4 Shots From 4 Film: Special Gary Oldman Edition

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today is the 62nd birthday of one of the best actors currently working, Gary Oldman!  In honor of both this day and also Gary Oldman’s amazing versatility as a performer, here are…

4 Shots From 4 Films

Sid & Nancy (1986, directed by Alex Cox)

The Firm (1989, directed by Alan Clarke)

The Fifth Element (1997, directed by Luc Besson)

The Dark Knight (2008, directed by Christopher Nolan)

Music Video of the Day: Star Trekkin’ by The Firm (1987, dir. Pete Bishop & Marc Kitchen-Smith)

Seeing as an episode of Star Trek: Discovery is going to air once tonight, I thought I would spotlight the “classic” ear-worm, Star Trekkin’. This thing was unleashed on the public back in 1987 by a group who did novelty songs called The Firm.

The story on the video is that the song was such a success that they knew that it would be expected of them to appear on Top Of The Pops. They didn’t want to do that since, as one of their members put it, a “bunch of balding thirty-something’s…would kill the whole fun element of the thing stone dead!”

The video was originally going to be animated. They went to several production companies, but it was too expense and they needed the video quickly. Luckily, one of the companies they approached were a team of art college graduates who put this claymation video together for them. Each of the characters were based on different kinds of food.

They were so rushed that they only had hours to spare after they finished it before it was set to air on Top Of The Pops. I think they did a pretty job considering the rush.

I love the ants.

It reminds me of the famous animal-selfie case with Naruto as well as people discovering that technically national parks can fine you if you use any picture you take on their land for commercial purposes. I’m not kidding.

The origin of the song comes from a parody of the song I Am The Music Man.

It became I Am The Star Trek Man.

I’m not what you would call a Trekkie. Regardless, I am looking forward to the new series…sort of. I guess I will be able to see the first episode–usually awful–and then nothing else??? It’ll end up somewhere. I’ll see it eventually. I’m not signing up for a single channel’s service though.

Enjoy! The music video at least.

A Movie A Day #3: The Firm (1989, directed by Alan Clarke)

the-firm1The Firm, which should not be confused with the John Grisham novel or the Tom Cruise film adaptation, was a 70-minute film about football hooliganism that was made for the BBC’s Screen Two in 1989.  In the United States, it has never really been understood just how big a problem football hooliganism was in the United Kingdom in the 1980s.   That’s because, despite the best efforts of ESPN, most Americans don’t care about soccer.  In America, “soccer riot” sounds like the punchline of a bad joke.  But in Europe, it was a very real problem.  If you want to understand why some people call football hooliganism “the English Disease,” The Firm is the film to see.

Clive “Bex” Bissell (Gary Oldman) has a nice home, a well-paying job as an estate agent, a loving wife (played by Lesley Manville, who actually was married to Oldman at the time), a newborn son, and a large circle of friends.  He’s also the head of the Inner City Crew, a violent group of football hooligans (known as a firm) who follow West Ham United across Britain and pick fights with other firms.  (Bex is actually a second-generation football hooligan and his father is constantly complaining that the new generation isn’t tough or violent enough.)  Bex does it for the buzz.  As another member of the ICC puts it, after listening to a fatuous television commentator going on about how football hooligans are actually searching for some sort of larger meaning in their lives,  “Why doesn’t he just say that we like hitting people?”  With the 1988 European Championships coming up, Bex wants to unite all the regional firms into one national organization, with himself in charge.  To do that, he’ll have to defeat two rival firm leaders, Oboe (Andrew Wilde) and Yeti (Phil Davis).

For a film about people about who are willing to kill over association football, very little soccer is actually seen in The Firm.  The ICC plays a game, which is interrupted by Yeti driving across the field.  Later, Yeti and his lieutenants walk through a stadium, looking for a fight and ignoring the match being played in front of them.  Bex’s childhood bedroom is covered with newspaper clippings about West Ham United but Bex is more interested in the buzz than in football.

The Firm is full of classic scenes, from Bex initiating the newest member of the ICC to the disturbing moment that Bex’s son gets a hold of his knife to the final bar brawl.   For me, my favorite scene is when the three rival firms hold a meeting in a posh hotel room:

Along with featuring one of Gary Oldman’s best performances, The Firm was also the last film to be directed by the great Alan Clarke.  Making good use of the steadicam walking shots that he was famous for and taking an unflinching approach to the story’s violence, Clarke not only directed the definitive film about football hooliganism but also provided a portrait of life in the final years of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain.

For tomorrow’s movie a day, we stay in Britain as Anthony Perkins fights terrorists in The Glory Boys.