When we first started this blog I never intended on it being just film reviews. I wanted it to be a written tribute to an artistic medium that I love. Now along the way I got lazy. I started to just write reviews. Then even before that they were lazy, Buzzfeed style lists. I don’t believe all of these are badly written and sometime they can be entertaining. There is just something about lists that shouts “I need to get something down and don’t know what.” Which makes zero sense. This isn’t my job, I don’t get paid for it and I don’t have a vast following I’d be disappointing. If I don’t have something good to say why say it? So tonight I decided to go back to that. Reviews will still come from both of us whenever we see a new film. Hopefully when Sam is less busy he’ll pick Netpicks back up as well.
However I will be trying to write something a little different more often, under the category, Storytelling. No more top five lists. I will actually try and say something interesting and original.So to start with I thought I’d write about something only I can. My long standing love affair with cinema. Most people who love film can attribute that fact to one film. Kevin Smith has talked often about how Jaws changed his life. Critic Mark Kermode has stated his was Krakatoa East of Java. Our own Sam has told me about watching Lord of the Rings changed him from film watcher to film lover. When discussing this, for sake of keeping it short I always say American Beauty. Which to an extent is true, it opened my eyes to a different quality of cinema.
However I believe my love affair began much earlier than that. I have a few very early memories from my childhood. Moments on holidays, times in primary school. A lot of them though revolve around sharing a small room with my older brother. We had bunk beds and in the corner of the room we had a television we got from Santa. When we heard my mum and dad go to bed we’d switch it on very quiet and watch WCW and WWF. We’d sit for hours playing Altered Beast on the Sega Megadrive. What sticks out more than anything though is watching Wizard of Oz. My memory tells me it was very early hours of the morning and the world was still. In reality common sense says it was probably just about past evening.
I remember barely paying attention to the film, just thrilled to be sat up late. Until Dorothy opened the door and everything changed. Colour washed over the screen, contrasting the start of the film very dramatically. As a kid, even though I’d seen colour films and TV, it felt magic. Like I was witnessing something that was very special. Turns out little me was right and I was watching a classic piece of cinema. After that I loved watching films. Not at the point of loving them, but I definitely started to feel the magic. I watched all the early Disney films, I watched total crap like Baby Geniuses and Mars Attacks that both really stuck with me. I watch the start of Robo-Cop until we got too scared and switched it off.
My film watching experience however stayed in the home. Blockbuster and TNT is how I watched movies. Often rubbish ones, but I didn’t mind, I just liked watching them. Until I was seven. Now be prepared to lose a lot of respect for me. I went to the local cinema, The Roxy. Sadly it doesn’t exist any more, but everyone over eighteen from Oldham has memories of the place. My Grandad took me and my brother to see Star Wars Episode I. Yes my first experience of the Star Wars world was The Phantom Menace. I loved it. Not the film, I was seven, I didn’t get the film. But the gigantic screen, the loud noises, the bright lights, the action. All of them clichés amazed me. I had climbed an extra rung up the ladder.
I then read my first “grown up” book. The same year my Grandma has bought me Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone. So when the film came out two years later she took me and my siblings to the opening day. Back when Warner Bros. still had cinemas. We went to the one in Bury and got McDonalds on the way home. There couldn’t be a more perfect day for a nine year old. So Harry Potter then stuck with me and I became obsessed with my first film series. I guess this was my “Lord of The Rings” moment. Then when I got a little older I watched American Beauty at an age where I shouldn’t have been watching American Beauty and it opened me up to a new world.
In the next few months after that I watched every Tarantino, Goodfellas, Casino, Fight Club. All the cool films. That led me to go a bit weirder, Fear and Loathing, American Psycho. Then indie films, Clerks in particular grabbed me. I realised at that point I didn’t just like watching films. I loved everything about them. Every genre, every style, every nationality. If it was a moving picture I loved it. I dreamt of one day making my own. I even have some of a poorly written Screenplay saved away. I guess a small part of me is still convinced I will. Until then however I will carry on watching them and writing about them with the same amazement I did as a kid, when the colour came in and the world never looked the same again.