Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Wrong With Authority, Episode 9 - Anonymous (2011)

This time, Jack indulges his unhealthy obsession with Anti-Stratfordianism, and forces James, Kit, and Daniel to watch Roland Emmerich's 2011 self-funded passion-project Anonymous.

Anonymous; 2011; d. Roland Emmerich; w. John Orloff; starring Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, Joely Richardson, David Thewlis, Rafe Spall, Jamie Campbell Bower, Mark Rylance, and Derek Jacobi; distributed by Columbia Pictures.

It lost about 15 million dollars.

Based on the wackiest version of the longstanding conspiracy theory that the plays of Shakespeare were secretly written by Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, Anonymous is both less entertaining and less plausible than the rest of Emmerich's films, including the ones about aliens and giant lizards.

It was 'controversial' at the time, in the sense that everyone who knew anything about Shakespeare both ridiculed and denounced it, especially its attempts to market itself via 'information packs' provided to schools.

In the process of telling his dreary, plotless, and confusing shaggy dog story, Emmerich encourages some of the finest Shakespearean actors of our time to make utter fools of themselves.  Not that some of them need all that much encouragement.  The whole thing manages to be simultaneously totally insane, quasi-fascistic, and profoundly dull... which is quite a feat, in its way.

None of us were terribly impressed, it's fair to say.  But, in between Jack galloping off on his hobby horse for uncomfortably long stretches of time, we also delve into some of the interesting history and politics concerning Shakespeare, Anti-Statfordianism, and conspiracy theories generally.

Downloadeth here.



Jack has written a lot about Shakespeare in general here.

Here are some books which are either about, or touch on, this issue:

The Genius of Shakespeare by Jonathan Bate.  Has an entire fascinating chapter on the 'Authorship Controversy'.  The rest of the book is periodically excellent too.

Contested Will by James Shapiro.  Brilliantly discusses the 'Authorship Question', not so much in terms of its actual claims (though Shapiro does address them) but rather as a phenomenon in itself, populated by fascinating people and deserving of study in its own right.  Shapiro develops many insights about scholarship, history, literature, and politics.

Shakespeare, In Fact by Irvin Leigh Matus.  A legendary work of factual analysis.  Forensic, witty, and merciless.

Here's the Bill Bryson book James refers too.  Boasts an amusingly irritated final chapter on the 'Authorship Question'.

Shakespeare Beyond Doubt, Eds. Stanley Wells and Paul Edmondson.  A compendium of essays commissioned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust as part of their assertive response to Anonymous.  Scholar after scholar examines every aspect of the issue.  The definitive single-volume demolition.

The SBT also created this bite-size pamphlet - Shakespeare Bites Back: Not So Anymous - summarizing the main issues at stake.  Free to download here.

Speaking of online resources, here's the Shakespeare Authorship Page.  Lots of links to lots of articles and essays.

The lecture excerpted in the podcast is part of a series by eloquent Shakespeare scholar and former actor Peter Saccio.  Here's the full section from which the excerpt is taken

Leaving sanity behind, here's the infamous Frontline documentary to which Daniel refers.

(Be aware, anything and everything about Shakespeare on YouTube is infested with Anti-Strats peddling their bile and bibble.)  

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Consider the Reagan, Episode 5 - Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

The top men of Wrong With Authority (James, Kit, and Daniel) consider the classic Spielberg/Lucas/Ford Reagan-era pastiche/adventurefest which introduced the iconic, failure-prone, whip-wielding, treasure-hunting, snake-hating, Nazi-slaughtering, ambivalent-about-Arabs, and possibly-guilty-of-statutary-rape Dr Indiana Jones, rollicking around in a universe in which all myths seem to be simultaneously true.  Get yourself and your Nepalese drinking buddies set up, close your eyes, and let the wrath of Yahweh engulf your enemies as you...  and I'm bored now.  But you won't be if you listen to this episode.  It's so good it'll melt your face off.

Download here.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Consider the Reagan, Episode 4 - Die Hard (1988)

Daniel the barefoot American must battle a team of eurotrash terrorists (i.e. Jack and Kit) in order to restore proper US values (but definitely no Japanese ones) in this, the latest in our series of commentaries on the Reganite cinema that shaped a generation or two.

Also, we're joined (briefly) by a very special guest.

Download here.



Show Notes

Main Topic: Die Hard (1988), with special guest Sharon, Kit's wife. Introductions. Dogme 95. Oscar talk. Has Sharon seen Robocop? Logos. Aspect ratio talk. Daniel gets things wrong. Establishments. White dudes talkin' about race awkwardly. John McTiernan is a creep? Touchscreen technology. Not Bruce Willis and the sequel to Commando. Cocaine. Trumpism metaphor. Sartorial talk. Passage of time. Recommending Wikipedia. Alan Rickman. Heist movie. Character development through action. Kit laughs at Preacher Rickman. Mitt Romney. "I read the article in Forbes." Sympathy for the capitalist. The threat of Japan. Filthy Jack. Playback settings. Genghis Khan tortures Mel Gibson. United Colors of Terrorism. Glasses and handball. Bruce Willis's Voyage of Pain. Manliness and Personal Protective Equipment. No PTSD. Not ripped. Everything is a satire. Rae Dawn Chong reference. Not by the book. Property rights. Miserable. Escalation, literally and figuratively. The black characters live. Doctor Who and Tango and Cash. Confined spaces. Just impossible enough. Air vents. Peter Weir tangent. Official shitkickers. Arnie's not funny. McClaine would have the best Twitter ever. Meeting. Media. Spousal abuse and fashion. McClaine needs a friend. Ready for prime time. Chicken Run reference. "I think we've found Donald Trump in this story." Vast audience. Not a cop, but a Man. Glib Theo, murderer. Is that Viggo the Carpathian? Opening an elevator with a fire axe. Terminator 2 reference. Howie Mandel reference. More cocaine. "I can handle this Eurotrash." Hans Gruber is not the greatest villain. "You know they'll kill you, right?" Ticking all the boxes. Galactica reference, Bane reference. Tucker. Bill O'Reilly hair. Johnson and Johnson, no relation. Robert Davi. Bill Clay and hypercompetence. Pre-VHS editing. Male bondage. Brokeback Mountain reference. Physically versus socially possible. "No, the other one." Sam Harris reference. "You mercilessly accept your wife's career!" Vietnam. Collateral damage. Mythbusters. Aesthetic shift. Cellophane. Al Powell's viagra. Worldbuilding. Lost Daniel. Wrapping Up.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

WWA Episode 8: Braveheart

It's Kit's turn again and, being a man of extremes, and having already given us the longest ever episode of Wrong With Authority, he now rocks up with the shortest.  Of course, to us, 'shortest' still means 2hrs 20.  They may take our wives (actually they most certainly may not), but they'll never take our ridiculously long running times.  We have that much in common with Mel Gibson at least.

Yes, it's Braveheart... Mel Gibson's punishingly long, actual national politics-affecting(!?), and inexplicably Oscar-festooned 1995 Hollywood "historical" "epic" about a fictional Scottish peasant/superhero/christ who, rather oddly, shares a name with a well-loved figure from Scotland's real history.

Mr Gibson, um, "acting".

So, my bonnie lads and lassies, get your kilts on, eat your haggis-flavoured shortbread, and paint your faces blue.  Because it's time to listen to the wee Wrong With Authority bairns get medieval on Braveheart's ass.  (Actually one of us rather likes it and another of us is "meh".)

McDownload here.


Braveheart (1995), directed by Mel Gibson; produced by Mel Gibson, Alan Ladd Jnr., Bruce Davey; written by Randall Wallace.  Starring: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Catherine McCormack, Patrick McGoohan, Brian Cox, Brendan Gleeson, David O'Hara, Angus Macfadyen, Ian Bannen.  Music by James Horner.  Cinematography by John Toll.  Edited by Steven Rosenblum.  Distributed by Paramount and 20th Century Fox.

Winner of FIVE FUCKING OSCARS, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Apparently they're doing a sequel.

* No, that's the right one.  Don't @ me.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Consider the Reagan, Episode 3 - Ghostbusters (1984)

Continuing our series of commentaries on movies that came out during the Reagan administration, Daniel, Kit, and Jack sit down to watch the original Ghostbusters from 1984.

Download here.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

WWA Episode 7: Gangs of New York

Wrong With Authority returns, hosted by James this time, with an episode about Scorsese's epic historical crime drama Gangs of New York (2002).

This is a good one.

Download here.

Daniel Day Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio, who isn't Liam Neeson.

Gangs of New York, 2002, d. Martin Scorsese.  Produced by Alberto Grimaldi and a rapist.  Screenplay by Jack Cocks, Stephen Zaillian, and Kennerth Lonergan.  Starring Daniel Day Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Liam Neeson, Jim Broadbent, Brendan Gleeson.  Based on the 1928 book by Herbert Asbury.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Consider the Reagan, Episode 2 - Blade Runner (1982)

Continuing our series of commentaries on movies that came out during the Reagan administration, Daniel and Jack sit down to watch original Blade Runner (and then chat a bit about the sequel).

Download here.

Show notes: Main Topic: Blade Runner. With Jack Graham and Daniel Harper. Introductions and the obligatory Trump reference. Our histories with the film. Commentary begins at 10:23. Distinctive logo. Ridley Scott: complete bastard. Odd names. Daniel makes an Asimov reference. The plusses and minuses of opening crawls. Industrial sublime. Skipping the Voight-Kampf. Not the brightest Nexus-6, not the brightest Blade Runner. Dick joke. William Gibson. Japanification. 80s special effects. Racial slur. Noir voiceover. The Six Deadly Words. Tortured fan. Non-developed characters. Replicant personalities. Chemistry. A no-Deckard Blade Runner. Novel vs film and ethical philosophy vs cardboard characterization. Visually influential. Retro-futurism. Kipple. Freezing. Delicate Rutger. Frank Lloyd Wright? Impenetrable apartment. "These must be people!" Leaning into cliches. Daryl Hannah. Pris and JF. Deckard's photos. Huge in university. Tick-tick-tick-tick-tick. Ethnic stereotypes. Phone booths and phone calls. Implied sex show. Biblical metaphor. An actual detective. Diana Cassidy's performance. Streetwear. Outmatched in combat. Quiet. Used future in Our World. Jupiter orbit. Fashion choices. Gaff. Limp-wristed slap. Booze and relationships. Ford's star power turned on low. Assault. Reverse Mirror. Broken biology. Another more interesting story. Human images. Oversignified chess. Owls. Tyrell the CEO. Father fucker. Science is real. Gore. Bradbury. Pointless sequences. Ineffective police. Clever Pris. Shoe leather. Worse ways to die. Life force leaving the body. Twenty-three minutes of climax. Why is Deckard doing this? Psychopathic Roy. Human or boogeyman? Growth at the end. Leonine. Sky. Watch him die. Is Gaff a replicant? What are the stakes? Critical. Broken aesthetics. Happy endings. Wrapping Up, and moving on to 2049 at 2:07:50. Some ambition. Clever Force Awakens. Describing the plot. Evil Blind Genius Things. Relations between replicants and holograms. Interrupted by a dog. Narrative. Joi/K/Mariette love scene. Sexualized subservient images. Heuristic. Open relationship problems. Iron Man moment. Bond villain Jared Leto. Old Deckard. Lived history. Off-topic onto JJ Abrams. Underwhelming. A second Asimov reference. Wrapping Up.