June 26th, 2004

Fings Ain't What They Used To Be

A visiting child asked me if I'd surf the Net with him. And what did he want to look at? He wanted to look at shoes on eBay. At first I thought his mother must have put him up to it, but- no- his favouritest thing in life- after watching our footballers fuck up in Europe- is shopping for shoes.

I know, I'm a fogey. But I grew up in the era of Just William. Shoes were for scuffing. And a visit to the shoe shop was only a couple of notches worse than a visit to the dentist.

Hana-bi

This movie is supposed to be the cutting edge of cool. Actually it's as brutal as Charles Bronson (whom its star resembles) and as sentimental as Little Nell. Sentimentality and brutality- the extreme edges of the map of human emotion, but shape the thing into a globe and the two rub shoulders.

And sentimentality and brutality are all there is in this movie. The hinterland- the exploration of which may occasionally justify the odd ear-slicing or death-bed speech- is left unvisited.

Oh, but I hate tough guys with marshmallow centres. I don't believe in them. A psychopath is a psychopath is a psychopath. Kitano is happy to stick chopsticks into eyeballs and shoot corpses full of holes but he's such a tender-hearted sweetie round his little doll of a wife (who's dying from leukemia). No, no, no!

Movies like this lie about the human condition.