Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – tape 2826

Don’t be fooled by the title. This isn’t Shane Black’s excellent buddy movie thriller set at Christmas – I know that doesn’t narrow it down a whole lot – but is, instead, a Channel 4 series on Cinema, presented by Charlie Higson.

In the first episode he looks at a couple of rock movies, Still Crazy and Velvet Goldmine. He talks to Still Crazy’s director Brian Gibson.

And the director of Velvet Goldmine, Todd Haynes

Gary Kemp was music director for Still Crazy.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays someone who’s NOT David Bowie.

Bill Nighy is always good interview value.

Jimmy Nail was, of course, an actual pop star.

There’s a piece on product placement. “Look, one of those tiny chickens from Eraserhead.”

Next, Charlie’s review, which always starts with him going to the pictures. Today, the screening is at the legendary Mr Young’s Screening Rooms, famous to any Wittertainment listener, at least.

He’s reviewing Joe Dante’s Small Soldiers. I don’t think he liked it as much as I do.

There’s quite a pretentious piece on Michael Haneke’s Funny Games. I have not watched this film, but I suspect, from this piece, that’s it’s not actually funny.

This series has a continuing set report from the film Fanny and Elvis. It started shooting on my birthday.

This is the directorial debut of writer Kay Mellor.

Ray Winstone is one of the stars.

Elizabeth director Shekhar Kapur talks about his love of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet.

After this, recording switches, and we get the end of an episode of The Adam and Joe Show, with a toy parody of Titanic.

Then, an extra programme, not listed on my database – Nothing is What it Seems – The Making of The Usual Suspects. It’s a really interesting documentary, including such nuggets as Chris McQuarrie came up with the film as a title and poster first, and based purely on the poster, was then asked to pitch the movie.

And he talks about creating the story in a way that mirrors the pivotal scene in the movie.

Also interviewed, obviously, is Bryan Singer.

Gabriel Byrne

The owner of the boat where a big setpiece in the movie takes place is thrilled to show people around.

There’s also a look at how the film’s iconic poster (where it all started) became a core part of the zeitgeist.

After this, recording switches again. Before the next programme, there’s a nice bumper with Adam and Joe.

Then, more from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. It starts with an interview with Shane Meadows, then fairly early in his career.

There’s a look at actors becoming producers, with Sandra Bullock and Jason Patric. Have I mentioned before how much I like Sandra Bullock? Probably when I was looking at The Net. Her debut as producer was Hope Floats, a romantic comedy directed by Forest Whitaker.

Jason Patric, on the other hand, decides to flex his producerial muscles on Neil LaBute’s Your Friends and Neighbours, by all accounts a rather nasty, misogynistic film. So he doesn’t get a picture. Here’s a Star Wars mural instead.

For this week’s film review, Charlie goes to the pictures with Kathy Burke, to review the new Hal Hartley film, Henry Fool.

Charlie talks to Isabella Rossellini

There’s a return to the set of Fanny and Elvis, staging a low impact car accident.

Julie Christie talks about a film she loves, Fear Eats the Soul.

After this episode, recording changes to the end of an episode of Despatch Box.

There’s a short programme called Cyberart which is much less interesting than it sounded.

Then, a very interesting programme. It’s part of the English Language series of programmes, and is News Stories. This looks at journalists in training at the BBC, but it answers a question I posed at the beginning of August: ” I’m convinced that it’s used as a training piece for aspiring motion graphics designers – can anyone confirm this?”

Well this programme is a clue, as it not only looks at regular news, but it also looks at the production techniques and style of The Day Today. They really are looking at TDT not as a hyperbolic parody of news, but as a logical prediction of where news presentation should go.

Here’s director Andrew Gillman to explain what they did.

Programmes like this are lovely for seeing if the young trainees featured ever made it. Here’s Jasmine Buttars, then a lowly trainee, who is now (or at least, she was in June 2016) the Editor of the BBC’s Business & Economics Unit according to her twitter profile.

James Helm is a BBC News Correspondent.

Graphic Designer Russell Hilliard explains how news graphics works – again USING THE DAY TODAY AS AN EXAMPLE. I told you.

Rebecca Front is interviewed.

Incidentally, if you’re interested in watching this programme, it’s on the Day Today DVD extras.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 12th November 1998 – 00:30

Next, there’s more Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, starting with a piece on Out of Sight, and particularly looking at its director, the still relatively junior Steven Soderbergh, whose hotness after Sex Lies and Videotape had mostly worn off after a few less than successful follow-ups.

But star George Clooney was effusive in his praise for the director, underlining how savvy he was even at that time, when Clooney’s movie career might have fizzled out after Batman & Robin.

I’ve always wondered why Jennifer Lopez wasn’t a much bigger star in movies. She was definitely really good in Out of Sight.

We also hear from Elmore Leonard, writer of the source novel.

Next, there’s a piece on how the publishing industry is scoured by the studios for hot properties for adaption. There’s an appearance by Ed Victor, who was Douglas Adams’ literary agent, and who died in June this year.

Charlie also talks to Kathy Lette on location with the film of her book Mad Cows.

For this week’s review, Charlie is joined by a real film critic, Elvis Mitchell, to review The Negotiator.

Then there’s a report on the supposedly new idea of teaser trailers. Although I remember those being a thing back to the first Star Wars.

There’s another visit to the set of Fanny and Elvis, now ensconced at their studios. The most interesting bit of which was when the Clapper Loader unloads the exposed film in a small lightproof tent.

Director of Photography Ashley Rowe talks about a favourite film, Three Colours Blue.

The final episode here concentrates on new talent.

There’s a profile of hot young director Darren Aronofsky, whose film Pi was attracting a lot of buzz.

He talks about what his next film will be, an adaptation of the Hubert Selby Jr novel Requiem for a Dream, a film I still haven’t seen, as its reputation slightly scares me, plus I don’t particularly like movies about addiction, but I do like the music by Clint Mansell, which was memorably remixed for use in the trailer for The Two Towers and subsequently has been used on The X Factor and other such programmes. You’ll recognise it. Search for ‘Requiem for a Tower’ on Youtube and it should come up.

Next, Charlie talks to Amy Jenkins, creator of This Life, about her feature writing debut Elephant Juice.

Also featured is This Life  star Daniella Nardini

Charlie’s review this week is Rush Hour, but this week he has to go on his own, presumably all his showbiz friends were busy.

Kirk Jones, director of Waking Ned, has a video diary of his time spent promoting the movie in the US.

He wins an award at the New York Comedy Festival, which he accepts with his stars Ian Bannen and David Kelly. I’ve no idea why he had to accept it in front of a fire door, though.

There’s another visit to the set of Fanny and Elvis. Interestingly, they talk to the wife of the film’s producer who has been following the progress of the film’s production by watching this very programme, meaning that these segments must be being shot contemporaneously with the production, rather than all being shot months ago. Although that would also jibe with the September 27th date of the first day’s shooting.

Director Idrissa Ouedraogo talks about one of his favourite films, Padre Padrone by the Taviani brothers.

After this, the tape plays out with the start of an episode of the documentary series The Bank The President and the Pearl of Africa.


  • Vauxhall Frontera
  • Halloween H20 in cinemas
  • VO5
  • Old Spice Whitewater – terrible blokey advert
  • Budweiser – Frogs
  • Bacardi Breezer
  • trail: Fever Pitch
  • Ford Focus
  • Royal Mail
  • Organ Donor
  • Air Canada
  • Ministry of Sound
  • Tetley’s Bitter
  • Tetley’s Bitter
  • One 2 One
  • Ford Focus
  • Paul Weller Modern Classics
  • trail: Comedy Lab
  • trail: Return of the Ba Ba Zee
  • Peugeot 206
  • Mars
  • Austin Powers on video
  • Cellnet
  • L’Oreal Elvive
  • Paul Weller Modern Classics
  • Honda
  • Alanis Morissette
  • trail: Comedy Lab
  • Boogie Nights on video
  • Lion Bar
  • The Little Mermaid on video
  • Tetley’s Bitter
  • Archers
  • BT
  • Blade in cinemas
  • Fantazia
  • Alan Davies – Urban Trauma
  • Renault Scenic
  • Murphy’s – Sisters of Murphy’s
  • BT
  • HMV – Cream Anthems
  • Fructis
  • trail: Fever Pitch
  • CGU
  • Old El Paso Tacos
  • Carte Noire
  • The All Time Greatest Love Songs Volume III
  • Rounders in cinemas
  • Bee Gees – One Night Only


  1. “He’s reviewing Joe Dante’s Small Soldiers. I don’t think he liked it as much as I do.” Neither do I, really. And I really wanted to like it a lot more than I did.

    “Hope Floats,” meanwhile, has a classic case of what TV Tropes calls Small Name Big Ego – I’ll assume you haven’t seen it (lucky you if you haven’t); the opening scene has Sandra Bullock appearing on Kathy Najimy’s talk show (one of those shows that basically porn for people who get off on misery) with her friend – uncredited Rosanna Arquette – who tells Sandy she’s been having an affair with her husband, which kicks off the plot. Cue the movie’s opening credits – during them, Najimy gets a solo card. She never appears in the movie again…

  2. I remember Charlie Higson appearing on Simon Mayo’s Radio 1 show around this time and, when Simon said how much he was enjoying Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Charlie said, “Well, thank you for that, but I was just told yesterday it’s being axed”.

    That Day Today OU doc is fascinating, I seem to recall actually first stumbling across it by accident one morning while idy flicking through the channels. One of the other trainees mentioned in Gavin Allen who I think is now a very senior editor at BBC News. One of the presenters of their tryout news bulletin is very familiar but i think it might just be because she looks like a young Kirsty Wark.

  3. That’s odd, I was thinking about Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and its coverage of Fanny and Elvis’s crap stunt the other day. So many mediocre-to-awful British movies featured in this show, it really was a dreadful time for UK film productions.

    Glad that Neil LaBute remade The Wicker Man and every reasonable person realised he was in fact a purveyor of reactionary rubbish. Being nasty to women and non-macho men isn’t daring, it’s moronic.

    Never saw a Joe Dante film I didn’t like, and Small Soldiers deserved better, if only for that great cast of voices doing the action figures.

    What on Earth happened to Jimmy Nail? All over the place one minute, total obscurity the next.

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