Friday, April 19, 2013

Going 'Up' Again

A picture of an era.
I don’t know how serious or how filthy this blog is going to be or if I’m going to make it pure filth but bear with me. I just feel like talking about one of my favorite events in film. Events I call it because it is a series of British films started in 1964 following a group of children from age 7 to the age they are now. By 2012, they are 56, and the BBC just released the new installment of the Up Series; 56 Up (2012).
There were a few that bowed out but most stuck with it, so to make it superficial let’s go down the list really quick (because there’s quite a few of them featured) and define them based on their sexual prowess or lack thereof…they are British after all.
The program usually starts with Tony, an East-Ender with a cockney accent who married young, cheated on his wife by 42 Up and works as a London cabbie because he couldn’t make it as a jockey (his childhood dream). Aside from the fact that he’s rather vulgar, he’s about 5’2. So I never found him particularly attractive in any way. Also, by 56 Up we realize he’s somewhat of a racist so if that’s not a red flag I don’t know what is. 
Tony (the troublemaker, at 21)
Then there’s a trifecta of girls that went to I guess what we call ‘normal’ school, where University plans were not in the future, and lower middle class was as good as it got. Sue, Lynn, and Jackie, Jackie by far being the most obnoxious and fugly out of all of them, now left with three children to raise on her own, and not much else. I honestly never liked her because it seemed all she ever wanted to do was argue with the filmmakers. Sue got married because according to her she wanted to have a child and the two went hand in hand. She’s the most well adjusted out of all of them and works now as some kind of administrator living with her much younger coulda-been-in-Trainspotting looking boyfriend and West Highland terrier. I like her. Moving on. Lynn always wanted to help children and was adorbs up until about 21 Up, when she was already married (dang they marry early over there) but there’s not much to say about her except that she’s pretty awesome because her life mission has been to educate disadvantaged youths. 
(L to R) Jackie, Lynn, and Sue at 56 holding up pictures of themselves from the previous films.
There was another trifecta of boys who went to a preparatory boarding school, John, Andrew, and Charles, the latter of which dropped out after 28 Up. They were all from the very upper crust of England, carried themselves as if they just walked off the Downton Abbey set and all talked like Rex Harrison. John and Andrew basically remind me of how Seth MacFarlane views British people; with hideous teeth and a roguish pompous way about them. They both became solicitors (go figure) and I only imagine they have sex with all of their clothes on and the lights off, even then, I’d rather not imagine it. 
L to R - John, Andrew, and Charles talking about which Universities they will attend and what newspapers they read at 7. No seriously.
Another one worth mentioning is Suzy, she came from a privaledged background as well with a house in the country, and a totally I’m-better-than-you tude until she got married and got way domestic. She’s a Helen Mirren type, get’s better with age.
Then there’s the one that moved to America to be a scientist and now is married to some kind of human/giraffe hybrid. He was by far the best looking and most appealing out of all of them (dorky scientist thing aside) Nicholas, who grew up literally with no one around him in the Yorkshire Dales. He was hot, moving on. 
Nicholas at 49, visits the Dales again.
The last one I’m going to mention is Neil, because he’s the most interesting I can think of. He’s Cray Cray with a capital C and spent most of his life homeless even though he started out as like the cutest 7 year old later. He talks fast, has huge bags under his eyes and at times makes no sense whatsoever. He admitted in 49 Up that he hopes not to have children in his lifetime because he doesn’t want them to inherit his crazy. Probably a good move on his part. I have to admit probably in my early 20’s I’d be all over that, you know, oh poor troubled skinny British boy, I’ll mother you kind of thing, but now I’m like stay away for the love of god, I carry mace. 

Neil...what happened?
There are other children, but those are the ones that stand out to me. I’ve watched all of the films of course, a few more than once, and as Roger Ebert said the series is ‘Brilliant. It’s on my top ten films of all times list’. It’s definitely on mine. What all of it on Netflix, take a weekend and get all existential why don’t ya. You won’t regret it, believe me. 

The whole gang gathers around for a photo op at 21.
 Here's some clips and trailers. 

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