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Posts tagged ‘film’

The Man From Snowy River

Since I touched on the subject of my childhood in the last post, I thought I would further explore the theme. Back in the days, Limerick had a cinema down Bedford Row and it was a dingy affair. The red armchairs had bald, sticky patches. A dusty velvet curtain featured an amazing ‘SWISH!’ effect. Instead of trailers, asymmetric bubbles oozed across a bile-yellow background, spawning and splitting in slo-mo until the audience was considered comatose enough to watch the main feature.

[NB: some of this recollection may be influenced by nostalgia and/or bitterness.]

At the time, I didn’t know any of this, because I’d never been to the movies. Just another neglect adding up to the conglomeration of deprivation that was my childhood. My parents are lucky they evaded social services for so many years, what with how they forced me to clean my room every month and only allowed me chips once a week and beat me. Ok, that last bit isn’t true, but the rest totally is. If I weren’t a fiction author, I would write an autobiography and call it ‘A Child Called “Hey You Do The Dishes”: A Story of Triumph and Forgiveness’ and make a bloody fortune, I can tell you.

Before he met mum, my father worked on the Snowy Mountains Scheme in Australia. My parents never had a big interest in films, but when they heard ‘The Man From Snowy River’ was coming to Limerick, they decided this occasion merited a Family Outing.

Thus started the great countdown to The Man From Snowy River. We had Man From Snowy River theme dinners, and crossed off days on a Man From Snowy River calendar. It was like the build-up to the Olympics – obviously not on the same cost or magnitude scale, but certainly up there on the emotional and logistics levels.  Planning kicked off weeks before opening night, when dad got a large street map of Limerick and inserted flags denoting potential parking places in the city centre.

The event was set to go down in family legend, so that, twenty years in the future when someone said, ‘What do you remember of your childhood?’ we would say, ‘Well, not a lot, although oh yes. There was. That time I saw The Man From Snowy River. *sigh!* It was the best day of my life.’ There was to be ice-cream and Maltesers, and maybe Coke if we were especially good. I’d never eaten ice-cream, and had never even HEARD of Maltesers.

[SCENE: a brown living room. A MOTHER reads in an overstuffed armchair. In the far corner, THREE CHILDREN play with a stick and a cardboard box. The FATHER enters, wearing a paisley shirt with ridiculously pointed collar]

FATHER: I think there’s someone at the door, dear.

MOTHER: Who might that be? Ooh, maybe it’s-

ALL: THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER!

CHILDREN: YAY! THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER! YAY!

DAUGHTER: I can’t WAIT to see The Man From Snowy River! It’s going to be the highlight of my tragically deprived little life!

On the big day, I woke up at 05:00 and couldn’t eat with all the excitement (although I was also saving room for the ice-cream and Maltesers). Throughout the day the tension built until it was emitting its own frequency by the time we left in the car. Even the driving rain was not sufficient to dampen our enthusiasm.

On the way into town, the three kids in the back sang our Man From Snowy River song:-

The Man From Snowy River <clap!>
He might be called Trevor <clap!>
Or Bill or Ted or Roger
So far he is a mystery
But we, but we, are going to see
Him in all his cinematic glory

When we reached Henry Street, we beheld an awful sight. Our little voices fell silent one by one. A queue extended from the gaping mouth of The Grand, around the block, across the street and up past the Garda Station.

We went home.

There was no ice-cream or Maltesers.

It would be YEARS before I finally experienced cinematic magic. My mother wouldn’t allow me to watch Top Gun due to rumours of a raunchy love scene involving Suggestion of Tongue. Her logic would have better withstood the test of time if she had forbidden me to see Top Gun because Tom Cruise’s tooth-heavy smile was sinister and disturbing even then.

Eventually I saw Man From Snowy River on telly. TELLY! The bit where The Man from Snowy River rides his horse down a cliff would have been so much better on the big screen before I had heard of special effects and knew the director was tilting the camera to make it look steeper

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Proof of sun

I wanted to post this earlier, but YouTube took an active dislike to my browser cache and refused to reflect thumbnails. Sorry about the detour into geekland there. Click here or on the link below to access the video.

Hulk. Smash!

I know you’ve all been waiting for a considered, measured, detailed analysis of The Incredible Hulk. Look, don’t expect too much. It didn’t pack the emotional resonance of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – but on the upside it featured way more violence, exploding clothes and mutating humans. It was also more environmentally friendly.

The Hulk has always been one of my favourite superantiheroes, even back in the seventies with his tragically ill-advised hairstyle. Who hasn’t faced a sneering nemesis and wanted to pulverize them with a Ford Focus? And let’s face it, we’ve all wanted to be green at some point.

I wasn’t interested in the previous incarnation of Hulk, largely because Eric Bana’s head is so disturbingly small. But The Incredible Hulk 2008 – what a cast. I’m a major fan of Edward Norton, Tim Roth and John Hurt. Or is it William Hurt? Doesn’t matter, I like them both.

And then there’s Liv. *sigh!* She’s right up there on my Top 10 lesbian list. If Liv were to turn up and say, “Niamh, I want you. Kiss me. Kiss me now,” while casting meaningful looks at a bottle of massage oil, holy crap I would be all over the woman. Heck, if she were to walk in the door and say, “Anyone got nail clippers?” I would be all over the woman. Naturally, I would be torn about it, because I am madly in love with my husband, and not a lesbian generally, and also it wouldn’t last because she doesn’t have much of a sense of humour, and I expect Husband would win me back pretty sharpish.

There’s not much I can tell you about the movie. I mean, here is the plot deconstruction: Hulk evades armed forces while searching for a cure.

There were some amazing aerial shots of Rio de Janeiro.

The movie addressed a burning question, an issue that has occupied me in the years since the TV show: how come The Hulk never bursts out of his trousers? According to the film, Bruce Banner simply buys trousers with elasticated waists, in size 22+. I find it laudable that a man who regularly transmutes into a monster that radically renovates public property is so concerned about preserving his modesty.

However, the film raised more questions than it addressed. For example, how come size 22 trousers don’t fall down around Bruce Banner’s ankles? (At least there are a number of sensible and entirely plausible answers to that question, not least a safety pin.) Where do The Abomination’s trousers go? What casting agent extraordinaire thought Liv Tyler would make an ideal scientist? Why can’t Betty Ross attract better-looking boyfriends? (I wouldn’t be calling Edward Norton a weed to his face – because there is a risk he’d nibble my ankles off – but I am definitely calling him a weed behind his back. And Betty’s boyfriend before Bruce Banner turns up is not much better.) What the hell did the antidote actually do – apart from not much? Does your heart rate really rise that much during sex, or just with Liv?

I admit I’ve probably been thinking about it way too much

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