Tag Archives: back to the future

Never have I ever…

When at university I used to play a game. This game was called Never Have I Ever. It was a simple game that allowed you to stitch your mates up and find out embarrassing secrets about the people at your table. It never occurred to me to lie in this game, I would lay all my sins out on the table, face down, waiting for someone to say a never have I ever that would make me lift my metaphorical cards and show them. The rules of the game are as follows…

1) Someone says something like, “never have I ever blamed someone for something that I did.”

2) If you have done that then you need to drink.

3) If you don’t drink and someone at the table can give you an instance when you have done it then you finish your drink.

This memory came flooding back this week with the kids I teach. Don’t worry, we weren’t playing drinking games (something frowned upon when in charge of a class of 30 ten year olds) but instead it has been a week of lies and omissions.

It struck me that I put a great deal of trust in my kids, with the hope of fostering a happy and truthful classroom. Most of the time it works. When things go pear shaped though I feel the need to remind myself of the golden rule of teaching.

Kids lie if they think they can a) get away with it and b) stay out of trouble.

What makes my job great though is when they do learn the value of honesty. Owning up, in some of their eyes, is the grown up thing to do. They will come and put their name on the board (standard teacher warning style) without being asked. It’s their version of raising a cup to their lips and admitting that they have (ever) done it.

As the last few days with my class whittle away I find myself very glad to be going on a much needed break. I also feel very sad about my class going to another teacher. Its like a friend who has moved far away. You still see them, just not as often and for shorter periods of time.

I will miss this group of 30 kids. The jokes, fun, growing up, problems, drama and even some of the back chat. I take consolation in the fact that I will feel the same this time next year.

In spite of all the crap and stress that comes with it,  I can honestly say that I love my job. I’ll love it even more with 6 weeks off.

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My friend Alex came over yesterday. We watched Blade. Alex had never seen it.

What makes a film timeless and what makes it of its time? Last night while watching Blade I noticed that it felt a bit dated. It was very much A 90’s film ( a fact that I IMDBed. Maybe I should try and get that into the urban dictionary.”I wanted to know what other films Kris Kristofferson had been in so I IMDBed it.” By the way he hasn’t been in as many films as you think, check it out. Oops, digression).
So what makes a film of its time and what makes it timeless?

1) A film set in a certain time that is filmed at the time. Some films are set in the fifties and filmed in the 80’s. This seems to work as there is an effort to make the film authentic to the era. Blade was filmed in the 90’s and really feels like it. The clothes, the back drop the 90’s ness of it. I also think its one of those had to see it at the time films. If you saw it at the time you don’t notice the fact that it’s dated. Prime examples of this are a) The Goonies b) Ferris Buellers Day off and c) Mall Rats.
Some films can escape this trap but not many.

2) Sayings and phrases. As if! Cha-Ching! Bonus! Granted most of these are 90’s slang but that’s my comfort zone. It’s funny when you watch stuff back and have that ‘I used to say that all the time’ feeling. You can also tell the language is of it’s time when the older generation start using it 10 or 20 years later. My parents tell me they are having a chill out day quite often. I can’t remember the last time I put the out at the end of chill. What I also find amusing is that the current generation of kids laugh at me for my miss use of current slang (innit fam).

3) Technology. Will anyone watch the social network in 20 years time? Will any 20 year old even know what it is about? My 2 year old will never know a world without the Internet or the global domination of fruit named companies such as Apple and Blackberry. Give me an example I hear you shout. Fine, no need for that tone.

The Net
Angela Bennett’s a software engineer type who works from home and has few friends outside of cyberspace. Taking her first vacation in years she becomes embroiled in a web of computer espionage.

I just IMDBed that.

It’s not just that though, it’s the fact that they put a cassette tape in the tape deck in ‘White Men Can’t Jump’. A kid in my class found a tape in the stock room the other day and asked me what it was.

4) Special effects. Just go look at ‘The Last Starfighter’ and ‘Flight of the Navigator’.

Alex enjoyed the film by the way. I think it was more in a cheesy 90’s nostalgia way though.

All pictures in the blog today are from IMDB. I IMDBed them all.

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The future is coming!

As a teacher I get to impart my knowledge to the children in my class. Yes I do have to follow the national curriculum and yes most of the time it’s about being 2 steps ahead of the kids with your subject knowledge. At the moment we are looking at films and the composition, lighting, mood, language and so on. It made me realise how much I love films and how passionate I get when talking about them. It’s as if I am actually in the film when I watch a good one. It also means that I retain a great deal of useless information. One of my favourite knowledge banks is that of future dates in sci-fi films. Here are some of my top ones.

22nd of December, 2012. Fox Mulder uncovered a plot for alien colonisation of Earth. In one of the last episodes of the show the deep throat cigarette smoking dude fills in Fox on the “End Game” plans by the military. This prediction was made in 2002. Unfortunately we have all seen our last Christmas in the comfort of our own homes people, that’s why I’m having presents early this year and running up a huge credit card bill.


21st of October, 2015. Back to the Future, Part 2. Three years till hover boards! This has its inclusion because of the alternate time line in the film. If an idiot like Biff can run a global empire then imagine if someone with brains got their hands on a DeLorean and a sports almanac from the future. Fistfights, chase scenes and teeny tiny pizzas that you can rehydrate? Bring it on.


Sometime in November, 2019. The replicants are coming! The humanoid clones return to Earth on a stolen spaceship, hell bent on killing the evil suits at the Tyrrell Corporation. Ex cop Rick Deckard is the “Blade Runner” who is sent to chase them down. I think if I was sent off-world to do some of the crappy jobs I’d also be a little upset. Prediction made in 1982 and any other time the director/media company needed an extra few quid and released another version.


Sometime in 2022. The secret is in the sauce. Earth has run out of natural foods and is overpopulated. Step in Soylent, a company with all the answers. Detective Robert Thorn nearly ends up as lunch when he discovers the truth about what goes into making “Soylent Green” when investigating a murder. It’s still got to be better than a pot noodle. Prediction made in 1973.


3rd of August, 2032. Getting sent to the cooler takes on a whole new meaning. Simon Phoenix and John Spartan, the “Demolition Man”, duke it out in the futuristic land of San Angeles. Phoenix escapes and Spartan is unfrozen and tasked with bringing him down. My main concern about this is the fact that they don’t seem to have toilet paper, that and sex is a non contact sport. Prediction made in 1993.

5th of April, 2063. To boldly go… Captain Picard and crew fight off the Borg infestation aboard the Enterprise so that “First Contact” can go off without a hitch. The meeting between Zefram Cochrane and the Vulcans is the backdrop for an epic battle against assimilation by the Borg, who attempt to set up a sub space beacon directing the past Borg to Earth. It’s a prediction made in the present about a future star ship going back in time to our future. Confused? Prediction made in 1996.

2 extra come from two very different sub groups of sci-fi. I have left them out of the main list partly because they won’t concern the inhabitants of Earth directly and partly because they are sooooo far away. The first is 18th August 2158, the day the Na’vi protect their home world and fight off that hard ass army dude. The second is May 2511. Malcolm Reynolds makes his last stand in the Battle of Serenity Valley. If you haven’t seen Firefly (or the spin off movie Serenity) then you must. It’s a cult thing these days but you won’t be disappointed.

Please let me know of any other disasters or important moments I’ve missed (or might miss).

Enjoy your weekend, it could be one of the last we have on this planet.

Feel free to leave a comment, your email address won’t be used for any sinister plot. Alternatively you can cut and past the URL into your Facebook status or twitter to share it. That is all.

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Sequels, Remakes and Trilogies part III

Episode 3: the recycling of the film

The remake. I feel like I need to get a few things straight before I dive in. There is a film I must leave at the door and not mention again. To do so would make me swear (something I do very often but have tried not to do on this blog). It is a film that I loved as a child which had the ever awesome Gene Wilder as the star. Willie Wonka and the chocolate factory (1971) was remade horrifically. Even worse than that, it was done by a director I love and a star whose acting I admire. I will just leave it there.

The Italian job is a tough one for me. The original film is iconic in both its stars and script. It is one of those films that have seeped into everyday language with sayings that are very recognisable as having come from the film. I watched the original as a kid and loved the car chases and action. As an adult I still love those things but the dialogue is clever and witty and has further endeared the film to me. The new version is a pretty good film but lacks a certain something, certain flair, a leading man that is both charismatic and funny. If the new film had not been called the Italian job then I think I may have liked it more. Having said that, if it hadn’t been called the Italian job then people would have called it an Italian job rip off. Lose, lose I suppose.

Ocean’s eleven, what a great film. The remake I mean, not the original. The original was way before my time but I can see it has certain charms. You can tell that the people on screen are friends and that the story is meant to show off this chemistry. The new film needed to have a cast capable of standing up to rat pack comparisons, and it didn’t disappoint. Even the bit part players are Hollywood openers! I think though for me, the best part of the film is its intelligence. It’s increasingly hard to make a good heist film with all the casino technology in place, being able to get past it seems increasingly impossible. Not only did this film manage that, it did it in a way that was believable.

The remake of the remake.

The incredible hulk

I caught the original Hulk the other day (the 80’s one starring Lou Ferrigno) and found that when Bruce Banner turned into the Hulk it was pretty scary. In fact it was very scary. I then took a look at the remake, then the remake of the remake. The CGI is not very scary at all. I am unsure as to whether this is because I know its CGI or whether the original Hulk actually grabbed people by the throat and had to coordinate stunts. The last Hulk was impossibly big, didn’t move right and just looked plastic. The new films for me went on too long, had very weak storylines and the last one had a leading man who was neither big enough nor believable enough to be an action star.

I really hope this reboot craze stops with the new new Spiderman. It seems that ignoring the previous film has the advantage of being able to do whatever you like and start again. The problem is this: if the film was made badly then maybe it’s the premise that’s flawed, not the previous actors or directors. Most cartoons are best as just that. It takes a special kind of superhero to become a movie star.

My overall feeling about the remake is this.

1) If it aint broke, don’t fix it

2) Leave it alone for 30 years plus before a remake is even considered

3) Don’t re remake it. If it didn’t work once or twice, third time is unlikely to be a charm.

Take heed Hollywood, and tremble at the ravings of a 30 something semi popular children’s writer.

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Sequels, Remakes and Trilogies. Part II

The film of the series (not the snappiest of titles).

You have to do an amazing job to be in with a chance of appealing to the original fans of the show, either that or go down the star trek route of actually having the actors from the series play the film roles. It worked well with both the original star trek and the next generation. As a real Trekkie (can’t believe that just got spell checked to a capital letter), I loved the films. Having William Shatner and Patrick Stewart on the same screen at the same time? Yes, yes oh yes. The same thing happened with firefly and the film version serenity (well worth a look) and the sex and the city films (not my cup of tea but the Mrs. loves em). They are recognisable characters playing recognisable parts and they work. Well, with the exception of the Simpsons movie. That was a real doh.


The problem comes when you transfer a TV show (especially a cult classic one) to film with a new cast. Basically, you can’t replace Mr T, Hannibal, Face or Murdock. Not if you want to tap into the original market anyway. I’m not saying the A-team film was awful; it wasn’t very good either though. I think the main reason was the original actors were those characters. Mr T is BA Baracus. I find the same with the avengers and the saint, and don’t even get me started on the new star trek film!

There is evidence that it can work though. Look at the Batman franchise. I loved the Adam West show, I loved the Tim Burton films (not any of the others though, why Arnie? Why?), I love the new incarnation. I think they are all sufficiently different, and no one actor really owns the role. There is no Mr T in batman (neither literally nor metaphorically).

I will finish with my 2 favourite TV show to films. It also strike me that it may well be because they started as sketch shows.

The Muppet show: I loved the Muppets as a kid and love the first Muppet movie. They took a sketch show of believable characters (albeit puppets) and showed us what they were like when they weren’t on the show. The plot is thin, the acting is hammy (terrible pun, sorry miss piggy) and you can see wires coming out of their arms. This to me though adds to the charm.

Monty pythons flying circus: An amazing TV show with a string of amazing films. The show and films are my dad’s era really, but I think they are timeless. My favourite of the lot has to be the life of Brian, if only because of the outrage of the religious community.

That’s it for episode 2: the return of the over opinionated bloggist.

Episode 3 promises the remake and the remake of the remake. I’m going down the Godfather route though (not making it rubbish, hopefully) and leaving a gap between parts 1 and 2 and part 3. Until next week.

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Sequels, Remakes and Trilogies. Part I

Seeing as this is, in part, about trilogies I thought I would do it in 3 parts. Which will be the best? Will part 3 come years after part 2? Will it have a prequel blog? Will I re do it in a few years? Will I just get on with it? Ok, here goes…

Episode 1: the Blogfather

I shall start with the Godfather. As I have said before, I came late to the godfather trilogy. It’s one of those films where the critics said you either love it or you haven’t seen it. I agree wholeheartedly. Part 1 is great, part 2 is epic, part 3 is duck suckingly bad. What happens with these great film makers? Too much time on their hands to write? Mellowed by old age? Just need the money? Part 3 could have been great. Instead you have a story of priests, borderline incest and a really dodgy hair cut. And In the end, it’s the fall from the chair that kills this great character. People may say its old age, heart attack, an aneurism. I like to think he has just realised what a pile of poo he had made and fell to his inevitable, but timely, demise. Shame on you Al Pacino. Check out the end of part 3 and you’ll see what I mean, very funny.  (Cheers John and Nick for pointing that out).

Back to the future is much the same. 1 and 2 fit so well together and have that rare quality of being able to be followed by everyone, while at the same

time making you feel smart for being able to follow it. It has hoverboards, skateboards, a cool car, outstanding music and is very funny.

Part 3? A western that is not a western. No car, no skateboards, no Hewie Lewis and the news. No thank you very much. It’s not an awful film but it has no place in the trilogy.

Two trilogies that (in my opinion) don’t feel like they have add-ons.

Star wars: my dad told me (I sound about 10 years old starting with that) that when ‘return of the Jedi’ was released that some people had the same disdain for the Ewoks that I have for Jar Jar Binks. I find this odd. I loved the Ewoks, I wanted to be Wicket! The point is that the 3rd in the trilogy was not as widely loved as the first 2. I think all the original films are awesome, but then I was very young when I first saw them. The same can be said to be true for the kids I teach and the prequel trilogy. One of them once said to me that the original trilogy was old and boring. All I could do was stand there, dumbstruck and confused, and mumble something about the youth of today. Either way, the films all have a flow from the first scene of episode 4 to the last of episode 6.


Lord of the rings: the first of these was a bit dull. I loved it (the whole trilogy) but even I struggled with the extended version of ‘the fellowship of the ring’. Unlike other trilogies though, they get better. Yes, I know it was Tolkien’s writing, that the books are amazing and that they were always gonna be great. I suppose that I was primed to like them, being a uber geek as I am. It is the only trilogy I can think of (and am open to suggestions of others) that ends better than it starts. Not that the middle one is the best, the last one is.

Thanks for watching (reading) part 1. In part 2, the film of the series. I pity the fool who misses it, unless you have something better to do. Then that’s OK by me.

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