12 Days of Christmas #7 – BFF’s Top 7 Swimming Swans

On the seventh day of Christmas, Best For Film gave to me…

#7 – Twilight

Where better to start our list of swans than with a true cinematic turkey? Probably lots of places, to be honest, but we wanted to get Kristen Stewart’s endlessly objectionable Bella Swan out the way before the other birds start doing that weird thing where they peck their own feathers out. Deliberately underdescribed by Stephenie Meyer so that her ghastly fans can pretend they’re the one being pursued by rapist Mormon vampires, Bella is like the outer layer of a three-bird-roast (that’s ‘tuducken’ if you’re American) after the birds inside have been carefully excised – probably to leave plenty of room for Rupert Sanders to scamper around inside like the horrible oversexed little maggot he is. If this swan was killed in one of the royal parks we don’t think the Queen would even bother to have it cleaned up.


#6 – Drop Dead Gorgeous

This largely forgettable mockumentary may star Kirsten Dunst as a trailer-trash beauty queen, but the real showstopper is her opponent Rebecca’s swan-themed victory float. After winning Miss Mount Rose American Teen Princess, Rebecca (Denise Richards) mounts a huge crowned swan which her father had made in “Mejico”… only to go up in smoke when her mother absent-mindedly sets fire to the base with a sparkler. We’ll tell you this for nothing – you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Rebecca from Cheers scream “The swan ate my baby!” at the ghostly, smoking wire skeleton of a giant bird – particularly one that’s cradling her daughter’s corpse. This isn’t turning out to be a very Christmassy list, is it? Oh well, you know what they say – ‘wherever there’s a swan, there’s a horrible death’.


#5 – Pirates of the Caribbean

Despite lacking the plump breast beloved of poultry fanciers (sorry), Elizabeth Swann manages to dominate the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films. After a tedious introduction as an incredibly privileged young woman living in a tropical paradise who whinges about her wardrobe, and despite Keira Knightley’s consistently choppy performances, Elizabeth goes from useless wench to pirate queen with commendable rapidity. Terrifyingly, however, her tempestuous series of flings with pretty much every leading man in the franchise have led to awful fandom people writing at length about ‘Willabeth’, ‘Sparrowbeth’ and ‘Norribeth’ pairings. Is it too late to take her off the list? Sod it, she’s a pirate Swan and she’s staying on – don’t you agree, Joan Jett?


#4 – Trainspotting

Junkie and dealer Johnny Swan (Peter Mullan), known as the Mother Superior “on account of the length of time he’d had his habit”, is our fourth swan – he appears at several crucial scenes in Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, shooting up with the gang at the beginning and then giving Renton the infamous overproof shot which sends him into a Lou Reed-soundtracked overdose. In the film, the last we see of him is when he drags Rents into a taxi and refunds his drug money, but in Irvine Welsh’s novel the White Swan loses a leg to gangrene and spends his rehabilitation planning to pull off one last deal so he can move to the Far East. By the end of the book he’s pretending to be a Falklands vet and raking it in as a deserving beggar – it’d take more than losing a leg to clip this swan’s wings. God, what a horrible mixed metaphor.


#3 – Black Swan

Nothing says Christmas like a ballerina losing her mind, does it? Our bronze swan Natalie Portman won an Oscar for her flawless portrayal of a dancer striving to achieve the duality of emotion necessary to play both the innocent White Swan and her sensual twin in a production of Swan Lake. Encapsulating all the traditional values of the holiday season – pushy parents, feelings of inadequacy, Ecstasy, hallucinating sex with Mila Kunis and stabbing yourself in the face – this only missed out on the proper medals on account of being a) terrifying and b) beaten to #2 by an actual swan. That’s right, we’re going to have a genuine swan in this article at last! Brace yourselves…


#2 – Hot Fuzz

Our second best cinematic swan ever comes courtesy of Pegg, Frost and Wright, next to be seen battling the apocalypse in The World’s End (more on which in our 2013 Films blog!). What’s your favourite Sandford Swan moment – the bit where it crashes the getaway car, the bit where Nick Frost does an impression of it or some other bit we can’t remember? Our favourite is when Stephen Merchant is describing it, because a) he has a long slender neck too! and b) “…it’s a swan.” Hurrah for swans! We need to stop writing about swans quite soon or we’re going to kill some people, maybe.


#1 – James Wan

The director of Saw and six other gory films, all of them fucking awful, has topped our list because we have something very important and not a little disturbing to relate to you all. James Wan claims to be a Malaysian Chinese-born Australian director, writer, producer and so on, but we at Best For Film know the truth – he is a cunningly disguised swan infiltrating Hollywood via the notoriously accessible medium of lowest-common-denominator horror. Once he’s won an Oscar (you just wait, in a few years the voting will take place on Tumblr) and cemented himself in the directorial A-list, sWan’s plan is to gradually introduce a pro-swan agenda into his films to convince the youth of America to venerate and ultimately deify the horrible great brutes. A swan can break a man’s arm, you know.


…six geese a-laying,

five goooooold rings!

four calling birds,

three French hens,

two turtle doves,

and a partridge in a pear tree!

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