Category Archives: popculture

As Doctor Strange hits cinemas, here are the best and worst doctors in cinema

Benedict Cumberbatch is winning rave reviews for his performance as mystical medic Doctor Strange, the latest comic book blockbuster from Marvel. It got me thinking about big screen doctors of the past. Here are some of the greatest… and a few that deserve to be struck off…

Doctor Strangelove (1964)

Stanley Kubrick’s satire of Cold War nuclear lunacy stars Peter Sellars  as the USA’s (ex-Nazi) advisor, who suggests the top brass wait out the impending apocalypse in a bunker, surrounded by ‘stimulating females’ to repopulate Earth.
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Comedy genius Peter Sellers as Dr Strangelove

Dr Zhivago (1965)

Omar Sharif became an international heart-throb after playing the titular medic. The epic romance plays out between Sharif and Julie Christie’s Lara, against the backdrop of Russia’s march to revolution.

Back To the future (1985)

Christopher Lloyd is Doc Brown, a mad scientist who invents a time machine that takes Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) back to 1955, where he must fend off the amorous intentions of his (now teenage) mum to fix history and avoid a Freudian nightmare. You would have thought the security of the space/time continuum would be the least of Brown’s worries, given that his Delorean is powered by plutonium purchased from Libyan terrorists. He’d be better off catching a lift back to the 50s with Marty if he hopes to avoid a spell in Guantanamo.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Blu-ray Screenshot
It was spaghetti bolognese night at the asylum

The Silence of The Lambs (1991)

Anthony Hopkins chews up the scenery and fellow cast members as captured cannibal serial-killer Dr Hannibal Lecter. The evil genius is drafted in to help a rookie FBI agent (Jodie Foster) from his cell, when the hunt for another twisted psychopath hits a brick wall.

The Fugitive (1993)

Dr Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) is framed for his wife’s murder, and the middle-aged vascular surgeon, somehow evades a massive manhunt while simultaneously searching for the real killer – the One Armed Man.

The Island Of Dr Moreau (1996)

A risible take on HG Wells’ novel casts Marlon Brando as a physiologist playing God on a desert island. Val Kilmer is the castaway appalled by Moreau’s splicing of humans with animals to create horrific hybrids. The film, ironically, is 100% turkey.
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Marlon Brando in The Island Of Doctor Moreau

Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas (1998)

Eccentric writer Hunter Thompson (Johnny Depp playing his real-life pal) and his Samoan attorney  Dr Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) head for Las Vegas on a drug-fuelled bender as the idealism of their 60s hippy-dream evaporates.
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The most unexpected casting decisions in film history

For anyone who grew up in the 90s Jennifer Aniston is the dictionary definition of squeaky clean. As Rachel in Friends, the gentlest of gentle comedies, and in a subsequent slew of rom-coms she was never less than likeable but ‘controversial’ was not an adjective often attached to her.

So last week, while subbing a review of her latest film Horrible Bosses 2 (in which the 45-year-old plays a foul-mouthed nymphomaniac) for the newspaper I work for, we started chatting about the least likely pieces of casting we could remember.These were the roles that we came up with off the top of our heads. Feel free to leave any more suggestions in the comments section.

CHARLIZE THERON
Monster (2003)

The glamorous South African actress underwent an extreme makeover in reverse to play prostitute and serial-killer Aileen Wuornos, gaining 30lbs and fitting fake teeth. It paid off, netting her a Best Actress Oscar.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER
Kindergarten Cop (1990)

In which Hollywood’s go-to beefcake tried out his comedic chops with toe-curling results. Only slightly less unlikely than his later role as California’s Governor.

ROBERT DE’NIRO
Stardust (2007)

HE’s made some odd choices since his 70s heyday, but watching the man who played Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle and Raging Bull’s Jake La’ Motta prancing in a pink feather boa as a cross-dressing pirate tops the lot.

JULIE ANDREWS
S.O.B (1981)

If you want to ruin a slice of your childhood, watch S.O.B, in which Andrews (aka Maria VonTrapp/ Mary Poppins) is convinced to star in a softcore porn musical and bare her breasts.

TOM CRUISE
Collateral (2004)

Cruise’s CV was a long list of All-American heroes  and flawed good guys (Top Gun, Rain Man, Mission: Impossible), so this impressive turn as a callous hit-man was a surprising departure.

JOHN TRAVOLTA
Pulp Fiction (1994)

The late 80s saw the Grease star reduced to sharing top billing with a wisecracking newborn in Look Who’s Talking.
The role of Elvis-loving heavy Vincent Vega made him cool again… briefly.

MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY
Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Once a six-pack flashing rom-com rent-a-hunk, McConaughey has made a career 180⁰.  His recent transformation is starkest here, as a rail-thin AIDS victim selling illegal drugs.

Going Tattoo Far?

When Lady Gaga posted a picture of her her new armpit tattoo on Twitter while on tour in Manchester recently, two thoughts immediately came to mind.

  1. Clever placement. If she later regrets it she can just grow out her underarm hair, thus avoiding the need for painful laser removal procedures, while simultaneously boosting her popularity in Germany.
  2. When did body art become such a fashion statement?

There was a time when “getting inked” was something you did on impulse. My uncle for example, had his first tattoo on a drunken weekend in Blackpool with his mates. His decision to have the word “Mum” on his forearm was not the result of long contemplation but rather the vain hope that this crudely rendered tribute to my formidable nan would save him a tongue-lashing when he returned home.

For celebrities it seems, the days of having a simple anchor or pair of swallows indelibly scratched on their bodies are gone. Tattoos are the ultimate statement and, as such, require you to make a splash with your ink. Here are some of the strangest choices.

DAVID BECKHAM

David Beckham shows his silly side
David Beckham shows his silly side

The former England captain resembles a human Etch-A-Sketch nowadays. The design on his side may look like a test pad for a magic marker, but is actually a Chinese proverb that reads: “Death and life have pre-determined appointments; riches and honour are from heaven.”

Not being able to speak Chinese, I can only take David’s word for this. Part of me hopes this is actually a brilliant practical joke and that the  inscription is actually the Mandarin translation of the lyrics to Out Of Your Mind, Victoria’s single with Dane Bowers and the Truesteppers from 2000.

MEGAN FOX

Transformers star Fox has taken a similarly high-brow approach, choosing to have Shakespeare’s line “We shall all laugh at gilded butterflies” from King Lear on her shoulder, which looks great but doesn’t make any sense… much like Transformers.

Bard taste: Megan Fox shows her love of Shakespeare
Bard taste: Megan Fox shows her love of Shakespeare

TULISA CONTOSTAVLOS

Not all celebrities go for ancient proverbs and classical literature quotes. Ex-X Factor judge Tulisa had ‘Lucky You’ inked just above her bikini line. Classy. And now she’s been axed from Simon Cowell’s all conquering talent show she can’t even ask him for a pair of his high-waisted trousers to cover it up.

HARRY STYLES

Boybands are often keen to shed the teeny-pop image and appear more rock and roll, and what’s more rock and roll than getting inked up? Almost anything if, like Harry, you opt to have lyrics from George Michael’s weepie pop classic Careless Whisper inscribed on your ankle.

NICOLE RICHIE

Almost as odd a choice was mother-of-two Nicole’s decision to have the word “Virgin” etched on her wrist. If accurate, this will be cause for a major rethink of my religious beliefs.

CARA DELEVIGNE

Cara's Lion finger design
Cara’s Lion finger design

All the previous examples can at least be easily hidden, but Cara’s tattoo of a lion’s face on her hand, which resembles a permanent fingerbob, is a little trickier. Less obvious is the “Made In England” slogan on the sole of her foot, which marks the model out as one of Britain’s few successful exports.

JOHNNY DEPP

Then again, why hide a badly chosen piece of body art? Pirates Of The Caribbean star Depp took a more creative approach after splitting with Winona Ryder, having the legend “Winona Forever” altered to “Wino Forever”.

MILEY CYRUS

The eccentric singer has an impressive number of tattoos, including one of a cat on the inside of her bottom lip and a tribute to a dead pet on her side. The most eye-catching one is a detailed portrait of her grandmother on her forearm. While it’s a touching tribute to a much-loved family member, a picture in a locket would have been less painful.

MIKE TYSON

The ear-chewing former world champion decided his face wasn’t scary enough and so added this intimidating tribal design to his terrifying fizzog. The tattoo artist was laughing all the way to the bank when he sued the makers of The Hangover Part 2 for using his copyrighted design in the movie.

CHERYL FERNANDEZ-VERSINI

Cheryl’s rosy backside caused quite a stir when the singer and X Factor judge revealed an elaborate floral piece that covered her entire bum and lower back.

Cheryl goes for something subtle
Cheryl goes for something subtle