Rants From the Middle Row: Who do you thank for your love of movies?

VALENTINE’S Day comes but once a year: a day to share with that special loved one, when you go buck daft buying lavish gifts and feel compelled to purchase that solitary rose from a street seller for your other half in the name of love;  when you daren’t look at your mobile phone throughout your romantic dinner together incase you inadvertently ruin the ambiance of the evening.

Movie-fans, though, have an extra twist in their love-life and something much better to share on February 14th than a meal in a jam-packed restaurant.

I’ll explain it like this: every single trip to the cinema I have ever taken has given me the same buzz of excitement I felt each time I went to the see a movie as a kid. That feeling of *just knowing* in the first few minutes that this, the perfect match, would be a roller-coaster experience. For example, I remember watching The Hudsucker Proxy in the Queen’s Film Theatre with a shiver down my spine, taking my oldest to her first Star Wars and even – on the odd occasion – realising that I’ve been smiling happily at a movie screen like an eejit for the past hour.

This is why the heart will always hold a special place for the person who gave you a love of movies and why sharing your love of film is the ultimate Valentine’s Day gift. For my beloved, I get to be that person who opened the door to great movies: I’m pleased to say that my other half Elle and I have curled up on the sofa or paid to watch, old classics,newer releases, special ‘event’ screenings and lazy Sunday movie marathons on several occasions together.

And it’s the simple moments we get to look back on and smile, such as that stunning ending to the Usual Suspects, the beautiful weaving story-telling in Saving Mr Banks, the breath-taking twist in A Beautiful Mind, melting in front of Il Postino and World’s Fastest Indian, trips to the Braid Film Club, beers and roaring in childish laughter in front of Snatch or The South Park Movie and sitting glued in silent immersion to the depths of something like Shame or Calvary.

We learn from movies too. At stressful times we try not to be shaken and say ‘would it help?’ (Bridge of Spies), we remind ourselves “people first, things second” (A Night to Remember) and that ‘I’d rather end up wishing I hadn’t than end up wishing I had’ (Anna Karenina). Oh, and Christmas presents have to be – of course – ‘brown paper packages tied up in string’.

I wasn’t allowed to include a Great Gatsby quote as Elle is now a big enough movie fan to get genuinely angry over DiCaprio’s casting in the Luhrmann version (“He’s not my Gatsby!”).

By the way, she said – with a laugh – that the most apt movie quote I should include in my writing is one from Mark Kermode: “Even as a child I was a pretentious pain the arse!”

Anyway, we always have a queue of films waiting, a list of film club screenings we’d love to get to and an eye for special event screenings to make a night of a great film.

My own love of movies came thanks to teenage friends, back in the days of VHS and crap TVs, who took pity on my random choice of movies and opened my eyes to the gangster greats, the early Tarantinos, the Al Pacinos, De Niros, Brando and Dennis Hopper too.

I never want to forget those days. And one way I remember is by sharing a life-long love of movies with the love of my life. What better could you give?

So what will myself and Elle be doing on Valentine’s Day? Absolutely nothing.

We don’t need Valentine’s cards when we have the Coen Brothers and we don’t need a posh dinner when we have Dominos and a Strand Unlimited card.

“I’ll see the world through your eyes and I’ll see the world through yours”.

Roll the movie my love.

Here’s some movies from our online Movie Club to help you feel the love this Valentine’s

Rants From the Middle Row written by @CJohnstonNI
Rants From the Middle Row written by @CJohnstonNI

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