Wednesday 24 May 2017

Film: 'Whisky Galore'

This re-make of the 1949 'classic' (according to some) has had boos from all corners - usually accompanied by a question along the lines of "Why did they even bother?"
I went along partly out of curiosity that it really could be that dire (and it pretty well is) but also to escape for a couple of hours from domestic woes (with a strong feline bent) as well as the current troubling national and international news.  Anyway, it was a bargain basement screening for just £3 (= 4$ US) so there wasn't too much to lose.

I'd seen the original only once and that must have been about 40 years ago, retaining a less than sketchy memory of it. One thing I'm certain of is that I didn't laugh much, if at all. (It still regularly pops up on the fringe TV channels). 
As for this new version I can report that without any effort at all I kept a straight face right through.

The premise is that off a small, fictional, inhabited Scottish island a boat runs aground on the rocks. Its cargo includes 50,000 crates
of whisky. (Would require some boat to carry that lot - and that's just a part of its cargo! Something rather larger than the vessel we see would be called for, which is little more than a fishing trawler-size.) It just so happens - would you believe it? - that just prior to this ship being wrecked the entire island had run out of.........whisky!  It's wartime (yet again!) and there's no chance at all of replenishing supplies. Much gloominess ensues because, as we know, all Scots do love their wee dram! So this shipwreck must have happened by divine providence, mustn't it? Of course! So the islanders, led by Gregor Fisher, get together a little flotilla of rowboats to rescue what they can - for their own consumption.
Meanwhile army captain Eddie Izzard (possibly the only cast member who'd be recognised outside this country), living on the island(!) with his wife (the ever-watchable Fenella Woolgar), and with a tiny army contingent which seems to consist of just one sergeant, is unaware of what's going on under his nose, the islanders running rings round him while he tries to organise a small group of 'Dad's Army' Home Guard.
There's also a cranky, hard-line vicar who demands everyone holds to the rigours of observing the Sabbath (Funny? What do you think?). Then, the ship being reported missing, the officials arrive and there's much panicky fuss to hide all those bottles. 

Filmed in Aberdeenshire, the scenery is as gloriously magnificent as one could hope.
The script is flat, acting is as though the cast think it's all ever so droll - but if you're unsure as to where you 'should' laugh, don't worry, the insistent (annoying) music will nudge you.

Director Gillies McKinnon is probably best known for his pretty good 'Hideous Kinky' of 1998 with Kate Winslet, but 'Whisky Galore' does his record no credit all......................2.5.


  1. I surely won't be bothering with that one, mate. But I have been meaning to congratulate you on the beauty of your writing. I have read out your critiques several times to my partner and he has always assumed they were written by a professional. So well done, Ray!

    Meanwhile, sending you and darling Blackso many {{{{hugs}}}}.

    1. Without a word of a lie, Rozzie, I'm utterly astonished at your (and your partner's) positive take on my reviews - and I can promise you that it's NOT false modesty. I've said the same thing to Ron of 'Retired in Delaware' who also lavishes praise for reasons which I just can't fathom. I think my posts are so poor as to cause me such deep embarrassment that I hate to go back to read them, only doing that for self-referral or for correction. But it would be unfair not to give you profuse thanks for what you say even though I do think it's completely unjustified.
      So anyway, having said that, don't bother with this 'Whisky'. It would have been nice to say that it's so bad that you can get some perverse pleasure from watching it, but it doesn't even meet that 'standard' - though there is at least one review on IMDb which gives it a 10/10, so who am I to argue?

      Thanks for your hugs, which are gladly and warmly accepted - on behalf of Blackso too. He''s OK at the moment (5.20 a.m.). No repetition of his last fit which was yesterday morning. Here's hoping.

  2. And now I must tell you that one of ours -Murray, 18, is in a bad way.

    He is normally a skinny cat, but over the last couple of days he has begun to resemble a goat! He has a build up of fluid in his belly (medical term "ascites"), which, in an elderly cat, can only be something bad. The vet saw him this morning and confirmed my retired nurse's opinion that it was "bad". She also agreed with my prior opinion that it could be a cancer or his heart or various other things, but they are the most likely. So we take him back on Monday for X-rays and blood tests and a general draining of the wallet. Meanwhile, he'll be lots and lots of extra cuddles. He's the most affectionate of our boys so will enjoy that.

    I'm pretty sure you won't mind my unloading in your blog, Ray, and I thought you'd like to know. I'll keep you posted too. Sigh.

    1. OMG, Rozzie - horrible, horrible news! You'll know how I can deeply relate to what you're going through and how helpless you must feel. Seeing the little ones suffering tears the very heart out of you, even more so when your little Murray, like my Blackso, has been especially affectionate all his life. It all seems so terribly unfair.
      What can one do but take the advice of professionals? I know you'd rather hold him in your arms and wish his distressing condition away. I also know how it must be consuming your life and sapping your energies. I'm pleased that he's one who appreciates the extra cuddles you're giving him. Not all cats do that, of course. I was moved this morning when my fragile Blackso, after I'd given him his breakfast, lay down and, apparently for no reason at all, started loudly purring when I wasn't touching him. I like and want to think he knows he's in a friendly place where his comfort and safety is paramount. I think that Murray may be feeling the same way. I do hope so.
      It's a living nightmare for us, isn't it? We don't know what the future may bring - and who knows how long that future will be?

      Every time I see and think of Blackso which, frankly, is now ALL the time for the latter, I'll now be thinking of your dear Murray. I do hope there can be a happy development - even, dare one think, that his present condition is a false alarm and that he can easily be treated. Very unlikely, I know, especially at his advanced age.

      I'll look out for your updates on Murray, Rozzie, but whenever you feel you wish to, please don't hold back on unloading yourself here. I fully understand and, after all. we are in much the same very unhappy place.
      Very best wishes to you and dear Murray.

  3. Thank you so very much, dear Ray. He does not seem to be suffering unduly, unless it's from a surfeit of cuddles!

    We just have to wait and see what tomorrow brings. *bite nails* Of course he will need to be sedated for the X-rays, so we will have to wait until he recovers from that before receiving any news. Poor little darling.

    We have been reminding ourselves that he is the only survivor of our four "kittens". His mum was a local good time puss who was impregnated by our Shadow, who was still a streetkid himself at the time. Of course who knows how many other cats impregnated Sally, as we named her, at the same time, but Murray looks just like his dad.

    We knew she had given birth (we were feeding her, but she was still pretty wild) but never did figure out where. None of the neighbours knew either. So we were rather touched when she presented them to us 8 weeks later.

    Anyway, there's more to the story, but Murray is still here... for now.

    1. Murray's been on my mind since you last wrote, Rozzie, I so very much feel for you. I've been telling Blackso about him to comfort him (B) but really I'm only trying to console myself. Actually my Blackso doesn't seem to be suffering much either, as your M doesn't appear so, but he's visibly frailer since he got those fits though he does try to act as though nothing ever happened. I don't know if you've continually now got to keep on eye on Murray and his activities. I take my little one out myself two or three times a day and stay outside watching him before bringing him in. Normally he would have gone out the window and to get down on the ground it would have involved his walking along a five-foot wall. But now his walk, even on level ground is so wobbly that I dare not trust him to 'cat-walk' along a narrow raised 'path' as if he falls it could likely be catastrophic (excuse the word!). So he now consumes even more of my time. I wonder if you're n the same position.
      Anyway, my further wishes are with you and the little one and I do hope that the treatment he has to undergo is as painless and as little discomforting as possible, and I look forward to hearing of how things are good. May it be looking up, even if the odds are against it.
      Thanks for his interesting history. I can tell you nothing at all about B save that he came from a house with half a dozen kitties and he was the one who decided to move house, for which I was flattered.
      Repeated best wishes to you and yours.

  4. Thanks again, Ray.

    Murray usually spends his days outdoors, either looking at the lorikeets we feed - who completely ignore him - I guess they know he's just too old and well fed to bother them, or just sitting in the yard. If it rains he sits under the house.

    Unfortunately he doesn't get on with Johnny, so spends his evenings and nights in the laundry. But for the last couple of days he has shown an interest in wanting to be in the main part of the house, so what Murray wants, Murray gets. (Johnny isn't allowed outside at all because he's an evil bugger. Those beautiful lorikeets would be nowt but a pile of feathers, sad to say, J also has form with passing cats. Our Murray has had serious vet visits in the past due to Evil Bugger Johnny as well. There was a time when I wanted J put down but soft hearted Mark refused so we simply keep the Evil Bugger away from Murray. He seems to know that Shadow (our very senior citizen at about 21) is the boss though.
    So J is spending his days in the bathroom. There is a bowl of water for him but no, ahem, litter tray. We have an occasional accident in the shower recess but Mark assures me he's happy to clean it up. Heh.
    I should admit to not being totally filled with hatred towards the little pest. On a good day you might even hear me address him as "darling". Okay, most days, because he has become a sweet little evil bugger.

    Stand by for more news tomorrow, Ray, and give sweet Blackso some more hugs and kisses from Downunder.

    1. I'm keeping Blackso informed about Murray, Rozzie, through smoochy cuddles, hugs and gentle strokes, and he's responding. I think if he recalls what he's been through, which is a big 'if', he dismisses it as a bad dream. He's trying to act as though he's as he was before it happened, but I can see the difference and I'm not going to take my eyes off him, even if it means being unable to go out for a max of a couple of hours, and missing films I would otherwise have seen. But it's a question of priorities until the situation is resolved one way or another - and it's not hard to guess which way is more likely.
      Anyway, I'll look out for further news re Murray, hoping there'll yet be some hope in it.
      All the best once again.

  5. Hello Ray. I came to see if you had seen a film I am going to this week. Then I read about Blackso. I am feeling for you because I know how I love my cats and you love yours. I hope Blackso gets better. Rachel

    1. Thanks very much, Rachel. Blackso hasn't had another nasty turn for five days now (I'm counting the days) but is looking weakened and I'm still giving him a daily tablet. I'm watching over him all the time now, which is consuming even more of my life than he did before. But what can one do when you love him so much? You know that as well as I do.
      I hope your own little furry friends have as long and as trouble-free a life as my B has had. Perhaps they already have.
      Thanks once more.

  6. Thank you again, Ray.

    Well we have our answer about Murray. And while in one way it's not as bad as we feared, it's no better either.

    He doesn't have cancer or heart disease. But what he does have is infectious peritonitis. His white blood count is very high, meaning he has a raging infection, and the fluid in his belly tells us - well, the vet - where it is. It is neither curable nor treatable.

    For now, since our little man seems reasonably comfortable and is eating well, we just carry on. Rhondda (our wonderful vet) said there is no point removing the fluid since it would come straight back. But as an old nurse I already knew that. I also know that it seems easier to carry around for a 4 legged person than a 2 legged one. Sitting, for example, is much easier for a pussy than a human with a large tummy full of fluid,

    We know the time will come very soon when we must say goodbye to our dear friend, but we will just enjoy the time we have.

    Thank you so much for the support you have given me. I do appreciate it. I just hope Blackso stays as well as he can be for a good long time yet.

    1. So sad, Rozzie. If that's the way I feel for Murray I can only imagine what it's like for you, knowing that he's suffering while you're helpless to alleviate it. I always think that our inability to communicate directly with animals puts our pain on a different level (one mustn't say 'worse') than with humans we can it out talk with - the result being that, with no outlet to express it, we have to hold back and internalise our hurt.
      I desperately wish your little one as little discomfort as I'm wishing for my Blackso (currently sleeping in the kitchen after I took him outside for half an hour). I know just how witnessing his plight will be eating you up inside. Tell him, please, how much he's valued on the other side of the world - and please give him my blessings in the form of comforting, gentle strokes.
      My thoughts will continue to be with both of you until and after I hear from you again.
      Thanks for keeping me updated despite the pain you're going through.

  7. As a whisky-lover this sounds fascinating.

    1. I think you'd need more than a few gulps before you even start to watch it, which can only improve it.

  8. Our beloved Murray died today.

    (And of course I'm weeping as I'm writing this.) Mark has just returned from the vet with his dear little body, and will shortly be digging his wee grave in the yard. That will make number 5 in all...

    Dear Murray, he went downhill so fast towards the end, so we knew what we had to do.

    But it was a peaceful end to a long and happy life. That sounds a bit trite, but it really is true. RIP, my darling boy.

    1. Oh, Rozzie. So very, VERY sorry to hear this. The news one dreads while hoping against hope that somehow it won't happen. I can only imagine how devastated you must feel. I feel like I've just taken a punch in the stomach, and my heart will be heavy the rest of today.
      It's only partial consolation that he went peacefully and, I'm sure, as comfortably as you could make him, but even so I know the loss has scarred you. Poor Murray. I don't believe in an afterlife but if I'm wrong it would be grossly unjust if you didn't meet up with him again - as well as your previous four lovelies.
      My thoughts are with you profoundly.
      Very best wishes.

  9. I'm so sorry, Ray, I didn't even think to ask after Blackso. I hope no news is good news?

    1. Thanks for asking, R. Blackso is getting along as fairly as could be oped, though I know it's only a matter of time now - and there can't be that much of it left.
      He 'walks' very doddery, though has ad no further fit now since Wed of last week. Still taking tablets which are about to run out, but he's doing okay. Got to physically take him outside two or three times a day (otherwise he'd go mad!) and watch him lope about a do his business before bringing him in. He takes up a lot more of my time now but I'm not complaining. I'm just appreciating every minute he's still with me.
      Thanks again for asking amid all your own sadness.

  10. I am hoping Blackso is doing better! Very hard to watch our beloveds struggle. (And good thoughts to your friend Rozzie about the passing of Murray. So very difficult but well said: a peaceful end to a long & happy life.)

    Your thoughts on 2 new movies: The Big Sick and Victoria & Abdul. My kids & I are going to see the first when it opens here in a few weeks. It has gotten excellent reviews (although I am not remotely a Ray Romano fan). I am, however, a huge Judi Dench fan & will definitely see the Victoria movie b/c of her...

    Best wishes!

    1. Thanks for your first para, Elle. I'm afraid Blackso is going through another bad patch today - no strength in his legs to walk, though he still hasn't had another fit. Trouble is, apart from that, which must be very frustrating for him (I have to carry him) everywhere, he's not obviously suffering in other respects. He's still eating heartily. If he was clearly in pain it would make the dreaded decision easier to make, though terribly difficult for me to live down. But he still seems perky, bless him. It all adds to my anguish. We;ll see him he gets on the rest of today and tomorrow, and if there's no change I'll probably have to take him to the vet again on Mon. It's exhausting me mentally.

      'The Big Sick' I'd ever heard of but I now see that it opens here only at the end of next month (same date for you?). Looking at the synopsis, I can't be sure that it'll get a general release here, though I hope it does as it sounds interesting.
      'Victoria and Abdul' (which I DO know about and will definitely see) doesn't open here until mid-Sept, so a three month wait at least for that.

  11. Elle: thank you so much for your good thoughts.

    Ray: I am really sorry to hear that bonny Blackso is not doing well. He really has been putting you tbrough the wringer, you poor love. I shall wait to hear what Monday brings. {{{Hugs}}}

  12. Thanks yet again, Rozzie. Yes, I'm feeling emotionally drained. I won't go through the most recent details as your own state will still be red-raw after your own loss, and the last thing that would do you any good would be to hear of somebody else's trials. Mine is no worse than what you've just been through, but I'm nevertheless thankful for your thoughts. If there's anything new to report either way I'll let you know.

  13. Hey Ray, hope you are well. I will be making my blog private for one week, so I can show my blog friends the transformation of the house as some people have expressed an interest in it. not wanting the outerworld strangers to make troll comments, if you would like to view it, please leave me a comment with the email address that you sign into your blog with. You will then be able to view the posts. it will only be private for the week and then I will take the posts down and carry on as normal.

    1. Thanks for telling me, Sol. It would have caused quite some concern. I'll leave aside viewing your property and wait till you return, and then look at anything you want to share with the world. 'See' you after a week. Hope all goes well.