Isolated But Not Alone: Cinema Keeps Us Company

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It’s March 2020 – for someone like me who was born in the 80s, 2020 always sounded like the future. The first future was the millennium, so 2020 was the really distant future.The really, really amazing future. I was definitely going to have my own spaceship. After all, Back to the Future Part II was set in 2015, and that promised us hoverboards and all kinds of amazing things. So to be told that I need to isolate myself for three months because of a variation on the flu virus, seems… well, basic.
I will just take a moment to say that I think it’s completely the right thing to do though. In this post about perhaps having to postpone the London Screenwriter’s Festival until later in 2020, Chris Jones made the point that it would be worth taking these measures, even just to try and wipe out ‘normal’ flu. I am not overly concerned about the virus (despite underlying health issues) but I am completely onboard with whatever measures we need to take to wipe this thing out. If we could do it for seasonal flu and the common cold, I’d be on board with that, too.
Anyway, this blog is the result of a few conversations that I’ve had with people, and with my OH. Sometimes, when we go to the cinema, he says ‘we’ll have to give it a rest for a bit, we’ve been here too often lately’. Firstly, that is not possible (and we never do!). Secondly, I never feel like I’ve been to the same place when I go to the cinema.
For me, the movie is the journey and the destination. It’s a staple of writing courses (‘take the viewer on an emotional journey’) and actors consistently talk about a perk of the job as being able to live so many different lives in one lifetime.

Although it’s easier now than ever before to ignore TV screens (usually with mobile phone screens!) when you’re in the cinema, the trailers end and the lights go down, you are forced to pay attention and make that connection to the story and characters that have been agonised over by often a couple of hundred people. While the stories are not always emotional in the sense that it makes you want to cry, they are usually absorbing to the point that your mood changes slightly – you laugh, you feel the anticipation, you cheer internally when the hero wins the day.
That’s why I’m not at all worried about self-isolating – even if it does end up being for 12 weeks. Although it will disrupt daily life and it will feel strange, we have lots of great ways of keeping in touch. We also have lots of great things to keep us entertained!
I was given a 100 Movies Bucket List for Christmas, which I had seen 78 of anyway. Unfortunately, I haven’t made a too much progress on the list since (maybe I’ve watched 3?) so that is my starting point for my ‘lockdown watchlist’.

  1. City of God
  2. Up
  3. Moonlight
  4. Stand by Me
  5. 3 Idiots
  6. Schindler’s List
  7. Halloween
  8. The Evil Dead
  9. Rosemary’s Baby
  10. Mary & Max
  11. The Green Mile
  12. The Intouchables
  13. The Great Dictator
  14. Titanic
  15. Boyz n the Hood
  16. Saving Private Ryan
  17. Lagaan
  18. Baahubali
  19. Enter the Dragon

I know my OH owns a few of these, and I also know that some will be difficult to get hold of. I’ve got the rest of the year, right? But I will be using this time, for sure.
One of the things we’re doing to stop ourselves from going mad is limiting what we do in the week. We can both work flexibly, so it’s sometimes difficult to resist the temptation to do jobs at more convenient times for us.

As far as viewing goes, I’ll be watching box sets Mon-Thu (starting with The Wire, having recently re-watched Psych, Chuck and Justified) but Fri-Sun will be movie nights. We will also be implementing ‘cinema rules’. This came about as shorthand for ‘shhhhhhhhhhhh’ when we were recently looking after my nieces and nephew. They got to have popcorn on the condition that they followed cinema rules. They didn’t have to stay until the end if they were bored, but they shouldn’t spoil for anyone else. It worked pretty well!
As a special weekend treat, we’re also having bacon butties for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. Yum! I definitely recommend having a weekend treat like that to look forward to, and to remind you it's the weekend.
I’ll add the movies that I watch to this blog. If you have any recommendations for me, you can find me on social media! I always love talking movies, and I think it’s more important now to keep the conversations going. I’ll also be putting together some recommendations myself for what to watch over the coming weeks, and probably through summer as well, since a lot of movies have sensibly shut down production to protect people’s health. It’s disappointing, but one of the things I love about cinema is how much of it there is.

If you watched movies 24/7 for your entire life, without sleeping, you could not get through the back catalogue.
There’s always a new favourite movie just waiting for you to watch it.
Let’s get watching!

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