Hi there. Welcome to MovieHangover. Before we dive in you may be asking “Why create another blog in this overloaded opinion based world of the wide web?” Answer is pretty simple, I need a life…
No, more accurately I have a deep and long abiding love for all things film and to save my friends from going mad I’ve decided these thoughts need an outlet other than my incessant ramblings. It’d also be nice to get some debate going with like minded individuals!
So another question may be “Where does this love of film come from?”
That can be traced back to one singular reason, my mother. Throughout my childhood I was always the dreamer, the imagineer, the Lego builder but as I grew older and the kick of adolescence was at the door I found these childish pursuits diminishing. I felt the pull of acting, the ideal way of continuing imaginative play, but my own self doubt and general shyness limited my ability to pursue this course further. (Although my college performance of Landlord in Two by Jim Cartwright garnered a thumbs up from three close friends). So how was a growing boy supposed to fulfil that need to light up his imagination? My mum had the answer! In the darkness of the cinema….
In the dark the pictures elicited more emotions than I had ever encountered. The thrill of Luke Skywalker defeating the Empire, the fear of the T-Rex eating you straight off the toilet (surely the safest place a man can be), and the endless wonder of Indy fighting his way through Nazis to preserve history. My mum never questioned the logic of it all or the inherent silliness of a time travelling DeLorean. She, like me, opened her mind to the sheer creativity and joy that a good film can bring. Her eyes would light up at the exact moment the lights went down, and we grew closer in those moments. The pull of the fantasy, the possibility of the future and the hope in humanity, or just the potential for a history professor to kick major arse. But it was one film that awakened my eyes to what cinema can achieve. The Shawshank Redemption.
This awakening began with a depressing summers day (a usual experience for Brits in August), rain at the window and nothing to do. My mum suggested Shawshank. Immediately that title threw up one word, dull; quite possibly also the reason for its poor box office performance in the 90s. But on her insistence, and the fact she had been so right with her film selections up to this point, I relented.
As image upon image of utter emotional turmoil unfolded I became ever more enraptured. The sense of euphoria as Andy Dufresne plays the soulful Marriage of Figaro, and the entire prison falls silent in stunned wonder. The poetic mid section snapshot of tragic Brooks, who takes his life upon realising that prison was the only life he ever truly knew. And of course that triumphant ending of Andy’s christlike reach for freedom. Oh and let’s not forget the eternally captivating tones of Morgan Freeman.
As the VHS came to its end, yes this was in the halcyon days of the video cassette, I was irrecoverably changed. This is what cinema could do. It could make you think differently of the world, it could make you feel emotions that you didn’t know existed, and it could make you forget all that is going on and just become lost in another place, another time, another’s life. At that point on the bright lights of the cinema screen became my home, my scripture, my life. This blog is just a way of finally giving voice to what I feel. If some read it and get enjoyment out of it, or become frustrated by it, or feel encouraged to check out something new then I will have continued in my mother’s footsteps in giving heart into the simple moving picture.
Let’s all get film drunk together and enjoy the hangover!!