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Culture Vulture Schmulture – U

In a feature shamelessly “inspired” by The Times‘s Culture Vulture, British Expat brings you the above titled (subtitled “Things you should own, if they’re the sort of thing you might like…”).

It’s not every day you get the chance to use the phrase “Californian Drug-Related Catharsis”. Unless you happen to be Jerry Springer (We love you Jerry; We came all the way from Streatham just to say that, Omigod…). Which you probably don’t. Thankfully however, such opportunity has been afforded me for the first, and very possibly, last time in my life. It is in relation to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ best known song “Under the Bridge” – such a heart-rendingly, refreshingly honest song that judging the Chilli Peppers’ book by its cover would certainly suggest they had not come up with it. They did, and anyone who thinks it was All Saints will, and trust me on this one, burn in hell. I suppose at least their version (that was overtly aimed at six-year-olds) did have the decency to remove the lyric “Under the bridge downtown, is where I drew some blood” – the bridge in question being where one of the members went to score.

This song, though, is not my choice for this “week”. Oh no, it has all been a desperate smoke screen to deflect attention from the fact that I’ve chosen yet another film. I know what you’re thinking (You’re thinking, did he fire six shots, or only five? Well, to tell you truth I lost count myself in all this excitement. But being as this is a Magnum .44, the most powerful handgun around, and can blow a man’s head clean off from this distance – you have to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk? Sorry…guess I was wrong) – you’re thinking it’s time for the great god Steve. Sorry to disappoint, but no matter how excellent (within the field of mind-numbingly awful crap, obviously) Under Siege and Under Siege 2 (my preference) are, they come a close second.

“WHO IS KEYSER SOZE?” they ask. He tells them about drinking fresh coffee in Guatemala. “It’s because you’re a cripple, Verbal, it’s because you’re stupid,” they tell him. He bums a ciggie and drops the lighter. “Keaton doesn’t have friends, he uses people,” they say. He cries (some people just have an answer for everything, don’t they). “I’m smarter than you,” they jibe. He…I won’t give the whole thing away. The Usual Suspects is that rare thing – a ’90s film with all the ingredients necessary to be truly great. Fantastic plot; sublime, understated acting from Kevin Spacey (Ooh, if I was a girl…), Pete Postlethwaite, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri (as Agent Dave “I’m smarter than you” Kujon (oh no you’re not)), Benicio del Toro and Stephen Baldwin (Ooh, if I was a man with a club…); characters you could actually give a toss about, and so on.

You’ll possibly know, without having seen it, that it has “an ending”. It does. It’s up there with Memento (which everybody should see (Carrie Ann Moss’s in it. Ooh, if I was rich and good looking…)), The Shawshank Redemption and The Sixth Sense in that respect. Tension and action abound, though it never strays too far from the cerebral (and on the other hand, is far from dumb), in a film everybody should see. Hey, maybe you’d like to think about owning it.

Next time: ‘V’

PS – Nirvana’s Unplugged album’s also pretty cool, though not for a first Nirvana purchase. Go with In Utero or Nevermind (Polly wanna a cracker…). Boss.

PG Author: Atoz

(aka Dave Stock:) the first person in the world to write to britishexpat.com, and probably the last to send in his biog. After a few useful one-off contributions, Atoz started his irregular A to Z of cultural icons. At the time of writing this, he’s up to “O” – but there’s still no sign of the biog. (Update – he still hadn’t sent it in by the time he’d reached “Z”!)

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