Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Going to the pictures while staying at home

I was always mad keen on films and would go 'to the pictures' every week with my friend Sandra and we'd often go to eat before or after and catch up over a chat. We would choose a film that one or other us fancied watching and Sandra would read the reviews to get an idea of how good it might be. We went out a lot over the ten years or so that we were 'cinema buddies' and planned our upcoming trips to watch films. It wasn't always about the film we were seeing, we watched Mannequin on one of my birthdays, Dirty Dancing on another. We often travelled to other cinemas in London to watch films with a limited release so we watched obscure Australian films like Red Rock West or Lantana in out of the way places. This was all before children so now I rarely go to the cinema and if I do it's usually to watch a kids' film. In fact the last one I saw in the cinema was probably Inside Out.

To make up for this I often watch films when we stay with the in-laws as they have Sky Movies. Otherwise I've started having a 'movie night' with Brown Bear where we close the curtains, get a big bag of popcorn and watch a film together. I started him off with the original Star Wars trilogy - because I'm a purist and didn't want to pollute his understanding of the Star Wars universe with the inferior prequels. Of course he's heard of the franchise and even knows who all the characters are, but he wasn't old enough to watch the films until recently. He found the Force Awakens far too scary so we didn't get too far with that one, but we can come back to that when he's a bit older.

I found it a bit disturbing that he preferred the character Prince Hans to Han Solo and thought Kylo Ren was cool - I did wonder for a while if this was potentially a worry. Then we watched Darth Vader in the films - instead of on a lunch box or a frisbee - and he got a better idea of the 'baddie' side of him. When we watched the Empire Strikes Back he already knew the big reveal about Vader so that wasn't as much of a shocking moment as I had hoped. I loved that he also recognised that Leia is a badass - only good can come of this. I'm delighted that he has become a fan of the 'real' Star Wars films before we watch the prequels and that he has an interest in sci fi and women as heroic figures. After all I've got Firefly and Buffy to introduce him to yet.

Watching films with my boy is wonderful and I'm so pleased we get to enjoy this special time together huddled under a blanket on the sofa - occasionally with the cat. The bit I miss is the discussion with another grown up afterwards to clarify the things I didn't follow or to share "I cannot believe..." moments. The other night I was watching Guardians of the Galaxy with Brown Bear and he explained to me that Rocket is a raccoon and we both laughed at "I am Groot." Then at the bit where he says, "We are Groot." I sobbed. Please tell me I wasn't alone ? I'm not sure Brown Bear fully appreciated my emotional reaction.

I was watching Batman vs Superman with Hubbie (well he was asleep so it was just me really) and two things really surprised me. 1. Affleck is not a bad Batman. I know he was not a popular choice, but he was significantly better than George and I say that as a devoted fan of the Clooney. The bigger shock for me, though, was that I had no idea Lex was short for Alexander. Is it only me who missed this ? In all the years of growing up with Gene Hackman as Luthor, then the bloke in Clark and Lois, then Billy Zane (how mad is that ?) and now the Social Network guy how is this the first time I'm hearing his full name. Please tell me I'm not a total idiot for not knowing that ?

Then there's the films that are just for me. These days that's anything featuring Chris Hemsworth. Ok, I'm not really watching his acting and the recent Ghostbusters remake recognised this and gave me exactly what I wanted. I used to have the same reaction to Matthew McConaughey before he went all method and serious. There was always a guarantee of a shirt off scene and plenty of ridiculous reasons for him to wear very little. Brad Pitt as JD in Thelma and Louise was no more than eye candy and if you think this is gratuitous, yes you're right. It's also wonderful. Not every film has to be about learning something, sometimes it's just about pure pleasure.

Anyway, I'm working through movies that I think Brown Bear will like and there are so many still to go. He has asked to watch Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and is still holding out for Boss Baby. Sometimes I scour the TV channels idly and the other night Thor was on - well that was my evening made. If Zoolander, Dodgeball or Coming to America is on Hubbie will sit and watch them again even though we've seen them so many times we know every line. It's still worth the time to sit and watch together. Recently we watched Room and I cried for most of it. I did the same when watching I, Daniel Blake.

Ok, so I don't get to go to the cinema any more, but I still get to watch films and sometimes I even get to watch them to the end. Hubbie is out tonight so I'll put the boys to bed and see what's on. You know I think I even prefer watching films at home - in the cinema you don't get Neo on your lap and endless cups of tea. They're missing a trick there.

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