Steve Martin performs magic
Steve Martin turns 64 today, meaning that he will definitely be spending the evening knocking back brewskis, pitching lady’s bottoms, and spluttering over a cake to extinguish 64 candles. Good for him, good for him. He’s a great man, a wonderful comedian throughout the 1970s, he made some great films in the very early 1980s. And then he went all a bit rubbish. Which is a shame, because he’s a big hero in the sprawling Interestment mansion. Hence we thought we’d get him a gift, so we sat in a line on a blow up banana attached to a speedboat, and zipped along shouting ideas at one another using as many expletives as possible, before it boiled down to a toss up between a massive cucumber, or a clip of a very early Steve Martin television performance. In the end we got him both. Happy etc…!
Birds Eye Beefburgers
Kathleen Turner – yes, Kathleen Turner – turns a very lovely 55 today. And what a gal she is. She’s done it all. In the 1980s, she was probably the most sensual woman alive, making steamy films like Body Heat, followed by excellent comedies like The Man With Two Brains. Not to mention one of the finest action movies of all time, Romancing The Stone. She had everything in her acting armory, that girl. Everything. And then, in a weird twist, she spent a portion of the 90s playing Chandler’s DAD in Friends. Still, we thought we should buy her a gift, so we drank exactly nine pints of Staropramen each, then decided to discuss things in the back of a speeding cab. It boiled down to a toss up between a bucket to throw up into, or an old advert about beefburgers. In the end we got her both. Happy Birthday Kathleen Turner!
Some marvelous films just didn’t make it…
Passionate cinema goers will tell you that the 1970s was a ripe time for the pictures. Movies were four or five hours long, you could smoke all the way through them, and popcorn was two bob. Of course, no one actually knows what a bob was, so that really could mean anything. Cars were five bob, houses nineteen bob, and if you wanted a yacht in St Tropez, you’d need a deposit of at least three or four bob. See – total nonsense. That aside, it really was a healthy time for bloated movie makers with beards, and coming up with our top four was a brutal exercise. Just sliding to the cutting room floor at the very last moment were: Star Wars, Alien, Rocky, Serpico, Grease, Taxi Driver, Annie Hall, and The Warriors. Our ever changing top four currently looks like this…
1. Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory
Kids films were absolutely brilliant throughout the 1970s – Bugsy Malone, Grease, Jesus Christ Superstar and Star Wars were all considered for the top spot. But this original version of Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory just steals it, thanks mainly to being a great great film. Certain members of the Interestment family must have watched it over fifty times. The combination of oiky children and Gene Wilder’s sometimes-scary portrayal of Wonka made it just chilling enough to remove any sickly-sweet edges. A fantastic motion picture.
2. Apocalypse Now
A big, fat, bloated film, Apocalypse Now encapsulates everything that was brilliant about 1970s cinema. It’s amazing, and keeps out other 1970s epics including The Godfather films, Alien and The Deer Hunter. Part war film, part exploration of madness and power, it features one of the greatest casts of all time – Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Larry Fishburne, Marlon Brando, and the amazing Dennis Hopper. As a cinematic experience it’s hard to think of a single film that could better it.
3. Mad Max
Revenge films were enormously a la mode throughout the 1970s – Carrie, Death Wish, and to an extent, Taxi Driver. The best of the bunch, however, was Mad Max, which starred Mel Gibson before he went all weird. The tale of a kindly family man donning leather and going after the bikers who murdered his family, this is an absolutely fantastic film, which includes fast cars, arms being pulled from their sockets, and a difficult hack-saw conundrum. Gibson’s finest work.
4. The Jerk
Quite simply, the best Steve Martin comedy ever made, it kick started a flurry of films starring exellent US stand ups that went all the way through the 1980s. The tale of a young white man with salt and pepper hair leaving his adopted black family and making his way in the world, it is brilliantly stupid. It keeps out other great 1970s comedies Annie Hall and Animal House.
Steve Martin, The Jerk
Robbie Williams, what a life that guy is having. First he was in Take That, then he decided to go it alone and did really well. Then he seemed to get gradually sadder and more upset, as if no amount of luxury jacuzziing could wash away the pain of being a successful millionaire living in Los Angeles. So, this year, for his 35th birthday, we thought we’d go about really cheering him up, but as usual we were torn about what to get him. It boiled down to a toss up between a visit from a friendly clown, or a clip of Steve Martin in The Jerk. In the end, we got him both! Happy Birthday Robbie Williams!
Steve Martin, The Midnight Special
Sade turns 49 today, and the woman has everything – her looks, a mountain fashioned from actual money, nine yachts. So what the hell to get her? It boiled down to a toss up between a subscription to FHM magazine or a clip of Steve Martin, from when he was still funny. In the end, we got her both. Happy Birthday Sade! No, YOUR love is King!
Born Standing Up, Steve Martin
With so much television to watch, it’s almost impossible to find time to read a nice book, which is why Born Standing Up by Steve Martin is a terrific choice. It’s quite short. And really good. It chronicles his beginnings as a comedian, nicking other people’s jokes and putting on magic shows, all the way up to The Jerk.
It’s a good place to stop really, because after that he did The Man With Two Brains, then Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and then nothing funny ever again. Shame, because after reading this, you’ll really like him. You might even forgive him the first nineteen Father of The Brides.