Saturday, 17 August 2013

Last Night A Movie Saved My Life.

The internet is FULL of movie reviewers, absolutely chock-a-block stuffed with them. You can't move through cyberspace without, figuratively, tripping over them. Some folks even review episodes of TV shows and movie trailers. The phrase "everyone's a critic" has never been more apt. But why do people do it? Why do people keep trying to talk amongst a cacophony of other voices?

I can't speak for anyone else, obviously, but I can tell people why I try to put something on here every day. It's a mix of my love for cinema, my OCD and a constant in my life that often staves off bouts of depression.

Whether I was rushing up town with my £5 pocket money to buy the hilarious Stir Crazy on VHS (before everyone was so strict about the laws restricting sales to those not of the correct age) or writing down notes in jotters that I am only thankful have long since been lost, I pretty much fell in love with movies as soon as I was old enough to start escaping into that world. I could rewatch favourite films in a way that only youngsters can. And my movie-viewing habits were nothing compared to my mate, Robbie, who once spent a whole Summer watching Kelly's Heroes nearly every single day of the school holiday. I'm not exaggerating.

As I grew older I started to buy more and more movies, quickly amassing a decent collection. Shelves full of videotapes were as organised and well kept as my mind was chaotic and neglected. I continued to scribble notes, but never did anything with them. I had no idea of what I really wanted to say, or even who I would say it to.

I kept at it anyway. Not the writing, but the shopping. Even at my lowest ebb, with barely £1 a day for food shopping, I kept hold of a few DVDs that I hadn't lost, stored them with my few possessions like some talisman, some portent of good times to come.

Those good times came about three and a half years ago, when I met the woman who is now my wife. Now I'm not saying that there haven't been other good times in my life, but they've always been spoiled by either events outwith my control or, usually, my own self-sabotaging behaviour during one of my many bouts of depression (helped, of course, by a good does of alcohol and the company of people either oblivious, or uncaring, of my mental health issues).

When I first met my wife I was still very much ignorant of ways and means to control my highs and lows. There's no cure for severe manic depression, as I often remind people, but there are a lot of tricks and tactics to help you manage it, to try and stop it having such a negative impact on your life. Schedules and routines are good, for example. Making sure that you pick good friends, of course. And, for me, viewing and reviewing movies. I know, I know, it's strange but true.

I used to write plenty of reviews on IMDb and, because of those reviews, I was approached to write for Flickfeast. I discussed it with my wife.
"I'd be a LOT busier," I said. "I'd be watching even more movies. I'd have some deadlines."
My wife replied to all of these comments by reminding me that I loved watching, and reviewing, movies anyway so may as well seize the opportunity. And she was right.

I've since attended EIFF on four occasions, getting more confident and organised with each visit. I've made LOTS of new friends and connections, both in Edinburgh and around the world. My movie collection has continued to grow beyond the boundaries of good taste (according to my wife). And, perhaps most importantly, I have been happier and more stable in my mindset than I have ever been at any other point in my life.

So THAT'S why I put something daily on my blog. Don't get me wrong, I also like to think one or two people will enjoy what I write occasionally. I am egotistical enough to want to shout out over the hundreds of thousands of other folk shouting out into cyberspace. But it keeps me healthy, happy and motivated in a way that nothing else has.

Well, there's that, and also the fact that it gives me an excuse to watch the likes of Sharknado.

It may seem like a random pic, but it's from an appropriate movie

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