About Last Night’s About Tonight

About Tonight

I was recently asked to host About Tonight, Channel 31’s tonight show with a rotating roster of presenters. Hosting a tonight show was a bit of a bucket list tick for me: I got to banter with the band leader, do an opening monologue, and sit at a desk holding a pen even though I had no reason to write anything down at any point.

CEsTy7EVIAApxY2Actually, it was two bucket list items: I’d always wanted to interview a politician, and About Tonight had booked Senator Scott Ludlam. I wanted to talk to him about the new data retention laws, given how vocal he is in his opposition to them. And to keep things interesting, I had to pretend I didn’t agree with him. But I did provoke him into calling me a smartarse on air, so I call it a win.

The theme of the episode was the impending death of community television at the hands of Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, so I spoke to Ludlam about it from a legislative perspective, interviewed Grant Hansen (creator and host of the wildly successful Marngrook Footy Show) about what it was like to get a show up in Channel 31’s heyday, and asked The Katering Show producer Tamasin Simpkin about creating a runaway hit exclusively for the web. On top of that, my house band was Vasili, the legendary accordion-playing host of Vasili’s Garden, the most enduring success story of Channel 31.

The entire show is available to watch via YouTube, which, despite the fact that this episode is about how C31 needs more time to move online, is not nearly as ironic as you’d think.

Thanks again to everyone at Channel 31 and About Tonight for the opportunity. And sorry about the singing.

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I Totally Changed The Nightly Show

Nightly Show Australian Map

A couple of month ago, I wrote this article for Spook Magazine about The Nightly Show. At the end of the piece, I pointed out that the map behind Larry had two light bulbs in what appeared to be random Australian locales:

The Nightly Show ends with Wilmore himself answering a Keep It 100 question, one he doesn’t get to see until he’s on camera. So let’s give him one of our own. Larry, we in Australia are delighted that our country features so prominently on your non-traditional flipped world map. But two flashing lights – which usually indicate the location of cities – seem to highlight two Western Australia parks: the Nuytsland Nature Reserve and the Karlamilyi National Park. Is this a deliberate and pointed reference that’s keeping with the remit of The Nightly Show’s stated agenda, highlighting places that are more closely aligned with Aboriginal culture than the lily-white likes of Sydney and Melbourne, or did you just stick little light bulbs in random spots?

It’s not out of the ordinary for shows made in other countries to stick light bulbs in random parts of the map, falsely assuming that Australia is as evenly populated as the USA or Europe. But given Wilmore’s show is all about keeping it real, I hoped to get some sort of explanation… either an admission that it was entirely random, or a revelation of some hitherto unknown meaning.

But we received no response. And then, a few weeks later, this happened:

Nightly Oz Map 2

They’d changed the set and tweaked the light bulbs and suddenly Australia had two new areas highlighted.

Look, I’m not saying I was completely and solely responsible for this, but I did actually contact The Nightly Show’s media reps to ask if I was, and they didn’t get back to me. So the lack of denial is all the tacit confirmation I need.

You’re welcome, Sydney and Mackay. But mostly Mackay. You finally got your due.

Batman vs Iron Man

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I say Batman vs Iron Man, but it’s more specific than that. In fact, it’s Iron Man Three vs Batman Forever. From the moment I saw Iron Man Three, the thing that struck me – aside from how damn great it was – was that it was, in a surprising number of ways, identical to the 1995 classi– er, film Batman Forever.

I briefly suggested the similarities when we talked IM3 on Hell Is For Hyphenates, and I’ve tried arguing my case a few times in conversation, but I don’t think I’ve ever successfully convinced anyone that they’re pretty much the same film. So I’ve decided to prove my thesis via captioned screenshots.

Sceptical? Or, if you’re in North America, skeptical? Then read on and prepare to be convinced, nerds. Continue reading

The Best Films of 2014

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You know, they laughed at Galileo, too. Especially when he published his list of fifty favourite planets, and other astronomers were like “Dude, we don’t have ten planets in this solar system, and we won’t even discover Neptune for another two hundred years.”

Nevertheless, he was remembered as the father of modern observational astronomy, and I believe the same will happen to me, which is annoying because all I’m trying to do is publish a list of my favourite films of the year.

There are many reasons I do a top fifty. The main one is that with the sheer number of films I see each year, both new releases and film festival titles, if I’m not seeing fifty films minimum that I can say I love – not just like but love – then I’ll pack it in and take up something easier. Like astronomy. Sorry, I don’t know why I’m so hung up on astronomy at the moment.

There are lots of other reasons, but I won’t go into them all now. But the long and short of it is that I loved all of these films and would recommend them in a heartbeat.

Don’t try to look for any logic in the release dates here. I try to go for the film’s proper year of release, which means titles like Django Unchained, The Wolf of Wall StreetHer, 12 Years a Slave and Inside Llewyn Davis were on last year’s list. However, some Australian release dates mean I couldn’t make this an across-the-board rule. And despite my best efforts, I was unable to see titles such as Inherent Vice, SelmaCitizenFour and The Overnighters. So it’s an unwieldy mix, but just go with it.

Continue reading