Monday, January 24, 2011

The week that was #20

Do I think this song is about me?

In the last The Week That Was I wrote about the weirdest thing I'd ever seen; what I came across this week may actually top that.

It's this:

Yeah, it's a YouTube video of a song by The Sensational Mary Barclay Band, called, of all things, Jamie Wright.

That's my name!

Really, it shouldn't have come as much of a shock as it did. I have one of the most common given names (which is actually James; Jamie is just what I go by, mostly because I think it suits me more than James); Wright is also a very common name amongst people of English descent – though, as noted in this post, 'my' branch of the Wright family comes via the USA.

So I have kind of experienced this before in real life – in the 1980s there was (and still is) Dr James Wright, who showed up on tv from time to time.

Then there's Jaime (note spelling) Wright, a model and shoe designer from Murray Bridge, South Australia. Her name gets the most hits on Google; this may or may not be because one of the things she models is bikinis.

A Jamie Wright plays ice hockey in the US NHL; another is a web designer.

The name – James Wright – turned up in a movie, That Thing Called Love, played by the late River Phoenix in one of his last films. Watching that was a similar kind of odd 'cause the name gets spoken over a loudspeaker, something along the lines of 'James Wright to the stage; James Wright' – and when I heard it, I nearly fell off my chair in shock.

Anyway, back to the song.

Obviously, at no point did I consider that the Jamie Wright in the song was me because – a) the person the lyrics describe isn't anything like me, and b) the band is from Scotland.

It's still an odd feeling though. But, my name aside, it's actually a really nice song – Mary Barclay has a great voice – and I'm glad I came across it. I even became a fan of the band on Facebook, and have had a conversation with Mary about it.

Maybe if my plans to get to Scotland for the Edinburgh Fringe some time in the next few years comes to fruition they'll be playing somewhere I can see them.

Blue Valentine

I saw Blue Valentine this week, and it was an interesting film, if not an especially pleasant one; the sort of thing I'd describe as something I respected, as opposed to enjoyed.

Starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, it's the story of Dean and Cindy, a couple with a young daughter; right from the start, though, it's made clear that not all is well between the two, and it doesn't seem to be getting better. Over the course of the film there are flashbacks to how the two met, and other key moments in their relationship.

It's not by any standards a happy film. What does make it worth seeing – if you're okay with the bleakness – is how damn realistic it all is. As a result, watching it is kind of voyeuristic, and (for me at least) grating and difficult to watch.

But it's a reminder of why Ryan Gosling is one of the best actors around, and why Michelle Williams was far, far better than Dawson's Creek would have you think.

Anne Hathaway, Glee and Batman number three

If you've read this post1 you'll be aware I've a fondness for Anne Hathaway. So, I was very pleased to hear about her upcoming schedule – a) she's doing an episode of Glee, and b) she's going to be playing Catwoman in the next Batman film.

Now, I'm a Glee fan – I wrote about it in a The Week That Was you can find here – and, while I don't think the more recent episodes are as good as the earlier ones, it's still enjoyable. So this is really a bonus rather than a game-changer like it is for Batman.

Because, unlike just about everyone else I know, I really haven't liked the new Batman films very much at all.

I don't really know why, exactly. I didn't see Batman Begins at the cinema, which didn't help, since my devotion to seeing films on the big screen is mostly because I enjoy them a lot more that way; dvd just doesn't work for me as well.

But when I did see it, I didn't think it anything special. Admittedly, my interest in action films had started to wane by the time I saw it, so that would have played a part. However, I did go to see The Dark Knight at the cinema, but that was solely due to the casting of Heath Ledger as The Joker; I didn't actually like the film that much overall, but I thought Ledger was phenomenal and meant it was worth seeing just for that.

I'd decided to reserve my judgement on whether or not I'd see the third one until there'd been some casting news. And, given that he's cast Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, it looks like director Christopher Nolan wants me to see the film.

Oh, and it doesn't hurt that he's also cast Tom Hardy – who played Eames in Inception, and was excellent – as well.

1And if you haven't you should. Just as soon as you've finished this one.


I wouldn't normally see two films in the space of week, but I wanted to see Tangled in 3D at Palace, and the only session time was 2pm, meaning I'd have to go on the weekend – so I did.

You wouldn't call me a fan of Disney animation. The last Disney film I saw at all was The Emperor's New Groove, and the last one I saw in the cinema was Aladdin – and that was a long time ago. I liked both of those – the former a great deal, though that may be more because of my fondness for llamas and llama-like creatures (i.e. alpacas) than anything else – but none they've made since has drawn me to see it.

But I started hearing good things about Tangled and, combined with the fact it's in 3D – while I'm against the format being used inappropriately2, I like what it does for CGI films – meant that I made up my mind to see it.

It is, if you haven't seen the previews or read anything about it, the classic story of Rapunzel (she of the very long hair and the high tower) given an upgrade, the most significant of which is the introduction of a new character, the roguish Flynn Rider, who helps her in her quest to leave the tower.

While it is still a very 'Disney' Disney film – lacking the intellectual muscle of something like Up or even Toy Story – there's plenty of good things about it: there are songs3 (but not too many), and a lot of humour. It looks fantastic; they've paid a lot of attention to detail and it shows.

They've had a lot of fun with the characters; apart from the main two, there's a whole seedy bar full of thugs (with hidden depths), twin ruffians (one voiced by the awesome Ron Perlman4), a very doglike horse (named Maximus) and my favourite, a helpful chameleon named Pascal.

You can even buy a plush Pascal on Amazon:

Yeah, I want one. And I shall have one, as soon as I find where they're sold; I'm assuming Toys'R'Us will have them.

So, like I said, a very good movie. Not brilliant, but certainly a lot of fun. I laughed a lot and, considering that it was only a few days after I'd seen the uber-awkward (and previously discussed) Blue Valentine, I was glad I did.

2The Green Hornet would be the current example. It just doesn't make any sense to me to make that in 3D. I don't really like that the final instalment of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is 3D, but at least it's high fantasy, rather than action/adventure taking place in 'our' world, so to speak.
3By Alan Menken, who's won eight Academy Awards for composing. That's the most of anyone alive!
4Great actor, turns up all over the place but is most well-known for playing the title character in the Hellboy films.


  1. No, I don't think that song was about you, yes Batman and Tom Hardy are awesome, and here (for now) is where to get Pascal -

  2. Should you ever become a celebrity and get asked inane questions like, "If you were a song, what would you be?", you now have an answer!