign. If they think that we’re actually going to accept this as a definitive take on the story that supplants the original then this ship is crewed by fools and madmen.
- Okay, now this is different. Maleficent surpises Briar Rose in the woods, blows some sleeping gunk on her and then walks through the moonlit forest with the unconscious body floating behind her. Gotta say, it’s an eerie, beautiful image. Again, Del Ray’s vocals really setting the “dark fairytale” tone.
- King Stefan stabbing a table. Why is he stabbing a table? Maleficent controls the trees. Trees are made of wood. Clearly, this table is a spy.
A green clad Maleficent strolling through a field. Part of me really hopes that this movie ends with the reveal that Maleficent is actually Girl Loki and that this is all just a teaser for Avengers 3. Hey, they’re both owned by Disney, you can’t say it’s not possible.
- If I were to guess I’d say this is part of Maleficent’s origin. The movie seems to be playing up her nature powers, showing lots of sentient tree monsters and such. If I were to guess, Maleficent starts off with a naturey/defender of the forest kind of schtick, hence the green duds, and then King Philip does something to fuck with nature’s balance or whatever forcing her to go all emo and black. Which sounds pretty awful and again, why the character works better as a villain and not a protagonist.
- Okay, seriously, what is up with her cheekbones? She looks like she swallowed a china plate.
- The CGI at least, is going to look amazing. In fact, we can at least rest assured that this will be a very pretty movie.
- The old knight with a beard is so dead.
- “There is evil in this world. Hatred. And revenge.” Ohhhh stop that right now. That looks like Maleficent imparting some motherly advice to Briar Rose. That looks like Maleficent and Briar Rose bonding over a campfire. That looks like the movie is actually setting up that Maleficent secretly cares for Briar Rose. That looks like the still beating heart of Sleeping Beauty getting ripped out and stamped on the dirt. That looks like I’m gonna have to get mah pitchfork.
- Okay, the little hurt “oh” followed by the pscyho laugh has me convinced that if nothing else, Jolie is going to kill the role.
So, colour me cautiously pessimistic. I still think that the basic concept of the movie is fails the smell test but there’s a lot in the trailer to give me pause. I’m certainly less sure now that it’s going to completely suck than I was. So, good job Disney marketing team. Good job. You have moved the dial in the right direction. Now if you could stop making me think that your awesome full length musical returns to form are going to be awful, weak-ass Dreamworks ripoffs, that’d be lovely.