Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Summer Repeats

The Irish summer. A time of crap weather and wall to wall repeats on television. And now a repeat (of sorts) on our little blog.

My brain is in a mush. I've been working 14 hour days preparing for and controlling a stocktake in work (one of the worst parts of working in retail. That and the customers. 'specially the old ones) and yet part of me feels guilty for not posting on the blog in a while.

I came upon the film "Billy Elliot" over the weekend and was reminded that one of my first published pieces (albeit on the website Ain't It Cool News) was a review of that movie. So, thanks to nostalgia and the fear of being told off by SL, the thoughts of the younger Mr. Pink on what was then described as "one of the most enthusiastically received British films of the year"... cue wibbly, wobbly, flashback effect.

Typical! Just like a bus, you wait absolutely AGES for a good dance based movie to come along (you know like back in the '80s, when we had "Dirty Dancing" and "Footloose")* and what happens? Three come along at once! Last week we had the superb, if very surreal Bjork starring "Dancer in the Dark", coming soon is "Coyote Ugly", starring lots of lovely ladies**, but perhaps the best of the bunch is this week's new release "Billy Elliot".

"Billy Elliot" is set in Northern England during the 1984 Miner's Strike. Title character Billy (newcomer Jamie Bell) is a shy, introverted 11-year-old who hasn't had a happy life. His mother has recently died, his dad and brother Tony are both on the front line of the strike, his gran's behaviour is becoming increasingly erratic and he's being forced to take boxing lessons! One thing he does have is rhythm! Billy might not be able to box but boy can he dance!

Leaving a boxing lesson early, Billy accidentally comes across a ballet class being run by the chain smoking Mrs. Wilkinson (played by the wonderful Julie Walters) who encourages him to join her class. Her Billy learns to express his emotions and continues to go to classes while the rest of his family think he's boxing. Billy's dancing career is almost cut short when his dad discovers the truth.

While he doesn't mind paying 50p for boxing lessons so his son can learn to take care of himself he has a serious problem with Billy's less than manly activities. Mrs. Wilkinson sees Billy's potential and the pair continue their dancing lessons in secret working towards a scholarship for a ballet school in London. During a particularly bleak Christmas, Billy gives his best friend Michael an impromptu performance and is accidentally caught by his dad who realises that his son has a very special gift and the possibility of a future away from the mines.

Funny, heart warming and tissue-grabbingly moving, "Billy Elliot" features some incredible performances, particularly from newcomer Bell, who bears his heart and soul on screen. And there's a top "period" soundtrack, which is only let down by the bizarre decision to have Stephen Gately from Boyzone sing the end credits tune. One of the best movies of 2000!

Note: *Despite having a younger sister who was obssessed with the movie and would watch it on an almost daily basis, I have never seen "Dirty Dancing". The same goes for "Footloose".

Note: **Yes, I was gay when this was written. "Coyote Ugly" is worth watching for Adam Garcia though.

1 comment:

  1. Ah the memories. I love Billy Elliot. I couldn't tell you what I've written in the dark recesses on the internet. I read an article a while back talking about future politicians having their teenage bebo antics dragged up by tabloids. I'm scared by all that. In fact, I feel a posting coming on...