Louis Theroux’s My Scientology Movie has been a long time coming. Louis’s been working on it for over a decade, and Louis fans (Therouxvians, if you will) have been speculating over rumours and trailers for several years now. This Monday it was finally released and featured an hour-long live-streamed Q&A with the man himself and producer John Dower.
Rather than recommending things through the medium of words, this week I am offering up some audio. It’s something I absentmindedly started making for my own enjoyment, but then too much time was poured into it for me to justify it simply as something that would lurk un-played on my iPod for years to come.
This is the second half of my Fortnight of Culture. I have been putting together a schedule of music, film, television, literature and more, for my friend Chris who has two blissfully free weeks in need of filling. “How odd,” you might say, “to post this, the second half of your Fortinght of Culture, on a Tuesday rather than on a Monday, which is, after all, the start of the week.” Have you ever attempted to curate an entire Fortnight of Culture for a man who’s only ever seen the film Cool Runnings? I thought not. You ingrate.
I recommend the 2015 film Ex Machina. It’s a story about Google making robots with metal boobs but, as this isn’t a sequel to The Internship and therefore isn’t a two hour Google advert, it uses the pseudonym ‘BlueBook’ instead. If I was a proper writerer, I might describe it as a character driven sci-fi film about geeky programmer Caleb (Domnhall Gleeson) winning the chance to spend a week working on a top secret project at the secluded, clinically clean home of search engine mogul Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaacs).
I recommend the film National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. I realise that I have missed December, the one month in which it would have been a good idea to post this recommendation. This recommendation is, therefore, a form of New Year’s resolution. It forces me to keep writing content for this blog because if I don’t every visitor will be greeted by an out of date Christmas recommendation.
No, Totally! is a film podcast. It’s not a straight review show and they’re not audio essayists, it’s a more casual discussion-based style that they keep fresh with interviews and guests. This means that presenters Brian and Shaun aren’t bound to reviewing new releases, which is good as new reviews tend to give away inadvertent spoilers. If a film is going to be bad, I still quite enjoy finding that out for myself. I often break my own rule by watching Mark Kermode’s reviews.
I recommended the film ‘Frank’ to Parny. He said he has some spare time to watch it, but he’s probably forgotten so I am reminding him. Parny, watch Frank.
The film, which stars Michael Fassbeneder as the titular character, is based on the life of the the hero of Timpenny, Frank Sidebottom. This isn’t a biopic, it’s detached enough from the late Chris Sievey (the man behind / inside Sidebottom) that it doesn’t incur the controversy or disputes that standard biopics tend to. It respectfully takes the concept of Frank Sidebottom, removes the Sidebottom, and explores the character of the enigmatic genius musician ‘Frank’ who never removes his giant false head.
I recommended the film Good Will Hunting to Ollie and Parny because, following a discussion about The Martian and Interstellar, they both said that they weren’t keen on Matt Damon.
I can understand that he may get a bit dull if you think that he’s just action man Jason Bourne, but he is a lot more versatile than that. In Good Will Hunting he plays a disadvantaged young man from Boston, who has an incredible intelligence hidden beneath his smart alec, macho persona. Even more interesting is that Damon wrote the screenplay with co-star and school friend Ben Affleck. They won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay, and it’s easy to see why.