I happened to catch the last fifteen minutes of Film 2012 with Claudia “The Fruit Fly” Winkleman and Danny “Malcolm Smuggeridge” Leigh last night and was horrified to hear in the closing section that they have made a film based on Lee Child’s JACK REACHER character starring Tom “Fucking” Cruise. I was soooo angry I had to go on Twitter and tweet about it, which has garnered me a new follower this morning (or collection of over 2000 followers) in the shape (shapes) of Reacher Creatures – The International Twitter Home for Fans of [the] Jack Reacher Books. Which was nice. That said, I expect all 2000+ of them will use and abuse me before discarding me like a worn out welly in a couple of days when I don’t follow them back, which I probably won’t because – like their hero, Jack – I’m a bit of a lone wolf. Ho hum, as Jack Reacher wouldn’t say. Ever.
Anyhoo, I appear to be digressing a bit… So why, I hear you ask (and if it wasn’t you it must have been someone else, but I definitely heard someone asking), am I so distressed to hear that popular-but-nowhere-near-as-popular-as-he-used-to-be superstar Cruise is going to be Jack Reacher – isn’t it a plus that such a huge box-office draw has put his name to the project? Erm, no. Because no matter how big a box office draw TC might be (as I typed “TC” then I heard Benny the Ball say “What’s up, TC?”, which just goes to show that even animated characters from 1960’s kid’s TV shows agree with me), there’s one thing he definitely isn’t, and that’s Jack Reacher.
Here, for the record, are the stats for Jack Reacher:
- Height: 6ft 4
- Build: Brick Shithouse
- Grooming: Scruffy bastard.
- Look: Ruggedly Handsome
- Fighting style: Tear your head off and piss down the bleeding stump of your neck.
Compare the above with these stats for TC:
- Height: 5ft 7 (so he says. Yeah, and my cock’s a cuttlefish…)
- Build: Buff, but in a ‘gym’ sort of way – all guns and abs
- Grooming: Smooth as a baby’s bum
- Look: Pritty- Pritty, like a gurlie or Fotherington-Tomas
- Fighting style: Balletic martial arts, like a gurlie or Fotherington-Tomas jumping the net after winning at tennis.
See what I mean? It just doesn’t stack up, does it? And unless they film it in that model village they’ve got on the Isle of Wight with the seven dwarves from this year’s production of Snow White at the Assembly Hall theatre in Tunbridge Wells as his adversaries it’s going to demand an awful lot of blue screen and standing around on orange crates to make it look in any way convincing. In a nutshell, this is the worst bit of casting since Stan (pronounced “Shtan”) Lee suggested Christopher Biggins for the role of Spiderman (talking of which, why isn’t he called “Shpider man” if he was created by Shtan Lee?). Or Alan Carr as the Incredible Hulk. Or…
Not that Shtan ever did, of course – I’m just using dramatic license for comic effect (and then labouring the joke for personal pleasure) – but I’m sure you get my point.
Chances are that TC, egged on no doubt by the ghost of L Ron Hubbard, got the gig by bankrolling the film as an executive producer, and he was probably too arrogant to admit to his shortcomings for the role (hem hem). The simple truth, though, is that this is a bad casting decision, and real fans of the Big Man himself will be feeling short changed (hem hem again) just like me. I’ll watch the film of course, when it comes out on DVD (if you knew the journey I have to make from my house to the local cinema you’d know why it takes a better film than this to get me off the sofa), but I know I’m going to be disappointed before I’ve even seen a trailer. And that disappointment will be doubled if they’ve made it an “all-action blockbuster”; filled with cinematic bells, whistles and explosions but terminally infected with the kind of hackneyed dialogue most films of that genre tend to inflict upon us.
If, by the way, you’ve never read a Jack Reacher novel you really, really should. They make no pretence of being “literature” or high art in that snooty, look down your nose sort of way but are quite simply the best examples of formulaic non-stop-action series fiction you can lay your hands on. When I get a new Reacher every other book I’ve got on the go (including the high art literature) gets pushed aside for a day or two.
Final thought – and I’d be more than happy for people to join in via “comments” – who should have played Jack Reacher? I’d put my cash on Liam Neeson. According to t’internet he’s just the right height, too, which would have saved a huge amount of money on orange crates etc. Failing that, Maybe Fotherington-Tomas could have brought something new to the role. He is, after all, the leading light in St Custard’s drama group and distinguished himself in last year’s Christmas production of “Oliver” by playing the twin roles of Oliver Twist and Bill Sykes – an impressive range, as I’m sure you’ll agree…
Talking of bad casting decisions, which we were, and the Assembly Hall Theatre’s production of Snow White, which we also briefly were, I couldn’t help but be struck by the strange decision to cast Janine Duvitski as the Wicked Queen. While I have no doubt whatsoever that Ms Duvitski has the acting skills to step outside of the usual mild-mannered, prissy roles we more often see her cast in I do have my doubts that even with the best will in the world and an extremely flattering lighting rig she’s going to be believable as the second most beautiful woman in the entire magical kingdom, which is, if memory serves me correctly, a major conceit on which the plot hinges.
Now I’ve never actually been to the magical kingdom (only the phoney candy floss and treacle Magic Kingdom of Disney’s imagination), so in fairness it is entirely possible that the rest of the female population there are out-and-out munters, but if that is the case it is, IMHO, something that needs to be addressed within the script and as early on as possible. Perhaps the curtain should rise in the opening scene on “The Parade of Fugglies”, with the mayor judging a “beauty” contest demonstrating quite clearly that the lady-folk of the magical kingdom are, without exception, seriously aesthetically challenged? By the simple expedient of introducing the Wicked Queen as a competition judge a context could be established providing an explanation for the mirror’s initial assertion that she is “the fairest in the land.”
I don’t know who penned the script (or “book” as them there thespian types prefer to call it if there’s a bit of singing and/or dancing involved), but I’ll be happy to have a look and make a few amendments in exchange for a couple of pints of Guinness if you want to bung it my way, and while I’m at it I’ll also include a bit of background history on the character Muddles (played by Chris Pizzey), who’s a court jester, I think, and is supposed to be funny and endearing (?). Now again, in all fairness, I don’t know much about Chris Pizzey’s body of work to date, but when I have caught him on TV as Basil Brush’s sidekick or as a man jumping through a plate glass window in McDonald’s after buying a burger the words “funny” and “endearing” haven’t been the first to spring to mind.
I did spot him a couple of weeks ago, I think, playing a policeman who got killed quite early on in a BBC police drama or something, but as I can’t remember whether he was a goodie or baddie or any other contextual clues from the show I can’t really include it in my evaluation. On the plus side, I do know of at least one Tunbridge Wells laydee who “fancies” him, which just goes to show that love is blind and that for every old sock, to paraphrase Kate Bush’s mum, there will be an old shoe. Which is nice.
The laydee in question also rather fancies that Scottish bloke, Rory “is-anything-worn-under-the-kilt?-nay-it’s-all-in-working-order” McCann wots in Game of Thrones, and if you screw your eyes up a bit or forget to put your glasses on Mr Pizzey does look a teeny little bit like him, which probably accounts for the attraction. Both are folically challenged, for example, and both have misshapen heads, though to be fair Rory’s is only a bit knobbly while Chris’s resembles an organically grown King Edward that has been rejected by Lidl’s quality control inspector on the grounds of being “shaped like the head of that bloke who used to be on Basil Brush”. Boom! Boom!
IN OTHER NEWS: I read yesterday that ministers have roundly backed proposals for a minimum purchase price tax on alcohol of 45p per unit. It is anticipated that these measures will save millions by reducing levels of drink related crime and alcohol related illness. I’ve got to say this is welcome news, and we need look no further than the statistics on drug addiction and the illegal tobacco trade to see how effective “Pricing Out” policies like these can be.
IN OTHER OTHER NEWS: I think I’ve just figured out why governments won’t legalise drugs and prostitution or lower taxes on alcohol and fags… If they did, all the criminals would go back to robbing rich peoples’ houses….
*I would like to apologise for the regrettable captioning error above identifying Basil Brush Show actor Chris Pizzey as a malformed potato. This was caused by an incompatibility issue with my copy of Photoshop Elements 2.1 and a newly installed computer upgrade to Windows 95. I will rectify the error as soon as possible, and would again offer my most sincere apologies to Mr Pizzey and his friends and family. And Basil.