The marquee for fictional film-within-a-film Chubby Rain, from Frank Oz’ Bowfinger
No particular reason for posting this picture other than it made me chuckle. Plus I was discussing the other day with a friend that I think Bowfinger(Frank Oz, 1999) – though seemingly regarded as minor Martin and Murphy (who excels in a tricky double role) – is actually a really underrated piece of work. Affectionate, gently satirical of the industry, and with more than its fair share of genuine laugh-out-loud moments, it’s a comedy whose reputation I think should be stronger than it is. I can think of few moments in 90s comedies funnier than this:
You can actually catch it at the BFI Southbank as part of the ongoing Terence Stamp season on May 19 or 23. He does a great job in Bowfinger as a glacial, pompous leader of a Scientology-esque cult.
So that was Prometheus. Having scrupulously avoided the multimedia promo bombing campaign and fevered opinion recklessly ejaculated all over my social networks, my expectations of the film were kept largely
And I think I did the right thing in avoiding all the hype. Parts of Ridley Scott’s portentous space opera were distinctly
Yet thankfully, the production design, and some sequences (as you’d expect from a director with Ridley Scott’s chops and experience) were absolutely
Most of the plot was
And whoever chose to cast Logan Marshall-Green in the pivotal role of archaeologist Charlie Holloway was absolutely
But whenever Michael Fassbender was onscreen (as Lawrence of Arabia-obsessed droid David), the film, as I’d hoped and expected, was
Noomi Rapace also did pretty well, and her big scene was
In summary, then, Prometheus was essentially
but more a work of polished sci-fi appropriation than anything else; like spending a couple of hours on WhoSampled.com, trying to work out where all the best hooks and basslines come from on that new rap album you’ve been listening to.
When things get a bit busy in Permanent Plastic Helmet land, I tend to just post clips of things that i enjoy. This is no exception. Here’s Bronson Pinchot’s hilarious cameo as unspecifically European art-dealer Serge in 1984’s Beverly Hills Cop. If Pinchot’s performance leaves you wanting more, try this great interview over at The A.V. Club in which the underrated comic actor lays into Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington, and Bette Midler!
Where to begin with 1984 ‘comedy’ Best Defense? A film so monstrously ill-conceived and misshapen that John Merrick himself has been spotted studying it intently on his iPod to make himself feel better. We could start with the poster (left), which sets the tone by choosing ‘Unfortunately’ as it first word. We could start by asking why you’ve never heard of it before. But I think we’d better begin by issuing a solemn warning: AVOID THIS FILM AT ALL COSTS.
The plot, such as it is, concerns an engineer (played by a visibly disaffected, and possibly drunk, Dudley Moore) and his shambolic attempts to perfect the crucial on-board gyroscope for the new XM-10 Annihilator tank. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU’RE NOT INTERESTED?!
When test screenings of the film fell disastrously flat, the producers hit upon the idea of spicing up the action by drafting in Eddie Murphy – box office gold at the time – as a ‘strategic guest star’ (look – it says so on the poster). Whether this billing was a witty allusion to the film’s military theme, or a dreadful error by a work experience lackey is immaterial. The bizarre insertion of a wildly over-the-top Murphy (who does little other than shout very loudly whilst inside a tank) renders an already convoluted plot totally incomprehensible, and the end-result is so bombastic, confusing and fundamentally unfunny that you’ll feel like you need a lie-down afterwards.
As pointed out by Time Out, the only thing (other than being terrible) that Best Defense is notable for is the “jaw-dropping plot development that has Iraq invading Kuwait, six years before Saddam did it for real”.
Brilliantly, when asked why he accepted the Best Defense challenge (he and Moore never share a second of screen time), Murphy is reported to have said “The door opened and four guys came in carrying a cheque”.
Such candid honesty is said to have attracted Mel B to Murphy in the first place.
For the best place to see Murphy in full-flow, check out the clip below; a genuinely frightening condensation of 1988 comedy Coming To America into a nightmare mash-up of Arsenio Hall-baiting, hypnotic repetition and disorienting wipes. Kudos to the troubled soul who took time out to put this little lot together…