Well, even I wouldn’t trek to the South Pole (unless they put a massive IMAX there), but any serious movie obsessive like myself will, from time to time, take things to extremes. For most normal people, a trip to the cinema is simply a question of what’s playing at the nearest cinema. Be that one screen or 24, the decision making process for anyone else I know simply consists of looking at the local listings to see if the movie you want to see is playing.
Fair enough, but I don’t see the amount of movies I see just by just popping to the local. I’ve seen 41 movies so far this year, at six different cinemas. Five of those are within a half hour drive for me as I live in the countryside between a city and a large town, but already this year I found myself with nothing to watch one Saturday evening when my wife was out, so I embarked on a 100 mile round trip to catch two I hadn’t seen at a multiplex further afield.
I’m now up to 40 films seen this year, and at the rate I’m going, that would put me on pace for just over 100 again this year. It’s not a goal I’m aiming for (been there, done that, didn’t get a T-shirt – maybe I should), just to see good or interesting movies whenever they come up. But it’s also about maximising the spare time I have to see as many as possible, and that’s where I wonder if I do sometimes take things too far. Take for example this Sunday just gone.
The following takes place between 11:30 and 8:30 p.m. Events occur in real time. Ish.
11:30 Get in the car to drive into Cambridge. My wife is at work for the day, and her shift runs from 12:30 to 8:30. I have three choices for the day: church barbecue (but it’s the hottest day of the year, and being part ginger I can’t be out in the sun and it’s not as much fun without my wife), carry on with trying to get some work done (been doing for two days, including some on Saturday, and that’s driving me mad – need a break), or heading in to see something at the cinema. Four movies I want to see at the moment, and having done some pre-planning I think, with a fair wind and a bit of luck, I can get three of them in today.
Seeing as many movies as I do at the cinema isn’t something you can do blindly or without careful preparation and planning. (Well, you could, but you’d have to be really not fussy about what you saw. All About Steve, anyone?) So there are a number of tools I use to help me decide what I’m going to spend my hard earned cash on. First and foremost among these is the Internet Movie Database, or IMDb for short.
Anyone who’s ever seen a film has probably been to that site, but not only does it contain masses of useful information on each film (as well as TV series, games, bus stops, kitchen sinks and the like), it can also be used to build up a useful profile of what you like and what you should be seeing. Read the rest of this entry »
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.