Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The education of the idle

In my continuing attempts to avoid tackling the knotty second draft of my screenplay, I have resorted to watching the television. Usually I limit my viewing to Lost, Desperate Housewives and the odd bit of sport (currently the tennis), but this past few days my evenings have been spent sunk in the recliner, remote to hand, flicking through 50 channels of shite, mainly. I have learnt a few things that are of absolutely no practical use and now intend to share them.

1. Most interesting discovery: the very funny boys' own series called Mythbusters, in which an odd couple of very entertaining American techies puncture various urban myths by subjecting them to rigorous -- and occasionally explosive -- scientific testing. Thus I found out that when your lift plunges out of control, jumping in the air as it hits the concrete will not prevent your being mushed. This was established by finding a disused lift and shaft, resuscitating same and constructing a giant pogo stick on which a dummy was placed. The lift's brakes and other safety features were disabled and it was duly sent plunging to the basement. If the theory panned out, "Buster" the dummy would bounce upward at the moment of impact and "survive". He bounced -- at 15omph ... result, total dismemberment. It was a splendid smash-up though.

2. Manhattan real estate agents have offices done out like the court of the Sun King, where young women preen and bitch and swoon over guys, but never show any properties to anyone -- at least not in the first two episodes of the ditzcom Hot Properties, which is to Sex and the City as an estate agent is to Mother Theresa. This truly dreadful assemblage of unlikely setups , improbable characters and heavily recycled one-liners is produced by the creators of Roseanne, which seems even more improbable. There may be a good series to be made about ritzy Manhattan real estate agents, but this isn't it. It is an act of supreme optimism and wanton cruelty by our main pay channel to buy this turkey and inflict it on us until it expires from a surfeit of nail polish.

3 In the pointless movie Final Cut, Robin Williams's progressive minimalism, honed by his grimly reductive roles in Photo Shop and Insomnia, finally succeeds in erasing the biggest personality on the big screen. Robbo plays a "cutter" -- someone who takes the place of the undertaker in some very dark future where people's memories are recorded bya chip in their brains and edited (cut) together for a final movie after they go belly up. There's some kind of message wafting around about experiencing the real world instead of the TV one, but it never gets anywhere. Williams gets shot dead for being a hack, basically. Avoid.

4. The mysterious and rather sinister Hanso Foundation, which apparently built and staffed the bunkers on the Lost island for the "experiment" has a website. By all means pay a visit and expect nothing but circular non-explanations and some very annoying music. Oh, and an orangutan.

5. For this year's French Open, the ravishing Maria Sharapova (we are not worthy!) settled on a fetching ensemble of pink Stevie Nicks-type dress and canary yellow hotpants. Perhaps her design consultant has been watching the Oscars. Mind you, that girl could wear anything and get away with it as far as I am concerned. Tragic that she was knocked out by the very butch and snarly Dinara Safina, sis of the equally butch and snarly Marat Safin. Oh well, come on Vaidisova!


Blogger Pashmina said...

Hot Properties sounds like exactly what we need over here to counteract the slew of apparently non-fictional property TV shows. Bring it on!

2:44 PM  
Blogger Wyndham said...

I'm a big fan of Insomnia, not so much of One Hour Photo, but I don't think Williams really cuts it in either. Interesting that in his hit movie in the US at the moment, RV, he's gone back to doing what he does best - comedy.

7:26 PM  
Blogger First Nations said...

i love mythbusters and have seen every episode at least twice.
its a geniius idea...a show about the kind of things we (well, me) always wanted to do as kids but didn't have the money or resources to do...then they hired two utter wackjobs to do them.
(jaime is a stud! whoof! whoof!)
now get working on the screenplay. the science fiction one, right? ill be expecting a copy on my desk by the end of summer. neatness counts.

4:11 PM  
Blogger DavetheF said...

Pash, Hot Properties is like an educational video on how not to make, write or direct a sitcom. I suspect a lot of meddling by producers. I'm with you on all the home and garden shows. There seems to be a new one every week.

Wyndham, I too am an admirer of Insomnia, mainly for the stunning cinematography and Christopher Nolan's obvious rapport with Al Pacino, who turns in a ravaged interior performance, one of his best. I think Nolan gets a pretty good performance out of Robin Williams. I also like Batman Begins a lot. Nolan is a very talented guy.

FN, I am getting back to the script this weekend. Scout's honour.

8:16 PM  

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