Walnuts and Pears

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Walnuts and Pears
WalnutsAndPearsTitleCard.png
This title card only took Xciep the Mongoose a week as he was on a caffeine-high. He considers it his best work.
Written by Alan the Mongoose
Ian the Mongoose
Script editor:
Charlie the Mongoose
Directed by Xciep the Mongoose
Produced by The the Mongoose
Distributed by Auspicious Films
Music by Is the Mongoose
Editing by Does the Mongoose
Xciep the Mongoose
Starring Barry the Mongoose
Is the Mongoose
Ten the Mongoose
Xciep the Mongoose
Running time 123 minutes (cinema)
185 minutes (director's cut)
Release date(s) 1 August 2010 (UK)
15 September 2010 (US)
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Pirate
Budget £223.47
Gross revenue 20 pieces of eight, 3 milk bottle caps
Preceded by Three Bears and a Wolf

Walnuts and Pears is a 2010 British adventure film, and the second feature film and third film overall created by the Auspicious Three, a team of thirteen mongooses passionate about making people waste their time sitting in front of a screen.

The title comes from the obscure 17th century proverb Walnuts and pears you plant for your heirs, which ties in with the plot of the film: Wilfred, the grandfather of 20-year-old Michael Jackson (no relation) dies, and leaves him a map with the proverb written on it in his will. Intrigued, and annoyed that he didn't get any money, Michael goes on a mission to find where the map leads, accompanied by his talking pelican Wasp and a packet of rotten fruit.

It is interspersed with parts of a short animated film by the director called A Sailor's Life, which is a five-part story about a murder on a pirate ship which is "solved" using a five flagons of mead.

Funding for the film came from the till of a local independently-owned coffee shop with what director Xciep the Mongoose described as "insufficient lockage".

The cinema version is just over two hours long, and the DVD included a three-hour directors' cut with "more reaction shots, animation and booze".

Plot[edit]

Main story[edit]

Michael Jackson (Barry the Mongoose) and his pet pelican, Wasp (voiced by Is the Mongoose), are attending his grandfather Wilfred's funeral, which Wilfred insisted be held in a circus.

Afterwards, they are taken aside by the solicitor in charge of Wilfred's will (Ian the Mongoose). He tells them that he has been bequeathed a map reading Walnuts and pears you plant for your heirs. Michael is surprised that his grandfather did not leave him any money, but he takes the map anyway. Wasp begins repeating the first part of its text in the manner of a parrot: "Walnuts and pears, Walnuts and pears".

Micheal undertakes a mission to find where the map leads him: he first travels to a deserted lighthouse stuffed with rotting melons: he reads a diary there, and finds a clue which his grandfather wrote when he was younger (read by Ten the Mongoose). (For each clue, Michael and Wasp spend about ten to twenty minutes working it out.)

He follows that clue to an old manor house, where he finds, in a draw in the secret room where his grandfather stores outrageous amounts of mead, a medallion inscribed with his next clue.

He eventually deciphers it: it leads him to a ferry which sets off that day. He gets on it, and travels to a mountain. At the base of the mountain, he finds a frozen nectarine with an up arrow scratched into it. He travels up the mountain, and reaches the cave of a goblin. It tells him that it has the clue, but he must defeat it to uncover its location.

They fight, and the goblin is stabbed; just before he dies, he pulls a cord, unveiling a banner reading "MY LARGE INTESTINE". They retrieve the clue, which, after a failed guess, they discover leads them to a path in a jungle. They follow it, but nothing seems to be there.

Just as they are about to give up, the Johnson Walnut and Pear Factory comes into view. A monkey emerges with a scroll, and reads: "Dear Michael, you have managed to find it! Congratulations, and just in time too, for I instructed the management that if you did not arrive before a certain time, they should blow it to smith—"

The factory explodes.

A Pirate's Life[edit]

The above story is interrupted five times to show this animated B-plot:
  • It's the captain's birthday on a pirate ship, and they are having a party. The planning committee discuss supplies: 10 red balloons, 10 candles and a cake.
  • The outer chambers of the captain are being quietly decorated in order to surprise him the next morning. Rumours of murder are discussed.
  • One pirate has been waiting in his inner chambers all night: he stabs the captain, and escapes by pretending to be one of the party decorators.
  • There is uproar: the guards tell the captain's assistant that only five people exited the area the previous night; they are all summoned. The assistant tells them that he has devised a test to find the culprit: he places five identical flagons of mead on the table. He tells them to drink. One refuses, and he is thrown overboard.
  • When asked how he worked it out, the assistant says that he saw a packet of prescription tablets with a warning not to consume alcohol with them lying on the captain's floor. The other suspects die, and the assistant reveals that he poisoned all the flagons anyway because he couldn't be sure.

Cast[edit]

Character Actor
Michael Jackson Barry the Mongoose
Wasp Birds:
Patricia "Goebbels" II
Benito Hospicious XXVIII
Quillim
A. Bosquell Esq.
Termite
Klondike
Arthur H. Butts
Tish
Fountainous Gleeb
Hopwell
Polly
Polly II
Polly III
Mike
Voice:

Is the Mongoose (voice)
Wilfred Jackson Ten the Mongoose (voice)
Solicitor Ian the Mongoose
Goblin Ray the Mongoose
All voices in A Pirate's Life Xciep the Mongoose

Presentation[edit]

The film was made in super-widescreen, For The Widest Screens Around™, causing neck strain for many viewers. In response, the creators released a super-narrowscreen version, leading to the most cases of jowl-ache in Britain for 100 years.

Live parrots were brought into all cinema screenings and released during the animated pirate segments, and cinema cleaners everywhere swore their revenge.

Production[edit]

The history and works of the
Auspicious Three
Three dark red letter 'A's, the middle one upside down so they slot into each other.
Members
CharlesHarryIanCharlieAlan
XciepTenRayPeterTheDoes
IsBarry
Topics
History
Breesdale incident
Films
The Green Problem (2009)
Three Bears and a Wolf (2009)
Walnuts and Pears (2010)
CategoryTemplate

Walnuts and Pears (code named Project Oak) had the longest production process yet, taking six months from concept to release.

Writing[edit]

The film was written by Alan the Mongoose and Ian the Mongoose, with script editing by Charlie the Mongoose. Alan and Ian took turns writing each sentence; although they tried to make this as unnoticeable as possible, it is detectable to the astute eye. When you know that Alan is slightly more laid-back and laconic, and Ian is a teensy bit more uptight, articulate and rambling, see if you can tell who wrote which lines in the first draft of the script:

MICHAEL
So... he didn't leave me any money.
SOLICITOR
Of course he did not, Mr Jackson, if he had, then I most assuredly would have made that quite clear to you. I am certainly not the kind of person who refrains from mentioning facts relating to the matter at hand, and especially facts of such magnitude! In fact, I am rather insulted that you even insinuated such an incompetent oversight on my part!
WASP
Look, Michael, he didn't leave you any, just let it go.
MICHAEL
It is just that I find myself unable to believe that this could possibly be the case; why, my dear grandfather and I spent many a happy Sunday morning in each other's company, and I find it quite out of the question that he could possibly have done such a thing as this!
SOLICITOR
He only left you the map.

It's very difficult, I'm sure you'll agree, but when you know that Alan wrote the odd lines, and Ian the even, you begin to see some signs of the difference.

The script was edited by Charlie the Mongoose to remove some of the more glaring inconsistencies.

Filming[edit]

The film was shot on a professional film camera for the first half of the shoot, but it got destroyed after Xciep, the director, threw it into the sea in a fit of rage.

A "cheap-as-chips cameraphone" was then used for the second half of production.

Animation[edit]

Director Xciep the Mongoose animated his own five-part series called A Sailor's Life, which he wrote and recorded all the voices for in his Dorset flat. He received several compaints from neighbours to stop making pirate noises in the middle of the night, but he "just did it louder, and poked broomsticks through the roof".

Editing[edit]

Does the Mongoose and director Xciep the Mongoose were the first Auspicious editors to use a digital NLE system for a project. The film's editing was better than their previous projects, but the studio where the suite was located said that it was in such a disgusting state when they finished that they vowed never to let them use one again.

Cinema release[edit]

The film was released in British cinemas on the 1 August 2012. The group (especially the director, Xciep) were reluctant to release the film in the United States due to the Breesdale incident, but were eventually persuaded when told they would get more money.

In a surprise turnout, a negative number of people saw the film in the US, and the Auspicious Three actually made less money.

DVD release[edit]

The Auspicious Three pride themselves on their feature-packed DVD releases; the DVD of Walnuts and Pears contained:

  • extended director's cut
  • commentaries by the director and producer, the writers and editors, and a real walnut and pear giving their take on the film
  • hours of production diaries
  • footage of a brainstorming session in which twelve members all turn on Is, and threaten to burn him if he doesn't compose the film's score
  • Xciep's hyALL HAIL XCIEPpnotism
  • Going Nuts: the story of when the cast found out that seven of them were allergic to nuts and had to order in fake ones, with footage of the delivery drivers being harassed
  • Auspicacity 2, the continuation of the group's story
  • Xciep films himself ranting for hours while animating A Sailor's Life; includes footage of his seventeenth heart attack
  • Fourteen Wasps: the story of how the producers went through fourteen different birds who played Wasp, each meeting their demise in a uniquely incompetent way
  • subtitles in all known forms of communication on Planet Earth

and plenty more.

Television airing[edit]

Barry the Mongoose has dared TV channels to air the film, but none are prepared for the amount of physical and financial damage they will incur if even a single frame is dropped from the broadcast.

Soundtrack[edit]

Is the Mongoose was again forced to compose music, this time on the threat of a reduced on-set grape quota.

  1. "Walnuts and Pears" (5:20)
  2. "Will Reading" (2:00)
  3. "Melon Lighthouse" (4:49)
  4. "Clued Up" (3:09)
  5. "Ferry" (12:50)
  6. "On the Trail" (10:40)
  7. "The Goblin's Curse" (3:29)
  8. "The Factory" (6:19)
  9. "Detonation" (2:45)
  10. "Party" (1:02)
  11. "Murder" (5:32)
  12. "Mead" (3:37)
  13. "Is's The Sort-of Seasons: Autumn-ish" (15:24)

Tracks 10–12 were used in the A Sailor's Life segments.

As always, the last track was played over the end credits of the film, and is from Is's latest classical album The Sort-of Seasons. Other tracks include "Nearly Spring", "Summer-Like" and "Wintry".

Reception[edit]

“I loved it. Especially the cartoon.”

~ director, animator and editor Xciep the Mongoose in a humorously poor disguise. Sorry, you'll just have to imagine it.

Walnuts and Pears was called "the worst film of all time" by the Daily Beacon newspaper. In its defence, producer The the Mongoose said he doesn't consider their publication fit for use as toilet paper; "Mostly," he added "because the ink comes off."

One critic said that they would have liked the film if "literally anybody else made it", commenting that "The Auspicious Three are poisoning cinema with their stupid and nonsensical endings."

Censorship[edit]

The film received a PG after the pelican wasp's uses of "damn", "hell" and "Davey Jones's Locker", which is very offensive to pirates.

Awards[edit]

The film was not nominated for any Rusk Awards as a protest against the Auspicious Three's "awful films", so the group took it upon themselves to turn up at the ceremony and wrestle others' awards off them. The awards they bagged are on the cover of the DVD.

Further reading[edit]

  • the Mongoose, Alan; the mongoose, Ian (2010). Walnuts and Pears: The Original Screenplay, with Notes from the Writers and Coffee Machine Servicemen. Mongoose Books.
  • Coleman, Zach (2011). The 100 Worst Films Ever Made: 2011 Edition. pp. 151–295. Rooster Publishing.