Tom and Jamie gathered many weeks ago to record a whole new meandering chat through our film and TV obsessions of the moment! With Christmas just around the corner, Tom has finally found the time to publish this one as a hopefully fun bonus episode for the holiday season. 2020 is ending; hooray! We hope you all get to enjoy some quality films and telly with a beverage of your choice over the break.
Many thanks to Jamie for the following in-depth show notes. You can find the pod on the Crate and Crowbar podcast feed, or a downloadable version right here.
What We’ve Been Watching
2:20 – Elena of Avalor (Disney Plus)
Since recording this, Jamie has realised that Elena Of Avalor actually does have a movie length special to kick it off which outlines the plot, which is ‘hidden’ behind a different tab on Disney Plus. And also, the show was just cancelled, RIP, it’s a really well made, well written show.
Frozen remains amazing. Frozen 2 is a bit of a mess (but the songs still slap).
The new one Ducktales has David Tennant as Uncle Scrooge. The old Ducktales still has an amazing theme song but feels a bit much. Here’s the Finnish language version with the lyrics interpreted in English. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhSdSzSqLys
Freakazoid Theme Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZmw3jzX1t0
Hey Duggee is a kids show about a dog Scout Master that is also one of the funniest things on tv.
Adventure Time is a fantastic kids show for adults.
The very good Bojack Horseman (Netflix) gets a quick mention here, but it deserves further discussion.
Below Deck (Netflix) is a reality show set on a massive boat, which is Horny Blue Peter about poor quality ironing and beautiful idiots falling out.
Modern reality TV, or, in a loaded and amusing phrase that Jamie has just in this pod introduced me to – STRUCTURED REALITY: Below Deck, TOWIE, Love Island, Geordie/Jersey Shore.
For the behind-the-scenes drama exploring the aspirational psychopathy of being a producer on one of these shows: UnREAL: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3314218/
Othello is by William Shakespeare. There are several film versions, including versions by Kenneth Branaugh and Orson Wells. Jamie’s favourite is of course 2001’s ‘O’ starring Julia Stiles and Josh Hartnett.
Big Brother was a whole thing. Charlie Brooker’s columns were a whole other, superior, thing: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2010/aug/21/charlie-brooker-big-brother
Love At First Sight was a dark voyage into the bleakest passions of awful people.
The Incredible Hulk. S2 Episode: Alice in Disco Land. Jamie’s description and the title sells the episode more than I ever could here. Here is the disco version of the ending theme, for your health: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDTqATFcvyc
Shows about lonely men arriving in a place to solve a self contained scenario and then leaves (still sad): The Lone Ranger. The Fugitive. Quantum Leap, Sliders. 14th-century Middle English chivalric romance Sir Gawain And The Green Knight.
The deep sadness of the 70s: The French Connection, Taxi Driver. Nasty endings are cathartic sometimes aren’t they? But perhaps not in 2020.
The lingering rot of the Vietnam war infected North American drama for years. If the monster that lives inside you doesn’t get you, the Military-industrial Complex will. The Rambo films chart US pop culture’s absurd path from introspection back to celebratory jingoism.
If you had to chart the many plotlines of Dark S1 on a graph it would end up being a massive, meaningless knot. Season 2 is sharper, more focused, and much better. Sadly, you have to slog through S1 to understand what the heck is going on. S3 is a well-made mess.
Formula 1 racing is an extraordinary spectacle. The cars are indeed very fast.
Darts, a spectacle on two levels – sport and pissup. Sid Waddell: “When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer… Bristow’s only 27.”
Top Vintage TV Shows
Ever Decreasing Circles: An 80s ooh missus sitcom about existential torment. Ruin your Youtube suggestions forever with this playlist of all of them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEv6-C-9qD0&list=PLqK471enalfqUa3PIdMbzcya_cENErflI
The Good Life, a less good show from the same team.
Cracker: A masterpiece of writing and performance, and a decade-defining piece of drama.
In fact, Paul Abbot wrote the first series of Shameless and State Of Play at the same time, which is even more impressive.
Just A Boys Game: Completely incredible Play For Today, with an incredible final scene
Brond: Mad Scottish Proto Twin Peaks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWT0i4ZKTVU&t=100s
Govan Ghost Story: Written by Jamie’s dad in 1989, he thinks it’s pretty great if he does say so himself, also features an excellent score by Scottish pop heroes The Blue Nile) AND Robert Carlyle’s uncredited first onscreen appearance as a distant, speechless, unmoving figure in the background of one shot:
Modern TV is often very safe, but I May Destroy You really, really isn’t. Better representation in tv is still a long way away, with anyone who isn’t a straight white man struggling to be heard.
Edge Of Darkness is an amazing voyage into grief and mystery. Please don’t watch the film.
Since we’re alone now, the show Jamie didn’t want to speak no more of was the atrocious Drama Life.
Bob Peck was also in Jurassic Park being eaten by intelligent female dinosaurs.
Thunderbirds/Joe 90/Stingray/Captain Scarlet
Spectacle, playground inspiration, freakish real hands.
Tom was Virgil, pilot of Thunderbird 2, specialising in demolition, heavy lifting and logistics, so that checks out.
Kyrano was the name of the the Tracy’s racistly portrayed Manservant, who The Hood was able to physically invade and find out International Recue’s Plans. It says a lot, not all of it good, about Jamie that he saw himself as him. But there was a lot going on in that show.
Team America and Borat are both very fucking funny, FYI. Borat 2 is out now and…well. Yeah.
Borat buying cheese, with the world’s most patient man.
GBH by Alan Bleasdale is an extraordinary show about authority, politics, anxiety and fear. It doesn’t really fit into any easily described genre, but describes a world that feels pretty similar to the one we find ourselves in now. Michael Palin’s speech, could have been written yesterday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hX9llMV9qGc
Brazil is Terry Gilliam’s best film, fight Jamie.
1:18 Spoilers Ahoy!
I’m Thinking Of Ending Things
Charlie Kaufman has written some amazing scripts: Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things is based on a book of the same name written by Iain Reid. I think the film handles the subject matter more sensitively, even though the film is enormous and – for much of the second half – literally too dark to be able to quite see the actors’ performances.
Pauline Kael’s review of A Woman Under The Influence: https://letterboxd.com/notpaulinekael/film/a-woman-under-the-influence/1/
The song sung at the end is from Ohklahoma, not Casablanca…
Manic Pixie Dream Girls, as defined by Nathan Rabin in this article about Elizabeth: https://film.avclub.com/the-bataan-death-march-of-whimsy-case-file-1-elizabet-1798210595
Anomalisa was very good.
A film about a messy divorce. Amazing acting across the board. Substantively…not so much.
Noah Baumbach – sometimes great, sometimes bad.
A Separation is one of the best films ever made.
Jamie isn’t sure in retrospect why he felt the need to quote relationship expert Louis CK.
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Merry Christmas erryone!