Monday, November 20, 2023

Movies around the world

People always make give me weird looks when I tell them about going to the cinema while traveling overseas, because they just see it as a waste of precious holiday. It takes hours and hours to fly to anywhere else in the world from here, and there is so much to see in this wide and wonderful world, why the hell would you go to a cinema that looks just like the one down the street?

But sometimes you just need a break from the travel when you're gallivanting around the world. A place to get out of the elements, and just sit down and relax for a while, and the cinema is a good place to switch off, and maybe even see something great.

Unfortunately, my lovely wife and I have a terrible habit of seeing the absolute worst films in the most far flung of locations. Yes, we've been to a cinema in Iceland, but it was to see that Alexander Skaarsgard Tarzan film, which everybody has rightly forgotten the existence of. We've been in one of the grand old cinemas of Leicester Square to see the worst film in the Bourne series, and then saw the second worst in the series on the edges of Houston.

On our first ever major trip, while staying at a hostel somewhere in East London, we saw Die Hard 4.0, the biggest turkey in that excellent series. Our first cultural experience on our first trip to Edinburgh - after the obligatory fried breakfast - involved seeing the third Pirates of the Caribbean at a central city multiplex at 9am, because we'd spend the evening on the overnight bus from London, and couldn't get into our accommodation yet.

The only film we ever saw in Scandinavia was The Snowman. And not even in Oslo. We should have followed all the clues. We also saw Mother! in Hong Kong on a Sunday morning, in an absolutely packed cinema, and that was a diabolical way to kill the hours before our flight out.

Blade Runner 2049 was another London experience at the Odeon on Shaftsbury, and that was fine, but it wasn't the best Blade Runner by a long shot. It felt a little right to be seeing one of the new Star Treks in Winnipeg, on an overnight stopover on the way to Churchill, and it felt very right to watch True Grit somewhere in a small city in the great American desert.

Sometimes we get it right - the excellent Joe Strummer:The Future is Unwritten in Bath, and the also excellent Zodiac in York, but I ruined that a little by seeing the Total Recall remake when we returned to the North.

On the best trip, nearly a decade ago now, we saw John Wick and Inherent Vice in the Pacific Northwest of the US, and they're not just films, they goddamn cherished memories.

I wouldn't have remembered where I saw most of these films - I would barely remember I even saw that Total Recall without the international flavour. It's always been an absolute thrill to see these movies, no matter how many funny looks I get.

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