The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

26 January
Comments Off on Why Do We Like These Clips? Maybe Because Most Of Us Regard Criminals As Slimeballs…

Why Do We Like These Clips? Maybe Because Most Of Us Regard Criminals As Slimeballs…

If you read the UK Guardian or watched the BBC you would think that the people of Britain are always very concerned about police brutality and criminals “rights”. In truth most feel the pendulum has swung too far in that direction, particularly in working class areas where thieves and thugs often make life a misery for the law abiding, tax paying majority.

Which is why there are still fond memories of Inspector Regan and Sgt Carter in “The Sweeney”, a 1970s police series based on the Flying Squad, a special detective unit that focussed on London’s violent professional criminal gangs (Sweeney Todd=Flying Squad in cockney rhyming slang)

The Sweeney viewed all criminals as slimeballs leeching off the hard work of the law abiding and their dealings with the underworld could rarely be described as “nuanced”

So popular was that style of policing with the general public that the character of Inspector Gene Hunt in the recent (2008-2010)retro series of “Ashes to Ashes” (set in the 1980s) briefly sparked a Gene Hunt for Prime Minister petition…

This suspicion that we have exorcised the fear of the law from the criminal mind with soft policing and a “caring” judiciary is often reinforced by the actions of the law when an ordinary citizen seeks to defend his or her property or physical safety when confronted by lawbreakers – hence the frisson of delight most of us have in movie scenes where the tables are turned on some criminal who expects his victim to be terrified into meek obedience when faced with the threat of violence by knife….

…or by gun…

Alas, lawyers and judges will probably ensure that those clips remain just….fantasies…

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11 November
Comments Off on Arnie & Sly Taking Out The Bad Guys – Pure Hokum But Deeply Satisfying…

Arnie & Sly Taking Out The Bad Guys – Pure Hokum But Deeply Satisfying…

Pure unadulterated hokum, deeply implausible – in other words a typical Arnie action movie scene. Yet, for all of that, deeply satisfying at that Hercules, Samson, Alfred the Great “against all odds” level….

….and when politeness is repulsed by the intimidating and aggressive swagger of the pig ignorant who better than Sly to offer a master class in the need to show a little respect and good manners.

Hokum = “A stock technique for eliciting a desired response from an audience”…

Yes, we fall for it every time…but why? It isn’t so much the violence although the idea of cruel and vicious people being paid back in their own coin generates a certain degree of schadenfreude. What is of greater significance is that it plays out the triumph of good v evil, a moral imperative that, despite our own flawed behaviour, appears to be a key driver in how we wish to be perceived.

Maybe, in our heart of hearts, most of us would prefer to be Robin Hood. Perhaps the time to worry will be when the majority go for the Sheriff of Nottingham….

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20 October
Comments Off on Obscure Old UK Blogger Skirmishes With Top UK Media Film Critic Over Palin…..

Obscure Old UK Blogger Skirmishes With Top UK Media Film Critic Over Palin…..

Why am I creepy? I’m hardly pro Palin, if that’s your insinuation.

What sort of person would use that as a defence?

But let’s begin at the beginning.

Perusing the UK Daily Telegraph online, yesterday (I refuse to put a portion of my hard earned pension into the wallets of the Barclay brothers for the dubious pleasure of reading the latest trillings from Bryony Gordon printed on a dead tree) I came across this review of Nick Broomfield’s documentary on Governor Palin by the DT’s film critic, Tim Robey.

Now as I am on a fixed income and therefore have to count my pennies I must confess that I don’t usually read Mr Robey’s pieces because I can rarely afford the luxury of a visit to the cinema or the renting of a DVD – it would be like pressing my nose against the toyshop window lusting for the £50 robot dog with my 25p clutched in my hand. But I understand in the world of the cultural media elite he is highly regarded by the great and the good (including that arbiter of all things artistic, Guy Lodge) and, on the few occasions I have read his musings, I have no reason to dispute the contention that his place in the higher levels of London’s Culture Heap is richly deserved.

So, having a passing interest in the world of US politics, I linked onto his Broomfield article to find out his opinion of the film.

To be fair to Mr Robey he wasn’t particularly impressed with it either technically or artistically. Of course he was rather sniffy about the Governor’s parents (“all homespun pieties” with “an impressive mountain of antlers in their yard”) and ended up with the usual stuff about the significance of “approval ratings” more than a year before an election but hey…what do you expect – he’s a film critic and it’s the Daily Telegraph for crying out loud….par for the course…

But then I read this..

There’s something creepy, for sure, about the fierce guarding of Palin’s reputation in town

…and I thought creepy? He thinks it’s creepy for people in Wasilla to treat Broomfield like something unpleasant stuck on the sole of your shoe?

So I looked up Mr Robey’s profile at the Telegraph, couldn’t get that word out of my head and took off for Planet Twitter

TheAgedP The Aged P The creepy @trim_obey at UK Telegraph creepily predictable on Broomfields Palin film (which bombed even with US left)tgr.ph/olVclY

Which prompted a reply which I initially regarded as hilarious but on further reflection seemed to be rather sad….

trim_obey Tim Robey @TheAgedP Why am I creepy? I’m hardly pro Palin, if that’s your insinuation.

He had assumed, I fancy, that I was some sort of lefty wingnut who had felt he was being too soft on her. Did he suddenly have visions of being cold shouldered at the next North London dinner party or struck off the BBC Newsnight invitation list for being a crypto Tea Partier or, even worse, another David Starkey?

Worrying….

What had triggered my response, however, was the fact that, although he had regarded the film’s technical and artistic values as rather shallow, Mr Robey had appeared to accept, at face value, Broomfields presentation of “the facts”

Gradually, though, the gossip they dig up from erstwhile friends and campaign managers – giving the lie to popularity-boosting Palin myths about her sports prowess and family life – prompts the communal cold shoulder.

I thought that was a sloppy piece of journalism, especially when I recollected what The New York Magazine had said about Broomfield in their review

• Broomfield wants to show what a superficial individual Palin is, so he includes a sequence about her alleged plastic surgery and Bump-it hairdo. Ah, sexist and inconsequential! Point: Palin!
• Broomfield attempts to highlight the suffering Palin caused others by introducing scandal after scandal, then cutting to a shot of its victims trashing Palin. The result: Regardless of the viability of their grievances, her enemies just look like spurned brats. Point: Palin!
• To try to paint a compelling portrait of Palin’s two-faced, evil nature, Broomfield regurgitates just about every blog post from the last three years, throws in clips of the Katie Couric interview (which at this point would put even Rachel Maddow to sleep), and digs into the revelation that Palin wasn’t actually nicknamed “Barracuda” because of her intensity on the high school basketball court, but rather because she liked the Heart song of the same name. Point: Palin!

The NYM is the newssheet of anyone who is anything in the hip cultural elite of US media, more Tina Brown than Tina Brown herself, light years from Wasilla and as Palin unfriendly as you can get – yet even they smelt something fishy about Broomfield.

Which is why I tweeted this

TheAgedP The Aged P @trim_obey a more honest review from a source that could never be described as Palin friendly http://bit.ly/r6LvKb

This obviously touched a nerve.

trim_obey Tim Robey @TheAgedP Perhaps that’s me being credulous, which you’re more than welcome to argue, but I don’t see how it’s dishonest.

There were further exchanges between us of a similar nature but I hope you get the drift of the debate, such as it was. There was, of course, no resolution. Mr Robey could obviously not accept my point that anyone who gets paid, probably quite generously, for writing in the public prints, needs to do a little of what R S McCain calls shoeleather on a topic or, at the very least, employ that golden “get out of jail” card of every hack – the word “alleged”

Should I have bothered? Was it worth all the hassle? I think it was. People like Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, Margaret Thatcher and other conservatives unafraid to challenge the assumptions held dear by a media/academic elite overwhelmingly imbued with the ideas of the liberal left will always have to endure the prospect of death by a thousand cuts – phrases, comments slipped so often into discourse that, Lysenko like, they become accepted as truisms. The beauty of the internet is that, at last, the journalists can be held to account. With a much smaller megaphone, of course, but at least something can be heard – though Mr Robey might not agree

trim_obey Tim Robey @TheAgedP Yes, I’m sure my media career is finished. Good luck with yours.

Heh – as Prof Reynolds would say – how about that Army of Davids?

PS…..I am distraught – I have been crucified by Guy Lodge himself…..

@GuyLodge:@TheAgedP @trim_obey What’s creepy about this back-and-forth, if I may, isn’t anyone’s stance on Palin, honestly influenced or otherwise…. It’s that you’d use a fairly coolly argued review as a springboard for a personal attack on someone you don’t know.

..as distinct from “a fairly coolly argued review” which implies that someone he doesn’t know who has a political background with which he appears to be totally unfamiliar has not discouraged untruths about herself for political gain, Mr Lodge?

Heh….

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27 June
Comments Off on Classic Film Scene – A One Armed Spencer Tracy Surprises A Bully

Classic Film Scene – A One Armed Spencer Tracy Surprises A Bully

The bully picking a fight with the wrong man is probably one of the most repeated scenarios in storytelling from Jack the Giant Killer through David and Goliath into modern day film and TV but it never fails to give us that oh so satisfying tingle down the back of the neck.

In the 1955 film noir “Bad Day at Black Rock” Spencer Tracy, as a one armed war vet, gives a nasty surprise to a vicious thug.

I was 14 when I saw this film in South London. For the rest of the week I was down in our cellar giving karate chops to imaginary villains.

It’s an atmospheric movie, a classic of the genre. Tracy was always spot on as the modest man of immense moral authority and Robert Ryan’s face was the perfect fit for the cowardly weasel who always manages to find some bonehead to do his dirty work for him.

It was also one of the very few Hollywood films that attempted to address the uncomfortable issue of the treatment of Japanese Americans during WW2

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14 June
Comments Off on Favourite Film Moments – “This Is A Knife”

Favourite Film Moments – “This Is A Knife”

I know it’s only acting but it still makes me feel good…..

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