Monday, June 26, 2006

Yowsa.

If any film has a better Ninja Attack Scene than The Last Samurai, I would like to know about it please.

Not a great film, but a solidly good one - and Ken Watanabe is brills. Flatmate was away this weekend, so I was able to loll and sprawl over two different houses. I also watched Mean Girls (good, but would have benefited from a Ninja Attack Scene), and the first half of Sideways, which I thought was going to be funnier than it was. Which is fine, but I wasn't in the mood for a proper grown-up film about feelings and that, so I put it back on the shelf to watch properly another time. So if there is a Ninja Attack Scene in the second half, don't tell me, it'll spoil it.

Other films that would have benefited from a Ninja Attack Scene:

1. Topsy Turvy (and it's about Japan, sort of, it would have fitted, call it 'Topsy Turvy Singing Ninjas').

2. Emma (on that picnic at the start, everyone is killed by ninjas, and Emma trains with another clan of ninjas to avenge them, at a big masked ball - I would call it 'Emma and the Ninjas').

3. The Remains of the Day ... quite small remains, after ninjas had been round.

4. Schindler's List.






UPDATE: Maybe 'Schindler's List... of ninjas'. Ninjae'? 'Ninjases'? Maybe just 'Ninj'. No, I think it's 'ninjas'. I've said it too often now anyway, it's become just a noise, like 'sofa' or 'plinth'.

UPDATE 2: Skeadugenga suggests Sliding Doors as a film in need of a good ninja attack, and I cannot find it in my heart to disagree. In fact, Sliding Doors may top the billing as Film Most In Need Of A Ninja Attack Scene Ever In The History Of Ever, which may seem like this is turning into something of an attack against Gwynneth, but ahh, I reckon Gwynnie has a great and terrible darkness hidden within her, and a ninja attack might be just the thing to bring it out.

'I was never much of a one for Gwynneth Paltrow,' people would say, 'and then there was that bit in that film when ninjas attacked, and wow.....'

Cor, Sliding Doors was dull, wasn't it? Two parallel universes, and the main difference between them is... Gwynnie's hair's shorter and lighter in the second one. Or possibly the first one. Open Your Eyes (oops, that's the original, which I haven't even seen, I mean Vanilla Sky, sorry Anna) is also rubbish in this regard. Tom Cruise is trapped in an artificial afterlife of his own unconscious devising, and all that happens is Cameron Diaz occasionally turns into Penelope Cruz. Rubbish. Ninjas, ninjas ninjas.

I'm off to london tomorrow - I think this post is my way of lightening the load before I go. As t'were.

59 comments:

leonie said...

"sideways" - incredibly overrated in my opinion. i love paul giamatti, but he doesnt save that schmalthzy thing.
but ninjas could, possibly.

Kirsten said...

Schindler's List, Ninja style: When Schindler was a little baby, he was found abandoned under a cherry blossom tree in Japan (leave this slightly vague and ambiguous so there can be a prequel made if this film is successful), and was adopted by a community of traditional ninjas. He grows up to be the best German ninja ever... in fact, the ONLY German ninja ever. Sadly, his foster family are killed by ______ (depending on period; murderers can be anything from Chinese soldiers from Sino-Japanese wars to The Allies in WW2 to just out-of-the-blue baddies), and he vows to get revenge. Through an informer (more ambiguity so you can have a spin-off), he obtains a list of the _____ who have killed his family, and goes on a mission to hunt them down, accompanied by a bumbling yet adorable sidekick who, at the last moment, is pressured into showing his stuff to save the day.

Of course, the movie must be filled with great Ninja Attack Scenes, even if some are gratuitous and have been added just to provide employment for many stuntpeople.

(I apologise if there are any spelling mistakes, I can't be bothered to proofread blog comments, no matter how long they are.)

Terri Nixon said...

Why stop at movies? Some TV programmes could benefit from a good Ninja attack scene now and again just to keep things moving along. Corrie, for instance: Gail Platt/Hillman/whatever her name is now might be surprised out of her sickly "I know my son is the devil but he's just misunderstood" smiles by the appearance of a black-clad, katana-weilding fruitcake. Who would hopefully decapitate said spawn of darkness.
Sorry, I sometimes think I take things too seriously ...

Flic said...

When Gail-the-chinless-wonder's son's voice broke at approximately age 6 and he started speaking in a terrifyingly low voice, he became known as 'The Spawn of Satan' in our house. Glad to know I have been proven right. She has great kids, that woman.


I really need to stop watching soap operas.

baggiebird said...

How about Ninja's on Eastenders, Mind you by the time they'd bee there 5 mins thry's be too depressed top chop people into little bits, so maybe there isn't much point. Can you tell i'm really don't like the soaps?

cello said...

The Last Samurai is young cello's top choice for illicitly taking up to his bedroom when supposed to be having an early night for some reason. Tragically, no 2 is Bruce Almighty.

But we all love Ninja(if that means oriental and fighty) films, even the really commercial ones like Hero or House of Flying Daggers. Where do you stand on those, James?

Marsha Klein said...

Very funny post, James. I especially liked "Emma and the Ninjas" as my girls are massive Jane Austen fans (or massive fans of Jane Austen, I should say - they're fairly average-size children). Anyway, surely such a film could also include women in empire-line dresses swooning and saying "La, Sir"?

Cello, my sympathies re: "Bruce Almighty". If it's any consolation, my otherwise exemplary (cough) children (see above) think that "Zoolander" is one of the funniest films they've ever seen! Oh well.

Squarah said...

Have to agree about "Sideways" - was expecting it to be a lot better than it was. Do remember crying with laughter at one scene...but cannot remember which scene it was, which probably backs up my original point quite nicely!

Button said...

can I recommend all ninja related scenes in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles the Movie, also good for comedy, romance, a strong moral centre and the short lived existance of unwanted pets.

most excellent theme tune

random.thoughts said...

I always feel that "Are You Being Served?: The Movie" could have done with a Ninja Attack Scene just to bring that Captain Peacock down a peg or two

Button said...

indeed random.thoughts, perhaps Mrs Slocums pussy could be trained in the ninja arts!

Many episodes of Postman Pat could have been improved upon had Pat bothered to learn Japanese Martial Arts. I imagine that Mrs Goggins would have made an excellent sparring partner.

james henry said...

I like wuxia films (as in Hero, House of, etc, but as they're (mostly) chinese, rather than japanese, they don't have ninjas as such. Proper ninjas have to: dress in black, wear fighting claws, help each other onto rooftops, throw shuriken and burst through the paper walls in old-school japanese houses, all of which takes place in TLS, to my immense satisfaction.

Crouching Tigger sort of has a ninja, but I'm not convinced it quite counts. I may have to look into this.

Also, Zoolander is really really really good. Particularly David Bowie's little cameo.

button said...

I havn't seen it but Bowie was rather marvellous in Labyrinth.

button said...

well his trousers were at any rate.

Benjamin Russell said...

Ninja are like fish. In that the plural of ninja is "ninja" and not "ninjas", unless you have lots of different kinds of fish or ninja, like different species or different clans. Only then do they become, collectively, "ninjas" and "fishes".

Marsha Klein said...

Oh dear! I didn't mean to offend you, James. My dislike of "Zoolander" has more to do with my dislike of Ben Stiller, than with the film itself. I find Jim Carrey similarly annoying, although both pale into insignificance when compared to the annoyance generated by ADAM SANDLER(grr!)

If Messrs Stiller, Carey and Sandler are all great favourites of yours, then I will personally run myself through (with a Samurai sword, if you so desire) by way of recompense, although I'm rather hoping, on account of your sweet and generous nature, that it won't come to that.

button said...

I always wondered if the plural of hippopotamus was hippopotamus's or hippopotami like octopi. or not.

james henry said...

It's 'hippopotami'. I'm fairly sure.

I would highly recommend the Adam Sandler film 'punch-drunk love' by the way - very good indeed, and utterly unlike his other stuff (although thinking about it, I will always have a soft spot for 'happy gilmore').

Oh the shame.

Button said...

Many thanks.

I need to find a new life long knowledge quest question now.

skeadugenga said...

"Sliding Doors" would have benefited from a Ninja Attack. They could have done that bursting through doors thing they do and sealed Gwyneth Paltrow's fate immediately, shortening the film by about 3 years.

patroclus said...

Either 'hippopotamuses' or 'hippopotami' - I'd prefer the former as it's Greek, not Latin. And as the 'potamus' (river) describes the animal 'hippo' (horse), I'll field a leftfield request for 'hippipotamus' as a better plural...

Button said...

ah!
my quest lives on!!!!

Pashmina said...

Pat, you have excelled yourself. I usually go with "hippopotamuses" on the same basis as "stadiums", which is that they're both words that have become part of the English vocabulary and which therefore get the English plural treatment.

I've never quite worked out why this doesn't apply to "phenomenon" and - conversely - "data".

patroclus said...

I think my request for 'hippipotamus' has serious etymological failings, based on a poor grasp of Latin and a non-existent grasp of Greek. It'll probably turn out to be something like 'hippoipotamus'.

Oh god, I'm just making it *worse*.

Yes, Pash - and what about 'criterion' and 'criteria'? The use of the latter as a singular noun regularly makes me cringe, because that's the kind of dreadful language pedant I am.

realdoc said...

I think the public would enjoy an interaction between Gwyneth Paltrow and ninja I would pay to see that.

Terri Nixon said...

So where do you stand on roofs? (apart from a long way back from the edge, of course ...)

etroni said...

Great stuff, very impressed.
Going to add your blog as a link from mine, is that okay?
Keep up the good work. Completely agree re: Sideways
Very impressed.
Cityslicker

Sal said...

I agree, Sliding Doors is dull. Terribly dull infact. I just partook in Stepford Wives which I think also needs a good ninja scene.
I'm also off to London tomorrow. Gah. Good luck!

Heather said...

Maybe some more of the poor Brit Rom Coms of recent years could have benefited from Ninja Attacks. Notting Hill and Love Actually for example. I can't help but feel it would have brightened them up immensley. You can never have to many ninja's per movie in my opinion.

I once had the pluralisation problem with mongoose, it's mongeese apparently, not mongoosiae as I had proffered. It became a bit of a running joke (an admittedly very poor one - you had to be there),hence the name Mongoosian.

StacieFunkee said...

Ah Mean Girls, i like the film. Rachel McAdams is a good actress, fab in The Notebook.

christ said...

I can't think of a single Hugh Grant film that wouldn't have benefitted from Ninja, many.

flic 2 said...

gaah i know this has absolutaly nothing to do with anything but there is someone up therecalled flic, thats my name, i even spell it like that. maybe that is actualy me and i posted that in the middle of the night without noticing, a response fron the other flic would be appreciated so that i know im not going mad.....

Hamilton's Brain said...

Of course the Samurai, when the Emperor disbanded them, were all forced into a sporting pursuit, because of concerns they would form bandit armies and reign a merry hell all over the shop. Thus, if Tom Cruise really was the last of the Samurai, he'd have had to have been a Sumo wrestler.

The film would've been a horse of a different colour then....

cello said...

I had been meaning to ask about the name, Mongoosian...

Ah, I knew all along they were called 'wuxia' films, but didn't realise that precluded them from being Ninja films.

Zatoichi counts as a Ninja film, doesn't it? Certainly lots of black (and red!) and people falling on swords and through walls all over the place. Have you seen it yet?

And then a splash of plural pedantry from Patch - just what I needed to cheer me up. People just forget that some words are plurals because you never see the singular. When's the last time you saw 'datum' or 'spaghetto', apart from a typo?

irony in motion said...

To drag this back a few comments, isn't the plural of octopus 'octopodes'? Or 'octopods'? I can't remember, but I do remember that it wasn't octopi.

Helen said...

if I remember correctly from a conversation I once had, there is not just one correct version of the plural of octopus, the thing is, I can't remember which ones it was. To drag back a couple more comments, I watched sliding doors until the bit where she gets the train or misses it and didn't watch any more, at that point I was actually interuppted so I couldn't watch any more but I had no desire to watch it anyway, although I would definitely watch it if it had a couple if good ninja attack scenes in it!

Anna said...

I think you have to make Emma and the Ninjas. Please. Thank you.

Anyway. Please excuse me whilst I go off on a filmwank tangent. Tom Cruise! Was in! Vanilla Sky!* He is not! The very handsome! Eduardo Noriega! I think "Eyes wide shut" is making you have all sorts of "eyes" connections with Tom Cruise. Who I'm boycotting, because he's an ass. An actual ass.

*I know, same film really. But still! I demand accuracy, young sir!

Anna said...

Also, Heather/mongoosian. It's mongooses! It's an irregular plural noun! Or some such!

God, I'm being really pretentious today.

flic (the first one) said...

flic 2: Do not panic. you are not mad. Unless we are both mad and I am actually you. Perhaps we are the same person, yet in parallel universes (universiae? universeese? universities?) in which neither of us is aware of the other's existence until a devilishly clever plot twist is uncovered pivoting around james's blog, which can magically communicate between two worlds. Perhaps you live in 2004, and I in 2006.

In other news, I watched the trailer for The Lake House today.

ps word verification - inikndl: the action required of an eskimo to provide elementary central heating in bonfire form. Unrecommended, though, for obvious indoor-rain reasons.

angie-d said...

Apparently Jane Austen initialy wanted Ninja (Ninja's!!!) in Emma, but her publishers could'nt see the mass appeal!

monkeychops said...

How can anyone not love 'Sideways'?

Gentle, understated, slow but warmly funny (a bit like me maybe, except for the funny). Maybe the people who didn't like it had their expectations set too high. Often I find that a reasonable film is runied by too high expectations...

Not that I'm judgemental of course, but if you don't like 'Sideways' then I probably don't like you :-)

Which reminds me of the 'English Patient' eposide in 'Seinfeld'. But then if you don't like Seinfeld... etc. etc.

James Moran said...

Schindler's List of Ninjas? No no no.

"Ninja's List."

He's a ninja. He's got a list. Anyone on that list gets ninja'd. Job done.

LC said...

I remember the Last Samurai - it's that one where Tom Cruise goes to live on a hippy commune and all the ninjas turn up one night to murder all the hippies, and then run away laughing into the night, flicking the vees over their shoulders.

Agreed - best ninja attack scene ever.

LMS said...

Coincidently my flatmate and I were drinking merlot last night as we have no class. I was playing the Pirates of the Caribbean drinking game (you drink whenever someone says 'pirate'). Simple but effective.

Heather said...

Anna, you are indeed correct. It is mongooses not mongeese. I did tell you it confused me though.

I'm feeling even sillier than normal now, and I normally feel extremely silly. The shame.

LMS said...

By the way - are you aware of Ninja Burgers? - http://www.ninjaburger.com/

skeadugenga said...

If anyone London bound has a spare moment, the Strand Beasts are in Trafalgar Square until tonight. I'd have liked to have seen them. For some reason I can't post a link here, but search Theo Jansen Strandbeest if interested.

Lynsey said...

I think any film starring Ben Affleck could benefit from a good old fashioned Ninja attack scene. All aimed at the man himself obviously. Not that I have anything against him or anything.

d'hoffryn's favourite said...

I really like Sliding Doors, in fact I like it so much I actually bought it. And I don't understand what a ninja is even after reading James' explanation.

Hmmm..methinks I might be on the wrong blog...

Terri Nixon said...

Sliding Doors. Most *yawnworthy* film in a seething ocean of *yawnworthy* films; not one scene comes to mind from it. Cannot for the life of me remember why I watched it to begin with ... oh yeah, John Hannah. Wasn't enough to save it I'm afraid.

janey33 said...

I don't know about Ninja scenes in films but I always think that cricket matches would be livened up immensely by a good ninja attack. Much more entertaining than silly mid-offs and googlies and birds meandering on the pitch. Now that's what I call entertainment!

flic 2 said...

hey flic 1- you mean its 2006 over there? do you all drive flying cars and go on holidays to mars?

flic 1 said...

I have a timeshare over there, but it's not all it's cracked up to be. The swimming pool keeps overheating and the bank holiday traffic's a nightmare. There are hardly any service stations so thank goodness I haven't got to take children over - they'd be a nightmare.

Also; flying cars. It's quite inconvenient when they break down.

Jen said...

Am I going to get huckelt in a van and beaten for this? You know how people make GW music videos, James? (If you don't, well...they do.) I made a film trailer.

http://community.livejournal.com/___greenwing/549839.html

Just speaking of films. And sorry - no ninjas.

skeadugenga said...

The Ninja game is preserving the sanity of my office today. Best suggestions so far - "Truly, Madly, Deeply" and (the clear winner) "Titanic".

daneh said...

i had to watch sliding doors in fast forward. even more confusing.

i'd just like to bring up the power rangers movie - ninja action aplenty there, was there not?

Maud said...

Thought you might appreciate this:

http://www.livejournal.com/userpic/43217573/762161

Jen said...

You know... I think you'd like this, James.

Ask A Ninja

james henry said...

Liked the Spoons of Destiny, the Bob thing and the ninja thing. Hurrah for the internet.