July 30, 2003


Australian cultural supremacist Andrew Mason would have us believe that his latest film, Deckchair Danny, bravely protects ďthe Australian identityĒ from evil foreign influence:

Mason promotes home content wholeheartedly, fearing that through free-trade agreements Australia is at "most risk of giving up our culture", surrendering our uniqueness to a flood of American and British productions.

"It's one of my main hobbyhorses," Mason said. "It is important for Australian identity that we produce our own content. It's important for our children to shape their identity from local dramas and comedies, not just sport and television news, and it's also important to create impressions of Australia internationally."

Man, what a load. Hanson's ... er, Masonís new film is plainly inspired by an Americanís deckchair flight above Los Angeles, which led to the creation of this US-based air sport. All of which Iím fine with; just so long as Mason quits his nationalist culture-pleading.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 30, 2003 04:32 AM

...and it stars Rhys Ifans, a non-Australian actor.

Posted by: jay mike at July 30, 2003 at 09:16 AM

Oh, this is funny. Firstly, according to the IMDB, the working title of the movie was Larry Lawnchair---Larry, of course, being the name of the original lawnchair pilot, Larry Walters. Wonder if someone threatened to sue.

But that's not the funny part. The funny part is that part of this movie was filmed in my old neighborhood in Sydney, last June. We all got fliers in our mailboxes, warning us of the time and location of the shoot, and asking us not to park our cars in the way (no prob for me, as I did not have a car). I saved the flier, and have it next to me as I type.

According to it, the movie is titled simply Danny, and is described as

...a heart warming romantic comedy about an ordinary bloke who rockets out of his loveless rut of a relationship into a new world in which he gets the chance to stand out from the crowd and fall in love.

The flier goes on to give a brief resume of the actors, producer, director, and cinematographer.

I'm assuming all this guff was to mollify us about the inconvenience, leading us to believe that a nice little romantic movie was being filmed, rather than (possibly) an Australian Dumb and Dumber.

I will point out that the flier identifies Danny as "the new Australian feature film", describes Miranda Otto as "a well known Australian actor having appeared in many great Australian films including Doing Time for Patsy Cline..." [who was notably not Australian]. There are a few more like that, and it concludes:

The Australian film industry relies tremendously on the assstance of the community when we film on location and that support is always very much appreciated.

I thought this emphasis on the Australian-ness of it all was a bit odd. Guess I know why now.

Posted by: Angie Schultz at July 30, 2003 at 09:40 AM

I can't tell you how underwhelmed I was when I first heard about this film. And I'm sure my non-thrill was shared by thousands of my fellow Australians.
And Andrew Mason wants to protect Australian content because - let me guess -

a) He really really thinks that this sort of film is worthwhile, and needs to be protected - for the good of Australia
b) He knows that his film is so crap that it needs to be protected by government in order to make a profit?!?

Posted by: TimT at July 30, 2003 at 11:34 AM

It's also inportant to Andy's income to maintain local content regulations and public funding of awful film and tv.
If our culture is dependant on what is portrayed by our pathetic protected purveyors of pap, bring on free trade, y'all!
(And do the same thing to the motor industry as well- who wants a Monaro when you could have a Dodge Viper?)

Posted by: Habib Bickford at July 30, 2003 at 11:42 AM

Where's Yahoo Serious when you need him?

Posted by: Willmott Fribbish at July 30, 2003 at 11:50 AM

You say Danny Deckchair, I say Larry Lawnchair, let's call the whole thing off.

Posted by: pooh at July 30, 2003 at 12:28 PM

Allah Akbah - I'm with Habib.

Posted by: Razor at July 30, 2003 at 12:54 PM

Me too. If Australian culture is so fucking fragile that it needs to be protected by the Government, we are better off without it. On the other hand, Australian artists could just produce stuff we actually want to read/watch/listen to/look at. Radical idea, but there you go ...

Posted by: Bob Bunnett at July 30, 2003 at 02:26 PM

So, his film is derivative (of a true story though, not a US 'artistic' creation), and may be a bit crap too. So is nearly all of the hollywood tripe served up in the cinemas. It doesn't defeat his wider point, unless you think all aussie creative output is crap.

Amazing how nationalistic you ingrates can be when it comes to 'border control' or attacking 'self hating lefties', but you turn that very label on someone who only wants to see a bit of pride taken in local creative work.

Stuff like blue heelers or white collar blue is hardly rarified lefty artistry.

Speaking fo which 10 points to Tim Winton for proving that you can be both a down to earth patriot and an intellectual... nice work on Ningaloo comrade!

Posted by: sphincter at July 30, 2003 at 03:37 PM

Blue Heelers, White Collar Blue, True Blue, Blue Too, Have a Blue ... who cares. They are uninspired, badly written, badly lit, unlikely dramas played by bad actors directed badly.

So why protect them?

I'd rather have protected the real skills destroyed by 25% tariff cuts thirty years ago this month. Actors, at least, pull lattes and beers when they're not pulling faces or striking.

Posted by: rosto at July 30, 2003 at 03:57 PM

I rekon the Wallabies should have a 50% points loading to protect them from superior foreign competition.
That's what the Spinchter is promoting.
If the production is any good (or at least popular), it survives.
If it is crap, it needs taxpayer support and restrictive trade legislation.
Why should I pay (Directly or indirectly) to support something I would have to be strapped in a chair, with wires holding by eyelids open,(like Alex in "A Clockwork Orange") to actually sit through?

Posted by: Habib Bickford at July 30, 2003 at 04:06 PM

Oh, that would be the 7:30 Report then.

Posted by: ilibcc at July 30, 2003 at 04:25 PM

Wasn't the real chap who attached ballons to his the deckchair a candidate for the Darwin Award? Somehow I get the impression that most of our Austrailan artz types would also be great nominees for the same award. The gene pool would be vastly improved if they were removed from it.

Posted by: Toryhere at July 30, 2003 at 04:46 PM

If we're talking gene pool, the Yartz community seems to exclusively splash around in the shallow end.

Posted by: Habib Bickford at July 30, 2003 at 04:58 PM

Praise Allah for Habib Bickford. I do not need to post when he is on the job.

$41 to see a play at the Playhouse in Perth - $30 to see the West Coast Eagles whip some Victorian turkeys.

Play? - Eagles?
Play? - Eagles?
Play? - Eagles?

I think the Eagles have it!

Posted by: Razor at July 30, 2003 at 05:38 PM

True Razor, you lot repeat the same predictable crap 90% of the time, glad you recognise your own redundancy.

And if Habib's extended family represent the deep end of the gene pool, we can assume that the species will soon complete the full circle and take up our rightful place in the canopy next to tarsiers and gibbons...

Posted by: sphincter at July 30, 2003 at 05:58 PM

A Christian brother has strange dreams about his students, so he goes looking for redemption on a large rock where he gets lost along with a bunch of schoolgirls, finally stumbling into the Boer War. After his mates are shot for treason, he meets a yobbo who takes him to London where he gets very drunk and offends the Poms, so they send him back to Australia where he beds a series of ditzy blondes in between surfing and chopping his car in two. Catching a bus to the outback for work, he is joined by a pig (with an American accent) and a pelican who accompany him along with a halfwit who plays piano like Ashkenazy. They reach a fence impenetrable to animals, so he carries on alone into a post nuclear, very scary world, meeting, among others, a man who shows him a very large knife. Spending nights under a large circular telescope, he assists the local indigenous people in a search for a fugitive who has been sowing noxious weeds - and then takes their claim for territory to the High Court, winning on the basis of the 'vibe' after smashing several photocopiers. Marrying a girl named Marietta ... Miriel ... Mariel? he settles down, joins the local bowls club, and then is brutally shot dead in broad daylight by Ned Kelly.

Posted by: ilibcc at July 30, 2003 at 06:06 PM

Sounds like the Sphink has already moved in with the gibbons.
Head-lice, anyone? They're fresh picked- absolutely devine.

Posted by: Habib Bickford at July 30, 2003 at 06:12 PM

'Bib, maybe you have a point. Your mum's crabs do have a certain zest about them.

I have moved in with the gibbons- I've spent a whole day cavorting with them on this site!

Ilibcc I'll give you a grant for that one....

Posted by: sphincter at July 30, 2003 at 06:22 PM

Oz culture: Bruce.

Yeah mate ?

Give me a durry and a 4x.

Helen Communard N.Z. Well mate, I'm orff to shaggin the ewe again, the missus is too expensive now I'e got ter pay fer them demned windfarms and cow farts.

Posted by: d at July 30, 2003 at 07:02 PM

My mum does have have crabs, she sets the pots daily.
At least we are evolving upwardly, as opposed to the left who seem determined to live in organic mud huts and weave their own macro-biotic yoghurt.

Name me a third-world denizen who wouldn't happily become a capitalist pig overnight (except for Kim Long Il and Fidel) and I'll eat a bucketful.

Posted by: Habib Bickford at July 30, 2003 at 07:23 PM

When they're at their more lucid, those "defending" Australian culture may argue that Australian tv shows may be more popular and higher rating than American shows and that the latter are chosen by network executives as it's cheaper (tv programs from one country tend to be sold to other countries for a fairly low price).

Of course, with any luck, they'll try to demonise American culture the same way the nazis demonised culture produced by Jews.

Posted by: Andjam at July 31, 2003 at 01:07 AM

You did know that Larry Walters killed himself in 1993, 11 years after his flight, didn't you?

How uplifting. Should we send you some more Hollywood films instead?

Posted by: Eric Jablow at July 31, 2003 at 07:21 AM

Someone always has to give away the goddam ending.

Posted by: pooh at July 31, 2003 at 04:41 PM