Neil Sharpson

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)

As a general rule, I don’t watch the “Making Of” features of the movies I review, because:

a) The movie should be able to stand alone as a discrete work without additional media required to appreciate it.

b) I’m hella lazy, y’all.

But after…experiencing the subject of this review, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai across the 8th Dimension, I felt that I might need to read the manual. During the “Making of” there’s a moment where director WD Richter is asked what the movie is about and responds with a deep sigh and a muttered “Oh God…”

It’s that kind of movie.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai across the 8th Dimension is what happens when a lot of very smart, very talented people decide to take twenty million dollars of someone else’s money and have as much fun as it is possible to have legally. This is a cult film. No, scratch that. This is a CULT film, engineered to be so from the atoms making up the film stock upward. You are either in on the joke, or you aren’t. And I have to confess, my first watch through I was very conscious of what I like to call “The Rocky Horror” effect, the sensation that you would really be enjoying the movie you are watching if you weren’t alone and stone cold sober. It’s not a “watch at home alone on a cloudy afternoon” movie. It’s a “crack open a few beers with some rowdy friends” movie. Or possibly a “watch under the influence of hallucinogens and then found a religion” movie.

What’s it about? Oh God.

(more…)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

Back in the thirties, they laughed when Walt Disney said that he was going to make a feature length animated film. “Oh, how quaint” the fat studio execs chortled through solid walls of cigar smoke as they sat stewing in their leather-bound rooms “The little cartoon man thinks he can make movies”.

The little cartoon man then proceeded to make Snow Whiteone of the most successful movies of all time. Then, a decade later, Disney announced that he was branching out into live action movies.

“Oh how quaint” the fat studio execs chortled through solid walls of cigar smoke as they sat stewing in their leather-bound rooms “The little animated feature man thinks he can make movies with real people”.

At which point Disney fixed them with a steely glare and said “Okay, just for that? I’m going to own you. All of you. It may take decades but I now dedicate my every waking moment to ensuring that one day, everything you own will belong to me. Every movie you’ve ever made, every studio, every piece of merchandise, every character. You sneeze, I will own the dirty hankie. Every red cent you ever earn will one day BELONG TO WALTER ELIAS DISNEY SO I SWEAR ON THE OLD GODS AND THE NEW.”

And they chortled at that because some motherfuckers never learn, do they?

An important step on Disney’s path to total global conquest were their live action films of the 1950s. These were usually classic tales of derring do from literature dressed up real nice with a few catchy songs. Probably the best remembered film of this era was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, based on Jules Verne’s staggeringly prophetic novel about how big an impact submarines were going to have on all our lives.

Leagues marked something of a watershed moment for Disney’s live-action fare as it was the first Disney film to get a really top-tier cast with household names like Kirk Douglas, Peter Lorre and James Mason. In fact, even though Disney had already made several fairly successful live action movies at this point, Kirk Douglas needed quite a bit of coaxing, with his part being substantially altered at his request.

“Okay, so Ned Land should be introduced with two hotties on either arm.”

“Fine.”

“And he has to win every fight he’s in!”

“Fine.”

“And everytime he’s not onscreen, everyone should be wandering around going “Where’s Ned? Where’s Ned?”

“Fine.”

“And I want my son to play Ant-Man!”

“That is a WEIRD ask, but okay.”

As director, Walt hired director Richard Fleischer, much to Fleishcer’s surprise as he was the son of Max Fleischer, Disney’s long-time rival.

“Don’t you hate him?”

“Richard my boy, I keep my friends close, my enemies closer and the people my enemies care about in the same building where I work. Under armed guard.”

“Ah. So. Am I a director or a hostage?”

“The job calls for you to fill several roles.”

(more…)

Deep breath…

Almost seven year ago, I decided to start a blog as a way to practice my writing, develop a profile as a writer and maybe even foster a following.

And I decided to that in the character of a mouse who had been cursed by Walt Disney to review every one of his feature length animated films for reasons that have been lost to history but were absolutely rock solid at the time.

“We had a one-month old baby and you hadn’t slept in weeks.”

“Ahhhhhh…yes. That was it.”

Seven years is a long time. This is an old blog. I realised just recently that I’ve been blogging as Mouse for almost a fifth of my life. It’s brought me an incredible amount of joy and satisfaction and it has been my pleasure and privilege to know you all. Which is why I want you all to know…

“Oh God, are you dying?!”

“What? No!”

Guys? I have good news.

Like. I have really, really, good news.

Guys. I got an agent.

As of three days ago I am represented by Jennie Goloboy of the Donald Maass Literary Agency for my novel, The Caspian Sea.

Yeah. That happened.

Happy New Year!

I don’t hold with New Year’s, personally, it’s just a fake holiday cooked up by Big Calendar. But I suppose it’s as good a time as any to take stock of everything that’s happened last year and check for structural damage.

So, 2018 was…mixed.

A better year than 2017, definitely. 2017 (for me) was just an series of unending failure, rejection and humiliation culminating in me hitting my lowest point since…ever, pretty much. 2018 on the other hand, was a series of sharp highs and lows and I’ll definitely take that over the alternative. If current trends continue, 2019 might actually be (whisper it softly now) good?

The bad was losses in the family, the occasional depressive episode and just the general mental and emotional wear and tear of living in a world run by an insane wall-obsessed golden tamarin.

“NO COLLUSION!”

So let’s talk about the good.

(more…)

I’m sorry, I suck, also please support my play!

Mouse where the hell is the review this is an outrage!

Sorry! Sorry, I’m really sorry. I was on holiday over the weekend and this review just slipped the hell away from me. I’m really sorry, especially since Qwirkyproductions has been waiting for this review since the frickin’ Obama administration. I’ll be ready for Halloween, promise.

Okay, well…you watch yer ass. See you next week.

Actually there’s one more thing…

You have GOT to be kidding

So my play, The Caspian Sea, came back from Alaska leaner, meaner and with a white wolf companion that it goes on adventures with. And now it’s getting a staged reading as part of the Newvember Theatre Festival on November 9th in the New Theatre Temple Bar. If you live in Dublin (we few, we happy few), tickets are on sale now and I’d love to see your face.

The rest of you, I’ll see your faces on Hallowe’en.

Hi guys, sorry about this but Guardians of the Galaxy 2‘s got to be pushed back a week. I made an application to my dream job and they got back to me (YAY!) and said they want two writing samples (YAAAAY!) by next week (FUUUUUUU…) so I’ve been writing in a mad swoon for the last two days. Please bear with me and wish me luck!

Oh, in the meantime, my daughter Iola (known to ye all as Mini-Mouse) made her big debut on Sharuf and you cannot repel cuteness of this magnitude.

When life gives you hurricanes, make a game.

“Don’t come to work today, there’s a tropical storm.” is not something you typically hear in Ireland but, heck, a day off is a day off. Yesterday the Mouse family hunkered down in the living room while Storm Ophelia tore up the country like a drunken bridesmaid at a wedding looking for her purse.  We’re all fine, in fact it was fairly anticlimactic if I’m honest. When the news is promising the worst storm since the sixties, I at least expect to see a couple of cows flying past my window.

Anyway, over the weekend I attended a course on writing interactive fiction hosted by Charlene Putney of Larion Games in the Irish Writer’s Centre (Five stars, definitely recommend). That’s where I discovered Twine, an online resource that lets you create your own games even if, like me, you think “coding” is a type of pain medication.

I’ve created a horror text adventure called “The Ebon Death” which you can play here. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated (no spoilers, please) and if you feel like it’s something you want to try your hand at, you can create your own twine games here and leave a link in the comments.

Mouse out.

What I do on the weekends…

A while back, I mentioned that my brothers John and Dónal are contributors on Facts.ie. Since then, John has started his own channel, Sharuf!, featuring his hilarious adventures with his furry best friend, Rufus Bluestuff (yours truly, from this episode onwards). It’s been a hell of a learning curve, getting back into puppeteering (I did a course donkey’s years ago). I’m still finding my feet, from a technical point of view, but i’m having a blast doing this show with John and I hope you love it too. A like is better than a watch, and a subscribe is better than a like.

Feeling the Heat

Earlier this week I was kinda stunned to learn I’d been selected to compete in the heats for Irish Comedian of the Year and I did my set on Tuesday. Didn’t make it to the semi-finals, unfortunately, but I had a great time and I’ll definitely be entering again next year. I’ve embedded the video below, and I hope you enjoy.