Ha ha!

You just never know what he'll review next!

Friday 1 January 2016

Burl reviews Comfort and Joy! (1984)

Aye, it’s Burl, ha ha! It's a new year, but I have a few seasonal holdovers to report on yet! I’ll tell you, I’ve spent some time in Scotland, and I had a marvelous time there! It’s a thoroughly charming country, and while I was there I went on a sort of pilgrimage to some of the locations used in Bill Forsyth’s marvelous picture Local Hero! Ha ha, it was a terrific little amble, magical and amazingly scenic!
So Local Hero is a favourite of long standing, but until the other night I’d never seen Forsyth’s follow-up, a semi-Christmas picture called Comfort and Joy! I ignored it back when I had every opportunity to see it on VHS, and then later it proved difficult to find! But if you beachcomb the Internet for long enough, these things will eventually wash up, and that was the case with this picture! It’s another one of those it-happens-to-be-Christmas movies, and you know how much I like to watch those, ha ha!
Our main character is a morning radio host, of the sort revered by pensioners, called Alan ‘Dickie’ Bird, and he’s not having a very pleasant holiday season! His ladyfriend, a dedicated kleptomaniac, is leaving him and taking with her all the trinkets and things she’s pilfered over the years! And then, one day not long after, Dickie catches sight of a lovely lady in an ice cream van, and, after purchasing his cone, bears witness to a terrible act of vandalism when masked men beat the truck with bars!
Well, this arouses his journalistic instincts, previously thought moribund, and Alan involves himself in what is apparently an internecine war between Glaswegian ice cream interests! The Mr. Bunny crew are the rogues, the interlopers, selling their cream rampantly anywhere in town they please, whereas Mr. McCool is the established frozen treat family! Ha ha! The violence, which is always directed toward things rather than people, escalates, and Alan attempts to broker a peace while simultaneously wooing the pretty lady! But she remains as aloof and exotic as the mermaid in Local Hero, ha ha!
However, Alan’s activities and his coded radio comments lead his listeners, friends and employers to believe he’s gone barmy! Further complications ensue on the road to the gentle and funny conclusion, ha ha, and along the way there are many wry, dry laffs, of the sort ol’ Burl appreciates very much! The gags unfold at their own pace, almost in the spirit of Jacques Tati, and most of them hit home! There are some groaners of course, and some that fall pancakewise, and some annoyances here and there too, like why Alan spends even a second pining for, not to mention erotically dreaming about, his horrible girlfriend once she’s gone! (Ha ha, she is pretty though, so I’ll grant him the erotic dreams!)
I was glad to finally track this picture down, or rather, in the manner of the internet, have it wash up on shore right to me; and if it sticks around I could see it becoming a seasonal staple for me! It was highly enjoyable and, like Summer Night Fever, it made me feel GOOD just to watch it! Ha ha, and what more could you ask for? I give Comfort and Joy three and a half creamed BMWs, or, as they're better known, Creamers! Ha ha!


  1. Forsyth admitted he was pretty naïve because he believed the Glasgow ice cream wars were actually about ice cream and not drugs, but his mistake suited his film better anyway. Claire Grogan from Gregory's Girl (Dickie's object of desire) was a pop star by the time she appeared in this. Just try and get the "Hello, folks!" jingle out of your head! "It's Dickie Bird! Can ah have yer autograph?!"

  2. Ha ha, I assumed he knew full well what the territory dispute was actually about, but changed it for the purpose of achieving a more Forsythian tone! I'm glad he did, because it really worked! Ha ha, most movies make their ostensibly true stories more rather than less violent!

  3. Hey Burl!Have you ever watched Powell & Pressburger's "I Know Where I'm Going!"? It's a direct influence on Local Hero, and quite charming in its own right. Also set in Scotland!

    1. Ha ha, I sure have! I love that movie! All those Archers pictures are great, but I Know Where I'm Going is a particular charmer, because it's so unassuming! I recall particularly the scene when she's counting the roofbeams or something - just the sort of gentle enchanted whimsy (NOT "magical realism," a style I dislike if practiced by anyone without the initials GGM, and otherwise only barely tolerate) that Local Hero excels at!