Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Don't Slate A Cake And Eat It Too.

"The cake that was ordered and the cake that arrived" - Reddit User OfficialBigHead

Why we SHOULD laugh at the "hot mess" and not be shamed for it.
Facebook news feeds shared it, the Guardian shared it, Cosmo shared it as well as People Magazine, The Daily Mail and even James Burns Consulting (@jburnsconsult) with all of his 913 Twitter followers found it worthy of a mention in between consulting whoever he consults.

In fact, if this is your first encounter with 'the cake' then I'm afraid you're immensely unpopular online and everyone has hidden your profile from their more active social lives.

For those that wish for a unbiased recap, here it is.
A reddit post shared an image showing two contrasting pieces of cake art designed in the form of Frozen's Elsa. It was posted under the reddit sub forum r/funny and in no time at all, the proverbial hell broke loose. The viral story then took a more sombre turn when it was revealed that the bad cake was innocently copied from the good cake by a not-for-profit charity organisation called Icing Smiles who provide delicious treats for kids and families impacted by severe illnesses. Icing Smiles even wrote a heartfelt post defending the cake and the reason for it's existence.
As if by magic, the mood reversed and everyone and their dog was applauding the cake-fail and the reason for its creation. Icing Smiles even got in the action and explained that although the final product was "a hot mess", there were mitigating circumstances behind the final design and that they are proud of it regardless of negative opinion. The change in the majority of people's social posts is my bone of contention here.

Take @sam_Jordan80 for instance. Yesterday this was posted...

Parents order a 'Frozen' Elsa cake and end up with this... https://t.co/a5ofteVtTe
— Samantha Jordan (@Sam_Jordan80) July 6, 2015
followed by this slight alteration 24 hours later...

Turns out that the 'ugly' Elsa cake was made by a children's charity....Awwww...'https://t.co/GkwwjHIeJZ
— Samantha Jordan (@Sam_Jordan80) July 7, 2015
But there are some people who aren't afraid to state the obvious...

I commend that woman for her efforts, obviously, but I refuse to feel bad for laughing at something that's obviously laughable.
— ℓινι(@ohhbee) July 7, 2015
...and what better place to give my opinion. It is "bottom line scary" and it should never have left the darkened transit van that it was transported in. I too applaud the unfortunate creator for admitting that it was a "hot mess" but the change in opinion amongst the majority of the internet community is laughable and is actually quite terrifying in showing the unlimited power it holds in altering perceptions.
Take the @England tweetgate scandal earlier this week as another example. Granted it was amateurish but boil it down and it was an out of context sentence pulled from a longer more in depth article (which was included as a link) which seemed to suggest that the highly talented national women's football team's occupations were simply being mother's, daughter's and sister's. Minutes later and it was #everydaysexism heaven. The offending post was pulled down and I'm sure the moderator was promptly punished but this form of swift net justice must end before we end up apologising for everything. the art of tone is not yet available on smartphones and tablets because if it was, most of the PR disasters we see unfold would be non existent.
Cake-Gate started as all gates start. Someone opened it. If you don't wish to open a gate, one top tip is don't publish a picture online. Has everyone just forgotten that the internet is essentially just a massive night club and that if you do anything remotely strange or rotten in a dark corner of it, at least one other person will spot it and tell the rest of the crowd what you're up to?
So now I'm being told that I'm not allowed to hate the cake and that we must remember that the cake was born out of love and therefore exempt from parody and mockery.
If I made a cake right now, I wouldn't know where to begin. It would look like the Ghostbusters Stay-Puft marshmellow man took a shit and then stepped in it. But I'm not a decorative cake maker  and I don't claim to be. The mother of #ElsaCakeFail is somewhat of a professional and for that she should be mocked. If you ordered a cake resembling a Disney Princess and you received that monstrosity, would you ask for your money back? Damn right you would. I'd ask for money even if I didn't pay for it and I won it in a charity raffle. It's bad and don't you listen to anyone who tells you it's not.

Adam Yates

Monday, 6 July 2015

Movie Review - Spy

In 2011, director Paul Feig changed the landscape for female-centric comedies with the smash hit 'Bridesmaids' and with Spy, he sticks with his muse in Melissa McCarthy and turns his attention to the James Bond trademarked secret agent genre.

McCarthy plays Susan Cooper, a timid desk agent for the CIA who essentially directs her suave field agent Bradley Fine, played by Jude Law, by way of earpiece and Periscope style camera. They both depend on each other with their heightened skills but when Fine is anything but, Cooper steps away from the desk and dons a variety of unflattering disguises to foil a plot across Europe involving a femme fatale and a suitcase nuke.

Spoof spy comedies aren't entirely a new concept in Hollywood with the likes of 'Top Secret' and the 'Austin Powers' franchise not to mention the god awful 'Johnny English' films. Spy's take on the genre does involve counts of slapstick, the pinnacle involving a scooter pursuit into heavy roadworks but for the most part, the action is stylish and rooted in post 'Brosnan Bond' reality. 

Speaking of Bond, the comparisons aren't subtle and don't pretend to be. The credits sequence is bang on the money, the gadget quartermaster full of snarky wit and Jude Law's character is not too far away from what we would have been treated to if he had gotten the role of 007 over Daniel Craig.

The secret weapon in Spy is in the casting. Rose Byrne continues to add to her comedic repertoire as the insulting villain, West Wing alumni Alison Janney assumes the semi serious role of M and there are supporting roles for Miranda Hart and Peter Serafinowicz as best friend and sleazy accomplice respectively. There is however a wildcard that this film decides to play and that card is Jason Statham. He hasn't utilised broad comedy chops this heavily before although earlier roles in 'Snatch' and 'Crank' can attest that the skills were lying under the surface ready to emerge. Those skills are 'cranked' up to 11 and at times you'll only be able to hear his hilarious lines as your eyes will be doused in tears to be able to see them grunted out. A scene where 'the stath' reels off his many heroic accomplishments is arguably the highlight of the entire movie. 

That being said, if you happen to choose to watch Spy, you are essentially saying you are a fan of Melissa McCarthy and if you are, you're unlikely to be disappointed. Her timing in delivery is a science and her charm can only be compared to current box office king Chris Pratt.

On the whole, Spy has its flaws but they don't take too much away from the finished article. At times I found the plot a bit confusing which is incredible for a spy comedy. Essentially I found myself unsure whether an essential character was good or bad. The third act also wasn't on par with the momentum with the rest of the movie. The final minor flaw is one that is becoming increasingly normal in modern movies...running time. All of Feig's directorial efforts run at around 2 hours and for a comedy that can be an extremely long period of time. Judd Apatow has the same disease albeit with much more serious symptoms and it is invariably and simply linked to the fact that because writer-directors are too close to their own material to trim the fat.

In a Nutshell

The mission is a success thanks to a great field team led by McCarthy, Byrne and Statham however logistical issues from Langley result in collateral damage.

Adam Yates