So, the reason for me setting up this blog is twofold. Firstly, to document my own love of cinema and all that’s great about it, and secondly, to try to inspire others to the same level of love – and there are reasons for doing that, but more on that another time.
I see a lot of movies – so far this year since January, I have seen 33 movies at the cinema (and one, Kick-Ass, twice), and by the end of next week it could well be 35, depending on what’s on next weekend. If I continue at the same rate for the rest of the year at my current pace, that will put me on track to finish the year on 93. Or in other words, over 180 hours with my butt firmly wedged into a cinema seat.
I’m not sure if that is a lot (in a way, I’m hoping it is), but I don’t have much in the way of context for that. However, in a daily poll on IMDb, only one in three people had been more than ten times last year. I had a slack year myself, only seeing 52 movies at the cinema in the whole year – that’s only one a week!
For me, there is still something magical about the whole cinema experience – how many other activities in life do you perform where people encourage you to eat food while doing it? If you find the right cinema, chances are there’ll be seats there more comfortable than any you’ve got at home. And the screen is bigger, and the surround sound system better, than any home cinema on the market.
When I talk to friends, there’s often a perception that the cinema experience isn’t as enjoyable as the home experience, for many reasons – most of which revolve around having to sit in the same room as a couple of hundred other people who are being largely anti-social; talking, kids throwing popcorn, mobiles going off, and lots of other distractions. If I’m being honest, I very rarely see that side of things at cinemas these days, maybe because I’ve gotten better at choosing which screenings I go to, but I also think there’s an element that the home cinema and, to a certain extent piracy, is changing the crowd that is going to the cinema regularly. And at the moment, that’s no bad thing for someone like me.
So how do I see so many movies in the space of a year? There are three reasons I end up going to see a film.
1. It’s a brash, in your face Hollywood blockbuster
I’ll admit it – I’m a sucker for the biggest, loudest and dumbest movies in the world. I saw Independence Day, Face/Off and The Rock three times each at the cinema. No matter how good your home cinema, there is something from lost by not seeing this on a screen which fills your field of vision, and with a sound system that can literally make your seat shake. So unless the reviews have been abysmal, I’ll be in the queue for most if not all of Hollywood’s major output in any given year.
2. If it looks interesting and has good word of mouth
Cinema is intended to be an immersive experience, and it’s not just the bold, special effects laden Hollywood product that benefits from the cinema. Watching something intimate or original on such a big screen allows you to totally commit to the experience. I am very lucky in that where I live, in a small village in the country, there are three cities within half an hour’s drive, with three multiplexes and three art house and repertory sites, and a total of 31 screens. So it’s a tough week when I struggle to find anything to watch.
3. I will see anything my wife wants to see – and I do mean anything
My wife works with children, and consequently still enjoys both family and children’s movies. And, being such a sucker for the whole cinema experience, committed a few years ago that I would happily go to anything she wanted. So to the top two categories, I can add major family and children’s releases, as well as mainstream romantic comedies. Little did I realise at the time, but this opens up a whole new scope of cinema experience – some of it very good, such as Enchanted, some of it with the ability to kill brain cells on site, such as Beverly Hills Chihuahua. But through it all, it gives you a perspective on the relative quality of films, if nothing else, and I have no regrets about seeing anything with her. And I’m hardly in a position to criticise when I went to Captivity and The Love Guru voluntarily myself. But please, for the love of all that is holy, can Sex and the City 2 be shorter than the first one? Pleeeease?
So that’s it. Since January 2007, I have now seen 228 movies in the cinema at time of writing, and my hunger for films is as strong as ever. Maybe it’s because so few of those 228 have been similar, that the experience is always rich and rewarding. Maybe it’s the combination of photography, drama, music and style that you don’t get in any other medium. Maybe it’s because I have such a short attention span that I can’t cope with reading a book when your average movie is out of the way in two hours. Or maybe it’s just because I have some sort of obsessive compulsive disorder that needs urgent medical attention. For whatever the reason, I love movies and I adore seeing them in the best cinema possible. I hope that, if you’ve read this, you do too, and if you don’t yet – why not see what’s on this weekend near you?