Scene Unseen:
Bounce: Dodgers and Grilled Cheese

Film Not a deleted scene this time, but it might as well have been considering how few people have actually seen the highly underrated Don Roos film Bounce. It tells the story of an ad executive (Ben Affleck) who swaps plane tickets with a writer rushing home for the festive season who subsequently dies in a crash. The exec has a crisis of conscience and decides to go off and find the widow (Gwyneth Paltrow) and family of the man he believes died so he can live, just to see if they're OK. She's lovely and there is chemistry ... which leads us to this scene in which they go out on their first date, a baseball game and meal.

It's a perfect example of what stops this film becoming the tv movie it might have been destined to be. Rather than following the usual plan, we get to see the bits of a typical date which don't usually appear in movies. So there's Paltrow waiting in the stands for Affleck, obviously worried that he isn't going to show up (how many of us have experienced that), the moment when the man leaves the toilet to find the woman still waiting at the back of the line and this moment pictured when Ben and the audience really falls for Gwyneth. They're about to order, but her character Abby excuses herself and the camera follows as we realize she's spotted someone in a prom dress who's just come out of the bathroom and hasn't noticed a strip of toilet paper stuck to her shoe. Rather than embarrassing the girl by telling her, Abby simply put her foot on the paper until its stuck to her shoe then furiously shakes it off. The girl is unaware of the good deed and when Abby sits down there is no reference to it other than the pictured smile as though nothing has happened.

This is one of those idiosyncrasies of character which sometimes gets lost in romantic dramas and comedies under the weight of whatever high concept is in play. Like all the items that Harry lists about Sally at the end of the film in which they met, people don't fall in love because of the way they look - it's about who they are and how they make each other feel. This tiny selfless act to a stranger shows Affleck's character Buddy that if he's going to change himself and his world she's the one to help him, consciously and unconsciously. Films are always good at showing love at first sight. But in the real world, sometimes its gradual and in these few moments of Bounce we see those first inklings of someone falling hard.
Life I am so tired ...
H2G2 John Malkovich and Anna Chancellor to appear as new characters in the Hitchhiker's movie. It looks increasingly like the film with be yet another version of the story from Douglas.
TV Anyone else watch Friends in the UK tonight point at the screen and shout "It's Annalise from Neighbours kissing Ross!" Thought not...
Meme Suw's been looking back over the past year and everything which has been happening to her and part of her attempt to come to terms with everything includes looking at what we all, the people who's blogs she reads were doing this day last year. I was amazed to find it was 365(ish) days ago that I decided it would be a really good idea to eat the five recommended pieces of fruit all together. Haven't done that since. Partly because my own imagination is all tapped out, also because if I write any more about the circus (the music for which I actually found myself humming out loud involuntarily on the bus today) I'll go crazy and because frankly its a great idea, here are the things that the my favourite bloggers were doing this time last year ...
- Robyn was experiencing the dangers of pubic transport (ie, fellow passengers) and suffering from the Lurgy.
- Caro was succinct in how she was feeling.
- The most popular discussions at Fark were about reaching the half millionth link and a fashion tip from Naomi Campbell that they should disregard the idea of underwear, which somehow manages to encapsulate what I love about that site.
- Jason didn't post. Neither did Rebecca.
- Vegard looked to experiencing media overload and blogging paralysis. Happens to us all.
- Onlineblog were excited about IBM's new profit figures. I still fantasize about these guys having a separate group blog which specifically talks about everything but computers and so we can see what that looks like.
- Neil was excited about pitting and teletubbies.
- The Metafilter people discussed their favourite films (again) and a new form of halluciniogenic drug.
- Vicky was nervous about Scottish Nationalism.
- Emily didn't post.
- John was on Safari. I'm still happy using IE6. Am I wrong?
- Plep linked to many, many different things.
- MilkPlus didn't think the film Anger Management was up to much.
- The Iraqi Information Minister [via Darren]
- Happy Birthday Suw!
I need to read more personal sites I think.
Blog! That's a shame. I was hoping Pippa and Owen were going to make a go of it. But now I'm wondering. Do they read each other's posts?
Film This will please Mark Kermode. Paul Schrader's rejected version of the prequel to The Exorcist is being released on DVD. Kinda makes you wonder why they bothered to remake it in the first place. Change of heart?
Life At college, I visited lecture upon lecture about how the book would continue in spite of the Internet. Years later how right they were. Smell a book. Smell your monitor. Which one would you rather try putting in your pocket? With a advent of PDA’s and Padds, WAP and what ever noodling Apple might be doing the idea of text as media is set to develop. Hard copy fans will complain that it isn’t the same. There is more quality to a book. That they read better. But when the convenience of being able to read whatever you like, whenever you like, wherever you like becomes a reality they really will love the fact they don’t have to carry ten books away on holiday with them . . .
Art Meme Alert!
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
I am both proud and embarrassed to say that the nearest book on hand was The National Gallery Companion Gallery. I'd taken it out last night to look up a favorite passage. And the fifth sentence on the 23rd page is:
"By graduating the blue of the background, more intense towards the top and lighter at the bottom, Bellini evokes the sky, in contrast with Baldovinetti in the 'Portrait of the Lady in Yellow'."
I always try and keep fine art close by. The above is part of a description of Giovanni Bellini's The Doge Leonardo Loredan.
TV I know this will interest at least one of my readers (how's that for micro-marketing?). Ross Rojek arrested! Who?
"Customers that ordered the My So-Called Life DVD set from have reason to celebrate; Ross Rojek has been arrested. Rojek was accused of mishandling consumer refunds, orders and promised bonus material when he became the exclusive online retailer for the DVD set. Fans became aggitated at the long waits to be refunded money they were owed and they eventually reported Rojek to the authorities."
Plus he wasn't so exclusive -- I bought the set from Amazon at a much cheaper price than the people who sank a deposit into this deal. He hasn't been taken in for this though -- its for the rather more interesting charge of mail and wire fraud in connection with a 'face recognition system' ....
Life A review for what I'm beginning to think of as my Moscow State Circus from the Liverpool Echo which does capture some of the flavour. Best bit: "Needless to say it was those in the ring who personified the word entertainment."
TV Happy Birthday BBC TWO with any luck will be as good as the Christmas TV documentary which was on Christmas Eve. [see also ott]
Film Thank God for that. I was afraid that when I saw Shaun of the Dead I would be giggling at the same time as the rest of the audience. Thankfully, there were many moments when I was the sole voice of laughter in the audience. Not because everyone else wasn't enjoying themselves, but because I was the one noticing the really subtle references, the moments which you'll only get if you've seen Spaced, heard the audio commentary from the dvd or know some of the history of the actors involved. Which is odd because the only two zombie films I've seen in my life are 28 Days Later and Resident Evil. But this is a much subtler prospect -- unlike the afformentioned sitcom, also co-written and starring Simon Pegg, the overt film references have been parred down to something subtler. Which makes it perfectly accessible to a wider audience.

Rather like From Dusk til Dawn the film begins in one genre and ends elsewhere. What is initially a romantic comedy in which Shaun is having flatmate and girl problems ends in a bloodfest with comedy. The sensibilty is familiar to anyone who used to watch Channel 4 on a Friday night after Friends -- but on a larger scale, bigger budget, but striking no broader strokes. Edgar Wright makes a very assured second debut (according to the IMDb his first debut 'Fistful of Fingers' featuring Jeremy Beadle looks disregardable). I would love to know how small the budget was here, because he absolutely makes the most of the suburban landscape he had to play with presenting something which looks very expensive indeed. And what is noticable is how little the performances of the lead actors have changed from their small screen personas -- which isn't a criticism -- it just proves how on the nose they were and are on the small screen. That Pegg, Nick Frost and Dylan Moran are stand outs goes without saying but its just great to see Kate Ashfield who's work I loved so much in Late Night Shopping proving yet again she should be one of the nations favourites. Being the only person in the country who hasn't seen The Office I hadn't met Lucy Davis but again she's very watchable. That Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton are any good, goes without saying.

This is something which really deserves to go into that panthion of films which people sit around in pubs quoting (see Withnail and I) -- there are moments of utter comic genius, levened with the terrifyingly shocking and touching. Just great. When can I see it again? Not yet? Best get my Spaced dvds out again then.
Life For the first time last night I sang karaoke. I'd always said that I was going to wait until I went to Tokyo to real karoke bar but for some reason (possibly because of the caffiene I was layering onto alcohol) I felt like it was something I needed to get out of my system. Do it, get it over with ready for next time I might need to do it properly. Blakes in the city centre would be the venue for this escapade. I initially tried to shout my choice across to the DJ. He order me to write it down with my name. I gave him my full name (and my general fear of authority figures probably means I would have also given him a serial number if I had one) which he then read out as my time came.

I broke the first rule of karoke and picked a song were I didn't really know the verses. Somewhat optimistically (and ironically) I chose Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain'. As I stepped up onto the tiny stage I realised that in fact this was the perfect time to do this because no one was particularly paying attention. They were too busy drinking and laughing and absorbed in a game of pool. A friend would later remark that my interpretation of the first verse was 'Shatneresque'. He wasn't wrong. I was awful. I only really found my feet in the section ... "clouds in my coffee, clouds in my coffee...and..." then into the chorus which I hammered with the resilience of Kurt Cobain's performance of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' on Top of the Pops -- a monotone drawl only in tune in the same way that you sometimes image a pencil is when you tap it rhythmically against a desk. No beginners luck here. I stank up the place and was only too happy to leave the microphone behind. But the point was I hadn't felt the nerves I'd always expected and even in the mediocrity of the bridge I hadn't got embarassed. Was I naturally an exhibitionist or something else.

I wanted to go again. After someone worked their way through ten minutes or so of the Don McLain version of American Pie (which had the added bonus for the rest of us of actually getting to read the words for a change) and my friends had given the The Proclaimers a run for their money I stepped back up on stage and to the same indifference which had greeted my first appearance I began the meal that is Alanis Morissette's Ironic. This time I was going to do something I already knew, inside out, back to front, sideways. I knew the ticks, the grinds, even the improvisations from the live version. No reading the words this time I went at it full pelt and I knew were everything was supposed to go. Yes, I was still flat, the fluidity I thought I had in the shower totally imagined, and frankly it wasn't me but an interpretation of Alanis with my favourite bits of one of her live versions thrown in, but it was all there. I was fearless, even at the point in the song which says 'Like meeting the man of your dreams then meeting his beautiful wife'. I even did a bit of the Alanis wobbled, my eyes closed my hand closed into a fiost. This time I understood what karoke was about -- for a few brief moments, you're the star no matter how awful you are. People clapped at the end this time. Although it could have been because I was the last person to perform and they were glad it was over. I don't care.
That Day Happy Easter! Hope you got lots of Easter eggs and things and the sugar rush is unbearable. As well as the usual, I got Love Actually on dvd as a side bar. Regular readers will know my general feelings about the film, but having watched the audio commentary and the deleted scenes I slight re-appraisal of the thing is in order. Favourite bit of the commentary -- when Richard Curtis is praising the music at the end when the little boy chases through the airport and High Grant says "Yeah -- it worked really well first time around in Shakespeare in Love..." Expect more praise on a 'Scene Unseen' spot sometime soon (on the subject of which if anyone else wants to write an appreciation of a moment from one of their favourite overlooked films or deleted scene missed by the rest of the world, feel free and I'll by happy to post).