Tuesday, 24 June 2008

UK and US Television

This weekend, I was watching TV and I caught some of Saturday Kitchen, the main guest was Jerry Springer, it reminded me of an interview he did a couple of years ago. I cant' remember the publication it was in but there was a key point he made in it, which i couldn't disagree with more. He said that UK television was 10 years behind the US, it was when he was bringing his show over to the UK. I think his basis for this is the chat show phenomenon. In the US, chat shows started in the very early 90s, and there are loads of them that are still around today, Riki Lake, Montel, Dr. Phil, Jerry Springer and Oprah Winfrey just to name a few off the top of my head.

In the history of television there have been lots of different era's of fad's like Chat Shows, or Reality TV, while these types of show are still around and fairly popular they do not have the excitement they did when they first came out. Other times a type of show that's been around for a while will boom for a few years. At the moment you can see that in two main areas, first Cookery shows which are very big at the moment, with TV chefs raking in huge amounts of money and ones like Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall getting involved in politics and business and making some considerable changes. Also at the moment Sit-Coms seem to be taking off. With the vacuum left by Friends there's a market of comedy lovers just yearning for a new hit. Comedians are becoming more rock'n'roll than Guns'n'Roses becoming icons in there time.

Basically I don't think it's right for Jerry to say that we're 10 years behind, We just had our Chat Show era a bit later, which is tailing off now, it boomed a couple of years ago with Jeremy Kyle coming on the scene. So we're not behind in TV we just have our fads at different times to the Americans. Currently there seems to be a surge in British Programs being exported to the States, shows like Top Gear, which has a new US version and the Office. I think there is a lot of talent in the British TV industry and it's wrong to put these people down.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

The old and the young

My relationship with my grandparents has always been much like that with my father. I care for their existence, and when they go I will be saddened, but mainly because of regret. My brother's and I were never close to my father, he was there most of the time when we were young and he taught us how to ride a bike, he took us on holidays, but we were never close, maybe because he never approached us in an emotional light, sure he'd hold me when I'd fallen over, he'd take splinter's out of my fingers, and taught me the things a man does, like woodwork, bicycle maintenance and making a good lawn. But speaking for myself whenever I was in trouble, I went to my Mum, I was never eager to go to my Dad for help, unless it was maths homework. I cannot bear any grudge for my father, he provided for us, he never hit us, he always looked out for us but he was never really close. I speak in the past tense because a while ago, he and my mother split up, and I haven't seen him now for several months, I doubt I will see him much in the future either.

As with my grandparent's I now see them a lot more often, than my father, but I have never been close to them either. While I was growing up, it seemed the older generation, thought of young people as yobs, and irresponsible louts, who don't appreciate fine literature, or sunny days or the things they did when they were young. Because of this I felt a responsibility to try to prove it wrong, so I never bring up what I'm interested in during conversation with my grandparents as I feel they will dismiss it as rubbish and nothing to do with real life experience, and so the prejudice that all young people do is "hang around", harass old ladies, and deface posters is furthered. So we were never close.

I look at the relationships, my friends have with their grandparents and fathers, and mostly I see that they are very close, they're open with each other about how they feel and they will go to them if they have problems. Because of this I feel much regret that my relationship with my father and with my grandparents hasn't been like my friends'. I feel maybe this is my fault, I didn't put enough effort in with them, I denied some unremembered opportunities to bond when I was young. So as I said in the beginning, when they go I will be sad because of regret. Knowing that, that is why I will be sad, makes me feel incredibly guilty, it should be because I miss them and I love them shouldn't it?

Friday, 6 June 2008

Favourite Actors - Part 2

Tom Hanks


Tom has been with me since I was a child. He really means a lot to me, I remember him in almost all the films of my childhood, Turner and Hooch, The Burbs, The Money Pit, Big, he was hilarious, and I am disappointed he didn't continue his comedy acting career, he spoke so much to me and he was so cool.

But his acting career has been very successful, he has appeared in a number of blockbusters, including Toy Story; a real favourite pixar film of mine, Forrest Gump; the highly acclaimed and moving story of a Vietnam Vet, and Apollo 13; the true story of some brave men on a space mission that went wrong. He is critically acclaimed as one of the best actors in the world. More recently some favourites are the controversial Cast Away, the beautiful Saving Private Ryan and the heartwarming The Terminal. However, when I think of Tom it will always be as a cackling, clumsy guy who gets himself blown up and covered in paint, falling off of scaffolding, those memories are some of my favourites of films and so I toast to Tom Hanks, here's a little bit about his life.

Tom was born in July 1956 in California, to what he described as "A broken family". His parents were divorced, and as such he moved around a lot between step families, there was no abuse or any other trauma, just confused. When he first tried to get into the acting business, he auditioned for a college play but couldn't get in, he went downtown to an audition for a community theatre play, he got the part and the director invited him to Cleveland where Tom's acting career launched with the TV show Bosom Buddies, in Cleveland he also met his second wife, Rita Wilson.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Favourite Actors

There are a lot of great actors around today. However very few tend to stand out in an extraordinary way, even if they do, it's because the critics say they do. Part of the subjective experience of film enjoyment is actor appreciation. No person can tell you an actor is great, everyone's experience is different, technically a performance could be good and bad, these are worthy merits to comment on in reviews, however true greatness from a performance, comes around because it speaks to you on a personal level. Since everyone's life is different and everyone's point of view is different, who each person thinks is a great actor varies a great deal. In this next series of posts I will talk about four of my favourite actors, sorry no actresses in yet I may do a separate series later.

Shia LaBeouf

In my first post I mentioned Shia. He's a young up and comer, actually he's two years older than me. I think he is very unrecognised by critics as he is technically superb. But I don't want to talk about critical acclaim. His career is really taking off, and I can't wait to see the films he's going to be in. Shia was grew up in Los Angeles, he did some stand-up comedy around his neighbourhood when he was very young, and decided, after seeing an acting performance, that he wanted to be an actor. He told this to his Mum who got him in contact with an agent in the phonebook. Shia performed a stand-up routine for the agent, and they liked him.

From there he went on to star in the popular Disney TV show, "Even Stevens", In Even Stevens Shia played Louis Stevens, Louis was a young boy who got into a lot of trouble, with his friends and family, Shia gave this role great amounts of energy, and you could see a spark in him. For this show he won a daytime Emmy. Still as a child actor he starred alongside Sigourney Weaver and one of his mentors, John Voight in the film adapted from the popular children's book "Holes". Shia played Stanley Yelnats the third, a well behaved respectful lad, who was always in the wrong place at the wrong time, and had the worst luck, I only saw this film recently, I didn't enjoy it as much as I suspect I would have, had I seen it when I was younger.

In between Holes, and his more recent works, Shia appeared in several films, none of which I have seen, so I feel I cannot comment. Recently Shia has starred in a string of box office hits and his versatility and verve really has shone through. In disturbia Shia playes Kale Brecht a boy who's father's death sends him into a breakdown and encarceration in his own home for "popping" his Spanish teacher, for more info see my film review blog which can be found at http://jollygoodshow.blogsome.com/ . Only a few days after having finished filming disturbia, Shia was off to play the lead in the recent Transformers film. Now although this film is fairly basic and alot of the times makes no sense, it is still awesome, it's not meant to be good it's meant to be cool, and it is. Shia's acting doesnt come through alot, however the challenge of responding and acting to a CGI robot, which isn't actually their, is a large one, and Shia met the challenge well. Most recently Shia co-starred with Harrison Ford in the latest Indiana Jones film, again for more information see my film review blog. The main thing I like about Shia is that I feel I can relate to him, and I admire his work. His performances speak to me, and that's what is important.