Tag Archives: cinema

Wonderkid? Wonderful. Brentford, Sky, Mark and Natalie give us all some food for thought.

1 Mar

Are there any scarier words in the English language than, ‘Issues film’? Well, perhaps “Rail replacement bus service” or “Coming up next, Mrs Browns Boys”  but the thought of a film highlighting any issue in society (regardless of the subject matter itself) isn’t one that is, if we’re being honest, most of us would probably make a beeline to ahead of an ‘Escape To Victory’ or ‘Moonraker’. Who would substitute entertainment and escapism for self-reflection and being forced to think? Yet with Brentford FC already showing their support of Football v Homophobia month and promoting the Rainbow laces campaign (amongst other things), the club have now taken another step forward whilst helping to challenge such ideas.

Last night’s screening of the film WONDERKID, in conjunction with Sky Sports at their on site cinema – looking at the issue of homophobia in football – was simply invigorating. And, let’s be clear, thoroughly entertaining. “Thought provoking stuff” said our host for the evening Natalie Sawyer on more than one occasion. And wasn’t she right?

Look, I’m not going to overly preach about homophobia or LGBT rights. In my eyes it ’s very black and white. Anybody who thinks cowardly, hateful comments and actions as a response to something as irrelevant as somebody’s sexual preference are appropriate – whether in person or on social media  – needs to step back into the Dark Ages. Lecture over.

However, it was so refreshing to see our own conceptions challenged in the film, to hear the comments from the audience and, perhaps most importantly, sit in on the post-screening discussion which included, amongst others, Sophie Cook from Bournemouth and our own Mark Devlin.

img_5935

Natalie leads a thought provoking discussion

Mark quite rightly noting the good work already being done by Brentford in this field, something which it is still in its infancy. Talking of how, with one supporter already banned, the aim is ‘zero tolerance’. Zero. Tolerance. That’s a big statement to make but a very pleasing one to hear.

Mark spoke of how he is looking to encourage fans to report instances of abuse – for example through the ‘kick it out’ app. Of how great it was to receive emails praising the club for the lack of any of that ‘oh so tedious’ (my words) chanting against Brighton this season.

Fairplay to Mark, too, for noting the club has been accused of simply ’ticking a box’ in the past when approaching such issues. Whether this is true or not, we are where we are and, in my personal opinion, that is well ahead of so many other clubs – both in terms of the attitude and display from the vast majority of our own fans aswell as our own ambitions. The question being how do we push on from here? Mark, I guess that’s why you are the chief executive and I’m just the numpty on the terrace.

I sincerely hope the panel discussion is shared on Brentford’s social media platforms today. It really is well, well worth a look, especially some brave, yet also wonderfully positive input, from Sophie. As is the film (starring Chris Mason as ‘wonderkid’ McGuire) which I came out of as intrigued in how the plot would continue as in the subject matter itself.

img_5941

Natalie Sawyer with Wonderkid ‘McGuire’.

Huge thanks to everybody at the football club and Sky Sports for last night’s event. How nice to see all our high profile club figures and groups represented. As well as Natalie and Mark, amongst others also present were film director Rhys Chapman, the LGBeeT group, Chairman Cliff Crown, the B Team, many of the first XI, the media team, Beesotted, BIAS and Brentford guru Tom Moore from Get West London. As were the fans, of course.

And, likewise, a special thanks to Cliff who gave an insight as to what he had been up to this weekend. The previous column noted his appearance at Wembley stadium for the EFL final, sitting at the front of the Royal Box in his Brentford jacket. Well, rather than a hitherto unheard of connection to the monarchy, this was due to his role on the board of the EFL.

How good that the club have a voice in such a place of influence. With the subject matter of homophobia one at the forefront of our discussion, this is more than timely.Keep up the great work, Cliff

And, of course, keep up the great work Brentford.

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-09-28-25

Nick Bruzon  

Advertisements

On a day of incredible shocks, have we found a new ‘best worst ever’ ?

19 Feb

With no Brentford action over this weekend there’s no real Championship action to talk about today. Instead, there’s a flashback to yesterday’s column looking at the FA Cup and the best/worst of football films where, it would be fair to say, one has most definitely got away. First up though, Lincoln City and their incredible FA Cup win at Burnley.

What can you say? It was the archetypal cup tie and a captivating game from start to finish. Andre Gray and James Tarkowski were amongst those left looking very much non-league (please, stop sniggering) whilst Joey Barton’s second half collapse in the box was a piece of football acting so bad it made When Saturday Comes, one of the films under discussion in yesterday’s column,  seem positively Shakespearean in comparison.

Here’s hoping the FA take some retrospective action. It was a terrible example for any young children who may have been watching etc etc etc and a chance missed by the BBC. Whilst, rightly, focussing on Lincoln’s incredible triumph Barton was mostly glossed over. Whilst he was discussed, his antics would be described on Match of the Day as “Just Joey’s game” – see also, his shove in the face of Terry Hawkridge.

It may be “Just Joey’s game”. It’s not the FA’s, though. Old habits seemingly just can’t go away as the whole sorry performance was glossed over. No irony has been lost today with this tweet subsequently resurfacing.

screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-10-26-18

What a performance from Lincoln. How nice to be talking about City rather than Red Imps of Gibraltar on these pages. And what a disaster for Burnley. If only they’d played like that when Marinus took Brentford to Turf Moor last season. Come to think of it, the way we played that day, we’d still have gone down .

Marinus unicorn

Turf Moor last season. Any excuse to crowbar this one in – love that unicorn

It was a wonderful cup upset with another one appearing on these very pages. One of those rare instances where yours truly has actually called something correctly. It won’t last although, whilst I’m on something of a streak, let’s tempt fate and back Brentford to beat Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night.

screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-10-23-36

The other topic under discussion yesterday was the portrayal of football on screen. The good, the bad and those efforts which crossed over into both camps. Yet one was missed. One I’d never, ever heard of yet now seen, am giving serious consideration to tracking down if the trailer is anything to go by.

Big thanks to supporter Marc Loewenthal for sharing, this : Hot Shot.

Coming soon. To a betamax near you

The 94 second trailer features, amongst other things : temporarily washed up Pay-lay (that’s Pele to you and I), an up and coming hot head,  an 80’s synth pop soundtrack and a training montage.

A training montage ! A. Training. Montage. In a trailer ! How good must this film be that they can afford to offer up this most iconic of sequences in the teaser sequence?

With a script that seems hammier than Joey Barton’s acting, the producers may aswell have just lifted it straight from the bucket marked , “One was a cop who played it straight. The other wasn’t afraid to bend the rules to get results. Yet, somehow, this unlikely pairing could just be the ones to crack the case and save the day

Nice one , Marc. And thank you.

Good luck Lincoln City in Sunday’s draw. As for me, I’m looking forward to Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday.

Can Brentford bounce back?

Nick Bruzon

What to do on FA Cup weekend? The best (and worst) of football film plus an offer for the fans.

18 Feb

With Brentford having gone missing in action at Chelsea last month, it means we’ve got a free weekend. Instead of a league game against Wolves at Griffin Park, our would be visitors host our FA Cup conquerors in a fifth round encounter that has all those classic ingredients to serve up a potential potato skin. As for Bees fans, we’ll need to put the tinfoil back to regular use and find something else to occupy us until we visit Wednesday on Tuesday. Sheffield, that is.

img_5685-2

For Brentford fans, the tin foil has now reverted to normal use until next season

So? What to do ? Of course, there are still the televised games. These include the aforementioned encounter at Molineux aswell as the one at Turf Moor where Andre Gray, James Tarkoswski (is he still even there?) et al provide the Goliath role as Lincoln City pay Burnley a lunchtime visit.

That one’s well worth a watch, purely for the novelty factor of seeing Burnley playing the role of giants. Yet, at the same time, I’ve got a sneaky feeling this will be the one where we have a weekend shock. Whilst the ties at Wolves and Sutton United are the obvious TV draws, expect the top class opponents, and also Arsenal, to go through. Yet with motivation, form and the entire country behind them, Lincoln look remarkable value.

screen-shot-2017-02-18-at-08-11-04

But if watching Chelsea is a painful reminder of what might have been then could I suggest an alternative? A football film. Regular readers, should such a thing exist, will know of my love of these. The pinnacle of the genre being Escape To Victory.

This has it all. Actors playing football, badly. Footballers acting,very badly. Michael Caine alongside Pele. Sylvester Stallone sharing screen time with Bobby Moore. John Wark’s moustache is worth the entrance fee alone. Come for the facial hair; stay for the Ardiles flick.

Pele-Escape-to-Victory

Pele scores as the Allies escape to victory.

Yet for every Escape to Victory and, to a lesser extent, The Damned United, Fever Pitch, Mike Bassett: England Manager or even TV’s Dream Team, is a Green Street, a Soccer Dog (and the even weaker sequel, Soccer Dog: European Cup) or The Goal Trilogy. The football film is a veritable minefield of weak acting, poor script and overly laboured cliché.

Aside from Luis Figo doing ‘Just for Men’ (still got it, Figo) the only on screen football to transcend both good and bad is, perhaps, When Saturday Comes. It is a film so loaded with cliché it is fit to burst. Hard drinking park footballer Jimmy  – played by 37 year old Sean Bean  – eventually gets his break for Sheffield United after stuffing up his first trial before taking on Manchester United in an FA Cup semi final.

It is a film so loaded with inaccuracy (an FA Cup semi final at The Blades home ground, in the middle of winter, being just one of many) that you have to wonder just who gave this script the green light. And, of course, it is a film with Emily Lloyd displaying the worst Irish accent this side of Alan Partridge telling TV execs, “There’s more to Oireland, dan dis” .

Yet this underrated classic is so bad it’s brilliant. It goes beyond nonsense and into the realm of unintentional comedy gold. No mean feat for what, on paper, should be a complete car crash of a movie.

screen-shot-2017-02-18-at-07-47-30

If you haven’t seen this, you haven’t lived.

And thus talk of football films brings us, with all the subtly of an Alan McCormack challenge, bang up to date and back to Griffin Park.

Next Tuesday, 28th February,  sees Brentford and Sky Sports joining forces for an exclusive screening of the film Wonderkid.  The short film looks at one of football’s biggest issues – that of homophobia in the modern game – with Brentford doing their part to help raise awareness.

It is a cause we’ve always looked to promote and now the Bees are tackling this from a different angle, through the medium of cinema. The football film is a tricky enough genre to get right as it is, let alone with the added pressure of a serious issue. Yet, at the same time, I can’t wait to see how this goes and how it is received.

Full information about the event, including how to get free tickets, is on the club website now. See you there.

wonderkid-web-1-640x480277-3573631_613x460

Nick Bruzon

Could this be next season’s away kit ?

9 Oct

Another month, another international break. Such are the ‘problems’ facing Brentford as life in the Championship means we now have a bit more spare time on our hands. And, as ever, the mind starts to wander.

No better case in point than yesterday when, on a trip to White City Westfield , whilst failing to spot any footballers lining up outside Nandos, I did stumble across an exhibition of film memorabilia – all of which is to be auctioned later this month.

International break means Nandos is a footballer free zone

International break means Nandos is a footballer free zone

The regular reader may be aware that I am very much a fan of the ‘James Bond’ series of films. And, likewise, that Roger Moore stands head, shoulder and eyebrows above anyone else to have filled the role. Moore IS the best Bond. Fact.

So imagine my shock when I spotted THIS lurking amongst the props to be sold.

If anybody has a few thousand pounds spare....?

If anybody has a few thousand pounds spare….?

Way, way beyond the budget of a mere mortal such as myself. That said if any multi millionaires are reading, imagine how good this would look in the corner of Stripes bar.

But then my imagination went into overdrive. The other topic to regularly feature in this column is that of the ‘comedy’ football kit. Usually emanating from Spain, we’ve seen everything from Broccoli to lager and octopus tentacle to butler motifs incorporated into a novelty away shirt.

Who doesn't love a comedy shirt? Or a montage?

Who doesn’t love a comedy shirt? Or a montage?

Then it hit me. Why not combine both? Especially as Brentford, having dabbled with yellow, blue and black in recent years, don’t have a ‘regular’ away scheme. To the best of my knowledge, no English team has gone for one of the ‘eccentric’ away shirts (although the Hull City AFC ‘tiger stripe’ home remains a favourite). As such, why not take the chance to become trailblazers?

Could the Bees, now our contract with Adidas has been extended, go for a Safari style away shirt? Not so much ‘wild beasts’ but a tan or green in the Roger Moore Style.

Perhaps with ‘Nobody does it better’ playing over the Griffin Park tannoy for the big unveiling.

Could the Bees tap into the 'eccentric' shirt market - Roger style?

Could the Bees tap into the ‘eccentric’ shirt market – Roger style?

One can dream. And in the short term, I’ll await my medication.

The other shirt news, this time genuine, to reach me from ‘sources’ is in regards to a new Brentford Tee shirt now on sale. Penalty success is such a rare thing at Griffin Park that one of our most momentous (not THAT one) has been recorded for posterity.

Want the chance to relive Alan Judge tasting the net against Preston as we went up last campaign? You can do so here…

A penalty to be celebrated

A penalty to be celebrated

And finally, just a polite request for your help with a reminder about the FBA and FSF Football blogging awards. With Beesotted and The Last Word both up for nomination, it would be massively appreciated if any reader could take 30 seconds to vote.

Beesotted are up in the ‘best video’ and ‘best club’ category . The Last Word in ‘best club’ and best ‘new’ . The work of Beesotted is, of course, legendary, and I wish them luck as they look to make the final shortlist.

It would be great if we could have a couple of Bees going ‘head to head’ at a national level – and you can nominate here.

Matthew Benham and Roy help lift the mood as Gibraltar are bracketed.

8 Sep

Very much a day of mixed emotions yesterday as former Brentford goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny (now plying his trade with Arsenal) kept Gibraltar at bay in their EURO 2016 opener against Poland. And by kept at bay, I mean barely had a look in as the boys from the Rock were on the wrong end of a 7(seven) – 0 bracketing.

Despite an even first half, it ended up being the sort of rout that nobody likes to see. It took Brentford owner Matthew Benham, who had earlier given a positive reaction to the ‘hot seat’ idea for Lionel Road, to fully lift my post match gloom with another view of one of his favourite football headlines.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

 Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

Lionel Road plans form as Gibraltar arrive on the Euro stage

7 Sep

No sooner had Brentford fan (or not, as it transpired)Cameron Diaz broken my heart this week than an idea has formed which could help bring her back into the fold. First, though, EURO 2016 qualifiers and if you aren’t bothered seeing Germany get brackets (seven) against Scotland then Sky Sports 3 has Gibraltar making their tournament debut on Sunday night.

The boys from The Rock have a ‘home’ fixture against Poland in a hugely significant game after finally becoming UEFA’s 54th member last May. I use ‘home’ loosely – the game will actually take place in Faro, Portugal – but it still promises to be an emotional experience for players, travelling supporters and those watching on TV.

It is a shame, from one respect, they’ll be rattling around a half empty stadium when a trip from Gibraltar to London would likely have been just as cost effective (thanks to the wonder of charter flights) and would have seen any number of stadia up for the task – international football at Griffin Park, perhaps?

But I digress – in a Group D that also sees World Champions Germany, the Republic of Ireland and the pool minnows, Scotland, it could be a fascinating qualification campaign. The smart money will be on Germany to walk it, of course, but I’m backing Gibraltar to pull off a shock this evening. And at 33-1 with some bookmakers for the win, worth a few quid…..?

Getting back to domestic matters, this week Cameron Diaz declared that although she wasn’t aware of The Bees existence, now that she is she’ll look into us.

As such, what better chance for the club to spring into action? To be quite honest, when it was announced last week that she’d be in London on a promotional tour, I’d have assumed the marketing and media chaps would have been all over it, anyway.

A new home shirt with ‘DIAZ, 9’ winging it’s way to her? A tour of Griffin Park? Perhaps an interview with Chris Wickham for Beesplayer?

But, it’s not too late. One thing I discovered whilst writing last season’s columns/book was an interesting fact about Swiss football. Whilst most people know that the home of domestic side ‘Young Boys’ is the ‘Stade de Suisse, Wankdorf’ what you may not be aware of is a unique feature – the, so called, ‘Hot Seat’.

The stadium has a solitary red chair amongst the other 31,999 black and yellow ones. It was the first one installed in the new ground (opened in 2005) and you can’t buy a ticket for it. Instead, a notable personality – usually linked to the club – sits there.

I love this idea and, as I’ve said before, think it would be fantastic if Brentford could try a similar scheme at Lionel Road. 19,999 red and white seats, and then one in a unique colour – or perhaps even yellow/black stripes?

In our case, the occupant could range from a deserving supporter to a local dignitary or ‘celebrity’ fan. (If nothing else, there’s a free programme article out of it every week).

And if we go down the latter route then what better guest to invite to use this ‘hot seat’ than Cameron Diaz? As Paul Davis told me on Twitter, “At least now we are on her radar”.

Mr. Benham, if you are reading (you never know) then how about it?

But even if Cameron does come good, she’s still down (down) the pecking order behind Rhino out of The Quo or Dean Gaffney.

Bees fans montage updated

Should Diaz be replaced on the celebrity Bees montage?

Nick Bruzon

Is Cameron Diaz a Brentford fan ? The answer, revealed

4 Sep

The question that Brentford fans have contemplated for years has finally been put directly to Cameron Diaz. And it has been answered.

On Thursday morning, Absolute Radio DJ Christian O’Connell played out his interview with the Hollywood A-lister and finally obtained the truth about her rumoured love of Brentford.

It’s a story that has been recounted for over a decade and quoted in sources as varied as The Daily Star, The Daily Mail and ESPN. We’d all seen the like of Rhino out of The Quo, Richard Archer and Natalie Sawyer at Griffin Park , but never Cameron.

The scene was set last night in the build up article. To be honest, as I wrote this I feared the worst but you never know. Stranger things have happened.

Sadly, however, not this strange. It seems that not only has she never been to Griffin Park but, in a gutbusting revelation, Diaz confessed , “It’s not that I’m not a fan of the Bees. I just really didn’t know they existed.

(l-r) Jason Segal, Christian O'Connell, Cameron Diaz. No Bees

(l-r) Jason Segal, Christian O’Connell, Cameron Diaz. No Bees

You can download the podcast which features the full interview from Absolute Radio and I-tunes. Failing that, the key exchange was as follows:

OC: There is a huge rumour that you are a football fan. Or Soccer as you guys call it now, which is getting bigger in America. And..a fan of Brentford. Is this true or not?

CD: You know, I think I would love to know more about football. I don’t.

OC: So you are not a fan of The Bees?

CD: Let me just tell you something. It’s not that I’m not a fan of the Bees. I just really didn’t know they existed.

You can see the FULL, unedited video version, below. 8m45 is the point where the killer blow is delivered

 

Noooooo. This was the ultimate celebrity kick in the nuts. Or in footballing terms, like hearing we’d sold Dean Holdsworth and replaced him with Murray Jones.

That said, there is still hope. Possibly. The interview concluded with Cameron’s admission that: “Now that I know they exist, I’m going to look into them. I’m going to Google them.”

I hope she does. And not just because I think that she’d like what she found. More, I’d love us to be the team supported by Cameron Diaz AND Dean Gaffney.

How often would you get chance to see those two together?

For now, a face is (sadly) crossed off The Bees montage

For now, a face is (sadly) crossed off The Bees montage

Christian O’Connell to solve the biggest Brentford mystery.

3 Sep

Throughout the history of mankind there have been many unsolved mysteries that have troubled philosophers and scholars alike.

Is Elvis really dead? How was Stonehenge built? What is the secret of Bermuda Triangle?

However, for Brentford fans there is one question amongst all that supercedes even the hit parade troubling prowess of Barry Manilow.

Our legion of celebrity supporters is many. From the world of TV we have Sky sports presenter Natalie Sawyer and Dean Gaffney (Wellard from Eastenders). Music fans are amply catered for with Rick Wakeman, New Road regular Rhino Edwards from Status Quo and Richard Archer out of Hard-fi amongst those cheering on the Bees. Even comedian Bradley Walsh has a Brentford connection, as a former professional at the club.

Beyond these, though, a single name transcends this entire list. Cameron Diaz.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

 Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.