Archive for November, 2006

Week of Movies: Number 1

Saturday 25 November (2006)

Here we are again: a second week of consecutive posts. I should be getting fucking paid for this shit ūüė¶

So what could number one be?! First, some analysis: The films on the list span from 1941 to 1998; a period of fifty-seven years. There are films from the forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties and nineties – but none from the ‘noughties.’ Does this mean movies are getting worse? Absolutely not. Movies like Sideways, Little Miss Sunshine¬†and Pirates of the Caribbean have been some of my favourite films from recent years, all of which would appear on a more comprehensive ‘top 100’.

Which decade is the most popular on my list? Well surprisingly, whilst there are two movies each from the seventies and nineties (what I would assume to be the ‘best’ movie-making decades) the winner is actually the 1980’s, with three movies represented. Amazingly, two films from the top ten (actually, the top four) are from 1988. When you consider that My Neighbour Totoro is from 1988 as well (a movie that only just missed out on my top ten, coming in at a conservative #11) that’s quite an eye-opening fact – at least for me ūüôā I was, of course, born in 1985.

Other films that narrowly missed out on a place were Leon, The Big Lebowski, Jaws, Monty Python’s Holy Grail and Reservoir Dogs. And there are some nice directors there – Luc Besson, the Coens, Spielberg, Tarantino. But then, what about the directors who made the cut? Hitchcock, John Huston, Kubrick (twice! Kubrick takes the ‘best director’ gong clearly), Brian DePalma, Gilliam, Scorcese, Coppola (and, uh, McTiernan). These guys are undisputed geniuses.

If you know me very well, or you just know your movie years, you’ll already have figured out which movie is at number one. If not, on with the show:

2. A Clockwork Orange (1971) 
3. Apocalypse Now (1979)
4. Die Hard (1988)
5. Goodfellas (1990)
6. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
7. Scarface (1983)
8. Dr. Strangelove (Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb) (1964)
9. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
10. Vertigo (1958)

Read the rest of this entry »

Week of Movies: Number 2

Friday 24 November (2006)

We enter the final two. What could be better than Apocalypse Now? Well, you clearly need to read on:

3. Apocalypse Now (1979)
4. Die Hard (1988)
5. Goodfellas (1990)
6. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
7. Scarface (1983)
8. Dr. Strangelove (Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb) (1964)
9. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
10. Vertigo (1958)

Read the rest of this entry »

Week of Movies: 4 & 3

Thursday 23 November (2006)

Yesterday took us to the half way point in the list, bringing two more awesome films. I know what you’re thinking: ‘Stan, how can this get any better?’ Well, kids, there’s four more to go, so hold on tight and prepare yourselves for movies four and three:

5. Goodfellas (1990)
6. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
7. Scarface (1983)
8. Dr. Strangelove (Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb) (1964)
9. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
10. Vertigo (1958)

Read the rest of this entry »

Week of Movies: 6 & 5

Wednesday 22 November (2006)

Two more classic movies added to the list, but what will we find today? Star Wars? The Godfather?! Read on and see!

7. Scarface (1983)
8. Dr. Strangelove (Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb) (1964)
9. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
10. Vertigo (1958)

Read the rest of this entry »

Week of Movies: 8 & 7

Tuesday 21 November (2006)

Two old movies propping up the back of the list there. Will we find ourselves closer to the present day with movies eight and seven?! Read on to find out.

9. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
10. Vertigo (1958)

Read the rest of this entry »

Week of Movies: 10 & 9

Monday 20 November (2006)

We’re back on another ‘week of’ and this time, it’s movies. ‘You fool!’ I hear you cry. ‘You can’t possibly expect to make a convincing list of the top ten movies ever!‘¬†Correct. That would be foolish and kind of pretentious (ho ho.) Instead of doing the ‘best movies ever’ routine, as I did with games, I’m just going to do my ten favourite movies. And God, it was tough. I always had a very vague ‘top ten’ but when I wrote it down I realised that there were about twenty movies in there, and they were in no kind of order at all. Figuring that order out was a real bitch, and I’m still not convinced I’ve got it right… but nevermind. I know that in a year (hell, in a couple of months) my opinion will change and some of these movies may not appear on an equivalent list then. Some may be in a different position. But fuck it! On with the show.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sunday Review: Jerry Maguire

Sunday 19 November (2006)

jerry maguire

Read the rest of this entry »

Sandoz LSD: no better than modern acid?

Friday 17 November (2006)

In January of this year 2006, there was a symposium in Basle, Switzerland. It celebrated the 100th birthday of a very special man, and the discovery of a remarkable chemical. The man was Albert Hofmann, and the chemical was LSD-25.

And shit, me and my friend Tom were gonna go. But then we ran out of money, and it was hard explaining to our parents exactly why we wanted to go to a conference in praise of an illegal drug. So we didn’t go.

And then I read this.

Jesus H. Christ!! I mean I knew there’d be acid floating around the event, but I had no idea that someone would turn up with Sandoz acid! For those who don’t know much about LSD, here’s the rundown: Albert Hofmann discovered it when working for the Sandoz pharmaceutical company in Switzerland. Once the effects of the drug were known it was distributed worldwide to psychologists under the¬†brand name ‘Delysid’ with the suggestion that it mimicked states of psychosis. Of course it was far too much fun for the doctors, and in the sixties the drug escaped the labs and hit the streets, predominantly in San Francisco. By 1967 it was illegal, and Sandoz were forced to stop producing it. As of that point in time, acid was driven underground.

Ever since then, some old hippies have been saying “Ah, the acid you kids get these days is crap. You should have tried that Sandoz stuff! My God, that was acid.” One of my favourite authors, Hunter S. Thompson, talked about using pure ‘Sandoz’ in such a way as to imply that anything else just isn’t good enough. Of course, no one could ever prove them wrong or right, because the Sandoz acid was long gone by the end of the seventies.

Until 2006. When someone, some unknown genius, brought some Sandoz Delysid from 1951 to the event and said: “Hey guys! Let’s trip on the real fucking deal!

The results are interesting. You can read them for yourself here, but the rub is this: Sandoz acid is pretty much the same as the acid you can buy from your dealer today.

What does this mean? Well, for one thing it means that LSD is just as good as it ever was, and that’s definately a good thing. But how could this misconception have been brought around in the first place?

Well personally I think it’s down to two things. The first is that the strength of the doses has steadily decreased since the sixties. Back then it was common to get 300 micrograms from a single blotter, but these days it’s more like 50 micrograms (I would know – I once had some acid where I had to eat five blotters just to hit mild effects) – so any old hippie who tripped his face off on two blotters in 1965 would probably think that two 1980’s blotters were ‘worse’ acid than the sixties stuff.

The other reason is that you become very… suggestable, when on acid. If you take it with the subconscious belief that what you’re taking isn’t as good as the stuff forty years ago, you’ll invariably end up experiencing that.

What’s my point? I don’t know. I’m just pleased that the concensus now is that LSD = LSD. Go forth and trip.

The Sunday Review: Flyboys

Sunday 12 November (2006)

flyboys

Read the rest of this entry »