We Could Be Heroes #2: Alabama Worley (Fictional)

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ICON, in every way

It’s hard to pick favourites when it comes to film, books and songs. I mean, there are so many amazing works out there, to pick just one as your champion is nigh on impossible. Plus, these things tend to undulate with your moods.

I have two* favourite movies that always stick and they have something in common, that old chestnut: the strong female lead.

I know Hollywood talks about the strong female lead like it’s doing the world a favour and it can be annoying. A lead is a lead surely, regardless of gender. But alas, this is the world we live in (for now) and this isn’t a post about that.

Both films have a Tarantino influence; one is directed by him, the other written by. Which shows me that, while he might come across as a annoying arse at times, he knows how to give us great female characters. Not great actually, THE BEST.

But to the subject of today’s post. Step up here, Alabama Worley (née Whitman), you angel.

Played fantastically by the beautiful Patricia Arquette, Alabama is True Romance (1993). Actually she is everything; a badass, a fighter – an ICON and surely one of the best characters in movie history.

Let’s look at the evidence. To the untrained eye you could be forgiven for seeing her as just another ditz, along for the ride with her bad boy husband, nothing but a giggling slice of arm candy with no real function. You’d be wrong though.

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True Love, Innit

While Alabama narrates her own love story, she is anything but an empty vessel. Sure, she’s a romantic, impulsively marrying Clarence a day after meeting him, even proclaiming it”…so romantic!” when he later admits to killing her pimp in a violent showdown. Sure, she’s feminine in an overtly sexual way; all tight leggings and short skirts (best personal style ever).

She’s nurturing and pure of heart; she even tastes like a peach if Clarence (and his father) are to be believed.

My kingdom for Alabama's wardrobe

My kingdom for Alabama’s wardrobe

But all these qualities live comfortably within a resilient, smart woman. Not once does she ask for help from her man, or anybody else for that matter. This is no damsel in distress. Clarence spirals out of control because he struggles with the idea that his wife was once a call girl. She’s cool with it and unapologetic. Clarence is the one who feels like he has something to prove: his own masculinity.

Alabama is strong and she’s brave too, taking a horrific beating mid way through the film from the mob’s hit man, Virgil (I’m writing this assuming you’ve all seen this film, ain’t nobody got time to explain plot). It’s horrible to watch but also illustrates who she is.

Alabama emerges victorious, proving that for love she will fight tooth and nail; and she’ll fight with her wits. It’s beautiful, once you come to terms with the violence and even Virgil has to concede that she really is something else.

Afterwards, bloodied and bruised, ‘bama’s still okay, still smiling and still standing. She is a BADASS.

“Don’t worry babe, I got this”.

I don’t need to tell you that she also saves her husband’s life in the end, when shit hits the fan on a messed up drug deal. As the bullets whiz past her and the blood flows, Alabama gets up and she walks her badly injured lover right out of harm’s way. She drives him to safety, never looking back.

It’s a happy ending (thankfully, the original script allegedly WAS NOT) and it’s the best. I will never tire of True Romance; of the characters, of the dialogue, of the aesthetic.

I even have a “You’re So Cool” tattoo on my wrist, homage to the loveliest mantra:

Amid the chaos of that day, when all I could hear was the thunder of gunshots, and all I could smell was the violence in the air, I look back and am amazed that my thoughts were so clear and true, that three words went through my mind endlessly, repeating themselves like a broken record: you’re so cool, you’re so cool, you’re so cool.

I guess that’s why I love Alabama so much, she’s real and a romantic, just like me.

*I’ll share my second favourite film in another post soon. Promise.

All image via Google.

Four Years

IMG_20141016_181058Four years ago, on a freakishly sunny day, I got married.

Corny as it sounds, the man who stood before me that day, was the greatest person I had ever met. He still is, despite the passing of time; the mild bickering, the shoes in the kitchen, the money woes that every person has, the bad Schwarzenegger impressions and my hot temper.

People always say that being married doesn’t make you feel any different but I would disagree. I don’t think it’s always necessary, certainly not for every relationship or person, but for me it’s been grounding. I needed security and to know without a shadow of a doubt that I belonged somewhere, if not to somebody.

This would have come without the silver ring I wear upon my finger, but I wanted to be married, wanted to give everything I am to this person, and to my relationship. I’ve never regretted it.

The other night we actually lay in bed and talked about risk in relationships. Of how things could have turned out so differently for us, if there’d been no chemistry. When we met, I lived in Canada and he spent a lot of money flying out to visit. Three months afterwards, I said goodbye to a good job and all my friends, and went home to Brighton. That’s a leap of faith right there friends, with lashings of risk.

Again, no regrets.IMG_20150407_133439 (1)

So, today we’re celebrating our fourth year of marriage. Wedded bliss sounds trite but every day is a happy one, even when we’re stressed or miserable. Even when we’re tired. Even when I’ve just woken up from a nap and am the bitch from hell.

How are we celebrating? Matinée of Avengers 2 and a hot dog. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Who Run The World?

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Just a quick meme from me today, with a longer post on this topic later in the week.

This, reposted from @huffpostwomen on Instagram, is just perfect and a very good reminder that there’s enough room in the world for us all.

Sure, sometimes we might need to check ourselves, but as women we should be there to big each other up, encourage and support one another, no matter what.

Again, I sometimes need to take a breath and remember this but it’s very important to me that I live by this mantra. We all should.

💪💋💪💋💪💋

Ravenous (Film) Review

ravenous_santa_poster_exchange_by_radioactive107-d36aqaeI actually managed to get Mr Bass to watch this week’s pick with me, which is virtually unheard of. Usually I wake up early on a Sunday morning and watch by myself.

But we’d both heard good things about this movie and never got round to sitting down to watch it, so Saturday night was a go. All I knew about it was that two actors I like were in it and that it was a black comedy about cannibalism. Where do I sign up, right?

The Film:

Ravenous (1999)

Where to Watch:

US Netflix

The Premise:

Captain John Boyd’s promotion stations him at a fort where a rescued man tells a disturbing tale of cannibalism. (via IMDB)

The Trailer:

Viewable here.

The Uncondensed Version: 

Handsome Captain Boyd (Guy Pearce) comes back from the Mexican-American War something of a hero, though he’s obviously been through the mill and is sickened by what he has seen on his travels. Sadly for him, his Commanding Officer soon finds out that he’s not as hench as first thought, and had actually chickened out in battle. That he finally came through to save the day isn’t enough and, as a punishment dressed up as promotion, Boyd is sent away to a remote fort in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Personally it looks and sounds like bliss to me, but Boyd doesn’t have time to kick back and think about writing his first novel, as – just as he’s getting to know his seven new roomies – an injured and distressed stranger appears out of nowhere. The stranger (Robert Carlyle), is unconscious when they get to him but it’s nothing a vigorous rub down in front of the fire can’t cure. It’s all quite erotic.

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“Once upon a time…”

When he awakes, naked and wrapped in fur (yey!), the gents (and one lady, Martha) question him. He reveals a bloody thirsty tale of how he came to be on their doorstep.

In short, he and a wagon train of others come undone in the Sierra Nevada (a few days walk from the Fort). They take refuge against the elements in a cave where things turn very bad indeed as they run out of food. Once they’ve chowed down on all the cattle, horses and even Robert Carlyle’s dog, they start on the first member of the party to pop his clogs, beginning with his legs.

Eventually, one party member, a Colonel Ives, takes it too far and starts killing them off one by one, until there are just three left: himself, Robert Carlyle and a woman, the wife of one of the deceased. Robert Carlyle admits to being a pussy right about here and buggers off, leaving the woman. Basically, he’s in such a state because he’s walked day and night until he reached the Fort, where we are now.

The soldiers, including scaredy bum Boyd, see it as their responsibility to find the cave and check for survivors. Even I can see this is a shaky plan but no, they’re good men and so off they trundle. Before they do, however, their Indian guide, George tells them about the Wendigo legend; a myth about how a man consuming the flesh of his enemies takes on their strength but becomes a demon cursed by a hunger for human flesh. Oo-er.

Robert Carlyle insists on travelling with them to show them the cave. Everyone goes except David Arquette (here playing a scholar – jokes, he’s basically Dewey again in cattle hide), another soldier and Martha, George the guide’s elder sister. In fact, David Arquette and Martha have already gone to gather supplies before the men leave.

Off they trot. On the way one the soldiers falls and gets badly injured. In the night he wakes up to Robert Carlyle licking him (worse ways to wake up?). The others decide it would probably be best to restrain Robert Carlyle, who’s acting cray. As they near the cave, he gets more and more spooked.

"Did anyone else see The Descent?"

“Did anyone else see The Descent?”

Boyd and another soldier go into the cave, while the others keep guard outside. They find a well-like hole and the soldier climbs into it. There he finds the usual cannibalistic paraphernalia; crunchy skulls, fibulas, the usual. He then stumbles across a row of rib cages hanging artistically in the background. Of course, he has the good sense to count them (there are supposed to be five as per Robert Carlyle’s story) but there are way more than five and – gasp! – some torn uniform, very much like the blue one the soldiers are wearing…

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Wrong movie, Admiral Ackbar

They run out of the cave where, meanwhile, Robert Carlyle has gone mental and dug out a knife. He kills Colonel Hart (who’s in charge)and George, then chases down the young, injured soldier. Boyd and his mate go after him, where the mate is killed. Boyd exhibits some predictably cowardly behaviour but manages to shoot Robert Carlyle and jump off a cliff, where he lands right next to his friend. Boyd’s broken his leg in a major way and lies there for two nights, deciding what to do. No hurry, Boyd, Robert Carlyle only knows where you live.

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“Do you like my hat, Guy Pearce?”

On his second night at the bottom of the cliff, Boyd gives in and eats his friends leg. The next morning he can actually walk okay and hotfoots it straight back to the ranch. When he arrives, he tells his story to the three remaining housemates and nobody really believes him. The Commanding Officer from before arrives and strongly suggests that Boyd change his story, and admits that he got confused. Boyd refuses.

His superiors decide to bring in a stand-in to replace Colonel Hart (who’s been chomped earlier, remember?) while they figure out what the fudge to do. His name? Colonel Ives… *JAZZ HANDS* – it’s Robert Carlyle again!

"Fancy seeing you here, old chum!"

“Fancy seeing you here, old chum!”

Boyd is in the doghouse now, and Robert Carlyle’s Ives is the model solider, bearing none of the injuries Boyd claims to have inflicted upon him. Robert Carlyle goes to speak to Boyd and explains why he did what he did. He too had been told of the Wendigo myth and since he was on the verge of death with TB, he thought he’d try cannibalism on for size, what the hell, right? It’s obviously worked a charm as Robert Carlyle’s skin is absolutely flawless.

I don’t want to spoil the ending too much but there is a little twist as the rest of the gang end up as dinner. Some horses are killed. Boyd gets blamed for all of it and Martha is sent to get help. Robert Carlyle proposes that they join forces and live together in the fort, picking off travellers selectively as they pass and generally having a high old time. Guy Pearce ain’t 100% on board.

"All this could be ours"

“All this could be ours”

"I DON'T WANNA!"

“I DON’T WANNA!”

There’s a final showdown between Boyd and Robert Carlyle, handily set a tool shed. Will Boyd finally be a brave bunny or will he continue with wet wipe tendencies? Who will win the fight? And will Boyd do as Robert Carlyle advises, which is to, simply, “Eat or die”?

Why don’t you settle down with a nice steak dinner and see for yourselves?

The Critique:

This film was fantastic. It is very dark and gory, pleasingly.

Described as a black comedy, it is subtly funny in places with some decent one liners. Robert Carlyle absolutely relishes his part, or at least it feels that way, which really helps you to like his character. His proposal doesn’t even seem like too much of an ask really, he makes is seem like a logical  move. Guy Pearce isn’t that horrible to look at either, let’s face it.

Some of their scenes together took on a homoerotic tone (in my eyes), which I enjoyed thoroughly. Again, I won’t give away the ending but when the film does climax, our two leading lads share some true intimacy. I guess dining out on your colleagues will really bring a couple closer together.

The music is also really good; a perfect example of using the soundtrack to illustrate true understanding of the film’s tone. It’s not something I usually mention, or notice really, but in contrast to last weeks review, in which I thought the musical choices spoilt the movie, I thought it was worth including. The score is co-written by Damon Albarn, for which he received significant attention.

The Rating:

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4 Happy-go-lucky Doctor Lecters out of 5

 

Pop over to Jillian’s shortly to see what she thought.

All images via Google.

My Week (and a bit) in Pictures – April 09 to 17

Pictures, left to right, top to bottom:

  1. Tropical leafy nails to mark the beautiful Spring weather we’ve been having
  2. An impromptu day date with my love, B
  3. Trying on fabulous glasses at The Specky Wren. I definitely want these!
  4. There’s just something about this Senior Girls doorway
  5. Loving this stag briefcase, by @cassettelord at The Open Market, Brighton
  6. A rogue turnip let loose in our work car park
  7. Beautiful, beautiful Tatty looking chic on our lunchtime break
  8. Great local graffiti at Saunders Park, Brighton. This one is by @radiosradio
  9. I particularly love this piece by @skatinchinchilla
  10. Pineapple and a super 80’s splatter design
  11. My new ring (and friend)
  12. Fringe benefits (definitely time for a trim)

Happy weekend all!

We Could Be Heroes #1: Daisy Steiner (Fictional)

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K.O

Just before I moved to Brighton to follow my own path, I fell in love with a television show called Spaced. It was 1999 and I felt like it was written just for me.

That it became popular, and then pretty much a cult classic later on didn’t matter, back then I thought it was mine. Specifically, I thought Daisy’s character had been written with me in mind. The dufus other half (though not romantically) of Tim Bisley, I wondered how could she exist when she was so similar to me and my friends. Here was a normal woman, who looked normal, dressed eclectically and accidentally threw around the peace sign in job interviews.

Together, Tim and Daisy felt like the voice of my generation: slacker edition.

Today, I still watch Spaced with the glee of a child. The characters are nailed so brilliantly, from chain-smoking Marsha the landlady to Brian the tortured artist and his on-again-off-again love interest, Twist. Mike, Tim’s best friend and would be commando, Tyres – you can’t not love every single last one of them as they bumble through life, job searches, dole offices, petty rivalries and affairs of the heart, by way of club nights and street fights.

Yep. Me too.

Yep. Me too.

But Daisy Steiner. What is there to say? From the moment she bustled into that greasy spoon and bonded with Bisley over the accommodation section of the local paper, it was love. Not for them, mind but for the rest of us. As they convinced Marsha they were a professional couple in order to secure the keys to her downstairs flat, a beautiful friendship was born.

Daisy was an aspiring writer with a penchant for procrastination, though she eventually birthed such literary gems as ‘Bogling – is it the new Tango?’ and ‘Winter Skincare – do’s and don’ts’. She was (is) a happy-go-lucky lady-child with the sort of over-enthusiastic nature I can get behind. When Tim’s heart is broken (twice), she’s right there with him and when he’d rather mope, she takes him to the pub.

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:/

But the beauty of Daisy is her tendency to put her foot right in it. Social interaction isn’t always the most successful as she likes to waffle and just loves to get involved in other people’s business, mainly so she doesn’t have to do any work. In short, she’s a more extreme version of me, though can’t we all see a little of ourselves in Daisy?

It’s easy to forget what the nineties was like for TV, but a brief flashback reminds me that this was probably the first time something like Spaced appeared. It showcased superb comedy writing (by Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes née Stevenson), contained references to films and television shows I truly loved and was the antidote to the piles of shit I’d been watching before it.

It was the opposite of serious dramas like Cracker and Band of Gold (which were admittedly brilliant) and a different humour altogether from popular comedies like The Vicar of Dibley and Ab Fab. Spaced was as different as you could get from favourites like The X Files, Twin Peaks (very early 90’s) and my personal favourite, This Life.

So I ate it up and will love it for the rest of my days. It’s quoted daily in our household and how many other households across the country, honestly?

Daisy was best when she was finding herself, getting off with the paper boy, quoting the Spice Girls, rescuing Colin, her beloved miniature Schnauzer, batting away backhanded compliments from her BFF, Twist and bringing out the big guns in bar and street brawls with men in black/culinary school kids. In short, she was always the best.

So to you, dear Daisy, I say; Girl power forever.

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N’aw

We Could Be Heroes is a new series of posts looking a women (and sometimes men) I admire, sometimes fictional, sometimes real.

All images via Google.

On Advertising

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Be fluffy, get laid

I have a morning ritual and it goes a little something like this: roll out of bed at least 20 minutes after Glynn, have a wee, head to the front room with my hula hoop (on a good day) and flick on the TV.

I know this is a horrible habit but like I say, this is my ritual and it’s won’t be changing any time soon. I also like to hula hoop in front of the TV in the colder months and on miserable days. Hey, at least it’s still a workout.

At the moment my morning programmes of choice are: Will & Grace until Happy Endings starts at 7.25, then the end of Made in Chelsea (repeat) once that is done. Again, not something to be proud of, but I like to wake up slowly and other people’s drama while I put my face on isn’t the worst way to do it.

One thing I have noticed of a morning, and maybe throughout day time TV in general, not that I have the opportunity or inclination to indulge, is the steady flow of infomercial goodness. It’s not quite your tin cans being sliced up by kitchen knives as slim as a feather, but we’re heading that way. The biggest difference I can see is that all these adverts have the same thing in common: they’re designed to make us feel bad.

Shocker, innit? I mean, what, advertising geared towards women, making women feel AGAIN like they aren’t good enough? Big shock.

It’s a tale as old as time and it’s knackering me out. I mean, I haven’t got time to worry constantly about blotchy skin, acne, facial hair, fuzzy legs, saggy neck, ageing jaw line, stretch marks and all the flab, all over my body. Do you? Why is all such a big deal and why, oh why can’t we just get on with things, in our own imperfect way? I think I might be done with it.

Which, of course is easy for me to say today, as I’m wearing a pretty dress and the sun is shining. Catch me on an overcast Wednesday when my skin is breaking out, and I’ll be nodding my head in total agreement.

“You’re so right, over-enthusiastic American TV presenter and star of Dancing with the Stars, I can’t take any more awful days because my skin looks so shit. Here’s my credit card number, do what you will as long as you make me desirable and therefore worthy of love!”

Here’s a thought: maybe I should just try to get on with life. Do only the things I love or focus my attention on something useful like, I don’t know, getting a new job? Rather than continuing to sit, worrying about my horrible face. Which I do, I worry about it every single day without fail, even on the pretty dress days.

The truth is, I don’t have the beauty regime to match my morning routine. If I remove my eye makeup at the end of a day, it’s a good day. I wash my face in the shower and sometimes, if I can be arsed, I moisturise with something I bought for the witty name.

I have hairy legs and I rarely shave my pits because ingrown hairs are the thorn in my side. They are painful and unsightly. Far more unsightly that a little bit of cute fluff which is soft and strokeable. Put that in your pipes, infomercials, this girl has fuzzy pits!

I’ve got a bumpy, lined neck too, stretch marks from getting boobs quickly as an adolescent. I’ve got flab for days and hands that are stumpy and starting to look old (GREAT NAILS THOUGH). Sometimes I sport a slightly red chin, have a greasy nose, cellulite a-go-go and my pièce de résistance: a scowl line beneath my fringe that my mother warned me would stick around if I didn’t start smiling more. Despite this massive list of defects, I’m loved (and have a fit husband who has sex with me, willingly). What’s more, I’m happy.

Sometimes I wish for a skinnier tush, who doesn’t? But the fact of the matter is, I worry. We probably all do at some point. I’m trying to love myself more each day and to remember that the perfect ideals foisted upon me (us) by society aren’t the only way. They never were.

So, to all those ads peddling hair removal gadgets/creams and lotions/potions and spells for a younger/smoother/thinner me, I say: not today thank you.