ISSUE 02 / AUGUST 2013

BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

“CHEERS! A CELEBRATION OF PUB LIFE”

drafthousefilms.com/alliance
BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

CONTENTS
A Pint From The Editor THE MOVIES A Drunkard’s Guide to the Worst Pubs on Earth
The Disappearance Of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE Community, Crumpets And Crime: An Ealing Studios Primer

The Wright Stuff: Edgar Wright On WORLD’S END, Pubs And All-Nighters
Mean, Drunk: Alfred Hitchcock’s FRENZY
I’m Just A Boy, Standing In Front Of Other Boys, Asking Them To Love NOTTING HILL

Quaffing Cocktails With Composers: Film Composers’ Favorite Drinks
WITHNAIL & I and ’53 Margaux
The End Of The World For The Great British Pub

Editor-in-Chief
Devin Faraci

Managing Editor
Meredith Borders

Associate Publisher
Henri Mazza

Art Director/Graphic Designer
Joseph A. Ziemba

Copy Editor
George Bragdon

Contributing Writers
Brian Collins, Daniel Hernandez, Phil Nobile Jr., Evan Saathoff, ScoreKeeper, Tommy Swenson, Dan Whitehead All content © 2013 Alamo Drafthouse
drafthouse.com

badassdigest.com

birthmoviesdeath.com

drafthousefilms.com

fantasticfest.com

mondotees.com

BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

“This is the holiest of all holyfuckingshits, The Visitor has the highest JDPM (Jaw Drops Per Minute) ratio of any film of its era.” -Cinefamily

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A Pint From The Editor
Devin Faraci Badass Digest Editor in Chief

@devincf

Read more at badassdigest.com

A pub isn’t just a bar, it’s the center of life in small English towns. It’s where people eat meals, meet friends, get the local news... and also get pissed, as they like to say over there. Over the years there have been many great cinematic pubs, from Pat Cohen’s to the Slaughtered Lamb to the Winchester. This summer add a new pub to that list... or rather, twelve new pubs. Edgar Wright’s THE WORLD’S END chronicles a group of friends’ attempt to visit twelve pubs in their hometown in one night while a strange and mysterious invasion occurs around them. It’s the latest movie to reteam Wright with his SPACED/ SHAUN OF THE DEAD/HOT FUZZ companions Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, and we’re so excited about it we decided to center our whole second issue of BIRTH. MOVIES. DEATH. around it. Specifically, we’ve centered it around the intersection of movies and drinking, with a special focus on the British. The Korova Milk Bar isn’t exactly a pub, but who can forget its iconic presence in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE? Check out our history of Ealing Studios and our ode to WITHNAIL & I. But before you dive into that, be sure to read about the real-life peril facing England’s historic pubs; we may be an ocean away but all beer drinkers will care. We’re proud of this second issue, and we hope you’re enjoying it as well. We want to hear from you! Send an email to us at EMAIL@BIRTHMOVIESDEATH.COM, or just drop by our Tumblr at www.birthmoviesdeath.com. For even more great content, visit us at BadassDigest.com, our regular home. And good news: now you can take BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH. with you! Visit the iTunes store to get yourself a digital subscription -- don’t miss a single article from here on out! 6
BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Screening In August At Your Alamo Drafthouse
Inspired by the upcoming release of THE WORLD’S END, the Alamo Drafthouse programming team presents a month of screenings on the theme of “Cheers! A Celebration of Pub Life.” For tickets, showtimes, formats, and a full list of titles, visit drafthouse.com.

A CLOCKWORK ORANGE Dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1971, X, 136 min
BUY TICKETS

The Wendy Carlos electronic music. The quiet decay of a future London. The sharp, cruel designs of the droogs’ outfits. The melodious, almost impenetrable sounds of Nadsat rolling off Malcolm McDowell’s tongue. The thrill -- and the regret -- of the violence. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE exists as a thousand iconic moments of sound and vision, a movie that has exploded beyond the frame to take on meaning in our pop culture, to be misunderstood both by those who see it as a manual and by those who think it’s simplistic. It’s not Stanley Kubrick’s masterwork, but it’s his most engaging film, and it’s the film in his canon that most changes with you as you grow and learn about life. It’s fascinating that A CLOCKWORK ORANGE was Kubrick’s follow-up to 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. He made a movie about the possibility of human spiritual and physical evolution and then made a movie about the most base, horrible aspects of humanity... and how we cannot repress them without losing that humanity. Which is it, Stanley? Is it the grand future of the Starchild heading to Earth or is it the doomed depravity of Alex cavorting sexually, goaded on by a crowd? It’s the genius of Kubrick that it’s both, that he understood the basic duality of human nature. Kubrick almost didn’t make the movie; when Terry Southern handed him Anthony Burgess’ novel while they were shooting DR. STRANGELOVE the director was turned off by the thick, made-up teenage jargon. Burgess, a linguist, had created his own near-future argot made up of Cockney rhyming slang, gypsy speak and Russian. Nadsat -- basically Russian for ‘teen’ -- is as much a character as Alex and the droogs, and while the language can be overwhelming at first it eventually makes sense. It eventually seeps in until you find yourself casually saying ‘Viddy well’ and other Alex-isms.

The film version didn’t use a traditional script. Kubrick just brought the book to set and figured out how to shoot it, page by page. It’s possible that the movie would have never worked without Malcolm McDowell, whom Kubrick had seen in Lindsay Anderson’s seminal youth rebellion film IF...; McDowell has the eyes of a sociopath set deep in a face full of charm. That mix is what makes you able to stay with him, even after the brutal, horrible and despicable rape scene set to Singin’ In The Rain (that song choice, by the way, was an improv. It was the only song McDowell was able to sing on demand, and now the main theme to Gene Kelly’s masterpiece has been forever tainted). Kubrick has a reputation as being a controlled perfectionist, but the making OF A CLOCKWORK ORANGE shows that his style was really to prepare as much as possible and then allow something unique and unplanned to happen on set. Burgess wasn’t a fan of the movie because it’s based on the American version of the novel. The US publisher didn’t like the final chapter because he felt the ending was too “happy,” and so it was excised. Burgess had originally written 21 chapters on purpose, with 21 being the age of majority and the point where we cross over to adulthood. That was Alex’s journey, but without that final chapter taken into consideration, Kubrick’s film has a very different meaning than Burgess’ book. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE is a stunning examination of the nature of freedom versus safety, a topic that resonates with us more and more every year. Is a safe world without freedom one worth living in? Is a human being who is not allowed to make bad choices a human being at all anymore? This is a movie that grows with you, that excites you with its transgressions when you’re young and troubles you with its musings on the nature of choice when you’re older. And if that’s not enough, it’s a damn good time at the movies. (Devin Faraci)

BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTS

a summation and reflection on all that’s come before. But at the same time, there’s a renewed intensity in the subversion of form and expectation; a ramping up rather than a winding down of his dark and cynical worldview. And though it lacks the sort of refined and grim elegance that characterizes his more beloved classics, FRENZY is an impossibly perfect application of pure moviemaking technique. The participation that Hitchcock demands from his audiences in the most shocking and sinister scenarios is ratcheted up to new highs. One sequence in particular -- a masterwork of gallows humor taking place in the back of a potato truck, following the killer’s desperate efforts to recover an incriminating pin from the stiffened clutches of his latest victim -- is one of the greatest things the morbid old fat man ever directed. We’ve seen the killer at work, we still hate and fear him, but we’re on the edges of our seats, sweating along with him, sharing his anxiety as he tries to collect the evidence. Hitchcock is playing us with nasty enthusiasm and an assured mastery of the craft. He makes his customary cameo at the start of the film as the only non-cheering member of a crowd listening to a speech about cleaning up pollution in the Thames. Moments later a corpse washes up on the banks. It’s clear that Hitchcock has always preferred to swim in dirty waters. (Tommy Swenson) HOT FUZZ Dir. Edgar Wright, 2007, R, 121 min
BUY TICKETS

FRENZY Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1972, R, 116 min
BUY TICKETS

In 1972, Alfred Hitchcock returned home to England after decades of goofin’ around in Hollywood to direct his second-to-last film, the astonishingly brutal and extremely British FRENZY. Like a greatest-hits of Hitchcock themes and ideas, FRENZY is a homecoming not only to dirty old England, but to the cinematic territory of his earliest movies. The story of a down-on-his-luck bartender (Jon Finch) falsely suspected as the psychotic sex killer behind a string of recent crimes known as the “necktie murders,” FRENZY is full of familiar motifs -- the wrong-man, insidiously banal evil lurking in our midst -- and pitch black humor that instantly recall his early films like THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, THE LODGER and YOUNG AND INNOCENT. Only none of those films prominently feature such an agonizingly drawn out, explicitly photographed rape and murder. The horrors and obsessions that lurk at the edges of all his films, suggested and implied, are made viciously explicit in FRENZY. What PSYCHO hid with shower curtains and clever cutting, FRENZY stares at and wallows in. The new freedoms allowed by the recently instituted R-rating are instantly challenged by Hitchcock and pushed to their limits. He can’t help but try to get away with something. Abandoning class and restraint, this is Hitchcock getting dirty. It’s an old man’s movie in the sense that it feels like
BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

Big Cops. Small Town. Moderate Violence. Top cop Nicholas Angel is good...so good he’s making everyone else look bad. So, with a few shuffles of some paperwork, he’s out of the London force and off to the sleepy British town of Sandford, where nothing EVER happens...that is until people’s heads start falling off. Two mysterious decapitations lead Angel and his hapless sidekick Danny Butterman on the hunt for the truth at the center of some town-wide conspiracy. In HOT FUZZ, Edgar Wright and company do to action cinema what they did to horror: they walk the cleverest of lines between homage, parody and downright badass awesome. Wright has said his films “lack the sneer that a lot of parodies have that look down on their source material. Because we’re looking up to it.” And, when you model yourself after movies like POINT BREAK and BAD BOYS II, how could the results be anything but spectacular? Pepper in some Jim Broadbent and a slimey turn from the underrated Timothy Dalton and you got yourself a movie. So, we’re preparing ourselves for an evening of fun, guns and a whole lotta laughs as we celebrate the re-teaming of Wright,

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Nick Frost and Simon Pegg in the second chapter in Wright’s Cornetto trilogy with HOT FUZZ. What are YOU waiting for? “BRING THE NOISE!” (Greg MacLennan) LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS Dir. Guy Ritchie, 1998, R, 107 min
BUY TICKETS

They lost half a million at cards, but they’ve still got a few tricks up their sleeves. Friends, thugs, weed-growers, hard gangsters, loan sharks and debt collectors collide in Guy Ritchie’s feature-length debut about a group of friends who decide to rob a smalltime gang to pay off a high stakes card game debt. Ritchie wasn’t always a style over substance filmmaker and before things got SWEPT AWAY he managed to find a balance in the poetry of violence, clever plots and slick dialogue. There was once a time when the name Guy Ritchie engendered a sense of excitement, and this is the movie that started it all. This film brought us street hustling merchant/Olympic diver, Jason Statham, and international footballer, Vinnie Jones, to the big screen for the first time in what has been referred to as the best British crime movie since THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY. Dripping with style and confidence, Ritchie’s action-comedy crime caper is like a high-octane PULP FICTION with twice the laughs. The intricate plot will bob and weave with its botched jobs and double crosses until there’s no money and no weed and everything has been replaced by a pile of corpses. (Greg MacLennan) NOTTING HILL Dir. Roger Michell, 1999, PG-13, 124 min
BUY TICKETS

(Hugh Grant) who meets Anna Scott (Julia Roberts), the most famous actress in the world. Surprising everyone, most particularly William, Anna seeks out a relationship with him, but her fame paves a rocky road for their romance. The charm of this film stems directly from the cast of colorful characters, starting with William, the bumbling, rather hopeless hero who exclaims things like, “Whoopsy daisy!” while somehow managing to be totally attractive. (Hugh Grant’s handsome looks certainly help out in this arena.) And then there’s Julia Roberts, America’s Sweetheart, playing...America’s Sweetheart. Obviously, she’s incredibly believable in the role. But it’s Rhys Ifans who steals the spotlight as Spike, William’s slightly insane and awesomely disgusting flatmate who wears inappropriate t-shirts (when he’s wearing anything at all) and eats mayonnaise straight out of the jar. Rounding out the cast is William’s family, who are an authentic mix of normal and eccentric, as well as Alec Baldwin, who nails the character of Jeff King, Anna’s boorish movie star boyfriend. He’s almost too convincing. Then there’s Notting Hill, which is such a vital aspect of the film that it should be considered a character in its own

You can try to deny it all you want, but at one time or another, you’ve had a crush on a celebrity. Maybe you wrote “Mrs. Johnny Depp” all over your Trapper Keeper, or maybe you had a poster of Farrah Fawcett above your bed. It’s a universal chapter of the human experience, and the idea of meeting the famous object of your affection probably makes up about 50% of the world’s cumulative fantasies. What would you say? What would you be wearing? Most important, how would your hair look? In 1999, Richard Curtis brought this dream to life on screen with NOTTING HILL. A master of romantic comedy, Curtis achieved massive success with his screenplay for FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL, and his gifts for humor and chemistry continue to shine in this story of a lonely bookshop owner, William Thacker
BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTS

right. The colorful backdrop of Portobello Road and rows of quaint shops tinge the movie with a delightful warmth and create a world where all of us hope to live. (Seriously, who wants to open a travel book store with me?) Nowadays, the phrase “romantic comedy” can mean any number of unpleasant or superficial things, but NOTTING HILL brings an incredible amount of integrity to the genre with its understated humor and emotional depth. It’s cozy like a cup of tea but complex in its flavor, and over 14 years after its release, this film stands out as a wonderfully compelling story of a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her. (Sarah Pitre)

personal favorite exchange between Shaun and his best friend Ed: “I’ll do it on the night.” “This IS the night!!” This is just one of those movies that’s too difficult to shut up throughout, and since you’re going to at least be mouthing your favorite words to yourself anyway, we figured it was only proper to give it the Action Pack’s full Quote-Along treatment. So join us early for a throwingrecords-at-zombie-heads competition before the movie, then grab your inflatable cricket bat and smack your neighbor every time Shaun smacks a zombie on screen, all while enjoying delicious pints just like the guys on screen! F-CK-A-DOODLE-DO!! (Henri Mazza) TRAINSPOTTING Dir. Danny Boyle, 1996, R, 94 min
BUY TICKETS

“ Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin can openers. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life...But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life: I chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?” Renton, Spud, Tommy and Sickboy are all heroin addicts living in squalor in the Scottish town of Edinburgh. Danny Boyle’s frenetic ‘90s classic will take you from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows as you experience addiction, withdrawal, suppositories, underage sex, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed and what it would be like to swim in the worst toilet in all of Scotland. This film FEELS dirty and is guaranteed to leave your skin crawling for more. Few filmmakers have the ability to make you feel like you’re living in the world they have created, but Boyle’s adaption of the Irvine Welsh novel is a film that can make you smile with your best friends and then turn your stomach on a dime as babies crawl on ceilings and shit literally goes flying from sheets. This monumental cinematic achievement is routinely ranked as one of the greatest British films of all time and has a soundtrack as stacked as its cast list. Sure, you could choose life or your big screen TV, but who needs those when you’ve got TRAINSPOTTING? (Greg MacLennan)

SHAUN OF THE DEAD Quote-Along Dir. Edgar Wright, 2004, R, 99 min
BUY TICKETS

As we prepare to celebrate the finale of Edgar Wright’s Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy (or Blood and Ice Cream, if you prefer) with the release of THE WORLD’S END, we’re going back to where it all started with this special Quote-Along party screening of SHAUN OF THE DEAD. A flawlessly perfect film, SHAUN OF THE DEAD is not just the world’s first ZomRomCom of note, it’s also one of the most quote-able movies of all time. From the ubiquitous “You’ve got red on you” to my
BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTS

community of inebriated Scots places its loyalties firmly with the drinkers. How can we possibly look down on a sickly old man who just wants one more dram before joining his wife in death, even if he is complicit in deceit, cruelty and blackmail? WHISKY GALORE revels in the idea that anyone, young or old, rich or poor, is willing and capable of becoming a criminal. While it shares the Ealing Studios identity by being quirky, local, human and indulging the dream of the little man, it is also subversive, cruel and clever. In one unforgettable sequence after the islanders have successfully looted the ship and are joyfully celebrating, they suddenly receive warning that the British excise officers are on their way to crack down. With an urgent sense of intuitive teamwork, the community guards its pleasures by hiding every bottle of whisky wherever they can, sticking them in gutters, pouring them into pots and tanks , concealing them in cash registers and pie crusts and babies’ diapers. Alcohol is the glue that binds this community together and gives them the strength for defiance. What greater, more unabashed love letter to drinking could you ask for? Whisky helps us endure. (Tommy Swenson)

WHISKY GALORE Dir. Alexander Mackendrick, 1949, 82 min
BUY TICKETS

Ealing studios is responsible for projecting an image of Britain -- most famously in their unbroken string of nearperfect comedies produced in the decade between 1947 and 1957 -- that helped define the national character in those post-war years. It represented an idealized Britain where the little guy always overcomes the big, bad forces of autocracy and where patience, wit and kindness rule. But in 1949, Alexander Mackendrick made a movie at Ealing wholeheartedly celebrating petty larceny, class warfare and rampant alcoholism. No other movie believes so firmly and sincerely that drinking matters. WHISKY GALORE is about the thirsty inhabitants of a remote Scottish island, distraught by a wartime alcohol shortage, who are secretly intent on plundering the cargo of a whisky-laden merchant ship that has wrecked on their shores. Basil Radford plays the pompous Englishman in command of the Home Guard who the islanders courageously defy in his efforts to repossess their precious whisky. “Once you let people take the law into their own hands,” he warns, “it’s anarchy. Anarchy. Anarchy!” This story of a teetotaling English outsider failing to come to terms with a tight-knit
BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

WITHNAIL & I Dir. Bruce Robinson, 1987, R, 107 min
BUY TICKETS

“We’ve gone on holiday by mistake!” It’s really futile to try and explain WITHNAIL & I to

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Oh, and did I mention there’s booze? Lots and lots of booze? In fact, there’s a deadly drinking game that simply directs you to drink whatever the duo force down on screen. Don’t try this. You won’t survive. Most comedies made today aren’t funny or original. They are simply a formulaic premise that is used to derive a few

laughs here or there, and not succeeding most of the time. That’s exactly what makes WITHNAIL & I, a film that turns its formulaic setup on its head, such a treasure. But, if you haven’t seen it, you couldn’t possibly understand one bit of what I’m talking about. (R.J. LaForce) 6

BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

someone who hasn’t seen it. This strange and beloved British cult classic -- part sitcom, part ‘60s drug movie, part existential drama -- truly plays by its own rules. The story is straightforward enough: two out-of-work, drug-loving, alcoholic London actors, Withnail and Marwood, decide to take a trip out of the hectic city and go on holiday to the English countryside, holing up in the cottage of Withnail’s flamboyant Uncle Monty. Once there they realize that being in the country, if only for a few days, is not the relaxing vacation they imagined. The result is pure, unadulterated shenanigans, from fighting off escaped Bulls to fighting off ol’ Monty’s overt advances. This was the first feature made by writer/director Bruce Robinson, who later went on to make HOW TO GET AHEAD IN ADVERTISING and THE RUM DIARY. While his shortcomings are shown in the film’s visual aspects his stunningly honest, clever, dry, witty screenplay has made WITHNAIL & I one of the most beloved British films of all time. Richard E. Grant gives a legendary manic performance as Withnail and the comedic genius of late Richard Griffiths turns what could be a one-note role of Uncle Monty into a tour-de-force. Oh, and did I mention there’s booze? Lots and lots of booze? In fact, there’s a deadly drinking game that simply directs you to drink whatever the duo force down on screen. Don’t try this. You won’t survive. Most comedies made today aren’t funny or original. They are simply a formulaic premise that is used to derive a few laughs here or there, and not succeeding most of the time. That’s exactly what makes WITHNAIL & I, a film that turns its formulaic setup on its head, such a treasure. But,

if you haven’t seen it, you couldn’t possibly understand one bit of what I’m talking about. (R.J. LaForce) 6

Add interaction buttons.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A Drunkard’s Guide To The Worst Pubs On Earth (And Some Further Away Than That)
Evan Saathoff Badass Digest News Editor
@sam_strange

Read more at badassdigest.com

TABLE OF CONTENTS

As a horrible, unrepentant alcoholic, I have visited more than my fair share of bars in my day. Most are decent places where a guy can take an honest load off while tying one on. But some pubs are downright dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. For those out there who are rookie drinkers or perhaps just not very smart, here are some suggestions for bars you should stay away from. Right off the bat, and I hate to sound racist, but you should stay away from any bars that have vampires. So, for instance, there’s a bar down South called The Titty Twister. Pretty much everyone who works there is a vampire. I would also avoid any bars in the Santa Carla, California, beach area. That whole community has some serious vampire problems. Unfortunately, you can’t always tell which pubs will end up throwing some vampire nonsense at you. I was at one dive bar just out in the Midwest one time and a bunch of leather jacket vampires came in and ate everyone in sight, starting with the place’s nice waitress. Luckily for me, I was in the bathroom for most of that, but it looked pretty grim. Any bars that seem like they could be fronts for drug operations need to be avoided as well. Not that there’s anything wrong with drugs, but what happens with these places is some badass stud usually comes along and causes problems. If it’s a sexy Spanish mariachi guy, you can bet he’s just going to shoot everyone in sight regardless of how guilty they may be. If it’s a somewhat chubby man with a dark ponytail and delusions of spirituality, you probably won’t get shot but chances are really high that you will either have a bone broken, be thrown through a glass window, or both. I would segue this advice into a broader avoidance of biker bars and/or strip clubs, especially if you’re drinking in the 1980s. Not only do you have to worry about vampires and action heroes, but you’ll likely run into at least a couple Terminators. If so, just give them your sunglasses and slowly back away. They tend to send out Terminators in pairs -- one good, one bad -- so you have a good 50/50 shot of only losing your glasses. But who wants to deal with that stuff when you just want to have a drink in peace? I’ve noticed that English bars are generally unfriendly places. I once got thoroughly thrashed by this mustached guy simply for asking where the “bathroom” was in an English bar. The more blue-collar the pub, the more likely you’re going to end up drinking your teeth. There was one bar I remember called The Slaughtered Lamb. The jerks at this place totally had an out of control werewolf problem, but no one wanted to tell me about it because if the werewolf ate me, then it’d likely leave the rest of them alone. Luckily it got a couple other guys instead. Really, the only English pub I’ve ever been a fan of was The
BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

Winchester, and it was destroyed by zombies. Space bars. Avoid those as well. Again, I hate to sound racist, but space bars have some serious Alien problems. And whenever you do your drinking off-planet, you’re walking away from nice things like laws and police protection. It’s the final frontier out there, so if some bugfaced dumbass wants to start some crap, you basically have to cut off his arm or shoot him mid-sentence to have any chance of getting out of there alive. So in which bars can you drink? Luckily, there are plenty of places you can go. For instance, I know a bar at this place called the Overlook Hotel. It’s totally empty, but as soon as you need a bartender, one suddenly appears before you. He’ll pour your drinks and listen to your problems all night long, and when the time comes to pay your tab -- POOF! -- he’s gone again. Don’t take any family members, though. I also know a really great bar that seems to break all the rules I’ve stated above but ends up being a good place anyhow. The Double Deuce in Jasper, Missouri, looks like it’d be one of the most dangerous clubs in the country. And a long time ago, it was. But now they have this guy working there named Dalton and he keeps that place in line like you wouldn’t believe. If you like slightly higher class fare, one hidden gem is the Korova Milk Bar. No, they don’t serve anything but drugged milk. But it is quite relaxing and the sexually charged atmosphere all but guarantees a last-call hook up. A lot of gangs come to this bar, but keep to yourself and you should be okay. Generally higher scale places tend to season their drinking atmosphere with stuff like track lighting and modernist architecture rather than violence. So if you see sawdust on the floor, maybe try the place next door. But there are always exceptions to every rule. If you’re drinking somewhere with a mechanical bull, for instance, I implore you to put your balls back on and have the best night of your life, even if it ends up also being your last. Those things are harder and harder to find. Anyway, follow these very simple guidelines and you should live long enough to see the second rise of Prohibition. Of course, there are no guarantees in life. Stupid vampires and Terminators are pretty much everywhere. But it’s always been that way. And if you can’t control your destiny, might as well have a pint to help keep you from giving a damn. That’s what I say! 6

TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Disappearance Of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE: Why Stanley Kubrick Banned His Own Movie
Devin Faraci Badass Digest Editor in Chief

@devincf

Read more at badassdigest.com

The crimes could be scenes from A CLOCKWORK ORANGE: a boy beats a homeless man to death for a few pennies; a 16-year-old dressed like Alex and his droogs savagely beats and kicks a 15-year-old; a 17-year-old Dutch girl is gang raped by a group of Lancashire boys as they sing Singin’ In The Rain. But these weren’t scenes from Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece -- they were events that occurred in the real world a year after its release. The film, a smash hit, immediately got the attention of moralizers and puritans, who were shocked and appalled at the way Kubrick mixed sex and violence, and the seductive way that he portrayed Alex’s life of delinquency. When these crimes started happening -- crimes that one judge explicitly said were part of a “horrible trend which has been inspired by this wretched film’’ -- the outcry against A CLOCKWORK ORANGE grew louder. Kubrick had stood steadfast by his film, but something about these crimes troubled him. He met with Warner Bros. and they came to a decision: the movie would be pulled from release in the United Kingdom. Over the years legend had it that A CLOCKWORK ORANGE was one of the Video Nasties, one of the films banned by Britain because of its content, but the truth is that it was Kubrick himself who made the choice. Julian
BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

Senior, who was then-vice-president of Warner Bros., told THE GUARDIAN, “The police were saying to us: ‘We think you should do something about this. It is getting dangerous’.’’ In many ways it was giving in to those who claim that movies create violence in society -- a position Kubrick had staunchly opposed while doing the initial press for the film. Speaking with journalist Michael Ciment, Kubrick said: “No one is corrupted watching A CLOCKWORK ORANGE any more than they are by watching RICHARD III... The film has been accepted as a work of art, and no work of art has ever done social harm, though a great deal of social harm has been done by those who have sought to protect society against works of art which they regarded as dangerous. “There has always been violence in art. There is violence in the Bible, violence in Homer, violence in Shakespeare, and many psychiatrists believe that it serves as a catharsis rather than a model. I think the question of whether there has been an increase in screen violence and, if so, what effect this has had, is to a very great extent a media-defined issue. I know there are well-intentioned people who sincerely believe that films and TV contribute to violence, but almost all of the official studies of this question have concluded that there is no evidence to support this view. At the same time, I think the media

TABLE OF CONTENTS

tend to exploit the issue because it allows them to display and discuss the so-called harmful things from a lofty position of moral superiority. But the people who commit violent crime are not ordinary people who are transformed into vicious thugs by the wrong diet of films or TV. Rather, it is a fact that violent crime is invariably committed by people with a long record of anti-social behaviour, or by the unexpected blossoming of a psychopath who is described afterward as having been ‘...such a nice, quiet boy,’ but whose entire life, it is later realized, has been leading him inexorably to the terrible moment, and who would have found the final ostensible reason for his action if not in one thing then in another. In both instances immensely complicated social, economic and psychological forces are involved in the individual’s criminal behaviour. The simplistic notion that films and TV can transform an otherwise innocent and good person into a criminal has strong overtones of the Salem witch trials. This notion is further encouraged by the criminals and their lawyers who hope for mitigation through this excuse. I am also surprised at the extremely illogical distinction that is so often drawn between harmful violence and the so-called harmless violence of, say, “Tom and Jerry” cartoons or James Bond movies, where often sadistic violence is presented as unadulterated fun. I hasten to say, I don’t think that they contribute to violence either. Films and TV are also convenient whipping boys for politicians because they allow them to look away from the social and economic causes of crime, about which they are either unwilling or unable to do anything.”

And yet a year later he voluntarily removed the film from circulation in the UK -- a condition that endured until his death. An entire generation of British film fans grew up unable to see the movie for themselves; a cinema club that tried to screen A CLOCKWORK ORANGE in the 1990s was effectively sued out of existence. Kubrick was, of course, correct in his initial quote. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE didn’t make anyone commit any crimes; the boy who beat the homeless man to death hadn’t even seen the film, but had heard it described by friends. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE remains a misunderstood movie, a film whose visceral and thrilling depiction of heinous acts is often misconstrued by younger viewers who are drawn to the edgy transgression and seeming self-actualization of Alex. It’s like FIGHT CLUB, a movie that has inspired actual real-life fight clubs despite such things being against the film’s message when taken as a whole. So why did Kubrick have the film withdrawn? He continued exploring violence in movies, so it wasn’t remorse for the subject matter. He never spoke about the decision, but it’s easy to imagine that while he didn’t blame A CLOCKWORK ORANGE for the murder or the assault or the rape, he was still sickened to see the clothes of his characters hung on these perpetrators. The message of his film was being missed, and he refused to let the movie take on a life of its own. They say that once a movie is released it belongs to the public -- Stanley Kubrick obviously didn’t agree. 6

BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Community, Crumpets And Crime: An Ealing Studios Primer
Tommy Swenson Alamo Drafthouse Programmer

@80s_lightning

Read more at badassdigest.com

Ealing Studios, the modest and self-sufficient film production company located at Ealing Green in West London, made films that, for a time in the forties and fifties, came to define not only British cinema but a fundamental part of British identity. Studio head Michael Balcon deliberately set out to make movies that represented something intrinsically and culturally British. Ealing pictures strove to stand for continuity and decency, celebrating community and representing an idealized, indomitable Britain. Mention of Ealing Studios was meant to evoke the smell of buttered crumpets or the taste of a warm draught. The mythical Britain of Ealing Studios is the same Britain evoked by The Kinks’ “Village Green Preservation Society”: “Preserving the old ways from being abused/Protecting the new ways for me and for you.” God save the Village Green. After several years spent managing both Gainsborough and Gaumont-British Pictures, as well as a miserable year and a half running the British branch of MGM, Michael Balcon took charge of Ealing Studios in 1938. He recruited a brilliant team of creative craftsmen who came to be known as Mr. Balcon’s “Young Gentlemen” -- among them directors Robert Hamer and Alexander Mackendrick, screenwriter T.E.B. Clarke and cinematographer Douglas Slocombe -- and began to build a studio identity in the tradition of Hollywood’s golden age. Much like how MGM’s “boy genius” Irving Thalberg controlled production to foster ideas that were particular to him, producing films that were individually unique yet consistent in tone, Balcon too wanted to create this sort of cohesive ideology and integrity of purpose for his studio. Films weren’t made at Ealing, but by Ealing. The ideology that Balcon espoused was based in a particular kind of “realism” that he saw as being in opposition to “tinsel.” Ealing films avoided excess, dealing
BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

in moderation and understatement. Humor was valued as a way to alleviate the hardships of post-war daily life. Though influenced by the British documentary movement and filmmakers like John Grierson and Humphrey Jennings, Balcon disliked “naturalism” and tried to avoid its more radical and left-wing associations which he perceived to be dangerous. Social contradictions and class conflicts were ignored or smoothed over by gentle, well-meaning humor and a delight in mild eccentricity. Ealing films do, however, concern themselves with communities, how they function and how they carry on. Ealing itself was the “Studio with the Team Spirit,” driven with the fervent conviction of a family business. In his definitive book on the studio, EALING STUDIOS: A MOVIE BOOK, film historian Charles Barr writes, “In a business notorious for size and instability, for a rapid turnover of money, ideas and people, Ealing succeeded in keeping itself small and stable.” He positions a very early Ealing comedy, CHEER BOYS CHEER from 1939, as the most archetypal and autobiographical of all their films. In it, a big brewery tries to take over a small competitor, a family firm celebrating its 150th anniversary. The offer is proudly refused, so the big boss’s son goes undercover to infiltrate the small brewery and sabotage it from within. In the end, however, he is won over by the family brewery, saves the company from ruin and marries the daughter of the family. Everyone comes together at the wedding banquet to drink to the couple’s health in a specially brewed draught. Barr breaks it down, “To make this really Ealing, lay on the contrasts. The brewery names: Ironside against Greenleaf. Grim offices and black limousines against country lanes, ivy-covered cottages, horses, bicycles. Autocratic rule against the benevolent paternalism of a grey-haired old man who collects Toby Jugs. The beer itself: quantity against quality,

BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTS

machines against craftsmanship. The people and their manners: very harsh, very gentle. Small is beautiful.” The irony of Ealing Studios -- of its historical intentions and of its legacy in the public imagination -- is that when you actually go back and watch the films, so many of them are uncomfortable operating inside this proscribed ideological framework, pushing and pulling at their seams, undermining it all with deliberate acts of subversion. While many Ealing comedies are rather wholesome and harmless, suppressing complex and problematic realities, other Ealing films such as WHISKY GALORE and KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS boldly restore suppressed themes of class and sex. THE LADYKILLERS is a bloody-minded story of cruelly incompetent robbers. THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT is a scabrously political film about a chemist who invents a perfect fabric that threatens to destroy the economy. KIND HEARTS, one of the most viciously black comedies ever made, is a callous and amoral laff riot about a calculating serial killer. And though it’s almost impossible to think about Ealing Studios without thinking of their comedies, comedies only represent about a third of their work. From whiteknuckle Nazi invasion films (WENT THE DAY WELL?) to dark and mysterious horror (DEAD OF NIGHT) to poetic realist drama (IT ALWAYS RAINS ON SUNDAY) to gritty police procedurals (THE BLUE LAMP), Ealing produced many of the finest British films ever made. Watching them now though, it’s not so much their

“Britishness” that defines them but the sheer quality in their craft. If you have never seen an Ealing film, start with one of these comedies and discover a mythical Britain brought to life and then cut to ribbons. The following films are available on DVD in the US. And be sure to see WHISKY GALORE on screen this month at the Alamo Drafthouse.

HUE & CRY Dir. Charles Chrichton, 1947 The story of a group of East End kids who discover that a gang of criminals is using a comic book to send coded messages about their secret plans, HUE & CRY is the first true Ealing comedy of their golden age. The movie has an adventurous, BOY’S OWN ripping yarn quality, but the most striking thing about it is its use of real locations in London’s bombed-out East End. These post-Battle of London, rubble-strewn streets are the background for the film’s unforgettable finale in which, ignored by all authority figures, the kids take matters into their own hands and organize hundreds of other kids from across the city to convene on the villains. Just as Hammer became synonymous with horror after the wild success of HORROR OF DRACULA in 1958, HUE & CRY’s impressive box office receipts meant that this style of comedy would go on to dominate much of the studio’s production efforts for the following decade.

BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PASSPORT TO PIMLICO Dir. Henry Cornelius, 1949 Residents of the Pimlico district of London discover that, due to some arcane treaties, they still legally belong to Burgundy. To free themselves from the rationing restrictions of post-war austerity, the people of Pimlico declare it to be an independent state. This comedy about a small community of ordinary folks involved in extraordinary events is archetypal Ealing. It’s laced with a nostalgic yearning for the social unity of the war years and, despite their resistance and defiance, the “Burgundians” never forget where they’re really from. “We always were English and we always will be English, and it’s just because we are English that we’re sticking up for our right to be Burgundian!” You can’t get more Ealing than that. KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS Dir. Robert Hamer, 1949 You can’t get less Ealing than this. Dennis Price is brilliant as an embittered lower-class commoner who is unwaveringly determined to avenge his mother’s unjust disinheritance by claiming her family’s fortune and titles for himself. Unfortunately, he has to first murder his way through eight of her relatives. Fortunately, all eight of them are played to perfection by a chameleonic Alec Guinness, including an elderly aunt. KIND HEARTS is cool, ironic and witty. And very, very dark. This film lies furthest apart from the rest listed here, owing more to Chaplin’s MONSIEUR VERDOUX than any other Ealing film. But it can easily stand next to that masterpiece or even DR. STRANGELOVE as one of the very best black comedies of all time. THE LAVENDER HILL MOB Dir. Charles Chrichton, 1951 Alec Guinness has concocted the perfect crime: smuggling a million pounds in gold bullion stolen from the Bank of England into France in the form of miniature Eiffel Towers. Abetted by a flawless script and a wonderful supporting cast, this film is as much a suspenseful thriller as it is a witty comedy. Most thrilling of all however is the brief before-she-was-famous appearance by Audrey Hepburn. In the words of Telegraph critic Sukhdev Sandhu, “She’s a glimmering diamond amid the unvacuumed carpets of the Ealing universe.” THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT Dir. Alexander Mackendrick, 1951 If you only know Ealing’s comedic good-luck-charm Alec Guinness as Obi Wan Kenobi, watching the virtuosic range that he exhibits across these films is staggering. His comedic skills can be put to almost any use. Here he plays a Promethean antihero chemist who develops an artificial fiber that’s indestructible and unsoilable. The economic implications of such an invention are disastrous and he
BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

soon has to contend with angry personifications of Capital and Labor, both trying to quash his scientific dreams in favor of planned obsolescence. THE TITFIELD THUNDERBOLT Dir. Charles Chrichton, 1953 This is another of the wistful, yearning, backwardslooking comedies that really project the fabled Ealing feeling. When a domineering and villainous bus company threatens to close the Titfield rail line, the local villagers enact a plan to take over operations of the train themselves. Celebrating eccentric, provincial communities and their love of rural railways, TITFIELD THUNDERBOLT is the mildest and most parochial of these comedies, but it’s still witty and warm. THE MAGGIE Dir. Alexander Mackendrick, 1954 The devious captain of a Scottish ‘puffer’ boat steals valuable cargo from an American big shot and delivers it himself, standing up for the little guy against heartless forces of progress. Although similar to THUNDERBOLT in that it deals with sentimental efforts to preserve ageing vehicles, THE MAGGIE is more complex and subversive with a bitter and black heart that prevents any true sympathy with the protagonists -- and it’s all the better for it. THE LADYKILLERS Dir. Alexander Mackendrick, 1955 The last truly great comedy of the Ealing cycle is probably the most famous, and with good reason. The pitch black humor that it mines from the story of a motley crew of crooks using the home of a dotty old lady, the unforgettable Mrs. Wilberforce, as the base of operations for an ill-fated heist remains sharp and visceral. Alec Guinness again disappears into his character, a gothic and twisted Professor orchestrating the operation, but the performance is enriched by everyone around him, including Herbert Lom as a trigger-happy professional gangster and Peter Sellers as a scrappy corner boy. The strength of the film is in the way that the characters collide and the sense of conflict and contradiction that permeates everything in it. It fits the Ealing mold by exploring conformity and community, by emphasizing its ensemble cast, by filming on location and by anchoring its black comedy with a strong moral dimension. But it also strains against all those tendencies in a way that feels dangerous and uncontainable. We never feel comfortable around these characters and as their heist slowly unravels, their childishly inept behavior gets more sinister. Mixing pathos, nostalgia, slapstick and terror, the film becomes a macabre cartoon of greed and corruption. With its bizarre collision of styles and ideas, THE LADYKILLERS is British filmmaking at its most powerful. 6

TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Wright Stuff: Edgar Wright On WORLD’S END, Pubs And All-Nighters
Devin Faraci Badass Digest Editor in Chief

@devincf

Read more at badassdigest.com

The Cornetto Trilogy (aka the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy) began with SHAUN OF THE DEAD, continued with HOT FUZZ and concludes this summer with THE WORLD’S END. The team of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost -- who have been working together since their classic TV show SPACED -- are back with another comedy that tweaks genre conventions while also telling a completely sweet and human story. It’s sort of their signature at this point. This time Simon Pegg plays the wild card character. Gary King is 40 but still living in his 20s, hoping to recapture the spirit of one magical night when he and his best mates tried to drink at each of the 12 pubs on their small home town’s “Golden Mile.” They never made it all the way to the final pub, The World’s End, but now Gary has brought everyone back together to try it again. When they return to Newton Haven to take another go at the Golden Mile they quickly discover why Thomas Wolfe said you can’t go home again -- because your small town has been invaded by robots from outer space that look like the townsfolk. Against this backdrop of an alien invasion Gary does the only thing he knows how to do -- he keeps drinking his way down the Golden Mile. I talked to Edgar Wright while he was doing the final sound mix on the film. He was tired -- Wright runs himself into the ground when making his movies, subsisting on a diet largely made up of espresso -- but he, as always, was excited to talk, especially when the conversation turned to other great movies.
BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

Q:  In a lot of ways THE WORLD’S END brings you full circle back to SHAUN OF THE DEAD, not just with pubs but with the idea of both films being about guys who need to grow up. A:  With SHAUN OF THE DEAD, with Shaun’s character, most people feel like that in their 20s -‘Man, I have to be an adult! I have to buck up!’ In this movie you’ve got five guys, four of whom are perfectly functioning adults who have grown up and have responsibilities and moved on with their lives, and one guy who not only hasn’t grown up, he wants to go backwards. He’s so unhappy with his current lot that he wants to go back in time. I’ve done pretty well in my life so far, but I still have time travel fantasies, I still have fantasies about going back to rectify things. I thought, ‘Why would I want to go back to being a teenager?’ Even though Gary is not really based on me, I do recognize that feeling. And there are people who want to keep that buzz of that one night going forever. Q:  That’s the thing, it’s the idea that you’ve peaked and you can’t deal with the idea of peaking. In other movies it’s usually the jock character who has that, the guy who is still reliving the big game. This is coming from a very different perspective. A:  What we tried to do with all of the films is take characters who might in other films be the sidekick or even a truly negative character and try to find them some kind of redemption. Simon’s character, compared

TABLE OF CONTENTS

BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTS

to Shaun and Nicholas Angel, is charmingly unlikable. We push it as far as we can go, which I think is really fun for Simon. After two films playing the straight man he wanted to be the wild man. It’s nice to flip it all around and Nick is straighter, initially. But I really think people who watch this film are going to say, ‘Man, I know that guy.’ And sometimes it’ll really gross them out, they’ll say, ‘Oh man, that’s my brother.’ Or ‘That’s me!’ It’s fun to give that character some redemption. Someone asked me what I want people to take away from the movie, and I said, ‘I want them to call that guy in their life just to see if he’s okay!’ Q: O  ne of the things I love is how Nick and Simon are flipped. It reminds me of Belushi and Aykroyd switching spots in NEIGHBORS. It’s fun to see that dynamic changed. A: I  n the years between SPACED and THE WORLD’S END, I’ve seen Nick go from being Simon’s roommate to a real actor and now a father. In that space of time, which is only like 12 years, I’ve seen that man -- he’s still great and fun as ever -- he’s become a dad. With some comedies it’s responsible, even if we as filmmakers have become successful, to play your own age. To not play 20something forever. And I think there’s more comic mileage to get out of that. The six years between this and HOT FUZZ... we couldn’t have written this specific screenplay six years ago. Q: P  ubs play central roles in all your British films. If you were making these movies in America it wouldn’t be quite the same -- bars don’t hold the same central spot in the common culture here. What is it about pubs that makes them so important to British life? A: I  think you have neighborhood bars in the US, and the smaller your town the more central your neighborhood bar is. It’s similar here in a way; being in London as a big city offers you a lot more to do. But when I was living in a country town, like Newton Haven, that was your one source of entertainment. There was one cinema, one nightclub and a whole ton of pubs. You’re going to end up going to them whether you like it or not. Me and Simon, we have a love/hate relationship with them. When I was shooting HOT FUZZ there’s a pub scene where the cops meet and where the shootout happens in the end. We were shooting in this real pub and it was tiny. I said to [producer] Nira Park, out loud, ‘I never want to shoot in a fucking British pub ever again. I’ve had it.’ But that was before I came up with the idea for this one! The idea of doing an Arthurian quest movie about pubs was so vivid for me. We did one movie where one character wants to get to the pub, now we have to do a movie where the character wants to get to ALL of the pubs!

I had done exactly this when I was a 19-year-old. I was living in Wells, Somerset -- which is where HOT FUZZ is set -- and there were 12 or 13 pubs and me and my friends were going to go to the outskirts of town, to the farthest one out, and do all 13. That plan went as far as 6 pubs. By the sixth pub, because I am quite a lightweight, I was almost blackout drunk and causing mischief. I had a weird, wild night and went off on my own for a bit looking for this girl I was kind of seeing, but I forgot she wasn’t home and I ended up waking her mother and she threatened to call the police because who is this drunk, idiot 19-year-old on her doorstep? And when I realized I was being irritating I tried to run away and I turned around and ran right into a clothesline and almost knocked myself out. I found my friends at 2 in the morning and I had a big purple bruise on my neck where I had run into a clothesline -- I had literally clotheslined myself! I had got through less than half of the pubs in my town, but it always stuck with me. When I was 21, after I did FISTFUL OF FINGERS, I wrote a script called Crawl, about teenagers on a pub crawl. I intended to make it but never did, and then years later we were doing the HOT FUZZ press tour and weirdly started thinking of that script again and then SUPERBAD came out and I thought I couldn’t do anything with the script anymore. Then I was on a plane with Simon and thought maybe that’s just the start of it -- maybe that’s the first five minutes. The first three minutes of THE WORLD’S END comprises what I might have made when I was 21. It’s a mini-movie, a mini-AMERICAN GRAFFITI, and I realized the story of them reuniting to do it again is going to be great. Once you bring the otherworldly stuff into it, it comes together. It was an epiphany where I realized you could make a movie about alienation in your hometown, that you can return to your home town and feel alienated, the lack of connection with childhood friends, the pub has changed, your favorite coffee shop is missing, your favorite bar has been refurbished. People you went to school with don’t recognize you anymore. There’s something poignant and alarming about that, and it struck me as being like a quiet invasion movie -- the kind of thing that was a staple of British scifi in the ‘60s. Q:  You and I are the same age, and the early ‘90s are the heyday of our youth. This movie revisits that so well -- the soundtrack, the fashion, the fact that Simon is wearing that Egyptian eye necklace is so 1990. Can you talk about the idea of nostalgia that comes when you get close to 40, the feeling that you aren’t that old, but you aren’t that young anymore. A:  I think it’s a very odd feeling, especially when some of those bands are still around. You think, ‘Oh great, Primal Scream has a new album out!’ and then you

BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTS

realize Primal Scream started in 1985. It’s that feeling you’re not thinking in decades anymore, that some of the culture you were around is twenty years old or twenty-five years old. It was crucial to us to make everybody in the audience feel old. One of the first lines of the film is Simon saying, ‘It was NINETEEN NINETY,’ saying it like it was 1890. You’ve had plenty of ‘80s retro comedies, but to switch it to 1990 and make it sound like it was a thousand years ago is designed to make everybody in the audience feel ancient. Q:  We are farther from 1990 than AMERICAN GRAFFITI was from 1963. A: It seems ridiculous!

I hope that, even more than SHAUN and HOT FUZZ people feel those locations, the geography. It’s that oppressive sense of a night in a small town where you can’t escape. We were pretty much in the same two towns, so there are chase scenes where you’re really going from A to B, so people from those towns will be able to trace the steps of the action scenes. It creates its own internal tension, making an all-inone-night movie, and it was fun. One of the early ideas was can we make this almost existential farce? I don’t think you’ll see anything of Luis Buñuel in here, but I always liked THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL and the idea of the dinner party you cannot leave. In this pub crawl one character has said ‘We need to get to number 12 if it kills us,’ and he does everything he can to keep the pub crawl on track. This is the movie where one of our heroes is going to have a great night... whatever the cost. Q:  Can you talk about some of the touchstone movies that informed the scifi decisions you made in THE WORLD’S END? A:  There’s something strong about showing something bigger happening through a keyhole focus. That was present in a lot of ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s scifi films, British and American. While writing we didn’t rewatch any of those movies, but when we were prepping the movie I went back to a couple of them just for fun and it was interesting to see how we had captured them without watching them at all. There were things from BODY SNATCHERS to QUATERMASS, the Hammer ones from the ‘50s and ‘60s. They were influential themselves, in that they influenced films of the ‘70s. There were films like VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED and STEPFORD WIVES. I like those small-town paranoia films, and growing up in a small town they always resonated with me. The idea of what happens in a small town may have larger consequences. And we did something in THE WORLD’S END that we never did in the other movies, which is that it may all be our main character’s fault! In SHAUN OF THE DEAD it’s not Shaun’s fault there’s a zombie apocalypse; he has nothing to do with the outbreak of the virus. But in this one we have a central character who may be a galactic nuisance. Q:  How is the small town paranoia in THE WORLD’S END different from HOT FUZZ? A:  Nicholas Angel is a stranger in Sanford, and in this film they’re going back to their home town. It’s one of those ideas that became very vivid to me way before I even thought of the movie. When I first went to college, I would come back home every holiday -- Easter, summer, Halloween, Christmas. Then the following year I just came back twice, summer and Christmas.

Q:  Speaking of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, THE WORLD’S END is pretty much an all-in-one-night movie, like AMERICAN GRAFFITI. A:  It is, absolutely. It has a prologue and an epilogue, but the rest of it is in that span. Q:  Is it harder to do a movie that’s set all in one night, or does the propulsive nature of the timeline make it easier? A:  I think it makes it easier, in a way. It’s got a very different feeling in that respect than SHAUN or HOT FUZZ. The time is truncated. Most of SHAUN OF THE DEAD is one day, but this is all one night, and it has an effect on the shoot. We shoot some daytime and then the sun going down and then the rest of the shoot is at night. We shot for 12 weeks on this, and the last month was all nights, which creates a weird feeling on set. You start to feel like the characters, like you’re trapped in this hell night. A lot of it is on location -nine of the twelve pubs are on location - and there was a lot of nights there.

BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Then the following year just Christmas. The next two years I didn’t go back at all. Then I went back for Christmas again. Every time you go back there’s a change in personnel. The bars are different but the people stay the same... but the further you get away from them the less they recognize you. Something that’s in the film happened to me, where there was a bully from school who was a really tough character growing up, and one night I came home and he blanked me in a pub. I was really upset because I wanted him to remember me. It’s like he moved on in his life, like it meant nothing to him at all. It wasn’t that he was nasty to me, it was that he didn’t recognize me somehow really disturbed me. I was thinking ‘This is like BODY SNATCHERS, all the people I knew have been replaced by replicants.’ It was a metaphor for coming home but having the feeling you can never go back. Q:  This magazine is really aimed at a cinephile audience. What obscure pub or bar movies should they check out? A:  There aren’t that many movies set just in pubs. We may have thrown down the gauntlet for being the most pub-centric film of all time. I defy you to beat us! Most pub films tend to be downers, tough stuff like NIL BY MOUTH or TYRANNOSAUR. But some films with good pub scenes in them include AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, perhaps one of the most famous British pub scenes put to film. WITHNAIL & I has an amazing pub scene, and the pub is central to the small village there. I always liked the pub scene in GET CARTER, when Michael Caine goes in and says, ‘I’d like a lager in a straight glass, please.’ It says a lot about the north/south divide, it’s a real class film, southern Londoners versus tough northerners. BRANNIGAN, the John Wayne film, has a great brawl in a pub, very silly. John Wayne throws this guy into a jukebox. Unbeknownst to me -- I didn’t find this out until later -- the stunt man playing the publican we throw into the jukebox is the same guy. I found that out later and I couldn’t believe we did the whole scene and he never said, ‘Hey, did you see the John Wayne film BRANNIGAN? Because I do the same stunt in that.’ Why didn’t he tell me he went into the jukebox in BRANNIGAN, and he was thrown by the Duke! There’s a whole wave of B-movies based on the works of John Wyndham that are pub-centric. I didn’t watch it when we were writing, but seemed to me the perfect low budget British scifi movie, called THE EARTH DIES SCREAMING. It has that great title and yet it pretty much takes place in one small village -- not even a village, a hamlet! Most of the action revolves around
BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

the pub, and there are robots in that making people into zombies. It’s amazing to have a movie called THE EARTH DIES SCREAMING that has a cast about eight strong. Q:  I’m going to name three all-in-one-night movies, you have to tell me which is best. You can only have one of these: AMERICAN GRAFFITI, AFTER HOURS, DAZED AND CONFUSED. A:  I really love AFTER HOURS, but I’m going to go for AMERICAN GRAFFITI. It’s a perfect movie, and watching it recently it hit me just as hard as it did when I was a teenager. The ending is perfect, you get the ups and downs of the night that goes from joyful teenage abandon to being dark and enigmatic to brutal in terms of its final epilogue. That film is a real masterpiece, and it goes from light and frothy to hardhitting with real grace. Q:  Is it too controversial to say AMERICAN GRAFFITI is George Lucas’ best movie? A:  No, he never made anything like it again. You can say that. I like STAR WARS IV and V, but AMERICAN GRAFFITI, in his career, is a one off. It feels like that kind of movie you can only make once. It’s an amazing moment of lightning striking for him and his technical team and editor and the cast. There is some real filmmaking skill in that movie, and some happy accidents as well and they gel. Q:  Was it during one of your programming stints at the New Beverly where you had AMERICAN GRAFFITI on a double bill with ANIMAL HOUSE and John Landis watched AMERICAN GRAFFITI for the first time in decades? A:  Yeah! John Landis apologized for making fun of AMERICAN GRAFFITI. He hadn’t seen it since the ‘70s, and it really knocked him back in his seat. He said, ‘I forgot how powerful that ending is, and it makes me feel bad we made fun of it in ANIMAL HOUSE.’ He said the writers and producers of ANIMAL HOUSE had kept knocking AMERICAN GRAFFITI, saying ‘This isn’t the ‘60s, ANIMAL HOUSE is the ‘60s!’ and calling it the antiAMERICAN GRAFFITI. After watching it he said he wanted to apologize for ever getting involved in that because AMERICAN GRAFFITI is a great movie. He was taken aback. My theory was the films make a perfect double bill because Richard Dreyfuss in AMERICAN GRAFFITI turned into Tom Hulce in ANIMAL HOUSE. Even the year works well! One ends the summer of ‘62, the other is the start of the college year ‘62. Dreyfuss is a writer, Tom Hulce is a writer. They could be cut together! 6

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Mean, Drunk: Alfred Hitchcock’s FRENZY
PHIL NOBILE JR. Badass Digest Contributor
@philnobilejr

Read more at badassdigest.com

Although it had turned up in numerous silents, in many ways the Cinematic Drunkard was well and truly born in 1930’s ANNA CHRISTIE, with the first words Greta Garbo ever spoke onscreen: “Give me a whiskey with ginger ale on the side, and don’t be stingy, baby.” In the ensuing 83 years, the archetype of the alcoholic protagonist has staggered through film history, often for laughs (the films of W.C. Fields), sometimes for high drama (THE LOST WEEKEND) or to add some depth to a secondary character (Dean Martin in RIO BRAVO is one of the all-time great Technicolor drunks). As popular culture’s awareness and understanding of alcoholism evolved, it became almost exclusively fodder for pathos. Films like LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT and DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES won accolades and told us in no uncertain terms that alcoholism is Serious Business. While there were exceptions, for a while in the latter 20th Century one could no longer make a film that happened to feature an alcoholic; you had to make a film about alcoholism. And unfortunately films about alcoholism are often terrible. For every great little film moment the specter of alcoholism provides (e.g., Little Bill’s myth-shattering speech about legendary badass Will Munny in UNFORGIVEN), there are ten films where it’s a crutch. It’s a tempting, lazy shortcut for a screenwriter looking for a tidy, easy-to-swallow redemptive arc. Those awardwinning films of the early ‘60s started Hollywood down a path that led to a glut of “socially conscious” madefor-TV movies by the ‘80s. But 1972’s FRENZY goes delightfully, cruelly against this tide, as Alfred Hitchcock takes the movie drunkard and drags him into the ugly, real world. Not, mind you, to make some larger point about alcoholics, but simply as one more color in an immensely unflattering landscape. The film, considered not only his last great work but also often his angriest, is in many ways a return to form for Hitchcock: a wrongly accused protagonist, scenes of suspense in which audience sympathies are transferred to villains, long tracking shots in which horrible things are

implied more than shown. And yet, it’s also 180 degrees from anything The Master had done before. Next to, say, the 15 Hitchcock films which preceded it, FRENZY is a flat-out ugly film: gone are the glossy production values of the ‘50s and ‘60s. And after filming some of the most beautiful faces (male and female) in cinema, Hitchcock peoples FRENZY with the comparatively plain, unremarkable (and largely unknown) faces of London stage actors. He then has cinematographer Gilbert Taylor photograph those faces, and indeed, the entire city of London, in dreary, unflattering tones. (Hitchcock claimed the look he was after was inspired by Vermeer; perhaps 1970s color film stock just wasn’t up to the challenge.) The crimes, too, are uglier than ever: the film proper opens with the discovery of a naked woman floating face down in the Thames. From there the victims are afforded less and less dignity, their nude bodies on garish display, limbs splayed awkwardly, tongues lolling out of their mouths. The swamp scene in PSYCHO, in which Norman Bates tries to sink Marion Crane’s car, is here mapped onto a hilarious yet gruesome sequence in which the film’s killer breaks the fingers of a corpse to retrieve an incriminating piece of evidence. (What happens to her body from there is potentially worse, and best left experienced within the film.) Everything in the film is a good deal meaner and nastier than what audiences had come to expect from Hitchcock. And while many mainstream critics praised FRENZY upon release as Hitchock’s late-period masterpiece, a contemporary audience might well find themselves struggling with some of the sexual violence in the film. But if FRENZY is Hitchcock’s angriest film, it’s important to note that his rage is not solely directed at the film’s victims. The forces of law and order fare no better here; as if annoyed at the amount of time the character spends delivering expository information, Hitchcock forces Scotland Yard Chief Inspector Oxford (Alec McCowen) to do so while attempting to eat his wife’s increasingly hideous “gourmet” cooking, a gag-inducing procession of all things repellent to an old-school British palate (pig’s

BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTS

feet, fish head soup, margaritas, for heaven’s sake!). When he’s not torturing them with inedible gristle, Hitchcock portrays the cops as blowhards who end up jailing the wrong man. And it’s that wrong man that brings us back to Hitchcock’s unsentimental, unflattering portrayal of the drunken protagonist. Richard Blaney (Jon Finch) is in many ways the classic Hitchcock hero: on the run, falsely accused, on a desperate mission to clear his name and save his neck. But Hitchcock has spliced his “wrong man” archetype with that of the drunkard: Blaney is utterly unlikable, impetuous, unreliable and untrustworthy. And it all stems from his drinking. Well, not all of it: had Cary Grant been cast in the role it might be another story. But Hitchcock saw fit to cast the smug, insolent face of Jon Finch, a visage to which Hitchcock fans were rather unaccustomed. And it’s not to obfuscate whether Blaney is guilty or not; the killer’s identity is revealed quite early in the film. But with his long hair, ‘70s mustache and mouthful of British teeth, Finch is a far cry from the typical Hitchcock leading man, a greasy stain on Hitchcock’s legacy of charismatic, trustworthy movie stars.

The aesthetic chips stacked against him, Hitch then saddles his protagonist with a rather pissy demeanor and an extant drinking problem out of the gate: we first meet Richard Blaney as he’s being sacked from a pub for helping himself to a boozy breakfast. From there he angrily wanders Covent Garden, running into a string of characters who add layers to his character: his pal Bob Rusk (Barry Foster), who immediately offers him a handout; his current fling Babs (Anna Massey) who sympathetically listens to Blaney’s sad sack bullshit as if she’s been doing it forever and is resigned to keep on doing so; and his ex-wife Brenda (Barbara Leigh-Hunt) a tolerant woman who seems used to greeting her downon-his-luck ex with an apathetic shrug and a few pounds. We get the picture from those closest to him that Blaney’s drinking has turned a proud RAF veteran into that guy no one wants to hear from, the phone call always asking for money, the friend who only ever has bad news. But rather than use Blaney’s alcoholism for sympathy, to get us in his corner, Hitchcock paints Blaney’s affliction in ugly strokes, begging us to dislike his leading man from the get-go. (The legend goes that Hitchcock was rather abusive to Finch, treating him coolly on days he wasn’t outright embarrassing him in front of the crew, all in order to set Finch’s performance in an edgy, irritable zone for the length of the film.) He spits his words at his closest friends, he repays his ex-wife’s buying him dinner by embarrassing her in public, and when everyone around him starts turning up dead, Blaney’s interactions with the police and the public become even less pleasant. Right up until the end of the film, Hitchcock seems to be daring us to hate this mean drunk. Admittedly, he’s not the only one drinking in the film: we get exposition via pubgoers, poor Chief Inspector Oxford has to gulp down a fair amount of whiskey and wine just to get through his wife’s ghastly meals, and even the killer belts back a few. But Blaney’s clearly drawn as the guy who can’t handle his shit, and as a result he has trouble convincing even his closest friends that he’s not a murdering sex maniac. By all accounts Hitchcock enjoyed wine quite a bit, and it’s clear he was no puritan. So why would he create a protagonist so unlikeable, and do it via booze? At age 72, perhaps Hitchcock’s attitude toward drunkards was a little less enlightened than the rest of the world at that time. Perhaps it wasn’t moralizing so much as it was the Master wanting to find a fresh spin on his “wrong man” trope by inviting us to judge his leading man, to dislike him and to see just how far along we would follow a character we didn’t really want to know. Or, like much of the film’s other shocking elements, it was perhaps a creative exercise Hitchcock was putting himself through, an attempt to see if he could still play the audience like he used to, to take them wherever he wanted, however horrible, and have them happily eating out of his hands once again. To that end, FRENZY is an unqualified success. 6

BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I’m Just A Boy, Standing In Front Of Other Boys, Asking Them To Love NOTTING HILL
BRIAN COLLINS Badass Digest Contributor

@brianwcollins

Read more at badassdigest.com

The summer of 1999 had an unusually high number of comedies; PHANTOM MENACE scared the studios from bothering with too many big action films, and so week after week we were treated to SOUTH PARK, BIG DADDY, AUSTIN POWERS 2 and AMERICAN PIE. And of those titles, many of which are considered quoteunquote “guys’ movies,” the film I’ve kept coming back to over the years is NOTTING HILL. Yes, I mean the romantic comedy starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. Now, if you know anything about me you know I can usually be found watching gory horror movies or playing equally violent video games, but I am proud of my now 14-year appreciation of the film -- an appreciation you should share. The casting is perfect: the two actors were the first choices for their roles, and it’s damn near impossible to imagine anyone else saying the lines of William Thacker and Anna Scott. Grant has rarely been better as his usual stammering, dryly hilarious Englishman, and Roberts deftly finds a way to take what is occasionally a very unlikable character and make her endearing. We not only understand why William is drawn to Anna in the first place, but also why he is able to keep welcoming her back into his life after she shuns him over and over. It isn’t easy to elicit sympathy for a pampered celebrity after she’s treated our hero so badly, but Roberts manages wonderfully -- far better than she did playing another deeply flawed woman in the same summer’s RUNAWAY BRIDE.
BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

Her “I’ll regret this for the rest of my life!” speech from NOTTING HILL is still painful to watch. Credit for that goes to Richard Curtis, the film’s screenwriter who also gave us FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL and LOVE, ACTUALLY. It’s remarkable how well his screenplay balances the comedy and drama, all the while juggling a fairly big cast -- William’s large circle of friends, his dimwitted assistant at the bookstore, and even the concierge at Anna’s hotel create memorable characters even though some of them only have a few seconds of screentime. On that note, as great as Grant and Roberts are, Rhys Ifans nearly steals the film as Will’s idiot roommate Spike, who is either inadvertently helping or hindering their relationship with every appearance. One minute he’s saving the day by remembering Anna’s alias at her hotel, the next he’s destroying her chance at privacy by drunkenly spilling her location to his friends at the pub. Apparently the first cut of the movie was three and a half hours long; it’s not hard to imagine taking that extra footage and shaping a film solely about William and Spike as odd couple roomies with Julia Roberts in a supporting role as Will’s girlfriend. Also working in NOTTING HILL’s favor is how much it downplays Anna’s celebrity as plot impetus; we only see a few clips of her films, cameos are kept to a minimum, and there isn’t much insider baseball jargon to alienate the viewers who simply don’t care about the ins and outs

TABLE OF CONTENTS

of the junket system (an approach that would not carry over to Roberts’ later AMERICA’S SWEETHEARTS). Curtis and director Roger Michell are careful to make those scenes -- such as William’s inadvertent stint as a movie journalist -- some of the funniest in the film; we don’t need to know how a press day works to appreciate the hilarity of Will trying to ask questions about a film he’s never seen. After all, William knows very little about Hollywood himself -- he thinks Leonardo DiCaprio is a director. By focusing on the ways Anna’s presence impacts their lives rather than giving us two hours of Grant bumbling around movie sets and Hollywood studios, the film remains almost shockingly realistic -- we never doubt for a second that this situation is within the realm of possibility. And I think that’s the secret of NOTTING HILL’s success and enduring popularity with women and men (even one of the names behind the SAW series considers himself a fan). Of course there’s always the overly macho pal who will mock me about it, but I’ve found myself talking about this film with my guy friends more than my own wife over

the past decade, which certainly isn’t the case for... well, any other romantic movie I find myself enjoying. This is the exception because the syrupy elements that plague the genre are kept to a minimum -- they spend half of the movie apart, after all! -- and even though Roberts gets top billing, the focus remains on Grant. When Anna leaves, we stay with Will in Notting Hill, rather than follow her to Hollywood. Grant is much easier for the average guy to identify with than a “Sexiest Man Alive” type like Matthew McConaughey or Ryan Reynolds, and that’s yet another way in which NOTTING HILL appeals to the hairier half of the population. So fellas, don’t be ashamed to give NOTTING HILL some love! It’s a great movie regardless of what you’ll find next to it at the video store, so don’t be scared off by the Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Jessica Parker titles neighboring it on the shelf. Next time you’re talking movies (perhaps at the bar, when their guards will be down), tell your friends you write for “Horse & Hound” and see who gets the joke. They won’t be able to deny it then! 6

BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Quaffing Cocktails With Composers: Film Composers’ Favorite Drinks
SCOREKEEPER Badass Digest Contributor
@ScoreKeeperBAD

Read more at badassdigest.com

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Composing music for movies is a tough job. It’s an intense pressure-cooker situation where one is hand-wrenched to their creative peak without the adequate time necessary to even complete the task. Millions of dollars are potentially riding on every note while a perpetual swarm of buzzing heads indiscriminately dismantle every musical decision you make. The labor is relentless and unforgiving. Under these extraordinary professional circumstances, Hollywood’s elite film composers have come to rely upon liquid offerings of their favorite blissful elixir to soothe the savagely creative beast within and extinguish the fires of their tumultuous journey. A little giggle juice helps unclog the channels of creativity and adds a heroic fanfare upon conclusion of their glorious achievement. I recently spoke with a handful of film composers as to what distilled delights titillated their tastebuds while maintaining their sanity during the interminable hours spent honing their craft. The results of my non-scientific survey run the gamut of beverage consumption. Some prefer kicking back and knocking back a couple of cold ones while others occasionally partake in tingly drops of an exotic liqueur or a well-aged vintage. So what do film composers like to drink? In May 2012, Michael Giacchino (THE INCREDIBLES, STAR TREK) was in Dallas attending a series of concerts of his music performed by the Dallas Symphony. An avid vodka drinker, Giacchino stumbled upon a refreshing variation on a classic theme which keeps him pining for the Lone Star State. “I like it simple,” Giacchino explains. “Vodka. Soda. Lime. However, while in Dallas, I discovered a jalapeño infused vodka. Now every time I order a drink, I have to explain in excruciating detail to the (usually) bewildered bartender exactly how to muddle the jalapeño, add the right amount of lemonade and soda, and how to shake it just right. All this so I can recreate one of my favorite Texan experiences. Now at one of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles I only have to say, I want the Spicy Mike.” Giacchino isn’t the only composer to have his name attached to a delicious newfangled beverage. Harry Manfredini’s (FRIDAY THE 13TH, SWAMP THING) proclivity for red wine and an adventurous palette led to the discovery of a particular poison which still bears his name. “I was at my favorite bar called Sisley in Valencia,” Manfredini recounts, “The place was closing and there were maybe two of us left. We started trying different drinks and I stumbled upon one I really liked: 1.5 oz of Tequila, 1.5 oz of red wine, 1 oz Cointreau, lime juice, splash of Sprite, shaken and served in a Martini glass. It’s called the Harrytini. It tastes like Sangria, but with a kick!” Manfredini is a consummate connoisseur of red wine and not generally a fan of cocktails. He’ll indulge in a full-bodied port before bedtime and an occasional beer
BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

when paired with the right meal like an icy Kirin with sushi or Tsing Tao with Chinese cuisine. When the composer requires an extra special swill, his prime pick is a comforting glass of Averna over ice with a lemon twist. An Italian liqueur concocted in Sicily in 1868, Averna is sweet with a gentle herbal bitterness derived from the pulverized herbs, roots and citrus rinds that soak in the base liquor before caramel is added. Composer Geoff Zanelli (THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN, THE PACIFIC) recently wrapped up work with Hans Zimmer on the score for the Disney summer blockbuster THE LONE RANGER. When time finally arrived to celebrate their achievement, Zanelli turned to his trustworthy libation of choice. “I’m a gin martini fan,” Zanelli reveals. “THE LONE RANGER was a long road, but at the end was a gin martini. I used Nolet’s gin and garnished with olives, but I’ll do a lemon twist from time to time too. And I’m bucking the current trend as far as vermouth is concerned — I’m not afraid to actually taste it in the drink!” Zanelli also has a taste for tropical drinks and spent a brief time believing he had invented a particularly delicious concoction all his own. “When I was scoring THE PACIFIC, I wanted a drink and only had a few ingredients on hand. I mixed equal parts pineapple juice, cointreau and gin. I called it the Fussy Minkler. It actually caught on with the music team who had really developed a taste for it. So one night some of us were out at dinner at R+D Kitchen in Santa Monica and I call out the recipe to the bartender. He makes it, tries it, loves it and adds it to his menu for a little while. Later I learned the drink already exists. It’s called a Waikiki Beachcomber. For a while I thought I’d made it up.” The most bizarre drink Nathan Johnson (LOOPER, THE BROTHERS BLOOM) ever encountered was introduced to him by good friend and Dutch Kills bartender Amanda Boccato in Long Island City. It’s called The Electric Current Fizz which is an oft-forgotten potation from the late 1800s. “It requires a bit of performance art,” explains Johnson, “especially when served the old-fashioned way. Basically it’s a Silver Fizz (2 oz dry gin, 1 egg white, ½ tbspn sugar, ½ oz lemon juice, 2 oz soda water) but instead of discarding the egg yolk, it is reserved and served in the half-shell next to the drink. The yolk is garnished with a combination of hot sauces and seasonings and the idea is a two-part experience. First you break the egg yolk so it coats your mouth before swallowing it — à la Rocky Balboa. Then you follow it up with the Fizz. It is a great (and surprising) combination of flavors and on a good day makes a great substitute for breakfast.” Contrary to Zanelli’s liberal addition to vermouth in his gin martinis, Johnson prefers his super-duper dry. “Someone once said the correct way to make a martini is to fill it with gin and then open a bottle of Vermouth

TABLE OF CONTENTS

across the room in front of a fan,” Johnson quips. “I usually tend to agree with that approach.” Johnson also possesses a penchant for the peaty piquancy of a good single-malt scotch. His celebratory mixture of choice is called a Penicillin. “It’s such a great blend of flavors,” Johnson extols. “I can’t get enough of the smokyginger combination. You take a good single-malt mixed with citrus, honey and ginger, and then top it off with the peat of Laphroaig. It’ll be a long time before I grow weary of this one.” Brian Tyler (IRON MAN 3, THE EXPENDABLES) loves to sip whiskey when palling around with friends, and for him there’s no substitute for a good beer when feasting on barbecue or watching baseball; however, when it’s time to celebrate, Tyler often grabs a good old fashion Old Fashioned. “When I’m at a bar,” Tyler reveals, “I usually stick with an Old Fashioned because they are just so ding-dang delicious! If I’m being a complete sloth by the pool or somewhere relaxing then a Mojito or Lava Flow usually does the trick. Whenever I see punk bands at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles, I always get a Flying Gonzo Imperial Porter. It is delicious! I think a fork could stand up in one of those. The extra-spicy Hot Flash at the Village Idiot is also great. But nothing compares to the Satan-esque horror of the Meatequita. I had it in London. It is basically tequila with smoked sausage, red wine, vegetable juice, and balsamic vinegar garnished with sea salt and more smoked sausage! It is a fantastically named drink and is also incredibly terrible.” British composer David Arnold (INDEPENDENCE DAY, CASINO ROYALE) does not discriminate when it comes to alcohol as long as you’re buying. “It can be a beer brand, mixed-drink, champagne, wine, single-malt, spirit, anything you can think of,” Arnold exclaims “You can pick more than one if you like. I’ll drink most things. I still reckon a classic martini is hard to beat as a grownup drink. Irish whiskeys like Connemara and a 12-yearold Redbreast are always stunningly good.” While admittedly not a frequent consumer of alcohol, composer and editor John Ottman (THE USUAL SUSPECTS, SUPERMAN RETURNS) will occasionally polish off a dirty gin martini with olives to heed the call of celebration. Rolfe Kent (SIDEWAYS, UP IN THE AIR) opts for a good bottle of Pinot Noir, Malbec, or occasionally a pint of Guinness. For extra special occasions, George S. Clinton (AUSTIN POWERS trilogy) favors nips of Veuve Cliquot Grande Dame Champagne while reserving an extra dirty Sapphire martini or Ghost Pine Chardonnay for more every-day situations. Groovy baby, yeah! Perhaps it was Cliff Martinez’s (DRIVE, CONTAGION) stint as a hard-pounding drummer for various punk bands throughout the 1980s that proffered his most
BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

interesting encounters with alcohol. A staunch tequila quaffer, Martinez often suckles the blue agave temptress’ teat which includes his virgin encounter with low-budget mescal. “It was poured from a Clorox bottle,” Martinez confesses, “and despite it being a close relative of tequila, that first sip of this particular mescal cured me of any future interest. I thought someone had pushed my face into the pavement. There were overtones of molten rubber, hints of hairspray and plenty of ‘barrel’ which in this case would have been the Clorox bottle.” Cliff ’s misadventures with alcohol included but were not limited to his rendezvous with bleach-vintage mescal. “Years ago I was bar-hopping with my friend Bob Forrest. Bob was a former singer-songwriter now turned celebrity sobriety coach. Back in those days though, you never wanted to try to keep up with Bob. It never turned out good. We were at a punk-rock night club in Hollywood and the popular way of expressing your enthusiasm to a band was ‘slam-dancing’. Slam-dancing however, wasn’t always socially acceptable so you had to be cautious when and where you busted out your moves. The last thing I remembered was being picked up off my feet by a giant bouncer and thrown (literally) out the front door. I woke up the next morning in my car which was conveniently parked right in front of the exit. My pants were wadded up around my ankles. Apparently, I had neglected to pull them back up after defecating neatly on the passenger seat before blacking out.” Cliff was schooled the hard way that before you go to heaven, you must first journey through hell. His culinary exploration of tequila continued throughout his career as he sought out finer grades and ultimately earned his halo. “I don’t think there is anything better than vitamin T,” exclaims Martinez. “As long as it’s snooty, upscale tequila, it’s the only distilled spirit that I like à la carte, straight up, neat, naked, etc. And as far as mixed drinks go, I’d have to rate the margarita as one of the world’s greatest culinary achievements right up there with pizza, espresso, and Häagen-Dazs rum raisin ice cream.” Not all composers have an exceptionally diverse palette when it comes to adult beverages. Sometimes all they need is a tried-and-true frosted bottle of suds to keep them happy. Joe Kraemer (JACK REACHER, WAY OF THE GUN) declares himself “more of a beer guy” and will order up a Boddington’s Pub Ale any chance he gets. 6

TABLE OF CONTENTS

WITHNAIL & I and ’53 Margaux
DANiel hernandez Badass Digest Contributor

@dreamofelectric

Read more at badassdigest.com

Bruce Robinson’s 1987 WITHNAIL AND I is his ode to a life of blistering inebriation. The eponymous leads are portrayed by Richard E. Grant in his first role as the mad drunk skeleton Withnail and Paul McGann, all quiet London cool one second and manic frustration the next. Rounding out the cast are the great Richard Griffiths as Uncle Monty, alternating between flamboyantly aloof charisma and suffocating menace (and always tragically hilarious), and Ralph Brown as Danny the drug-dealer who, in a movie this endlessly quotable, gets all the best lines. Writer and director Bruce Robinson based the story on his own experiences as a fledgling actor at the end of the ‘60s and appropriately sets the film in the last months of that decade as our two leads, perpetually unemployable actors and general layabouts, decide (after a particularly long bender) to go on holiday in the country. What follows is a darkly funny and deeply cynical exploration of the paralyzing fear of adulthood and responsibility set against the death of the ‘60s, a decade of unfulfilled promise. It is a riotously funny movie from beginning to end, one that absolutely merits multiple viewings if only to catch every joke, and one that is ultimately as gray and melancholy as the cold skies that hang menacingly above the heads of our heroes. WITHNAIL AND I is rightly regarded as a classic, with fans able and happy to quote nearly every line of the film’s memorable script. There is even a popular drinking game, where the audience is encouraged to drink along with Withnail (though I advise replacing the lighter fluid with vinegar, as Robinson and Grant did during the filming of that scene). The movie is absolutely soaked through with booze, from cider to spirit to wine. One line of Withnail’s dialogue in particular stands out as comically and thematically ironic.
BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

Denied cake (to soak up the booze, you know) at a tearoom, Withnail makes his famous demand. “We want the finest wines available to humanity. We want them here, and we want them now!” Well, Withnail may not get his wish immediately, but when Uncle Monty arrives at Crow Crag unexpectedly he brings with him Withnail’s boon. From here on in, and until the very last frame of the film, Withnail gleefully partakes of the 1953 Château Margaux, considered by many to be the finest wine in the world. Château Margaux, in the Médoc region on the left bank of the Garonne River in Bordeaux in the southwest of France, was among the first four wines to be granted the coveted Premier Cru status in the Bordeaux Classification of 1855. The estate has been producing wine since as far back as the 12th century, but it was in the 1700s that the wine really began to come into its own. The affectionate term for Bordeaux, coined by British sailors in the 1600s, is Claret. Claret, which means “clear,” had to do with Bordeaux’s propensity to fade in color after only a few months in the bottle, ultimately having more in common with modern Rosés than what we think of as the thick, opulent, deep ruby red wines of today. The late 18th century was a time of great change in winemaking, with the grape skins that give red wine its color remaining in contact with the fermenting juice for prolonged periods of time. Château Margaux in particular was instrumental in developing the then-burgeoning idea of terroir (that the specific place and types of soil directly affect the final wine) that is now not just ubiquitous but paramount in winemaking today. Wines from the commune of Margaux are defined by their distinctly perfumed aroma, refined elegance and

TABLE OF CONTENTS

tremendous power, none more so than those of Château Margaux itself. Like all wines from Bordeaux, Château Margaux is comprised of a blend of grapes, though the dominant varietal and the one that imparts its weight, distinctive notes of floral currant and characteristically velvety texture is the noble Cabernet Sauvignon. In the unique soils of the estate, the grape grows unlike anywhere else in the world and develops a unique and incomparable style. As to Withnail’s 1953 in particular, this was an excellent year for Bordeaux, especially for left-bank Bordeaux like Margaux. Wine is, ultimately, the product of a crop. And just like any crop, some growing seasons are going to yield a better harvest than others. The grape in particular is extremely susceptible to its environment, which is the reason that vintage is so important when talking about wine. The summer of 1953 was long and hot, dry and with plenty of sunshine. The grapes ripened slowly and steadily,
BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

and the season’s only real hiccup was a sudden storm in September that forced Château Margaux to postpone the harvest (though this did have the added benefit of allowing the grapes a little bit more time to ripen, a particular fear in Bordeaux as wine made from overripe grape tends to taste unpleasantly of stewed fruit, but one that was happily not founded here). The resultant bottling by Château Margaux is considered not just among the finest wines of that particularly good year, but as Withnail himself says, “’53 Margaux. Best of the century.” And here we have the tragic beauty of that wine’s ultimate fate, and of the entirety of WITHNAIL AND I. The film ends with Withnail standing alone in the rain, drinking this wonderful Margaux (less of a drink and more of a piece of art and history) straight from the bottle, reciting the melancholy words of Shakespeare with only the wolves for company. 6

TABLE OF CONTENTS

The End Of The World For The Great British Pub
DAN WHITEHEAD Badass Digest Contributor
@WordPlay4Games

Read more at badassdigest.com

A new movie from the power trio of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost is always something worth anticipating, but with THE WORLD’S END they may have strayed too far into the realms of fantasy. This is a movie that hinges on a premise so unrealistic that it may be hard for viewers in their native Britain to swallow. It’s not the alien invasion apocalypse scenario that threatens to trip them up, however. Anyone who has spent a Saturday night in one of our fine city centres will know that’s actually not far from the truth. No, what makes THE WORLD’S END such a wild fiction is something even more fundamental. In the movie, Pegg and Frost, along with Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan, embark on a Great British tradition -- the pub crawl, hitting a series of pubs and taking a drink in each. Doing this for all the twelve pubs in their hometown defeated them as teenagers and so now, buoyed along by the burgeoning midlife crisis of Pegg’s immature 40-year-old rocker, they’re attempting it afresh as grown men. What’s remarkable is that their home town still has twelve pubs with which to tackle the feat. You see, the British pub is an endangered species, pushed to the edge of extinction by a perfect storm of problems, not least of which is the very industry they serve. To understand why this is a big deal, you need to understand the deep relationship we Brits have with our local boozers. A pub is much more than a bar. In the US, bars are often branded as pubs to ensnare Anglophile drinkers, but the very name -- pub -- comes from “public house.” These were meeting places, community hubs, and their origins in Britain date back to Roman times, when the construction of roads led to thirsty travellers journeying from one village to another, seeking refuge in tabernae, marked by the sign of vine leaves outside. After the Romans abandoned our rainy shores, the Anglo Saxons continued the tradition with alehouses, which were often literally inside people’s houses, and served home fermented brews. A shrub on a pole would be placed
BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

outside to let visitors know when they could come in for a drink. The pub was more than just a place to get hammered on beer. In pre-industrial Britain, the pub was the heart of the village, and this is why even today you’ll still find local pubs close to the church, thus allowing all the spiritual and social needs of the community to be sated within easy walking (or staggering) distance. It’s no wonder that Britain has a long and passionate connection with beer. It’s the liquid that lubricated our society for hundreds of years. Rare is the British TV soap opera that doesn’t have a pub as its main location. The weight of this history can be seen in the names of our pubs, proudly displayed on wooden boards that hang above the door -- although originally these boards showed only an illustration since most people were illiterate. It was King Richard II who decreed that all pubs should have a name, back in the 14th century, and many still echo the history of the towns they serve. Some take their name from the coat of arms of an important local family, which is why we have so many Red Lions and White Harts, while others pay tribute to the workers who frequented the establishment, revealing much about the dominant industries in years past -- witness the proliferation of Farmer’s Arms -- or mark notable moments in local history. In choosing the names of their fictional pubs to reflect the events in the film, Wright and Pegg aren’t just being cute -- they’re tapping into a vital truth about our nation. Our stories have always been written in pub signs. Only today, in 2013, there aren’t many pub signs left, or pubs to hang them from. There are only around 50,000 pubs still open across the whole of the UK, a drop of 20,000 in the last thirty years, and the decline is accelerating. As many as 26 pubs are now closing their doors for good each and every week. Almost every British high street harbours an empty pub, its windows boarded shut, waiting for new tenants who, more than likely, will never appear.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thanks to stiff tax duties on alcohol, it’s now cheaper to buy six cans of beer from a supermarket or corner store than it is to buy two pints in a pub. A ban on smoking in all public places, brought into effect in 2007, also cut deeply into the customer base for pubs, driving smokers outside to light up in between drinks. In a country not known for its temperate climate, that was enough to make many decide it would be easier to stay at home. More damaging, however, is the brewery industry itself. Most pubs in Britain are now owned by breweries, which has all but strangled competition. Landlords are legally bound to buy their beers from the brewery which owns the pub, and these breweries often use this leverage in ways that would make Al Capone proud. With a captive market, rents soar, beer prices escalate, profit margins shrink and even the takings from fruit machines on the premises can be syphoned off by the big breweries. Of course, while the right hand squeezes the pubs, the left hand of these breweries are almost always supplying the

supermarkets with six packs that will sell for a fraction of the pump-poured alternatives in the pubs. It’s as crooked as capitalism gets. Thankfully, it seems that the situation might not be terminal. The British government has launched a public consultation to see if there’s a way the gross imbalance of power between breweries and pubs can be addressed. There’s also been a huge surge in the number of microbreweries, over 1,000 at the last count, creating new beers for independent local pubs. The trouble, of course, is that such endeavours tend to cluster around the more bohemian middle class areas of big cities where there’s still money to be had. Out past the suburbs, into the provinces, in the working class communities that were once the lifeblood of the pub, the outlook remains bleak. It’s great that Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg are paying tribute to the wonders of the Great British pub. Here’s hoping that where our boozers are concerned, THE WORLD’S END isn’t a self-fulfilling prophecy. 6

BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

BIRTH. MOVIES.DEATH. / AUGUST 2013

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful