ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF DARKNESS

“We seen the last of Good King Richard
Ring out the past his name lives on
Roll out the bones and raise up your pitcher
Raise up your glass to Good King John” – from “kings” by Steely Dan

hiya folks, and welcome to my very first movie review in “blog” form. today’s film is the 2010 Ridley Scott version of “Robin Hood”, starring Russel Crowe.

i started the film, and after about 30 minutes i paused it and wrote down my thoughts on Facebook. i pointed out a few things that irritated me- 1. the movie was shot very “Dark”, and no i don’t mean creepy, i mean with no lighting. in order to see any of the action, the scene has to be taking place at high noon, on a sunny day in the middle of a field. 2. Russel Crowe can sometimes rub me the wrong way…and this film is one of those times. 3. it seemed to really drag out.. for no good reason. 4. most importantly, it was very confusing in the beginning and didn’t really resemble any of the previous stuff on Robin Hood i had seen before.

i remarked at that 30 minute mark, that , amongst other things, it had better start making sense.

well, i stand here humbly surprised. since that disappointing early impression the film really got itself back on track and became another great version of the “Robin Hood” we all know and love.. a simple story of a man with a big heart who’s trying to do the right thing in a corrupt government.

here’s my brief synopsis:

russel crowe plays “robin longstride” (not “robin of loxley”.. that’s a different guy) , a soldier in king richard’s army. king richard is broke and plundering through the land taking shit from people. but the king is a good dude and everyone likes him. but he gets killed right at the beginning, just like in the Costner version except in that version king richard doesn’t get killed at all and shows up at the end of the story and is Sean Connery.

anyway it has something to do with the French. king richard’s right hand man – Robert Loxley (not “robin of loxley”, that’s a different guy) takes a bunch of knights to return the kings crown and the bad news to the queen (played by that older lady that plays in most of these kinds of films)… but they get ambushed on the way by a French guy (he’s played by that guy who plays bad guys really well)… who is really an English guy, working for the french. and he is like best friends with the dead king’s brother John.. but john doesn’t know that. so robert loxley dies in the ambush, but then the french guys get ambushed by robin longstride. but the main bad guy gets away.  robin longstride decides to pretend to be robert loxley and return the crown to the queen. and he does. and then the king’s younger brother john becomes king. he’s kind of a dick.. but a different kind of dick than his friend the french guy, because he doesn’t know the level of frenchy’s dickiness.

so then Robin decides to go to Nottingham (which i think was a place in ALL the other versions of this film that the whole story revolves around) to return the sword of Robert, to Roberts father Walter Loxley – who is played very well by Max Von Sydow, considering he died in 2006. here we meet Maid Marion, played by Cate Blanchette. maid marion is some kind of farmer, but she also kind of owns the town because she was married to robert loxley.. who now is dead. so in order to save the town from the Sheriff of Nottingham (main bad guy #4) old Walter and Marion talk Robin, into PRETENDING to be Robert (which he had already done earlier), so the sheriff wouldn’t take their land. because of the Grain tax. and Friar Tuck raises honeybees, which also is a problem i guess. so Robin and Marion pretend to be married and then the hi-jinks and hilarity begin. their Love/Hate relationship is reminiscent of the first few seasons of “moonlighting”.. the sexual innuendo, the jabs and barbs, the fumbling over words to try and keep their secret to the townsfolk… it’s drop dead hilarious..only way it could have been better is if Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey played the leads.. cuz you know… when it comes to this kind of stuff, it’s their Dojo.. we’re all just white-belts.

oh and there’s an old guy in it, he gets fired by the new king. he seems kinda wise. he’s played by either John Hurt or William Hurt. and the new king is boinking a french girl. and he’s greek.

so the double agent french/english guy starts working for the english again, i guess because his buddy is king. so they go around killing people because of taxes. but he’s really french. and wiseman Hurt thinks something is fishy so he tells the queen to tell the french girl that’s boinking the king to tell the king to stop the french guy, who he thinks is his english friend, to stop doing stuff for tax money, because the French are ready to attack.

meanwhile, Robin and Marion plant grain.

so far, just like the children’s book, right?…. yup.. easy peasey lemon squeezey….

alright, we’re halfway through…

ok, so through all this grain planting and pretending to be married, Robin and Marion really do grow to love one another.. knowing it was always meant to be.. kinda like the last few seasons of moonlighting. they’re such a cute couple.. they have such on-screen magic. the only way it could have been better is if the leads were played by Meg Ryan, and Tom Hanks, because when it comes to this kind of stuff, it’s their Dojo.. we’re all just white belts..

oh, and there’s a band of renegade children running around in the forest from time to time. and old Walter has magic powers, and showed Robin that long ago that when Robin was a child ,he actually saw something happen that was bad. something about a guy getting killed. oh yeah.. old Walter is blind.

so anyway, wiseman Hurt, the guy that the new king fired, evidently got re-hired and is now the captain of the English Army, and the double agent bad guy is now just a bad french guy, and everyone somehow knows that. so now all of france is coming to take over England.. the whole country. so everyone gets ready to fight….. and they will…. just as soon as someone figures out why in the holy fuck the small town of Nottingham hasn’t paid their goddam grain tax and why in the name of sweet jesus the friar is raising fucking honey bees.. because we need to know that shit if we’re gonna fight france.

so while we wait for the Nottingham shit to get squared away, all the english colonies that have been called upon by the king to help fight France are a little pissed because, like, 4 days ago that same king was kicking the shit out of them and burning down their villages because of the grain taxes (and possibly honeybees). but the Enlgish decide to fight for England anyway but they all make sure to tell the king that he’s a dickhead.

Meanwhile, Robin takes a break from planting grain, and goes to his hometown and finds a rock that tells him he’s the chosen one or something… and that his midichlorians are off the charts. so then he finds the rag-tag begrudged English army and gives a speech to everyone and tells the king if he’d just let up with the goddam taxes,and let everyone work for what they get, and keep what they earn, then everyone would respect him. Robin invents the Libertarian party at this very moment. bad king guy agrees. everyone is happy.

so while the English are all falling back in love with each other, the French-led by the french guy who used to be a double agent french/english guy but who is now only french- invade England. and they start with the small farming town of Nottingham, for obvious strategic military reasons i assume. after killing a bunch of them (including blind old Walter), they set up tables and start registering villagers by name..which i also assume is common military protocol. then a new bad guy (#6) tries to rape Marion. Marion kills the heavily armored knight with a knife and her shoe.

so then the honey bees attack the french army, sewing up the question of why everyone was so concerned about the damn honeybees. they are evidently trained killer honeybees.. a precursor to the chemical weapon. so after registering everyone, they start the village on fire and ride away, BUT the English army, who must have also realized that the small farming community of Nottingham was THE military hub for the upcoming war, cut them off at the pass.

oh, and the English army is now led by Robin (Robert) Longstride (Loxley) of Nottingham (not originally), the guy who just conned himself through the ranks, and a week ago was a regular old soldier in the English army who was punished for mouthing off to the king that everyone liked, and now is the leader of the army that banished him and pretending to be their leader and no one, even though it’s the same army, recognizes that he’s not the guy he claims to be, which was their General.

so Robin and the boys win the battle, and save the town and then they burn Walter , Darth Vader style. and then Robin has to go off to war, because i guess the battle they just won was not the real battle, just an intro battle of sorts..

ok, so the rest of the French army show up on “England Beach” in German U-boats…. presumably left over props from “saving private ryan”. they are led by double agent turned single agent bad guy, who i guess escaped the previous battle. the English army attacks with their bows and arrows from atop a cliff…. well everyone except for Robin hood… robin hood is wielding a 24oz. framing hammer. (at this point in the film, Robin hood has fired a bow a total of 2 times… both in the first 15 minutes of the film, and both in a typical soldier way…. just like all the other films and books about robin hood). then there’s a big ground battle. Marion almost dies.. but she doesn’t. Robin almost drowns .. but he doesn’t. then he shoots the double agent guy with an arrow…i must admit.. nice shot. it was like 500 yards… then the english win and the surviving french retreat.

so in the end, after they win, bad king guy goes back on his promise and continues to tax the people, and declares Robin an outlaw, and he is to be , like johnny depp, considered  public ememy #1.

the end.

oh, i guess it’s supposed to be a prequel.

as you can see, it’s just like all the other Robin Hood stories… sure, the writers and director tweaked a little here, added something there, but all in all it’s an accessible film for folks from age 4 to 94. fun fun fun… and clocking in at just under 14 hours, it’s perfect for that sunday family movie night.

i hope you enjoyed my review… and oh yeah..  *spoiler alert!* …i guess i should have said that earlier.

you’re welcome

eric

p.s. i still think they should have hired a lighting guy…

Posted in movies/music/tv | 11 Comments

THESE ARE FEW OF MY FAVORITE (IRISH) THINGS

“The Irish do not want anyone to wish them well; they want everyone to wish their enemies ill.” – Harold Nicholson


hi folks. in keeping with “Irish Week”, i decided to put together a list of some of my favorite Irish things. i gave myself 30 minutes to come up with a list, so i’m sure i missed a bunch of good Irish stuff…. but that’s where you come in!.. use the comments section to add to my list, or argue the stuff on my list, or make your own list, or to simply compliment me. point being: the list is not complete.. so have at it folks!

Irish stuff i dig:

  • Guinness
  • Hothouse Flowers
  • chicks that are irish that have that super black hair
  • Brenden Shanahan
  • corned beef
  • Catholic Schoolgirl uniforms
  • Jamesons
  • dudes that can pull off the name “Seamus”
  • the films “Leprechaun” 1, 3, and 5.
  • chicks that are Irish that have that super red hair
  • Oscar Wilde
  • half of my kids
  • The Commitments
  • Lucky Charms cereal
  • Steve Allen
  • chicks that are Irish
  • Patty O’ furniture
  • The Boondock Saints
  • the Irish accent
  • Denis Leary
  • chicks that can locate Ireland on a map
  • Smithwicks
  • shamrock shakes
  • tolerable use of the accordion
  • Richard Harris
  • watching actors fuck up films with  embarrassing accents
  • Limericks
  • Guinness

alright folks, go for it….. have some fun, and once again, happy Irish Week!

you’re welcome,

Eric

Posted in lists of stuff | 8 Comments

THE IMMORTALITY OF DANNY BOY

a song you don’t know by a guy you do know about a song you do know by a guy you don’t know”

hiya folks, since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, i thought we’d talk about some Irish stuff. today’s topic is a thinker though, and since it’s not technically St. Patty’s day yet i figured we should talk about it now before we all get too drunk.

so you guys all know the Irish song “Danny Boy”, right? it’s a staple… it’s been around for like 200 years, and usually is sung by groups of people waving mugs around on st. patty’s…. but it can also be heard at funerals, and on a Pogues album. it has been performed by a billion different people, a million different ways. it’s a great tune, and it has stood the test of time. it is truly an immortal song.

but….. no one is 100% sure who wrote it. most folks give credit to a guy named Frederic Weatherly for the tune as we now know it, but there is a lot of discussion about this. if you really want to get into it, here’s a link. but for our purposes here, lets just say no one knows for sure who wrote it. weird huh?.. one of the most recognizable songs of all time.. and no one’s sure. i know this isn’t a unique phenomenon, but this is what i’m gonna focus on..

moving on.. so, one of my favorite songwriters, Joe Jackson (“is she really going out with him”, “steppin’ out”, etc..) wrote a song about this phenomenon. it’s called “the man who wrote danny boy“. click on it if you want to hear it.

but the song is essentially about this: it’s about a struggling songwriter who craves immortality through song.. like the man who wrote danny boy. so the devil shows up and tries to make him a deal. the devil will grant his wish, and inspire him to write an immortal song.. a song that will last forever and be loved by all…… BUT the catch is, that he won’t be credited.. no one will know he wrote it… no one will know who wrote it… just like the man who wrote Danny Boy. of course the devil will need his soul to complete the transaction.

hmmmmm…… should he do it? is that REALLY the fame he wants? anonymous fame.. is there such a thing? how would it feel to have your song be the #1 song in the world for 4 straight months and hear it on the radio every day and not be able to tell people you wrote it, much less know that the song would go on to be one of the most famous songs in history, and would live forever… wouldn’t you want the credit?… and all that other stuff that would come with it?.. fame, money, chicks, etc…?  wouldn’t that drive you nuts?

or would you be content in knowing you wrote it, and people liked it and it would live forever? i sure as fuck would. no doubt about it for me.. take my soul Big Red, i’ll live out the rest of my days knowing i made alot of folks happy. sure, parts of it would suck, and it might drive me mad, but hey , maybe it’s just the songwriter in me.  i’ll take that chance, it’s worth the gamble. where do i sign Beelzebub?.. and don’t worry, i have a pen… i’m a songwriter

so what does the dude in the song do? well, here’s the last few lines:

You can say what you like, when I’m gone then you’ll see
I’ll be down in the dark, down underground
With Shakespeare and Bach and the man who wrote Danny Boy

i’ll be there too Joe… the 5 of us will have some pints of Guinness, raise our glasses in the air, sway arm in arm, and sing:

“ Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling

From glen to glen, and down the mountainside.
The summer’s gone, and all the flow’rs are dying.
‘Tis you, ’tis you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow
Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow.
‘Tis I’ll be here, in sunshine or in shadow,
Oh, Danny boy, oh, Danny boy, I love you so.

And when ye come, and all the roses falling.
If I am dead, as dead I well may be,
Ye’ll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an ‘ave there for me.
And I shall hear, tho’ soft you tread above me,
And, all my grave shall warmer, sweeter be,
For you will bend and tell me that you love me,
And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me.
Oh, Danny Boy, Oh, Danny Boy, I love you so.”

….and i’ll bet i can drink Bach under the table.. he always seemed like kind of a pussy to me..

happy irish week folks- now go forth and discuss!

you’re welcome,

Eric

Posted in movies/music/tv | 1 Comment

AMERICAN CHEESE

“i have mixed feelings about individually wrapped american cheese slices”

hello folks, i’m gonna start this thing out by talking about one of my favorite subjects: cheese. and more specifically, the “individually wrapped american cheese slice”. chances are, most of you have them in your fridge right now… i do, so you must as well… as we all know, i’m pretty much a perfect cross-section of america… but i digress .. anyway, lets talk about this fridge staple… in a “pros and cons” type format. so lets get going… i’ll start…

first off, lets look at the name- “American Cheese”.  look, we here in the states do a lot of things well, but we are not known for our cheeses. all over the planet, folks were making awesome cheese way before we killed all the indians. but leave it to us to go and invent a totally inferior product and slap our country’s name right on the label. “this is AMERICAN cheese motherfucker!.. from AMERICA!… you don’t like our cheese?.. why do you hate freedom frenchy?”… it’s just embarrassing… and since it’s not even technically cheese, i say we go the route of the fine folks behind SPAM (which i love), and  cheap jewelry “diamondelles” and just call this stuff “cheez”..

( i also don’t like the term “american singles”… sounds like a dating website to me)

so lets move on to the senses…they got a weird feel to them , don’t they folks?.. kinda rubbery… not very “food-like”. they also stick together in a “space age polymer” way… you ever unwrap a few slices and set them on top of one another, ready to put on some burgers?… they fuse together chemically. you cannot get them apart with out tearing them. it’s freaky really, how permanent the bond is.

it’s also perfectly square..which is also kinda weird. i’m suspect of food that has that kind of symmetry …CONSISTENT symmetry.  and lets not forget the taste. do me a favor and describe the taste for me… you can’t, can you?.. neither can i. it simply tastes like itself. in this way it is like “ranch dressing”…. it has no peers. not to say it tastes bad, in fact in kinda tastes good…..

see, i think cheez has it’s place. sure i LOVE good cheese.. loveit loveit loveit. there is Nothing like it… i put cheese on everything, and i love the great real artisan cheeses of the world, and the wonderful craftspeople who make them… they are my heroes.. but sorry cheese folks, cheez does have it’s place.

i can’t imagine the hand-pulled buffalo mozzarella mixing well with the can of hormel chili in the crockpot when i have everyone over for the stanley cup playoffs.. i also doubt that the Humboldt fog goat cheese sprinkled over my nachos before they hit the oven would taste very good….extreme examples?.. you bet. but i’m making a point here… some stuff is better at things than others.

what are you gonna use when you got 40 burgers to grill for the 4th of july party? smoked gouda?.. nope, cheez. your 4 year old toddler wants a snack, you gonna give her a gob of gorganzola?..nope, cheez… see what i’m getting at folks?.. it’s got it’s place.

plus, admit it, there’s something about a grilled cheese sammich made with cheez, on cheap wonder bread, dunked in a bowl of condensed campbells tomato soup… it just kinda says “home”…. and that’s good enough for me as far as reasons to keep this stuff around.

sure, i can be a beer snob, and a food snob, but i’m also a realist, and there’s just as much reason to stock cheez as there is to stock PBR…would i rather have a smoked cheddar and a cask aged ESB?… you bet your ass i would. but if it’s 4th of july, and i’m gonna be out in the sun all day grilling 40 burgers, i’ll take the cheez and PBR hands down..

you’re welcome,

Eric

p.s….. PLEASE post comments and stuff… let me know your thoughts on this, and anything else you want to say…. if there’s no feedback and interaction, this shit won’t work. (see the “about” thingy for more info on this)

Posted in food | 12 Comments