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Generation X – Part 3: Squeeze by Jamie

Generation X: Squeeze (Production No. 1×02)

Written By Glen Morgan & James Wong, Directed By Harry Longstreet.

BBC Air Date: 03/10/1994

Well we finally come to the first of the ‘Monster of the Week‘ episodes of the X-Files and what a monster it is. First, the synopsis. Scully is asked to help on mysterious murder case by an old friend Agent Colton (Donal Logue). The cases are mysterious due to the fact that there seems to be no obvious point of entry and the liver is torn from each victim with the killers bare-hands. Mulder joins the investigation with his own theories and immediately gets Colton‘s back up. They apprehend a subject and, when Mulder introduces some of his own questions during a lie detector test, Colton officialy gets him taken off the investigation and the suspect, Eugene Victor Tooms (Doug Hutchins), is set free . Mulder, believing Tooms to be a genetic mutant who needs livers in order to hibernate for decades at a time, continues anyway since the case has some similarities to one of his X-Files and Scully decides to side with him instead of Colson. In the end, of course, it turns out that Mulder was right and they finally capture Tooms again.

This episode was one of the first that gave us the sense that The X-Files was going to be something more than aliens and abductions all the time and thank fuck for that. I mean, seriously, the whole over-arching mythology is alright in small doses but there is no way in hell I‘d be able to take that for an entire series. Really, it‘s these Scooby Doo-esque episodes which make the series, especially later when the mythology just becomes bloated and convoluted.

So, allow us then to delve deeper into this episode. There are some awesome moments held within. Mulder in particular is in top form. There are some great character moments when he’s dealing with Agent Colton who basically seems to view Mulder as a fucking joke. One of the first questions Colton asks Mulder if he suspects little green men are responsible for the murders. Mulder responds completely straight faced that the little men are in fact grey, from Reticula and that they are notorious for the extraction of human livers due to an iron deficiency in the Reticulan galaxy. He then asks him if he knows what liver and onion goes for in the Reticulan galaxy before turning around and doing his fucking job like a real FBI agent. This episode also features on of Mulder‘s classic lines after realising he‘s just put his hand in human bile, “Is there anyway I can get it off my fingers quickly without betraying my cool exterior?” Classic Mulder.

It‘s also nice to see Scully siding with Mulder in this episode, having had enough of Colton constantly bad mouthing him. It‘s clear that, though she may not agree with all of his ‘spooky‘ ideas, she does have a certain amount of respect for him and regards him as a partner who she is loyal to. You also get to see her kicking the ass of a killer mutant who has already killed several people showing that she‘s more than just an expert in medical science. She‘s also an expert in Ass-Kickery.

Finally onto Tooms himself. This really needed to be a strong episode in order to show that The X-Files could be more than that show about aliens and stuff and thankfully it was. This was mainly down to the character of Eugene Victor Tooms, a genetic mutant who is over one hundred years old, eats human livers in order to allow him to hibernate for periods of thirty years and also has the ability to stretch and squeeze into tiny places. That is a fucking awesome concept for a monster and it‘s the reason that Tooms remained one of the series favourite villains despite only appearing in two episodes.

I did always feel a little sorry for Tooms though. I got the impression that if he didn‘t get those livers and enter his hibernation, he‘d wither and die. Of course if he‘d just end up aging naturally at the same speed as everyone else or at a much faster rate is up for debate I suppose. You also do get the strong impression that Tooms does quite enjoy his little acts of murder.

Overall this is a thoroughly enjoyable episode that kicks of the whole ‘Monster of the Week‘ concept and kicks it off strong, deepens the characters of both Mulder and Scully and presents an awesome villain. Four and a half pints out of five. Laterz.



Generation X: Part 2 – Deep Throat by Jamie

Generation X: Deep Throat (Production No. 1×01)

Written By Chris Carter, Directed By Robert Mandel.
BBC Air Date: 19/09/1994

In this episode Mulder and Scully investigate the disappearance of an Air Force Colonel and a possible cover-up involving crashed UFO’s, hybrid experimental aircraft and a pseudo-Area 51. Mulder is warned to stay away from this case by a mysterious man in a bar bathroom, the titular Deep Throat, but decides to investigate anyway. He comes closer to the truth than he ever has before but also comes to experience first hand the kind of power that those behind the conspiracy wield.

There, I think I’ve got that little problem with my synopses going on forever sorted at last. Anyway, on with the review. This is the first full on episode of the X-Files complete with theme tune, opening credits sequence and is the introduction of Mark Snow as the series composer. I have to say that I really do love that theme. It just sums up the feel of the series, evoking the feeling of creepiness and mysteriousness that comes with dealing with the paranormal.

Now, this whole episode draws heavily from the myths surrounding the top secret US Air force base, Area 51 or Groom Lake even going so far as to have a parallel to the Little Ale’Inn, which is just down the road from Area 51, in the form of the Flying Saucer Restaurant. What I don’t understand is why they didn’t just go ahead and use the name Area 51? I mean, they use the real name in later episodes, including some brilliant ones that have Michael McKean making a special guest appearance. Anyway the point is that if you’re blatantly just going to use Area 51, just call it fucking Area 51.

This episode also has some great examples of some early 90s CGI in the form of a hovering triangle that has a few bright lights. Of course it’s easy to look at it now and comment about how shitty and cheesy it looks by today’s standard. We think we’re so fucking great with our ‘Avatars’ and our ‘Iron Mans’. We sicken me. Anyway, I’m sure that little nine year old me was suitably impressed watching it in the darkened living room of our house. I bet I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The most worrying thing is that it actually looks about as good as some of the CGI effects I’ve seen in the incredibly recent series ‘Spartacus: Blood And Sand’. Damn that show’s cheap looking.

As for what goes on in the episode, well, there are a few key scenes. The introduction of Deep Throat is a pretty big one and I’ll delve into that a little bit later. What you really get is an idea of the clashes between the personalities of the two agents but also how dedicated they are to ensuring each others safety. You also get an idea of just how dedicated Mulder is to trying to uncover the truth behind the conspiracy, going so far as to break into a top secret military facility and strolling onto the runway to get a better look. Honestly it’s pretty fucking stupid for someone who’s apparently a Cambridge educated FBI agent but what’re you gonna do? This is a series that kinda hinges on suspension of disbelief.

As far as being a ‘Mythology’ episode this one isn’t as bad as later ones would become. It doesn’t have the huge, convoluted history behind it so it’s still a bit light and generally an easy watch. Since it also has a separate mystery going on beside the mythology stuff, it manages to keep you interested whereas I think that some of the later ones that had Mulder and Scully investigating the conspiracy for the sake of investigating it lacked that aspect.

Finally I’ll just go back to the fact that this episode introduces us to the character of Deep Throat, obviously based on, and possibly intended to be, the Deep Throat who leaked information during the Watergate scandal. Deep Throat was the first of many informants that would approach Mulder and do what seemed as little as possible in order to aid him in the quest for the truth. His first scene is a little odd. He approaches Mulder in the bathroom of the bar and advises him not to investigate the case as the military won’t look to kindly on an FBI investigation. I don’t know about you but if an older gentleman ever approaches me in a bar bathroom and his name is Deep Throat then I’m getting the fuck out of there. Still, he’s an important character and does help in providing some information on the conspiracy without which we’d probably be as lost as Mulder. He also finishes the episode with a fantastic line. When Mulder ask him if ‘they‘ have really are here on Earth, he responds with “Mr. Mulder, they have been here for a long, long time.” Awesome.

Overall it’s a decent enough episode if not just a bit average. I’ll give it three pints out of five. Laterz.



Generation X: A Look Back At The X-Files: Part 1 – Pilot by Jamie

It’s hard to imagine now just how big The X-Files was back in the 90s. It permeated everything and as a result the 90s was also a time filled with bullshit about the paranormal and conspiracy theories. Every week it seemed as though there was some special documentary about the Roswell Incident or whether or not the moon landings were faked. Still, as much as the X-Files was responsible for a lot of belief in complete and utter bullshit I feel as though it’s also responsible for the Sceptical movement coming to such prominence over the past 10 years or so as people battle tirelessly to undo the damage the show has done.

The show started on September 10, 1993 in the US and came to the UK in 1994. I was but a young lad of 9 when it first started and I distinctly remember watching it from the beginning and, like so many others, I completely bought into the paranormal and believed in practically all aspects of it until really quite recently. I gobbled up those documentaries, read book after book and had quite an extensive collection of magazines that dealt with the subject. Still much in the same way that the X-Files is probably at least partially responsible for the growing sceptical movement, it’s probably also the reason that I am a sceptic now myself. Without it I probably would have never paid much attention to the paranormal and so wouldn’t care about ridiculous beliefs in it either way.

The X-Files influence on me doesn’t end there either. The X-Files is possibly responsible for my having a ridiculously large DVD collection. When the series began to be released on the new format I bought them as soon as each one was released. It pretty much gave me the collecting bug and from then I was pretty much fucked and doomed to have a collection far beyond the size of anything that I really should.

So keeping the massive effect the series has had on my life in mind and considering the fact that I haven’t really watched them for years, I’ve decided to go back, revisit the show and review every damn episode. Why? Well because an undertaking of this magnitude will probably cut into my movie viewing somewhat (not to say that this will completely overtake the blog, there will still be movie related things of course including some big video things that I’ve got planned) and it’s a good excuse to have a consistent stream of things to post. Let’s get underway.

Pilot (Production No. 1X79)

Written By Chris Carter, Directed By Robert Mandel.
BBC Air Date: 19/09/1994

So then, this is it where it all begins with the imaginatively titled pilot episode, ‘Pilot’. It’s our first introduction to many a character including the Cigarette Smoking Man, their boss who isn’t Skinner at this point and, of course, Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. It’s pretty obvious that David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson pretty much had the characters down from the beginning. Mulder is the sarcastic, witty and all around charming guy and Scully is the sceptical, scientific and slightly serious character that they would pretty much remain throughout the entirety of the series. The only major difference is that in this episode Scully seems a little more open to Mulder’s point of view and a little quicker to accept his paranormal explanation then she would in later episodes.

There are a few things which mark this out as a pilot. For example the iconic theme music is no where to be found at all in this episode. There’s not even an opening credit sequence, instead just a black screen filled with large white letters exclaiming that ‘The following story is inspired by actual documented accounts.’ Of course they are.

Still, other then that there’s not really that much to distinguish this from and average episode. We hear how Mulder discovered the X-Files and the story of how he saw his sister Amanda being abducted by aliens for the first time but it doesn’t really seem like the big thing that it would become later in the series, more like an event that just led to his interest in these kind of cases.

Now the story of the first episode is essentially that a small town has had a rash of unexplainable deaths, each one involving the graduating class of the local high school. Mulder and Scully go off to investigate after Scully is assigned to work with Mulder, essentially being instructed to keep an eye on exactly what he‘s up to. Mulder seems to believe that extra-terrestrials are somehow involved in the case. As they are driving towards the town the radio and clock in their car go a bit haywire and Mulder pulls over, marking the spot with a big red X.

They begin to investigate the deaths much to the chagrin of the local sheriff and medical examiner who both seem to know more then they’re letting on, arousing Scully’s suspicions. They visit two of the graduating classes remaining survivors in a hospital finding one in a wheelchair and the other in a vegetative state due to a vehicular accident that both were involved in. Mulder notices that both have strange marks on their body and decides to exhume the body of one of the former victims in order to see if it has similar marks upon it.

What they discover in the coffin is a little bit of a shock as it doesn’t appear to be the body of a human but rather that of a desiccated orang-utan. They take some X-Rays of the thing which reveals a small, metallic implant in it’s naval cavity. Mulder decides to go and check out the woods were all these incidents have been occurring… Fuck, I wanted this to be a concise synopsis. Right, on the way back from the woods the two agents experience a blinding flash of white light and seem to have lost nine minutes, a phenomenon generally reported by those who believe that they have been abducted by aliens.

Upon returning to their hotel they find out they receive a mysterious phone call telling them that the girl from the hospital is dead. Whilst investigating this new death, their hotel catches fire, destroying all the evidence they have gathered up to this point which really pisses Mulder off. They meet the person who had phoned them, the medical examiners daughter who it turns out was also part of the graduating class and Mulder begins to suspect that the boy in the vegetative state is involved in the murders. A visit to the hospital reveals he has dirty feet and Scully begins to turn around to Mulder’s way of thinking.

Since the soil samples that they had taken in the woods before had been destroyed in the fire they decide to the woods to gather more, only to find that the sheriff is here. It turns out that he has been tracking his son who is up and about again, having seemingly kidnapped the medical examiner’s daughter. Mulder and the sheriff witness a blinding white light surround the two youngsters whilst Scully is distracted elsewhere. When the light dissipates the two are standing there, the boy apparently aware of his surroundings once more and the mysterious marks having disappeared.

Mulder and Scully return to Washington and she presents her report on Mulder’s activities to her bosses, seemingly taking his side on the case which pisses them off to no end. The episode ends with the Cigarette smoking man putting a metallic implant, the one piece of physical evidence into a box in a massive warehouse filled with boxes probably containing masses of evidence pertaining to the supernatural in a clear homage to Indiana Jones.

So there you go. That’s the first episode of the X-Files and the beginning of, in my personal opinion, one of the greatest on-screen partnerships in all of television history. There are a few things which happen in this episode which I don’t think are ever really mentioned or explained in later episodes primarily whether or not Mulder and Scully where actually abducted. I know they are both abducted at later points in the series but I’m not sure if this experience is ever brought up again. I’m sure I’ll found out as we go along.

Still overall it’s a pretty good episode and is much better than many of the ones that would deal with aliens later on, the so called ‘Mythology’ episodes that dealt with the over-arching conspiracy. This one plays off much more like the preferred ‘Monster-Of-The-Week’ episodes even though their isn’t really a monster. Of particular note is David Duchovny who is fucking hilarious throughout this episode. Almost every other line is some witty or sarcastic remark particularly during the pairs first meeting. It’s good stuff and one of the reason I loved this show.

So there you go. That’s the first part of this ongoing X-periment. Hahaha. Did you see what I did there? I crack me up. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll get the hang of this as I go along and try and tighten up those synopses. Next up is the first of the proper Mythology episodes, ‘Deep Throat’. Until then, laterz.



Movies That I Regret Owning by Jamie
22/11/2009, 2:15 pm
Filed under: Lists | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A response to boxcarman123 on YouTube. Bridge!!



The Cinepub First Annual Obligatory Xmas Season Top 10 Christmas Films That I Enjoy To Like! by Jamie
22/12/2008, 1:53 pm
Filed under: Lists | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Well, it’s that time of year again. People are roasting their nuts on open fires, toy companies a greedily stroking their chins in manners befitting their evil geniusnous and children are pissing themselves in the laps of creepy strangers wearing false beards. Merry Christmas!

It seems as though this is a blog about films and as such I am pretty much required by law to do a list containing my favourite Christmas movies of all time. I managed to resist doing a list of scary films at Halloween but I’m afraid I just can’t fight the mainstream on this. I fear that if I do, my blogging licence will be revoked and I’ll be forced to go back to not making money doing other things and I can’t have that.

So let’s begin shall we?

10) Santa Claus: The Movie

Since my first Christmas I’m fairly sure I’ve seen this Saint Nick biopic every damn year. (Though that’s impossible as it was released a year after my first Christmas but I digress) The film begins with Santa Claus gaining magical powers for he is the chosen one. The film ends up with Dudley Moore playing an elf teaming up with John Lithgow playing an evil business tycoon for some reason. Awesome!

9) Ernest Saves Christmas

Ernest P. Worrell featured quite heavily in my early life for some reason. In particular I remember two films, Ernest Scared Stupid and Ernest Saves Christmas. Since I can’t put Ernest Scared Stupid on this list I’m gonna have to put Ernest Saves Christmas on this list. The film tells the story of Ernest’s mission to find a replacement for Santa who’s getting close to retirement. In no way is it a fantastic film but it ain’t The Santa Clause and that counts for something.

8 ) Home Alone

Another one from my childhood. For some reason I may have seen this film more than any other film that has ever or will ever exist. It just always happens to be on for some reason. Either my brothers watching it, my cousins watching it or someone else is watching it and, having nothing better to do, I end up watching it too. You know the plot. Hell, you’ve probably seen it a thousand times too.

7) The Muppet Christmas Carol

A telling of the Charles Dickens’ story starring the loveable cast of the Muppets and the loveable aged cockney, Michael Caine. Particular pieces of awesome: Statler and Waldorf as the ghosts of Marley and Marley, Kermit and Piggy as Mr and Mrs Cratchit and an awesome Ghost of Christmas Future. As long as Future looks enough like Death in a Christmas Carol movie then I’m sold.

6) How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Yes, the animated TV special, not the one with Jim Carrey. Sprung forth from the surrealistic mind of Dr. Seuss and narrated by Boris Fucking Karloff. It’s the classic tale of a hairy green freak who wants to stop Whoville from enjoying Christmas only to have is heart grow three times that day. Man, I’m hungry for roast beast.

5) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

It’s Christmas time at the Griswold’s and every body is coming to stay! Nothing goes smoothly, every little event working it’s way tirelessly and relentlessly to ruin Clark’s dream of a perfect Christmas. Every second of this film have things going from bad, to worse to uber-bad and it’s all very, very funny.

4) Scrooged

Another retelling of Dickens’ story, this time starring William Murray. This film modernizes the story as bastard television producer Francis attempts to make his own live version of the story only to have the events within it happen to him. As I said before as long as they have a good Ghost of Christmas Future I’m sold and in this film motherfucker is the Grim Reaper with a TV for a face. Awesome.

3) Lethal Weapon

It’s the greatest buddy cop movie ever made and also a damn good Christmas film. Ok so maybe it’s technically not a Christmas film but it’s set at Christmas time so it counts. Riggs is a cop with nothing to lose and Murtaugh is just getting’ too old for this shit. The film culminates with Riggs spending Christmas at the Murtaugh household so it definetly counts.

2) Die Hard

This is possibly the greatest action movie ever made and it’s a shame what the franchise has become but thankfully the knowledge that Die Hard 4.0 exists cannot take away from the awesome that is this film. I still feel tense watching certain parts of it, no matter how many times I watch it. This one also feels a lot more Christmassy than Lethal Weapon so it gets extra points for that.

1) Gremlins

Ah, what can I say about Gremlins that hasn’t already been said? Did you ever get a dog for Christmas? Then the dog got wet and more dogs sprouted out of his back? And then when the new dogs ate after midnight they turned into ravenous reptillian wolves? That’s kinda like this film but with mogwai and gremlins instead of dogs and wolves. There’s plenty of fun here as the titular characters just generally cause mayhem on Christmas night. They dress up as carolers, attack Santa Claus and kill an old woman! Ho, Ho, Ho Merry Christmas!



Something I Finally Saw: Hancock by Jamie
08/12/2008, 6:51 am
Filed under: Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Imagine a superhero movie within which the hero is an alcoholic cock who is hated by the masses. This is the basic premise of Hancock, a film which I finally got around to seeing. This concept is fairly original to films, not so much to comic books, and it is nice to see a superhero without any prior knowledge of his origin or back-story whatsoever.

Will Smith (of Fresh Prince fame) plays John Hancock, a homeless superhero who reluctantly saves a city that hates him with no real regard for the city itself. He flies whilst drunker than an aging prostitute trying to forget her existence and lands in a way which fucks the street up to shit. He throws cars around, smashing buildings and street signs and just generally does more harm than good. The city tries to prosecute him but how do you stop someone who can’t be stopped? You can’t. See, the answer was in the question. It’s whilst fucking up another rescue, resulting in a few trashed cars and one major fucked up train that Hancock saves Ray, a PR dude played by Jason Bateman, who sees an opportunity to turn Hancock’s public perception around and make him the hero that Ray knows he can be.

Under Ray’s advice, Hancock hands himself over to the police willingly and stays in prison in an effort to get himself off of the booze and let the people of Los Angeles see just how god-awful the city would be without him. The plan works and the chief of police calls Hancock for help when a small group of bandits take hostages and try to rob a bank. Hancock shows up and saves the day. Hooray! The end. Except it isn’t. There then comes a twist which brings the movie to a darker, grittier conclusion than the tone of the rest of the movie seems to imply. I imagine if the film had come out after “The Dark Knight” this theme would have been pervasive right the way through the film.

Now, a lot has been written about the films sudden tonal shift within the last third, mostly about how people didn’t really like it. They felt it didn’t particularly fit in with the rest of the film and to some extent I agree. It didn’t really fit in with the humorous nature of the rest of the film. This didn’t, however, affect my enjoyment of the film. I actually felt that it kind of improved it a little, making it something more than the superhero comedy it would have otherwise been. Need I remind you of My Super Ex-Girlfriend? I know some people liked it but fuck I thought that was shit. Honestly, Hancock was always gonna be better than that so the comparison isn’t particularly apt but I’m writing this not you so fuck off.

Another thing that I really loved about this movie is that Hancock’s origin is never really explained. Whilst they are necessary for the uninitiated, I am pretty fucking sick of fucking origin movies. The worst thing about Iron Man was that most of the damn film was him building different upgraded version of the suit. Well, that and the final battle was pretty lame. Anyway in Hancock, his origin is hinted at, implied but never explained outright. Awesome. The only potential problem is that a sequel has pretty much been confirmed and, now that Hancock has cleaned up his act, the only direction I can see them going in is him trying to discover his mysterious past! Ominous!

The first part of the film is honestly pretty damn funny. Hancock flying through the sky, bottle of whisky in hand with no disregard for public property is a fun sight to be sure and the interactions between Hancock, Ray, his wife (played by Charlize Theron) and Ray’s son are pretty great, especially the scene where Hancock is invited to their spaghetti madness dinner. Charlize Theron in particular is very good at showing her dislike for the drunken hero with the slightest of looks.

For me though, it really is the last part of the film which brings it all together, even though I know others will disagree. There are some heart-warming scenes between Hancock and the son and Will Smith does a great job of portraying a character who is clearly depressed because he’s the only one of his kind, compounded by the fact that he doesn’t know where the hell he came from.

There are some flaws, of course. There is a scene we’ve become all to familiar with in superhero movies wherein the hero takes on a character of equal or slightly heightened power to themselves but it doesn’t really go in the standard direction so it’s forgivable. Also a certain character’s (saying who would give to much away) unwillingness to help Hancock try and understand his past seems really strange considering they want him to leave them alone and he won’t until they try and help him. Confusing!

Overall though, Hancock is a pretty good film and definitely a nice addition to the current crop of recent superhero flicks.




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