In a selfless effort to bring my reader the very best comment and insight from the cliff-face of popular culture, I regularly find myself in an almost deserted cinema on a weekday morning with friends who can also manage a morning skive from work once a week.
There are a hardcore of three, but sometimes others will join us, work and childcare commitments permitting. We go on a weekday morning because a) we can b) we don’t need to bother booking and most importantly c) there is a special thrill when you come out of a cinema in daylight, as though you’ve been skipping school and not been found out.
Sometimes, for films aimed at an audience of a certain age perhaps, there are quite a few other people in and we get a bit huffy that we have to share the cinema with others. Mostly, we have a pre-match coffee and pastry or a post-match lunch and then a follow-up debrief in the car on the way home. We are nothing if not thorough. Practically scientific really.
One of our group used to work in TV and film as a director, so has a particularly interesting take on how the “magic” is achieved. This involves much whispering in my ear as I’m being transported by a particularly moving scene: “That’s CGI, it’s not real”.
Another is a reader for a publisher, so is especially good when it comes to adaptations from books. But she is of quite a sensitive disposition, so we have to leave her behind for any films with an expectation of excessive scariness/graphic rudeness/an absence of bonnets or other period costume.
I like to think I bring an “ordinary person’s” perspective to the party. This mainly involves my speaking up on behalf of all those audience members out there who like me cannot and will not watch anything in 3D, as it does not agree with our constitutions. Come on, I can’t be the only one.
Watching 3D on a big screen is like being on a boat in bad weather. I start feeling queasy a couple of frames in. And usually spend the rest of the film without the 3D glasses on, watching everything slightly out-of-focus as it’s preferable to throwing up.
I’m also very good at picking the best seats when presented with an almost empty cinema, so I feel I contribute in some small way. But the real work of the cinema club is done before and after the main feature.
In 2014, we managed to mediate in a particularly nasty case of voting differences between a happily married couple as the Referendum approached. They are still happily married and still on opposite sides. We mopped up tears induced by terrible teenagers behaving badly. We celebrated together as job promotion was awarded and commiserated as family members got sick.
We basically save the world whilst watching movies. You’re very welcome. And if anyone’s interested: Our top films of 2014 were Gone Girl and The Imitation Game. Our absolute turkeys were Mr Turner and Monuments Men. But that’s not really the point. Happy New Year.