Friday, 30 August 2013

8 Most Memorable Times At The Movies

This was a MEME that originally did the rounds way back when but I thought it'd be nice to revisit it.

"This is not about the best movies you've ever seen. Describe eight experiences watching a movie that stick in your mind as being particularly memorable - for whatever reason."

Star Wars
Still my favourite film of all time, I saw this when it first came out (which would make it early 1978, making me 9).  We’d tried to get in for one showing but it was full, so Dad took me and my friend Claire back to Rothwell.  We headed off down the Rec. to play - it was cold and there was a lot of fog - and only realised the time when we could hear Dad calling us, to go off to the next showing.  My main memory from that day is watching the Star Destroyer come over the camera in almost the first shot and I knew I’d never seen anything like this before in my life.

I was lucky enough to see it in the cinema a few more times - a double-bill with “The Empire Strikes Back” and then a triple-bill (what a marathon that was) with both “Empire” and “Return Of The Jedi” - and I also caught the special editions at the cinema too.

Even better, I'm now watching the films again with Dude (who's 8) and it's great to re-experience them through his eyes!

Dead Ringers
My friend Craig & I went to the cinema a lot in the late 80s/early 90s, alternating between the Kettering, Burton Latimer and Corby ‘theatres’.  Can’t do that now, can we, Mr Odeon?  I’d loved David Cronenberg’s films since watching “Videodrome” and "Scanners" in the mid-80s, so rushed along to see this.  It wasn’t a popularly held view - including me and Craig, there were only 6 people in the cinema.  It’s the quietest I’ve ever heard an audience file out - all of us looked shocked and white faced - but what a brilliant film it is.

Basic Instinct
Rubbish film, I know but Alison & I went out as mates on a cinema trip to The Point in Milton Keynes.  We booked a double bill, watched “Waynes World” first and then went to get something to eat.  Midway through I asked her to go out with me so therefore our first film as a couple was Verhoven’s sleazy thriller.  Well, it could be worse…

The Land Before Time
Back in the late 80s, I used to take my kid sister Sarah to the cinema during school holidays (this was just as video was starting to get a real grip, but we didn’t have a player, so the only place to see big Disney films was at the flicks).  I picked this one only because it vividly reminds me, every time I think of it, of the difference between kids and adults (I would have been in my late teens, Sarah around 5 or 6).  One of the dinosaurs’ mothers dies, right near to the start and the kids in the audience went mental (it was quite a spectacular death if I remember rightly), laughing and shouting.  I thought it was very sad and looked around, trying to see if I was alone in that and wiping away a stray tear.  Turns out I wasn’t - whilst most of the kids were thoroughly enjoying themselves, most of the adults seemed to have “something in their eye”.

I went to see this at The Point, in Milton Keynes, with a friend of mine called Julie.  I wasn’t a big fan of Ken Russell, but I did like Theresa Russell.  The film started.  It was vile.  It got worse.  To date - and I’ve seen a lot of films at the cinema - this is only film I’ve ever walked out of.

Sinbad And The Eye Of The Tiger
1977 - my friends and I went on our own to a matinee showing of this (I assume that none of our parents wanted to sit through it).  The cinema was chaotic, popcorn everywhere, a lot of noise and we 8 year olds are thrilled to be there on our own.  The noise quietened down during the film and I remember I liked it - a feeling no doubt helped because of the presence of Ms Lambs Navy Rum herself, Caroline Munro.  A friend of mine, who’d already seen it, kept telling me about this huge seal that comes out of the ice and attacks the goodies and I was, quite frankly, terrified of what I might see.  Then I saw it and, for the first time, realised that my imagination, on occasion, could be three times more powerful than what film-makers could get on the screen.

Fatal Attraction
For our first date (I do pick them, don’t I?), I took my new girlfriend Sara to see this at the Northampton ABC - it was a beautiful old Art Deco theatre, complete with a balcony and an organ that came out of the stage and is now a Jesus Army Centre (thanks for that, Mr Out-Of-Town Odeon).  I didn’t think the film was too bad and, as soon as it appeared that Glenn Close was dead in the bath, I knew what was going to happen.  This is why, when she leapt out of the water only to be shot by Ann Archer, I was watching the rest of the cinema rather than the screen.  And I swear it was as if everyone moved into the seat directly behind them, a living, screaming ripple effect.  I’ve never seen anything like it since.

Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Nick - who I have now known for 37 years and count as one of my closest friends - and I fell out during the summer of 1981.  Not being friends wasn’t pleasant, but neither of us was going to back down (and I can’t even remember what caused us to fall out).  It just so happened that, at the same time, “Raiders” arrived at the cinema and nobody I knew wanted to see it - they either didn’t like spiders or snakes or ghosts.  Quite by chance, a few days later, our mum’s met in the high street and, whilst talking, discovered that both of us wanted to see the film.  I can’t remember now who made the first move but we made up and went to see the film and haven’t fallen out since.  The irony is that now, I like horror films and Nick doesn’t, yet it was me who covered his eyes when the first ‘angel’ turns into a ghoul at the climax!  A fact Nick has never forgotten.

A brilliant, stirring film that remains one of my all-time favourites.

I could also discuss the “Live & Let Die/The Spy Who Loved Me” double-bill my Dad took me to see, in 1978 - the first Bond films I’d ever seen at the cinema (and which I discussed, in-depth, at this blog post).

Or “Star Trek 3: The Search For Spock”, where one of the tabloids was running a competition, where you could queue up for free tickets.  We did - me, my friend Steve and his sister - and spent a happy few hours in the queue, chatting away to our fellow would-be patrons and got the tickets and enjoyed the film.  I later wrote an essay about the day, which won an English prize that year at school.

So what are your memorable moments?

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