The BFI, the British Film Institute, was founded in 1933, the year before Percy Shaw came up with cats’ eyes, an invention inspired when the headlamps of the car he was driving flashed against some tabby’s head at the side of the road. The question often asked is what would have happened had the cat been facing the other way?
Apart from its Royal Charter to promote and preserve film making and TV in the United Kingdom the BFI also produces a list of the greatest movies of all time. The most recent, published on 30th July this year, coincidentally the 21st birthday of my beautiful daughter, the list was collated according to the views of 846 critics, programmers, academics and distributors. The top ten, in order, best first, were:
Vertigo, Citizen Kane, Tokyo Story, La Regle du Jeu, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Searchers, Man with a Movie Camera, The Passion of Joan Arc, and 8 ½ (Eight and a half).
Somehow none of these were included in the annual Movie Week extravaganza down at Elstree. Nor was Life of Brian or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, one starring Eric Idle (autobiography on the shelves as we speak), the other Gene Wilder, both doppelgangers for Seann 2 NNs.
Ah, young 2 NNs, the class clown, the buffoon, the slapstick exaggerant, the newly single serial snogger, the male lead in the highest profile movie featured in the tabloids this week . . .
And also the star of the best Paso of the series so far, Seann capturing the mood, the intensity, the thankful recipient of the most outstanding choreography of the night. Katya Jones! What goes on in that head of yours? I mean during the Paso not the stuff in the papers . . . but then again . . .
Okay, a bit about Seann. He has a pierced nose. Please insert stud or ring. The first time I saw this fad was in the mid-eighties, a girl with a wooden leg sported it to add some artistic balance. The second time was at The Great Yorkshire Show; the cattle found them useful. That’s where their value ends. So unless you want to be attached to a chain and to be pulled from pen to pen who needs such an appendage?
Seann’s Paso was from a film called The Matrix. You’re right. Never seen it. There are some movies like that. Rocky (I was living abroad), Mama Mia, Schindler’s List (you know that there’s a company called Schindler that makes lifts, don’t you? – there’s another lift manufacturer based in Reading called Otis). In balance some of the younger generation haven’t seen Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Towering Inferno, Zulu or The Great Escape.
It was brilliant that Seann came to the party on Saturday night, not so the Wednesday before. At the finish he did a gigantic back flip with the help of a circus wire though the highlight was a slow motion section half way through.
Ah, slow motion, that great cinematic tool, already being used by the Strictly pros, as much as they use delay and procrastination, to the disdain of the ordinary person. Apart from inappropriate music this is the worst facet of the show whether it’s Salsa with just 14 bars (grazie for nothing Graziano) or a Quick Step with 37% in hold, a full 40 seconds (from 108), another minimal offer from Italy. Prego, Giovanni. When this happens, like Faye sprawling across the floor last week in a Viennese Waltz, the GBP look at it and go ‘that’s lovely, perhaps I should learn to dance. Darling, if we do the VW, should I wear leggings and a cushion on me arse?’ It’s an unwelcome cannibalisation of the art.
We’ll have a brief look at these two showcases. Vick and Grazi (Mamma Mia) spent much of the time doing Laurel and Hardy silent comedy amidst the 14 bars of Salsa. The viewing demographic, female Middle England mainly, aren’t daft, they just want to see some real dancing not just tricks. In Faye’s Quick Step (Grease) she looked as much as like Cat Woman as Olivia Newton John, and whilst her dance was proclaimed one of the greatest ever, don’t worry, there’ll be another one of those next week, 37% dancing just isn’t enough to justify this. In professional circles it would have been scorned. Middle England, and the rest of us, we deserve more. And it doesn’t take long to learn 40 seconds especially with step repetition. Just sayin’ . . .
Two ringers shone this week, of course they did, but two struggled a little, Danny’s Paso (The Greatest Showman) beset with nerves and Lee’s Cha (Back to the Future) missing a sprinkle of charisma and magic dust.
Danny has been around the stage for a few years, sorry decades, and he played the ringmaster with élan but maybe the size of the majestic production and expectation rattled him a little? Lee wasn’t rattled. He entered the fray on a hover board like a non-diabetic kid in a sweet shop. I went to buy a hover board from a retail park recently and I came away with a vacuum cleaner instead.
In Lee’s pop history back in the noughties he and the band Blue were prolific in the charts. Songs like One Love, Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word and All Rise were the work of a slick combo, they even represented the United Kingdom in Eurovision in 2011 with the song I Can. They came eleventh. It is ironic that they also sang Curtain Falls. In the dance off for the second consecutive week not even a voat of confidence from Dame Shirley of Wallasey could save Lee. Nor his Fame Academy background.
In the dance off with Lee were Charlie and Hottie Hauer (An Officer and a Gentleman) and it was clear from their American Smooth that the L Plates were missing from Charlie’s white uniform and that he was destined to re-sit his finals at Sandhurst before being allowed out again. It wasn’t good and not pleasant viewing to see someone so much out of their comfort zone. Bit like 2 NNs in this week’s tabloids. Somehow Charlie got three nods in the dance off. Wrong seems to be the easiest word.
In his comfort zone Dr Ranjit started and ended his Quick Step sitting on an elephant. Okay, not a live, real one, like the sadly departed Wendy from Bristol Zoo, but an elephant nonetheless. Apparently the story of Aladdin is set in Africa, sorry India, no it’s not, it’s a fictional land called Agrabah, where there are elephants . . . and genies, obviously. This was almost the land of Kipling (stories not cakes), Dr Ranj of the Raj, a Sultan looking for his Sultana. No type casting there. He was born in Kent. Perhaps next week he’ll be pulling from Kim, Lion, The Jungle Book and Gandhi. On the elephant was where the good doctor’s comfort ended.
Did you see The Lamppost? Our favourite prop! Ever! Back again. Makes you feel happy doesn’t it? At ease? Like the world is back to normal. The old lamppost . . .
Anyhow, it wasn’t Singin’ in the Rain, but La La Land this time, Katie and Gorka doing their best dance of the series so far, a lovely Fox Trot to City of Stars, a song covered by Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Sheridan Smith and our own Anthony Smith of Bristol on his first (and last) album released fortuitously in time for Christmas last year. If you watch the clip of Ryan Gosling singing it is filmed on the pier at Weston . . .
The album, From the Top, contains a big band version of the Artic Monkeys’ hit I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor, a great Quick Step, and a song known as the ‘murder’ of Moon River. Andy Williams it isn’t.
Anthony, given his free time, has also written his first novel called Some Enchanted Evening set in 1936 Britain. I was walking in a park once when I heard a voice sing the word, ‘Evening’. What was that I asked my companion to which the reply was, ‘someone chanted evening . . .’
It was great to see Katie smile, this her tipping point, a negative barrier, binned to the ether forever. Onwards young lady.
Another gaining in confidence is Lauren who during her Cha (Fame) jumped from the bonnet of a car, one that was actually parked in the studio, the driver had done a runner, and at the end she also did a blind fall back from the same car into her partner’s arms. Great trust, a sign of things to come. I said last week that she will be a handful. What I meant to say was a right handful. And then I thought about it again and I should have said a left handful. Here’s a quickie, have you ever seen Lauren in the same room as Anna Friel and Elaine Cassidy (Dinah Kowalska from No Offence)?
As coincidences go I was surprised to see Stacey on the telly on Monday night fighting against the environmental impact of cheap clothing throughout the world. Surely she should have been at dance practice? Whilst her quest is laudable it would be good if one day someone might just bring back proper dressing up to go out at night? Have you noticed how scruffy the UK has become? Trainers and jeans at the theatre? Just awful. Shirts not tucked in nor ironed. Hair unkempt. Those trousers with rips in. Stacey’s fighting for you to be able to afford new ones. But expensive ones.
One wonders how much her Minions outfit cost as she jived her little heart out to Happy from Despicable Me 2. Apart from still needing a gag she was spot on with this effort, energy, timing, tempo, nothing despicable at all. In fact the opposite.
Here’s a brief one for you. Did you know that KFG, Stacey’s partner, has been married three times already and he’s only 35. Wonder if Henry Vlll is his hero?
As far as I know Joe Sugg hasn’t been married ever, which, given his appearance at the High School (Musical) isn’t a surprise. He is only ten, isn’t he?
Apparently not. He’s 27 but in his life vlogging and blogging it is obvious he hasn’t encountered any videos of the American Smooth, his effort to Breaking Free looked and felt like the annual show at Grange Hill. Joe’s fine with pace and musicality. Sophistication isn’t quite there yet.
Ms Silverton is the antithesis. Tall, savant, sultry, sexy and seductive, that was her for her Fox Trot, dressed up like Jessica Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, red wig and frock, real red not ginger, black gloves past her elbows, the film where Bob Hoskins spent most of it talking to cartoons and imaginary friends. I know some people like that.
At the offset Kate stumbled slightly down the second step on to the dance floor. Probably the thought of her partner with a rabbit’s tale on his arse. And matching ears. The outfit from Poundland. Stacey would not be happy. The juddgies were though as Kate recovered and glided through her partner’s favourite dance. Do we have a contender?
Swanny has three kids and at one stage in Week 2 he got tearful in front of camera thinking that he may have let them down with his performance. As a professional sportsman Swanny’s first allegiance is to himself, there is no doubt about that. Then comes anyone else. And I’m sure he means what he says. But you do have to feel sorry for the kids; they were probably in floods when they saw his Samba and his Smooth.
But like any good fella back came Swanny with a bang, a pacy and polished Charleston to Spiderman, Graeme in boxing boots and red and blue lycra, not flying from building to building but appearing hanging upside down from a wire at the start. He was back alright, fourth on the overall leader board, Stacey, the only beginner higher. That said, it’s a good job there wasn’t a large glass nearby and a piece of card. He’d have been picked up and put outside the back door. No point in killing the poor things is there?
It was good to see Swanny remove the shackles and hit a mark. For a novice it isn’t easy and now he will get better. Just think though what it’s like if you’re a pro?
So I’m going to be very picky with Ashley the Pussycat Doll who we discovered already could Cha, as opposed to her song ‘Don’t Cha’. Ashley, former GF of Declan Donnelly, how did that happen, danced Salsa to Time of My Life from Dirty Dancing.
Okay. Technically in the movie it was a Mambo not Salsa. And Jennifer Grey played the role of a novice not a pro like Ashley. Her partner coached Jennifer during the dance. ‘Cross body lead,’ he whispered. The choreography on Saturday wasn’t an exact copy. Huh!
And Jennifer used a hidden trampette to get the height for the lift with the late, great Patrick Swayze. And the lift was on her hips, her arms out free of his body like a swallow dive. Ashley, without the bouncy help cushioned herself on the newly trimmer Pasta’s shoulders to start, sort of cheating. With respect, anyone can do that. But the dance was half decent wasn’t it?
In Ashley’s pop band back in the day there was a girl called Nicole Scherzinger, a real talent who won the US version of this show.
Ashley has her target.
She is now everyone else’s.
I wonder whatever happened to Nicole?
October 12th 2018
P.S. I mentioned that Claudia is the BPFE. Someone asked me why, to which the obvious answer is that she is Head & Shoulders above the rest.
Other hair products are available.