Monday 14 May 2012

A life in film (1975 - ????)

I was thinking earlier today (shut up, it does happen sometimes) about how much I would love to make my passion my main focus in life. My passion is, of course, the wonderful magic of movies. Which is something both enlarged and eroded by the world wide web. There are many cine-literate lovely people out there who share their views with those willing to listen and prove themselves to be veritable fountains of knowledge. Thankfully, many of these people I now consider friends. Then there are people like myself, more like a running tap of knowledge (and sometimes prone to moments of inactivity thanks to a blockage somewhere). I try to be informed and intelligent but I'm aware that most of the time I compensate for my weaknesses with passion and also sheer numbers. There are also people who just have a very specific field of interest or a very limited knowledge of the complete world of cinema but this is the internet so everyone can have the same amount of space without crowding out anyone else. The only kind of film "fans" I tend to dislike are those who so obviously show that they're . . . . . . . . in a way . . . . . . available for rent, if you don't mind me phrasing it in that way. As in every area of review writing, there are times when egos can be massaged and opinions can be swayed. I like to THINK that I've never done that but I'd also admit that a) diplomacy and politeness often pay off in the long run and b) it's better to concentrate on the plus points if you at least see the potential in people who may then subsequently give you a bit more of their time. I think being polite and diplomatic and sometimes focusing on the potential ahead rather than the here and now is very different from praising every scrap that some person or studio throws your way.

But why was I thinking about all of this earlier? Well, someone took umbrage at the fact that during a Facebook discussion on someone's wall I posted a link to a recently written review. Oh, I was a heathen and a grubby moneygrabbing whore with no morals or manners. Or so you would think. Hey, you know what, as mentioned above I would LOVE to make money from this. But I don't. There are clickable links in most of my reviews (most of the links, the ones also in bold typeface, go to other reviews while some go to products) but I don't force anyone to click on those links and I don't charge anyone for reading what I write. If anything, I'd pay people to humour me and read my nonsense. I think this blog has been going for about a year and a half now and my sum total raised through AdSense is . . . . . . .  drumroll please . . . . . . £4.97. I'm pleased with that, I never even thought it would be that much, and I'd like to build on that figure and go onwards and upwards. But the focus of my reviews will always be the movies themselves and my opinion, NOT any selling avenues.

I've thought long and hard about why movies have been THE big thing in my life and I think it comes down to a few main touchstones in my formative years so allow me to just mention them here and reminisce slightly.

First of all, I KNOW why I'm a big horror movie fan. Blame my babysitter. When I was about 6-7 years old one of my main babysitters was a young guy who was really cool. The deal was that he could record as much of my mum's vinyl collection as he wanted as long as I could sit quietly on the sofa and watch the late-night Hammer horror films. He gained some great tapes, I gained a lifelong love of horror.

Secondly, my love of ALL cinema and ability to watch anything and everything came from Prisoner: Cell Block H. Yes it did. It may sound strange to you, especially those of you outwith the UK, but when I stayed with my gran on any Friday night she would stay up late to watch Prisoner: Cell Block H. I would either be allowed to watch it with her or I would feign sleep while listening to the plots (fights, lesbianism, wicked warders, it was a cross between Oz and a Jess Franco flick every week) unfold. Almost inevitably, my gran would start snoring before the end credits rolled. I would look over, unable to see her eyes as her spectacles reflected the glow from her electric fire that looked like a coal fire (if coal fires were designed by electricians), and I would just know that I could see half of a movie or, with any luck, the whole thing. And back in those days Channel 4 had their famous "red triangle" system for the more adult material. Translation: If it was French and the red triangle showed up onscreen I was going to see some boobs.

Thirdly, two of the first videotapes I ever bought for myself were far from the usual young teen choices and they've remained favourites of mine to this day. Stir Crazy and An American Werewolf In London. Notice the different link styles? Anyway, both movies are very different from one another but I consider both to be eminently watchable whenever the mood takes you.

There were many more moments here and there, of course. Seeing bits of Creepshow while everyone thought I'd fallen asleep in the corner chair (a trick that we've all used many times in our childhoods). Being caught by my mother the morning after I'd seen Dawn Of The Dead for the first time and having slept with my lamp on for the whole night. She did shout at me but I didn't get spanked, oh no. The worst moment was when she said "that's it, no more scary movies for you". Luckily, she didn't mean it. Running off one evening with my pocket money to see Batman on my own. Sneaking in to my first "15" at the cinema and being terrified in case we got caught then mere months later sauntering in to buy tickets for my first "18". And despite whatever criticism this may lead to, sitting there and finally seeing Reservoir Dogs uncut on a fantastic and perfect pirated copy while it was sitting in limbo thanks to the BBFC.

It may seem sad to some who just don't understand but these are the great memories and moments that I just keep adding to every time I see another movie that I love and feel the urge to rave about. And the internet makes it easy and instant to share that passion. And THAT'S why I do this blog, my reviews at Flickfeast and my IMDb reviews.

Having said that, feel free to use any links while shopping online.

Oooohhhh, look at those two great books *hint, hint*

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