The Return of Graham Chapman

Given the number of movies I watch and my generally obnoxious personality, you might think I don’t have any friends. Well, you’re wrong. There’s one British military gentleman who’s always happy to sit by my side and share the silvery wonders of the big screen. His name is the Colonel and we love to delve into a big bag of popcorn while indulging our mutual passion. And so, we laugh at a film’s funny bits, become gripped by its heart-pounding drama and, like all men, refuse to look at one another whenever anything sad happens.

The Colonel is not the perfect movie companion, though. I mean, he can get a bit pompous. Well, if I’m honest, very pompous. For a start, he has this curious objection to guys with long hair. That’s why it’s always tricky to watch late 60s/early 70s stuff with him. Plus, he does start to lose the plot whenever a flick drops below his rigorous standards and becomes (to use his word) silly. In fact, he hates silliness, especially if a film has otherwise been good. Sometimes it so upsets him that (and I swear this is the truth) he gets up and strides straight into the movie to see whether it’s possible to get things back on track. I must admit the first time he did this I was a little disorientated. You see, it’s not enough for him to vociferously voice his complaint or have an earnest discussion with me about a perceived flaw. Oh, no. He often has to tell the characters concerned to their faces. Not only that, but if he feels things are particularly silly, he insists the scene stops or starts trying to redirect it. “Get on with it!” he might bark at them as he impatiently paces in his neatly pressed uniform.

And, between you and me, I don’t think those talented, hardworking actors appreciate it.

The soggy demise of The Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz (1939)

I gotta be truthful, sometimes The Colonel puts me on tenterhooks. He can be as good as gold for well over an hour into a movie and then jump up and launch into a tirade. Take The Wizard of Oz, one of the 20th century’s greatest pieces of entertainment. I know he loves it as much as me, but there’s one bit that gets his goat every time. I’m talking about The Wicked Witch’s hackneyed, unbelievably sudden defeat. One minute the green-faced hag is in her cackling element at her castle surrounded by foot soldiers and those bloody creepy flying monkeys, the next she’s melting. Why? Because she gets inadvertently splashed with water. “You cursed brat!” she screams at Dorothy as hissing clouds of vapor radiate from her rapidly dissolving form. “Look what you’ve done! I’m melting! Melting! Oh, what a world! What a world! Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness?”

Great last words, yes, but unless I missed it, there’s no foreshadowing. We know the Scarecrow is vulnerable to fire, but we don’t have the faintest clue that some simple H2O is the equivalent of Superman’s Kryptonite to the witch. Does this mean she never goes out when it rains? That all her supernatural powers are useless when there’s a bit of drizzle about? Whatever the case, the manner of her death feels like a lazy piece of writing. After all, Margaret Hamilton’s performance is indelible and the Wicked Witch of the West is hands down one of moviedom’s greatest villains. She deserved a much more spectacular defeat, like being on the end of a Drago-style punch, yee-hawing and waving her hat while riding a flying bomb, or falling off the Empire State Building sans broomstick. I guess she was never gonna get stabbed to death in the shower, though.

Clint Eastwood fucking up in Play Misty for Me (1971)

There’s a reason High Plains Drifter starts by having a mysterious stranger ride into town, kill three men without fuss, and then drag a flirtatious, sexy woman off to a stable to rape.

Atonement.

Huh…? Atonement for what?

Well, The Colonel tells me it’s Clint’s attempt to make up for a woeful, barely believable six-minute sequence two years earlier in the slow burn psychological thriller, Play Misty for Me.

Clint, you see, was doing fairly well for the first seventy minutes of his directorial debut playing a horndog late-night DJ in a small coastal town. However, his bed-hopping results in a stalker sinking her fangs into a bollock and threatening his on-off romance with his True Love. Oh, if only he could stop waving his cock in all those other ladies’ faces and tell her how he feels! Luckily, his newfound bunny boiler trashes his house and carves up the domestic help, a double whammy that enables Clint to unleash all his pent-up emotion.

What a shame this avalanche of sincerity results in the loss of his mind. Or artistic judgment at the very least.

And by that, I mean he makes the tenderest, most earnest love of his life while communing with nature and being egged on to ever greater passion by Roberta Flack’s interminable The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. Christ, is this the same guy who taught us how to be a Real Man in the likes of A Fistful of Dollars, Kelly’s Heroes and Where Eagles Dare?

Anyhow, back to Misty. First, we see Clint and his True Love walking hand in hand along a windswept beach as a quavering Roberta warbles about the sun and stars. Then they’re in a forest. Dewy fronds abound. Now it’s dark. I dunno, perhaps they’ve found a cave. Roberta’s begun trilling about snogging, prompting them to snog. It doesn’t get much more literal than that. Hang on, it’s daytime again … how long is this fucking walk? Now they’re waist deep in a pool clinging to each other with frightening intensity. I think I see the Colonel disguised as a pixie scampering around in the background. Clint, however, hasn’t noticed. He’s too busy getting horizontal on the forest floor and doing the entwined limbs thing. Their lovey-dovey stroking has become so intense they can no longer open their eyes. How long will this condition last? Are they gonna try to go home while bumping into tree trunks and tripping over rocks? Perhaps they might even stumble over a cliff.

We can only hope.

Four minutes in, Roberta’s moved onto stuff about a captive bird’s trembling heart and joy filling the Earth as we see an outstretched arm on the moss-covered floor, its hand unfurling like a flower before the sun’s ecstatic caress. Now they’re walking toward an ocean-bound sunset with arms wrapped around one another. This must mean they’ve been ambling for two days. Or maybe it’s the sunrise of the third day. Have they gone camping without a tent? Roberta’s certainly feeling the strain, sounding so histrionic I think she’s gonna burst. Finally, Clint and his True Love pause in silhouette on a rocky outcrop for the most perfect and meaningful kiss in the history of humanity, unperturbed by a nearby pixie hurling his guts up.

Oh, Clint, even in The Bridges of Madison County you weren’t this unbearably soppy. Don’t you ever do that again. Now go and tread on Scorpio’s bullet-wounded leg.

The Ewoks kicking stormtrooper arse in Return of the Jedi (1983)

It’s always a pleasure watching Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back with the Colonel. Sometimes we even turn as one and parrot the lines to each other. He loves Vader getting his deadly throat grip on incompetent subordinates while I’m fond of those awesome, animal-shaped AT-ATs tripping over their feet on the ice planet Hoth. For the most part we both enjoy Jedi, even if it does repeat the original’s storyline about the need to blow up a Death Star. Still, there’s nothing wrong with Jabba’s malevolent grossness or the curvy Leia heating up the screen in her gold bikini. We also like the good guys zipping through the forest on those cool, tree-dodging flying machines.

Then, of course, we meet an Ewok prodding an inert Leia with a spear and the Colonel starts to sigh. I thought we’d arrived on the forest moon of Endor when in actual fact we were in the middle of Cutesville. Hooray for the koala-men, so fucking dumb they think the mincing C-3PO is a god worthy of worship. Worse is to come when one jumps on a speeder bike to lure those ever-predictable stormtroopers away. Given the Ewoks are a tribal race with no grasp of technology, how does this particular ‘little fur ball’ know how to operate it? Never mind. Let’s get on with them executing a near-perfect military plan against the supposedly well-drilled, battle-hardened stormtroopers.

I guess it helps their galaxy-conquering enemies fall for every trick in the book, but that still doesn’t explain why their laser weapons, armor and a handful of ultra-cool AT-ST Walkers are no match for bows and arrows, catapults, lassos, some rolling logs, nets, a few chucked rocks and an excited parade of stiffened, furry cocks. Ten minutes earlier these hirsute dwarves were scared of their shadows, but now they’re mini-Rambos! Honestly, watching vine-swinging Ewoks leap onto stormtroopers carries about as much conviction as a burly, armed Ollie Reed being overpowered by a handful of murderous imps at the end of Cronenberg’s The Brood.

I imagine George Lucas took inspiration for this pie in the sky spectacle from the Vietcong downing America’s mighty Marines less than a decade earlier, but as I’ve argued before, movies strangely need to be more convincing than real life to work. The Ewoks are not warlike and apparently have no enemies on Endor so how come they’ve become experts in guerrilla warfare in five minutes flat? Oh, what does it matter? Cracks are appearing in Jedi all over the place now. Vader, the biggest badass on this side of Jupiter, is about to turn into a wimp. “I feel the good in you,” Luke tells him. “The conflict.” Vader’s not having it. “There is no conflict,” he baldly states. And I should bloody hope not, Darth.

Yet it’s a big fib. Not only has Vader just lost a lightsaber duel with his vanilla son, but now he’s putting family before the glories of ruling the galaxy. The fucker’s gone all gooey. This is the worst betrayal of a character in the history of art. I just… no… I can’t…

You know, I once watched Jedi after smoking a joint only to see Vader’s mask being removed and the Colonel’s face staring back at me.

Robert De Niro trying a bit of ocular semaphore in Angel Heart (1987)

Every time I sit down to watch Angel Heart I do my best to like it. After all, it has a prime Mickey Rourke, a steamy New Orleans setting, voodoo, interracial fucking, a moody score, bags of atmosphere and severed genitalia being stuffed into a gob. You know, my sort of shit.

But it’s a flick that sure does agitate the Colonel. He starts twitching around the time De Niro’s character Louis Cyphre shows up to hire the private investigator Harry Angel (Rourke). Yes, Cyphre is clearly a cultured, softly spoken, well-dressed gentleman, but that long hair and those talons will never do. Such indulgent personal grooming would not pass muster in the British Army. Or as the Colonel surmises, Cyphre might be able to peel a hard-boiled egg with aplomb, but would he be able to do fifty push-ups or rapidly load a gun in the heat of combat with fingernails like that?

Still, Angel Heart mostly skates along with its good production values and Grand Guignol feel. So what if the story doesn’t make a lick of sense? Angel Heart is gory fun and there’s nothing wrong with that. But then writer-director Alan Parker decides to go the literal route, prompting the Colonel to reach for his Vaudeville hook. Cripes, is he really gonna yank one of the greatest actors of his generation offstage, a double Oscar winner no less? I’m afraid so. There’s only so much silliness a man can take.

The unshaven, increasingly agitated Angel, you see, is suffering an identity crisis, a quandary that is milking precious little sympathy from his shady employer. Well, that’s not much of a surprise given we’ve just learned the cane-twirling Cyphre is the devil. “The flesh is weak,” he tells Angel, who’s staring red-eyed into a mirror as his world disintegrates. “Only the soul is immortal.” Angel then turns from his tortured reflection to see Cyphre showing off a pair of luminous yellow peepers while pointing at him and declaring in a gravelly voice: “And yours belongs to me!”

The damning revelation isn’t helped by the lackadaisical Cyphre failing to find the energy to even stand up. It’s surely the cheesiest moment in De Niro’s storied career.

Wrestling for an explanation in They Live (1988)

I once read a review of They Live that said director John Carpenter was trying to dig for big ideas with a toy shovel.

Ooh, catty.

And, to be honest, I wish I’d thought of it.

They Live is not his best effort, hampered by mediocre acting, an inherent superficiality and a clunky, bullet-ridden finale. Carpenter’s listless direction also ensures it lags a long way behind a masterpiece like The Thing. Still, there’s a growing amount of love for this sci-fi account of a sneaky alien invasion to the point some fans treat it as a documentary.

Hmm… people. What the hell can you do with them?

Anyhow, They Live might not be as classy as a similar-themed flick like 1978’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but I enjoy its premise that we’ve been infiltrated and taken over. Or as a blind street preacher tells us: “They have taken the hearts and minds of our leaders. They have recruited the rich and the powerful. They have blinded us to the truth. The human spirit is corrupted. They have us! They control us! They are our masters! Wake up! They’re all about you!”

They Live’s opening doesn’t do too much wrong, especially its pivotal scene forty minutes in where our longhaired hero (calm down, Colonel) discovers a fancy pair of sunglasses that enables him to see subliminal messages everywhere (e.g., don’t question authority and stay asleep), as well as the aliens’ skull-like, otherwise hidden faces.

This is good stuff and undoubtedly nirvana for conspiracy nuts. It starts to badly wobble, though, when a kidnapped woman sends our muscular hero flying out of a window and tumbling down a hill. It’s a grueling fall that should have snapped his neck, but its implausibility proves a mere aperitif for the barminess of Carpenter’s decision shortly afterward to have our recently ejected hero fight a similarly brawny bloke in a garbage-strewn alley.

For six minutes.

This prolonged slugfest always makes the Colonel loudly exhale, purse his lips, fold his arms and tap a foot. After all, They Live is primarily a sci-fi/horror flick. It’s not First Blood: Part II in which it’s fine for Rambo to battle a Russki aboard a helicopter and throw him out of the cabin to his doom.

So, what was Carpenter thinking? I imagine he meant such a ludicrously elongated fight to be funny. Or some sort of parody. It’s definitely not meant to be taken seriously any more than The Fast Show’s Long Big Punch Up. Whatever it is, it’s bizarrely out of place and only succeeds in stopping things dead in their tracks as effectively as Clint’s forest-dwelling, super-earnest cock in Misty. The flick never recovers.

The Colonel, however, would like to see a better written remake minus the silly fisticuffs.

Max Cady takes us for a ride in Cape Fear (1991)

Do people give a fuck about Scorsese’s quieter, more personal projects such as Kundun or Silence? Or do they want to see the gangster-loving maestro orchestrate in your face mayhem? I suspect the latter, as typified by a snarling, puffed up piece of nastiness like the successful Cape Fear remake.

This is a rapey, face-chomping flick that makes the Colonel wince early on. However, upon regaining his composure he does begin to act like he has the upper hand. Not that he’s got anything to work with in the first seventy-five minutes. No one in their right mind could sneer at Bernard Hermann’s amped-up score, the excellent foreshadowing and the glorious cast, which includes a burgeoning Juliette Lewis, a highly strung Jessica Lange, the incompetent, faux tough guy Joe Don Baker, and a bespectacled, slimmed-down Nick Nolte effectively cast against type with his pastel suits and neatly combed short hair. However, the star attraction is the cigar-wielding, garishly dressed, white trash ex-con Cady (De Niro) hovering on the periphery of Nolte’s fractured family like the embodiment of a violent storm. Unlike Louis Cyphre, Cady’s a fully fleshed character with his sly humor, feral intelligence and self-righteous anger. He’s also a scary motherfucker, his single-minded malevolence typified by the way he strides out of prison and straight at the camera until his muscular frame blots everything out.

No, the Colonel has to wait until a shredded Nolte hires three goons to do over Cady. From here onward Scorsese’s sweaty psychological grip starts to loosen and we instead have to settle for a tense, but increasingly implausible series of events. What the hell is Cady? Is he actually human or some biblical incarnation of vengeance? How can he not only withstand being beaten with lead pipes but then turn the tables? How does he sneak into a guarded house, kill a Mexican housekeeper and don her clothing without anyone noticing? Perhaps he’s a psychopathic, mindreading ninja on angel dust. No, maybe he’s a supernatural, psychopathic, mind-reading ninja on angel dust. Whatever the case, he’s stopped behaving like a recognizable human being. It’s exciting shit, all right, but it’s nuts. Scorsese doesn’t care. Nolte and his family are now fleeing to the titular Cape Fear river but Cady, ever one step ahead, has strapped himself to the underside of their four-wheel drive. And we’re not talking about the duration of a jaunt around the corner, but for hundreds of kilometers. One bump and the back of his head would be caved in. And how do you strap yourself to the underside of a vehicle anyway? It’s so daft, so left of center that it borders on genius. Did I say I thought Cady was supernatural? On second thoughts, maybe he’s a cartoon character.

To be fair, I believe Scorsese is adopting a deliberately OTT approach, the first hint of which was Jessica Lange getting up in middle of the night in her bedroom to put on lipstick only to see through the window a relaxed, cigar-smoking Cady perched on a perimeter wall as the sky is peppered by fireworks. That’s some weird shit right there which I’m not even sure is literal. (In fact, I interpret it as a rape fantasy). Then again, art is a weird thing and it can still tickle your soft spots despite having major flaws. By now the Colonel’s marked disapproval should have made me turn the goddamn thing off, but I can’t help loving Cape Fear. It’s a superbly paced fever dream jam-packed with memorable scenes, full-blooded acting, and a director at the top of his gruesome game. Yes, it’s bollocks, but it’s meaty, sizzling bollocks so the Colonel (who, as usual, is right about its myriad improbabilities) can take a po-faced running jump on this one.

Liam Neeson failing to shut the fuck up in Schindler’s List (1993)

You wouldn’t expect The Colonel to pop up during Spielberg’s acclaimed Holocaust drama, would you? He’s certainly out of sight whenever Amon Goth is randomly shooting people from his balcony, a bad boy so magnetically handsome in his dashing uniform that it’s not hard to believe such Aryans are genetically superior. Neither do we get a glimpse of the Colonel when a ghetto is being liquidated or children are hiding up to their necks in liquid shit in a concentration camp latrine. No, the Colonel stays right by my side for three hours straight. There’s nary a fidget or the slightest harrumph from the old boy. Until, that is, the Red Army gets on the front foot and a fleeing Schindler shits the bed with his long, teary, monumentally unnecessary speech about how he could have saved more Jews.

Composed, impeccably dressed, and with a potentially life-saving letter signed by his workers tucked away in his pocket, all the guy has to do is walk out of the factory grounds, secure in the knowledge he’s nailed a charismatic, memorable role in a perfect film.

But, no.

Things start to go wrong when Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley) hands him an engraved gold ring. Schindler wells up. They shake hands, prompting him to confess: “I could’ve got more out.” Stern shakes his head, reminding him he’s already saved 1100 people. It’s a fair point, but Schindler won’t have it. “I didn’t do enough,” he insists. Now he’s got a masochistic taste for it, psychologically pulling out a flagellant’s three-knotted whip to beat himself. Everything’s a torment. He could have sold so much more, raised more money, bribed more Nazis. He stares at his fancy car, obviously disgusted at the sight of its gleaming chrome. “Ten people right there.” Then he pulls a gold pin off his suit, a little unsteady on his feet. “Two people.” Suddenly he’s sobbing, clutching Stern, and falling to his knees. Perhaps he knows he just lost the Best Actor Oscar to Tom Hanks. The knowledge makes him bawl… how could he lose to an AIDS-stricken left-footer?… and he has to hide his face in Stern’s chest. If only Spielberg had insisted on some restraint, if only the editor had done his job… The Colonel is now on screen, unable to prevent the watching Jews from flocking to their distressed savior. “Stop this maudlin clumsiness!” the Colonel cries. “It’s silly! The movie has already excelled at depicting an initially self-centered character finding his moral compass and growing a set of steel balls so there’s no need to spell everything out. Show, don’t tell, people. Show, don’t tell!”

It’s no good. The Jews ignore the appeal. Neeson has disappeared beneath a group hug, the mass of bodies muffling his faint cry: “My Oscar! I’ll never get a better chance…”

Mel Gibson’s gutsy bellowing in Braveheart (1995)

The Colonel would like to state on the record that he has never been tortured to death. There was a hazing incident early on in his career as a fresh-faced private that involved a bowl of strawberries, some industrial-strength glue and a somewhat confused goat but the Colonel usually remains schtum. If he ever does speak about that wet weekend in an Aldershot barracks, it’s only after a cognac or two and to reveal he maintained a stiff upper lip. Furthermore, he believes such ordeals in the modern British Army are necessary, character-building and ultimately a fine way to make new chums.

However, hazing is one thing, disembowelment another. The Colonel certainly draws a distinction between the two. If he’d been disemboweled, he doubts he would have held onto his dignity. Indeed, he’s not ashamed to admit he might even have blubbered. He therefore finds it unlikely that a man can not only maintain his composure while undergoing such trauma, but holler his raison d’etre into the face of his tormentors.

And so to the Oscar-winning Braveheart in which the freedom-obsessed Scottish upstart Mel Gibson does just that. The Colonel is disappointed by this credibility-defying outburst as up until its unfortunate inclusion he found Braveheart to be a stirring, hugely enjoyable military romp complete with arse-baring defiance, terrific cinematography, a charismatic villain who’s not averse to tossing an incompetent homosexual out of a castle window, top-notch production values, and bursts of fantastic gore during the wonderfully staged fights and battles.

Hollywood is Hollywood, though, a fact that often requires a satisfying narrative arc during which we’re bludgeoned over the head with whatever message is the saveur du jour. And so Mel gets betrayed and captured by his English oppressors, a change in fortune that enables him to display a degree of steely fortitude that beggars belief. “Confess and you may receive a quick death,” he’s told by a none too sympathetic magistrate. “Deny and you must be purified by pain.”

Flipping ‘eck, the realm is gonna get all medieval on his ass. That doesn’t sound like much fun, but as this movie’s climax has been designed with the beatification of Mel in mind there’s no way in Hell he’s gonna ditch his principles and play ball. “Give me the strength to die well,” he asks his God while standing in a cell as mock-fighting dwarves entertain the bloodthirsty crowds waiting outside. And so, he’s hung, drawn and quartered, a chastening process that you may have thought turns a man into a screaming piece of unintelligible, bleeding meat.

Apparently not so in Hollywood.

Mel’s steaming intestines might be piled on the floor, but he’s still got the conviction and lung power to bellow FREEDOM! In his darkest hour he has stayed true to himself, a heroic display of martyrdom that has reduced most of the main players to tears. Bloody hell, Mel’s murdered sweetheart is even smiling and mingling with the previously hostile, vegetable-hurling crowd. What’s more, if you look carefully off to the top right, you can see God nodding approval.

This movie has disintegrated. Who the hell directed these outrageously sycophantic scenes?

Oh.

Brad Pitt and Edward Norton driving the Colonel up the wall in Fight Club (1999)

Despite enjoying a reputation as a Real Man’s movie with the odd on-the-money scene and some bursts of pithy dialogue, The Colonel does not like Fight Club. He finds it dreary, overlong and nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is. This pronounced slide into silliness is primed by two episodes. Firstly, Norton sits down in his boss’ office to dish the dirt on the company’s dangerously reckless manufacture of automobiles. Upon dishing it, he’s fired. No surprise there, especially when you factor in his disheveled appearance and regular absenteeism. Not that he’s bothered. A heartbeat later he’s having a go at blackmail in a bid to buy his superior’s silence.

“Who the fuck do you think you are, you crazy little shit?” is the boss’ perfectly reasonable reply while picking up a desk phone to call security. With a trembling fist, Norton then punches himself in the face so hard he knocks himself backward off his chair. The pencil-neck boss looks on in dismay. “What the hell are you doing?” he asks as Norton delivers a self-inflicted uppercut that sends him crashing onto a glass table.

Norton, you see, is framing his chief as a violent bully in a bid to extort a regular paycheque. Oh, what a clever ruse!

The boss, however, drops the phone and stands there like a statue. Why doesn’t he leave the office when confronted by this wanton display of claptrap? Why does he just watch Norton beat himself up? Surely this particular regional manager has a secretary in the next room? And even if she’s at lunch, why does no one else bother investigating such a loud, prolonged disturbance? Meanwhile, Norton keeps flinging himself around, destroying furniture and repeatedly twatting himself. All the boss has to do is walk away or wait for the charade before showing colleagues his unbruised hands and unruffled attire.

A little later (and obviously determined not to be outdone by his co-star), Pitt muscles in on the increasingly daft action. Pitt and Norton go for a drive in the pouring rain and quickly get into an argument about Project Gay-fem or whatever it’s called. Pitt’s not driving too well, and certainly failing to take into account the inclement conditions. “Guys,” he asks the two obedient lemons along for the ride on the back seat, “what would you wish you’d done before you die?”

“Paint a self-portrait,” comes one of the replies. Oh boy, that sure beats my desire to fuck a trampolining cheerleader in midair…

By now the speeding car is weaving across the center lines and flirting with the oncoming traffic. “Forget about what you think you know,” Pitt tells Norton. After a string of near-misses, his agitated front seat passenger can only cry: “I am sick of all your shit!”

Although the Colonel does not approve of bad language, he does, however, agree with this basic sentiment.

Pitt then lets go of the wheel, prompting a panicking Norton to yelp: “Quit screwing around!” Pitt, however, won’t have a bar of it. “Look at you!” he bawls at Norton. “You’re fucking pathetic… Stop trying to control everything and just let go. LET GO!”

The Colonel shakes his head. Maintaining control of a vehicle and thus avoiding a potentially life-ending, head-on collision is not an example of ‘trying to control everything’. It’s not even close. It’s simply a combination of practicality, self-preservation and courtesy to other road users. Only blabbermouth dunderheads in possession of a supposedly profound but unworkable philosophy could possibly think otherwise.

But, hang on, Norton’s once again succumbed to Pitt’s cocksure twaddle. “Fine,” he says, slumping back in his seat.

And so, the uncontrolled car goes happily looking for an accident… Christ, Norton beating himself up was a staggeringly naff attempt at black comedy, but this whacked-out driving stunt is too stupid for words.

Now the Colonel is not a malicious man, but he sure does wish Fight Club’s next scene is this self-torturing pair stuck in wheelchairs looking contrite as one stares at the stump of a leg while the other pisses into a colostomy bag.

About Dave Franklin

Dismayed by the state of post-2000 cinema, Dave Franklin hasn't visited a movie house in more than a decade. He can usually be found in a dingy room dressed up as Marilyn Monroe, pining for the lost days of 70's cinema. Saying that, he will visit you for an appropriate fee to read excruciating excerpts from his novels.