Sunday, 29 March 2015

All (of the) Good Things (...not)

After a rather long hiatus from one of my favourite activities, I decided it was time to watch another film featuring - you guessed it - Ryan Gosling.

My choice fell on the rather blandly named "All Good Things" (that's mistake number one right there: Everyone knows "All the Good Things" sounds much better, only to be surpassed by the far superior variant "All of the Good Things"), a film which is, to put it very simply, about a couple - played by Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst, whose story spans from the early 1970s up until the early 2000s.

The fact that my first impressions were somewhere along the lines of "why the hell is John Krasinski looking so thin in the face" probably only confirms that I've watched the entire run of The Office (US) one too many times (which, however, does not mean I will stop anytime soon). Meaning: It took me a while to get back into that mindset of Ryan Gosling being the only good thing to have ever happened to the world (and I'm still not sure whether I have got back into that mindset, as you may be able to see from the upcoming review).


Professional Rich Boy David Marks (your boy RG) is just being all super-seventies in 70s New York City when he meets not-so-rich Katie (your boy Kirsten) in a very porn-esque "I've come to fix your leaky sink in a tuxedo"-scenario. 
Fast forward a few years and the happy couple have moved to Vermont (which is so close to being an anagram of "remote" it's not even funny anymore) to open a health food shop called (get this:) All Good Things. But only for about 5 minutes, before they move back to New York so Ryan can continue to be professionally employed by his daddy.
It slowly becomes apparent that Rich Boy Gosling is actually quite disturbed, due at least in part to a traumatic event that happened in his childhood, and that there is much more darkness to him than those reflective washboard abs might suggest.

dat blanket tho.

After many years of marriage with some problems and an ever-increasing distance between them, Kirsten Wife-Dunst eventually goes missing at what seems like a very late point in the movie - but then the movie still goes on for quite a while, so I guess that makes up for it(?). I won't say too much more in order not to give EVERYTHING away in case, ya know, you wanted to watch it or something. 
What I will say, however, is that this film is based on a true story (which I wasn't familiar with), and that apparently the man RG's character is based on - Robert Durst - is still alive and apparently appeared on the DVD commentary, which may seem a tiny bit weird considering that the film heavily implies he was involved in his wife's "disappearance".


My main negative criticism of this film - and Ryan Gosling in general, to be honest (wow, I'm really getting disillusioned with someone here) - is a whole lotta mumbling. Yes, mumbling. In the early stages of the film, it almost seems like the editing was done in such a way as to help you along with your impaired understanding of the film, when a scene in which Ryan Gosling mumbles something that can only be transcribed as "Wuhmaryam" is directly followed by a scene of the two lovebirds in wedding attire. For fudge's sake, OPEN YOUR MAGNIFICENT MOUTH!

Like, I know he's super hot and everything, but he does this in every film, and if he still wants to have a job in 30 years' time, maybe he should consider enunciating a little clearer, or louder, or at all. 

Also, apparently, there's a kink in Gosling's genetics that makes
him turn into Chevy Chase once he reaches the age of 50.

Aside from that, as I mentioned earlier, it seems odd that the central conflict of the film - Katie going missing - seems to be almost an afterthought of everything else. 

Let me just say that I was of course, as for all my film reviews, substantially distracting myself from watching the film, so this may have contributed to my finding the before/after-missing-split somewhat awkward. Also, the mumbling didn't help.

On the other hand, there was a lot of ground to cover time-wise, so you had David and Katie when they met, looking positively youthful and fresh-faced, and then ten years later, which for the most part just involved Ryan Gosling donning dad-glasses and a less cool haircut to signify Ageing. Then much later, he magically turns into Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (see picture above), but not before indulging in a brief stint of disguise-related cross-dressing, which, when he's not wearing the wig, gives him a sort of Andy-Warhol-aesthetic (see picture below).

"yeah I'm into art now. and coffee"


If nothing else, this film shows one possible explanation for what happened to the real life Kathie Durst, who actually went missing, and whose case has not been solved. Whether it's the truth, well, no one knows, I guess. I'm not sure whether I would have liked the film more if it weren't based on a true story. Or if I'd liked it more if I hadn't known it was based on a true story. 
I don't know whether I even liked this film at all. 
It was a film, that's for sure.
It was okay.

But: If I ever do get my hands on some capital, I will open my very own health junk food shop, and I will call it "All of the Bad Things".


Picture credits/sources

P.S. - I am both fully aware and willfully ignorant of the possibility that "All Good Things" may have been chosen by the film-makers partly in order to evoke the mental continuation "...must come to an end" in viewers and re-viewers of this movie. I nonetheless remain a staunch advocate of the heavy and constant use of prepositions.

P.P.S. - While I was adding pictures to this post, I mistakenly uploaded the following gif, which was, ahem, just sitting in my pictures folder, I honestly have no idea where it came from, and which I think I should share for you all to enjoy.

You're welcome.
(source: the internets)

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Throwaway literature, part 3

"You have a sort of visible, silent resentment boiling under the surface, against anything and anyone who goes against your principles, and that is what I like about you."
"You always wear two necklaces, and you have two white hairs in your beard, also you look like you might have done a large amount of drugs at some point in your life, but in a way that gives me confidence."
"You resemble Jack Sparrow gone overboard on the eyeliner, trying to set a plastic bag on fire with magic."

Sentencing You, a community project in which people are asked to describe a person they like in just one sentence.


"In the clouds he hangs, shredded dust
two wings fled, bleeding out out out and then not
deciding to copulate with paws of steel
shouting all over the floor.
Hard cold wet disturbance
with only one aim - to shoot on sight
the exceptional culprit of distance
and banish forever his appearance and not submit to any kind of hospitality
and always greet pistol shots kindly with an open heart (ribcage)"

oh gawd, what drivel

Guardians at the Gates of Pain, a collection of angsty, pseudo-deep poems for all audiences, which may or may not share a name with a Folk Metal band (Ed.: no research was undertaken in order to confirm or deny this factoid)

"People had the nerve to wish me a happy New Year 2015, but what they didn't know was that since I briefly had access to a time machine in 2010, I had travelled to late 2015 once already, mainly in order to be able to prematurely cover Miley Cyrus' comeback hit Lick Me Downstairs on uke and bring it back to the (then) present. Uke covers were THE THING in 2010, you see. I know this because I always have my heavily manicured fingers on the pulse of the time. And occasionally, I will take that pulse from a few years in the future, and bring it back, and time will still be alive when I get there. Usually."

...but I never did quite learn how to spell Spandau Ballet, a memoir by music journalist/internet personality Sin W. Tucker, which mainly consists of half-truths and fabricated anecdotes and was hastily pieced together from her professional Twitter account as the deadline approached more quickly than anticipated.

S. W. Tucker's internet presence, home of the #CampaignToRespectHair hashtag


"Shortly after they assigned the absence of a sound to refer to me, it dawned on me that I had become addicted to inhaling aftershave. Expensive aftershave."

I have no name, the illustrated story of a traveller and his/her struggles related to the lack of a name. A children's picture book, for ages 18+.


Watch this space for more throwaway literature in the coming months/years!

Tuesday, 10 March 2015


Picture the scene...

The streets of London Village, gleaming with grease, stale lager and bodily fluids. A slender figure in blue and red flickers between grey and glass walls. Voices raised, an alleyway: an elderly couple tussle with a hooded youth apparently intent on snatching their precious valuables. Enter Spidey:

SPIDERBLOKE [JOVIAL]: What's occurring?
HOODIE: Fackin' ell. What the fack are you supposed to be?
WOMAN: Oh god George, don't provoke im, you know what these poofters are like!
MAN: Don't let im near yer ayndbag!
SPIDERBLOKE: What? Hang on...

We watch with increasing resignation as the hooded yoof proceeds to use the lady's shopping bags to knock Spidey to the ground, where - cheered on by the elderly couple - he kicks and punches our would-be hero to a a pulpy red and blue mess.

'Look - it's Spiderman!'
'What a wanker.'

Rescuing a small child's kitten from a tree, Spidey is confronted by the child's father, a great red bulldog of a man with a clean-shaven head and an English Defence Leage bin-liner style bomber jacket. Father and child watch blank-faced as their Staffy mauls Spidey for a good fifteen minutes. Some good close-ups of the dog's mouth tearing into Spidey's costume here.

Broken and bleeding, Spidey hobbles out into the gleaming sunlight of a London high street.

'Look at the state of 'im'
'Don't let 'im near ver kids.'

A collection of passing school-kids give Spidey a good shove and his legs give way. Soon he is surrounded by pedestrians eager to film his plight.

SPIDERBLOKE: Could... someone please... call me an ambulance?

'Knockin' abart dwessed like vat you deserve a kickin'!'

30 minutes in, Spidey is no longer able to move. He has become a human spittoon.

The following 1 hour and 15 minutes of the movie will consist of a montage of pedestrian legs and Spidey-pile. Occasionally, a dog will cock a leg and urinate on him. There is frequent derisive laughter and the sound of camera-phones snapping material for Vine and InstaGram.

Occasionally, garbled, plaintive noises will emerge from the wound where Spidey's mouth used to be, through bubbles of phlegm and blood.

At the 120 minute mark, Spidey stops breathing.

Roll credits.

Image credits:

Monday, 9 March 2015

Strike of the binmen

Do you remember that time in Brighton (and here, I'm talking especially to those people that don't remember because they weren't there), in 2013, when the binmen went on strike during one of the hottest, most tourist-laden weeks in June?

I do.

I remember places like St James's Street in Kemptown, already narrow streets and pavements, already difficult to navigate, with residents, tourists and the occasional cluster of chuggers to fight through. And now, there were the growing piles of rubbish everywhere to contend with, as well.

First it was just that the bins were full. Then there were cans and bottles balanced on top of the bins, empty crisp packets and plastic bags strewn around the sides.

Then... slowly... it started mounting up, so you couldn't be entirely sure if there had ever been a bin there in the first place. On practically every corner in the town centre and on the seafront, the piles could be seen, often so large that there was only a narrow space of pavement left to pass them by.

Occasional bits of furniture had been thrown in, rousing only slight interest among the otherwise boring collection of household and tourist waste.

And there was the smell. Oh, the smell. In the middle of June, at the height of summer, with several events happening that very week, the binmen had chosen wisely for an effective statement. Brighton and its sunny beaches were packed with people. Throngs and throngs of people. And the rubbish dropped by all of these humans was starting to rot and fester in the heat of the June sun, leaving an unwelcome tang in the noses and throats of pedestrians. The strike was supposed to last a whole week, and surely, so would everyone's mounting disgust.

The tourists could go back home, and forget the sights and smells they had experienced, but for those of us who lived there, already cramped in our rooms in shared houses, our tiny studio flats, our tiny bar stools in tiny corners of tiny local pubs, we had to live with it. Our rubbish was kept indoors during that week because everything was already full, or so it seemed. Whether we stayed at home or ventured out, we could not escape it.

Why? I (don't) hear you ask, why did this happen?
Because Brighton and Hove had to learn the hard way to value its binmen, rather than cutting their pay, their livelihood in a city that was already ridiculously expensive and edging ever closer to London living expenses.

The strike was supposed to last a week.

A week went by.
And then another week went by, but the mountains had not disappeared, neither had they diminished.

They had grown.

June became July, and the binmen were nowhere to be found. Were they in hiding, had they gone on holiday (if so, how could they afford it?). No one knew. Brighton and Hove seemed to have learned their respective lessons, but the binmen would not return.

The pavements soon became unusable, the rubbish overflowing onto the streets, causing some actual and many near-accidents. Temperatures were still high, but the people of Brighton had taken to wearing scarves and masks to soften the harsh blow to their smell receptors.

By August, neither pavements nor roads were visible anymore. Everything seemed to be coated in a layer of rubbish, though it may have still been thin in some places. People seemed to have given up, not bothering with rubbish bags anymore. Wrappers and cartons would rain from the sky, having been thrown out of second or third story windows.

At the beginning of September, the beaches started to feel the effects. So far they had been the last refuge and source of hope, and although they had been crowded beyond comfort, there had been a sense that everyone was entitled to a speck on this plane of forgetting reality.
Now, the avalanche had encroached upon Brighton and Hove's beloved pebbles. The sound of the waves washing up to the shore was no longer accompanied by the soft re-arranging of the pebbles within, but by an ugly cracking, hissing, folding, creaking of plastic, paper, cardboard and tin.

The last bastion of hope had been taken. There was nothing left.

By October, the city's population had halved, and most businesses had ceased to operate. Those that remained lived harsh, unforgiving lives, defined by their daily struggle to navigate through swathes of waste. Some had taken to living on the rooftops of houses, the interiors of which had filled up to the brim.
What was now left of the memories of generous tourists boosting the city's economy, of parks in the summer, of buskers in the Lanes, and refreshing pints in pubs on every corner? They were but a distant shadow in the crumbling, stinking remains of this once much-loved place.

No one would ever go into Brighton or Hove again. Eventually, the surrounding communities resolved to build a tall, black wall around the city, so that nothing and no one would ever come out again, either.
They simply walled off the problem. Out of sight, out of mind. It's that easy.

Now, Brighton is no more. Neither is Hove.

May this tale be a lesson to all of you. Love your binman and your binwoman, lest they ever decide to not be your binperson anymore.

*** Based on a true story. Photos by Milk McKenzie. ***