Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I don't believe it!

This was going to be a post for Strange News on Thursday. However, as you may have noticed, I have been rather a tardy blogger of late. This is not because I have been sitting on my lazy arse watching Coronation Street-Fred's dead, I say, I say, Fred's dead-but because I've been working towards The Heather Vineham Night at Richmond Writers' Circle. This is our annual horror short story or poem competition. I now have a 2,200 word short story which just needs a final revision. But it means I have let down my extensive readership. Sorry, Trevor.

Anyway, I was struck by this story. Now, I'm not looking to poke fun at the person who got this score; it was the second round of the competition, so he did better than most of the contestants. It was just the choice of his specialist subject: The films of Jim Carrey.

Now, when I was growing up, I always wanted to win Mastermind. It meant that you were really intelligent. OK, you were normally male, wore an ill-fitting suit, and the people who would eventually create Mister Bean were watching to useful effect, but the specialist subjects were fiercely academic. Anglo-Saxon weaponry; the writings of John Knox; English stamps between 1840-1940. Now, I think that the range of subjects was a little narrow. But, for the love of God, the films of Jim Carrey as a specialist subject on Mastermind!!

I don't want you to get the impression that I'm a film snob. I don't spend my days seeking out subtitled Russian works about existential nihilism. Nor have I ever watched any celebrated examples of Iranian cinema. I enjoy a good, well-made Hollywood comedy. I love Planes, Trains and Automobiles-"they're not pillows"-and I like Jim Carrey. He was excellent in "The Mask", and his energy adds something to all of his films. But, specialist subject on Matermind??!

The contestant in question said that his mistake was "not to watch the films a second time". Now, I would suggest that Jim Carrey's films are, in many cases, not all that rewarding to watch a second time, on an intellectual level; on a three glasses of wine and wanting a giggle level, maybe. With a literary work, or an intellectually demanding film , yes, study is required. You can examine the social nuances of the work, and...oh...all sorts of stuff I remember from student days, which I would suggest is a bit difficult for most of these extremely funny films. The only exception I would make is The Truman Show.

This film does have something to say about reality television, celebrity, and the nature of what we perceive to be reality.

Subject on Mastermind...still not sure.


Blogger Nic said...

This merely echos a conversation hubby and I have at regular intervals when wathing Mastermind these days - we remember when a specialist subject was similar to the theme of a thesis, not a pub quiz round...

2:39 pm  

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