Sep 22, 2009

Blogs to Check Out

Dick Heads.
That's right... it's the name of a Richard Armitage picture gallery featured in "The Medium is Not Enough TV Blog." At first I was taken aback by their choice of title... then I remembered Dick is an old fashioned nickname for Richard, and this photo gallery focuses on photos people send in of Richard's head, with bonus points for a hat being worn. Clever, no?  I had to laugh out loud!  Here is one of the pictures featured in the gallery- Richard as a soldier in "Cleopatra." There are many other photos with funny captions and you can contribute your own "Dick Head" pictures as well. Visit THIS LINK. Tell them Nat sent you and they'll send you a free Guy of Gisborne action figure.
(Just kidding.)


I've watched this movie, but don't want to do a review because it would probably be lame. "Sparkhouse" is one of my least favorites of RA's work that I've seen so far. I think Richard did a great job as John Standring and I liked his co-star, Sarah Smart, but the story itself was so depressing, I couldn't get past it! I know some people like tragedies, but I enjoy a happy ending... even though it's not "real life" most of the time. Also, the music at the very end of the movie sounds like something from an 80's cop show! (Go back and watch the last few minutes if you don't believe me.) If you want to read an interesting review about "Sparkhouse," check out Mulubinba's take on it HERE. (She's one of my RA bloggin' buddies.) I especially liked her comparison of Richard and Holly Grainger in both Sparkhouse and Robin Hood at the end of the post. I'm fond of her blog in general, so check out the whole thing while you're at it. As a matter of fact, be sure to have a looksy at all the "Enjoyable Blogs" and "Other Sites Worth a Look" that are listed on the lower right-hand bar. :)


WitchyWoman said...

So sorry to read that Sparkhouse is your least favourite. I personally love this for a few reasons. 1. Most of it is filmed in Hebden Bridge which is a gorgeous place in Yorkshire. I am hoping to go there next week when Hubby is on holiday. 2.The reaction I got when seeing Richard as John for the first time. I turned into Janice from Friends and went "Oh my God!!" What that man will do to be "in character". 3 I thought John was really sweet and as with most of Richards characters I was thinking about how Richard had created a biography for him. I reckoned he was a virgin for a start(the back of the Land Rover scene awww) He had no parents and was brought up by his grandparents(he mentions his grandfather who eventually dies) I think he was bullied and instead of his height being a blessing it was more of a curse because it made him stand out to be bullied even more. He worked on a farm and the thing with that is animals cant bully you,talk back to you.
The scene when he has his hair cut you can see in Carols face the way her view of him is changing. She is seeing him the way we are as an attractive man under all that hair and overalls.
The story is a take on Wurthering Heights which is depressing enough.

I do have to agree the ending was so abrupt and the music out of place.

Starheart said...

Ah well we're all different. I loved Sparkhouse, but sometimes feel a bit old for it! The music is kinda corny. The ending is soooooooo unsatisfying, but a haircut never looked so good.

Debra said...

Like you, Nat, I didn't like SPARKHOUSE the first time that I watched it.

But I put the dvd in one night and watched it again. It has since become one of my favorite RA dvds.

The story, the location, and the acting are ALL done so well.

But, I'll have to agree about the music. Some of it just didn't fit that particular series. (I remember thinking that at the time.)

And yes, I am that other Debra (not Armitage Forum DebRA).

Nat at RA FanBlog said...

I know, I know... you're all probably thinking, "Uncultured swine! How can you dislike Sparkhouse!?" but I'm just being honest. RA really was wonderful in it and I did enjoy the scenery and a few things that have been mentioned in the above comments. I just couldn't get past how she "settled" for John... I thought he deserved more.

Debra said...

I thought the same thing ( that she just settled for him)...but after re-watching it, I could see how she was starting to put all of her childish (romantic)thoughts about Andrew away (after the marriage), and really started to appreciate John as her husband.

Maybe it was all wishful thinking (on my part)????

It is definitely one of those stories that makes you wonder what became of them after the final credits rolled?

I think that she was already on the path of making John a good wife...and hopefully she became everything that he had always wanted her to be? After all, he had this enormous crush on her for so-o-o long.

WitchyWoman said...

I'd like to think Carol and John had a nice life together.
I wanted her to tell him who Lisa's father really was and kind of hoped that with Andrew being out of the way she would have done just that.
John was a good man and he did care for her and I felt that Carol cared for him too. When he and Andrew are having a fight and Carol fires the shotgun she tells Andrew to go away and takes John by the hand and cleans up his wounds.
Another thing I loved was when John spoke he sometimes tilted his head to the side instead of talking to a person direct.

Roll on next week when I have my day out at Hebden Bridge.

Totally off topic but high up above Hebden Bridge is the village of Heptonstall where Sylvia Plaith(Ted Hughes(who Richard has read his poetry) ex wife is burried in the parish church.

bZirk said...

As far as RA's performances go, Sparkhouse is second only to North and South IMO, and frankly, it's a really close second. It just might overtake N&S at some point -- gotta think about that a little longer.

To be clear, I'm talking about only his performance and not necessarily the overall piece. I did like Sparkhouse and thought it was a good adaptation, but it has some flaws.

If we're talking about the overall quality of productions that RA has been in and factoring in his performances as well, then my number two would have to be Vicar of Dibley. EVERYONE does a great job in that. It just doesn't have enough Richard in it.

Frankly, the third best performance by RA -- at least of the peformances I've seen -- is a toss up between Gisborne and Ricky Deeming with maybe John Mulligan and Lucas North following at close fourth and fifth respectively. Again, these are just taking into account his performance. If I consider the entire production, then my list changes.

Sue said...

My all time favourite is Sparkhouse, not because Richard was in it. I watched the drama and enjoyed it because it had a bloody good storyline, was well acted and had fantastic countryside. I've also worked on drystone walls up that way and believe me that North wind can freeze your knackers (if I had any)off!

Yes, I think Richard played John Standring from the perspective of being a virgin too! Reading the instructions on the back of the condom packet as he went out of the pub was a dead give-away for a start! (Amongst other things!)

By the way Sparkhouse was only based on the "idea" of Wuthering Heights not a retelling of it. The male and female characters were swapped around for a start. Although it did have that raw, natural quality about it and those wild Yorkshire Moors. It's a Brit thing, can't explain it. Loved the bones of it!Well done Dick!(Or should that be "Carry On Dick?")

Maria Grazia said...

Guess what? I had SPARKHOUSE DVD at home when I saw N&S, was caught by the Thornton effect, started surfing the Net trying to find out who the fascinating British actor was and ... immediately put it in the player to see more of him! I must confess I was rather disappointed by John Standring in the first episode. Then, little by little I was won by his generous, faithful, loyal devotion to Carol. JS is my one of my favourites among RA's characterization.

Debra said...

I guess that you could say that I was won over by John's devotion for Carol in SPARKHOUSE, also.

No matter what she does, he always seems to be there for her. (Or at least, they find their way back to each other.)

He nurses her.
She nurses him.
He defends her.
She defends him.

I didn't like part when she uses him at the pub, because when she asks him to kiss her and pops the "WANNA **you know***" question. He seems happy to find out that she has feelings for him...(I felt truly sorry for him at that point).

Oh, I could go on and on...

It's just a REALLY good RA movie(in my opinion). I never get tired of watching it.

loriBear said...

I can see exactly what you are saying Nat. Wuthering Heights is NOT one of my favorite storylines. Depressing to the end. For me, it was even worse story wise than Wuthering Heights, cause at least there I see the attraction of Heathcliff and Cathy. I don't see it at all with Andrew and Carol. Even without RA playing John, it annoys the heck out of me that Carol still holds onto spineless Andrew to the end. John is 10 times the man that Andrew is.

Yet, I am also in the camp that this is one of my favorite performances of RA's. I think mainly cause it is so different than any other role he's done. And he doesn't disappoint.

JT is still tops for me, but Standring is the second favorite.

bZirk said...

Carol's attraction to Andrew is mystifying. If the word schmuck ever fit anyone, it's Andrew, and hey, schmuck may be too generous since it implies a backbone (unlike its British cousin "wanker"; hope that comment isn't too off color for this blog).

Plus, Joseph McFadden just isn't that charismatic. Maybe it's a Brit thing, and as an American, I don't get the fascination. To be clear, maybe Joe is hot in Britain so he was cast; otherwise, I just don't get how he could be seen as inspiring such a longing in Carol. Makes no sense. Oh, yeah, yeah, she was confused as a girl, but when she comes back, she's not a girl anymore LOL! and then it makes no sense for her to even give him the time of day.

Okay, so I'm waffling on this. I realize that women can be in love with schmucks, but at least they have something that makes them appealing. This guy had nothing. No offense to Joe McFadden.

And once John is "cleaned up," Andrew faded into oblivion -- for me anyway. LOL!!

Which makes me think that maybe I saw things this way because of the Armitage effect. C'mon, once this guy is on screen, it's hard for another actor to compete with his charisma. I'm not biased. :D