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Wednesday 2nd January 2013

It was a long sleepless day of travel, as we flew to the Maldives via Dubai. Perhaps if we'd been on a direct flight we'd have slept for a few hours, but the disruption of the stopover and the relatively short second flight meant I only managed about 30 minutes sleep. We were arriving at the hotel on the morning of the 3rd and would as always be trying to stay up until night time, so this was potentially a 36 hour day (forgive me if that maths is wrong - it's hard enough to work it out without the time zones getting in the way).
Although I knew this was going to hurt tomorrow I massively enjoyed the actual getting there. Our bank account allows us to use some airport lounges which takes out a lot of stress (even if I am usually determined to get as much free stuff as possible down my throat) and the airline (Emirates) had an impressive entertainment system even for us plebs in economy, with dozens of films, many new releases and also some complete TV series. The food wasn't bad either and at this point I would quite happily have stayed on the plane for the entire holiday. I watched "Pitch Perfect" which I enjoyed immensely slightly to my own surprise (though it's written by one of the 30 Rock writers which might explain why). It must have been the release of emotion at having a break but it almost made me a bit teary in places. This wasn't the unstoppably flow of grief and existential angst that "Love Actually" had once unleashed upon me (or at least been the catalyst for), but a genuine investment in the likeable characters. It's about a cappella singers and I am guessing a tongue in cheek response to Glee (not seen it) and is obviously for people a third of my age, but it spoke to my inner geek and was corny in the right ways and had some properly funny lines.
Then I had a crack at "Total Recall", not my favourite film starring Arnie, but the new version with (I am about to be a bit sick in the back of my mouth) Colin Farrell. It's not an all together terrible film and obviously I am biased as I am dedicated to the original, but I don't think this was a film that needed remaking and they'd changed the premise so much that they might as well have just called it something else anyway.
There were some nods to the original, but these were fucked up in a Tim from the Office double-taking at Marvin the (original) Paranoid Android in the Hitchhiker's Guide film (I'd like to turn that into the go-to "Jumping the Shark" style reference point for anything that cack-handedly nods towards a previous version). There was a three-breasted woman, but she wasn't a mutant (as the mutants weren't in this film) and worst of all, she kept her top on. If you're going to reference the triple-breasted woman then you need to make her nude. What a waste of time! Imagine the improvements in special effects that have happened in the last twenty-five years and how realistic they could have made them look. In many ways I approve of taking gratuitous objectifying female nudity out of films - it creates a very bad example and image problem for young women. BUT not for the triple breasted woman in Total Recall. NO! WRONG.
The other nod was when Farrell was trying to get through customs and was in disguise and a manly woman was asked how long she was staying and she said "Two weeks". If you know the original you'll know that the huge six foot plus woman who says that turns out to be Arnie in disguise. But this time, the in-joke for those aficionados of Total Recall I is that that woman is a real woman and Farrell is disguised as a man. It nearly works as a call-back but the woman who says "Two weeks" is much too small to be even the puny Farrell in disguise, so the mislead misfires. Also though any fan of the original Total Recall would already have stormed out of the cinema in disgust by now and so wouldn't be there to see this and even if they were on a plane and couldn't be arced to change channels the joke would still only make them go "Meh" and remember how much better the original was. But if you're going to do the joke then at least make the woman who says it unfeasibly large so that we might be tricked. Or write your own film and stop leeching off the genius of others. You stupid useless fuckers.
If they had any balls the bit that they would have back-referenced (and they might have done, I wasn't really concentrating by the end) was the classic "You think this is the real Quaid? Ha ha ha. It is?" bit. And it shouldn't have been acted better or changed. Colin Farrell should just have had to do it exactly like Arnie did. But you didn't have the balls to try did you Farrell. You think you're the real Quaid? You're not. But I just shot you anyway in case you were and in case it was some kind of a trick.
There was loads more that I wanted to see, but only managed three episodes of season 7 of "30 Rock" - if only they'd had season 6 (which I haven't seen). It feels like it might have jumped the shark a bit, but at least it hasn't done a Tim from the Office double-taking at Marvin yet.
Every time we get on a plane my wife tweets the joke, "I put my phone on airplane settings and it told me not to call it Shirley," It's a good joke and she's right to use it every single time we fly. I retweeted it and by the time I could check my replies in Dubai (drinking a couple of free beers and enjoying complimentary wifi in a packed lounge in an amazingly busy airport given that it was 2am local time) a couple of people had tweeted saying that airplane was an Americanism and that as an Englishman I should use the word aeroplane. Which shows that pedants might be pedantic but that they're also humourless idiots. Firstly no phone (as far as I am aware) calls this function "Aeroplane settings" and even if they did, if that change was made then the joke would make NO FUCKING SENSE. But in any case which English person calls a plane an aeroplane anymore anyway? It sounds so archaic that it might have been coined by William Hershel.It's a plane. You only need the aero if it's made out of bubbly chocolate. Which now I've thought of it might be a business that I create. I'd love to fly around in a plane made of chocolate - you could have a lovely snack on it as you flew, always aware that the next bite might be the one that leads to the hull breaching or the wing to fall off. I wonder what pedants would make of that idea. "Your chocolate aeroplane idea is fatally flawed as the heat generated by the chocolate engines would melt the fuselage." I'd still prefer to be on it that in a regular plane sitting next to you.
So nowhere near the Maldives by the end of the day, even by UK time. Just trying and failing to sleep and then watching an episode of Dr Who instead. You don't get that on an Aero plane.

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