The Greatest Turns in Cinema

It’s your turn” are some of the most important words ever said on screen. Why could that be? And what are the greatest turn-taking moments ever? Take a look.

Look at a normal story arc. A protagonist  has to overcome a major challenge using their wits, skills or by learning a lesson. Have I oversimplified a century of cinema? Surely not, but just think about all those films that involve chasing the girl to the airport, hitting a winning home run or convincing the board not to shut down the mom and pop small town company.

So why are turn-taking games important? They either provide the perfect venue for a character to step up to the plate in an arena (Daniel-san chopping ice blocks in Karate Kid II, Bill and Ted facing off against the Grim Reaper, any wedding where a character cant’ bring themselves to say ‘I do‘), or if they are truly a game of chance that can upset the entire normal narrative apple-cart (drawing straws in Armagedon or any other film) . Thought the hero was going to succeed? Well chance just got in the way. Thought it would be easy? Well he just draw the short straw on a freaking asteroid.

Well here are the best turn-taking games in film history and why.

CASINO ROYALE

Casino Royale – The Poker Game

Many films have had poker tournaments. None included a man having to restart his own heart while gambling his government’s money. A battle of wits, double bluffing, bleeding eyes and it’s only half way through the film – this is James Bond’s greatest moment to shine.

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The Deer Hunter – Russian Roulette

It’s no wonder there’s no world champion gamblers from Russia if they’re all playing Russian Roulette. In the most famous scene from the Deer Hunter everything comes down to chance, leaving the audience just as in the dark as the characters to what will happen next.

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The East – Hippy Spin the Bottle

Where spin the bottle usually leads to giggles and make-outs in the East it’s a game of character reveals. Where the first spin leads to a one-minute hug it’s clear the game is there to give people a way to connect. The game builds until we realise not only the inner workings of the eco-terrorist group but also the sexual tension between inspiration leader Benji and undercover agent Sarah.

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Raiders of the Lost Ark – Marion’s Drinking Game

There’s no chance here, it’s all skill. Where a love interest is often introduced by showing her long legs, this chick is slamming down vodka and out-drinking the hardest men of Nepal. This drinking game establishes Marion as a physical and mental equal to our Indy and someone to keep an eye on.

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The Princess Bride – Battle of Wits

As our hero chases down cruel villian Vizzini to free the princess a stand off is reached. Appealing to his ego he challenges him to a game of wits – one wine glass is poisoned, one is not – the game is hilariously subverted by the foxy, though maybe not so brave, Man In Black. A subtle wink to stand-offs through the ages.

No Country For Old Men – Anton Chigon’s Coin Toss 

This game of chance is not only a vehicle for the plot, it’s the entire message of the film. How can you understand the world when it seems to make no sense and chance is rampant? Strictly speaking Chigon’s coin toss for his potential victims isn’t a turn taking game – there’s only one turn and you get it right you live, get it wrong you die. However you still don’t want to hear this guy pull out his coin and tell you ‘call it’.

Barry O’Farrell’s finger explained

Did Premier Barry O’Farrell give the finger in NSW Parliament? He says he didn’t. Could the fate of a regime rest on one finger? It has once before.

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Of course if you don’t remember, In Tarantino’s film Inglorious Bastards an Allied plan to remove Hitler goes wrong with one similar, simple gesture. Lieutenant Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender) has perfectly disguised himself as a German officer until one misstep reveals he’s a spy.

In a German bar he signals for 3 drinks. He raises his middle three fingers (the English, Australian and American gesture) instead of his thumb and first two fingers (the German way). This leads to a lot of shooting, spilled beers and guts.

One finger ruined everything.

Barry O’Farrell claimed when he raised his one middle finger at Opposition Leader John Robertson he was signalling that Robertson was only allowed to ask one question.

Of course what Australian has ever used their middle finger to signal ‘one‘? You’d have to say Barry is either lying or he’s a foreign spy.

The Leadership Debate in 10 words

Want to know what was actually said in last night’s debate? Here are all the actual questions with every lengthy and obscure answer in exactly 10 words.

Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott at the first election debate on 11 August 2013. Photograph: Mike Bowers/TGM

DAVID SPEERS: Prime Minister, I’ll invite you now to make your opening remarks.

RUDD: Australia the best. Economy is good. New way the future!

SPEERS: Prime Minister, thank you. Tony Abbott I would like you now to make your opening remarks.

ABBOTT: Bad government. Bad economy. Want a new way? Elect us.

SPEERS:  Prime Minister. Spending now is higher than ever. Can you understand people feeling a little nervous about giving Labor another three years?

RUDD: Howard spent 24%. We spend 25%. What’s the big deal?

SPEERS: Tony Abbott…You also want to spend a lot more on paid parental leave and a multibillion dollar direct action plan. Where is the money coming from?

ABBOTT:  Rudd flushed money. Our spending plan? I’ll tell you later.

SPEERS: Is that good enough, Prime Minister?

RUDD: No way. I’ve only got 4 weeks to save this.

SPEERS: The numbers have moved around lot. Treasury’s numbers have been downgraded and downgraded and downgraded. You can understand some reluctance to lock in on the current set of numbers?

RUDD: Be transparent Tony. Be afraid Australia – they’ll increase the GST!

SPEERS: Will it be increased, Tony?

ABBOTT: No, No. No. No. No. No. No. So probably not.

SPEERS: Good enough for you, Prime Minister?

RUDD: No. Without this people don’t seem scared of Abbott anymore.

SPEERS: Kevin Rudd, we know you went to the 2007 election promising to dismantle Pacific Solutions. We know there was popular support for doing that and you did it but with the benefit of hindsight, do you, along with many others who have done, now acknowledge that was wrong?

RUDD: I had a mandate then. Now I have a problem.

SPEERS: Tony Abbott, what is your problem with this current policy? We know you’ve been very critical about Labor’s chopping and changing on this and the number of people who’ve come but what is wrong with this current policy?

ABBOTT: We invented it. But now he’s getting credit for it.

SPEERS: You also want to turn back boats where it’s safe to do so. Can you explain tonight for us exactly what you would do if a boat tries to enter Australian waters?

ABBOTT: We turn them round when it’s safe. Which is never.

SPEERS: Prime Minister, do you think this would spark some sort of conflict with Indonesia?

RUDD: Not touching that. Instead I’ll just say Nauru didn’t work.

ABBOTT: It did work. You say numbers. I say different numbers.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Why should people trust you when you criticise the other side for doing something you’d do yourself?

RUDD: They tax heaps. Us? Only miners. Everyone else gets off.

ABBOTT: Gillard liked our taxes. We don’t like her carbon one.

HARTCHER: My question to you, Mr Rudd, but also interested in your thoughts, Mr Abbott, what programs will you cut and if you’re not going to cut any programs, what taxes will you increase?

RUDD: That’s unpopular! So go look up my previous comments…later.

ABBOTT: I’ll cut red tape. That always sounds good to people.

SPEERS: The question was actually what programs are you willing to cut, I don’t think we’ve heard any from either of you. Tony Abbott, you are willing to cut the School Kids’ Bonus still, aren’t you?

ABBOTT: In tough times you always take money from the children.

BENSON: A second airport, yes or no?

ABBOTT: We can’t keep waiting. I’ll tell you after I’m elected..

SPEERS:  Prime Minister, your response?

RUDD: I’ll answer in two ways. Neither which gives an answer.

CURTIS: Firstly to Tony Abbott and then to Kevin Rudd about aged care. What would a Coalition Government do? Mr Rudd, can you explain what the central changes are and whether there would be any more?

ABBOTT: I have grandparents. I’m like everyone. Also again, red tape.

RUDD: Aged care is a vital issue. So whatever Tony said.

HARTCHER: You and the Government have both committed to cut carbon emission by a minimum of 5 per cent by 2020 and up to as much as 25 per cent, depending on international progress. Under global negotiations, Australia will have to decide next year on the next phase. Will you keep your commitment?

ABBOTT: My commitment to pointing out Mr Rudd’s carbon tax? Yes.

RUDD: Climate change is here now. So let’s talk about 2007.

BENSON: I’d like to keep you on the economy and this question is to you, Mr Rudd. You have said we’re in a transition to a new economy when your own Department and the industry say the old economy is still doing just fine thank you very much. What are we supposed to be transitioning into and where people can expect to get jobs from this new economy?

RUDD: Excellent question. I’ll define the word ‘transition’ instead. Next question.

ABBOTT: Well I’m transitioning from saying red tape to green tape.

SPEERS: Can I squeeze in one more and maybe a 30-second response from each of you on the question of same-sex marriage, will it be legislated, legalised in the next term of parliament? Tony Abbott just a quick response.

ABBOTT: My sister is gay. Can I leave it at that?

SPEERS: Would you allow a conscience vote?

ABBOTT: We’ll decide later. And that decision will definitely be no.

SPEERS: Prime Minister?

RUDD: I didn’t like it. Now I do. Last chance for me!

SPEERS: We are out of time for questions. Time for closing remarks. Mr Rudd, as you had the opening statement, you also lead off with the closing remarks.

RUDD: I have notes. So my ending really should be better.

SPEERS: Mr Abbott, your closing remarks

ABBOTT: I believe in the future. Now let me quote Menzies.

5 examples of over-censorship

Australia is a free and open country. However look at our media and advertising and you have to wonder – are we overly censored? One of the main justifications for banning commercials is the ‘reality’ that they portray or the ‘reality’ they might create. In fact most of it is fear without reason.

Take a close look at some of the recent commercials that have been banned and consider whether you agree.

Fear: Kids will start walking around the playground calling people a ‘dick’ if they don’t already. Old ladies will rediscover their love of ‘dick’. More refugees will try to seek aslyum in Australia because they love it too.

Reality: Every ‘dick’ comment is a double-entendres (except ‘dead dingo’s donger’ is very very singular) so the sexual meaning is suggested not spoken. To get it you have to know what ‘dick’ means. Then again we all do, so what’s the big deal? Dick’s bad taste (ahem) shouldn’t equate to censorship.

Fear: Woman in the workplace will be feel sexualised by men.

Reality: These women are in positions of power. The man has the lower status and is the point of ridicule. Also men often have fantasies in their head about women (at work, at the post office, at the bus stop…) which are harmless and at worst foolish.

Fear: Shows women in an oversexualised fashion and equates them with cars.
Reality: It’s not just a car. It’s a really really nice car. So it may objectify women. Or perhaps it personifies cars. The truth is if all men upped the level of care and respect for women to the level they show their beloved cars the world would be a better place already. However the 2 seconds of unsafe driving at the end could have been cut.

Fear: Imagery of suicide will lead to people on mass taking their lives just like the film ‘The Happening’. Of course if you’ve seen that film you’ll want to end it all anyway.

Reality: If you’re about to get eaten by zombies, sure go ahead and kill yourself. Also the characters are clearly computer generated so should be enough to distance all reasonable people from associating themselves with them.

Fear: Mass suicides. Again the reason stated that it involves “a realistic depiction of methods of suicide, or promotion or encouragement of suicide is material that will invariably be unsuitable for television.”
Reality: Again the suggested suicide here is not general, like the zombie ad it’s for a very specific set of circumstances, and it sounds like 85% of people in these circumstances would do it anyway. All the ad might promote is a vote by the government on whether to allow or disallow euthenasia.

Welcoming a new bundle of joy

imageDear Facebook friends, email friends, instagram friends and even real friends, AJ and Google images are delighted to welcome a brand new photo of a baby into the world.

Little JPEG (JPG for short) came onto the internet at 8:53pm last night weighing in at nothing.

Both AJ and Google are doing fine. Here is the same pixels of joy artificially edited to drag more emotion out of you.

image2You can look forward to many many many more photos being shared with you whether you’d like it or not.

 

Sexist? Just nonsense.

Is it really a sexist comment if it doesn’t make sense?

BBC 5’s John Inverdale has landed in hot water for his commentary of the Wimbeldon Women’s Final won by Marion Bartoli over Sabine Lisicki.

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The comment in question was:

“Do you think Bartoli’s dad told her when she was little ‘You’re never going to be a looker. You’ll never be a Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight’?”

What followed was fury of comments on social media outraged at Inverdale’s fascination with looks. Let’s back things up. The media has focused on the looks of female tennis since at least the days of Steffi Graf, and it was probably the treatment of camera friendly but winning-adverse Anna Kournikova that really sent things out of control. It’s  true that men’s tennis does not come under the same aesthetic scrutiny as women’s tennis. For both forms of the game when you hold a trophy aloft, everyone has their photo taken. However outside of sports reports, looks affect media interest. Even in the men’s game Pete Sampras never graced as many copies of Cleo as GQ as Rafael Nadal. Looks count for something.

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Back to the comment in question. I suggest we stop assuming someone is being sexist in their comments during sport. Perhaps their verbal shot execution doesn’t live up to their aim. If you look at  Inverdale’s words, more than perhaps sexist, they’re simply ridiculous and wrong.

‘You’re never going to be a looker. You’ll never be a Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight.”

What’s the connection between success and looks? Certainly it’s a factor when it comes to endorsements and sponsorships. But winning games and winning tournaments? There is none. Ask Kournicova. Ask Sampras.

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Bartoli proved when you’ve just won the biggest tournament on the planet, it doesn’t really matter what anyone says anyway. She responded  in her press conference with an equal amount of wit and diplomacy:

“It doesn’t matter, honestly. I am not blonde, yes. That is a fact. Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. I’m sorry. But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes.”

No father, coach or person with a brain would ever tell someone you need to work harder on the court because you may not court the attention of the cameras. It’s nonsensical. With time and thought, Inverdale offered a better explanation of his words:

“The point I was trying to make, in a rather ham-fisted kind of way, was that in a world where the public perception of tennis players is that they’re all 6ft tall Amazonian athletes, Marion – who is the Wimbledon champion – bucks that trend.”

It’s easy for your words to shoot off in all sorts of directions when balls are flying at 100km an hour.

Forgive and forget.

USA v Australia – Top Iconic Brands

Both Australia and the U.S.A. are massive countries with many brands.

Head to head how do they compare for iconic world renowned status?

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AustralianBrands

Western Australia – Full of great companies. None of them Australian.

Victoria – Didn’t count Indie Record labels selling dozens of pub band albums.

Tasmania – Ricky Ponting and Apples were unlucky to miss out.

South Australia – Only innovation was cask wine.

Probably too drunk to patent it.

Northern Territory – Emu Run Tours was about to win, then China bought it.

Queensland – Queensland Maroons and racism are only beloved brands inside Australia.

New South Wales – I got nothing. So does New South Wales.