Daily prompt 6 June – Write a review of your life or the life of someone close to you – as if it were a movie or a book.
I’ve opted for movie.
At a little after two in the afternoon on 15 August 1971, John and Marilyn Isitt welcomed to the world a tiny bundle of perfection. Even in their wildest, most optimistic dreams, would either of them have imagined just how wonderful that tiny bundle of perfection would turn out. The word epic gets thrown around far too often these days, but in this case, epic just barely covers it. In a tale that weaves nearly 46 years, and is far from over, leave the children at home as this is a tale that is definitely adult only. It’s a Hard G, the true autobiographical masterpiece from a man so misunderstood he’s easy to read, will leave you in awe with tales of love, sex, laughter, sports, more sex, a little more love, heartbreak, travel, culinary disasters, and because the director knows it sells … even more sex!
It’s a story that has roots in Wales, leads us to the frozen tundra of Alberta, Canada, and finally, for the last decade, the arid heat of Saudi Arabia and Dubai. It’s a story of close family bonds, sibling rivalries, and a growing number of cast members that at times is impossible to deal with. For the most part, they remain in the shadows, barely blips on the social media radar, but those that are close to our hero, are rewarded with his time, his efforts, and his love. He may talk a big game about being awesome, but it is painfully obvious that he is just the sum of all the parts that helped shape him growing up.
But what of struggle and conflict, I hear you say. No great tale can be great without a smattering or more of each, and in It’s a Hard G, there is plenty of struggle and conflict to leave you on the edge of your seat. A natural athlete, perhaps taking after his father in this, he soon learned that he didn’t have to speak when he was commanding attention on ice rinks or soccer fields. His stutter became secondary, his silky hands and quick feet (to be replaced in his later years with silky hands and a quick wit) much more relevant to the dozens that witnessed his near-legendary (to himself) exploits. He was the only person on his hockey team with three different songs about him, and he was so good, he got away with giving his own mother the finger when she told him to “get some air up his ass” as she thought his performance at 6 am on a Saturday morning was below par. He ended the day with four points, not out of spite or because of the abuse, but because he was just that good.
Without going into too many details and spoiling the plot for you all, I will just glance past the decades and leave you wanting more. For a self-acclaimed genius, his scholastic record points to the opposite. Twice he left high school before graduating, but finally did so after moving in with a friend nearly 200 miles from his family. Twice he went to college. Twice he made the soccer team. Twice he dropped out immediately after the soccer season ended. School was probably not for our hero; that is until he turned 31 and decided to go back to college. He stuck it out, graduated with honours, and now works half way around the world and sets off on exotic travels because of it. Some people, our hero included, just need to find things in their own time.
The real attraction to this tale is the star himself, a lovable, likeable, ne’er-do-well with a heart of gold and head full of naughtiness. His rise from awkward scrawny teen to wannabe safari guide and stand-up comic is sometimes painful to watch, but through it all, his dimples shine and his “you either love me or hate me” attitude never wavers. For all his faults, and he will admit to many, he is ultimately worthy of our attention, and every time he enters the picture, it comes alive. For all intents and purposes, the sun shines from his remarkable ass (his words), and at times it is hard to disagree with him; even if by not doing so would bring the biggest “I told you so” grin to his face. On this form, it is easy to see why he has left a string of flings in his wake. He’s too charming for his own good. But, as they say I Hollywood, it is a role he was born to play.
Of the myriad of supporting characters, his younger sister Barbara is perhaps the most compelling, and possibly the only person who has ever really been able to put our youngish hero in his place. The constant give and take between the two, the rapier-like thrusts of wit and insults, lend itself to a comedic timing not seen much since Laurel and Hardy. His superior in every way, and he will admit this on occasion if he thinks no one is listening or that it might help him get a date, she has long been his best friend. All of the scenes they intersect are richer for her, and the historic Rice Pudding War might be the finest piece of dining table riposte that has ever been seen. A truly mouth-watering encounter.
His older sister, Susan, is the strongest of all the characters. Her strength for herself, and her family, and in fact those around her, deserve a film of their own. It bugs our hero that his older sister looks younger than he does, but once he casts aside this shallowness of his own nature, he heartily admits that he will never be as strong as Susan. Some people are just born to hold things together. And she does. And she does it with great poise and grace. And the occasional one-liner that threatens to steal the show.
Mum and dad a never far from the edges of this tale; after all, our hero is ultimately the culmination of many things, not least is what he was surrounded with at home. A home that saw the family eat together at dinner, laugh together whenever they could, opportunities provided as often as they presented themselves, and a push for knowledge, for caring, and for acceptance. If the hero is as remarkable as he lets us believe he is, he can thanks (and does) his mum and dad for helping his become so.
While this film is far from perfect, It’s a Hard G is an enjoyable experience. The lead can come across as a bit of a dick at times, but that’s just who he is, and his flaws are perfectly counter-balanced by his qualities. The karaoke singing in Saudi is worth a few laughs, the safari scenes are a treat on the eyes, and when he becomes the Park Ranger, well, the less said the better. But all in all, I’d give this a 7 out of 10.
“My God is he hot!” Jennifer Lawrence
“Park Ranger. Classic! Only the brave would try that.” Hugh Jackman
“He’ll always be welcome at the Mansion.” Hugh Hefner
“If he wants to work with me, I’d be honoured.” Dame Helen Mirren
“I may have seen better films, but this one is made from the heart.” Ellen DeGeneres
“If there were ever a person to ‘make it so’, I believe it is Geraint.” Sir Patrick Stewart
“He can be my wingman anytime.” Tom Cruise
“This is like the Hangover but with only one guy. And he just does it so well.” Halle Berry