How often do you go to the cinema?
No. Me neither.
Apart from the audience, who seem to think they’re at home and can multi-task at the expense of your entertainment, there’s the films themselves.
Most films you feel you’d actually need to see in the cinema – Star Wars, Star Trek, Fast & Furious 237, even, today, a James Bond – are made for young boys aged 14-24. They are not for the likes of me and you.
The films that we might enjoy are, frankly, more enjoyable in the comfort of your own home, on DVD, where no-one is rustling through popcorn or slurping a dubiously sourced Cola.
No-one wants to sound old and, like, it was better in my day. But my grandmother and her friends went to the cinema twice a week. The films changed every Thursday. They saw the change from the old Hollywood star system – Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck – to the more egalitarian young turks. That’s probably when they gave up going. Dr No and From Russia With Love were probably fine, but Easy Rider and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice – well, they weren’t Doris Day and Rock Hudson, were they?
But for another generation, these films ushered in a whole new era that had us queuing around the block. Jaws – wow. It’s impossible now to convey the impact it had on a full house on a steaming summer’s evening.
Or Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, when whole audiences reared backwards at the sheer scale of the main spacecraft. We thought we’d seen what was on offer – small craft, buzzing along the roads, scaring little boys. And then Spielberg topped everything that had ever been seen till that time and it was, well, it was thrilling.
It wasn’t all sci-fi and big sharks, though. We had The Godfather and The Godfather Pt 2 (is that the greatest film ever made?), we had One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Manhattan and Mean Streets. We saw the beginnings of John Carpenter and Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee. We watched Al Pacino and Robert De Niro eclipse the acting achievements of all the great Hollywood stars. We had Faye Dunaway, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, Sally Kirkland, Jodie Foster.
I guess what we’re saying is, we’ve had our day. So if there’s anyone out there who thinks they would like to write about the latest films, and thinks they can do it with articulacy and originality, well – cut your teeth at The New Colloquium. We can’t pay you (yet), but, hey, every has to start somewhere.
Meanwhile, we can all remind ourselves of our own ‘golden age’ by reading Peter Biskind’s acclaimed book, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, illustrated above.