Movies – Ex Machina Review (or “A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing”)

January 27, 2015

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a film where the guy selling me the ticket has given it his personal seal of approval until today. Indeed, he didn’t just think I’d enjoy it, he guaranteed I’d enjoy it.

And on my way out, he was waiting at the door to find out if I did.

Because as it turns up, he was the director!!!!!

Well, no he wasn’t, but you’d think he had a personal stake in its success.

But was he right? Did I enjoy Ex Machina?

Movies – Ex Machina Review: What’s This One About?

An employee of one of the world’s foremost information technology moguls is selected to live with him for a week and take part in a Turing Test to see if a female AI can pass for a human, in the behavioural sense.exmachina

Ex Machina Review: Who’s In It?

The three main characters are played by Domnhall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac

Ex Machina Review: How Highly Is It Rated?

Apart from the glowing praise of the Cineworld employee, this also gets 94% of Rotten Tomatoes, 8.1 on imdb (although from less than 2,000 votes) and general four star reviews in the press.

But you come to expect that for British movies distributed by Film 4.

Thoughts

My immediate thought upon leaving the cinema today was that Ex Machina is quite an intense, fast paced movie disguised as a serene and ponderous one. It’s like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

I imagine this is what writer and director Alex Garland was going for, so it’s done very well.

With its quiet, calm incidental music, sedate minimalist environment and generally relaxed characters, you don’t realise too much how quickly the plot advances in the relatively short (by today’s drawn-out standards) 108 minute running time.

The characters undergo quite drastic changes in the six days Caleb (Gleeson) spends with both Ava (the AI, played by Vikander) and Nathan (Isaac) and although there are one or two aspects of the plot that I could see coming from a mile away, it managed to impress and surprise me with its ending.

Without giving too much away, this could easily have gone down the much travelled road of ‘Man Falls In Love With AI’ that has been written about in science fiction for decades. Indeed, at first I thought this was just going to be a modern-day knock-off of the Twilight Zone episode, The Lonely.

But there was more to it than that, and that’s a testament to Garland and his cast.

Though not as exciting or intense as Whiplash – which I saw last week – this is definitely a movie that will grab your attention from the beginning and not let go until the end credits roll.

I just wonder if the themes explored in it are closer to reality – or should I say closer to actually happening in the near future – than we realise.

That would be something…


Movies – Whiplash Review

January 22, 2015

There’s a theory that states that if you practice something for 10,000 hours, you can become an expert at it.

When people discuss sporting greats, in almost every case they are talking about someone who is absolutely dedicated to their craft and have devoted their entire lives to becoming the best.

And while that is commendable, it does tend to be the case that these people are so focused and single minded in their approach to being the best that they are…well…they are arseholes.

It’s like speaking to someone you know who is “Career Focused”. All they are is their job. As someone who is laid back about such things, I tend to feel depressed for these people.

Anyway, the point is that this side of the personalities of these people isn’t brought to the silver screen often enough.

But it is with Whiplash.

Whiplast Review: What’s It About?

A first year student at New York’s finest music college aspires to be the best drummer in the world. He earns a spot in the college’s top Jazz band, led by a teacher who uses fear, intimidation and bullying in an whiplashattempt to get the best out of his young wards. Tension ensues.

Whiplash Review: Who’s In It?

The two main characters are played by Miles Teller – as the young drummer, Andrew – and J. Jonah Jameson himself, J.K. Simmons as the terrifying band leader, Terence Fletcher

Whiplash Review: How Highly Is It Rated?

With a 95% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, 88% on Metacritic and 8.7 on imdb, this is a highly rated movie.

But of course that is no guarantee I’ll like it…

Thoughts

…although as it turns out I did.

Constructed around the tension between the two main characters – which is a testament not just to their acting, but to the spot on direction from Damien Chazelle – Whiplash is an absorbing movie that lasts just the right amount of time without overstaying its welcome.

What interested me about it most were the characters. This is not a movie where Teller plays the young hero who ultimately proves the dastardly Simmons wrong for a corny, happy ending, but rather a portrait of the sort of people you’d expect to find in the upper echelons of the jazz world.

Essentially, both of them are pricks. Andrew unwittingly falls out with almost everyone around him because of his focused, bullish need to be the very best, while Fletcher is an utter bastard whose actions are 100% wrong but motivated by an honest desire to get his students to reach their potential.

It’s incredibly well acted and makes for fascinating viewing.

And without spoiling it, this results in a tense build up to a finale which closes the film at a thrilling high point.

Like I said above, the direction was excellent. That the main character is a drummer allowed Chazelle to use the strength of the instrument to increase the tension in key scenes, and the use of camera angles in these scenes as Andrew literally shed blood, sweat and tears was captivating.

So I thought it was great. Indeed, as an overall package, Whiplash is already a strong contender for the best movie of 2015.

I don’t think it’ll be on the cinema much longer, so if you haven’t seen it, go now.

 


Movies – The Theory of Everything Review (or “No, Yours Eyes Are Not Deceiving You; That Really Is Frank LeBoeuf”)

January 8, 2015

Biopics tend to make for good movies, as long as the subject matter is interesting.

But even then they sometimes don’t work. I thought the Hitchcock biopic could have been a lot better if they’d stuck to the story of how Psycho was made, rather than going off on a tangent about his wife having an affair.

Mostly they do work though, and it was my hope that the movie I went to today – The Theory of Everything – would follow that pattern.

The Theory of Everything Review: What’s It About?

A biopic of the lives of Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane, starting from their first meeting through to the award of Hawking’s (I think) CBE.

The Theory of Everything Review: How Highly Is It Rated?

Generally scoring in the high 70% range on all the regular haunts, this has been well received by the masses.

The Theory of Everything Review: Who’s In It?

The stars of the show are Eddie Redmayne as Hawking and Felicity Jones as Jane. Other actors involved include Baines from the acclaimed Doctor Who story ‘Human Nature’, the young one off dinnerladies who is theoryofeverythingnow ancient, the guy who played Kenneth Williams in that great Carry On biopic on ITV in the early 2000s, and – most bizarrely of all – former France and Chelsea centre back Frank LeBoeuf.

The Theory of Everything Review: My Thoughts

Like I say above, the subject matter of a biopic has to be interesting to work, and Hawking’s life and how he came to be how he is today is certainly something I’ve always wondered about.

So this did work.

Indeed, I found it a highly entertaining and absorbing movie.

The main reason for that though wasn’t actually finding out about Hawking himself – because for reasons I’ll get to I think that could have been done better – but rather the story of how his life affected his wife.

To a large degree, this is a movie about the hardships of being a carer for someone who doesn’t seem to want to be cared for; or rather, for someone who doesn’t accept that he needs cared for. And that’s a story that so many people can surely empathise with throughout the world.

Though Hawking obviously has a hard time with his Motor Neurone Disease, the emotional impact hits hardest on Jane, who has stuck by him and put her life on hold for far longer than she would have expected, and gets very little in return.

And the thing is, most of this is done quietly and subtextually without the need to throw it in the faces of the viewers.

I liked that.

Hawking’s story was good too, but there were a couple of things that dragged that side of things down.

The first was that he was given a prognosis of being dead within two years of his diagnosis, and yet that obviously didn’t happen. But we were given no explanation for why that was or how he’s still able to use his hands, swallow and breath when the disease is supposed to destroy all voluntary movement.

It seemed to me to be a bit of an oversight to let that go unanswered. Maybe the truth is that nobody knows how he’s managed to live for so long and leave those two years trailing in his wake, but it’d be nice if it was addressed.

At least they explained why he can’t talk though.

On a similar note, the passing of time wasn’t portrayed that well. Though Hawking did age, Jane never seemed to, and without any clues that time had moved on, it went from being the 1960s to the 1980s in an instant. And I should say the only reason I knew it was the 80s was because someone in a hospital was watching Countdown on TV.

But apart from that I enjoyed it all.

In particular, the acting was fantastic. Redmayne did such an impressive job of impersonating Hawking and showing the slow decline in his health that in any other situation, he’d be in trouble for making fun of the disabled.

Jones however stole the show for me with her subtle nuanced acting style up against the loudness of Redmayne’s.

Both were great, but she pips it for me.

Should You Go To See The Theory Of Everything?

It’s a resounding yes from me. Small niggles aside, this is the best movie I’ve seen since 2013 and one that I’d recommend to anyone interested in biopics or – I suppose – Stephen Hawking.

Hopefully this is the quality of movie that can be maintained throughout 2015.


Movies: Birdman Review (or “A Style Over Substance Flick That Literally Sent Me To Sleep”)

January 5, 2015

When will I ever learn that a five-star review from a random critic is not reason enough to go to see a film? Just because someone else likes it, it doesn’t mean I will, so rather than just blindly think “Well it must be good”, I should do a little bit of research into what it’s about before going along.

The synopsis that “Michael Keaton plays a washed-up superhero actor in this breathtakingly original showbiz satire” doesn’t come anywhere close to explaining what Birdman is really about, and anyone going into the cinema armed only with that information should be forgiven for feeling short-changed.

And even if you were told that it’s about the run up to the opening night of a Broadway show financed and starring Keaton’s character as he strives to find critical acceptance after years of only being known as “Thebirdman guy from Birdman” then that still wouldn’t paint the whole picture.

Because at heart, what this is really about is arty direction.

With its annoyingly frenetic drum based incidental music and Long Take style, this is a film designed to stand out as being something that looks and sounds different to almost anything else we see out of Hollywood. And in fairness, the style does hit the right note to begin with. But the problem is that it’s a gimmick that fails to conceal the problems with a pretty dull script.

Direction aside, Birdman just doesn’t have enough plot or character depth to justify its two hour running time. So it got boring quite quickly and at one point – and I say this with no word of a lie – even briefly sent me to sleep despite it being 1pm.

The acting wasn’t bad, but like Birdman as a whole, it suffered from the performers trying too hard.

I suspect the praise it gets comes because it presents itself as something different, and while that’s fine, you’ve got to consider the whole package if you want to give it five stars.

A thumbs down from me to start 2015.


The Stuart Reviews Stuff TV, Movies & Games Awards 2014

January 4, 2015

The beauty of modern-day media is that when you want to look back at the past year’s movies, games and TV shows, you can very easily find out what you watched/played and when that was.

Gaming platforms and Netflix will keep a record of what you’ve enjoyed (or maybe hated), while other TV shows you might…erm…somehow acquired on your PC will still be there with a time stamp for when they first appeared on your hard drive.

So with that in mind, here’s the Stuart Reviews Stuff 2014 TV, Movies & Games Awards.

Movies

A quick look back at my reviews shows that I’ve seen the following movies released in 2014…

12 Years a Slave, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Gone Girl, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Imitation Game, The Inbetweeners 2, Interstellar, Into the Storm, Last Vegas, Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom, Non Stop, The Raid 2, The Two Faces of January, Under the Skin, What We Did On Our Holiday, The Wolf of Wall Street and X Men: Days of Future Past.

You can read the reviews of each of these movies elsewhere on this blog.

Now, apart from the annoying fact that the amount of movies I’ve seen means that I’ve once again lost money on my Cineworld Unlimited Card, I would say that 2014 hasn’t actually been the best of years for Hollywood.

Sure, a lot of the movies you see listed above are enjoyable enough, but very few would warrant a second viewing. I was asked at my social circle’s annual Christmas meal what my favourite one out of that lot is, and to be honest, it was a bit of a struggle.

And the two that are in contention aren’t exactly the sort of effort that would go down as an all time classic.

As good as this movie was, it shows that 2014 wasn't the best year for the medium

As good as this movie was, it shows that 2014 wasn’t the best year for the medium

The worst one comes easier though; that’s for sure.

So….

Best Movie of 2014:  What We Did On Our Holiday

Largely flying under the radar, What We Did On Our Holiday wins because it was funny, charming and well worthy of my recommendation.

Worst Movie of 2014: 12 Years A Slave

There’s no doubt there will be worse movies released in 2014, but I chose not to see them.

12 Years A Slave is boring, goes on too long, is far too worthy and one of these movies that only gets praised by people who feel they have to because of the subject matter. At the time, people called it “White Guilt: The Movie” and they were probably on to something.

Interestingly, by the end of the year, I noticed people were looking back on it and saying “Well yeah…it was a bit pish”. 

But I said it at the time.

Pleasant Surprise of the Year: Under the Skin

Based on it being a suggestion from my brother – and he has crap taste in films, believe me – I thought Under the Skin would be a load of crap. Indeed, everything about it screamed that it was the sort of thing I wouldn’t enjoy.

But I did. I actually found it a fascinatingly different movie experience.

It’s well worth your time.

Television

Unlike with movies, I’d say 2014 has been a good year for television.

We’ve had a most welcome increase in the quality of Doctor Who compared recent years (and seeing as I write enough about Doctor Who, that’s the last time I’ll mention it in this article), the World Cup actually lived up to the hype for once and the good shows mostly retained a level of consistency.

There were bad points as well though, and I’ll get to them too.

Most Unrealistic Moment In Television Award: Jack Bauer Beats The Traffic

As decent as 24: Live Another Day was, I can’t have been the only person who sat there thinking “There’s no way he’d be able to get from X to Y in that amount of time without running into traffic”? 

Ridiculous.

The Lost The Plot Award: Under the Dome

Let’s be honest, Season One of Under the Dome didn’t have much of a plot to it to begin with, but it was crap in a ludicrously charming way. Season Two though was just crap. All of a sudden new characters appeared despite the show being set in a town that’s trapped under a dome. And those characters were so one-dimensional and poorly acted that it just made me lose interest. I never bothered finishing it.

The ‘They Finished It Like THAT?!’ Award: How I Met Your Mother’s Finale

A kick in the balls to everyone who stuck with that stinking final season, the ending of How I Met Your Mother made me angrier than I thought a TV show could. Quite an achievement.

The Out of Touch Award: The Newsroom

I like The Newsroom and for the most part enjoyed its final season (other than the stuff with that self-righteous twat Neal Sampat), but what struck me about it was the smug, out of touch mentality in Aaron

Neal Sampat: Smug Prick

Neal Sampat: Smug Prick

Sorkin’s writing concerning the way news reporting is changing. Apparently, on-the-ground news reporting on social media is not as worthy as these old hacks delivering their days-later approach to TV and print media news journalism. That’s just not true. Both have their place, but if you disregard the power of Twitter and its influence on how news is reported, then you’re living in the past.

The “This Gets Praise Because It’s Worthy” Award: Rectify

I’d give it to True Detective, but I couldn’t even make it through a whole episode. Rectify is one of these shows that is critically acclaimed by almost everyone and yet it’s not particularly entertaining. Ok, it’s got an interesting subject matter, but it’s so slow-paced and lacking in anything resembling oomph. Having finished the first season I couldn’t be arsed going back to it.

The Best Online Show Award: Orange is the New Black

I didn’t bother with this in 2013 when the first season hit NetFlix but gave it a shot when Season Two was released in 2014.

If you haven’t given OitB a shot, you really should. The storylines are both dramatic and amusing, the characters are varied and the acting is mostly good. Very entertaining stuff.

Best Comedy: 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown

Easily the most consistently funny show on TV, Cats Does Countdown gets extra points because you actually get to engage your brain and think while you’re watching.

Most Annoying TV Show: Scandal

At first, Scandal seems like a pretty good show, but when you stop to think about it, it includes some of the worst people to have ever lived as characters. Olivia Pope is positioned as the protagonist but is really just an unpleasant, adulterous cow, while the US President is a weak slimeball of a man. And then there’s that music that gets played in every single fucking episode where Pope and the Prez share an intimate moment. Urgh. I gave up on it.

The “Well We’ve Killed Everyone Else So You’ll Have To Do” Award: Maggie Pierce in Grey’s Anatomy

So apart from Derek and the kids, Meredith’s family are dead, and with Yang gone, what else is there for Grey’s Anatomy’s lead character? How about bringing in the half-sister she never knew existed who is also the daughter of Webber? That’ll stand up to scrutiny and is in no way a shark jumping moment.

The Most Innovative Episode of TV Award: The GI. Joe Episode of Community

Apparently this didn’t do well in the ratings, but the premise, the animation style and the humour of the GI. Joe episode of Community is beyond amazing for a child of the 1980s like me.

The GI Joe Episode of Community was one of the most inventive episodes of a TV show I've seen. Class.

The GI Joe Episode of Community was one of the most inventive episodes of a TV show I’ve seen. Class.

The TV Show That Shouldn’t Work But Does: 2 Broke Girls

It’s got some of the worst acting you’ll ever see and the jokes are as subtle as sledgehammer to the balls, but there’s something I just find incredibly entertaining about 2 Broke Girls.

The Style Error of the Year Award: Kaley Cuoco’s Haircut

She looks at least five years older and like the sort of person you’d find serving in a particularly rough pub now.

Grow it back Penny, grow it back!

The Most Annoying Aspect of TV You Don’t Really Mind Award: Castle

I love Castle, but have you ever noticed that every single episode has at least three bits where Castle and Beckett are talking about a case and just at the point where they question something, Ryan comes in with “Actually, that might not be true. Have a look at this”. It should be more annoying than it is, but because it’s Castle, I’ll let them away with it.

The “My Interest Is Holding By A Thread” Award: WWE

Never has WWE been less interesting than it currently is. A tiny roster that never seems to change, far too many hours of TV to fill each week and the same matches and storylines being repeated over and over. I only watch now because I’ve been a viewer since 1991 and to stop now would seem wrong.

Mind you, I stopped watching Neighbours…

The Hidden Gem Award: Continuum

If it wasn’t for the fact it’s on NetFlix, I doubt I’d have ever heard of Continuum, and yet it’s easily been my best new discovery of 2014.

Sadly, just as I’ve become a fan, the word is that the next season will be the last.

If you don’t know much about it, check it out.

The “Let It Die” Award: Only An Excuse?

Seeing as my article on it had over 2,500 views the day it was published, I think a lot of people agree. Utter drivel which needs taken off TV.

Games

Like I say in my intro, I have a complete list of new games that I’ve played in 2014 thanks to Steam, PSN and the Wii U.

That list reads as…

PC

Always Sometimes Monsters
Broken Age
Dark Souls
Football Manager 2015
Guacamelee
One Finger Death Punch
Pac-Man Museum

PS4

Worms Battleground
COD: Ghosts
Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare
COD: Advanced Warfare
FIFA 15
Steamworld Dig
Mercenary Kings
Far Cry 4
Lego Marvel
Alien: Isolation
Binding of Isaac

Wii U

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Pikmin 3
Mario Kart 8
Nintendo Land
NES Remix
Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze

And obviously some of them didn’t even come out in 2014, but then I don’t think that should mean they can’t be involved in the awards.

Most Disappointing Game Awards: Worms Battleground

You wouldn’t think it’d be hard to make a new Worms game, but Team 17 made a right old mess of Battleground. It looks drab, has limited maps and complicated, awkward game modes with no explanation anywhere in any manuals or on the internet to explain what they are. They even got rid of Crazy Crates. We gave it our best shot, but ultimately me and my Worms playing pals moved back to the Xbox 360 version.

How could they get it so wrong?

How could they get it so wrong?

It’s Great If You Don’t Like Moving Award: Alien Isolation

Here’s a game that gets a massive amount of praise from all corners of the internet. Against my better judgement, I gave it a go and it wasn’t the most exciting game in the world. Yes, it looked great, it was atmospheric and when the Alien finally showed up it was surprisingly tense trying to avoid it, but I got the feeling that once you’d seen the Alien once, it was going to be downhill from there. Quite a clumsy game with a daft checkpoint system that meant you’d replay large sections of the game over and over again if you died.

I won’t finish it.

Best Looking Game: Anything By Nintendo

Whether it’s Pikmin 3, Mario Kart 8 or Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Nintendo just make beautiful games. They are great to look at and are all fantastic to play.

Most Innovative Game Mode: Mario Chase on Nintendo Land

It’s a simple setup. The player with the Wii U pad looks at the screen on the pad while 2-4 players with Wiimotes watch the TV screen. The first player must hide from the rest and they must chase him. Great fun with plenty of replay value.

The “I Don’t Get The Hype” Award: Dark Souls

The polar opposite of those Nintendo games, Dark Souls is as grim as it gets, looks very unappealing and plays in a laboured manner. It’s just not for me.

The “It’s Still Got It” Award: Pac Land on Pac-Man Museum

A game I first played on the arcades in the 1980s, Pac Land  remains an excellent game.

The Most Annoying Aspect of Any Game Award: Handicapping On FIFA 15 Ultimate Team

My Favourite Game of 2014

My Favourite Game of 2014

My amazing run of form on FIFA 15’s Ultimate Team Mode came to a crashing halt when I bought a few players to increase my team rating to 83. The moment that happened everything fell apart. Passes went astray, easy goalscoring chances were missed and penalty after penalty was given away. I never thought handicapping was an issue, but the moment I put some crappy players on my bench to bring my team’s overall score down to 81, things went back to normal.

It’s apparently a situation designed to prevent coin buyers from succeeding, but ultimately it ridiculously handicaps people who have put in the hours to build a team the right way.

After that I didn’t touch FIFA for more than a month

The “People Are Finally Opening Their Eyes”Award: Critics Pan WWE 2K15

Wrestling games have been shit for years; I’ve discussed it at length here.

Finally this year the review sites picked up on it and WWE 2K15 got the hammering it probably deserves.

Fire Yukes!

The Most Enjoyable Game of the Year Award: Mercenary Kings

By no means is Mercenary Kings the best looking, most polished or smoothest to play game, but I’ve played it week after week for an hour or so at a time with a friend online and have enjoyed every moment of it.

I consider gaming a social thing for the most part, so being able to play this for so long (and I’m still barely half way through) whilst chatting with friends is ideal. And unlike FIFA or Call of Duty, there’s no stress associated with it.

Top stuff. There hasn’t been a game I’ve enjoyed more in 2014.

Like This Article? Agree or Disagree With Anything In It?

Let me know on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @sgmilne


Only An Excuse Needs To End. Please.

January 1, 2015

On the BBC website’s iPlayer, the synopsis for Only An Excuse reads…

“Scotland’s premier comedy team takes a look back at the highs and the lows of the year”

If they are the ‘premier’ team then we may as well shut down Scottish comedy production, pack up and go home.

Every Hogmanay for what seems like an eternity, the BBC commissions another episode of this utter garbage, and every year people write about just how unfunny it is.

There's Ronnie Deila. We know it's him because of the 'RD' on his jumper and the way Watson had to say "I'm Ronnie Deila".

There’s Ronnie Deila. We know it’s him because of the ‘RD’ on his jumper and the way Watson had to say “I’m Ronnie Deila”.

Only an Excuse is supposed to be a comedy show about Scottish football, or football in the wider sense, and when it first started, it seemed culturally relevant. And to be fair, it was also funny once upon a time. Check out the 1998 show on YouTube for example.

But if you do check it out, you’ll notice that two of the recurring jokes are about Frank McAvennie – an ex footballer who retired in 1995 and stopped being culturally relevant or in the public eye on a national level in the 20th century – being a pervert and Charlie Nicholas mispronouncing words.

Every year since, that has remained the cornerstone of the show. The jokes haven’t changed, the delivery hasn’t changed and the recurring nature of them hasn’t changed. This year there was even a sketch with the two of them together on Countdown, and wouldn’t you know it, McAvennie was acting like a pervert and Nicholas was mispronouncing words. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Other than them, some of the other cutting edge football sketches included the likes of the retired Sir Alex Ferguson, Martin “I haven’t managed in Scottish football since 2005” O’Neill, Graeme Sounness, who left his job as Rangers manager in 1991 and a joke about Robbie Fowler’s cocaine sniffing goal celebration from April 3rd 1999.

The only two ‘new’ personalities on show were Celtic manager Ronnie Deila and current BBC Sportsound pundit, Pat Bonnar (who apparently speaks in a rhythmical, poetic structure if this sketch is to be believed. I’d never picked up on that before, had you?)

And the thing about it is that in both cases – and in the cases of pretty much every single ‘famous’ personality Watson does – they neither looked nor sounded like the person they were supposed to, and as a crutch, in his impression he had to name-drop who he was so that viewers had the slightest inkling. That’s not exactly the sign of a quality impressionist.

Apart from that, Watson had digs at other Scottish teams (a terrible Dundee derby sketch ended with him saying “Bring back the Old Firm” which I believe he meant with all his heart even though it was coming out

Martin O'Neill hasn't managed in Scottish football since 2005, but fuck it, he's in the show anyway

Martin O’Neill hasn’t managed in Scottish football since 2005, but fuck it, he’s in the show anyway

of Jim White’s mouth), did one about how Scottish football is skint (despite 2014 being a year in which most of the teams in Scotland finally dragged themselves out of the financial mire and into the black again) and didn’t touch his beloved Rangers with a barge-pole.

That’s right, despite Rangers in 2014 being the laughing-stock of world football and having hours worth of potential material from Ally McCoist’s tactical inability to the boardroom chaos to work with – the ultimate low hanging fruit – all we had of them was one sketch about the different Rangers fans groups. Unbelievable.

Apparently feeling that Scottish football didn’t have enough material to fill up an entire show with, Watson and his team of seventeen (yes, seventeen) writers decided that 21 of the 37 sketches should be about other stuff, including the Ice Bucket challenge, bowls, the Glasgow Lord Provost’s speech at the Commonwealth Games that most of us had forgotten, a series of Better Together influenced political digs, Ed Sheeran and for some reason, two sketches insinuating that Dundee is like a city from the 19th century.

And none of it was funny.

They had an entire year to come up with 30 minutes of humorous material and they couldn’t do it.

So who’s to blame?

Watson and his writers for churning out this crap, or BBC Scotland for commissioning it?

Ultimately it’s a bit of both.

Watson and his team write this shit, but where’s the motivation to actually try when it seems that no matter how bad it get, it’s given the green light year after year?

Because of when it’s on, Only an Excuse will always do well in the ratings and so someone at the BBC will probably think it’s popular. But they could exhume the corpse of Rikki Fulton and prop him up in a chair and it’d be both funnier and get more viewers.

There’s just no chance that this sort of thing would be deemed acceptable in England or on our screens at any other time of the year.

It’s garbage and it needs to end.

Please.

Surely Scotland can come up with something funnier than this?

Mind you…have you seen Limmy?