Last night we went to see The Jersey Boys at a brand spanking new luxury cinema, The Curzon, in Victoria. I love cinema. My Mum taught me to love film and we used to watch them together on Saturday afternoons when I was growing up; that’s an abiding memory and I don’t have that many memories of my childhood.
I remember her taking me and a friend to see Gone with the Wind in the school holidays when we were about 16 and it was such a long film that it had (a) an interval and (b) we had to take our supper with us in silver foil! Of course, my Mum already knew and loved the film and I remembered it fondly, but rather more for the outing than for the film itself though I did faithfully go to see it re-mastered at the BFI a while back.
It is difficult to name my favourite movies, rather like books in that regard, because they keep changing. Here are three which would easily make it to my Top 100 (not necessarily in this order). I can watch these over and over.
- My Brilliant Career – Judy Davis & Sam Neill
- Apollo 13 – Tom Hanks, Ed Harris, Kevin Bacon et al
- Field of Dreams – Kevin Costner
Life changing movies where I have sobbed in the dark, or changed the course of my life are not included in that list, obv.
What I really love about cinema is The Big Dark, because you have to focus on the reason you are there, you cannot multi-task and you must surrender to the movie and be transported. That’s my very favourite. I love all the James Bond films for that reason and the current Bond is always my best Bond; I move with the times. There are films which I have seen in The Big Dark and loved them and mentioned them to others in wide-eyed wonder only to discover that they were unimpressed. It’s always because they saw them at home. Some films just MUST be seen at the picture house.
I like to see films when they open, which causes quite a frenzied workload in the run up to the Oscars each year for me. And I really like to talk film with other cineastes. Last night, the young man who sold us the tickets was a film student and we were early so there was quite the opportunity for an opinionated chinwag across the generations. Happily we were agreed on most things, the needless re-make and how humiliating it must be for top acting royalty to appear in quite a lot of the sh**e that they have to these days to make a living. If you turned down the blockbusters, you might not get any work at all.
I had to tear myself away to go and watch the film, would frankly have preferred to stay in the foyer and swap best films but Frankie Valli was waiting for me in the basement screen. Verdict? Interesting story, didn’t know that. FAR TOO LONG. But a mediocre film just makes you long for the next one, queuing with the popcorn people and hoping the best bits weren’t all in the trailer. Numbers-wise, that’s probably a triumph of optimism over experience but still I go. I’m a bit of a sucker for hype too, as it turns out.
What are your favourite films? And how and where do you like to watch yours?