Let’s face it, without props films would just be naked people in a room with no furniture and no carpets. Actually that probably is a film already, but it’ll be Danish with subtitles and probably won an award from some made-up festival somewhere.
But we need at least one “Best of 2016” list that doesn’t have Arrival at Number 1 so here it is – those props that really stood out for me in the films I saw this year.
Like films themselves, sometimes the props aren’t that great but they certainly add to the production and make you think. Even if what you think is “O.M.F.G.”
1. Money Monster – George Clooney’s super tan. I quite enjoyed Money Monster. Not least because of Gorgeous George’s extraordinary skin colour. Like the offspring of an Oompa Loompa and Miss World, Clooney is handsome and sexy yet mystifyingly orange at the same time. I was waiting for the electricity to be cut off during the armed hold-up and for George’s skin to be used as the emergency lighting but no. I think he must just like it.
2. Gods of Egypt – the glittery eyeball. Scottish god of Egypt Gerard Butler takes no prisoners and thinks nothing of poking out the eyes of his own nephew in his battle to seize control of the divinely mystical plains above us and, well, Egypt. But these aren’t just ordinary eyeballs, like the one the evil models eat at the end of the Neon Demon. No! These glittery, multi-faceted glass eyes were made by John Lewis sometime during the 1980s, and have been used as doorknobs at your granny’s ever since, until the production team realised they’d spent so much on hiring white actors and shipping them to Egypt for filming instead of hiring locally that they couldn’t afford new magic eyeballs and would need to make do.
3. Eddie the Eagle – Bronson Peary’s black shirt. Hugh Jackman plays a man so gorgeous if he didn’t exist they’d have to invent him. So invent him they did! Eddie the Eagle is based on a true story but his character Bronson is a most welcome figment of the scriptwriter’s imagination. He’s a washed up American ex-skier who never quite made it as big as he should have, who now smooths snow at the training centre where Eddie is teaching himself to ski jump. Bronson promises to help Eddie learn how to land (not ski jump, just land – god that’s just such a British film goal isn’t it). Anyway all the way through the film poor Bronson wears the SAME BLACK SHIRT. It’s a nice shirt of course but I’m quite sure that the producers could have stumped up enough cash for the wardrobe department to buy him at least ONE MORE SHIRT IN ANOTHER COLOUR. All the rest of the costumes look like someone’s granny knitted them during gaps between takes so I’m sure they could have found the money somehow.
4. A Streetcat Named Bob – Bob. I love cats and I love Bob, every fluffy ginger hair on him. Despite that fact that he is the least “street” cat I’ve ever seen, and is actually quite fat. Like a beautiful, enigmatic queen in ancient Greece, or Rome, I get them confused, Bob sits silently as total mayhem (pretty much always caused by him) erupts around him. And all the while expecting tinned salmon for tea.
5. Bridget Jones’s Baby – Bridget’s hideous wedding dress. Listen I loved this year’s Bridget Jones, a Brit flick that was genuinely four-star funny rather than just three-star but we all went because we really, really wanted it to be funny. BUT… that wedding dress! It was so dull and so ageing. Just because she’s in her 40s doesn’t mean she can’t wear an elegant satin strapless column, or even a Princess Di meringue puffball. Honestly she looked like a ghostly Victorian governess. Probably one who had an affair with the man of the house but he then dumped her so she wanders the corridors of Frumpsville Manor to this day, searching for a wedding dress showing the teeniest glimpse of a well-turned Victorian ankle.
6. Passengers – Aurora’s hair wand. You may have been woken up 89 years to soon by a creepy stranger who knows you will then be destined to live and die with him on a malfunctioning spaceship and who quite possibly only wants you for sex and your first class ticket’s access to innumerable coffee flavours. But at least you’ll have good hair while all this happens. Proof that several centuries into the future, with spaceships that can travel billions of miles, and colony planets, the wavy chin length bob is still the haircut of choice among the super A-list.
7. Office Christmas Party – the 3 D printer. Back in the day, when I “worked” in an office, at parties the highlight was photocopying one’s boobs and then trying to guess whose was who’s. But technology has moved forward in leaps and bounds and now it’s all about getting that guy in Accounts to 3D print his dick. I’v e never entirely understood how 3D printers work but this would be a perfect way too find out.
8. Girl On The Train – frumpy knitwear. I actually quite liked this film and Emily Blunt was awesome. Those outfits though! I think they must have discovered a whole new type of miserable sheep* just so they could knit poor Emily’s entire wardrobe out of them, to add a cloud of frumpy gloom over proceedings which were – frankly – hardly cheery to start with. (*presumably descended from unluckiest-farmer-ever Gabriel Oak’s flock in 2015’s Far from The Madding Crowd, who all threw themselves over a cliff).
9. Allied – the poor kid’s outfits. Look I know there was a war on but was it really necessary to put Marion Cotillard and Brad Pitt’s daughter in such hideous clothes? Basically consisting of a knitted jacket, with matching knitted leggings, oh and a matching knitted hat for good measure. (Especially when Marion had so many gorgeous satin 1940s tea dresses to wear.) She looked like a giant woolly pompom.
10. Demolition – THAT perfect kitchen. God I wept BUCKETS at Demolition. No not because his wife died and stuff but because Jake Gyllenhaal ruined not just a perfectly good kitchen but a 10/10 perfect kitchen. All smooth white surfaces and huge islands and the shininess that proves no one ever actually cooks anything in it. I LOVED that kitchen. My kitchen is tiny and doesn’t even have a table in it and the doors keep falling off the cupboards (and, actually, off the oven itself). If it happens again in any other films I may have to start a campaign, a bit like my project to stop film directors killing cute pets in their movies.