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Culture Vulture Schmulture – O

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…”)

“O” my god. It’s “O”. I think that possibly the lamest thing I’ve ever said. Just after “Of course I love you”. OK, I’m only going to admit this the once – I have a soft spot for the Gene Kelly vehicle On The Town. There, I’ve said it, please don’t think any less of me. I would also recommend Graham Swift’s 1988 novel Out Of This World – it’s a cracking read, not especially fast-paced, but similar in a way to the previously mentioned Last Orders. If you read that and liked it, you’ll like this one as well. Am I allowed to cheat a bit (again, I know) and have OST (Official Soundtrack) as an entry? That way I could talk about Easy Rider, The Matrix, Dead Presidents, Thriller or even Can’t Stop the Music. No? Fair enough, I s’pose. Does anyone have a cure for Schizophrenia? We don’t.

This has left me with two options for things I could suggest you might possibly like to think about possibly liking. Maybe. Forgive one juvenile moment: Sugababes are gorgeous, especially the ginger one. You won’t hear me say that often either. Sugababes, if you don’t know, are three 17-year-old girls, who have been together a few years and now regret their childish name, but can’t change for fear of confusing people. They hit the big time last year with “Overload”, and the fantastic “New Year” singles. They’re here to stay, and if you like slightly poppy soul music, give their album One Touch a look. Actually, a listen might be more profitable.

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The other, more commendable option would be the finest moment of both Milos Forman and Jack Nicholson, the first appearance of Christopher Lloyd and multiple Oscar winning. This would be One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Nicholson and Louise Fletcher both won Best Actor/Actress, Forman Best Director, and the project as a whole Best Picture and Best Adapted cite in 1975 (only American Beauty and The Silence of the Lambs have come close to this clean sweep of the major Oscars).

OFOTCN, an examination of insanity, in a very Catch-22 sense of the concept, puts Nicholson in an asylum (slightly surreal circumstances lead to this) and follow his attempts to enliven fellow patients. Escapes, both temporary excursions and a full-blown attempt, follow – in fact, the film is disconcertingly Big Brother-ish.

Nicholson really is superb. (Then strangely quiet until the recent As Good As It Gets – another Oscar-winner.) Nods also to Danny DeVito, Brad Dourif and Christopher Lloyd but a possible question mark over the award to Louise Fletcher. (Nicholson won most major film awards, Fletcher took only the Oscar and BAFTA.) Funny, thought-provoking and dramatic, OFOTCN is one of the top films of the century (in my humble opinion). You can pick it up for next to nothing. So do.


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