Friday, 4 September 2009

8 Most Memorable Times At The Movies

Gary Greenwood originally posted this on his blog, so I thought I’d hijack it and do my own version. To quote him (and Rob Rogers, who Gary lifted it from); "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 I believe was 1978 in this country, making me all of 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., which was fog-shrouded and only realised the time when we could hear Dad calling us, to go off to the next showing. I don’t remember much about the actual film from that day, except that I watched that 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.

Brilliantly, I’m not getting Matthew into the film and re-experiencing it through his eyes.

Dead Ringers

My friend Craig & I used to go 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” way back 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. What a brilliant film it is.

Basic Instinct

Rubbish film, I know but Alison & I went out as mates on a cinema trip. We went to The Point in Milton Keynes, booked a double bill and watched “Waynes World” first. We then went to get something to eat and, midway through, I asked her to go out with me. 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 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. The kids went mental (it was quite a spectacular death if I remember rightly), laughing and shouting. I thought it was very sad and looked around me, trying to see if I was alone, 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 go on our own to a matinee showing of this (I assume that none of our parents wanted to sit through it). The cinema is chaotic, popcorn everywhere, a lot of noise. This quietens down during the film which I seem to remember I quite enjoyed - no doubt 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. I was, quite frankly, terrified of what I might see. And then I saw it and realised that my imagination, on occasion, could be three times more powerful than what film-makers could get on the screen.

Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Nick - who I have now known for 33 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 it was precisely, 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.

Fatal Attraction

For our first date (I do pick them, don’t I?), I took my new girlfriend Sara to see this at the old 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 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 - it was a wonderful ripple effect. I’ve never seen it since.

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. As an added attraction, not that I really needed one, Corby cinema also had a speedboat in their foyer, which Dad convinced me was Bond’s one from the film. To this day, Roger Moore is still my favourite Bond and these remain my favourite Bond films.

Or “Star Trek 3: The Search For Spock”
- one of the tabloids was running a competition, where you could queue up for free tickets. We did - me and 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.


  1. I too watched this in a fantastically 'ballroom' styled Odeon (Sir Odeon in those days) and I seem to recall that there were no more than half a dozen 'people' in the audience at that screening.

    I also remember going to see Prison, The Unholy, They Live and Prince of Darkness (amongst others) in this and a similar cinema the ABC.

    Later, I had a summer job at the ABC whilst I was student. Today the Odeon is now a respectable theatre, whilst the ABC is now a vacant lot, awaiting the arrival of Mr. Tesco!

  2. The old cinema's had something about them and, for me, the more flea-bitten they were, the better. The Odeon's now are nicer, often comfier and the sound is better, but it's not the same. And in my heyday of cinema-going, I didn't have to contend with mobile phones!

    I sound like a ranty old man now!