Thursday, 21 September 2017

TBT - The Parole Officer (2001)

When you're the creator of an iconic character it can be super difficult to get yourself out from under its shadow. Steve Coogan has tried to move away from just being the guy who plays Alan Partridge but nothing else has ever really stuck. Let's be honest, he's appeared in some utter shite over the years and it's not been pretty. In more recent years he has made the move that most comedy performers over a certain age try and picked more serious roles. Gone straight if you will. It was a different story back in 2001 when he co-wrote and starred in his own British comedy crime caper. For some reason, when The Parole Officer came out it was constantly being compared to the Ealing crime comedies from the 1950s and 1960s. I guess there were just no real expectations for British comedies in the early 2000s so anything that got made was deemed kind of successful. It was the same year that the Vinnie Jones comedy vehicle Mean Machine and a film about a hairdresser from Keighley starring Alan Rickman were released, after all. When the greatest British comedy to be released that year was Bridget Jones' Diary then maybe I can see why people got so excited. Nowadays, Coogan seems pretty embarrassed to have ever made the film and, in 2015, stated that he doesn't understand why anyone likes it. I've known a load of people who loved this film but, really, they aren't the kind of people who I would ever seek advice from. On any subject matter. However, it's been a really long time since I saw this film so, after I so harshly critiqued it during my Tuesday review this week, I decided it was time to see if it really was as bad as I remembered.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Tuesday's Reviews - Mindhorn (2017)

I guess I've always had a bit of a weird sense of humour but, as I get older, it's becoming more and more obvious to m that people are just nodding politely whenever I'm trying to be funny. Years ago, my twin sister prepared me to meet her boyfriend for the first time by uttering the phrase "don't be weird". There's nothing quite like sisterly love, eh? So, yeah, you could say I'm a bit strange at times. I blame television. Okay, I blame the television I grew up watching. I was a huge fan of weird British comedies like Spaced, The Adam and Joe Show, Alan PartridgeThe League of Gentlemen, Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, Peep Show, and, most importantly for the purposes of this post, The Mighty Boosh. Now, and I feel super fucking old having to write this, it's been 10 years since the final episode of the show aired and the pair have gone on to other things. Noel Fielding has entered the murky, innuendo filled world of baking shows whilst Julian Barratt has done bits and bobs in films, television, and theatre. Maybe its just his Northern charm but I have always absolutely adored Julian Barratt. I knew plenty of girls around my age who were major fans of Vince Noir's face. Personally, I was always a bit in love with Howard Moon. So, when Mindhorn was announced I was beyond excited. Of course, being as useless as always, I never got round to watching it... until now.

Sunday, 17 September 2017


So the book buying ban is going swimmingly. Only another 12 books have been added to the collection. This week I've bought 3 new actual books, 2 ebooks, and, a whopping, 7 audiobooks. Admittedly, 2 of those audible purchases were with 2 of the credits I've been letting stack up so I didn't exactly pay for them this week. I'm trying to get better at not using up all of my space though and have spent some of today sorting out things I no longer need/want. It's hard because I'm a pathetic hoarder. I need to go on a TV show like obsessive compulsive cleaners or something and just have someone else sort my life out. I'll just sit over here reading so I can decrease the size of my TBR pile. Currently it's taller than the Burj Khalifa (the world's tallest building). 

Thursday, 14 September 2017

TBT - The Breakfast Club (1985)

After the disappointment that was One of Us is Lying last week, I decided that there was only one thing I could do to revive my faith in teen narratives. I sat down and watched The Breakfast Club. This John Hughes classic has been one of my favourite films forever but it's been a while since I last watched it. It's weird to watch it again in 2017 and realise that these five "kids" would still be considered fashionable if they walked into any modern high school. Ally Sheedy and Judd Nelson look exactly like the kind of hipster millennials that you can't avoid these days. Turns out the 80s vibe really isn't going anywhere any time soon. Although, I can't really criticise them. When rewatching this film I was struck by two things: number 1, Judd Nelson's face is beautiful and, number 2, I would happily wear everything he was. The man's got style. And, to be honest, I'd happily be Ally Sheedy too... well pre-makeover Ally Sheedy anyway. When I was younger I was obsessed with Molly Ringwald but, as I grew up, I realised I'm less Molly Ringwald and more Ally Sheedy. Which is fine with me. Well, as long as I can make different food choices.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Tuesday's Reviews - One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

If you lookup 'YA' on my blog then you'll come upon a recurring theme: I'm basically always disappointed. I don't intentionally hate YA fiction but I think it happens to be too simplistic. I don't remember reading much YA as a child. The only book I vividly remember, which means the only one I really liked, was Postcards From No Man's Land. I can only have been about 12 when I read it but I loved it. Mostly because I found the stuff about World War 2 so interesting but also because it felt like a grown-up book. I don't think my love affair with YA fiction really got too far beyond Postcard's From No Man's Land. Unfortunately, I grew up and realised that adult books got even more grown-up and even more interesting. I've never really been your typical teen reader so the paint-by-numbers style of these books just never really did anything for me. When I read YA now I tend to find it too obvious and full of the same tired cliched. I have always been a lover of bad teen cinema but that doesn't mean I need the same nonsense to filter into literature. There's a massive difference between seeing Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray being hyperbolic teen lovers on screen and reading another Romeo and Juliet wannabe YA novel. Anyway, despite all of this, I always get sucked in by the latest breakaway hit in YA fiction. I'll read about something on Instagram or hear a synopsis and think "maybe this is the one". Karen M. McManus is one of those YA writers who knows exactly how to lure in potential readers: by ripping off one of the greatest 80s teen movies of all time. How could I ignore it?

Sunday, 10 September 2017


Going back to work after having a few days off last week proved to be extremely difficult. So, it came as a major surprise that I managed to keep on top of reading. I've decided I finally need to sort my sleeping habits out. Usually, I stay up way too late before work. This is mainly because I want to take full advantage of the time I have before I go back the next day. Just one of the major struggles of working in a job that you have zero passion for. Anyway, to get myself in better shape I've been trying to turn my computer off early and read for an hour or so before I go to bed. What usually happens now is that I get so engrossed in my book that I lose track of time but it's an improvement, right? Whilst it may not be doing wonders for the amount of sleep I'm getting, it does mean that I'm making progress with my books read this year. I've finished another book finally. It takes a bit of pressure off after the 3/4 months that I spent getting through 7th Function. Fingers crossed it's a sign things are improving.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

TBT - The Da Vinci Code (2006)

Two of my favourite quotations from the film critic Roger Ebert concern The Da Vinci Code. The first is from his review of the film National Treasure:
I should read a potboiler like The Da Vinci Code every once in a while, just to remind myself that life is too short to read books like The Da Vinci Code.
The second from his review of Ron Howard's adaptation of The Da Vinci Code:
They say The Da Vinci Code has sold more copies than any book since the Bible. Good thing it has a different ending.
Along with a love of cinema and a need to criticise it, Roger Ebert and I have something in common. We have both read and hated Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. In all honesty, I read the book after I had watched the film. I knew about Brown's book, of course, but I had no interest in reading it. I watched the end of the film one evening and was intrigued enough to pick up a copy. Brown's writing is horrible and his over-reliance on cliffhangers and their ridiculous solutions is just awful. I can see why people love it; it's a mystery that is easy to read and, subsequently, makes people feel clever when they keep up with/solve it. It's all just trite though. Brown made a name for himself thanks to a controversial and preposterous subject. He gained readers because of his short chapters that always end on a cliffhanger. It makes my blood boil. I swear, one Dan Brown chapter ends with the cliffhanger of what Robert Langdon will decide to have for breakfast. Over the years, I've had so many arguments with people about this book but I often find myself being slightly less harsh on the film. I've never thought it made much sense. Maybe Tom Hanks really is such a charming man that he can improve anything?

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Tuesday's Reviews - The 7th Function of Language by Laurent Binet

There's a Terry Eagleton quotation that I've always adored from the opening paragraph to his book After Theory. I've always enjoyed his writing and think he's incredibly funny and accessible. I once met him at university and was such a ridiculous fangirl about it. I genuinely said something along the lines of "I've read loads of your books". It was super cringe and, understandably, he didn't spent too much time talking to me. I've never got over the embarrassment of this moment. Anyway, the aforementioned quotation really sums up everything I love about him. The opening to the books discusses the forefathers of literary criticism and the fact that nobody has been able to live up to them.
Fate pushed Roland Barthes under a Parisian laundry van, and afflicted Michel Foucault with Aids. It dispatched Lacan, Williams and Bourdieu, and banished Louis Althusser to a psychiatric hospital for the murder of his wife. It seemed that God was not a structuralist.
That final line is honestly one of the greatest literary joke I've ever heard. This quotation has the added benefit of teaching me that Roland Barthes was killed by being run over by a laundry van, which is a fact that caused me to be incredibly excited about Laurent Binet's follow-up to his hit debut novel HHhH. It seems that everyone who has reviewed 7th Function has referred to his previous novel but, as I've not read it yet, I won't be doing the same. I also won't be mentioning the fact that, according to my weekly rundowns, I started reading this book way way way back at the end May. Meaning I've had this book on the go for about 3 months. That slump really did hit me big.