The Cutprice Guignol

The Fifth Year: How to Get Away with Meh

The Great Ryan Gosling Debate

Ryan Gosling. Either that name has you trying to pre-book tickets or searching for the “x” button on your browser so fast that your fingers start to melt. For some reason, this leading man seems to be one of those most divisive figures in Hollywood today; either you adore his performances in critically acclaimed movies like Drive and Ides of March and can’t wait to see what he does next (like my boyfriend inexplicably does), or you’re baffled by the spoon-faced, goose-named flavour of the month who doesn’t seem to realize that his five minutes of stardom should have finished about four years ago (like I very logically do). In fact, this is a debate that happens my boyfriend and I have at least twice a week and now, with Gosling up for an Oscar on Sunday for his performance in La La Land, we figured that (since we both write and have pointlessly strong opinions about pop culture) now was as good a time as any to settle the debate once and for all, with the help of the readers of this blog. Without further ado, I present: The Great Ryan Gosling Debate.

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On Breaking Bad, The Second Time Around

You’ve probably seen Breaking Bad by now. I mean, you are a person, with eyes, and a face, and an internet connection, and at least a passing interest in TV. If you’ve somehow avoided the avalanche of hype that surrounded this show in the eight years since it’s first season aired, welcome back from that enormous rock you were presumably trapped under. I certainly watched it, and loved it, like everyone else. But I always had this nagging feeling that perhaps I’d been swept along on the unstoppable Breaking Hype Express, that it wouldn’t look so good outside of the hysterical enthusiasm that everyone (myself included) seemed to buy into. When we rewatched the series four years after it finished early this month, I was prepared to be at least a little bit let down by what is, by popular agreement, one of the best TV shows ever made. So, how does Breaking Bad stand up outside the buzz?

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Movie Review: Fifty Shades Darker

I know I’ve written a lot about shit movies in the last year. But, in my defence, that’s because movies have scraped the bottom of a whole new barrel over the last ten months, and they’ve rarely been lower than with the release of Fifty Shades Darker.

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Fifty Shades Freed: Chapter Four

Ah, the end to another week; i hope your’s has been especially good, because ruining it will bring me even more twisted pleasure than normal. Also! I updated my Patreon page today with some awesome new rewards I think you’ll love, so please give that a look if you get the chance. On with the recap!

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Legion, Or, The Problem With Premieres

I noticed that in the last few months this blog hasn’t had nearly enough non-recappy TV stuff on it. And since TV, like prawn cocktail crisps, is my first and true love, let’s talk about it some more! Mostly, let’s talk about Legion, and the problem of premieres as dazzling as this one.

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Riverdale, or In Defense of Trash TV

I love trash TV.

I love trash TV so much that, when my boyfriend and I finished watching this first episode of Riverdale, I turned to him and said “well, I loved it, but then I guess I like trashier stuff,” and he gave me a look that was the very epitome of “well, duh.” I have been criticised in the past for following every compliment of a show I love with “…but it’s a bit shite.” I have seen every show Ryan Murphy has released in the last few years. Every. Single. One. I mean, don’t get me wrong; I love prestige television as well, but I have this sick, twisted desire to subject myself to TV with a heavy streak of sticky, seductive bullshit through it’s core. Life is a bit shit- TV should be too. That’s my justification, anyway.

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Fifty Shades Freed: Chapter Three

I’m on my period, so between munching everything in sight and holding back pathetic tears every time the cat doesn’t want a cuddle or my boyfriend turns a page too loudly beside me, I’ve decided to channel my furious yet miserable energy into another recap (yes, I am the very definition of a cliche when on my period. Sue me.)

 

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Vikings Recaps, S4E20: The Reckoning

Well, that’s another season of Vikings firmly behind us. And I think the finale, The Reckoning, really summed up everything right- and wrong- with season four.

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Firstly, let’s talk about that opening fight scene; as I said last week, I fucking love the way Vikings handles it’s action sequences, and the clash between Aethelwulf and Bjorn’s troops is another great example of how thrilling they can be. The sequence is a reminder that, for the Vikings and unlike many other similair protagonists on TV, battles like this aren’t just a necessity- they’re a pleasure. Ubbe has never dominated the screen more in the few seconds we see of him ploughing through the English troops, and Hvitserk (whose name I suppose I’ll have to start spelling correctly now he seems to be sticking around) was actually kind of a badass. I loved it to death, and it reminded me of all the amazing fight scenes this show has consistently delivered us over this patchy season.

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While I’m sticking with the good stuff, this was an amazing Ecbert episode, as Vikings bids a fond farewell to it’s second-best character. He cons the sons of Ragnar, abdicating the throne to a fleeing Aethelwulf and misleading the sons of Ragnar into believing he has the power to sign them over the land that their father always dreamed of having in England. His panicked but gleeful farewells to his family, his boozing with the bishop, the fear in his eyes as the battle rages on in the field beyond- it’s a powerhouse performance, and is brought to a close in a beautifully shot scene where Linus Roache (very graphically, for those disturbed by this kind of stuff) opens his veins in the very pool where he first met Ragnar. Ragnar’s voice tells him not to be afraid as he dies, and it’s a staggeringly beautiful moment- and an appropriate goodbye, as Ecbert wins the game that Ragnar has been playing since they met. In giving the sons the land without the legal power to do so means that his son will be able to chase them off eventually, and seeing Ecbert, a character torn between personal ambition and decency from his very inception, pull it off makes for satisfying if sad farewell.

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Floki, too, has had just an amazing arc this season. Ever since he killed Athelstan, he has been damned by this show- he lost his daughter, Ragnar (not to mention Ragnar’s friendship and trust), and, in this episode, Helga (in a dissapointingly trite scene). Now, he curses himself to wander the Earth alone, completely broken and apparently wavering in his faith. The scene where he buries Helga is genuinely heart-breaking- not least because he’s forced to bury her in England, the country that took Ragnar from him both spiritually and physically. His arc has been phenomenally well put-together, and I’ve loved every minute.

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Sigurd also bit the dust in a surprising-yet-inevitable finale to the episode After the brothers kill Ecbert, they soon realize that his death was the only thing keeping them together was the compulsion to avenge their father. Ivar wants to go raiding, while Bjorn is looking to the Mediterranean-and Sigurd isn’t going anywhere, as his taunting of Ivar goes too far and he gets an axe to the chest for his troubles. For a second, Ivar’s composure drops and it’s obvious that even he can see he’s gone too far. But, as soon as his walls go back up as Sigurd bleeds out on the ground before him, it’s clear that this is a turning point for Ivar. If he’ll kill one of his own brothers, there is nothing standing between him and the unrepentant sadism that he was always destined to vanish into. I have to admit, I’m secretly looking forward to seeing what more the show will give to the consistently brilliant Alex Hogh, whose savagely compelling performance has been the closest Fimmel-replacement we’ve had since he elft.

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On the weaker end of the scale? Once again, this episode knew not what to do with Lagertha (also, Tove’s alive, because…?). And now, with no Aslaug or Helga or, apparently Judith, I feel like the show is finally loosening it’s grip on the amazing female characters it once laid claim to. I still love Lagertha, but the show is way, way more interested in the brothers  Lothbrok these days than her story. She is as influenced by Ragnar as them- even if she romanticises him a whole lot less than Ivar and company- and I would like to see the show ackowledge that a bit more.

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And the last scene does not fill me with a sense of comfort about what’s to come. Johnathan Rhys Myers, an actor who I have hated for literally years, makes his first appearence in the show as an apparently famous historical Viking-slayer. Which is cool, but he’s still played by JRM, and his nastiness was underlined by him doing a widow doggy-style in a tacky and uncreative little scene. Also, that is far too much hair gel for a ninth-century Bishop. Just saying.

Like the rest of the season, The Reckoning is plagued by problems. It’s still juggling too many balls, and introducing another to the mix feels like a mistake. It’s bid goodbye to two of it’s best characters this season (in Ragnar and Ecbert), and, while the surviving cast (particularly Ivar, Ubbe, and Aethelwulf) hold some promise, I’ve not seen it fulfilled yet. Season four was a mess, but an almost always interesting one- with some staggering highs and yawnsome lows. All I know is that I’ll be back next season to see what happens next- and how the show survives post-Ragnar. What did you think? And will you be coming back for season five?

Here’s What I Found Out Going Vegan for a Month

Before you ask: yes, I am getting enough protein.

I’ve been vegetarian for most of my life- my Mum was for most of my childhood, and I never particularly loved meat (I’ve never eaten steak in my life, which so many people seem to think is a legitimate black mark against my character), so I just…didn’t eat it. Eventually, as I got older, I found some vague moral reasons to back up my choice and that became my primary purpose for continuing to avoid meat.

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27/01/2017 Issue 3

Great wee blog with a weekly run-down of what’s actually interesting in the world of football!

The Fitbaw Weekly

This week Arsene Wenger lost the plot!

He swears his shove on Fourth Official, Anthony Taylor, was merely a demonstration of a lifesaving technique should an oncoming lorry burst through the tunnel. I joke of course, poor Arsene was seriously disturbed by the strange things going on at the Emirates that day. The Gunners 2-1 win over struggling Burnley was anything but normal. Arsenal went into the lead at the beginning of the second half through a Shkodran Mustafi goal, only to play the final 25 minutes with 10-men after the sending off of Granit, “oh shiny red card”, Xhaka (he will now miss the next 4 games). Burley were awarded a penalty which was converted by Andre Grey in extra time levelling the scoring. An enraged Arsene had a run in with the fourth official and was sent to the stands – only he refused to go. The Frenchman…

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