Monday 27 March 2023

Ten Most Memorable Times At The Movies

This MEME 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 ten 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 in the UK in early 1978, when I was 9.  As I've written about before (which you can read here), I was very aware of the film and very eager to see it.  We'd already tried to get into 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 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 it 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 got to watch the films again with Dude and it was wonderful 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 (which I wrote about here) 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
Not the greatest film ever, 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 often took my kid sister Sarah to the cinema during school holidays (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 particular film out of the many 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.  It was my suggestion - I'd enjoyed the Ken Russell films I'd seen to that point and I liked Theresa Russell a lot.  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 none of our parents wanted to sit through it).  The cinema was chaotic, popcorn everywhere, a lot of noise and we 8 year olds were 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 (who, many years later, I got to meet - as I wrote about here).  A friend of mine, who’d already seen the film, kept telling me about this huge seal that came out of the ice to attack the goodies and I was, quite frankly, terrified.  Then I saw it and, for the first time, realised that my imagination, on occasion, could be far 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 - a beautiful old Art Deco theatre, complete with a balcony and organ that came out of the stage, which is now a Jesus Army Centre (thanks for that, Mr Out-Of-Town Multiplex).  I enjoyed the film 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-goers 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.

Star Trek III: The Search For Spock
Never the biggest Star Trek fan, I don't think I'd even see Wrath Of Khan (probably my favourite of them all) when this was released but one of the tabloids offered free tickets if you queued at the nearest relevant cinema and that seemed like a good idea.  The closest one to us was the Northampton ABC so me, my friend Steve and his sister spent a happy few hours in the queue, chatting to our fellow would-be patrons.  We got the tickets, I enjoyed the film and later wrote an essay about the day, which won an English prize that year at school.

Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Nick (who I've known since 1976 and is still my best friend) and I had a falling out during the summer of 1981.  Not being friends wasn’t at all pleasant but, typically for pre-teens, as horrible as it was 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 Of The Lost Ark 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, our mum’s met in the high street and, whilst talking, discovered both of us wanted to see the film but didn't have anyone to go and see it with.  I can’t remember now who made the first move but we made up, 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 at the time who covered his eyes when the first ‘angel’ turns into a ghoul at the climax!  It's a fact Nick has never let me forget.

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

An American Werewolf In London
I've long been a fan of the film (I wrote a retrospective on it here) and adore it but had only ever seen it at home or with friends, first on murky VHS, then on gorgeous DVD (where I finally realised the figure steaming in the night air was the original werewolf and not Jack, as I'd always thought).  When a company called Luna Flix began showing open air films at Stanwick Lakes, my friend David & I jumped at the chance to go and see this, the evening of the showing coinciding with a full moon, which was terrific.  The film looked gorgeous, it was great to see it under the stars and on a big screen and the whole experience was great fun (I wrote about it here).

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 (but I already did, in-depth, at this blog post).

So what are your memorable moments?

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