Top 5 massively important historical moments which aren’t films. Yet.
Event: Man domesticates the horse
Title: Without A Saddle
Director: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Corey Feldman, Melissa George
What happens? It’s 4000BC in Ukraine or somewhere. An ancient farmer type (Feldman) is annoyed by horses that keep overtaking him while he’s walking about on the steppes. (Truth be told, it makes him feel like he has a small penis.) That evening he complains to his wife, whining, really, that the horses think they’re so great because they can run really fast and even their walking is reasonably quick but screw them because they haven’t even developed rudimentary cutlery or anything. His wife, played with dazzling authority by Melissa George, suggests he should do something about it and stop bitching already. So the Farmer does. He begins by hobbling unsuspecting horses with intricate booby traps, but grows tired of the novelty of inflicting physical damage on the beasts. He yearns to enslave the horses, to force them to bow to his every whim. But how? A drunken bet provides the answer – he’ll RIDE one. There’s humour, tension, injury, grim determination, and finally victory as the humble Farmer becomes the first person in the history of the world to ride a horse. A whimsical post-credits scene sees him thrown from the horse and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his days.
Event: The Battle of Graus
Title: Graus Party
Director: Rafal Zielinski
Starring: Hillary Duff, Jessica Biel, Wes Bentley, Rob Schneider
What happens? Essentially a recreation of the famous 11th century Spanish battle of the Reconquista, but transported to post-apocalyptic New York, where some kind of major disaster has killed off everyone except for beautiful, half naked people who hold slow motion wet t-shirt competitions in lieu of actual fighting. The climactic beer pong scene is as taut and visceral as the beach landing in Saving Private Ryan, and a credit to director Zielinski (Screwballs, Screwball Hotel).
Event: Creation of the universe
Title: In The Beginning
Director: Mel Gibson
Starring: Mel Gibson
What happens? It’s a face off between religion and science in this split screen epic. On the left of screen, it’s black, empty nothingness. That’s it. Nothing else. For ages. Meanwhile, on the right of screen, a bearded, classic Judeo-Christian God, played by director Gibson, smugly goes about creating the universe, aided by spectacular special effects. He thinks of something, he points a Godly finger, and bam! It exists. Bam! The sun. Bam! The planets. Bam! The stars. He does all this whilst sat on a fluffy white cloud, wearing a smug, self-satisfied grin – at one point creating a temporary mirror image of himself in order to have someone to high five after coming up with Saturn. But somehow, despite all the awe-inspiring digital artistry of the Christian Creation, the simple quiet tension of the blank screen on the left is more compelling, suspecting, as we do, that at some point it will be filled with the simple majesty of the big bang. A flawed, compelling masterpiece.
Event: Lou Bega decides which women he’ll include in the lyrics to ‘Mambo No. 5’
Title: Mambo On Fire
Director: Lou Bega
Starring: Lou Bega, Angela Lansbury, Pamela Anderson, Sandra Bernhard, Rita Moreno, Monica Bellucci, Erik Estrada, Rita Hayworth, Tina Arena, Sandra Bullock, Mary Stuart Masterson, Jessica Alba
What happens? Bega directs and stars in an ‘autobiopic’ – essentially a grand self-mythologising folly – that sees him, an unheralded musical genius, slaving over the lyrics to global smash hit ‘Mambo No. 5’. Seeking inspiration (possibly from John Cusack in High Fidelity) he looks to his past romantic conquests – a completely improbable roll call of some of the biggest names in Hollywood history (and Erik Estrada, in an early, experimental period of Bega’s burgeoning sexuality). Essentially a series of vaseline-lensed soft porn vignettes, the authenticity of the film is not enhanced through the addition of badly disguised stock footage of Rita Hayworth in her prime, intercut with Bega mounting an obviously inanimate ginger-wigged mannequin, as Colour Me Badd’s ‘I Wanna Sex You Up’ blares from a cheap boombox perched precipitously on a battered motel minibar. Duly creatively juiced, he mentions all of the women by name in the song, agonising over the decision to change ‘Erik’ to ‘Erica’, before releasing the single we are informed is ‘the greatest song ever recorded in the history of popular music’. Insipid, crowd-pleasing nonsense.
Event: 2007 Cricket World Cup
Title: Gilly Investigates
Director: Woody Allen
Starring: Chevy Chase, George Wendt, Rufus Sewell, Trilby Glover, Toby Schmitz
What happens? It’s Match Point in the Caribbean, and about cricket. And also a comedy. You could say it’s a ‘return to form’ form for director Allen, as someone is bound to do so ahead of the film’s release, so it may as well be you. The story centres around Australian wicketkeeper and opening batsman Adam Gilchrist, who must take responsibility for spearheading the Australian batting effort as well as investigating the possible murder of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer. Can he solve the mystery and make a match-winning score in the World Cup final – all while wearing a variety of hilarious disguises? [Spoiler alert] Yes he can. You know that film Fletch? Well it’s kind of got that vibe about it. It’s also why the 35-year old Gilchrist is played by 67-year old Chevy Chase. Actually, that sounds pretty cool. Maybe not with Allen directing, maybe someone like Jason Reitman. And with George Wendt as Woolmer. I’d watch that. Maybe I should write it.