Author Topic: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)  (Read 3541 times)

How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« on: July 27, 2020, 10:23:36 AM »
I couldn't see a thread about this, although it could be in comedy, music, here, or even tagged on to a books thread? Anyway. I was forced to watch it at the weekend/hoped it might have some good Carter USM jokes.

It's an utterly mediocre film about how wonderful Caitlin Moran is, focusing particularly on her brief career at Melody Maker, the long-forgotten music weekly. The direction and acting and everything is competent, Beanie Feldstein is believable as someone from Wolverhampton at least to someone (me) who has been in Wolverhampton for 2 hours total. It's mildly amusing sometimes, Feldstein is energetic and tries hard to be likable. I'm not convinced it captures life on a council estate in the West Midlands c. 1990, but I wouldn't know: her homelife seems rather charming, not even poverty porn.

The main problem it that is soullessly predictable and formulaic. She rises, falls, rises again. She falls in love and screws it up. (Spoiler tags are only for the most generic formula points.) There's too little in the way of amusing period detail; the only real-life band to feature are the Manics, with a generic concert that could be any band. There are a few digs at contemporaneous music acts, but no real interest in music or fandom or writing. The last is just something which makes you cool and provides an escape; she might as well have become a professional footballer.

I guess it doesn't want to alienate Moran's vast fanbase by being too specifically about a time and place and scene. Its main mission is to say how wonderful Moran is, and how even screwing up and being useless are just waypoints on the path to becoming the genius that is adult Caitlin Moran (it ends with a cringeworthy speech on this subject). One for cultists only?

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Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2020, 11:26:22 AM »
I'll give it a miss then, cheers!

Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2020, 12:06:34 PM »
Is the "Courtney" character in it? Based on Taylor Parkes apparently. I've not read the book.

Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2020, 12:34:37 PM »
It sounds fucking shit. Just going off the film title I thought it would be an updated Weird Science.

Small Man Big Horse

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Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2020, 01:31:42 PM »
It's a shame it's so poor, I've extremely fond memories of Melody Maker and it shaped my musical tastes far more than the NME ever did, but if the film's poor and in no way a realistic version of what went on there then I don't think I'll bother.

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Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2020, 01:37:30 PM »
Like SMBH, I lived through her first brush with fame, with the Melody Maker and her time on that telly show she did; I'm glad she made it in what was presumably still a male-dominated industry, but thought she was about as exciting as the pipes screensaver on Windows 95. Someone with no opinions that aren't right in the middle of the middle of the road.

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Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2020, 01:49:39 PM »
I'm not convinced it captures life on a council estate in the West Midlands c. 1990, but I wouldn't know: her homelife seems rather charming, not even poverty porn.

I'm from a similar background and I always thought the stuff in her autobiography seemed a bit extreme. I'm not accusing her of making it up but the Dickensian level of poverty seemed a bit odd. I couldn't really identify with it.

Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2020, 02:33:54 PM »
How awful sounding.

Does it cover the time she decided to take money from Rupert Murdoch and write for his loathsome publication?


I did quite like that sitcom that she wrote (I think) and was based on her childhood (I think) but mainly for the actor who played the mum's performance.

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Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2020, 02:48:32 PM »
Like SMBH, I lived through her first brush with fame, with the Melody Maker and her time on that telly show she did; I'm glad she made it in what was presumably still a male-dominated industry, but thought she was about as exciting as the pipes screensaver on Windows 95. Someone with no opinions that aren't right in the middle of the middle of the road.

Same here, I even tried watching bits of Naked City again recently just to check it was as bad as I remember and it’s just unwatchable.  Part of me really wants to know who these people are who buy her books and tolerate her shit but if you go down that road you probably end up shouting at clouds or giving yourself an ulcer. 

Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2020, 05:05:57 PM »
Does the person playing her do "the face" in this?

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Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2020, 05:08:15 PM »
Like SMBH, I lived through her first brush with fame, with the Melody Maker and her time on that telly show she did; I'm glad she made it in what was presumably still a male-dominated industry, but thought she was about as exciting as the pipes screensaver on Windows 95. Someone with no opinions that aren't right in the middle of the middle of the road.

I know what you mean, whether I agreed with them or not I strongly remember Taylor Parkes, Everett True and Simon Price's writing in the paper, but couldn't tell you a single thing about Moran's.

icehaven

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Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2020, 05:23:42 PM »
Didn't she already do her own backstory in a sitcom years ago? Haven't seen that or this but I'm sure that was about being an indie kid growing up in Wolverhampton in the 80s or 90s too. Maybe it's because I was an indie kid who grew up down the road in Coventry in the 80s and 90s but it really isn't that interesting a life, never mind mineable for a sitcom and a book, and a film.

I did go to see the Manics and about a million other bands (but not all at the same time) in the Wolverhampton Civic though so I'm probably in the background somewhere in a Motorcycle Emptiness Tshirt. I hope I'm played by someone thinner than me.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2020, 05:47:32 PM by icehaven »

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Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2020, 06:11:54 PM »
While I don't really hate Caitlin Moran - she doesn't keep me up at night in a rage or anything - this still doesn't sound even remotely interesting to me. I can't help but feel that this book would have been better suited to a movie adaption. And unlike Moran, I can remember a lot of this person's writing.

Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2020, 07:29:31 PM »
Is the "Courtney" character in it? Based on Taylor Parkes apparently. I've not read the book.

There is no Courtney on IMDB.

Looks dreadful. As soon as I heard semi-biographical, I feared the worst.

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Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2020, 08:00:29 PM »
Went right off her due to her Twitter. In fact, she's one of the main reasons I stopped even using Twitter. The likes of her, Emma Kennedy and Glinner all thinking they somehow ruled the place. All incredibly smug, annoying, and unfunny. Great times

Her ridiculous reaction to Limmy was the final straw. Think she threatened to chop his nuts off or something because he dared make a joke about her equally hacky husband. Get in bin

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Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2020, 08:04:50 PM »
This is making me want to see a series of films about the crazy lives and times of the Chart Music gang. Al's film, the first in the franchise, would of course be called Bummerdog.

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Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2020, 08:05:51 PM »
Didn't she already do her own backstory in a sitcom years ago?

Raised By Wolves - it was pretty good.

Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2020, 08:17:47 PM »
I believe I mentioned it.


Remembered that I had a brief furtle with a lady that looked just like her. Which is a lot better than I looked.

Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2020, 08:25:52 PM »
Just watched the trailer. She didn't do "the face" once. What a swizz!

(Also it looks really awful and has Emma Thomson in it, so that's two more reasons not to see it.)

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Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2020, 09:34:21 PM »
There is no Courtney on IMDB.

Sometimes the complaints will be false.


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Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2020, 09:54:49 PM »
It's kind of entertaining with a few decent gags, but despite not having seen the TV series or read any of her books, I feel like I know Caitlin Moran's life better than my own by this point.  This would have been much better if she was the lead character in a story about a particular time and place, that Melody Maker era, but it's entirely about her so the world melts and bends around her.

That was the annoying thing for me:  it doesn't really have much of a grip on when it's set.  It's probably because the 90s were 'my time' musically that I got so wound up about it getting the order of things wrong.  No, they wouldn't have been playing 'Bug Powder Dust' in the Melody Maker office the first time she went there, and they wouldn't have had a Carter USM front cover on their pin-board if they were.  And then 'Lenny Valentino' wouldn't have come out about a year later!

The biggest weakness is the singer she falls for - clearly based on a real person, but I can't quite imagine who that might be.

The biggest laugh is the talking poster in the toilets.  There must have been a conversation with Bjork's people that ended with 'nope, fuck off, not even the name'.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #21 on: July 28, 2020, 03:10:35 AM »
Watching this now.

I cannot begin to understand how someone could ever write a film like this about themselves. The hubris, the sheer lack of self-awareness is staggering. Embarrassing. Positively Gervaisian.

It is, as previously stated, a paean to the brilliance of Caitlin Moran. One of the most narcissistic films I have ever seen.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2020, 03:33:12 AM »
I've got to the point in the film where she admits that being performatively nasty made her career. Okay, fair enough. That shows some self-awareness. It's an honest admission - when you're that young, and surrounded by cynical cunts, you do think that's the way to go.

Also, the actor playing her is pretty good.

EDIT: Oh Bob Mortimer, you're better than this.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2020, 03:51:11 AM »
Jesus fucking Christ, imagine writing a version of your life in which you're an absolute genius maverick hero.

EDIT: She's probably a nice person.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2020, 04:03:09 AM by Ballad of Ballard Berkley »

Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2020, 07:51:51 AM »
As a human being, she is an extremely unintelligent idiot, a role model for the self-centred noise pollutant.

Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #25 on: July 28, 2020, 08:34:31 AM »
Something Caitlin Moran is involved in turned out to be fucking shite? No WAY....

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Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #26 on: July 28, 2020, 09:14:07 AM »
Is her past always being mined like this because she's one of the only columnists who had a non-upper middle class upbringing? I get the impression these things are mainly made for the benefit of her colleagues, who can't believe that someone who has risen to the level of writing opinions for a broadsheet could have had origins that didn't involve public school and an influential media dad.

I don't think we can say all her opinions are boring when I specifically recall her making the outlandish claim that the Tories legalised gay marriage because Doctor Who had some bisexual characters.

Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #27 on: July 28, 2020, 09:14:32 AM »
Have any other really impressive journalists made films about great they are? Toby Young?

Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2020, 11:01:54 AM »
Jesus fucking Christ, imagine writing a version of your life in which you're an absolute genius maverick hero.

EDIT: She's probably a nice person.

She's not.

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Re: How To Build A Girl (2020 Caitlin Moran film)
« Reply #29 on: July 28, 2020, 11:23:55 AM »
So this isn't a sequel to Weird Science? Arsed then.

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