Posts Tagged ‘Films’

For as long as I can remember I always wanted to be a trucker.

As a child this career path seemed AWESOME!

As an adult I have realised that the lifestyle I dreamed of having no longer exists. Even that relationship with vehicles has changed. Cars and trucks no longer symbolise freedom, they represent high fuel and insurance prices and being stuck in a traffic jam.

So where did my romanticized view come from? As is often the case with my life, the answer is film.

SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT

This was understandably the second highest grossing film in 1977 (second to Star Wars) and like Star Wars it had a big impression on me. The theme song “East Bound and Down” by Jerry Reed speaks of overcoming obstacles “doing what, they said, couldn’t be done”. The phenomenal Pontiac Firebird that the “Bandit” (Burt Reynolds – who really should have been in my Manly Hats post) drives is still one of my all time favourite cars.

Even in my child hood fantasies I did not have the confidence to imagine being the lead, I was much more comfortable in the side kick role – The Trucker “Snowman”. It felt achievable. Besides, he had a dog, and the Bandit seemed to spend too much time chasing a woman (Sally Fields), and at that tender age I thought girls were stupid.

THE CANNONBALL RUN

Not so much a trucking movie, but one that existed in the same world. Released in 1981 with a great cast, it’s not nearly as good as Smokey and the Bandit (also directed by Hal Needham), but its worth watching just for the outtakes at the end of the film. The cast was having a ball. (Roger Moore plays a man who believes he is a Secret Agent!) This was the 80’s and its easy to see why we all had posters on our walls of a Lamborghini Countach (and lady tennis players scratching their bums)

In this world even the Police have a Pontiac Firebird.

But once again its the theme song that has stayed with me.

“It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it. Be anything you want to be. It’s not what you got, it’s how you use it, you be you, and I’ll be me. It’s just a matter of sty-le”

These films are Modern Day Westerns. They can only exist in America and they embody a sense of individualism, adventure and anti-authority that as a child, and now as an adult, I really responded to.

CONVOY

I just found out Sam Peckinpah directed this! Oh its a Western alright. I was aware of the theme song long before I saw the film, which is the least entertaining of the three I have mentioned. However that song is full of mystery and sparked many a day-dream.

“It was the dark of the moon on the sixth of June and a Kenworth pullin’ logs. Cab-over Pete with a reefer on and a Jimmy haulin’ hogs. We’s headin’ for bear on Eye-one-O ’bout a mile outta Shakeytown, I says “Pigpen, this here’s Rubber Duck” “And I’m about to put the hammer down”

I still have no idea what they are talking about, and until just now I thought it was “Big Ben” not “Pigpen”

So that’s it. The three films, with theme songs, that made me want to be a trucker. The open road, the sense of loyalty and comradeship, pulling on that horn, bar room brawls, huge burgers, beer, sleeping in the cab. Looking back I can see how they also shaped my film preferences, (John Carpenter, one of my favourite directors, Westerns, particularly Rio Bravo, Rocky and more) particularly due to the ideology and the casts.

Oh actually, in the words of Yoda, “there is another”.

Kurt Russell in Big Trouble in Little China

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Some people have said to me that they would rather stay at home and enjoy a film on their big HD TV, Blu-Ray player and surround sound system, than spend money and go out to the cinema where they will be annoyed by people talking, moving or pretty much existing. (You shouldn’t say things like this, when you do, a puppy dies somewhere)

“These hermits are clearly mad”, I would think to myself, as a well managed cinema is a delight and is the rightful home to enjoy film as it was intended.

However I recently went out and bought a Blu-Ray Player with surround sound speakers, to go alongside my Sony Bravia TV, and the improvement has been astonishing.

I am sure it wasn’t always this good. I remember seeing a friends HD TV 4 years ago or so, and I thought the image was really off putting. I am starting to think that Blu-Ray Discs were, and are, still so advanced that equipment such as TVs, Blue Ray Players and HDMI cables are having to run to keep up. But they are gaining.

So far I have only watched Beauty and the Beast (which I had free from a Disney Road show), the musical numbers are spectacular in surround sound and the Beasts roar made my bum tingle. But the great thing that this new kit has done is re-ignite my passion for film.

You can get films free with newspapers, pick DVDs up for £2 in a supermarket, download them, watch them on the many, many channels now available, or, if you are so inclined, pirate them.

So why own DVDs at all?

My Home Entertainment System has changed that. I am giddy once again and I am about to go on a spending spree to re-watch pretty much any film I have ever seen, but this time it will be in HD and the glory of surround sound. Blu-Rays are often packed with even more extras too, they have more value and deserve a place on your shelves.

Home Entertainment Systems allow cinematic films (such as Inception and Tron) to have a stronger survival rate when watched at home, and that can only be a good thing.(Where as literary films such as The Kings Speech make the transfer to home viewing far easier)

The way we watch a film matters, and being in a cinema is still the best way to enjoy them. The build up as the adverts and trailers pass by, the ever so exciting Pearl and Dean fanfare, the hushed tones as the lights dim, and the SHARED experience of enjoying an art form.

To laugh, cry, be thrilled or terrified amongst a crowd of strangers is a beautiful thing. It is society at its best, people coming together to hear a story.

Cinema will always stand alone and fear no competition (as long as they provide a good customer experience) but home entertainment systems should have you buzzing with excitement at the prospect of re-watching The Thing, Jaws, The Godfather, Once Upon A Time In The West, Kung Fu Hustle, The Terminator, Aliens, hell even Road House.

Film is ACE. For a little while I think I forgot that.

Further Reading

This is the Kit I got. I wanted one with small speakers, and you could send off for the original Star wars trilogy on Blu-Ray for free.

And this is the awesome Pearl and Dean music.

Men get sexier as they age

Posted: May 23, 2011 in Films, Manliness
Tags: , ,

I turn 34 today. Which I am okay with.

Actually I really like getting older. However there are people in my life that like to point out the grey hairs that are starting to appear in my stubble and my hair. They delight in pointing out my wrinkles, or the grunts I make whenever I get out of a chair.

But what they don’t understand is this. Men…. get sexier… as we get older.

It’s true. Women may have the upper hand throughout school, and throughout their twenties….but the thirties start to even the playing field, the forties the men edge ahead…. and after that…well the game is ours.

As men get older we finally mature, we get wiser and more confident. We reach an age at which we can smoke cigars and not look foolish.

Pirates of the Caribbean 4 is now at the cinemas and women still flock to see Johnny Depp. He is nearing 50. Aye…. 50. He is sexier now than he was in Edward Scissorhands or in Benny & Joon.

And he is not the only one.

Whilst women seek to look younger, use a wide range of products to keep their skin fresh, and go to plastic surgeons seeking cures to the ravages of age, men should embrace it. (Actually, so should women, as those that age gracefully are beautiful, as Lauren Bacall shows)

If men want plastic surgery it should be to look older. They should be chanting demands for Tommy Lee Jones wrinkles and Steve Buscemi eyes.

We need to look like we have lived. That we have gained wisdom through hardship….that we have suffered.

Don’t believe me?

Further Viewing