Archive for the ‘ Sam ’ Category

All Through the House: A DVD Cover Dissection

This man is glaring at his past as a spluttering posho and telling it to shut up. That past is dead, probably of lupus. This is his life now: looking angry all the time, putting people in their place in a croaky American drawl, and just barely dealing with the implausibly complex illnesses of an endless series of ungrateful patients with personal problems even worse than his own. When he’s not doing that he’s appearing on the DVD covers for his TV show, named after himself: House, or as the DVDs themselves insist on calling it, House M.D. (I believe this is to reassure people unfamiliar with the show that this is a medical drama, not a show about a bunch of people all living together with a grumpy disabled man.)

It’s difficult to portray such a conflicted, layered character on a DVD cover, which is why they make little attempt to do so. The covers follow the standard layout (which we’ve seen before), with the main character taking up the bulk of the space, the supporting cast relegated to little thumbnails probably taken from their acting resumés, and everything else a single colour wash which means you can distinguish the various seasons at a glance. If you want to know anything about the show (all news to me really because I don’t watch it), all you have to go on is the photo of the chap in the centre. Let’s see what he’s giving away.

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Sorry we’ve not been here for ages.

After an audacious and foolhardy claim that we’d be posting bimonthly on Sundays, we’ve managed a heroic one film review and then gone quiet. Maybe you think we’ve spent all that time since then working on an enormous and spectacularly intricate blog post, blowing everyone away and excusing the long hiatus.

No we haven’t. We’ve been doing other things instead. Here’s what we’ve been doing:

Chris has been gardening.

Jake has been slowly chewing a very tough steak.

Danny has been thinking about his legs.

Anoosheh has been in a mine.

Sam has been talking to a friend.

Sorry again for not posting in a while. Please entertain yourselves by re-reading our huge archive, which is several pages long. Once we’ve completed our activities we’ll be back on here producing content, albeit irregularly. From next year onwards we’ll be more productive, as we’ll all be unemployed until we’re 35.

An Apology

The Emperor’s New World? Terrence Malick on Trial

It might seem to the casual observer like this blog is basically a big love-in, a sort of forum for the various writers to sit about high-fiving, giving each other back-rubs, and discussing our work using the phrase ‘really great’ a lot. Not only the content but also the blog’s name may contribute to this impression, and so it may surprise you to learn that occasionally we disagree (and not just about Mad Men, ages ago). Sure, maybe it’s only on a few things, and yeah, maybe afterwards we just go back to talking about how much we all hate The Golden Compass, and then high-five and maybe rub the odd back or two, but the fact remains that we are not the Five-Headed Sex Beast of Self-Congratulation we look at first glance. To prove it, and maybe get a little stimulating discussion going, we’re going to air some of our disagreements on this here blog.

First in the dock is the famously reclusive and slow-working auteur Terrence Malick, who recently released the fifth film in his 38-year career, The Tree of Life. I haven’t yet seen it, mainly because I did see his previous film, The New World. If it seems a bit redundant to discuss that film when he’s just brought out a new one, maybe the following will go some way towards explain why I haven’t yet been able to drag myself into the cinema to sit through his stuff a second time. After my rather bitter rant, like I’ve taken the film as a personal affront to me for some reason, Danny will argue in favour of that pretentious hack’s snore-a-thon, sorry, visionary auteur’s masterpiece. But that’s for later – first it’s me, quietly and modestly, for the prosecution.

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‘Tis a Silly Place: Camelot

On my way to bed last night, I decided that before I turned in I would watch something that would help my brain switch off, preferably something glossy and utterly mindless. After a quick browse through iPlayer and 4od, I managed to find something so mindless I can’t even say for certain whether anyone involved in making it is technically alive. After it was over I was comatose for 14 hours.

The show I’m referring to is a brand new medieval fantasy from Starz Entertainment, the good people behind the David Starkey documentary Spartacus: Blood on the Sand (I’m kidding – it’s not actually a documentary and Starkey only briefly cameos as a mighty gladiator rutting in the background during one of the orgy scenes). Entitled Camelot, it’s a retelling of the Arthurian legend, large in scope and ‘adult’ in tone. Everyone knows what adults do – they have sex and they swear and they hit each other with swords, and Camelot does its best to faithfully represent this behaviour, whether or not it’s appropriate or makes any dramatic sense. Continue reading

What’s in the Box Office?

It’s been ages since I went to see a film. During Oscar season I was all up in cinema’s grill and kept up with everything, so when the results came out I had a surfeit of opinions which everyone had to tolerate me spewing into their faces whenever I had the opportunity – but recently I’ve haven’t even been reading the taglines on bus stop posters, let alone going out and watching the movies they’re advertising. I’ve made no effort to keep up with discussions in the media – I haven’t listened to Kermode’s podcast in months, and Claudia Winkleman could have been flogged by tramps and I wouldn’t have the foggiest. As a result, the films in the cinema at the moment are a mystery to me even in the vaguest outlines of their plots. For all I know, the top spot at the box office is occupied by a Mexican thriller about an old florist, with a romantic comedy set deep in the Earth’s upper mantle hot on its heels.

As far as I’m concerned, however, The Jerk Circle has a cultural obligation to advise its readers, even instruct them, on how best to spend their free time. If you’re bored of an evening, and you’re thinking about stepping out to your local filmerie to see what’s on, you shouldn’t even put your pants on until you’ve read the carefully considered views of one of our writers. And I see no reason why complete ignorance should be a barrier to any of us forming some extremely strong opinions. Therefore I’ve examined the listings, seen what’s bringing the punters in at the moment, and I offer my thoughts, based on the title and what I like to call my ‘mantuition’. I’ll offer a brief plot synopsis (warning: there may be spoilers!), followed by my verdict.*

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Men Are From Arse: “He’s Just Not That Into You”

Welcome to The Jerk Circle’s Book Club. This week, or month or however long until someone writes another one of these, we’ll be reading He’s Just Not [emphasis in original] That Into You, a book about relationships between men and women (the book does not attempt to explain how gays behave). A lot of fuss is made about relationships, says the book, but most of this is just the confused and helpless fartings of lovelorn women, unable to think straight with their knickers so tightly twisted. Here to help are modern independent professionals Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, who take a surgical scalpel to the tumescent, throbbing boil of modern relationships, oozing out this fundamental truth – he’s not treating you nice because he basically doesn’t like you very much. The cure, according to them, is to immediately tell the cowardly, callous fuck exactly where to get off, and remain single until you meet someone else, at which point either they are perfect or you repeat this process.

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