Long-time contributor to Failed Critics, Paul Field, recently reviewed Dangerous Game for the Independent, which unseated United Passions as “the worst football film of all time”.
“Some hits, you don’t have to take.”
That time of year is here again, boys and girls. It’s “based on a true story” season. That time of year where we are all forced to sit and watch as many and varied true stories that are paraded out in front us to stare at, mope over and guess which one will be winning an award for its excellent depiction of a story no-one ever heard of before release weekend.
This week, it’s the story of boxer Vinny Pazienza.
A local hero and world champion boxer, Vinny “The Pazmanian Devil” Pazienza (Miles Teller) has dragged himself up from being a stepping stone to a card-carrying, belt-wielding force to be reckoned with in the ring. But it all seems to be over when a near fatal car crash leaves the fighter with a broken neck and no guarantee he’ll ever walk again.
But an inspirational story, such as this, can’t end there.
Vinny refuses surgery that would guarantee his mobility, but destroy his career, in favour of wearing a surgically fitted “halo” (essentially scaffolding for his head) in the hope that once healed he can train again and get himself back in the ring. After a torturous few months living like an invalid in his parents living room, Paz starts working on getting himself back in fighting shape in secret. Dragging in his trainer Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart) to help, the pair turn the basement into a makeshift gym to work while Vinny is still wearing his headgear. Once out of his halo, the former champion works to get his arse back in the ring.
And honestly, all of those films are better than this one.
The opening scene for this film sets the poor tone as we watch Vinny spend all of thirty seconds trying to cut weight for his next fight, only for the crowd to be insanely happy when he does. The dramatic music kicks in, the crowd applauds and we are clearly supposed to be super-pumped that he’s able to fight. Problem is, I don’t even know who this guy is yet. The film tries to manufacture that “Rocky wins the fight” feeling in its audience without even introducing the character to us (or showing him fighting). He then montages himself to victory without anything close to a moment to make me care about him.
And it doesn’t really improve after that.
Maybe I am just a callous motherfucker, but nothing here got any kind of emotional response from me. The car accident and subsequent surgeries, the suffering, nothing really makes me want to see this man succeed. And it’s not because I don’t like the guy, it’s because the film hasn’t yet given me the opportunity to even get to know him. I mean, I care more about his parents (played very well by Kathy Sagel and Ciarán Hinds) and his trainer than I do about him because the movie just doesn’t seem to want to tell me about him. I’m just supposed to care, and cheer, and applaud, just because he’s a boxer? No.
Teller’s performance doesn’t help either. I don’t think he’s a good actor anyway, but here he’s not convincing as a fighter, or a man in pain, or a man crippled by life events he had no control over. I mean, this should be a simple thing to communicate to its audience, but neither Teller nor writer/director Ben Younger (who wrote and directed the awesome Boiler Room) seem to know how to put this across to those of us watching.
Eckhart, on the other hand, is the best part of this film. His insane portrayal of Vinny’s trainer Kevin Rooney comes across like a bizarre mash up of TV actors and characters, playing like The Wire‘s Domenick Lombardozzi is channeling Tony Soprano for most of the film. He is definitely the part of the film that’s the most watchable, as little praise as that may actually be.
Younger’s direction is perfectly fine, but it fails to bring drama to any of the areas that it really should. Boxing matches feel short and lifeless, with no real focus on the sport what so ever. While training montages and periods of quiet drama just don’t emote any feeling for the characters involved. It feels like it’s been put together by a committee that watched the great history of boxing films and tried to just put the bits they thought were best into one film.
Essentially it’s a greatest hits of boxing movie moments with little or no context to get you engaged. Considering both last year’s entries into this genre left me a blubbery mess by the end, I expected the same here. What I got instead was a tired, fidgety arse and an overwhelming shrug of the shoulders as people asked if I liked it.
Disappointment at every level. That’s pretty much how I felt about Bleed for This.
A new University term begins (yes, that’s right, we don’t get a summer break!) and it’s also a new hour-long time-slot on Bucks101 Radio for the third series of Front Row with Owen Hughes and Paul Rutland, every Monday from 2pm. With it comes our weekly bitesize podcast edition of the show as the duo chat about films, sports and whatever else their topical dice lands on.
Although the series kicks off in a slightly unconventional fashion as co-host Owen was unable to make the opening episode, so Dan Morris ably steps in to cover. With no specific movie review to speak of, Dan instead leads a conversation about the latest batch of trailers straight from San Diego Comic-Con, which in turns causes Paul to drag up a favourite debate on Front Row about comic book films in general.
The sports round-up also takes a slightly different slant as Paul questions why Dan supports Wales in rugby and England in football – and why that’s quite possibly the most unfortunate way around at the moment. Paul also lauds the achievements of Chris Froome after his Tour de France triumph.
Unfortunately, Owen is still in possession of the only dice in the Bucks101 Radio studio, so instead our final section of the show allows Dan and Paul to chat about the phenomenon that is Pokemon Go.
Refusing to stay down on the mat and not allowing our coach to throw in the towel, the Failed Critics are steadily climbing to their feet for one final round of the sports triple bill. The first of which was concluded back in August 2012, in time for the London Olympics. This one, coincidentally, is being released just ahead of the Rio Olympics! Almost as if it were intentionally planned that way…
Hosts Steve Norman and Owen Hughes are joined by Andrew Brooker and – fresh from his local Richer Sounds with a brand new microphone – Brian Plank. Each Failed Critic chose their three favourite sports movies. Did Owen try and shoehorn in Brewster’s Millions again? Did Steve just list the three Mighty Ducks movies? Did Brooker choose a film featuring a sport that isn’t American Football? Is there a single book about sports that Brian hasn’t read? You’ll have to listen to find out.
Also this week, due to the quick turnaround in podcasts, with the last Star Trek Beyond episode only released a few days ago, not much has happened in the world of film that wasn’t discussed previously, so the team forgo the news section for a slightly extended Olympics-themed movie quiz and a chat about the Bourne franchise – including a review of this weekend’s big release, Jason Bourne.
Join us again in just over a week’s time as we get back to our regular recording schedule for a review of the hotly anticipated Suicide Squad.
It’s finally happened. Front Row has gone all Freaky Friday. Owen Hughes put on his flip-flops and shorts despite the rain bucketing it down outside, whilst Paul Rutland stopped listening to Kate Bush songs for just long enough to record the final episode of their podcast for this series.
It wasn’t just their taste in music and attire that was switched in this Bizarro Front Row. Paul took over review duties to discuss BBC Storyville’s documentary The Lance Armstrong Story – Stop at Nothing. This left Owen to handle sports – and by “sports”, we mean “sport”. Specifically, coverage of the first round of matches at Euro 2016, including England’s draw with Russia, Payet’s opener and definitely not the hooligans.
Continuing the weird mix-up of roles, there’s no dice being rolled this week, just a double-headed coin being flipped instead. And, would you believe it, it lands on heads which means Owen and Paul get to discuss the Team Fire HOSE documentary that they’ve been working on for the past couple of months. You can view the full documentary below, or visit their YouTube page.
Thanks to everybody who has downloaded, listened, liked, shared or in any way interacted with us over the course of the second series of Front Row.
It was a podcast that began just like any other podcast. Two guys, Owen Hughes and Paul Rutland, sat around a microphone, speaking into it. They opened the show with an intro. It recapped what was in the upcoming penultimate episode. Everything was there, as normal; a sports round-up, roll the dice, the latest film reviews. You name it. If you wanted it, they had it.
It was then that I began to get suspicious. Where was the music? What happened to last week’s roll-the-dice section? Why was I talking as if in the opening segment of a noir movie?
And then it hit me.
This was the week that Owen finally got to review the eagerly awaited Shane Black crime-noir comedy, The Nice Guys. And boy, did he love it!
Paul, on the other hand, had no idea who Shane Black was or why Owen was so excited about it, so instead led the sports round-up, including: A short tribute to the late, great Muhammad Ali; Andy Murray’s French Open failure; as well as a brief introduction to Friday’s European Championship kick-off in France.
In other news, with Bucks101 Radio over for the term and still experiencing technical issues, this week’s podcast (and next week’s final episode in the series) was not originally broadcast on the radio. Therefore, there’s no playlist for this episode. Sorry.
However, Owen and Paul now have a new email address that you can contact them on at OwenAndPaulProductions@gmail.com – and in more exciting news, you can check out the latest trailer for their documentary on the YouTube clip below. You can look forward to seeing the full documentary when it’s released on Friday.
After you’ve listened to Front Row, of course…
Welcome to this week’s episode of Front Row with Owen and Paul. Unfortunately, due to more technical issues, the live Bucks101 Radio show didn’t go out again this week. Not to worry, you can still catch all the best bits from the programme on this very podcast!
Well, all the best bits apart from the music. On the podcast, you still. Don’t. Get. The Music! Which this week saw Owen and Paul choosing cover versions of songs that you might not necessarily have known were covers. However, you can listen to all the tunes on our YouTube playlist below.
Before all of that, why not listen to Owen review the latest video game to be adapted into a feature film in Warcraft: The Beginning. Paul also brings his usual sports round-up including a look at those who made and didn’t make the England squad.
- The Arrows – I Love Rock n Roll (Paul)
- David Bowie – China Girl (Owen)
- Ednaswap – Torn (Paul)
- The Clash – I Fought The Law (Owen)
- Gloria Jones – Tainted Love (Paul)
- The Futureheads – Hounds of Love (Owen)
- Jeff Beck – Superstition (Paul)
- Beach Boys – Barbara Ann (Owen)
We’re bringing you this week’s episode of Front Row with hosts Owen Hughes and Paul Rutland a little early. Think of it as an apology for the technical issues that last week prevented us from releasing a podcast at all.
What did you miss? In brief: Paul offended his own mother, Owen talked X-Men until Paul fell asleep and there was an excellent (but inaudible) quiz. Sorry about that.
This week’s not only makes up for this by coming out slightly earlier than normal, but also in terms of quality. Special guest and weird-band aficionado Tim Richards joined the duo in the studio to share his passion for music. Pere Ubu, Kate Bush and The Roches earned a spot on the playlist, leading to some exceptionally eloquent and fascinating conversations – on Tim’s part at least – that put both Owen and Paul to shame.
There’s no movie review this week (it was going to be X-Men: Apocalypse, which was… alright) but sports round-up remains, where we forgot to mention the FA Cup final. Oops. Culinary tips were shared in roll-the-dice towards the end of the show, including Paul’s (in)famous chicken-nugget curry recipe. Barf.
The full radio show for this episode hasn’t yet been broadcast live, but you can (usually) tune in to Bucks101 Radio at 5pm on Tuesday’s to hear Front Row. Tim’s show, Universal Vibration, can be heard on the same station at 6pm on Wednesday’s and is well worth a listen.
- Joy Division – Isolation (Owen)
- Earth Wind and Fire – September (Paul)
- The Roches – Quitting Time (Tim)
- Pere Ubu – All the Dogs Are Barking (Alt Mix) (Tim) – unfortunately the Alt Mix is not on YouTube!
- Kate Bush – Suspended in Gaffa (Tim)
- Pere Ubu – We Have the Technology (Tim)
- Husker Du – Books About UFOs (Owen)
- Galantis – Runaway (Paul)
Better late than never, it’s this week’s episode of Front Row, with hosts Owen Hughes and Paul Rutland. Running slightly overtime on Tuesday’s 5pm Bucks101 Radio broadcast, the podcast chunk of the show is also somewhat longer than usual – but still of the same quality.
Whether that quality is “good” or “bad” is for you to decide. If you’re leaning more towards the former than the latter, then we would really appreciate a quick vote in this years Best UK Podcast Award with New Media Europe over on Facebook! A quick click is all it takes to help us get closer to our first proper award nomination. Thanks!
On the show this week, Owen reviews the (soon-to-be-released but is-now-released) Green Room, whilst Paul runs through the week in sport including the top and the bottom of the Premier League, whether strikers should be judged on the goals they score or their performance, Andy Murray’s coach troubles and the Sri Lanka test match. The dice roll this week gave the pair a chance to chat about what’s been in news recently, specifically the London mayor election results.
The theme for the music on the live radio show saw the duo choosing a song for each letter of their name, so either click the link through to the YouTube playlist to listen to their selected tracks, or click each individual song below if you fancy just picking and choosing yourself!
- Ocean Colour Scene – The Day We Caught The Train (Owen)
- Weezer – The Good Life (Owen)
- Echo and the Bunnymen – Heads Will Roll (Owen)
- New Order – 1963 (Owen)
- Pentatonix – Evolution of Music (Paul)
- Alanis Morissette – Ironic (Paul)
- U2 – Beautiful Day (Paul)
- Lawson – Roads (Paul)
As chaotic as ever, Owen Hughes and Paul Rutland stumble through another podcast edition of their Bucks101 Radio show, Front Row, replete with all the usual bumf.
There’s a very slight twist on the movie review, with Owen taking a leaf out of Paul’s sports round-up (which this week focuses primarily on Leicester City’s Premier League triumph) to live-review Marvel’s latest blockbuster, Captain America: Civil War. Also, prepare yourself for a full-on rant from Paul as they ‘roll the dice’ in the final section of the show.
Thanks to Andy Alcock for his suggestion for the musical theme on this week’s show, as Owen and Paul tried to pick songs that mention famous people. The songs were as eclectic a mix as ever – but you still don’t get the music on the podcast! You’ll need to tune in to Bucks101 Radio every Tuesday at 5pm to hear their selections or alternatively, listen to all the tracks from the show on the YouTube playlist below.
- Billy Joel – We Didn’t Star the Fire (Paul)
- Ash – Kung Fu (Owen)
- Queen – Bicycle Race (Paul)
- Stump – Charlton Heston (Owen)
- Gregory Porter – Puttin’ on the Ritz (Paul)
- Billy Bragg – Sexuality (Owen)
- Vance Joy -Riptide (Paul)
- John Grant – Sigourney Weaver (Owen)
The latest episode of Front Row with Owen and Paul is likely to cause offence – not due to swearing, at least, which we’ve found a new filter for. But like the two pretentious University students trying to sound intelligent by talking about Shakespeare that they are, only to sully themselves with cock jokes throughout, many people are sure to be rubbed up the wrong way (if you know what I mean).
With the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death/birth celebrated this past weekend, Owen revisits last October’s adaptation of Macbeth, starring Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender. In the sports round-up, Paul covers the infamous “deflate-gate”, the poorly defined fines in sport, and the shock of the University of Buckingham FC’s cup final victory.
The tunes on this week’s live Bucks101 Radio show (Tuesday’s, 5pm!) were chosen to fit a theme: “build a body out of songs”, as suggested on Twitter by Brian Plank. Limited to four tracks each, Owen and Paul had to find a song title or band name that made reference to a head, a body, legs and arms. Needless to say, playing Frankenstein is not as easy as it sounds with some very tenuous links being made by the pair.
Finally in the show, the dice roll lands on TV for the first time this series. Just in time for Owen and Paul to discuss why they aren’t watching Game of Thrones, what illegal downloading means to them, all before veering way off course to chat about Kid Rock’s ticketing policy. Hmm.
- Sex Pistols – Bodies (live) (Owen)
- Alex Clare – Hands Are Clever (Paul)
- The Smiths – Hand In Glove (Owen)
- Jack Johnson – Do You Remember (Paul)
- Half Man Half Biscuit – Restless Legs (Owen)
- Toseland – Good Eye Blind (live) (Paul)
- Buzzcocks – Harmony In My Head (Owen)
- Kasabian – Club Foot (Paul)
The second episode of the second series of Front Row kicks off with Owen and Paul talking about the music that inspired, influenced or otherwise impacted them when they were younger. From 70’s punk to 90’s pop, they try and share the tunes that remind them most of their youth.
(Of course, as per usual, there’s no full songs available on the podcast. For that, you need to tune into Bucks101 Radio via Facebook or download the TuneIn app for Android / iOS and listen live on Tuesday’s at 5pm!)
There was still room in the show for our regular segments with Owen quelling his S-Club-fuelled-anger long enough to review Disney’s latest flick, The Jungle Book. Whereas Paul stopped dancing and singing along to S Club 7 long enough in the studio to mention the latest round of football results, the controversy around Alastair Cook’s helmet debacle and snooker legend Steve Davis’ retirement, all in the sports round-up.
- Outkast – Hey Ya! (Paul)
- The Offspring – Gotta Get Away (Owen)
- Elbow – One Day Like This (Paul)
- UK Subs – I Live In A Car (Owen)
- S Club 7 – Bring It All Back (Paul)
- Blur – Beetlebum (Owen)
- Hoosiers – Goodbye Mr A (Paul)
- Nirvana – All Apologies (Owen)
Series two of Front Row with Owen and Paul is off to a flyer as the Bucks101 Radio show returns in a new timeslot (Tuesday’s at 5pm), but with just as much sport, movies and general shenanigans as ever.
Our featured movie review, after a short hiatus, sees Owen Hughes taking on the violent, extreme and nauseating action film, Hardcore Henry. Meanwhile, Paul Rutland rounds-up both the good and the unfortunate from the past week in sport – clearly, neither Owen nor Paul are qualified doctors.
Only one minor adjustment has been made to Front Row’s format since last series, with the choice of music in the live radio show being centred around a unique theme. In this episode, the pair were tasked with choosing tracks that remind them of films. We’re looking for suggestions from you, our loyal listeners, for different themes to adopt in future episodes. “Drop us a line” at email@example.com, or tweet to @ohughes86 or @p_rutland96 with your topics.
You still won’t find music in the podcast, but as always you can listen to the tunes from every episode of Front Row on our YouTube page.
- Roachford – Cuddly Toy (Owen)
- Vangelis – Chariots of Fire (Paul)
- Talking Heads – This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) (Owen)
- Creedence Clearwater Revival – Fortunate Son (Paul)
- Oscar Isaac & Marcus Mumford – Fare Thee Well (Owen)
- The Selector – James Bond (Paul)
- Rancid – I Wanna Riot (Owen)
- Vangelis – Jerusalem (Paul)
Welcome to the series finale of Front Row with Owen and Paul. Even though there wasn’t a radio show this week, hosts Owen Hughes and Paul Rutland still got together to record a special podcast-only episode. As an extra special treat, they even dragged along another special guest in Helen Thain for a chat about BBC drama The Night Manager and binge-watching box-sets.
As ever, we still included both a movie review and sports round-up. Owen tried to find the positives in the latest DreamWorks Animation, Kung Fu Panda 3, whilst Paul has a bone to pick with Owen over a comment from last week.
The show will be back on Bucks101 Radio in some form or another within the next 3 weeks, but for now, thanks to everybody who listened to the radio show and downloaded any of our podcasts. If you’d like to leave us a review on iTunes, you can do so here.
There was no actual music played on this week’s podcast, but here’s a playlist of the stuff we would have played anyway:
- Crackout – I Am The One (Owen)
- Keane – Somewhere Only We Know (Paul)
- Nada Surf – The Way You Wear Your Head (Owen)
- Mumford and Sons – Babel (Paul)
- Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster – Psychosis Safari (Owen)
- Alanis Morissete – You Oughta Know (Paul)
- Guitar Wolf – Invader Ace (Owen)
- The Fratellis – Chelsea Dagger (Paul)
In the penultimate podcast episode of Front Row, Owen Hughes and Paul Rutland cover all of the usual stuff from what is their final radio broadcast of this academic term for Bucks101 Radio.
The podcast has almost everything from the show, including Owen’s review of the Coen Brothers comedy-drama Hail, Ceasar!, Paul’s sports news (including more Russian doping antics) and even squeeze in a chat about the Sunday working hours law. It’s a proper bostin’ episode this week full of mad oi oi banter… ahem…
We’ll be back again next week for the final podcast episode, but there’ll be no live broadcast on Bucks101. Below are the final tracks we’ve played in this series of Front Row! Check out the full playlist of all the songs played in the entire 7 episodes via YouTube.
- Fat Boy Slim – Right Here, Right Now (Paul)
- Foo Fighters – Disenchanted Lullaby (Owen)
- Eliza & The Bear – Friends (Paul)
- Peter, Bjorn & John – It Don’t Move Me (Owen)
- Hozier – Take Me To Church (Paul)
- The Vines – Outtathaway (Owen)
- Seasick Steve – You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks (Paul)
- REM – Fall On Me (Owen)