The more I embark down the road of my cinema addiction, the more I realise that I have, for too long, been just confining myself to the latest Hollywood blockbusters. Moving to an area with one (now two) good quality arthouse cinemas to complement the multiplexes has helped me no end, and also setting myself the goal of seeing large numbers of films has encouraged me to expand my horizons. For me, the distinction is not that I’m watching the kind of movies I’ve never watched before, but until now I may not have chosen to watch them in a cinema.
I’ve also been guilty until recently of another kind of shameful snobbery – while my broad tastes now take in everything from the broadly experimental to the mainstream, I had held off on catching classic movies at the cinema, for fear that in watching those I would lose the time to watch modern day fare where it should be watched. I had also assembled quite a series of the classics, which sit in my DVD collection and are just waiting for me to find the time. But my ethos is, of course, that any and every film is improved by watching in the cinema, so why would I ignore the golden oldies? (The answer is, of course, because I’m an idiot.)
I love watching movies on the largest screen possible, which is why I’ve booked tickets for Inception and Toy Story for next weekend at the BFI IMAX in London. As London is a little bit of a trek for me, doubling up to save on the travel seemed like a good idea at the time, but now the reality is beginning to sink in; unless I go and live in a cave for the next eight days, I am unlikely to remain unspoiled for these movies before I go and see them.
I can still remember seeing the first movies on VHS when I was a kid – my very first ever was Superman III. It was a kinder, more innocent time, when the only likelihood of a movie spoiler was the kid with the big mouth on the playground, and running away was a fairly effective option.
But everything took longer to filter down in those days. It could be six months or more before a movie made its way out of cinemas, and three or four years before that movie ended up on TV. But if there was a movie with a big twist, somehow it would make its way at least to the second stage of that process without discussion about it taking place in the wider world.
I like to practice what I preach, so my movie philosophy is not only to encourage others into the cinema, but for me to spend as much time there as possible. Two years ago, I set a target of seeing 100 films in a year, which I hit in mid-December that year, but since then I’ve tried to be more sensible. As with any addict, that can only last so long before temptation sets in, so this year I’ve been swallowing up films again like they’re going out of fashion – as of yesterday, I’ve seen as many this year as I saw all of last year.
But what I’ve been looking to do this year is to enhance that movie-going experience. I’ve already had one trip to the IMAX (for Journey to Mecca), and have a double bill of Inception and Toy Story 3 coming up later this month. Every time I think about that, I can already hear Gary Barlow striking up Greatest Day in my head. So how to top it? Well, I’ve booked a week off work so I can do my local thing, the Cambridge Film Festival, but there still felt like more opportunities.