9 July 2017



This brilliant film-about-film-making is kind of a difficult one to describe. It watches like a non-fiction documentary, which I thought it was at first. Gradually, you realise that it's actually fictional, but very much based on true life. Confused yet? Haha. Let me explain what's really going on here, that's if I can...!

Okay, so Charlie is an independent film-maker in this film, see? I told ye it was a film-about-film-making. He's marvellously played by Charlie Gormley, a chap who looks a lot like the guy from ABBA who didn't have the beard. Bjorn Ulvaeus, I think, as opposed to Benny Anderson. Charlie's look, and the look of the entire film, is just soooo delightfully 'Seventies. 

I like a nice bit of ABBA too, come to think of it, though there's none in this film. Dancing Queen and The Winner Takes It All and all that jazz. No, not 'ALL THAT JAZZ,' the song from the famous musical. What I really mean is all that stuff. Stuff. Stuff is what I mean.

Anyway, Charlie is a passionate and committed film-maker who makes short films and documentaries but now he wants to break into feature-film-making. It's not just pie-in-the-sky, either. He's got an idea and a fully-written script and a good writer, a chap called Neville, already lined up and ready to go.

The film is called 'GULF & WESTERN' and it's about the Scottish oil boom, about which that other film LOCAL HERO was made by Bill Forsyth in 1983. To me, it sounds kind of boring and not really the kind of film I'd choose to watch myself, but Charlie's super-excited about it and he's pitching his idea to various big- and small- names in the film industry against the backdrop of the 1977 Edinburgh Film Festival.

The film is meant to relay to us the utterly soul-destroying process of getting your idea for a film or the script you've written to be made into an actual film by Hollywood or anyone else who's willing to take it on. No-one really wants to know because they're already up to their eyes in stuff they're actually interested in. Unknown or little-known film-makers with a script to sell are just a pain in the ass to other people, seemingly.

LONG SHOT satirizes the process to the point where we, the viewers, can actually smell the bullshit that's being directed at poor Charlie and Neville as they tout their wares around various directors, producers and everyone and anyone who might have access to a few bob to make the film. 

You practically have to prostitute yourself to sell your script, in fact the script-touting business is a lot like the prostitution business, the oldest game in the world apart from the selling of time-shares. I believe there's evidence now to suggest that this annoying practice existed as far back as caveman times, haha.

Charlie and Neville have to be endlessly patient, polite, accommodating and smiley while they're being patronised, sniggered at and given the brush-off by various film people. They spend the whole movie charging madly around Edinburgh chasing up film peeps while we sit there thanking our lucky stars that we only have to watch the bloody films, we don't actually have to make 'em as well.

I really liked the character of Annie Zelda, the typical 'Seventies chick with the longish hair and the cigarette perpetually hanging nonchalantly between her lips who seems to enjoy going along with Charlie and Neville for the ride. Maybe it's all the excitement and the glamour of the movie business that attracts her, haha. I'm only joking. The excitement and glamour don't set in until long after the film's been made, apparently.

I was kind of disappointed at the total lack of sex and nudity in the film. Charlie and Neville are both married men with kids in the film, which shouldn't necessarily have prevented either of them from making jiggy-jiggy with the liberal and liberated Annie, but apparently neither of them were so inclined. Shame, that. 'Seventies rumpy-pumpy is always so uninhibited and they nearly always show you everything, haha. Full frontal nudity, the works.

John Boorman, director father of Charley Boorman the motorbiking enthusiast and adventurer chum of Ewan McGregor, stars here as himself. He's kind of acting like he doesn't
really want to be pestered by 'GULF & WESTERN' Charlie, but he's such a nice guy that he has to be all polite and encouraging about the script and he's saying stuff like the story has great potential and strong characters and stuff.

It's so frustrating for Charlie (film-maker Charlie, not Charley, the son Charley) when he has to agree to John Boorman's 'giving him a call' in a few weeks after he's been to America, when he hasn't even gone to America yet.

It's so heart-scaldingly discouraging for Charlie, but what else can he do? You can't put a gun to someone's head and say 'make my movie, a**hole!' Maybe if you could behave like that, you'd get a lot more done, snigger. Of course I'm only joking here, before everyone starts getting all up in arms about it, haha.

Sam Fuller, the 'name director' whose work was enjoying a successful retrospective at the 1977 Edinburgh Film Festival, never puts in an appearance here but Wim Wenders, 'Another Director,' does. He seems cute, quite sexy and gentle. I so would, if you know what I mean, heh-heh-heh. Ooooh-er, I'm friskier than usual today.

Susannah York, on the other hand, is really annoying. She reminds me of women I know in real life who really get on my nerves. Mel Calman's animated short film called 'ARROW,' by the way, is both hilarious and baffling. You simply must see it.

The guy who lectures in 'sexual politics' at the University of Paris seems like a right chancer to me. Talking about 'hugging and kissing' to impressionable, gullible women so that they'll sleep with him, more like. Anyone can say that they're an expert on hugging and kissing and deliver a lecture on it while wearing a tweed jacket with leather 'teacher' patches on the elbows. Bleedin' chancer.

Anyway, this bitingly funny showbiz satire of a Scottish film-about-film-making is out now on special DVD and Blu-Ray release from the British Film Institute FLIPSIDE. 

LONG SHOT is the 34th release from the BFI FLIPSIDE label, a label which rescues weird and wonderful British films from obscurity and presents them in new high quality editions on DVD and Blu-Ray. That's what it says on the promotional material anyway, and promos never lie.

LONG SHOT is now my favourite ever film-about-film-making, so that makes it two now that I've seen, the other one being DAY FOR NIGHT by Francois Truffaut which I reviewed in 2016. Eeeeee, that were dead good an' all.

The film comes with a load of enjoyable extra features as well, which is always nice because it makes you feel like you're getting good value for money. I'm off now to work on my own film script. Oh, I never told you about my film script, did I? It's t'riffic and it's really well written, though I say so myself.

It's about a teenage boy who goes to wizard school with a bunch of his friends and they have some super wizard wheezes there, learning how to make magic spells and playing a smashing game on their broomsticks where they chase a thing and stuff. Stuff like that. It's just mainly a lot of stuff like that, really.

It practically writes itself, my script. It's so easy to write, in fact, that it's almost like I've seen it somewhere before. In a dream, maybe. A lot of great franchises start off as dreams, did you ever notice that? Anyway, I expect you lot are dead jealous of my script. Well, don't try and steal it. It's mine. Patent pending...

I'll give you a call about it right after I talk to Benelux, whom I'm pretty sure is a person. He seemed dead keen on my idea the last time we discussed it. The only thing is that I'd have to find a 'name director' to commit to the project before Benelux will put his hand in his pocket and his money where his mouth is. I'm having a lot of trouble getting him on the phone lately, too. I think he's in Switzerland or somewhere at the moment, somewhere like that...

BFI releases are available from all good home entertainment retailers or by mail order from the BFI Shop. Tel: 020 7815 1350 or online at www.bfi.org.uk/shop


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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