Sunday, 26 August 2012

The missing Expendables

The Expendables are amazing aren't they? As a film it just shouldn't work. Don't get me wrong from a critically point of view both films are shit. Entertaining shit, but shit none-the-less. The kind of shit that feels good and when you've finished you want to take a photo and show your mates. This shit is that good.

There are a couple of reasons why the Expendables work so well. Firstly Stallone hasn't messed with a tried and tested formula. Where as other films have attempted to get a message across, or some sort of metaphor (I'm looking at Die Hard 4), Stallone shrugs his shoulders and remembers the halycon days of action blockbusters.

He used the same formula with his recent attempts at Rocky, and Rambo. They were relatively successful when compared with other re-imagined blockbusters because they didn't mess with something that worked. Rocky hits things, Rambo kills things, job done.

So Expendables does what it should, there's explosions, a ridiculous amount of shooting, wonky eyed bad guys (they couldn't hit a barn door), buddy moments, and the odd bit of skirt. None of this is encumbered by something as trivial as a plot.

It also taps into the current trend of reliving the 80's. From fashion to wanky hipsters we are looking back to this decade and the Expendables unites all of those glorious stars in one complete package. Great for dads who saw the stars the first time round, great for their kids who watched it on VHS (I was one), great for those that missed the boat, and self referential and ironic enough for the wanky hipsters to enjoy.

However, whilst the second film did a great job of expanding the list of stars to include Chuck 'The' Norris, and 'The Melgium from Belgium' JCVD, it does have some glaring omissions-

Wesley Snipes-

As featured in my last post. Wesley starred with Stallone in Demolition Man, and has shown of his 'actioner' chops in a fair few films.

He's not quite muscle-bound enough to be a good guy, so would have to settle with a bad guy role or cameo.

He may have also missed the cut because he is banged up for massive tax evasion.

Kurt Russell-

The fat man's action hero, Kurt has ploughed his own furrow by ignoring the need to inflate his physique with anabolic steroids.

Instead he relied on razor sharp wit and good facial hair in films such as Escape from New York, and Big Trouble in Little China.

He played Cash in Tango & Cash with Stallone and so deserves a shot at the Expendables.

He is, however, proper fat now. So he'd have to make do with a behind the desk role and some witty banter.

Carl Weathers-

Or Apollo Creed to you and me. During his time this ex-pro American Footballer has starred with both Stallone and Schwarzenegger in Rocky (I-IV) and Predator respectively.

He doesn't carry the physique anymore to go to town with the boys, but showed in various Adam Sandler projects that he can still throw in some humour.

Just in case you wondered, he isn't dead, Wikipedia told me so.

Mel Gibson-

Now in fairness Mel hasn't appeared in the same films as many of the Expendables, but he has proven to be perfectly good at the 80's action film, and gratuitous violence.

He did star with Kurt Russell in Tequila Sunrise, so there's a tenuous link. Also it would be nice to see him going off on screen, as opposed to real life.

The downside is, of course, that he now appears to be mad as a brush.

Jesse "the body" Ventura-

"Bunch of slack jawed faggots around here. This stuff will make you a goddam sexual tyrannosaurus, just like me."- Blain, Predator. I think this says plenty about the type of man Ventura portrayed on screen.

After a glittering career in wrestling, Jesse turned his hand to acting starring with Arnie, not once, but twice, in Predator and Running Man respectively. He also had a cameo in Demolition Man.

Unfortunately he has let himself go a little. He also started to dabble in politics and revealed to the world that he is also a little bit hatstand.

What me to stop writing this rubbish? Write something so I don't have to here.


Friday, 17 August 2012

Top 10 Wesley Snipes films

Did you know that Wesley Snipes has appeared in nearly 60 films over the course of his career? Me neither. It's probably because a lot of them either went straight to video, or were shit.

He is probably the highest profile "action" star missing from the cast of "The Expendables". A shame as he had a lot of offer, just not money.

Anyway the reason behind this post is that the other night I watched Passenger 57. The film started me thinking about the good, no, great films that Wesley has appeared in. I decided to list the top 10. Unfortunately there aren't 10 "great" films. So here's a list of his 10 best films. Some of which are shit.

So in at number 10-

Blade Trinity: The third installment of the vampire/superhero series sees Blade take on Dracula himself.

This film is utter guff. The only redeeming features are Jessica Biel, the fact that Triple H is in it, a shameful smattering of product placement, and the world's greatest insult committed to screen....

The writers need to be very proud of themselves. The editor of the clip should be as well for getting the late, great, John Candy in there as well.

Numero 9-

To Wong Foo: I'm not going to lie I had to pad this list out.

I mean seriously, how did this film ever get funding? It only makes the list because it features Patrick Swayze in a dress.

It makes no sense.

Swiftly onto 8-

US Marshals: The unnecessary, and spritual (if not official) sequel to the Fugutive sees Tommy Lee Jones chasing down another convict. He's not guilty either.

It's all a bit too familiar so they chuck in a bit of conspiracy and it's enough to get the film of the ground.

It's not a bad film, but it can't touch what is to follow.

Lucky 7-

The Fan: "Gil Renard is a salesman in the knife business and is also completely obsessed with the game of baseball."

This is the opening sentence of the plot summary on IMDb, and it says a lot about the film. The only reason this entertaining toot makes it this high up is because of Bobby DeNiro.

Wesley does a good job of being a "jock" though.

Number 6-

Money Train: The second pairing of Woody Harrelson and Wesley sees them trying to steal a train. A subway train at that.

Not only that, but they're brothers. Despite the fact that this sounds like utter twaddle it's good fun. Plus we get to see Woody and Wesley 'riff' with each other again.

In at 5-

New Jack City: It's deep, brooding, and Snipes is at his best as a bad guy. I really don't know why he doesn't paly more bad guys. He always comes across as a ruthless nutter.

Number 4-

Blade: I'm not going to lie, most of this film does not date well. Some scenes are still really awesome though. I'm thinking the vampaire rave....

This makes it in at number 4 because it was before it all went a bit silly.

Right now we're really getting into it. No more treading water, this is Snipes gold from here on in-

Number 3-

Passenger 57: 1992 was a pretty good year for Wesley. To an extent this film highlighted some of the US's worse fears, which tragically went on to become true almost a decade later.

A terrorist takes over a plane. Luckily Wes is there to take care of things. He kicks some ass, the day is saved, twice, and Snipes bags the girl. Good work sir. It also features a young Liz Hurley, being a bit of a slag, so that's a bonus.

 Ok onto number 2-

Demolition Man: How can this be number 2 I hear you ask? Well wait and see number 1. For now let's bask in the glory that is Demolition Man.

Sly and Wes looked like they had fun on this, and why wouldn't you? Essentially they blow a lot of shit up.

There's also a strange vision of sex in the future and a odd way of cleaning your arse with seashells.

Now the biggie. What could possibly be number 1? Well if I was making a list of Woody Harrelson films this would also be number 1, and he's done some real gold. It is of course, the one, and only.....

White Men Can't Jump

"What is a quince?", what indeed. If you get that you'll know what I'm talking about (it's like a pear by the way).

There's so much great dialogue in this film it's hard to pick out the best. From Wes' wonky hats, to Woody's dumb hick, and the acapella group of pensioners this film always guarantees a smile.

So there you go. Do you fancy writing a top ten list based on an actor that was never really any good? You can do so here.


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Olympic Sports I don't understand

I have loved the olympic games. It's given me two weeks of constant competitive sport. Like most chaps regardless of what else is on television, sport will always be the default setting.

Also, like most chaps, I become a part time expert. Memorising little known facts and past performance statistics I like to be able to hold my own when discussing the dominance of the Dutch hockey team (both Men and Womens).

However, despite my best efforts, there are some sports in the Olympics that I have failed to fathom. No number of online tutorials or 'the basics' documents have helped me understand some of the more, entertaining, yet niche events.

Fencing -

Up until the Olympics I thought it was basically sword fighting. He who gets stabbed first loses. Makes sense at this point.

However after my firsting viewing I was lost. I was presented by two chaps lunging headlong at each other and points being adminstered at random, or so I thought. Turns out a sneaky tickle of the wrist is classed as a point.

I'm sure the reason is something to do with disarming your opponent, or hitting a major artery, but if they were fighting for real I somehow doubt this would stop the momentum of the attacker. The wrist tickler might have the moral high ground, but he'd still have a sword in his chest.

Solution: Kill shots = points.

Diving -

I understand the principle. People do fancy jumps and get points for doing so. The problem that I have is that one dive is pretty much the same as the other.
With the exception of a proper fuck up I can't distinguish from a good dive and a great dive.

I think the Mexican divers really knew what the score was, running up and jumping off is the real essence of jumping off big things.

Solution: one-up-manship. If someone does a flip, the next person does a backwards one. Also scrap the judges for a group of girls. Everyone does better dives when trying to impress some birds.

Handball -

The most entertaining, yet frustrating sport for me. I so wanted to follow what was going on, but I just couldn't get it, and I've taught myself baseball.

It's not football with hands, and that means it's also not rugby. It's not basketball or netball with goals. It's just handball. There's throwing, jumping, and bouncing. There's also fouls, and you don't even need a goalie. All in all it should be great.

All I need is someone to tell me what the fuck is going on.

Solution: make some bloody sense.

Beach Volleyball -

I love beach volleyball. From what I understand though it's an excuse to look at women's arses. Was there even a men's competition?

Probably, I'll never know. The point is why bother pretending it's a sporting event?

Solution: Really fit birds in all teams.

Keirin -

It's not a Japanese beer. It's something to do with cycling. Lots of cyclist ride round and someone wins.

What sets this apart is that for the first half of the race everyone chases a motor bike. It fucks off and then someone wins.

Solution: 15 gear mountain bikes.

Walking -

Let me make it clear I understand how walking is competitive. I just need to fall in sync with a fellow pedestrian and whether they know it out not, they are in a race. I just love it in the Olympics. I love the fact that a red table tennis paddle waved in front of you indicates that you may have broken into a run.

What I don't understand is how it became an Olympic sport. I mean it's just walking fast. The action required to walk that fast for that long means that a walkers hips, and nuts for that matter, are ground to dust.

The best thing is an Olympic walker has the bottle to stand next to marathon runners and say, "I'm an athlete".

Solution: add four shopping bags per competitor.

Dressage -
It's riding a horse round a square paddock, slowly. They don't run, they don't jump, they trot round.

How do you score that? How is that even competitive?

I watched one round of this and it was raining. The rider was pleased how it went despite the challenging conditions. Apparently the wind and rain make it difficult. I'm not sure how. Last time i checked horses don't get washed away by rain, and it'd have to be super windy to blow one over.

Solution: this either needs to be a race or crufts for horses. At the moment it's a weird mix of both.

Rhytmic Gymnastics -
This is incredibly impressive to watch. Not only for the throwing and catching of odd apparatus, but also for the mind bending outfits and flexibility of the gymnasts.

Like the diving though, I just don't get how one routine is better than another. One of the categories is "artistry", surely that's subjective? Maybe they just score the attractiveness of the competitor? Or maybe sequins per square inch on the outfit?

Solution: Flashdance.

Well there you go Rio. I expect things to change.

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Friday, 10 August 2012

The world's greatest 8th XI

Playing team sports as an adult is an interesting experience. For some people it might be the camaraderie, for others a small way of living out boyhood day dreams. For me it's about playing a sport I love with my mates and having some fun whilst I do it.

mid game

I've been luck enough to play for the past 6 years at Blackheath cricket club, for the best amateur cricket team in London, the UK, dare I say it, the world. The Mighty 8's.

There are a lot of things that make the Mighty 8's unique and before I get into the meat of this post it's time for a potted history-

Blackheath Cricket Club has been in existence for 150 years. During it's 144th year of existence, during an unusually hot summer, four intrepid cricketers from New Cross starting netting with the club.

After a few Sunday games and snatched chances here and there they had started to get a few games under there belts. Then the real chance came. Saturday cricket beckoned when Alan Bosworth called them up for a Saturday friendly game. Obviously seeing their great potential (or just looking for numbers) they were down to play.

It's widely agreed that the first official game of the Mighty 8's took place on the 9th June 2007 against Northfleet. It's a game the 8's won. It certainly wasn't the start of a winning habit, but did give birth to another habit. The Mighty 8's play hard, fun cricket. Hard, because we make it hard on ourselves most of the time, but most definitely fun (for us, not the oppo).

The 8's are pioneers of internal sledging. We would much rather take the piss out of ourselves than give the oppo any shit, although when it's required we've been known to use mental distengration to great effect (mainly against those more feeble). This internal sledging does sometimes irritate the oppo. Usually because during one of the 8's innings a bugle will inevitably sound out across the pitch. It just so happens that normally this will coincide with a bowler delivering a ball.

For the past couple of years the Mighty 8's have been given the honour of organising and playing in the Wednesday of cricket week, now known as "Mighty 8's Wednesday". The oppo has, so far, always been the Hobgoblin Nomads. So far the Mighty 8's are undefeated.

Before the game can commence though as 8's, we have to do something unique for our game. Last year we created a souvenir programme. This year 'Tesco' nobly volunteered to create a trophy. His brief was to construct something that represented the 8's and the majesty that came with 'Mighty 8's Wednesday'. He came up with this-

big, wobbly, cock

I think he did a good job.

The other thing that is required for a game with the 8's, regardless of whether it's a friendly or not, is some sort of contentious moment. This moment will inevitably turn the end of what has been a good spirited contest into a bitter finish to the game. 'Mighty 8's Wednesday' was no exception.

Without a doubt this moment will stem from a run out, LBW, or sledging a minor. In this case it was a run out. One of the oppo batsman had gone for a run, there was a direct hit on the stumps. Unfortunately the bails had already been dislodged. The umpire gave the batsman out. I, as captain, in a moment of human weakness, upheld the decision. The batsman had his 50 and I didn't want to lose (I also didn't realise the bails had been dislodged). The oppo got the shits and it lead to what can only be described as cataclysmic running in the final overs.

What is marked regarding this incident is that in the opening overs the opening batsman was given out LBW despite the fact that the ball would have struggle to hit another set of stumps down the legside.

It's funny what gets people riled?

Despite all of this the 8's, uncharacteristically, put in a sterling batting performance. An opening stand of 60 runs, a middle order batsman with a 50, and a tail that wagged lead us to an imperious 218 for 8 of 40 overs.


Another highlight of Mighty 8's Wednesday is the after match celebrations. This year included a cracking game of stumps and the usual Blackheath tea party.

The Mighty 8's have now played about 130 games. Probably 120 more than any of us expected as the team grew organically from a group of core players. Despite changes to the playing side the spirit lives on and grows as it endoctrinates other players into the ideals of 8's cricket. That being, playing half cut, trying to win, and giving you're mates as much shit as possible. Despite the 8's now being the 7th XI, if you ever find yourself playing against a team calling themselves the 8's and treating the game without a shred of respect, remember, they do respect the game, just not those who refuse to play with a smile. So strap in and prepare to play a game against the worlds best 8th XI.

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