Friday, November 4, 2022

The dumbest games I play: Finding the Newman

I can't help turning the dumbest shit into a game, with rules that only I can follow, and only I could ever care about. It takes my mind off the existential terrors of modern life.

So I'm doing it every goddamn day - when I take the kids for a walk, I find myself counting the number of steps I take between cracks in the pavement, trying to get in three steps before each break for no bloody reason 

I still do Wordle and Framed and Soduku and the 2048 game with the Doctors Who, but I also do it with the stupidest stuff. Like following the Spinner Rack on Twitter and trying to find a tweet where I owned all four issues (I only ever come close if I try with the comics released between 1983 and 1992), and then keeping a running total of the amount of times I have at least one of them. Or trying to find the Newman in a new Empire.

I've been getting Empire magazine every month since the early 90s, and it's a regular pleasure, even though issues have a habit of showing up with severe water damage lately. And like every other nerd, I've had an obvious weird ritual about the spine quote, which has always been there. 

But in the past couple of years they have a section in the back showcasing half a dozen decent movies by the magazine's finest writers. And every single time, I deliberately don't  look at the names of the reviewers and try to figure out which movie is being reviewed by Kim Newman. There's always one and I have a goof 85 percent hit ratio of picking the film he's talking baout.

Newman has been my favourite movie critic for 30 years, his reviews are always thoughtful, always smart, and always judge films on the right contexts, with a knowledge of esoteric and weird films that is unparalleled in mainstream criticism. (His books are fucking great too, and he writes the most entertaining novels on the planet.) He's been contributing to Empire since the beginning, and still has a regular feature looking at the modern equivalent of the DTV nasties, and all is right with the world.

It's usually fairly easy to spot the Newman - it's either the oldest film, or the one with the most outrageous gore. And that's the whole game.

It's the dumbest shit that gets you through the day. Whatever it takes, man. Whatever it takes.

No comments: