This week's notes were written before all the technical flummoxing that occurred, scuppering our collaboration. They are however too good to delete so please enjoy, whilst pretending there's finally someone interesting on this show to listen to!
Charlie Bingham, host of the Mountain Conversations podcast and archaeologist with a specialist interest in the common ancestor between humans, chimps and bonobos may well see her work come to fruition when she meets the ape-like Bad Dads this week for a special collaboration. Responding to our plea for listener generated content, Charlie suggested that we should take a look at 2004's A CINDARELLA STORY and decided to join us to chat about it.
A modern day retelling of the classic story which sees Hilary Duff's Sam orphaned twice in the first 15 minutes and sent to live with her evil stepmother, Stifler's Mum in a plot Sidey's seen before in many a different pornographic video. Forced to live in the spacious attic room of an enormous suburban mansion, attending a well-funded wealthy Californian private school and with a steady job at her stepmother's Café, Sam is on the brink of meeting up with her secret online admirer Nomad in real life, but everything from her dim-witted step-sisters to the head of the mean spirited cheerleading clique will conspire to stop them from meeting up with each other. Chad Michael Murray may well have the most American name I've ever heard, Duff is very charming and the themes about following your dreams, sticking up for yourself, being a good friend and stopping caring so much what people think about you are good ones for the tweens that this is aimed and the "waiting for him is like waiting for rain in this drought: Useless and disappointing" line is one I'll always enjoy.
A Cinderella Story
Sidey: So if you look forward in time, There's some chat in the Friday episode about how well this may or may not have gone. Yeah. Technologically, because we were due to have a guest. Tonight. Yes. That hasn't happened because of technical gremlins in the system, which is a real shame, but we will reschedule for another day when we know we can get it all working.
Let's not talk about it cuz it's just boring, full of people to listen to.
Reegs: Oh yeah. But it's, it is horrible for, for our guests who is gonna be Charlie Bingham from mounting conversations podcast. And yeah, all went horribly wrong, but we are still in her honor gonna review Cinderella's story.
Sidey: Yes. Because you and I both watched this film, Dan Did not, he didn't have the time. In fact, Dan did watch a film for the mid weeker. Just wasn't the right one. Even though it was heavily documented on this group and spoken about multiple occasions, anyhow. So Dan hasn't even had the courtesy to tell on his microphone to join in this
Sidey: So we'll get into it Riggs. It starts off very classically Cinderella with a kind of, I guess, drone shot through a, a mountain. Range up kind of glacial valley yeah. Into this sort of classic Cinderella dignified castle view. Which then I dunno if this has ever been compared to citizen Kane before, but it becomes a snow globe.
Yeah. And I was half expecting like a rose board gag or something because the snow globe then. Goes over breaks. The very traumatic opening of this film.
Reegs: Yeah. Well, I had no knowledge though, so it completely upended my expectations. So I didn't know that it was a modern day retelling. So when it started with this fantasy element, I went with it. But um yeah, it upends your expectations. This was uh directed by Quentin Tarantino, Dan, and one 13 academy awards as you'll remember from your research.
Sidey: so it starts off with setting the scene of
I wanna say I only watched it me 24 hours ago. Yes. Sam, Sam Montgomery played by Hillary Duff, but this is the young version of her.
Reegs: Dan you've decided to join us after all, because you were so excited by the reveal that this was set in present day San or what was present day San Fernando valley in California, instead of the fantastical world that you wanted to, to join in and, and talk about this now.
Dan: Well, I wanna listen and at least defend myself to some of the comments that been flying around, but no, I, I will go back and watch this.
I will watch this at some point is something that I'd like to have seen with my daughter, but as
Sidey: like this. I reckon.
Dan: I, I think she will There was a previous version that we watched together that she really enjoyed. So it is on the radar.
Sidey: So the, the story is set up in that. I think she's already lost her mother.
Reegs: Yeah. So straight away,
straight fair off the bat
Sidey: and, exceptionally close with her father as a consequence. And he's really nice.
He's really good in the community. He has a diner and everyone that works there loves working there and loves him and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And he's telling her a story one night and then there's an earthquake and well, the she's he's already got married.
Dan: And when we say she, we Hillary Duff.
Sidey: Duff Hillary Duff, but what happens is.
Sidey: he, he gets, he gets hitched. She says, oh, well know, one day he found someone extra. And, and so her perfect sort of relationship with her, father's broken up and, and instantly is it Jennifer? Cool. Yeah. Stiffler mom from American pie. She's just, she's like the wick, like evil stepmother. She's fucking horrible, but I really like the way they do.
They're doing a family photo on the wedding day and she chucks their que on the floor. So Sam goes to pick it up and is out of the photo. So it's just her, her two kids. And and it just like spirals me, but there's a, a scene where. The old man is, is tucking her in at night, telling her a story and then everything starts move and it's like, oh no, an earthquake.
And he's just fucking dead. And like, so the mother's gone, she's got the evil stepmother and the two
Reegs: like you stay here at the top of this two story building, which is definitely the safest place to be in an earthquake. And then he fucks off to die in the Northridge earthquake earthquake, which did actually kill earth, 57 people in 1994.
Yeah, so she's, she's often, often, twice now.
Dan: Right. So it's the,
Reegs: or fully
Dan: is the classic tale, but as you say, slightly different twist on it and brought into the modern day.
So we with it is modern day, though. It is
Sidey: yeah. Picture like clueless, kind of the high school sort of territory. Now, although I was getting more. 10 things I hate about you vibes
Reegs: Yeah. It's 2004 is, is when this came out. So right. And it's firmly rooted in there via a plot device that we can talk about in a bit. Cuz like you say, yeah. So the fairy tales are over the snow globe smashes. It's like, oh man, heart wrenching stuff. Stepmom gets absolutely everything including Sam and then she's moving into.
Well, it's sort of portrayed as a boxy attic room, but it's an enormous thing that's bigger than like easily, like five times the size of my first flat. And yeah, it's raining in the goo dolls are playing, which is unfortunate
Sidey: soundtracks. Like patchy, pretty, pretty patchy. But yeah, she's, she goes to school and she, she has a really close male friend, but there it is just a platonic relationship and he, he hasn't found his sort of identity yet.
He's dressing up all the time as different things and his, but you don't know that first. And the first time we see him, he's this awful like Wigger
Reegs: M and M sort of budget, M and M
Dan: Okay Right It's
Sidey: it kind of. Like, like verging on racist the way he's like imitating these people. And then it really becomes the thing where she's like, no, you can't, she's like shouts him down.
You've gotta go and change. We can't go out with you looking like that. And all this stuff, he kind kind of does that throughout the movie.
Reegs: And the wicked stepmom is a real, is a real wicked stepmom. She's ignorant and stupid. She talks about salmon being from Norwegia. She's had the her favorite Norwegia flown in from Norwegia.
And there's a, it's important because you would've liked this, Dan that there's a conservation. Theme that goes through the movie because there's a drought. Yeah. There's a, and, and California is in the grips of an awful drought, but they water their garden. It pans back and their garden is all lush and ver and green, but it's the only place that's like that in the middle of the drought.
Oh. So, and it runs through thematically. Dan pays off in a big climactic
Sidey: Massive. Yeah.
Dan: And, and when you say the the friend is, is dressing up, are, are they playing with.
You know, different characters and, and the way they might lean sexually and things gently. Are they
Reegs: pretty standard.
Sidey: not stands. It's not quite as nuanced as that.
It is just, I dunno, just dresses up to make like some funny sort of
Reegs: okay, he's playing a role. It's about, it's a subplot for him, like side. He said about him finding his identity and he's constantly acting and playing roles
Sidey: and yeah.
Reegs: Right. He dresses up with different
Dan: people. I wasn't sure if that was a slightly newer twist again on, on Cinderella. And they were
Sidey: now, now we.
Reegs: should have watched it down then you didn't
Dan: Well, I, I plan to
Sidey: now we, we get into the, the crux of the story is that she has a, like a pen pal, but it's via the medium of clamshell, nineties sort of styled mobile telephone.
Reegs: Yeah. They met in an internet chat room.
Sidey: Oh nomad. I remember that. And so we just see her, this should be by surprise actually, where she has just sat on a bench and she's having this conversation and reading it out because that's what you do when you take someone.
And there's this thing going on and it's not clearly been going on for a long while. And she says something like, when will I get to meet you? And this nomad, so she's Princeton girl, 8 1 8 or something like that. And he's, he's nomad. And it just says soon
Reegs: as well. There's been a recurring thing about Princeton. And you know, he, the dad said, don't follow a prince. There's a, but there's a good empowerment thing, but
Sidey: And yeah, and he says, and then she walks off to go wherever it is on campus. And then the camera just pans and you see that it's the fucking, they see, they show you who is, I thought there would be this big drawn out thing of like, who is it? Who's it gonna be?
But no instantly shows you it's the, the high school kind of he's the Football team quarterback. He's like the, the homecoming like
Reegs: Chad Michael Murray is the actor's names. The most American name you've ever heard
Sidey: heard. It reminds me of will F's character in blades of glory. Yeah. Chad's Michael
Dan: Michael Michael's. He,
Sidey: Michael he's.
Reegs: plays Austin ES and he's Aimes, Austin, Ames. He's introduced in this. It's a funny scene because first Carter is, is layering over his cheerleader, girlfriend, Shelby, and it's kind of a bit like creepy.
And then she, he, she just skull fucks him in slow motion when he comes
Sidey: out of the uh
Reegs: cuz he's this pretty gorgeous looking specimen.
Sidey: I thought it budget Ryan Philippe. I was interim
Reegs: though. The heartthrob material. Yeah. But so Dan, get this right. He's captain of the.
Dan: The football
Reegs: football team, football team and like the, the, the, the he also works for his father.
He's got a successful validating thing and they've got his career mapped out for him, which
Sidey: dad though, his dad he's li his dad is living vicariously him. You'll be, you're gonna play college football. You're going
Reegs: charted out his future. Yeah. But he's also this tender. He's layered enigmatic, like poetic a poet.
Dan: I was gonna ask.
Dan: Oh my Lord. He is. He
Sidey: it all.
He's got it all going on. So.
Dan: me on
Sidey: She's having these texts with him and they sort of wanna meet, but no one wants to like make the first move. Oh, it's tense.
Reegs: Simon Helberg from the big bang theory. Turns up a couple of times once dressed as Neo
Sidey: Yeah. And then you're like, wow, this came out after the matrix.
Dan: Which one was
Sidey: one of the nerd
Reegs: the, yeah, one of the, the nerdiest one, the engineer. So yeah, he turns up playing the same character again. They're having tech sex a lot. Where else are we going?
Sidey: well she, she, her mother stepmother is essentially she's slave for her, you know, and she works in the diner.
She's not allowed to leave the di to go and study for a test, all this sort of stuff.
Dan: And what about the prom? So
Sidey: So there's a Halloween.
Reegs: Well, they arranged to docks each other at 11:00 PM. Don't they? Yeah. At the, at the costume ball. And they're
Dan: so there's a ball. There's a ball. Yeah.
Dan: it a
Reegs: the homecoming homecoming Halloween ball.
it all happening all
Dan: the ball happening. Who's home. Who's coming home.
Reegs: The home
Sidey: is I never understand that.
Sidey: Did you recognize the cheerleader lady
Yeah. She was also the cheerleader in. Dodge ball Dodge ball.
Dan: Badge bar.
Sidey: So you would recognize her.
Reegs: So they arranged me up and it's like her ugly stepsister. They're not ugly. She calls them the out of stepsister. They're the sort of supposed, supposedly far called duo PRT falling and yeah,
Sidey: the brunette won the taller one. She was in California occasion.
Yeah. She fucks David Coney. Yeah. And she gets naked.
Sidey: it's rad.
Dan: but this is rated what? Like a
Sidey: oh this is
Reegs: yeah. There's no, no men or
Sidey: maybe not a, you maybe it's a little bit too little bit grown up for a little Wier kids. But they
Reegs: they get, they arrange to meet up. Yeah. Well, she's, everything's conspiring to stop her, but she does get there via Rhonda who works at the thing is kind of the fairy godmother who enables it and makes things happen for her
Dan: So kind of, but there, there isn't any fantasy this day, there are real people who
Sidey: world. This is real shit. Real shit.
Reegs: real shit. The real not at all privileged high school students of a very wealthy Californian school. Yeah.
Sidey: Right. So that's all going on.
Her buddy goes, he's dressed as Zora. And then she emerges at the, at the ball looking like absolute knockout
Dan: And how has she got there?
Reegs: Through a turn of events, many turn of events, Dan
Dan: norm, well, normally the carriage is something. I just wonder if she got a good ride, you know?
Reegs: No, but she has got a cell phone strapped to her leg. Like she's a,
Sidey: CIA agent or
Reegs: something, or like she's been an ASBO or whatever that she's got an ankle bracelet.
It's obviously gonna be the glass slipper that he's gonna leave if she's gonna leave behind. And you think that would play into the plop down, but it doesn't.
Sidey: She's got the kind of Clark Ken dis disguise of just sort of a small Eye mask really? That she wears. So she's she's in this like proper, like epic ball gown.
Everyone else is in like, like more fancy dress.
Reegs: I'd say. Yeah, like she's in a wedding. She's in Rhonda's wedding dress. Isn't
Sidey: she, she saved
Reegs: it up for her.
Sidey: then her hairs all done really nice and she looks fucking knockout and she's got this tiny little like disguise mask on and no one, like, I just
Reegs: Yeah, it's amazing. Isn't it?
Sidey: no one like clocks at it's her and she's getting bullied like relentlessly, cuz she works in the diner.
All the posh, like horrible, like Wonker kids, jocks and whatever. Just call a diner girl, just like constantly ordering food offer. And the one that stands out and he becomes fucking rapey as well. Later on is. Chaz, Michael Michael's best mate. Although I don't think he actually likes him. He's just a hanger on, right.
And he keeps saying, oh, breakfast burrito. And then when he goes to, like, I'm still waiting on that breakfast burrito. And you're like, I hope this fucking kid gets run over or something. And he basically tries to rape or force himself on Shelby at the party. Yeah. To which. The nerd friend of Sam comes in and saves the day.
And so he co off with,
Reegs: he does a sorrow thing and he, he goes like sliding down a thing,
Sidey: is pretty cool actually. And so they're copping off each other and he's got the same, like just a tiny little Mo it's obviously can be no one else other than this kid, like, it's just
Reegs: it really does stretch credulity
Dan: in the diner though, is she kind of dressing quite
Reegs: Yeah. It's supposed to be the it's so unseen and whatever, but yeah, it does really because, you know, Hillary Duff let's face it, even when she wears a baseball cap for most of the movie is a good looking girl. So
Reegs: Yeah, the idea that he wouldn't. Noticed there. It seems, it seems improbable.
They do have a lovely dance. Eventually
Sidey: they do. They have what are those things called? Like a Perga. I wanna say, I dunno if that's the right term, but anyway, they're in the garden, it's all candle it and everything. They have a moment this, this romantic connection
Reegs: he still doesn't know who
Sidey: but she's like, She knows who he is, you know, you are the jock, there's no way you are.
You are the, the guy you're claiming to be on the text message. She just doesn't believe it. It's too good to be true. So she's just like, no, I'm doomed to like, never find love. It's not, it's not meant for me,
Reegs: at one point she comically thought it was Simon Helberg again, from the big bang theory, he, he sort of pretends in a way he sort of locks into the conversation that he might be.
And yeah, she knows it's not her night,
Sidey: He's got no idea
Reegs: No doesn't know who
Sidey: so he has a million flyers slash posters printed out. Which he is plastering all over the school, like who is Cinderella, but he's got her phone because she dropped it, but he's putting posters up and like, so to Mrs.
What the fuck? Like, like a meter apart? Yeah. There's just so fucking many of them.
Dan: when did they when did they drop the name? Is that her name? Cinderella from the beginning?
Reegs: I think, I don't think they say, I think
Sidey: it's just, no, it's never.
what, what happens is the way it kicks into overdrive is that the, what do we call?
'em not steps. The ugly steps
Reegs: sisters out of step
Sidey: out step sisters reveal all. They, they, they find out what's going on and they, because they want be Pally with.
She runs a mean girl clique of,
Sidey: she's mean, girl of it's absolutely mean girls. Yeah. And she's absolutely far, but they cuz she's popular. They wanna be in the popular group.
So they spill the beans and, and
Reegs: Well, they also pretend
to be set before that they pretend to be Sam just to confuse the plot even further. So they both want a piece of Austin as well. He, that Chad Michael Murray is that dream Bo too.
Dan: and, and so the posters, do they work?
Sidey: No, because they they've given the game race.
So they've told Shelby, ah, Shelby is not gonna have her homecoming, like prom date, like jock, you know, fucking quarterback, captain, the football team. She's not gonna have him go to Dyna girl because that shows her up. So there's this big like performance they put on before the big game where.
You know how they do this forced like enthusiasm and right. You know, the national Anthem, the pet, they put on like a little, almost like a play, like a, like a skit. Yeah. About the game where they've got people doing. And, and it's about the Cinderella thing. And in front of the whole school, she reveals that it was her and everyone's laughing at her.
I don't know why they found it so funny. Yeah. But, and the old man's being a prick to.
Reegs: Austin. What, what they laughing about, you were absolutely glamorous and stole the show at the
Sidey: Yeah. It's sort of weird, but it is all status obsessed, isn't it? And so she runs off crying and her friend sees it come.
He's like, we've gotta get out here. We've gotta get out. And so, because
Reegs: well, but Austin sees it
Sidey: but he doesn't give the game away. Austin.
Reegs: he's like he doesn. He really lets himself down here. Doesn't he?
Sidey: Because, well, he's being intimidated by his old Mansbury phase. He is under pressure and it's hard, probably hard for, I guess they're
Dan: right. It's a very, it is a very different kind of twist on it. And have either of them realized they are the computer buddies yet?
Sidey: Yeah, she knows. Now
Dan: knows that it's hit. Right. Everybody knows.
Sidey: But that, that fake she's supposed to be like from the wrong side of the tracks, but like say she's like completely not. It's just that she works and the rest of 'em don't right.
Reegs: but also she's supposed to be going off to Princeton. She's had an acceptance letter, but Jennifer Kage Stifler's mom has stolen.
Sidey: typed out different one
Reegs: typed out rejection letter.
Reegs: Oh, and I wonder if her ability to sort of forge or conceal documents might play into the plot again later in,
Dan: Okay. Cuz normally we're getting towards the end of a Cinderella story
Sidey: Well, we are we
Reegs: getting, this is the end of the second act. Really? We've still got the, we've still got a big emotional moment to come.
Sidey: He's gotta choose between playing the big game. Or choosing her effectively, is he gonna go down the jock sport route or is he gonna be the romantic poet slash creative guy who chooses the girl and, and all that.
I wonder if we could guess which way it's gonna go
Reegs: well, but before all that, though, there is a moment of like big self worth from her in the
Sidey: yeah, that's true. Yeah.
Reegs: what I think is the emotional moment of the movie that she's like, oh, forget about, I don't want you anymore. She says, waiting for him is like waiting for rain in this drought to useless and disappointing.
So she throws him off. She doesn't need his
Sidey: and and she, she guns. The stepmom.
Sidey: just had enough. She, she cracks effectively. She doesn't kill her. Yeah. But she does say no, that's it. You're not boss anymore. I quit. I'm moving outta the house. You know, you're,
Dan: get somebody
Sidey: getting rid of her, like completely like bend off.
And she goes to live with Regina king, who is the, the fairy godmother and everyone. It's already been explicitly stated, Virginia King says, listen, you can't intimidate me. Cuz if I leave this diner, you'll have no customers. They're only here because of, because of us. And so they all walk out our mass and everything starts to turn on its head because Sam's, you know, she's taken charge.
She's master of her own destiny. Yeah.
Reegs: Yeah. And during the, the sort of big climactic game, there's like the last moment and the half and the dad's got everything mapped out for Austin and he bends it all off and he says, what does he says you're throwing away your dreams. And Austin says, no, no, dad, I'm throwing away
Sidey: Absolutely Telegraph that line. Yeah.
Reegs: of course he did. Yeah.
Sidey: It's a bit like Friday night lights, you know, the game he's fucked the game off. And he says, he says to his sort of backup guys, he's running, running off his, you know, get it done. You can do it sort of, you know, oh God. And he's, he's watched, basically Sam has watched the game, but she can't take it anymore.
So she leaves and he sees her leave. And that's when he's in the fucking huddle, down with the team, he lets his teammates. Big time. but chooses a girl goes off and they kiss. And whilst they're kissing. A fucking rain drop falls down. Yeah. So the drought
everything comes together. It's been beautiful moment.
Reegs: And then it's just
Dan: do they still win the game?
Sidey: Yeah, they win. Yeah. His mate,
Reegs: Yeah. It's made the secondary quarterback who wasn't the rapey one. He comes in
Dan: He's a
Sidey: there's basically no, come up for that guy.
Reegs: No, nothing for him. The cell phone doesn't play into it in any way, shape or form.
So there's no,
Reegs: stuff to go though, Dan?
No. Well, no, that the slipper element is not there. But later they had, the dad had been banging on about, oh, you'll find your dreams in this book, the fairytale book that she was reading earlier, and what he really should have told her is that in, it was actually a copy of his will.
Sidey: Yeah. Probably,
Reegs: he could have avoided eight years of trauma.
Sidey: Yeah. It's not the sort of thing you need to do with a teenage girl is to leave cryptic messages about the possible location of your will
Reegs: but it was signed by step's mom. So she knew. The
Sidey: So the car, she, she comes out and she's selling the car and she says, what are you doing?
She says, I'm selling the car to pay for my tuition for college. So she knows that she has been accepted mega happy ending. Yeah. She buys or takes control of the Dyna and reverts it back to how it used to be. Yeah.
Sidey: All the staff are back everyone's mega happy. She
Reegs: sees an inspirational message from her father when there's the thing, tears. Oh, it's a beautiful moment Dan, earlier on and she restores it to that.
Sidey: Yeah. And the final real joyous moment is that the out stepsisters and ST's mom are working as in a kind of a janitorial kind of
Dan: right. The tables have turned
Sidey: might even be community service for
Reegs: Yes, it is. Yeah. Yeah. I don't understand how that works. I
Sidey: I wouldn't have wanted them anywhere near me. I would've said no fuck off, do it somewhere else.
Reegs: And I thought, and there's a nice moment where Sam and Austin go off in the car, off the Princeton together. Yeah. And three, I think, and three months later, Austin realizes he's. I think,
Dan: Oh, dizzy.
Reegs: Well, I just made that bit up, but I'm pretty sure that's what, in
Sidey: fact. Yeah. At least would've experimented, I think a little bit.
Reegs: Yeah. And
Dan: Well what,
what's the run time on this
Reegs: pretty brisk. Can we rule out the Stifler's mom didn't kill his dad during the earthquake.
Sidey: No, it's not.
You're not, you're not shown exactly what happens.
No. Right. I think now that I think about it, she almost certainly did
Reegs: The double blow of the parents going in the first, like 15 minutes is pretty big.
Dan: So did you watch this with you, your family, or you just kind
Sidey: me and the misses who watch
Dan: Yeah. Right. Okay.
Sidey: So I think I was more into it than she was. I did enjoy it.
Reegs: It's okay. I it's. Okay. It's a little bit
Dan: I watched the, the Kenneth Braner one.
He directed Cinderella,
Sidey: Yeah. I'm not interested not gonna be as good as this.
Dan: and it was, but it was, it was closer to the story. You know, you had all the magical elements of real fairy godmother you know, nuts that turned into mice that turned into a carriage in horses and all that kind of thing. So it was interesting to see this, hear this take on it and
Sidey: a good take. This is solid take. Did you happen to clock? Who did the music in this?
Reegs: No, go on
Sidey: it's guy called Kristoff Beck.
Right. Do you know who that is? No chili. Gonzales' his brother.
Reegs: Oh, right.
Sidey: Yeah. So he has scored some like proper films.
Hot up time machine and others frozen, frozen too. Yeah. So like heavy hairs. And if anyone is listening and takes anything away from this, he has done a record with chili Gonzales. It's called the unspeakable chili Gonzales.
It's the orchestral rap album they've done. That's amazing. It's fucking, Brilliant's a 10 out 10. Yeah. Can't recommend that
Reegs: it is brilliant that Um
Sidey: saw his name come up on the screen. I was like,
know someone, I don't know him personally, but I recognize that name. So I was delighted when I was digging around and found out I was fucking like, oh, this film's got pedigree.
Let's serious pedigree. Yeah.
Dan: Excellent. Well, I will check it out. I will look forward to it, to settling down with my daughter and checking this out on
Sidey: Okay. Kick out this I reckon.
Dan: Yeah. Sounds like it.