Smile Through It II: The Next Chapter

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The best worst film ever

Posted by Oli on Thursday 16th April, 2009

Up at 8.15am this morning to head into London with K to drop off her assignments. We decided to make a day of it and thought we’d meet my bro in Town for lunch while we were there.

A 9.46am train from Bletchley – after a minor myriad of parking drama in their new “multi-storey” car park at the station – got us in to Euston just after half ten and into City Uni in Islington around 11am. We did he necessary drop-offs and collection of completed and marked coursework and then repaired to the cafe downstairs to dissect the results, which weren’t what K had hoped for. That said, we subsequently met three of her coursemates who all said that they scored lower than they had hoped and/or expected to and that the piece was particularly difficult.

Didn’t help confidence massively when you see notes in the margin from the tutor marking the piece referring to “applicibility” of something – if the tutor can make up words when summarising an essay, what chance do the students have, really? But that’s just me.

After a cuppa and a quick get-to-know-you chit-chat with some of K’s classmates, she whisked me off on a quick tour of the pertinent parts of the Uni campus, including the way-cool multi-media “pods” that the lecturers use when teaching which have all kinds of awesome high-tech gadgetry in them.

After the tour we headed up to the British Library, grabbing and highly-heathy MacDonald’s lunch on the way, only to discover that the exhibition on Henry VIII we wanted to see isn’t actually open for another 10 days. That’ll teach us to read more carefully.

We wandered back up to Euston with the intention of heading in to Leiscester Square or possibly Oxford Street but a combination of recent lack-of-sleep, extensive walking and half-term foot traffic meant we opted instead just to hop a train home.

Getting back in just after 3pm, I hit the computer for some email clearage before we headed into MK to stop in at Borders. I picked up a couple of bargain DVDs (Children of Men (awesome) and The Diving Bell and The Butterfly (not seen yet)) and K grabbed some reading material. Then we headed over to Waterstones in the Centre:MK to pick up a copy of The Writer’s Tale, a book following Russel T Davies’ creation of his fourth and final season of Dr Who before handing the reins over to Steven Moffat. I’ve so far only read a few pages and I’m already addicted – it’s very open, honest and works to open up the gates on a view of how he writes, something which is hard to find experienced writers talking about. While copying another writing will never work save to make you think very much of their ideas not yours, it’s always interesting to see how someone else approaches things and to realise that you might not be totally barmy after all.

After the book tour and an unsuccessful scout of travel agencies, we hit the cinema for The Boat That Rocks, the best worst film ever of this post’s title.

It’s an extremely bizarre film. It’s hackneyed yet fresh, it’s funny yet corny, it’s laddy yet tender, it’s meaningful yet frivilous. Most of all it’s frustratingly inconsistant – a major plot point (which I won’t divulge save to say it’s the final-reel action beat) moves at various paces from immediate and imminent danger to pausing catastrophe for a tea-break and chat. It leave many, many dramatic beats either unexplored or not followed up, almost like Richard Curtis (he of Four Weddings…, Notting Hill and Love, Actually fame) shot so much stuff he couldn’t choose what to leave in or take out so he closed his eyes and randomly selected scenes to excise.

But despite all of this – things that for almost any other movie I would tear my hair out, shout at the screen and spend 600 words here railing against – I really enjoyed it. It’s funny. It’s emotional, although not as tear-jerking or heavily-sentimental as Love, Actually (the only other of his scripts Curtis has directed himself). And somehow it just works. Just don’t ask me how or why.


One Response to “The best worst film ever”

  1. I also saw the film last week – I reckon it was Richard Curtis’s personal nostalgia trip, so for anyone of ‘our’ age (I am 52) there was a lot of familar stuff, like having to play games like truth or lies, or Cluedo, etc, dunking bourbon biscuits, drinking lots of tea, deckchairs on windy beaches, the sexual revolution and the outrageous girlie costumes (my RI teacher should have got the prize for the worst dressed person in 60s garb – trouble is she wore it in the 70s).

    The different groups of people listening to Radio Rock was a bit far fetched – it was almost exclusively listened to by very young people, usually with the ‘transistor radio’ under the pillow. And the reception was lousy. Most of us ended up listening to Radio Luxembourg instead. That was also quite crackly but we put up with it, and there was the FAB 208 comic that accompanied it (a weekly mag, full of celebrity stuff, e.g. David Cassidy and so on). Some of the ex Lux djs ended up on Radio 1 (e.g. Kid Jensen). Not sure where Tony Prince ended up.

    Tony Blackburn had a dpspread in Mail on Sun a few weeks ago saying how unrealistic the boat stuff was on the film, e.g. they were only allowed 2 beers a day unless they swapped for ciggies, and everyone on the boat was really young, not like Bill Nighie (much as I think he was good in the part). Also girls, ex one or two working on the boat, were never allowed on it.

    I don’t think it was a very good film – but I did enjoy it. It really was just a vehicle for RC to chuck together memorabilia from the 60s. All of us who lived through it could do a much better film – or even a series. A time when as kids we wandered far and wide without our parents worrying. When your mum made most of your clothes, and if you were a girl, you made a lot of your clothes. When your mum did buy you clothes they were always 2 sizes too big, so you’d grow into them. jeans were turned up about a dozen times (folded up) then down when you got taller. We all wore hand knitted jumpers. I remember the first ’boutique’ type shop that opened – there were no shops before that sold clothes specifically for teenagers or young adults. I also remember the first ‘supermarket’ – it was just a corner shop where you had a basket and could put stuff in yourself before you went to the till. Before each shop had a person who served you everything. Our local ‘grocer’ sold one type of bacon, ham and cheese – which he cut while you were waiting. My mum had a little red book and the grocer wrote down the cost of everything she bought and she would pay at the end of the week. In the early 60s most people didn’t have cars either. Our first one was a Ford Classic – I guess some time around 1964ish. The streets were empty. There were two milk rounds. One of them still had a horse until the mid 1960s and there wasn’t much rubbish as it was all recycled. A rag and bone man (also with a horse, which he kept on the common) collected old fridges, clothes, etc and gave you a few pennies for them. Yep – we that grew up in the 60s have a lot of stuff that could be put in a film!

    Bloody hell I’ve gone on a bit. Anyway, maybe it will amuse someone!

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