Sliding doors and Groundhog Day and Standing at the Crossroads

In one of James Hird’s latest ‘tell-all’ interviews he revealed that “had we secured this preferred applicant then the experience of the Essendon Football Club and 34 young men would have been very different … Instead the sliding door we walked through introduced Essendon to the worlds of Dean Robinson and, at Robinson’s suggestion, Stephen Dank.”

David Sterritt, reviewing the film, ‘Sliding Doors’ for Christian Science Monitor said “The gimmick is clever, but the filmmakers don’t rise to the challenge they’ve set themselves, merely spinning two unimaginative stories for the price of one”. He gave the film one star. Other reviews say it’s a flashy conceit but otherwise utterly empty. Or this: stories this smooth don’t happen by accident. I want to stress that I’m talking about the movie, ‘Sliding Doors’ … although, you know, it may (or may not) bear any resemblance to any other use of the concept of sliding doors by any individual caught in a bind trying to explain away that that ought not be explained away anymore.

A film is a film is a film. No it’s not. Sliding Doors is crap. Alright, it’s a barely mildly amusing rom-com. Let me put it this way, it ain’t no Casablanca. Now there’s a film/story that engages the metaphoric weight of a sliding doors moment without making that metaphor the whole point (yes, Mr Hird I’m talking to you).

If I read the Court of Arbitration for Sport Tribunal Report correctly, Essendon players’ legal representatives employed Danish arthouse films (pg 21, pg. 113) in their defence but the Tribunal dismissed the tactic, saying that metaphor was no substitute for credible evidence … By the way, Denmark is noted for such great films as The Idiots, Seven Footprints to Satan and Epidemic. Again, I stress that I am merely enlightening the reader about Danish cinema and not trying to use metaphors as evidence.

Imagine if James in his ‘tell-all’ interview had said: “Instead, we introduced Essendon to its very own Groundhog Day”. For a start, much better film to reference. Maybe truer. Definitely funnier. On second thought, Hird (who would be played by a much more handsome actor that Bill Murray – I’m thinking Alexander Skarsgård) just would not learn a lesson. Not a single one.

Which leads me to a correction I, as the fan-fiction writer I am, would like to make to Mr Hird’s story. This was no sliding doors thing. What a low rent metaphor to apply. Pfff! I would make the story grander, so it might resonate through the ages. Would I presume to make it Shakespearean and change Twelfth Night to Twelfth Year? Yes, it’s that long! Or I could just update The Comedy of Errors.

No, this story is about something darker. There is an ominousness to the tale. This is Faustian. It has the great blues singer/guitarist, Robert Johnson’s sliding doors, I mean crossroads moment written all over it. When Robert wails, “I’m standing at the crossroads, believe I’m sinking down” we know the devil has him by the short and curlies. No-one is under any illusion that the deal he struck with you know who was one poorly thought out and executed, strategic plan.

Tis a pity Hird doesn’t listen to more great Mississippi Delta bluesmen rather than what I presume he does which is watch second rate made for TV fodder. He might still be in the same pickle but at least his metaphors would rock.

About Rick Kane

Up in the mornin', out on the job Work like the devil for my pay But that lucky old sun has nothin' to do But roll around Heaven all day


  1. Denmark. Pusher trilogy. Sensational. Oh….

  2. I guess Essendon the movie, or, at least the telemovie is a conversation various entertainment execs have had. Who will play James Hird? Owen Wilson? If he was bigger Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) could play Jobe Watson. If he hadn’t passed away there’d surely be a role for Bill Hunter, even if they had to write one. After all fiction and creativity is at the core of the narrative. Thanks Rick.

  3. Neil Belford says

    Nice one Slim. Crossroads – our protagonist has stood at them a few times during this saga. A much better metaphor than sliding doors – your writing is charming and it has given me a flood of Friday afternoon memories that are completely disconnected to the matter at hand. Cream – that takes me back several lifetimes.

    Perhaps Punxsutawney Phil could play James Hird – there is a definite likeness. By the way, how often do you read the Christian Science Monitor.

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