Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Spin off's I'd like to see

For iPhone/iPad click here.

Last week Rerab informed me of the very welcome news that Breaking Bad's Saul Goodman is to get his own show, and passed on a challenge. So, for Danny, here's my list of spin-off shows I'd most like to see.

Extreme Fishing with Quint

Tune in as Quint gets drunk and tells terrifying fishing anecdotes...

iPhone/iPad click here.

...before getting devoured by a different giant fish each week.

Willenholly's Wildlife Rescue

Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back's Federal Marshall Willenholly is a man of action...

...which could come in handy as he tracks down and attempts to rescue vulnerable animals, in a show that's both entertaining and educational.

For iPhone/iPad click here.

In the Army Now

I can't be the only one out there who wants to see Arrested Development's Buster Bluth show off his skills...

...and earn those Army medals.

Vinnie Van Lowe Investigates

There's more than one P.I. in Neptune (it's that kind of town). I propose that Veronica Mars' rival get his own show. We already know what the theme tune would be...

For iPhone/iPad click here.

Crap Cops

True Blood's Jason Stackhouse and Andy Bellefleur are two of the greatest minds to ever enter law Bon Temps.

For iPhone/iPad click here.

I'd have happily seen the last few series do away with Sookie entirely and just show me more of these dudes instead...

Troy and Abed in the Morning

Community's already done my work for me, but I'd do anything to see this show become a reality...

For iPhone/iPad click here.

Hannibal's Sunday Kitchen

Regardless of the fact that it's, y'know...people, I'd happily tune in each week just to watch Hannibal cook...

...and drink wine. Though that might just be an excuse to post another gif of Mads...

Into The Wild with Chrissie and Paulie

The Pine Barrens episode of The Sopranos gave me one of my favourite hours of TV, ever. Who needs Ray Mears when these dudes can teach you how to light fires...

...get sustenance from sachets of ketchup, and keep it together when you're lost in the woods.

Banky's Cartoon Club

I can't think of anyone more appropriate to helm a Rolf-style children's art show than Chasing Amy's Banky...

For iPhone/iPad click here.

...just as long as no-one calls him a tracer.

Anatomy with Vince Masuka

While programmes such as Channel 4's Anatomy for Beginners proved to be both informative and gross, new presenter Vince Masuka should make it both so much more informative...

For iPhone/iPad click here. well as so much more gross.

There you have it - my most wanted spin-offs. Now the telly gods just need to make them a reality.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Eleanor of Aquitaine, by Alison Weir

4 stars

When I was at school, I was under the impression that history was dreadfully boring and stuffy and loathed most of my lessons. However, having since been bitten by the history bug thanks to watching Horrible Histories and becoming completely obsessed with Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell, I now lay all of the blame for that firmly at the feet of my teacher, who must have been completely inept to have made our history sound so dreary. I've now decided to embark on a bit of an odyssey through as much of our history as I can get my hands on, and if this book on Eleanor of Aquitaine is anything to go by, it should be more action-packed and full of more skullduggery, sex and murder than your average HBO show.

While there is a scarcity of surviving sources of evidence on Eleanor herself, Weir did a great job of detective work and clearly undertook lots of painstaking research to be able to complile a deeply interesting and very readable account of a woman who seemed to defy certain expectations and constraints placed upon women in her time and managed to be ambitious, influential, scandalous and powerful; Queen of two countries and mother of 10 children - a greedy, squabbling, treacherous and murderous bunch of shits, rapists and assholes that make the Lannisters look like the Waltons.

Here's what I learnt:

Born in 1122 into a Europe that was largely feudal, and carved out according to the military might of various nobles, Eleanor became one of the richest and most sought-after heiresses in mediaeval Europe on her father's death and, regardless of their consanguinity (i.e., being related), was soon married to the sensitive and pious Louis VII of France. Having hailed from a slightly more enlightened area in which women could inherit and govern their lands in their own right, she was soon wielding her influence over her adoring husband, much to the dismay of the clergy who'd much rather be doing the influencing and who sought successfully to curb her power. Relegated to the sphere of the domestic and married to a man so religious he barely bonked even after marriage, deeming it sinful, Eleanor was soon scandalising the French court by flirting with the many troubadours who flocked to pay her tribute.

Possibly as another means of escaping the boredom of court, when Louis decided to go on his disastrous Crusade, Eleanor chose to go with him. Unfortunately for Louis, he turned out to be a rubbish military leader with his army not only frequently deserting, but with several thousand dying of plague and starvation and 3,000 more converting to the Muslim faith. Seeking refuge with Eleanor's uncle in Antioch, it wasn't long before she and her uncle were showing signs of a relationship that wasn't strictly familial, leading her to declare her marriage consanguineous after all and demanding an annulment, and to Louis arresting her and dragging her home by force. However, following the birth of a second daughter, Louis started to agree (because God must be angry if you're just having girls, seeing as they're completely rubbish and unimportant, and only useful as future marriage pawns).

Louis' fate was truly sealed when the then Count Henry of Anjou came to pay homage for his lands of Normandy and, though 18 to Eleanor's 29, and though they were just as consanguineous as she and Louis, and though Henry's dad had already slept with her, Eleanor was prompted to speed up her annulment and, dodging the many suitors hoping to abduct and marry her by force, flee into the arms of Henry, taking with her almost half the lands of France and ensuring Henry instantly became the most powerful ruler in Europe.

Considered one of the greatest rulers of mediaeval Europe, Henry of Anjou was soon Henry II of England, and Eleanor his Queen. And though he kept a far tighter rein on her than her ex-husband ever managed, she would spend much of the time that Henry was absent from his kingdom acting as his regent, and travelling astonishing distances through the realm whipping up support, raising funds and keeping the unruly vassals of her land in hand. Little mention is then made of Eleanor for decades in official records of the time while Henry squabbled with Louis on the continent, wrangling over land and taking girls hostage for future marriages - until she gets troublesome.

With the legendary charm of the Angevins, Henry put it about quite a bit - and not only with his wife, being father to loads of bastards. Having herself borne him eight children, Eleanor seems to have turned a blind eye up until after the murder of Thomas Becket, when she started cosying up to yet another Uncle (uncles were apparently catnip to mediaeval ladies) and, finally, initiated a separation with Henry. From now on they'd be living apart, with Eleanor governing certain lands in Henry's name. Taking her very favourite son, Richard, with her, Eleanor rules wisely and well over her vassals but Henry's decision to carve his empire between his surviving boys - Henry, Richard, Geoffrey and John - will be one of the worst decisions he's ever made and the frequent dickering over entitlements will turn them and their mother against him, prompting many rebellions and uprisings and causing the boys to constantly run off to Louis and his successor, Philip, causing far more trouble than he'd ever got off France alone.

Every single one of Henry and Eleanor's sons seemed to more than live up to the family legend - "from the Devil they came and to the Devil they'll return", all being slippery, ruthless, inconstant, arrogant, ambitious, smooth-talking hypocrites with nasty tempers and a prediliction for rape (especially Richard, who "carried off wives, daughters and kinswomen of his freemen by force, and made them his concubines, and when he had sated his lust on them, he handed them over to his knights for whoring" and John, from whom "not a woman was spared if he was seized by the desire to defile her in the heat of his lust")

An indulgent mother who spoilt her sons (especially Richard, whom she idolised), Eleanor sided with them against Henry, who would spend the rest of his reign uncovering their plots, skirmishing with them and their French allies, and trying to hang on to his empire while appeasing their demands and imprisoning their mother for the best part of a decade, eventually having their marriage annulled on grounds of consanguinity (there it is again, the best mediaeval excuse for being sick of your spouse). All the while, Henry is schtupping Richard's fiance, Alys of France, and postponing his son's marriage so she can have more of his bastards, sending France into frenzies.

When Henry (the eldest son - the Young King) is killed, Richard becomes undisputed heir but John becomes the elder Henry's favourite. He's soon trying to give him parts of Richard's inheritance and continuing to postpone Alys's marriage, which goes down as well as you'd now expect and causes Richard to stomp off to his new best friend, Philip of France (Louis' successor) and take the Cross. Falling ill while trying to negotiate yet another truce, when Henry finds out that his new favourite John has also been plotting he loses the will to live, leaving Richard as King of England.

Instantly freeing his beloved mother, Eleanor was soon wielding her influence over her son and helping him to rule his empire galloping here, there and everywhere to keep his unruly vassals in hand and whipping up support and funds for his Crusade, as well as putting a stop for now and forever to his proposed marriage to Alys. A stranger to England (and only spending 10 months here throughout his reign) which Richard only seems to have seen as a giant cash machine to bleed dry in support of his constant warfare, Eleanor was instrumental in keeping his empire under control in his absence. With John seizing the opportunity to ride about the country courting the favour of common folk, telling people Richard would never return and plotting with Philip (Richard's former BFF, with whom he'd been scrapping ever since becoming King), Eleanor seemed to spend most of her time dashing from one end of the kingdom to the other, cleaning up the messes made by her shitty sons and trying to keep John under control. 

When Richard was taken hostage while returning from his Crusade, she repeatedly had a go at the Pope for his lack of intercession and somehow managed to raise the ridiculous ransom demanded (bleeding the country dry, yet again) and secured her son's return. John wisely decided to keep a low profile on Richard's return, who continued to scrap intermittently with Philip and was eventually shot with an arrow while besieging a castle, dying with his mother at his side.

John's coronation doesn't see the whole sorry saga come to a peaceful end, and Eleanor now takes up politicking on his behalf. Casting off his old wife (that dratted consanguinity again) John steals another man's 13 year old fiance who he then spends most of his time in bed with, ignoring threats from Philip and his ward, Arthur, who also has a claim to the English throne. Having to rush to Eleanor's side when her castle is besieged by Arthur, whom he takes prisoner, he makes matters even worse by his appalling treatment of his prisoners, and the apparent murder of the young Arthur. Retreating back to bed with his child-bride, he can't be bothered to rouse himself when Philip takes most of his domains and finally, at the age of 82, Eleanor dies having outlived most of her children and having seen the kingdom she helped her husbands and sons maintain virtually given away.

Phew! Makes A Game of Thrones look like Watch With Mother, doesn't it?

Cracking stuff, I'll be returning to Alison Weir often.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

If you leave me now...

This week sees the end of an era, as Midge prepares to leave us for the greener grass of elsewhere. What an era it's been. 

Eight years ago Midge came for an interview in the office where I worked as a secretary. With part of my job being trying to be nice to people while they waited for their interviews (which could be incredibly painful, at times), I was delighted to find out that they'd picked the girl I remembered as being really talkative, and rather sarcastic. Soon put together to work we've since undergone many, massive departmental changes, received promotions, moved buildings (and back again), seen tons of different colleagues come and go, and spent years at a time working alone in isolated offices together. So it was fortunate, really, that as we'd be spending upwards of 40 hours a week together, she soon became one of my besties.

One of my favourite things about her is that she's not only funny when she wants to be, but especially when she doesn't mean to be. Whether it's when she's swearily sleep-talking on my sofa, accidentally calling people abusive names to their faces, or just getting all her words wrong (my favourites being the week she spent telling people she'd done something "on a quim" or describing the time she spent staying in a hostel where "the walls were made of MDMA") I spend a rather large proportion of my time in her company cackling like a loon.

Dismantling the remnants of our office this week and sharing out our glorious wall decorations has made me feel all misty eyed and nostalgic, and I'd like to take a moment to celebrate Midge and say thank you for a few things. So, sprinkled liberally with a few favourite clips and in jokes, here goes...

For iPhone/iPad click here.

For the books. And the lists of books. For the sharing of the love of Anne Rice, and the sharing of the anger at Anita Blake. For the library visits and the book store binges and, most of all, for being totally cool with sitting and ignoring one another in favour of our books.

For all the lifts. And for bringing Alton Towers to everyday life in the form of her driving.

For making me try sushi.

For the unashamed love of rubbish (in my opinion) pop songs, and the complete inability to remember absolutely anything about any of them. And for the entire hour she once spent banging on about some bloke called Tim Morrison, before I realised she meant Jim.

For the impromptu dance routines, especially the ones that are in the car or include tap dance and jazz hands. And for turning Zumba class into an audition to be Ike & Tina's backing dancers.

For iPhone/iPad click here.

For all of the thingies.

For making me realise that not only is it OK to wear a dress, but that having an actual haircut and attempting to style it is OK too. 

For her astonishment on watching me open a carton of soup ("Is that how you do it? I thought you just folded that back and then sort of picked at it")

For the many, many life plans unearthed during the office clear out.

For the dedication to quizzes.

For being able to have a blistering row with one another one minute, and laugh the next.

For iPhone/iPad click here.

For being the sort of person who not only encourages you to perform Superfreak at 6pm in a pub while people have their tea behind you, but gets up and does it with you. 

For the being the best at meeting new people ("It's like I had an out of body experience. I watched myself behave like a maniac, and couldn't do anything to stop it.")

For all the telly watching, and for having to hide behind the cushion when True Blood gets sexy.

For being as slovenly as me and happily allowing belching in the office, and for the shared love of talking about bowel movements.

For adopting me a monkey.

For putting up with my frequent whining, and all of the unconditional support. Especially during the Age of the Vomits.

For her method of asking for food ("You cook for Midge, yes?" or, more frequently, "I ate your biscuits while you were off")

For being incredibly generous, and never being able to do enough for everyone.

For the spreading of wild rumours ("Who's that French bloke you fancy? Jacques Chirac?" I would like to go on the record as never having fancied Jacques Chirac.)  

For all of the rants, and being able to swear as impressively and often as me.

For iPhone/iPad click here.

For writing me a story.

For still not being able to say the name of where she's moving correctly.

For many, many other things that I couldn't put up here for fear of getting both of us into tons of trouble.

And finally, for making sure that she Skypes me constantly, and remembers not to watch the Veronica Mars movie with anyone but me, and for making sure she comes home frequently and lets me come and stay whenever I want.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The royal baby

Some posh girl that I've never met just had a baby that I'll never meet. 

Aside from the fact that he's already richer than I'll ever be and won't have to work a day in his life as we're all paying for the lifestyle to which he will become accustomed...

Monday, 22 July 2013

The Liveship Traders by Robin Hobb

5 stars

Earlier this year I read my first Robin Hobb series - The Farseer Trilogy. Immediately won over, I've now set myself the mission of reading every Robin Hobb I can get my hands on. My second foray into her world, The Liveship Traders, did not disappoint, and soon became one of my favourite fantasy series (keeping George RR Martin and Joe Abercrombie in good company).

Aside from the fantastic world built by Hobb, and the fantastic storytelling talent she brings to the table, one of the reasons I so loved this particular series was down to the women. In a genre that can quite often be something of a sausage-fest, it's both very refreshing and very awesome to come across a series that not only features a wealth of strong women but has them at the heart of the books, driving the action. Because of this, I've given this series a theme song:

For iPhone/iPad click here.

Jumping up and down on my chair while twirling my bra might be a little over the top, and unpleasant for any witnesses, but it's a complete joy after also spending so much time in other genres (cough, paranormal/YA, cough) with heroines who make my shit itch.

Interested? Then read on for my reviews of each book in the series...

Ship of Magic
(read in April 2013)

A fantasy sea adventure starring Liveships - sentient ships crafted from wizardwood and each bound to a blood member of the families that own them - I wouldn't have thought I'd find myself feeling so strongly for what are, essentially, a bunch of boats, but that's where I found myself, to the point I even blubbed on their behalf on more than one occasion (especially poor, tragic Paragon).

I'm even more invested in the other characters - Althea, and her quest to retrieve her rightful ship, her bullying brother-in-law Kyle and his desperately-in-need-of-a-good-slapping daughter Malta, Amber (who I desperately want to know more about), and all of the others. Not forgetting the buccaneer who'll stop at nothing to own a liveship and become King of the Pirates - Captain Kennit, who despite himself can't help but make people love him and things change for the better, all while being a manipulative, conniving, selfish and hilarious bastard. At this point, I have as big a crush on him as Etta does.

I have no idea where things are going to go from here, but I'm expecting to grin, rage and weep my way to the end just like I have in this. I'd try and eke the experience out a little, but I'm way too greedy for more. I'm rushing right back to my Kindle for the next.

The Mad Ship

Brilliant, for all the reason why I loved the first so much, and more.

Captain Kennit finally has his hands on a liveship, and though Wintrow has his doubts Vivacia is both thrilled and enamoured with her new captain, while at home Althea embarks on a rescue mission on our other favourite liveship, and Malta is forced to grow up.

As engrossing, compelling and emotional as its predecessor (including one part where I nearly threw the book across the room)...

...this entry gave us more of the bigger picture, making clear the relationship between the great sea serpents and the liveships, and making sure that all of its characters get to grow and learn while you understand things from all points of view, making the 'right' outcome very un-black and white.

I'm also completely fangirling over the journeys of both Malta and Keffria - if you'd told me how much I'd love Malta after the first book I'd have laughed in your face, but Hobb has done a fantastic job of showing the growth of her character, and from beginning as a spoilt little shrew she now promises to become a truly formidable woman.

On to the next!

Ship of Destiny

We've finally reached the end of this brilliant, emotionally bruising trilogy that I've raged, snarled and sobbed my way through. The Vivacia is still in the hands of Captain Kennit, leading Althea, Brashen and Amber to sail off in pursuit on board the Paragon. Bingtown is being torn apart by the Chalcedeans, as well as the strife between the groups of people living there, and having fled the danger there Malta now finds herself lost with the Satrap in the aftermath of the ruin of Trehaug.

Laid clear is the dark truth to the relationship between the liveships and the serpents, the bond between Paragon and his missing part, and that I was a complete fool to have thought that Kennit was a fun, if bastardly, character who did good things accidentally, as he crossed the line into you're-dead-to-me bastardry. 

This series was very well put together with a world and characters that felt real (even if I didn't like them all), to the point that while reading these books I've turned into a little ball of stress and anger, railing at every injustice I come across. 

A big investment, both time-wise (these are big, fat books) and emotionally (see above), I highly recommend this series. I'll be coming back to Robin Hobb as often as I can.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

The Freebie 5 - Euro Dudes

Lying around in the sun has nearly completely destroyed all of my capacity for coherent thought and has even made trying to string a sentence together rather difficult. Much better to look at pretty pictures instead, so why not continue our trawl through my Freebie 5’s with a look at some Euro dudes who just happen to be face-meltingly hot?

5. Tcheky Karyo

Usually found playing the bad guy (and therefore immediately making me root for the wrong side), Turkish born French actor Tcheky Karyo first came to my attention in Crying Freeman. Now, if he's in it, I'll watch it. Even when it's The Core, though I find it infinitely preferable when it's in a film in which people get kicked a lot:

For iPhone/iPad click here.

4. Christoph Waltz

Austrian German Christoph Waltz is making it something of a habit to steal every film he's in, no matter the size of the part. Classy, charming and ever so slightly silly, I could watch this man read the telephone book. But I'll settle for him threatening James Franco instead:

For iPhone/iPad click here.

3. Vincent Cassel

Another Frenchman, Cassel started off blisteringly with La Haine. Showing impeccable taste in film roles (especially whenever it comes to starring alongside Viggo Mortensen, who would have made this list if he hadn't been, y'know...American), he's never anything less than mesmerising, and is only getting better with age. 

For iPhone/iPad click here.

2. Mads Mikkelsen

I can't stand the James Bond films so didn't get on the Mads bandwagon with everyone else, never really understanding the attraction. Until I saw Valhalla Rising. Never has a one-eyed, filthy and brutal mute been so attractive: 

Having also since come to my attention as The Man With The Fantastic Thighs in the cinematic abortion that is the Clash of the Titans remake (and the only thing worth looking at in the entire film), as well as Holy Crap Check Out That Scorching Knight in King Arthur, happily Mads is now busy melting my TV screen (as well as modelling a fine range of suits) each week on Hannibal:

For iPhone/iPad click here.

1. Sebastian Chabal

The only one who isn't an actor, what's really strange about this choice is that Sebastian Chabal is a sports dude. I hate sports, and can be found with my head buried in a book whenever NikNak chooses to watch any. The only way I can be enticed to look up is if this man is onscreen:

For iPhone/iPad click here.

I think I need a lie-down now, I'm feeling a little...ahem...overcome.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

A Tale of Two Cities

by Charles Dickens - 4 stars

'Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death; -- the last, much the easiest to bestow, O Guillotine!' 
Set against the bloody backdrop of the French Revolution, this is a hugely emotionally effective look at the depths to which humanity can descend when driven with a lust for vengeance.

Following the interlaced fates of the Darnay's and the Defarge's, Charles Darnay is a former French noble living in London and husband to Lucie Manette, daughter of a former prisoner of the Bastille. Whilst Charles is in London the Defarge's (who already have history with Dr Manette) sit in their Parisian wine-shop plotting revolution against the cruel and oppressive nobles (who, when judged by their characterisation within, definitely deserve overthrowing). When Charles makes an ill-timed return to French soil, the ties that bind the Darnay's and the Defarge's grow even tighter as he is taken prisoner by the new oppressors who are using La Guillotine to exact a bloody retribution for the hardships suffered under the old regime.

Dickens does a fantastic job of conjuring up the horrors of the Revolution - at first striving for justice but soon descending into nothing more than ruthless bloodlust as people, innocent and guilty alike, lose their heads even if merely deemed 'under suspicion'.

Whilst the character of Lucie is too good to be true - so sweet and pure it makes your teeth ache (and also the reason this gets a 4 instead of a 5) - some truly formidable women feature and drive the action. Madame Defarge in particular is an incredible creation as is her polar opposite, Miss Pross, whose last stand moved me to tears ("...with the vigorous tenacity of love, always so much stronger than hate...")

I loved the way in which my views on characters changed throughout the story, with Sydney Carton and Madame Defarge rising, or descending, to the occasion and showing that neither were as they first seemed. By the final, stunning act of love and sacrifice I'd been well and truly won over and touched by many of the lines within, but none more than the incredibly powerful and moving ending.

It's now easy to see why Dickens was one of the most popular writers of his time, and why his books remain widely read to this day.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

I've got something in my eye...

La Weasel says:

With all this sunny weather, I have been doing the sensible thing and mostly staying inside for a siesta which has allowed me to re-watch a number of classic films. 

Whilst happily lounging on the sofa yesterday with cool beers and an assortment of snacks within reach, I inevitably welled up and shed tears over the tear jerker that is Star Wars Episode 5. The specific bit that gets me every time is the Han Solo carbonite scene where Leah says she loves him and he says "I know". No matter how many times I see this, the manly response by Han is just so aww. If he’d said he loved her back, it wouldn’t have worked. My darling husband (DH) rolls his eyes at such moments and quite often attributes this sentimentality to “your hormones love”. 

This lead me to think about other guaranteed weepy moments in our household (not just my tears) Take your pick on which ones DH reaches for the Kleenex with (other tissue brands are available).

Watch out for spoilers!

1. Harry Potter. Snape’s declaration of love for Lily, even when she’d shunned him and married James Potter. Whether this love extended to Harry as her son, I can’t say, but his love for her undimmed over the years. Must have arm ache from holding that torch. 

2. First of two from His Dark Materials. The part where Will and Lyra realise that to save the multitude of worlds, they must close all of the windows and be forever in their own worlds or die. Only one window can remain and that has to be the one allowing the dead freedom. To go to the same place at the same time each year, in separate worlds, knowing their love is sharing that space in an alternative world is such an adult display of love and sacrifice from them. I’m blinking back tears right now!

3. Big screen, big budget movie – Armageddon. A big dose of American wholesomeness usually makes me slightly nauseous, but this is the exception. There are a few moments in the film that make the lip wobble, but the guaranteed blub moment has to be when Gracie’s father and AJ have drawn straws to save the world. They've gone down on to the asteroid together but only AJ is remaining to trigger the nuke while the others escape back to Earth. When they get to the surface Harry disconnects AJ’s air supply and says he’s doing it, and that AJ has to take up where he leaves off loving and looking after Gracie. The final stab to the tear duct is when he says AJ is like the son he never had. Honestly, I don’t know why I’m wearing mascara today. Whilst writing this I’ve gone from a slight dab of a tissue to re-running the movie scene in my head and ending up blowing my nose like a hooter!

4. The second showing for His Dark Materials is the end of Lee Scorsby and his daemon Hester. Whilst holding off enemies at the pass (a heroic dead), Lee gets mortally wounded and dies which means that his daemon Hester (an arctic hare) also has to die. I cannot put into words how this made me feel when I read it. Philip Pullman himself said that writing that part of the story was emotional for him, and that when reading it for the audiobook, he choked. 

5. To end my top 5  is the unbelievably moving moment at the end of…. Cool Runnings! The team are down and out but have won the respect of their fellow competitors and complete the run carrying their bobsled over the finish line. 

Well, now I’m truly emotionally drained for the day. I’ll probably think of a few more that should be on the list (Sparkhouse, the BBC feature from several years ago springs to mind) but I don’t have it in me to go further.

TheShitWizard says:

NikNak says I cry at anything (and once caught me crying at the last episode of SM:TV Live, so has a point)  and I heartily concur with La Weasel on 2, 3 and 4, having got teary just thinking about them. There's a few more that always get me...

1. Wallace's fate in series 1 of The Wire gets me every.damn.time. Still young enough to be playing with his Transformers, Wallace is not only a slinger for the Barksdales but surrogate dad to many of the younger kids in the projects - packing their lunches, getting them ready for school, helping with their homework. When he's scared enough to want out of the life he's living, he gets out. Just not in the way that he expected, and at the hands of his friends. Somebody hold me...

2. Up. Mr Fredrickson looks back over the scrapbook he and his dearly departed wife made together, full of their hopes and dreams. One line is all it takes to have me wailing: "What do I do now, Ellie?"

Dear Jeebus, I'm even getting weepy just typing this!

3. Prince Hector dies in The Iliad. Having faced down the armies of Greece, Hector cannot stand up to the fury of Achilles and the treachery of the gods, and carks it outside the gates of Troy. I start to cry, and don't let up until after Priam begs for his son's body to be returned.

4. Stand By Me. Specifically, Chris's speech to Gordy about the milk money:

Chris: Yeah, I took it! I mean, you knew I took it. Teddy knew I took it. Everyone knew I took it. Even Vern knew it, I think. But maybe I was sorry and I tried to give it back.
Gordie: You tried to give it back?
Chris: Maybe. Just maybe. And maybe I took it to Old Lady Simmons and told her, and the money was all there. But I still got a three day vacation because it never showed up. And maybe the next week, Old Lady Simmons had this new suit on when she came to school.
Gordie: Yeah, yeah! It was brown and it had dots on it.
Chris: Yeah. So let's just say that I stole the milk money, but Old Lady Simmons stole it back from me. Just say that I told this story. Me, Chris Chambers. Kid brother to Eyeball Chambers. Do you think that anyone would've believed it?
Gordie: No.
Chris: And do you think that that bitch would have dared try something like that if it had been one of those douchebags from up on the view, if they had taken the money?
Gordie: No way!
Chris: Hell no! But with me?... I'm sure she had her eye on that skirt for a long time. Anyway, she saw her chance, and she took it. I was the stupid one for even trying to give it back.
[begins to cry]
Chris: I just never thought a teacher... Oh, who gives a fuck anyway? I just wish... that I could go some place... where nobody knows me. I guess I'm just a pussy, huh?
Gordie: [comforting] No way. No way.

5. Wash. Serenity. "I'm a leaf on the wind..." Eep!

Why did I bother wearing make-up today?