YOUR Best Movie Memories...
Updated: Feb 21
Last week I wrote out a small statement on intent regarding the future of two outlets for the film industry - cinemas and physical home releases. In the week since then, Disney's joined in with Warner Bros. sentiment by announcing all their future main-line releases were going to go straight to streaming simultaneously alongside their theatrical release. Warner Bros. has also come under fire for their HBO Max deal from the filmmakers and union workers of the films they've sold. Turns out of you're making a huge decision on the distribution of a film, you might want to converse with those involved in the making of it after all...
But this week it's not about the negativity. This is a wholesome Christian blog after all. Instead we're going to be celebrating the film memories that have stayed with us. The DVD extras that have kept us returning to a disc, the midnight releases where the hype took over, the home-viewing experiences that helped shape us. I've also sprinkled a few of my own along the way for good measure.
It's a reminder of the power there can be in such shared experiences, and hopefully it'll help us remember why cinemas and film-watching experiences in general are so important.
"I saw "2001: A Space Odyssey" in April 1968 during its premiere run, at the Warner Cinerama Theatre in Hollywood, before the famous 17 minutes were cut. In Cinerama, on a giant curved screen, 70mm, clean print and properly framed. Although I did see it in IMAX recently, the Cinerama presentation was still the best experience I've ever had in a theater. Just astounding."
" I loved the hair featurette from the Legally Blonde DVD which shows exactly how technically difficult it was to make a movie that was actually considered lightweight."
"Back before common access to the internet it was always difficult for me to listen to 'Black Suits Comin' (Nod Ya Head)' by Will Smith for Men In Black II - a song I used to love. I had asked for the CD single but I got a greatest hits album instead because my mum saw it had the song on it. Unfortunately it had a strange techno remix I wasn't a huge fan of. But then, when Men in Black II was released on two-disc DVD (a great set by the way, tonnes of stuff) I found the second disc had the music video for the song on it! Finally I had a way to listen to the song whenever I wanted!"
"After having worked at Everyman Cinemas for almost three years I decided to leave in August this year (to move cities rather than the industry’s unpredictable future). It was more than a job to me, it was the place where I met a large number of close friends and I was incredibly invested in the cinema and its community of patrons.
My favourite cinema experiences I think are the daytime and matinee showings. Working mostly evenings, I became very accustomed to taking myself on a solo cinema trip on a weekday morning, grabbing a coffee at the bar and having the screen more or less entirely to myself. Although I think some films deserve a sold-out screening for the best viewing experience - like a midnight release of Avengers - there’s something very intimate and comforting about watching a new independent film in a small screen by yourself. Working in a cinema also came with its privileges. A colleague and friend of mine marathoned all of the Star Wars films in release order in the small screen we had just for private hires to prepare for the release of The Rise of Skywalker. I have countless videos of myself and friends dancing around the cinema screen to Frozen 2, Dirty Dancing or the dreaded Cats.
In fact I think that’s my favourite cinema memory. If you didn’t know already, Cats absolutely tanked at the box office. There was one Saturday where we had a children’s birthday hire in the morning, then a quiet afternoon of Cats screenings before a couple of sold out shows in the evening (can’t quite remember what film). Myself and the other manager on shift were at a loss of what to do with the staff for the quiet afternoon, but couldn’t send anyone home as we needed them in the evening. In a stroke of genius, I suggested that myself and any team member who fancied it could clock out and watch Cats altogether. The bizarre mindfuck of a film is a wild ride already, but watching it impromptu with half of your team mid-shift is another experience altogether. Cinemas naturally attract an eclectic bunch of employees and watching films with them either on our own time or after close was so special, I’m not sure I truly realised how lucky I was to work there at the time.
Should the cinema industry ever find its former glory I intend to find my way back there at some point. I think it creates a working atmosphere that isn’t aptly recreated in any other industry. When it comes down to it, it is a hospitality job, but what other hospitality job gave me the opportunity to watch free films, work Q&A and premiere events, and learn how to use a digital projector? The Everyman will forever hold a place in my heart, as an ex-employee and hopefully as a patron once the cinemas open again here in Scotland."
"The day Avengers Age Of Ultron came out my doctor told me I didn’t have M.S. So I went to the midnight screening happy as heck. Saw War For The Planet Of The Apes opening night and the next day I got diagnosed with a disability. But every week I go back to the theater to escape my life and go on adventures."
"Driving 3 hours to see the Avengers in theaters on opening because I didn't want to watch it in the shitty theater in Key West. Was initially intending to see it in IMAX, but I bought the ticket for the wrong day, and ended up needing to buy one for a regular 3D showing, but the theater was still massive and fucking packed to the brim. Had an absolute blast. Getting to hear the audience go nuts at the scene where they all assembled for the first time was amazing. Drove back home in the dead of night with the top down (it was the Florida Keys in May, after all) with like no traffic."
"My best movie memory is waiting in line at the premiere of The Deathly Hallows pt. 1. Just a line full of like-minded potter fans hanging out in costumes for hours before the movie."
"My most memorable was seeing The Force Awakens at Disney World. It is memorable because I got a new hoodie that day that I insisted on wearing in the 75° Florida weather. I walked around for hours in that hoodie and by the time we sat down for the movie I was soaked from head to toe in sweat. I then had to sit through the 2 1/2 hour movie in my own sweat, miserable the whole time."
"Definitely Star Wars Ep 7 midnight launch. People dressed up with lightsabers having saber fights in the auditorium before the movie started. Everyone was so happy seeing all the characters again. It was an incredible viewing."
"On the day before my 22nd birthday my friends arranged a surprise trip to a local independent cinema in the middle of the woods to see Paddington 2 - a film I had done some extra work on. Even the fact that the scene I worked on was cut couldn't wipe the smile from my face. The foyer was filled with various film and TV memorabilia, even a life-size Dalek, and it was almost Christmas so the whole things was cold and glorious. I'm in no way able to successfully communicate my feelings but I hope my friends know how much I treasure that whole evening, even if I was remarkably quiet throughout it."
"As for DVDs? Me and my wife go to the indoor fleamarkets/antique malls. There are shelves and shelves of used DVDs. I feel very nostalgic when I see them. I browse the titles and wonder who they used to belong too....I wonder how many sleepovers that copy of 13 Ghosts have been apart of. I wonder how excited the original buyer was to pick up that copy of The Matrix brand new at the store. I wonder what made them decide to sell their beloved Twilight trilogy.
I can’t pick my favorite theater experience, I have a lot of sentimental memories of going to the movies with my wife, family, and friends. Sometimes we would watch a film at the town’s local theater (basic) or drive an hour and a half to have a fancy dinner and get a more luxurious movie experience (with those reclining heated chairs!).
We live in a smaller trailer so we can’t emulate a theater trip in our home. We love the excitement of an actual trip to the cinema. The huge screen and thundering sound? We love that. There’s a small lump in my throat with the thought that people are giving up on theaters. I’m only 34, but the dying cinemas and physical media being abandoned makes me feel old fashioned."
"Mulan is mine! It's the earliest cinema experience I remember. I was taken by my sister and her then-boyfriend. As part of the screening, they handed out a free Mushu plushie and we won! I was absolutely delighted, so much so half way through the film my excitement wore off and I fell asleep lying across my sister & her boyfriend. Luckily, I've since seen it a multitude of times and enjoyed every single one of them! (for context, I was 6 years old!)"
"Mine was when I went to the opening weekend of Superbad back in 2007. I went with a bunch of my close friends. We were all around 12 to 13 years old and DID NOT deserve to be in that theatre. What a fantastic movie to infiltrate our fragile innocent minds! A friend of mine’s mother was the manager of this theatre, so we all experienced the movie without “adults.” The anticipation of the movie was great. But none of us were prepared for what we were about to see and hear.
That movie experience gave us a whole new vocabulary to work with. We were like the kids from South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, when they saw “Asses of Fire.” We all also became masters of penis drawings as well."
I also asked my friends for some of their favourite memories...
"When we watched Kill List at mine and I was just so confused at the end with that bloody hunchback."
"When we watched The Emoji Movie. I remember asking to leave several times."
"I think my favourite cinema memory is going to the midnight release of Wonder Woman drunk. All I remember is crying with laughter as I tried to film you and Harry with the flash on on my phone. It was all during the ads and I left during the first 10 minutes of the film."
"I watched Sinister in the cinema. And was laughed at many times because I kept screaming at the jump scares."
"Does the night we watched the Oscars in 2nd year count? The time Mel Gibson was having a field day with red licorice and Gus fell asleep?"
"Does the time we watched R.I.P.D together count? I remember you were doing a flawless Jeff Bridges impression the entire way through the film."
"When we both went to see Blade Runner 2049 & Call Me By Your Name - 2 very different films but both had the remarkable effect of rendering us both speechless and emotionally exhausted, genuinely one of the best shared experiences."
I'd like to thank everyone who sent me a memory; I loved hearing all of them. And to those who've just read them, I hope they've brought on flashbacks to some of your favourite movie memories. Now it's just a case of ensuring there's a place that can house all the ones that are still yet to be made...
Remember to support cinemas when they reopen.
Buy your favourite films/TV shows on physical home release.
Support the arts you've been living off of in lockdown.
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See you next week.