HAPPY ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS 2013!

HAPPY ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS 2013!

I’m not religious or addicted to buying crap for people but Christmas is always a great period of the year because I get time off work. To celebrate this I have chosen some alternative Christmas music, films, TV and other ephemera to talk about. Anyway, Merry Christmas everybody! Good luck in 2014!


BAD SANTA (2003)

This film is THE greatest Christmas film of all time. This is just one of the great scenes of many great scenes.


TRADING PLACES (1984)

Dan Ackroyd gives his finest acting performance in this movie and his desperate, drunk and destroyed Santa Claus really hits rock bottom at the hands of arch-capitalists. While it’s very funny there’s some real satirical subtext in there too. Probably.


CHRIS KAMARA – born December 25th 1957

I’m an internal enthusiast but Chris Kamara is heralded here due to his incredible energy and extrovert enthusiasm. I like that he doesn’t mind being the clown either. Great catchphrase too: UNBELIEVABLE!

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE – 2009 Christmas Number One!

The people who got this to number one deserve much much much kudos. Personally, I quite liked Joe McElderry on X Factor but was glad Simon Cowell got screwed over by the incredible musical geniuses that is Rage Against The Machine. Joe McElderry didn’t do too badly as he switched career and became an Olympic diver named Tom Daley.


BIRTH OF THE INTERNET (SORT OF) – 25th December 1990

Did you know on Christmas Day in 1990 there was the first successful trial run of the system which would become the world wide web. And thank god for that as without it we would not have millions of cat videos online. 9 millions views! Stop the world I want to get off!


LEWIS BLACK ON CHRISTMAS

Shamefully I didn’t know this comedian until I saw him in an episode of Big Bang Theory and then checked him out. He’s grizzled, bitter and very funny. My kind of humourist.


RED SLEIGH DOWN – SOUTH PARK (SEASON 5)

This episode is hilarious as Santa’s sleigh is shot down in Iraq because Cartman is trying right all his wrong-doings over the past year. Jesus and the boys go to Iraq and kick some butt to save Santa! One of South Park’s shittiest characters also makes an appearance – the Christmas Poo – Mr Hankey! What can be more Christmassy than Santa, Jesus and a stinking pile of crap!


SEX PISTOLS – final UK gig – Huddersfield 1977

Johnny Rotten and the lads played a benefit for striking firefighters before their ill-fated trip to the United States. The rest they say is history. And what went on before as well.


MAD WORLD – ANDREWS/JULES Christmas Number 1 2003

This moody, introspective and pretentious song was a great alternative to the usual Christmas hits. Cursory research shows the songs’ lyrics were inspired by Arthur Janov and his book The Primal Scream. I don’t know much about this but it makes me seem mildly intelligent. It was also in Donnie Darko; a brilliant yet very over-rated film. Jake Gyllenhaal was incredible in it though.


BLACKADDER’S CHRISTMAS CAROL

The Christmas Carol story has been done to death and even had Ross Kemp playing a version of Scrooge recently on ITV12 or something. This one-off special subverts the story by initially showing Blackadder as good and then deciding to be bad. Very clever that. And very funny!


THE SILENT PARTNER (1978)

This excellent crime thriller starring Elliot Gould and Christopher Plummer was a real eye-opener to me as a kid as it was the first time I’d seen Santa Claus shown as a negative figure. It’s not shown on telly much now but it certainly stuck with me. Worth checking out if you get the chance.


DIE HARD (1988)

Did you know that Yippee-kay-yay is actually the Eskimo phrase for Happy Christmas. And of course John McClane’s catchphrase in Die Hard. It’s not really a Christmas film as such but shoe-horns Christmas into the plot quite neatly using it ironically to show families brought together in conflict rather than round the table stuffing themselves with turkey and pudding.

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20 WORD MOVIE REVIEWS by Paul Laight

20 WORD MOVIE REVIEWS by Paul Laight

20 WORD MOVIE REVIEWS by Paul Laight

I watch A LOT of films (and TV)! Here are some I’ve watched in the last few months. And for those people with goldfishesque attention spans or really busy lives I’ve summed up my critiques in no more than 20 words!

2 GUNS (2013)

Loud-brash-half-brained-actioner with heightened watchability down to great chemistry between Washington and Wahlberg!

BAD EDUCATION – SEASON 1 (2012)

Jack Whitehall – as overgrown Man-Child-come-Teacher Alfie Wickers – stars and co-wrote this generic but very funny BBC sitcom.

BROKEN CITY – (2013)

Disappointing political thriller with not much politics or thrills. Has its’ moments but wastes a great cast including Crowe, Wahlberg etc.

COMPLIANCE (2012)

Well directed low-budget thriller. Gripping yet difficult to believe people would be so stupid but it REALLY happened. Dumb Americans!

GANGSTER SQUAD (2013)

Beautiful looking yet hollow drama with excessive budget for little narrative satisfaction. Watch LA CONFIDENTIAL instead! Same story; different class.

THE LAST STAND (2013)

Schwarzenegger’s career is more Dutch Elm disease than Austrian Oak now as this fun-but-moronic actioner proves.

LES MISERABLES (2012)

Musical for people, like me, who hate musicals. Crowe, Jackman and Hathaway yank the heartstrings in this sprawling, epic masterpiece!

THE LOOK OF LOVE (2013)

Michael Winterbottom’s surprisingly touching biopic of pornographer Paul Raymond is anchored superbly by Steve Coogan’s best cinematic performance yet.

THE MASTER (2012)

Fun’s NOT a word you’d use to describe this weighty, intense black-belt drama infected by Hoffman and Phoenix’s incredible performances.

OZ THE GREAT & POWERFUL (2013)

Raimi’s queer epic updates the OZ universe for modern days. With Kunis, Weisz, Williams starring – witches’ve never been so hot!

PLACE BEYOND THE PINES (2012)

Tri-polar crime drama which throws its’ best asset away 45 minutes but holds dramatic court via fine direction and committed performances.

RUST & BONE (2012)

Cotillard and Schoenaerts fizz with passion and brute sexuality in this opposites-attract adult drama from directorial genius Jacques Audiard.

SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS (2013)

Fraudulent waste of stellar cast as seven characters search for a plot in this pointless drama. It’s no IN BRUGES!

SIDE EFFECTS (2013)

Neat thriller which wrong foots at every turn. Begins as serio-critique of the pharmaceutical industry but genre-curves into something more sinister.

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (2013)

Beautiful, crazy, romantic drama with sensational ensemble cast. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence catch fire and burn the silver screen.

SPRING BREAKERS (2013)

Amoral wankfest which has its’ tits and eats them in satirical movie con-trick. James Franco is great as plastic-wigga-gangster though!

THIS IS THE END (2013)

Apocalyptic comedy with Rogen, Franco, Hill, McBride, Baruchal etc. playing themselves! Rollicking, silly, side-splitter full of fun cameos.

TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE (2012)

Eastwood grizzles and Amy Adams sizzles in by-the-numbers yet appealing sports drama that drifts along pleasantly enough.

THE WEE MAN (2013)

Great little actor Martin Compston is the main appeal in this low-budget Scottish crime drama based on a true story.

WORLD’S END (2013)

Hilarious and touching conclusion to Cornetto Trilogy as Pegg/Frost combat alien marauders on a pub crawl. Spiffing 90s soundtrack to boot!

MOVIN ON UP; Music to play at my funeral by Paul Laight

MOVIN ON UP; Music to play at my Funeral by Paul Laight

When I shuffle off this coil thingy and my strange life has come to an end I would like these songs played at my funeral please. I’m not dying by the way but I just thought I’d write this down now while it’s on my mind.

1. Con te partirò (Time to say goodbye) – Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman

I first heard this song in an episode of The Sopranos and it is truly incredible. It just has a very simple hook and is beautifully sung by Bocelli and Brightman. Perhaps it’s too grand for a basic bloke who grew up in Battersea but I like its simplicity and wonder.

2. There is a Light That Never Goes Out – The Smiths

The Smiths are probably my favourite band ever and I would like to pay tribute to them. I love this song as the lyrics are both poignant and morbidly funny to me. If buried I would also like the phrase “Here lies the late Paul Laight who Started Something He Couldn’t Finish!” Another nod to Morrissey and Marr and quite fitting I think.

3. Light My Fire by The Doors

I’m a massive fan of The Doors psychedelic 60s rock blues and I’d like this song played if I am cremated. I considered The Doors’ song The End but that’s a bit depressing so this song works better for humorous and uplifting purposes.

4. Intermezzo – Pietro Mascagni (opening theme from Raging Bull)

As a film geek I wanted some classical music to play as I am sent from and into the Earth. I thought about using something by Ennio Morricone or even The Terminator theme song and maybe I still will. I like the idea of The Terminator theme playing and Sarah Connor uttering those infamous words, “You’re terminated, f*cker!” as I’m laid to rest but thought that may upset people in the audience so Intermezzo offers a more suitable piece for peaceful contemplation.

5. Moving On Up – Primal Scream

I’d like to end on an upbeat track and this classic pop song has lyrics and a killer tune which are perfect to send the grieving away with a spring in their step. I don’t believe in God but if there is a heaven hopefully this will be the song playing when I go through the Pearly Gates or am plunged into the Fires of Hell. Either one is fine by me. Got to be the Scream’s original classic too!