No True Scotsman Blogathon

Posted on September 10, 2021 at 9:23 am

A real Scottish accent is a joy to listen to and very difficult to imitate. Hollywood has not always managed an accurate Scottish accent (of course there are many different accents in Scotland, just like in every other country). So, why not have a blogathon paying tribute to the good, the bad, and the ugly of Scottish accents attempted by non-Scottish actors? The film critic known as Realweegiemidget Reviews put out the call, and film bloggers responded.

Copyright 2021 Weegiemidget

The invitation:

The world of film and TV, is as we know full of the variety of international life as we know it. This meaning that actors and actresses, sometimes have to go out of their comfort zone and try a new accent. This is usually like the nursery rhyme says, ie it can be “good, very good” or when “it’s bad it’s horrid”.

So this blogathon topic is one close to my Scottish heart. It’s loosely based on the No True Scotsman fallacy as described HERE… For your mission (should you choose to accept it), is to review a film, TV Movie, TV episode or TV series with a Scottish character in it and with a Scottish accent… BUT before you send me your Sean Connery / Gerard Butler / Sam Heughan / James McAvoy themed request, there is a catch…

This wee proviso is found here, in Darlin Husband’s full definition of the blogathon…

“An actor or actress playing a Scot even though they themselves are not Scottish”

These characters’ “accents” can be from anywhere in Scotland, good or bad and from any year or genre. BUT Please check IMDb first to make sure your character is not actually played by a Scot first. (I will not be accepting James Bond films as only Sean Connery gave him a Scottish accent and as we all know he was as Scottish as Billy Connolly).

I got a kick out of the post about “McMillan and Wife,” the Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James show I loved in the 70s.

Dell wrote about something called “Loch Ness Horror.”

“When Nessie showed up I was besides myself with giddiness. This thing is American B-movie ingenuity at it’s finest. It takes the movie from being run of the mill, forgettable trash, to so bad it’s awesome!”

Of course “Highlander” had to be included, and it was good to get the take of a real Scot.

“Highlander is a great-looking, funny and often dazzling fusion of The Terminator with sword and sorcery; if it seemed indigestible to critics in 1986, perhaps the time has come to embrace the story of Connor Macleod.”

More on “Highlander” from Stabford Deathrage.

“I’m not sure where this film actually takes place, but it’s the most amazing location, because everywhere you go during the present day, you hear Queen, and everywhere you go in the past, it looks like the Safety Dance.”

A deep cut from Caftan Woman! An episode of the classic early TV show “Wagon Train.”

“Accent-wise, Jeannie gives her Scottish characters a lovely soft lilt most pleasant to hear. Her inflection has that slightly foreign feel yet at the same time is comforting. You can understand producers wanting to utilize that aspect of Jeannie’s ability.”

The Taking Up Room site looks at “Christy.”

“One of the most popular characters on the Christy TV show was, by far, Doctor Neil MacNeill, and one of the most popular show arcs was the triangle between Christy (Kellie Martin), Neil and preacher David Grantland (Randall Batinkoff). Neil was wonderfully played by Stuart Finlay-McLennan, who seemed to burr with the best of ’em.

Only one thing: Finlay-McLennan is an Australian from New South Wales. His burr was about as Highland as Scotch tape.”

“Brigadoon,” of course, from The Classic Movie Muse:

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“Token” Black Actors of the 90’s

Posted on April 4, 2018 at 7:32 am

On The Undefeated: Interviews with Black Actors who played “token” characters on television in the 1990’s, from “Seinfeld” to “Dawson’s Creek.” Important, moving, and infuriating.

n the 1990s, the wealth of black representation on television could lull you into thinking (if you turned the channel from Rodney King taking more than 50 blows from Los Angeles Police Department batons) that black lives actually did matter. But almost all of these shows were, in varying ways, an extension of segregated America. It’s there in the memories of the stars below: There were “black shows” and there were “white shows.” If you were a black actor appearing on a white show, you were usually alone.

For some of the most visible black actors coming of age in the 1990s, it’s clear that along with the triumphs came isolation, blatant racial stereotyping and biased casting calls. As for “crossing over” to the mainstream, in the mostly segregated worlds of Seinfeld, Frasier, Melrose PlaceSaved by the Bell: The New ClassFelicityV.I.P.Buffy the Vampire SlayerDawson’s Creek and more, blacks were usually relegated to bit parts or were there for a short time. The Undefeated sat down with eight of these talented women and men. These are their stories. This is history.

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Rotten Tomatoes: How Digital Media is Changing Movie Criticism

Posted on March 29, 2018 at 8:41 am

Rotten Tomatoes has a fascinating and very insightful essay about online movie critics. Citing the 1990 essay by Richard Corliss decrying the devolution of movie critics due to television, Rosemarie Alejandrino, the inaugural USC Annenberg-Rotten Tomatoes Digital Innovation and Entertainment Criticism fellow, describes the scope of online critics and their connection to their audiences.

Across multimedia platforms — particularly online video and podcasts — a new class of critics has arisen, made up of people who view the world of film and entertainment criticism through a digital lens. Some don’t consider themselves critics at all. This new breed of content creators isn’t looking to compete with traditional print critics; in fact, they exist side-by-side in the same cinesphere, often using written reviews as a jumping off point for their discussions.

Where these video and audio critics are taking us represents an exciting chapter in the evolving narrative of film criticism. The ability to pause and zoom allows a crafty YouTuber to dive into a scene’s shot construction in minute detail. Access to streaming services lets a critic watch a movie over and over as to not miss a detail while dissecting the plot for easter eggs and hidden gems. The rise in podcasts and longform audio platforms connects the critic to the listener in an intimate setting, as if you’re listening in on a conversation between friends who love (or hate) a film as much as you do.

The key culture-shifting component of new media film criticism is the critics’ relationship with their audience.

The critics and video film essayists she interviewed include Alachia Queen, Chris Stuckmann, and Black Man Can’t Jump (in Hollywood).

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Critics Understanding Media and Pop Culture

The First of What Will Probably Be Many “Ready Player One” Reference Guides

Posted on March 26, 2018 at 1:50 pm

Ernest Cline’s book, Ready Player One, takes place in the future but its main character is as enmeshed in the past as he is in the video game puzzle created by the mysterious man who is something between Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and whoever invented Grand Theft Auto. The book and movie are filled with references to the pop culture of the 1980’s and there are likely to be many critics and fans examining every frame to find them all. Rotten Tomatoes kicks it off, from “Saturday Night Fever” to “Terminator,” “Iron Giant,” “Say Anything,” and the original “Mad Max.” Of course “Ready Player One” director Steven Spielberg was himself responsible for many of the iconic pop culture moments of the 1980’s.

There are tons of nods to and cameos from Spielberg’s big blockbuster hits, especially the one about the dinos. The Spielberg gems come thick and fast and pretty early in the pic — so eyes out. It all makes a bunch of sense, given that the filmmakers had to secure the rights for every easter egg they use here. And it has us imagining a Spielberg-directed Ready Player One sequel, full of easter eggs referencing the original Spielberg-directed Ready Player One: Our pop-culture–loving minds were just blown.

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Understanding Media and Pop Culture

Actors of Sound

Posted on February 25, 2018 at 10:01 pm

B +
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Profanity: None
Alcohol/ Drugs: None
Violence/ Scariness: Brief archival footage has some violence
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to Theaters: February 26, 2018
Copyright 2016 Freestyle Digital Media

It’s the climax of the film. The hero and heroine finally kiss. The power of the moment comes from the emotion built up by the story, by the acting talent and screen charisma of the performers, by the heart-tugging swell of the music — and by the sound of the kiss itself, probably so subtle you don’t notice it, but if it wasn’t there, you would notice its absence. That sound was not made by the tender touch of two beautiful movie stars’ lips. It was made by a Foley artist, the “actor of sound,” whose profession is the subject of this documentary.

Skip this next part and go to the next paragraph if you want to preserve the illusion: the slight smacky sound you hear is probably some burly guy kissing the back of his hand. And when a beautiful actress walks down a hall or street in high heels, that same burly guy is probably wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and high heels, stepping on one of the dozen or so different surfaces in the studio to match the shot. The sound of the trudging footsteps of the enormous football player in “The Blind Side” was created by a woman, who explains, “I had to become a 300 pound man who was feeling alone and like no one cared about him…I gave myself a sense of heaviness.” Another woman “was” Mr. T in “The A-Team,” at least the sounds of his feet.

The Foley artist is the person who provides everything from hoofbeats on dirt to the clacks of high heels on a wood floor, from the sound E.T. makes when he walks to the sound of Walter White taking off the mask he uses for cooking meth to the sound Robert de Niro makes when he slams a baseball bat into a guy’s head in “The Untouchables.” That last one, we learn in this fascinating and engaging documentary, was made with a combination of a raw turkey (gizzards still inside) and a coconut. We learn about sounds like the snap of Batman’s cape, the flutter of paper floating through the air, and the “hyper-real” coin toss in “No Country for Old Men.”

Foley was a real person, a pioneer in the field. While the technology for recording and editing the sounds has advanced along with most other aspects of filmmaking, the technology for creating the sounds has not. They are still using the same kinds of props — and sometimes even the exact same props — that go back to the heyday of radio. If it’s a period film and someone needs to dial a phone, you’re going to need a dial phone to create that sound. And nothing beats corn starch for the sound of walking on snow.

The documentary includes archival footage showing how sounds were created for some of the most iconic moments in film history. ET’s walk? Let’s just say that when the Foley artists were served Jello at lunch, it gave them a good idea. It also includes Foley artists from around the world and some discussion of how changes in the industry and technology may affect the future of the profession.

All of the participants are wonderfully imaginative and dedicated, and their stories and perspective make this essential viewing for anyone who is interested in film. “The sound has to pan, too,” to help create the illusion of movement. And they will do anything to get the sound just right — even a condom over the microphone.

As one of them says, a Foley artist has to be “an athlete, a musician, and an actor all in one,” and as another says, they are “painting a picture with sound.” So far, no one has been able to produce sounds digitally or via a sound library that feel real, not robotic. Being a Foley artist requires “imagination, tempo, coordination, and love,” and this film is filled with all of that as well, a welcome appreciation for an essential and often overlooked profession.

Parents should know that this film includes brief violent footage from films being discussed.

Family discussion: What movie sounds do you remember? How will this movie make you listen more closely?

If you like this, try: “Harold and Lillian”

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