Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Pump Up The Volume: The Accidental Bus Driver's Alternative Guide To Hollywood Blockbusters

Returning to Merseyside down the M6 on a Sunday afternoon is a trouble free experience. The school I am taking is pleasant and well behaved. The teachers too. The children are shattered following their exertions at the outward bound centre. But they are a picture of health. When they arrived they looked like the average urban children, pale but determined. Now they were full of life and enthusiasm. Their eyes sparkled, their cheeks had a rosy hue and they smiled constantly. It is amazing what three days in the Cumbrian countryside can do, regardless of the persistent rain.

They settled down to watch a DVD.

There are two pull down TV screens in the bus. One above the driver's head and one halfway down the bus in the middle of the aisle. They have to conform with regulations which does not allow the driver to see the screen from his seat, for obvious reasons.

But you can hear every word, sound, explosion. There is no escape as most schools pump up the volume to the maximum and most films they watch are the latest Hollywood CGI blockbuster. The bus shakes, rattles and vibrates at each explosion or bang. This time the dozing teacher in the front seat was so shocked that she literally took off vertically and nearly hit her head on the overhead lockers.

As a placebo to keep my mind on the road I have devised a two part game:

1. I mentally mark the movie out of ten as to how good the dialogue is. It is surprising how revealingly poor most film scripts are and few make it above a score of three. From the oscillating waves that I feel through the steering wheel, you know the CGI effects must be first rate. But the speech - funny sounds sad, profound sounds shallow, romantic sounds like schmaltz and the serious points are patronising or condescending.

Conclusion: most Hollywood blockbusters are unadulterated garbage and I wouldn't speak to my dog in the same way as the actors speak to each other, deliveringsuch a plethora of moronic lines.

2. The use of the phrase "Come On".

It drives me demented. Every blockbuster, at some stage, makes an actor produce the line "Come On." Usually it is an American actor so it sounds like 'Cum An', 'C'mn' or even 'Carrrrrrr', depending on who they are being chased by. Narnia, Titanic, James Bond - you name it - they're all at it. So any film which stays 'Come On' free gets The Accidental Bus Driver's version of the Croix de Guerre. The list is small.

I exit the motorway to another "Come On". This time it is different. It is a camp English Estuary accent failing miserably to perform a Texan drawl. He comes across more as Austin Powers working down at the local Fish 'n Chip shop.

Oh, come on now, do behave.

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