The one thing I start here is a complaint, or question, or a portmanteau quesplaint:
How can I register a UK iTunes account if I live in Hong Kong, so that, I can save my time (bloody three months!) waiting for the movie to be released for rent.
To be honest, this review is quite partial and biased, and you know why. And I have to admit, this movie is specifically tuned, and 10x supercharged, to fans of Trainspotting the movie and/or the novel. From the pub they had used to meet (and met again in the movie), to the council flat they had used to jab their heroin (where Spud jabbed himself for suicide, and later stuck the pictures and notes of their primes, their junk, their togetherness, etc.), to Renton’s claustrophobic room in Edinburgh pasted with trains repetitive wall paper from corner to corner, to the public toilet, to the music, to the grass where Mark Renton used to give his classic oratory about Scotland, to the package of the movie for promotion, in short in every single sense, Danny Boyle is telling you only one theme about the story, Nostalgia, good’o days/bad’o days. Danny Boyle and his whole team are shamelessly and blatantly asserting that they are consuming our (fans’) nostalgic feeling of the first installment of this movie in 1993, when started the rocket stardom of literally all of them. Danny Boyle went so far to deliberately make a plot to rewind the scene where Renton did his cunning youth smile in front of the windshield, which is, to me, very honest, the worst, the most out-of-context, the most on99 and the oddest part of the whole movie.
However, Danny Boyle grasped every opportunity in the plot, in the lighting, in the sound, in the cut, the shooting, to give you a sense of irony, which is equally shared by both the characters in the story and the whole production team creating the movie (director and actors included), that they have changed a lot already. First of all, the movie is no cult movie anymore. The actors and directors are no nobody anymore. They cannot treat everything in the set as though the same as they used to be. Age, fate, marriage, family, health, weary, success or failure (mostly failure), loneliness, helplessness (Renton’s another classic quote “I can live another 30 years. But what the fuck do I live for these 30 years?"), international football, Kelly MacDonald, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, the social media, the parties, the crimes, the gangster system, the immigration system (I couldn’t help myself LOL when Renton asked the Edinburgh Ambassador where she was from, and she answered Slovenia in Eastern European Accent), the social care system (Danny used the last rolling to tell you the end of social housing even in Edinburgh!). Cinematic photography has changed a lot since 1993. Danny Boyle kept the par on that change in the movie. His shooting of Edinburgh was heartrendingly delicate, especially the night time. That parallel narratives of the movie about that irony faced by them both in front of and and behind the scene is the best part, telling me the sharpness and dark humour of Danny Boyle is still here, if not even sharper.
The movie tried to make use of many nuances and minutiae to tell the characters that everything has moved on without them. However, all those minutiae and nuances point us back to the Bulgarian hooker, Veronica. It is one of the weaker part of the movie. But I don’t mind. Veronica is so enjoyable throughout the movie. If we really need a muse, she is the muse. And, sometimes, few is better than many, and one is better than few. The characters also knew that everything has moved on без themselves. But they couldn’t help but kept self-tormenting, self-haunting by what happened 20 years ago. The baby, Tommy, the 20,000 pounds, the betrayal, George Best, Protestant/Catholic Scotland, the heroin, the wild time of youth. I know it’s not a very innovative theme. Neither was the them innovatively presented. But at certain age, like mine, such theme just keeps resonating within my soul, captivating and reverberating, until the echo from within dissipates after a week, 2 weeks or a month. And when there is another one presenting exactly the same tune, the resonation rewinds all over again. So I told you I am biased. This movie reminds me of a drama made in HK a couple of years ago, When Heaven Burns. Same theme (Nostalgia), same time-frame (20 years), same number of characters (5), same sense of helplessness in front of those feelings (remorse, betrayal, rage, guilty pleasure and enthusiasm of what we used to do), except the carnage (it’s totally unimportant as I haven’t been shown even one scene of cannibalism). But T2 is comparatively better. It is because, in the mud of all those shit, we should also find something funny. And T2 is after all very funny.
After T2, I not only can remember every single character, I also find myself a bit down that I have to say goodbye to all of them, as I’m quite sure they cannot make T3 anyhow. I believe that.
75 out of 100
Thirteenth day has passed, but I’m still in the dark.
Droops of my eye socket, Cash in my wallet, droplets/
By droplets of Machiatto in the bin, on the desk,
Mechanic Texts every 7:30 pm said,
I am gone, I’ll be back, 5 minutes Cab, plate number/
576 6678 802 0808 92 95 00, On the cab. Back and/
How are you? Still busy, still not yet, still going, and back/
To the same o’ mechanic text expected, the same time, same text,
same said, same phone-in number, and a string of seemingly random plate numbers,
Same numerical string. Same o’ strain on my left leg up to my thigh.
Sometimes, on the right side.
Are sign of
I am still working.
whoever is interested in the movie.
whoever aspires to be a writer.
Ruby Sparks was a movie premiered by Fox Searchlight. Like other movies which were premiered by the company, it was one of the kind I term “pseudo-cult". A big studio like Fox wanted to branch out its products to pitch young theatregoers, or hoary (new word I just learned) “itune tuners" like me, who want something less mainstream while shy of the fringe. In short, Ruby Sparks intended to give an impression of cultness but turned out fitting just a centimetre out of Bull Eye.
The protagonist, Calvin, was just a fairy tale fiction writer many aspiring fiction writers can but dream of right now. Genius. Dropped out college. Reached the zenith of Best Seller at 19 with a debut novel. Earned enough with copyright and royalty to have a big house (incandescent white inside out and outside in, two floors, big kitchen, a pool, every appliance modern and new, two cars with one of them being BMW hoodless) and do nothing except big interviews and gym with brother for 4 years.
Yeah…….I want to be that guy. I can die for being one.
Recently, I read an article commenting about a tweet from Outlander Author Diana Gabaldon to her fan who also aspired to be a writer. She told her coldly but courteously, this:
Stop dreaming. You’ll starve to die just writing. Go get a fucking job at wherever, whatever. Even a Janitor is better than a full-time writer.
Recently, I chatted with a mommy who read Harry Potter to her daughter age of 7, turning out making herself and her daughter big fan of Harry Potter, and as expected, JK Rowling (she read even the 8th instalment which was literally not JK Rowling’s). Nice work mommy. I read Lucky Star by Mic Mopurgo to my son at the same age, and was told by my son to drop the whole reading project at just Chapter 7………fuck that. Anyway. Out of topic.
That mommy told me she was so inspired by Ms. R’s story of writing a great series at the midst of her peril of being a poor o single-mommy at unemployment benefit (now totally cut by Tories, nice work Chap). It was also a fairy tale. And I broke the spell in the chat right away, telling her how rich she actually was, her prestigious family background, education all the way to her prestigious media guru ex-husband, being dumped on alimony and sister’s benefit. Fact check by my suspicious wife told me I was exactly right except she didn’t study in Oxbridge (oh… She got rejected by Oxbridge, TG).
So, another fact check for aspiring writers inspired by fairy tale. To write a book. Either you have been very rich, or get a fucking job to earn a body and a stable mind (with unsettling mental) to write a great story.
Back to Ruby Sparks. A 低B fairy tale in props, in characters other than the two protagonists, in cinematography, in props, in lighting, from start to end. But it doesn’t mean I don’t like the movie. It’s OK. It’s fascinating that Zoe Kazan, or Ruby, did succeed in present good o’ axiom of love relationship from the perspective of female.
Even deep inside a man’s sub-conscience comes nothing but devilish against the one he loves, or used to love.
Great. A horror in a fairy tale. You did it so well Zoe! At least better than readaptation of Beauty and the Beast, which turned out not so beastly, not so horror, and not so beauty after all.
But at last Zoe let the protagonist kick start the relationship with her once again, in spite of all the horror before, helped stamp a 低B fairy tale chop on the movie. Or…
She deliberately plotted so, to tell us, love relationship is sweet even though it always ends with horror ever after, to make the cultest point of the whole production.
I don’t know.
Rating: 69 out of 100. Could be 60 if the two protagonists were not that lovely.
其實節日已過. 上次整濕鳩故事時, 做資料搜集真是攞左本Virginia Woolf來看. 可以在這節日向各位男性女性介紹一下:
做八婆唔難. 叫聲男人都是仆街都是人渣亦爽, 但如何文奏奏的用二百頁幾萬字去做一個八婆. 去展現男人都是仆街都是人渣呢, 就是很高的學問. 而這本書就是充分的體現以上.
但本書沒有因此怨念充斥. 相反, 書的最後鼓勵那學校內的女生(此書原打算是一份畢業禮講詞, 即stay greedy, stay predatory嗰D), 在坐的諸位女孩, 儘管社會不公義, 但你們無權怨. 因為你的前人, 已為你打了一片天, 去闖, 去拍渣男推開. fight on, and get your fucking £300 a year. (折算現在大概三皮港元掛….)
三八, 一定有人, 尤其男人, 去嘲笑, 以至攻擊還在嘈甚麼是女權主義的女人各派別. 去嘲笑, 以至攻擊為女性平等做埋D無謂野的人, 如去老麥嘈人點解女仔買開心樂園餐唔可以送車車power rangers, 或叫公廁的女格公仔唔好再著裙.
呢篇文就是講….這些爭論, 以至triviality, 只要不要以暴力終場, 對整個社會的女權運動還是有益的. 嘈下嘈下就有新野了…. 而且, 世界都那麼嘈, 唔爭在多一兩個, 乜你冇headphone咩…? 你唔理咪得咯….
昨晚我向外母講解男女薪資不平等, 還在說香港比較好時, 外母已一句回來:
所以…各地的gals….fight on , and get your fucking £300 a year. And have your own room. To do what you want.
The third drama in three years. And it’s the best one so far.
Long ago when I decided which drama I would be watching in Art Festival Hong Kong 2017, around July-August 2016, I read the brochure and I chose this one, over Arthur Miller’s. It’s because I knew at the time this drama was about election in America. I knew at the time it’s about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. So I said, “I’m going to watch it". And I watched it just now.
it’s about Donald Trump?
A Yes and No. No, because that name was not mentioned even once in the whole drama. Yes, because the characters mentioned many names, Clinton, Meg Kelliane ( sorry I don’t know how to spell it), Berns, all those who pulled our thread in the mind to the result on 8 November 2016, and the devil who made that history. Glory or Gory, depending on which way you have come from, and which way you want to go.
No, because the story was more than that. It was, according to the playwright, in troubled and troubling times, …a portrait of the confusion, and an articulation of the ambiguities, doubts and fears of its time. The playwright also explained, in his introduction, the function of the theatre is not to argue, but an effort to create and portray human complexity, which we then share with the audience, at the same time, at the same space; human being to human being.
But yes, because in one of the most unforgettable moments in the story, the playwright did point to a hint of what happened at particular point that has led Americans to where they are today, here and now. In that Act, the son, the remaining son of the Gabriels’ family in Rhinebeck, John (maybe George is the correct one, forgive my shit listening please) recalled a guy who said, “all we’ve been through, can lead back to one single Act, on a small kitchen table, in the Oval Office, with a Pizza, and a felacio…" Everyone in the theatre, even I and my wife who are nearly ignorant of anything in US, knew he was alluding to Bill Clinton and his near impeachment.
I recalled my memory in high school, when, about the same period as the congress debate about his impeachment, our Chinese teacher led a debate/discussion about his affair and aftermath in the class. Her question then was simple, “do you think American people should support the impeachment, or indictment, of the President because of his moral slippery/mistakes/corruption?" I cannot recall much detail about the debate/discussion at the time. But I do recall one point my teacher pointed out, “Americans decided not to support his impeachment, because they valued a President’s competence over his moral integrity. They valued their country more as a representation of economic prowess than they did a holder of moral standard."
Maybe she was right. I don’t know. Because I did not read news much at the time. But now, 20 years later, in hindsight, I think that, if she was right, it explains so much what happens today. It explains why we can’t stop the man, who was videotaped bragging about his ability of grabbing whoever he wants because he is rich and powerful, carrying on his path to brazen grab of zenith power in the White House. If a president who so thoroughly insulted the White House, the Oval, so shamefully abused his power, by having felacio with his intern/interns, even could not be impeached, how could then Americans stop a man who just bragged about grabbing puzzies from striding towards the Oval? If Americans long gave up morality as a criterion to judge the suitability of a man as their president, how could they pick up such a thing again to judge against another moron while not feeling hypocritical? If there already come a consensus among Americans that success over everything else, success excuse their president from everything else, how could they fight a man whose brand has always been success? (a lot of bankruptcies disregarded)
In short, the story spoke my word. Or, more correctly put, the story spoke what I had in mind, just much clearer. Americans deserve what they have right now. One of the main reasons is they forgave something they should not forgive. The one who holds the highest post should at least uphold the strictest and highest moral standard. And they have degraded it from sine qua non to quid pro quo. I don’t want to elaborate along the line as I don’t want to offend anybody; and I am not in a position to meddle with others’ politics. I am Chinese after all.
This story also struck my memory flash, that around November, I heard a radio podcast, The State of the Union Songbook. In which a songwriter interviewed different people from different states in US in 2015. The transcripts of the interviewees were made lyrics of his song, verbatim, in his concert in 2016 before the election. When I heard it hard, I felt the smell of my failure, my doom, my pain, my forbearance, as a social democrat. Now I want to share with you readers.
屋企個小男孩很喜歡畫畫的。自己一個在家不是看卡通片，就是柄埋一邊畫卡通人物。咁順理成章就當然帶他學畫畫吧。教他油畫的阿sir，代號B，一看去就知是一個充滿藝術的人。你睇他及肩零亂的頭髮就知了。而你看他的studio的portfolio，又會知道他應該不是呃飯食的，最少不會好像某些教小朋友畫畫的所謂art jam，明明蘇力行咁的水平，就扮晒話自己的畫copy outsider artists 的風格。而阿仔又好厭尖。學畫畫又要選主題創作自主。只有這個代號B的阿Sir可以搞掂。一學就學了接近兩年。兩年在現在這等末世來說很長。你問吓現在的後生仔打工能否捱到兩年？你們家中的傭工又是否能在你家裡生存超過兩年。在代號B手上，家中小男孩學懂成畫的人物主次遠近不同的比例，用色，到現在甚至學懂好好地已經用油成了畫又再用Marker vandalise 幅畫，即係多媒體啦？有時我看見我個仔，會問自己：他第日會否變成那個Old School野黃㗎⋯⋯但有另外一個網友曾經好不客氣的說：你個仔夠大陸人爭先算啦。當然，由那日起我決定唔再fo呢條友，那種最好見到下一代仆街的schadenfreude，但見到後生仔成他貴言仆街又日日出來屌鳩人不及自己嗰代的nostalgic。加埋是nostafreude，定是schadelgic。但回想他又真是講得啱喎。而更恐怖的是他，同大陸人，同世界任何一個想靠作畫為業的人，隨時不夠電腦爭。當電腦無論同你捉圍栱定係打poka都打爆你時，那些2050年電腦會取代包括創作的中層工作真的不算甚麼預言。直頭有點鬼唔知你阿媽是女人。
而看他文藝的外型，看他的portfolio，我相信他是有份堅持的，但又不知怎的留落新界的東西橦個牌<<可替你畫人像，200>>。有一天，我帶阿仔們去看戲 (阿拉丁夏威夷版)，亦撞到他一家。他問我們看甚麼戲。是否看周星馳。我說是看阿拉丁夏威夷版。那當然問他一家看甚麼。他很難色的說—周星馳。連我老婆事後都講他好像很尷尬要跟人說看周星馳。其實呢，看周星馳咪周星馳囉。沒甚麼尷尬的。我跟老婆說，文藝就是文藝，別要分得那麼細。無論你是看西遊2，定星聲夢裡人，定黃秋生套夢中人。漫漫回家路，定陰陽路。看Ken Loach定王晶，看景甜還是積琪蓮定大波蓮。都是文藝啫。Yeah Arts are no equal，but it doesn’t mean there is any boundary between the unequal we cannot cross. This is Trump World, not Arts World. 我們總可以彈出彈入打我吖笨(如你記得是那一套戲的對白)。最近看一套叫taboo的電視劇，十分浪費光陰。Tom Hardy+Jonny Pryce拍了套爛片，就好像周潤發+張學友拍了套賭城風雲。但都不是一無事處。戲的配樂非常靚。原來是英國頂級古典樂手下的樂章。