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Is this the most ludicrous film ever?

By film editor Gert Stonkers

Posted July 18, 2012
elijah wood green street hooligans utter rubbish
Elijah Wood: These colours don't run 'cos this film don't wash. (Check bottom for credits)

Elijah Wood running with the West Ham Inter City Firm? Do me a favour!

A bit bored and hungover the other day, I decided to have a root round YouTube in the hope of finding something mildly entertaining to watch.

Somehow, I came across Green Street Hooligans1.

As I recalled seeing posters for this film when it came out in 2005, I thought I'd give it a go.

Not, however, because I thought the posters looked good.

Rather, the opposite.

You see, every time I saw one, I simply couldn't work out how any film about football hooligans could possibly star Elijah Wood, who, after all, made his name playing a hobbit in Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.

Vinnie Jones, Ray Winstone or John Inman maybe.

But Elijah Wood?

No disrespect meant, but he's about as hard as a stick of shit.

What unfurled over the next 109 minutes was one of the most ridiculous stories I have ever encountered.

Apparently, the chap who wrote the screenplay, Dougie Brimson, is a former casual who saw his fair share of footie violence, so perhaps some of the action is grounded in truth.

I just couldn't stop laughing at the plot, though, which kicks off with this weedy little preppie kid (Elijah Wood, believe it or not) getting unfairly kicked out of Harvard and deciding to go visit his sister in London.

That I could accept.

The thing is, not only does his sister not bother to meet him at the airport, she apparently forgets to tell her husband, some East End wide-boy-turned-city-yuppie, that her brother is coming to stay because within minutes of young Elijah arriving the said husband appears and straight away says words to the effect of "I've got something planned with your sister tonight so if you don't mind making yourself scarce it would be much appreciated".


Cue the husband's delinquent younger brother, who suddenly turns up at their nice City of London flat acting like the biggest clichéd yob from the pages of the Daily Mail.

Then big bruv gets an idea.

Why doesn't younger bruv take clean-cut little Elijah to the footie?

And what does Elijah, who's just got off a transatlantic flight, say?

"Yeah, that sounds great."

But this ain't any old footie match he's off to.

Oh no, he's off to watch West Ham at home in the company of, er, THE WEST HAM INTER CITY FIRM!!!, only one of the hardest, most feared bunch of blood thirsty savages imaginable that for the purposes of the film are called the Green Street Elite, or GSE, and consist of just five or so young cockney actors all destined to wash up in EastEnders at some point if they haven't already.

But don't worry, older bruv/yuppie hubby does ask his younger bruv to be on his bestest behaviour, seemingly forgetting that younger bruv is, oh yeah, the f--king head of the GSE!

skinhead hardnut
Piece of piss: Go on, Elijah, kick his arse! (Check bottom for credits)

With the ink still wet on his passport stamp, little Elijah dutifully heads off to the E Codes to neck pre-match pints with younger bruv in the GSE's favourite rough-as-rats boozer, where he is immediately accepted by all and sundry as one of the lads2.

Just like the real East End then.

But is Elijah hard?

Fortunately, younger bruv has already worked out a convincing cover story.

Elijah, he tells the GSE, is the actual person who inspired the film The Karate Kid.

This they readily believe, even though the film in question came out in 1984, when young Elijah was just three years old3.

Not that the GSE are thick or anything.

Nah, they've probably just got other things on their collective mind, like the impending ruck with all those visiting Birmingham City fans.

Anyway, one thing leads to another and after the match Elijah, much to the GSE's delight as they now realise he's a bit of a poof, decides to go home by himself.

Remember, he's been in the country maybe five or six hours tops, he's wandering around the tooled-up, well-hard East End of London where no tourist dares to tread with no map or any clue as to where he is, but, hey, that's OK, he's sure to get home all right, isn't he?

But he doesn't.

No, he walks down an alleyway (yeah, they're well clever at Harvard) and surprisingly gets jumped by a bunch of Birmingham fans.

They then shove a credit card in his mouth and are about to give him a Chelsea smile when, lo and behold, the cavalry turn up in the form of the GSE, who in true John Wayne style start yelling stuff about never leaving one of theirs behind.

One of theirs?

They told him to f--k off home two minutes ago.

Anyway, Elijah then experiences his first fight, and man does it feel good.

So good in fact that the next day, after kipping round at younger bruv's, he turns up at his sister's and says "It's been lovely to see you for all of five minutes, sis, but I'm going to go and stay with my new hooligan friends now" and promptly picks up his bag and moves in with the head of the GSE.

This is after he's been in the country for less than 24 hours!

Man, he makes friends quick does little Elijah.

And yeah, sod the sister he's come all this way to visit.

He's a dyed-in-the-wool hool now.

And gosh, doesn't he know it.

I could go on, detailing the entire litany of faecal gems that made this one of the most memorable films I have ever watched but for all the wrong reasons (such as when Elijah gets a Hammers tat above his heart or when West Ham predictably get drawn against arch rivals Millwall in the FA cup just in time for the film's laughable climax with its oh so cheesy, I mean poignant backing track), but I won't.

Other than to say that if you do happen to know that there is a massive fight going on between West Ham and Millwall fans on a piece of waste ground by the river somewhere, it's probably not a good idea to drive over there to stick your oar in, especially if you happen to be a concerned older sister with your bloody baby on the backseat.

It's kinda asking for trouble, really.

Particularly when the main Millwall thug just so happens to blame your wide-boy-turned-yuppie husband (erroneously of course) for the death of his own son and is therefore hell-bent on exacting the most horrible revenge conceivable even though he could have done this any time in the past 10 years.

But if you do persist against my reasoning, just don't go getting out of the car, right?


You just did.

Quelle surprise!

Amazingly, this utterly ludicrous pile of crap actually won a number of awards, including both the Feature Film Jury and the Feature Film Audience Awards for narrative feature at the 2005 South by Southwest music, film and interactive thingy in the States4.


I just laughed my tits off.

What a load of bollocks.


1) Whoever posted this film up on YouTube must have been either American or Australian as in the UK it's simply called Green Street, although it also goes under the even shorter name of Hooligans.

2) The only GSE casual who doesn't automatically and unquestioningly accept Elijah as a bosom buddy is Bovver, a particularly moody hool, who, judging from all the sexual tension throughout the film, appears to have the hots for younger bruv and much resents this American whippersnapper turning up and stealing all the limelight.

3) Admittedly, Green Street might have been set a few years back when football hooliganism was at its zenith in the UK. However, you can't tell that from all the 2005 fashions, the 2005 computer technology, the 2005 CCTV cameras or indeed anything else about this totally 2005 shit parade of a 2005 film.

4) At the 2005 South by Southwest festival the film was billed simply as Hooligans and if you don't believe me about it winning two, I repeat, two top awards, have a mooch about here.

NB. The above article contains no direct quotes from the film, just my paraphrasing. The Rake & Herald in no way condones or supports football hooliganism, including any glamourised filmland cobblers, but if you want to get a taste of what the real West Ham Inter City Firm were about in their heyday, you might want to watch this.

Photo credits

Top and thumb: Elijah Wood by Gage Skidmore.

Bottom: A man with real tats by Unantastbar.

For licensing information click the above links.

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