Monday, 22 July 2013

Johnny Depp, Ruth Wilson, The Lone Ranger, and the need to keep lefties off Test Match Special

Johnny Depp (the chap in the photo with a dead crow on his bonce) has told BBC News that US critics were upset that The Lone Ranger did not ‘really tank, really take a dive’. The truth is that the movie tanked like Erwin Rommell. In its opening weekend, it took $29m at the box office. Sounds good, but it cost $250m to make, and blockbusters are meant to earn back at least 50% of their costs come close of play on that first Sunday – which means it’ll probably wind up losing up around $125,000,000.

Sound pretty sort of tanky-divey to me.

Why has it fared quite so poorly? Without having seen it – and I have no intention of ever doing so – I suspected that Depp signed a pact with the devil a few years back whereby he’ll keep looking under 25 but never make another decent film. Also, there's the fact that he apparently spends much of the film with a stuffed crow on his noggin (which he occasionally tries to feed) – making him, one presumes, a pecker-head.

But BBC Radio 5 Live’s Test Match Special revealed the true reason for the film’s dire performance. For some odd reason, Jonathan Agnew wound up interviewing some ditsy British actress called Ruth Wilson, who, after getting tetchy because Aggers only knew her from her role as a female psycho in the BBC’s Idris Elba vehicle, Luther (or ‘Loofah’, as he pronounces it) and failed to mention her no doubt stunning performance in Pride & Prejudice (me neither), told us that she was ‘proud’ of The Lone Ranger. Now, the use of the word ‘proud’ by actors to describe their attitude to their latest film invariably means that it’s an absolute stinker.

Ms Wilson then informed us – twice, proudly – that the film was very anti-American, before mumbling some tosh about how badly Native Americans had been treated (who knew?). The phrase ‘anti-American’ is, of course, a synonym for ‘left-wing’, in the Pallywood, aren’t-we-brave-for-speaking-out-against-injustice, George-Bush-should-be-executed, America-is-the-font-of-all-evil, hug-me-while-I-weep-for-I-weep-for-the-world, the-Sun-blazes out-of-Barack-Obama’s-fundament sense.

Why Hollywood studios imagine that making preachy anti-American blockbusters is a recipe for success is anybody’s guess. Gets them a few brownie points with their numerous liberal entertainment industry peers, I suppose – by why would they imagine the mainstream audience wants to spend a Saturday night at the movies being told what a wicked, brutal, oppressive country they live in?

And if you have any idea what Test Match Special was doing interviewing some silly little Guardianista actress, do let me know. Cricket coverage on radio (BBC) and television (Sky) is the sports equivalent of Top Gear – i.e. it’s in the hands of right-wing blokes. During this test match alone, I heard Sir Ian Botham chiding David Gower for suggesting that it's embarrassing for England captains to have to lead the three cheers for the Queen when she visits Lords. “We can’t allow our identity to be completely destroyed”, he chuntered. Then there was Geoff Boycott butting in during another Aggers interview, this time with David Cameron – “’e’s doing his best to save this country!” And, of course, there was the addition of former England captain, Andrew Strauss – a raving Tory, widely tipped as a future MP – to the Sky commentary team.

Given that roughly 95% of everything that spews out of our main broadcasters basically consists of left-wing propaganda, I think the least they could so is preserve the other five percent for the likes of me - after all, I reckon at least 40% of the people who pay for the licence and for Sky subscriptions are either conservartive or right-wing.

I said I wouldn't watch The Lone Ranger, but come to think of it, I'd happily go to a cinema to watch Johnny Depp making an idiot of himself if I could be guaranteed a seat behing Geoff Boycott - I'd love to hear what he had to say when that crow comes on!


  1. Good post. Putting J. Depp to one side [I have started various Depp films, but have rarely managed to stay longer than 10-minutes. What's with this sawn-off little squirt?], there is an interesting article about "Test Match Special" in this week's Spectator ["Failing the Test"] by Michael Henderson [an excellent sports journalist and music critic - Neville Cardus successor?] in which he laments the gradual erosion of TMS [we have gone from Brian Johnston, John Arlott and CMJ to "Vaughney" and "Tuffers" - the latter a friend of Sue Barker. 'Nuff said]; "The familiar rhythms, cadences and pauses have, summer by summer, given way to a gobfest".

    This growing tendency of the BBC to invite "slebs" on to flagship programmes to comment on subjects they no bugger all about is alarming. They had Alice Cooper on TMS once and poor old Geoffrey was completely confused. In the last couple of months Russell Brand has appeared on both "Question Time" and "Desert Island Discs" [after we had been assured that both he and his equally foul-mouthed and illiterate friend Ross had been given the elbow]. Tony Robinson has appeared on QT so many times now that he has been gifted a knighthood.

    I am feeling crabby. Every July I have to pay my BBC Licence Fee and every year I become more and more resentful - especially this year when we have discovered how much they have been dishing out in severance payments, admin fubars and hush money to the victims of Saville and Hall. Or perhaps it is just the extreme heat?

  2. Partly the heat, I suspect - but I think feeling annoyed with the BBC on a regular basis is perfectly justified, especially if you make the mistake of watching any of their political coverage. Good article in the Telegraph today about how undistinguished BBC drama series are compared to what the Americans, the French and the Scandinavians are producing - the BBC has more money to spend than any of them and all it can come up with is Loofah!

    Tufnell's the one that really irritates me - all that slovenly, blokey, Cockney matishness becomes very wearing very quickly. Though I can't imagine what you have against Sue Barker. Did she turn down your request for a date back in your St John's Wood or Wimbledon days?