Wednesday, June 22, 2011

You're the Best.....Around!!! #1


By dumbbunnynz@hotmail.com

Honestly, when someone emailed me asking if I wanted to review their "kids in sports films" zine I was a bit wary. I mean, what the hell type of topic is that? But ultimately that's one of the things I love about zines: they can be about anything. And by having people send or trade me their zines I end up reading some weird stuff that I would never seek out.

So this zine pleasantly surprised me. It begins with a discussion of the ideas behind "kids in sports films" and how they generally follow identical plot maps, feature the same type of characters, have the same messages, and are pretty damn predictable. Now after reading this you might wonder why someone would even bother watching them, but I think if you know anything about any type of genre fiction you know that they have the same tropes that they follow pretty frequently. I mean, I watch terrible science fiction action films and read a lot of super hero comics, and you can describe those in such a way that they sound incredibly awful (and to many people they are!). Yet I enjoy them anyway, even if they are bad a lot of the time.

Next there's a description of all the different character types that appear in these films (from "The Coach" to "The Ethnic Minority"), which was informative but probably could have used a few more examples from films. Then we have an indepth discussion of the Will Ferrell film "Kicking and Screaming". In fact, I think this might be the most ever written about this film as it doesn't sound very good, even by the conventions of the genre.

The plot is discussed, the actors are discussed, the director is discussed, hell, even the uniforms are discussed! It's kind of insane really. But it's all written in a fairly informative and entertaining style, by someone who seems to love this genre, but hates this film in particular. It sort of reminded me of something like the Zero Punctuation video game reviews, which find every flaw and problem in a game and scream "why why why was this decision made?". (Well, it's not as good as Zero Punctuation, but this is only the first issue.)

There's also an interview with the band My Dad Is Dead (about "kids in sports films" of course), and a recipe for a baked chocolate banana thing. So all in all this zine was a pleasant surprise, and now I'm actually kind of looking forward to reading the next issue.

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