We kicked off 2016 with a lighthearted award, a play on words, a pun, a terrible, terrible joke that’s becoming a pattern (Kneel, Bison). Whether you loved or hated the contest, there’s no denying our four authors this week showed that there really is more than one way to review a (fake) film.
Madeleine Stevens opened up the shortlist with her debut story at NiTH, New Eared Steve Will Leave Your Ears Bleeding. In her imaginging, Madeleine sees ‘Ex AFL player Gary Smith’ take the role of a lovable loser, while ‘former Big Brother star’ ‘Shayleight Jones-Smith’ plays the romantic lead:
To add to the frustration, the whole production appears to be filmed from the back of a violently trotting horse with vertigo. Not only was the footage jerky, the cameraman heavily abused close-up frames of Steve’s rounded face and many spotted chins. Little time was taken to construct the sets with a default seashell or still-life fruit bowl filling every picture frame. Dialogue consisted of a long string of clichés only broken by emotional stares at the sky. The one saving grace was that, although the song choice was a wildly inappropriate mix of terrible love songs from the early 2000s, it was nice to be able to close your eyes and imagine you were somewhere far far away while listening to Beautiful Soul by Jesse McCartney.
Cam Dang returned to the short list in fine form with her review of New Eared Steve. In Cam’s mind (in which many fear to tread), it’s Will Ferrell who takes the lead role. Cam’s obviously a fan of Harrison Ford’s portly doppleganger, intoning:
Throughout the movie the main characters were given generous space to channel through their hopes for better days, their struggles to keep such hopes going, and what they had to do to achieve them, or in some cases, run away from them. And as the twist finally unfolded itself, there were not many dry eyes in the room.
While perennial mastermind and this month’s feature author Lydia Trethewey created the perfect internet film critic with ‘Feeble and Unfunny’: Cycon Reviews New Eared Steve:
Heralded (before its release) as Britain’s sarcastic reply to the recent success of Marvel movies (Avengers et al.), New Eared Steve takes self-immolation as a starting point for building a character whose heroics are thrust upon him in the form of super-sensitive hearing. Perhaps intended as a vague counterpoint or ironic consequence to his fly-on-the-wall listening in on people’s conversations (his wife, his daughter), how this power might counteract The Fiend’s dastardly mind-control device must have been a point of contention for the writers, who never seemed to settle on a single explanation (‘brain waves enter through the ears’ stammers poor Steve, watching his teenage daughter stare gormlessly into zombie-space). Perhaps the hope was that close scrutiny of important plot-points would get waylaid amongst the big-eared-British jokes and awkward dialogue about what it means to be a hero.
Finally, Alicia Bruzzone confirms that she too disliked the intangible focus of this week’s award with an offended take on the abusurdist premises, in which a man elects for ass surgery of a very specific nature. How to Waste $17.50 This Summer:
An hour into New Eared Steve our protagonist emotionally declares, “You wouldn’t understand!”
Truer words have never been spoken. I still don’t understand.
Our winner this week must spend a lot of time throwing popcorn at cinema screens, such is the scorn with which they’ve delivered their critique of a fictional movie that they have created. On the one hand, you got to ask yourself, in an infinite universe of possibilities, why would someone dream up a film this bad? On the other hand… Well let’s just use both hands to applaude our winner this week, Madeleine Stevens!!
This was Madeleine’s first story for the NiTH Writing Comp. Historically, winners on début have often gone on to big things, so we look forward to seeing more from Madeleine. In the meantime make sure to check out this week’s new shortlist for the Kneel In The Grass, Bison Award.