The first in a series of columns by Connor Howlett, updating us on the latest news in the film and TV world.
They’ve Done It Again
One of the most recent egregious examples of the film and TV industry getting it completely and utterly wrong is the CBS competitive show, The Activist. A couple of weeks ago, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Julianne Hough, and Usher were announced as the three judges for the series which would pit activists against one another to see who could do the most activism-ing. Despite the initial concept first being publicised in May, it was the announcement of the three high-profile judges that seemed to capture outrage.
Activism, so firmly rooted in the spirit of collaboration, should not be confined to the probable arse-holery of competition. This is especially true of competitive TV, which can so often be an exploitative and humiliating experience for contestants, even when the concept merely revolves around one person’s hopes and dreams, let alone those of entire communities.
Thanks to much public criticism, the concept of the show has now morphed. Footage had already been shot, but the finished cut that will be released to the public will instead be a documentary, removing the competitive element and focusing on the work of the six activists that were the original contestants.
This won’t be the last time the industry comes up with an idiotic idea for a TV show, so here are some that we may have to object to in the future:
Covid Island: like Love Island, but instead of hot young people looking for love, they have to follow the clues left around the villa to work out who has Covid and get them the medical help they need before they infect the entire island, and/or die. So much drama!
Counting The Vote: an absolutely thrilling six-month film event where every vote is counted for all the viewing public to see, the result of which absolutely no one could object to. There will be no CGI budget, so it’ll be cheap to fund!
The Golden Globes: a mysterious group of journalists from around the world, but based in Hollywood, decide what movies and TV series they like that year based on who gives them the star treatment when they walk around a set visit. They’re such mysterious characters that you can’t prove that they’re not diverse! How could you possibly know?!
A True Marvel Fan
The other week I was sat in the cinema watching Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Destin Daniel Cretton, 2021) with my flatmate. As the credits began to roll, most of the audience got up to leave. My flatmate turned to me and said, “Do they seriously not know by now that you stay until the end of a Marvel film?”
“I don’t think they care,” was my response.
We’re currently in one of those slower sections of the year when there isn’t the most expansive selection of films in the cinema. The Green Knight (David Lowery, 2021) is finally out in cinemas and will be a must watch for anyone studying Gawain and his antics in Medieval literature.
Copshop (Joe Carnahan, 2021), the new Gerard Butler action/thriller/comedy, ended up being pretty dull, but it does have a fun turn from Toby Huss as one of those eccentric, mouthy killers that usually pop up in Tarantino movies. Make of that what you will.
Annette (Leos Carax, 2021) still has a few screenings left in the IFI. It’s a bonkers musical written by Sparks, features Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard as a celebrity couple who have a puppet child that nobody questions, as well as a scene in which Driver sings how much he loves his wife whilst doing something very (VERY) naughty with her. Its running time (2h21m) is a little excessive, however, and it dramatically sags in places. It may be worth waiting to watch until it hits MUBI in the near future, unless you want to see Driver’s naughty mouth on the big screen.