What Ever Happened To… the teens from Elephant?

Mumbling slacker-cool teens, a high-school massacres, killers gay-kissing in a shower – Gus Van Sant’s ‘Elephant’ (2003) was always bound to stir up controversy but it also stirred critical acclaim in Europe where it won the Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

elephant film

A response to the Columbine Massacre, the film follows a fateful high-school day from several points of view, re-circling over the same events from different perspectives. While the slowly drifting pace may frustrate some, the film won plaudits for his unglamorous almost mundane treatment of violence – As Roger Ebert said “Gus Van  Sant has made an anti-violence film by draining violence of energy, purpose, glamor, reward and social context.”

The film was mostly cast with newcomers but what became of those teen amateurs?

Find out after the jump!

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Quick Quiz

5 more pop-culture questions for you! 

1  What was the name of the male dog in Disney’s ‘Lady & the Tramp’?

lady and the tramp

2  The intro to which 2001 song goes “Lucy Liu, with my girl Drew, Cameron D and Destiny….”

3  Only one Batman actor has been older than the Joker he starred opposite. Which one?

4  What links Victor Meldrew, James Nesbitt in Manchester, and a US drama about a funeral home family?

victor meldrew wife

5  Jon Lovitz appeared twice in ‘Friends’. In season 1 he played a stoned restauranteur – which character did he date in Season 9?

jon lovitz friends

Answers after the jump!  Please let me know how you do at @showbizgeek

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The Four Queens

I wrote this short story a few years ago after being inspired by playing cards on a cafe table. I thought it better to share with you rather than leave it stewing forever in a forgotten folder. If you enjoy it please share it with friends. Thanks – Rory

The four queens

The Four Queens

My grandmother was a wise and wonderful woman with a small body and a big fat laugh.   Some people have a touch of magic about them, a twinkle in their eye that suggests they have seen life’s secrets and delighted in them.  She had more than a twinkle, her eyes danced. They were filled with adventure, deep wisdom, and mischief.

She would welcome friends, old and new, to her little front room and let hours roll away over several cups of strong tea (she had no patience for pale tea and was very particular that the colour should be that of ‘a tanned stocking’). 

If somebody was troubled she would listen carefully and not speak a word until they had finished.  When all was said, a few moments passed as the story hung in the air between them, like a balloon waiting to be popped. Eventually my grandmother would offer a few carefully selected sentences; often words of comfort, sometimes a nudge towards action, always delivered softly and with no expectation that her advice be followed. It seemed to me that everyone walked away from her front door a little taller and feeling a little braver in a world that looked a little brighter.  Well almost everyone.  She was sneaky too.

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Weekend Wanderings #1

Having a full day of potential wanderings ahead of me I flipped through one of my London’s Hidden Walks books and decided upon Islington. I have been to a cafe near Angel before but the whole area south of Finsbury Park and north Old Street was slippery and muddy in my mental geography. All I knew of Islington was that Jeremy Corbyn lives there, Tony Blair once lived there, and I’d seen an episode of a home improvement show about 15 years ago with a family that lived there. Their son was called Tyler (which struck me as oddly American at the time), the mum was blonde and cheery.

tony blair jeremy corbyn changing rooms islington

Why I remember that the family lived in Islington I do not know. Sometimes a fact gets lodged in the banks and maintained just for the novelty. Filed away in the brain’s curiosity corner. ‘Why are you even in here?’ sneer the useful memories. ‘You’ll see. He’ll vaguely remember this episode of (Ground Force? Changing Rooms?) in 15 years’, ‘It’ll still be completely useless’, ‘Well….yes. Fair point’. I think the family ended up quite happy with whatever changes happened to their decor/garden. Can’t be sure.

After the book guided me around several spots of historical disinterest about water-works and the underground river system, I found myself in a another gently polite leafy Victorian suburb. A place of genteel hush where piano recitals might ring out on clear blue Saturday mornings, where expensive ‘ethnic’ sofa throws and curated book shelves lie behind sash windows, where people write dense novels to impress their dinner guests and know what a wine label is trying to tell them. A plaque could read ‘this area was drawn entirely from the frothy imaginings of Richard Curtis’.

four weddings and a funeral islington is it still raining hugh grant andi mcdowall

A nice place to stroll through, much like an upper middle-class zoo; look but don’t touch, you can aspire but can never afford. And don’t walk dog-shit on our cream carpets. I sense that even if my Euromillions investments came through and I spent a significant chunk on a sleepy townhouse I would still get some hard stares from the neighbours for having loud music past 10pm. Or not keeping abreast of the Guardian’s latest vogue in recycling. Or not wearing a pastel shirt in a studiously relaxed enough way.

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Quick Quiz

5 more pop-culture questions for you! 

1  An amateur detective called Jane solved crimes in 12 novels and 20 short stories but is better known by her surname, what is it?

2  What was the name of Hyacinth’s nervous neighbour in ‘Keeping Up Appearances’?

hyacinth bucket keeping up appearances neighbour elizabeth

3  Which band began in 2004 as ‘The Management’ but later abbreviated their name?

4  A cover-version of this song reached UK No.17 in 1975, another cover version reached No1. in 1997, and another cover version reached UK No.1 in 2001. What’s the song?

5 James McAvoy, Benedict Cumberbatch and Alice Eve all appeared together in ‘Starter For 10’ (2006). James and Benedict later appeared together in which film? Alice and Benedict later appeared together in which film?

james mcavoy alice eve benedict cumberbatch starter for 10

Answers after the jump!  Please let me know how you do at @showbizgeek

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Quick 1995 Quiz!

12 pop-culture questions for you! Today’s theme is 1995… 

1 UK soap ‘Brookside’ had massive ratings when Trevor Jordache’s body was finally discovered. Where was his body?

beth mandy jordache brookside

2  Which 1995 UK & US number 1 began with Michelle Pfeiffer asking ‘You wanna tell me what this is all about?’?

3  Which 1995 animated film featured the voices of Christian Bale and Mel Gibson?

4 Blur’s ‘Country House’ beat Oasis’ ‘Roll With It’ in their famous chart battle in August 1995. According to the lyrics of ‘Country House’, the subject “lives in a house, a very big house in the country, watching afternoon repeats and…” what?

damon albarn girls and boys fila zip-up blur

Jennifer Erle starred in a hit BBC adaptation of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, who was her male co-star?

jennifer ehle pride and prejudice

6  In ‘Clueless’ Cher’s boyfriend Christian brought over a famously camp film for them to watch on a date night, what was it?

christian cher clueless movie

7 Who featured alongside Michael Jackson in his video for ‘You Are Not Alone’?

8  Which Take That member sang the majority of ‘Never Forget’?

take that never forget

9 ‘Toy Story’ made its US debut in November 1995. The opening shot of the film and the closing shot of ‘Toy Story 3’ were similar – what did it feature?

toy story woody buzz

10  Which two New York boroughs did LL Cool J mention in the chorus to his hit single ‘Doin It’?

LL Cool J

11 What linked U2’s ‘Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me’ with Seal’s ‘Kiss from a Rose’?

12  In ‘The Simpsons’ episode ‘Who Shot Mr Burns’ (May 1995) what did Mr Burns collapse onto after being shot?

mr burns maggie who shot mr burns the simpsons

Answers after the jump!  Please let me know how you do at @showbizgeek

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Rory Reviews…Zootropolis/Zootopia, Sony World Photo Exhibit, and ‘Mapplethorpe: Look At The Pictures’

Hello again!

Since moving to London I’ve filled the weekends by heading to all the galleries, museums and exhibits the city has to offer along with regular trips to the cinema and not so regular trips to the theatre. I thought I may as well dig out my camera and begin making YouTube videos again so I could share my thoughts on the good, bad and ugly of what’s on offer.

In the first of my ‘Rory Reviews…’ I have a look at ‘Disney’s Zootopia/Zootrolopis’, The Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition, and a documentary called ‘Mapplethorpe: Look At the Pictures’.

If you’d got feedback please let me know @theroryjohn

More info on the film and exhibition after the jump!

‘Zootropolis’ is out in cinemas now.

The Sony World Photography Exhibition (at Somerset House until 8th May) More info here http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/2016-sony-world-photography-awards-exhibition

I ‘Mapplethorpe: Look At The Pictures‘ in the very lovely Curzon Soho which apparently is in danger of being redeveloped. Give it a visit while you can.

Quick Quiz

6 more pop-culture questions for you!

1  What kind of dinosaur featured in the logo for ‘Jurassic Park’?

lex jurassic park ariana grande

2  Frank Sinatra sang this song in ‘High Society’ and it became the title of a UK game show in 1998. What is it?

frank sinatra high society who wants to be a millionaire

3  Three James Bond films feature the word ‘die’ (or ‘dies’) in the title – what are they?

4  A rocket scientist, Brad Pitt, got a car, Elvis or something – What is the late 90s hit?

5  Which ‘Friends’ character was the last to appear in the pilot episode?

‘Birds of a Feather’, ‘The Royle Family’, ‘The Office’, ‘Dad’s Army’ – which sitcom featured an original song as it’s theme tune?

the royle family

Answers after the jump!  Please let me know how you do at @showbizgeek

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Quick Quiz

5 more pop-culture questions for you!

1 According to Ronan Keating’s 1999 hit ‘When You Say Nothing At All’, “The smile on your face lets me know that…” what?

ronan keating when you say nothing at all bench video

2  What kind of flower famously featured in the last shot of ‘Blackadder Goes Forth’?

blackadder world war 2 movie

3  ‘Friends’, ‘Morse’, ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’, ‘Only Fools And Horses’ – which one had a spin-off show that did NOT have a character’s name as the title?

4  Who was the longest-serving Sugababe – Heidi Range, Mutya Buena orKeisha Buchanan?

heidi range mutya buena keisha buchanan sugababes

5  The male lead from ‘Grease’ and the female lead from ‘Grease 2’ appeared together in which film musical?

grease pink ladies frenchie rizzo marty

Answers after the jump!  Please let me know how you do at @showbizgeek

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Quick Quiz

5 more pop-culture questions for you!

1 In ‘Friends’ what is Rachel’s daughter Emma’s relationship to Chandler’s daughter Erica?

rachel green emma friends chandler bing erica jack baby

2  Which edition of the news would Des’ree like to watch in her 1998 hit ‘Life’?

des'ree life

3  Jason Orange, Neneh Cherry and Mary Berry all have fruity surnames – but which one was NOT born with that surname?

jason orange neneh cherry mary berry

4  If the answers are Kristin Shepard, Lisa Shaw, and Maggie Simpson – what are the questions?

5  Since ‘Batman’ in 1989, two of Batman’s lead actresses have gone on to win Oscars – who are they?

batman evolution films

Answers after the jump!  Please let me know how you do at @showbizgeek

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