Choose Brexit. Choose Trump. Choose not a single day without Steven Universe in your face. Choose mass hysteria. Choose apocalypse. Choose to escape from it all.
Choose car journeys, train journeys, bus journeys. Choose Showcase, Picturehouse, BFI, Curzon, Odeon, Cineworld, ICA, Prince Charles, Embankment, Ciné Lumière, Vue, Empire, Rich Mix, Barbican. Choose renting films on iTunes with an American account because they took so long to earn themselves a UK release. Choose leftovers from 2016, skipping those you already saw that year except for La La Land because the premiere audience wouldn’t stop getting up to take a dump. Choose embarassing award ceremonies from top to especially bottom. Choose Smurfy Selfie Time before every movie you see in the Spring, even when they’re rated 18. Choose Q&A’s. Choose festivals. Choose Flare, Sundance, FrightFest, LFF, LIAF. Choose repertory screenings. Choose 2K, 4K, 35mm, 70mm, 2D, 3D, IMAX. Choose addiction. Choose 2018 delays. Choose surprises, disappointments, guilty pleasures. Choose sequels, reboots, remakes, cinematic universes, Oscar bait.
Choose sexual awakening thanks to Dev Patel’s hair. Choose the MCU, the DCEU, the MonsterVerse, the Legoverse, the Disney remake-verse. Choose Greta Gerwig, Kristen Stewart, the Hidden Figures, Zoe Kazan, Tiffany Haddish, female-driven cinema. Choose Harvey Weinstein fucking up Oscar potential for the last time. Choose #BostonStrong, or don’t, Lionsgate doesn’t care what you think. Choose anime. Choose BBFC cuts in 2017. Choose Hollywood animation’s downfall, which counts worse for the UK considering that Paddington 2 pushed Coco out. Choose taking photos of yourself with Woody Harrelson, Kevin Smith, Christopher Lloyd and Tommy Wiseau with Greg Sestero that nobody in their right mind will give a shit about. Choose wishing you lived life like Arielrocks5, because whatever the risks that’s the only way you could appreciate movies like Colossal.
Choose short films, surprise films. Choose documentaries about racism, global warming, chickens, refugees. Choose trying to figuring out if A Ghost Story really was spot #1,000 on your combined diary after all. Choose live premieres, the difference being that the only other people in the Gallery seats were either guffawing at each other’s banter no matter what the on-screen scenario or blabbing all the way through the first act of a tribute by one of The Voice’s breakouts just because she’s too voluptuous for them and not because she’s super-talented. Choose Netflix controversy, animated war and Edgar Wright. Choose Despicable Me #3, Cars #3, Sony Spider-Man attempt #3, Project Itoh film #3, Rise of the Planet of the Apes #3. Choose the only cartoon movie of the summer worth taking your kids to, while cinemas nationwide argue that it’s not successful enough to live as long as The Emoji Movie because 2017 is a year of no fucking justice.
Choose “I saw Dunkirk in 70mm”. Choose that one complicated Mexican tentacle film you were going to see at a LGBTQ film festival but was prevented from doing so by a terror attack, therefore reducing your experience down to just Torrey Pines, and forever regret taking word from Letterboxd before deciding to see Lovesong before Brendan and Katie reviewed it. Choose Joe Bang. Choose #TragedyGirls. Choose Cruise. Choose trying and failing to watch decent horror with your friends on a Sunday. Choose attending Lloyd Kaufman’s double bill screening even after he defended a sexual predator, because it’s at least better than suffering through 70 more minutes of Goodbye Christopher Robin. Choose watching animated bellies bloat up while you’ve taken your friends. Choose no conclusion as to whether you were just being cynical over Blade Runner 2049 or it was just problematic as it is.
Choose applauding Adam Sandler’s presence. Choose stories told by poor Swazi orphans who want their voices to be heard and internally weep because grown men in Hollywood can’t do any better. Choose titles you’re too cowardly to read out loud. Choose “yes, she fucks the fish”. Choose “yes, the fish smooches him”. Choose trying to concentrate on Joaquin Phoenix trying to overcome his past and addictions but the Stalls at the OLS always has a chain reaction of drunkards constantly taking a toilet break 20 minutes into a gala, and vow never to make this mistake again. Choose sitting at the front of the Royal Circle, with no need to worry about stupid alcoholics downstairs, and sit back as Greta Gerwig gives you the surprise of your life. Choose the closing gala of an Oscar film that not everybody will love for long. Choose My Little Pony. Choose Armie Hammer. Choose talking Pikachu, Frozen cash-grabbing and John Cena. #ChooseKind. Choose Aaron Sorkin, Jumanji and Don Hertzfeldt, and then sit back and end it all with Star Wars for the third time in a row.
Choose posting your journey onto Listal, Letterboxd, MUBI, IMDb, TMDb, Trakt, Rate Your Music, Cinematic and a thousand other ways to spew your bile across cinephiles smarter than you. Choose tweeting illiterate or typo-ridden reviews and hope that someone, somewhere cares, other than the chap who likes and retweets everything you tweet. Choose your friends not caring, because most of them are so drawn into cartoon and video game culture as well as their own fat fetishes that to them you feel like an outcast. Choose typing an overlong Trainspotting-type monologue about your experience anyway, which you’ll never have to write again unless a T3 is made.
Choose being so film-crazed it puts you off your own projects, partly because a dozen of your iTunes downloads that you’ll never watch take up your disk space. Choose tiredness and question why you’re this addicted in the first place. Choose giving your parents and yourself hell, as you walk through the polluted streets of London, holding your breath for as long as you can, just to watch some obscure piece of art all by yourself.
Choose a slow and steady death of cinema. Choose finding out your favourite celebrity is either dead or a pervert. Choose treating awards committees like they matter when they nominated a happy musical about P.T. Barnum where The Big Sick should’ve been before it even comes out. Choose war over the self-proclaimed Smartest Film Critic in the World, Disney buying Fox, the FCC stripping your American friends of their freedom. Choose to watch your whole world fall apart at the seams and society crumble into stupidity, and watch Hollywood do exactly the same.
Choose your future. Choose your whole world’s future. Choose cinema’s future. Choose Life…
…but why would you want to do a thing like that?
The films on the list are first-time cinema viewings. Second-timers:
La La Land – January 19th – Showcase Cinema de Lux Bluewater
For full info on when and where I saw these films, check out the Listal, Letterboxd and Cinematic versions.