Monthly Archives: July 2010

The cahooting dentist

Travelling has its advantages. A limited menu on television means that you watch what’s available instead of having hundreds of films to choose from and ending up watching none. This evening’s offering was The Whole Nine Yards, and whereas Daughter thought the blurb (in the Swedish paper) looked awful, I could see the potential, and it certainly had that.

Matthew Perry and Michael Clarke Duncan

I quite like Bruce Willis, and I also quite like Matthew Perry, except I didn’t know. I didn’t know he’s Chandler. Not that I watch Friends, but… He plays a dentist, and thank god we’d already sorted our dentistry needs, or someone I know would have freaked out even more.

Bruce Willis

This poor dentist has a ghastly wife and a total of three hitmen after him, despite being such a nice guy. One of the hitmen moves in next door, and they become friends. Of sorts. His dental assistant suggests he goes away and gets laid, and his wife wants him dead.

Natasha Henstridge

It’s a very immoral film. Very. You can’t approve of what goes on in the film and still be a good person. But it’s very funny.

The hitman neighbour’s wife has a mobile phone just like mine. Just goes to show it really is ten years since it was made. The film. The mobile.

And you don’t want to go to the dentist tomorrow. Or even next week.

Livvakterna and Livvagterne

There were bodyguards all over television last week. The previews promised me Swedish bodyguards and Danish bodyguards. In the end I somehow expected some inter-Nordic bodyguard series. This was because I’m an idiot and I didn’t even notice it was different channels.

First out was Livvagterne, which is a Danish series, featuring the agency that guards Danish politicians. Jumping straight into episode 15 made for more confusion, but it was entertaining enough. As someone says on IMDb, they feel it’s as good as any American series and they are surprised there aren’t more things done on this topic.

Maybe it’s because it’s Danish, or it might simply be due to it being television fiction, but there are a lot of in-agency relationships. The two episodes I’ve watched deals with a wannabe government minister, whose daughter is abducted just after his boss has committed suicide. It’s not a pretty story, but it rings true.

After this it was Livvakterna, which is a Swedish film; the second with Jakob Eklund as Johan Falk after Noll Tolerans. Johan goes rogue after his employers show a distinct lack of either understanding or appreciation of what he did in the first film. A close friend gets caught up with the Russian mafia in Estonia and asks for help when things get really bad.

And then things get quite a bit worse. Very violent, and my tolerance for stupid mothers of stupid children disappeared. But they redeem themselves, so it’s OK. As the blurb in the TV guide said, it’s a rather silly plot, but nicely done.

(It also has ‘Wallander’ – i.e. Krister Henriksson – which pleased Daughter greatly until…)

We are already looking forward to the third film.

HishultaBörje

A song about a rather inept yokel by the name of Börje (from Hishult, southern Halland, Sweden), sung in the local accent, is an unlikely track for me to develop a real fondness for. I blame it on exile. It makes you softer than you’d expect. It’s because, deep down, you miss all the ‘awfulness’.

But HishultaBörje isn’t awful. The tune is good old Swedish pop/rock, sung by Gunnar Bringman, who has a pleasant enough voice. And a heart-tugging sort of accent for someone with a past in Halmstad. Because I’m willing to bet that accent isn’t Hishult, but unadulterated Halmstad. Close enough.

Singing in a south Swedish accent came into fashion in the 1970s, but then it was mostly the Skåne accent of Hoola Bandoola Band. I think this is the only Halmstad accent song I’ve come across. Gyllene Tider don’t count.

The inept yokel is a careless driver, gets breath tested by the police, is not exactly a hit with the ladies, runs late, lives with his old mother, plays bingo, wins a forklift truck (!), speeds with the truck, is breath tested again, loses his license, has a heart attack and dies. Poor Börje.

The much repeated line of ‘fy fan va’ barnsligt’ (damn, that was childish) has some poetic charm. Really. And when poor Börje has finally died, the recording ends with Gunnar laughing and making a comment about it being a weird ending for a song.

Börje isn’t my cup of tea as a person, but the sad tale takes me down memory lane. And then there is that accent. One that I carefully removed as soon as I left town, but which still makes the heart beat fonder, or whatever cliché makes sense to use.

Have no knowledge about Gunnar. He may be local, but I’d never heard of him. My track turned up on a Halmstad CD collection, but the pirated downloads are all over the internet if you look. (I didn’t suggest that!)

Under the influence

I felt as if I’d become an extra in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. When Johnny Depp has taken more drugs again and he sees the weirdest stuff, and it’s all creepy and crawly. That’s what it was like. I even joked about OD-ing with the Resident IT Consultant, despite the two of us being the most strait-laced people in existence.

Radioactive Cats by Sandy Skoglund

We should have known better. We went to Mjellby Konstmuseum on one of the hottest afternoons we’ve had the misfortune to encounter for some time. Daughter reckoned it’d be interesting to see the exhibition on Sandy Skoglund. It was. Interesting. Not nice. Although Daughter liked it, which is what counts, really.

And I overheard other visitors enthusing about the pictures, so I’m clearly in a minority.

We enjoyed seeing some new-to-us paintings by Halmstadgruppen in another part of the museum. I gather they have lent a number of the usual exhibits to somewhere, which meant they had dug out some other paintings to hang. And we liked those.

From Mjellby we went on a wild goose chase which led nowhere much, until we finally got home again, complete with headaches. I went to bed, and emerged later to find the Resident IT Consultant with his headache, asking where he could find aspirin. (Men!) I was so out of it that I gave him two, and then wondered if I’d accidentally overdosed him, and he’d be seeing creepy-crawlies here too. Double checked, and found I hadn’t. Will stay at home from now on.

NCIS back at work

What a relief to see that NCIS are back at work. I do feel for them, having to get started in July, but it’s a positive sign that we will have something to watch, come September.

Relationships

You can only have one favourite favourite television series to obsess about. And for us that is NCIS. But then we have a few more on the next level, one of which is the Danish Rejseholdet. Having just gone on holiday, we are continuing watching through all the episodes again. What strikes me is how similar they are. And also quite how different from each other.

Rejseholdet

Both are police teams of some sort, where the group have become family. You don’t necessarily want to watch it out of order, as it’s important what went before, between X and Y. And the whole team is aware of it. Or not.

Whenever the fans want Tony and Ziva to get together, you have to stop for a reality check. It’d be nice, perhaps. But would it work? No, it wouldn’t. The same went for Gibbs and Hollis Mann. Fine for a while, but it can’t be allowed to become permanent. Then Gibbs wouldn’t be Gibbs.

I assume that real NCIS agents have families. And that it works. But the television team can’t have long term happiness and stability.

In Rejseholdet they do. Have relationships, that is. Not certain that it always works, and it definitely gets in the way of the policework. But then maybe real families also interact with real policing.

Fischer gets somewhere late, because his wife is upset with his infidelities. IP’s girlfriend is angry when he doesn’t have time for her theatre plays. Ingrid is always having to sort things out for her children, finding ‘babysitters’, although they are teenagers, or coming home to find there has been a party. La Cour, naturally, seems the most sorted of them all, and does get back together with an old flame. And Gaby and Johnny have their very public disagreements in the lap of the team.

It’d be easy to say that the Danes are the normal ones, but I wonder if normal means always having things happening within a small group of people. How likely is it to have the head police officer finding she’s investigating the murders of her brother-in-law and his family?

NCIS

And good looking though the Danish team are (it is television, after all), they are nowhere near the Hollywood good looks of NCIS. I mean, take Palmer out of autopsy, and even he is handsome.

Maybe their looks help us like people to begin with. I’m certain I’d love the characters after a while, no matter how they look. In fact, I disliked Gibbs for most of the first two series because of his California perfection, and to begin with I found Fischer unbearably ugly. But you get used to both, and once you’ve become ‘friends’, you just like.

Scottish folk songs

Having arrived in Sweden at last, we are spending a positively Victorian style evening, with Daughter on the piano, working her way through some Scottish song book. The Resident IT Consultant is not improving things by singing along from the kitchen. I imagine he sees himself as some kind of expert.

Auld Lang Syne might indicate the end of the session, or simply that Daughter doesn’t recognise its sense of finality. But live music is always civilised.