A few years back the painfully unfunny and irretrievably stupid ‘sitcom’ The Big Bang Theory had an episode that revolved around one of the sociopathic man-children showing Raiders of the Lost Ark to a bemused girlfriend who made the comment “Indiana Jones has no role in the outcome of the story”, pointing out the fact that the hero of the story actually has very little impact on the film’s key plot object’s (some say ‘MacGuffin’) progress through the story. Indiana doesn’t keep possession of the Ark, he doesn’t defeat the villains and he’s a step behind them all the way…


What fascinates me most about the current state of the world is how ill prepared we were for it. Given the massive loss of life (in wealthier countries particularly) the catastrophic economic response (despite what reports might say, GDP is not a metric for individual finances and is a poor reflection on how people are able to afford to live day to day) and the response being politically driven rather than treating it as a public health crisis, one could be forgiven for thinking we had no warning whatsoever about the pandemic. But we did. Whether it was reports from…


Though I am a big fan of the books, I didn’t see the recent adaptation of The Knife of Never Letting Go that was snuck out recently, but by all accounts it was an abysmal failure with little merit to it. So how does a multimillion dollar movie project, with two of Hollywood’s most bankable stars, based on a best selling book franchise get dumped onto streaming services in an almost straight-to-video dismissal? Well it isn’t one reason that’s for sure.

The first problem it had was the source material. The Knife of Never Letting Go is the first book…


There are two scenes in Burn After Reading that perfectly sum up the movie and the Coen Brother’s style as Directors. Half way through the film a middle manager type at the CIA must take a report of everything that has happened in the movie thus far to his head of department. It is as he tries to explain the bizarre events to his clueless boss we are made fully aware of the stupidity of the characters and the callousness of those not directly affected by it. The same gag is used at the end where the bureaucratic stillness interrupts…


In my book Time’s Lie: The Narrativisation of Life I make clear my dislike for rules, and specifically formulas, for storytelling. The most notable of these is the much lauded Monomyth as defined in the book Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, which sets out the different moments in every story as being all exactly the same in their narrative purpose. On paper, I like things like this, something that decodes structures and the psychological roots of archetypes and trends. The Monomyth, however, since George Lucas credited Campbell’s tome with giving him the structure for Star Wars, has…


I played Assassin’s Creed II at a friends house not long after it came out and I loved it. I bought it, played it to death and subsequently played every AC game up until Origins which was when I jumped ship on the franchise. The reason for that being, since the needless ‘Reboot’ in Origins, they are no longer related to the original games in terms of purpose, gameplay or style. …


It’s easy to rag on the TV sitcom Friends these days. In fact, it’s become a hobby for a lot of columnists over the years. For instance, why did Joey and Chandler who both confess to loving the movie Die Hard but say nothing when Bruce Willis, the actor who portrayed John Mclane in the movie, started dating Rachel? And how did Monica afford that luxury apartment when she was unemployed? Even with the hastily ret-conned excuse of ‘rent control’ in the last few seconds of the show? With the benefit of hindsight it’s also easy to point out its…


Where the Beatles came from and the hope they still bring for the future

From Source

I watched Hard Days Night for the first time in years the other day and what a lovely little film it is. It’s not an artistic milestone nor is it particularly deep or thrilling but it is just a nice, witty, silly story about a great band at the height of their fame with a banging soundtrack. But the appraisal of it as ‘light entertainment’ perhaps undersells it a bit. The restored HD version I saw revealed the beauty of its cinematography. The black and white film is gorgeous but it’s also shot in a strangely (for its time) verité…


You know the score: some inhuman creature that looks suspiciously like a puppet, a wireframe model or a digitally created monstrosity pulled from the depth of the uncanny valley, looks at the lead actor as they cry, or beg for mercy, or plead for their lover’s life, or offer to sacrifice themselves in exchange for clemency on the human race, or whatever noble act the writer pulled out of his backside for the climax of act three, and the beast pauses to stare at the frail representative of our species and says

“You Humans Are Strange…”

Whether its a giant…


The video games Arkham Asylum and Arkham City are two of my absolute favourites but I didn’t get round to playing Arkham Knight, the third in the series (we do not count Origins), until recently. When I did, I enjoyed my time with the Dark Knight back in Gotham but it paled in comparison to the vastly superior City which is the the jewel in the crown of that series, inspiring many games and their mechanics that came after it as it did. Though Knight wasn’t as good as its predecessor overall, it was actually better in some places. …

Leo Cookman

Peripatetic Writer and Musician. “Time’s Lie” out now from Zero Books.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store