Monday, 21 September 2009

Favourite Film Characters

The lovely and very talented Dulwich Mum has tagged me for my favourite film characters.

I had to think long and hard about this tag - to separate film characters from book characters. For example some of my favourite all time ‘characters’ are Tess (of the D’Urbervilles,) Atticus Finch (To kill a Mockingbird) and Chiyo Sakamoto (Memoirs of a Geisha.) These, are favourite book as well as film characters. However, had it not been for the book, I would not have watched the film. So I’ve tried to consider my favourite film characters as stand alone, not adapted from books or not from books that I had previously read.

Number 5 on my list is Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean, not my usual type of film at all if I didn’t have the two boys. However, it has become a firm favourite not only because the divine Johnny Depp plays Captain Jack, but also because Depp has created a real classic in this role. Known for his ridiculously silly walks and slurred speech, Captain Jack is completely bonkers and gloriously over the top. And we could be kindred spirits – we both love rum!
And if, like me you're glad of any excuse to oggle Johnny...

Number 4- Bridget Jones. Of course,Helen Fielding started Bridget Jones’s Diary in the Independent, chronicling the life of the thirtysomething single woman in London and the inevitable publishing deal soon followed. However, it is the film, and Renee Zellweger’s portrayal in the film adaptation that I love. Bridget is such an endearing and funny character – I laughed throughout the film (and still do) at her attempts to make sense of life and find love with the help of her fabulous friends. I laugh at her bad habits and her obsession with self-help books. Most of all I laugh at the honesty and vulnerability of the character – the diary is the device to say what the rest of us often think.
Best quote:
“Resolution number one: obviously, will lose twenty pounds. Number two: will find nice sensible boyfriend and not continue to form romantic attachments to alcoholics, workaholics, peeping-toms, megalomaniacs, emotional fuckwits or perverts.”

Number 3 - Forrest Gump. "Stupid is as stupid does," says Forrest Gump as he discusses his relative level of intelligence with a stranger while waiting for a bus. Despite his sub-normal IQ, Forrest leads a truly charmed life, and relates the parade of memorable events that befall him such as becoming a football star, meeting JFK, serving in Vietnam, defeating the Chinese national team in table tennis, opening a profitable shrimping business and becoming an original investor in Apple Computers. I love Tom Hanks as an actor and his portrayal of Forrest is truly enchanting. Forrest is one of the most moving and beautifully wholesome of characters, with an ability to touch everyone he meets – I adore this film and so does my son.
Best quote:
“My Momma always said; life is like a box of chocolates... You never know what you're gonna get."”

Number 2 - Sandy from Grease. I was eleven when I first went to the cinema to see Grease. The whole film blew my mind – the music, the script, the characters. After seeing it, posters of John Travolta and Olivia Newton John adorned my bedroom walls. I still remember listening to the radio chart show in our kitchen every Sunday night for eleven weeks when ‘You’re the one that I want’ was number one. I used to sing the songs with my friends in the playground and in my bedroom at night, until my Nan shouted up the stairs, “Will you shut that ruddy noise up!” I wanted to be Sandy and only have one unfulfilled dream - to go on Stars in Their Eyes and sing ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You!’

Number 1
MY FAVOURITE film character is from the film Gladiator.
Maximus Decidimus Meridius is favourite commander to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius but the Emperors unhinged son, Commodus betrays and murders his father and attempts to kill Maximus. Maximus escapes and heads home to find his wife and son murdered. Captured and enslaved along the outer fringes of the Roman Empire, Maximus rises through the ranks of the gladiatorial arena to avenge the murder of his family and his Emperor.

Not since Spartacus, has there been such an epic film with such a leading Alpha Male.
Favourite quote:
“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.

It gets me every time.

Ok, I'd love to know who the following blog friends favourite film characters are:-
Being Miss
Reasons to be cheerful 1,2 3
Debs-daydreams in the shed.

Consider yourselves TAGGED!
Until another day

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

2009 - The summer that maketh a man of Idle Jack.

My eldest son, 'Idle Jack' turned sixteen in July.

When you’re sixteen you think you’re a grown up. You can get married, have sex and smoke. Sixteen, for some teenagers is the new ‘key to the door.’ For Idle Jack it was time to get a job. He would have happily spent the summer, post exams, exercising his thumbs on the PlayStation and lifting his legs as I hoovered around him. His dad had other ideas.
“We’re going to stop your pocket money, so you’ll need to get a job. At your age I’d had a paper round for two years and was walking whippets.”

An online application and ten days later and he had an interview at McDonalds. It’s always been a favourite of his. He was nervous it being his first interview. Then there were two more interviews, one of which was an ‘on the job’ evaluation. Finally, they handed him his uniform and advised the shifts. Idle Jack had his first job.

Six weeks on and he’s “LOVING IT!” He’s repaid what he owes us and has money in his pocket (when it’s not dropped through the hole that it burned.) But as Bridget Jones said, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.” And it did when we got back from holiday last week and found his GCSE results on the doormat.

“I don’t understand, I thought I’d done enough. I’ve blown it.” His colour dripped into his Fat Face trainers along with his dreams of going on an Animal Management course.
“Too right, you’ve blown it!” declared his dad after he’d come down off the ceiling followed by World War 3 between his dad and him, his dad and me. I could have walked out. I didn’t. I’m a mother. Idle Jack needed me to shield him from his dad’s wrath. He needed me to help find him another college; to give him some words of encouragement when his plans and dreams were unravelling.

“I’m a failure. I can’t get anything right,” he cried.
This was my son crying – my son who normally wears a mask, an invisible shield with his feigned self-confidence and bravado. Aside from the fact that he left it too late to work hard, one of his failings was that he never told anyone when he was struggling. Teenage boys don’t like to open up and show any weakness or vulnerability. Perish the thought that he should ask for help. It’s difficult to know the state of mind behind the mask; what’s really going on in his head. You try to talk. Sometimes he doesn’t want to. Sometimes he can’t. Sometimes he hates the world. You try not to nag or push too much. You can’t win with a teenager.

He’s never been an academic. That’s probably because he’s never liked school much. His first day at school set the tone for the last eleven years. As I met him at the gate, flung my arms around him and asked eagerly how his first day had gone, he wiped my slobber from his cheek before he nonchalantly replied, “Oh, it was fine, but I don’t think I’ll go again.”

Personally, I think kids have so much more pressure on them these days. I hated being a teenager. Without doubt it was the darkest period of my life. I truly felt that no-one understood me. They probably didn’t. For teenagers, there is so much peer pressure - having to be ‘cool’; if you’re attractive; your weight if you eat too many Mackie D’s, or being too skinny if you don’t eat enough Mackie D’s; whether the Clearasil is working on your acne; the size of your manhood or breasts; You want to become independent. Then, on top of all that, you have to worry about grades. Even worse, for ‘Jack’ when the grades didn’t reflect the hard work he put in, even if it was too little, too late. There are demands from parents, demands from school. Is it any wonders so many teenagers face depression?

He tried his best. Or even if he didn’t try his best all of the time, he now realises that he should have worked a lot harder. It turns out that he was having second thoughts about the Animal Management course anyway. I’ve always said that things happen for a reason. He’s not a failure. He got the part-time job at McDonalds when there are so many that are unemployed. So Business Studies it is. It’s a good, general course that is very marketable and he can re-take the GCSE’s alongside. And there are worse places than Ludlow he could be travelling to. It won’t be too onerous for me to pick him up once in a while and educate him to the towns gastro-delights and delightful independent shops!

He’s not blown it. It’s not the end of the world. It’s how he copes from now on that is important. And how we support him. Who knows, it might end up being the making of him.

It’s been a tough lesson. But then as I'm always saying to him, life is tough.

So until another day