I’ve had a cool weekend of movies. On Friday night I finally saw Rogue One (holy shit it was basically a Star Wars junkie’s wet dream), then on Saturday we saw My Neighbour Totoro at Prince Charles Cinema in London’s Leicester Square – the undisputed greatest cinema I have ever been to (check out their amazing cult movie listings – https://princecharlescinema.com). On Sunday, after totally knackering myself with a 21k run, I had the flat to myself. I did what any proper bloke would do (no I didn’t have a wank you sadist) – I slammed on my favourite 80’s martial arts movie No Retreat No Surrender.
I’ve always loved proper 80’s cheesefest fighting movies – Kickboxer, Karate Kid, Best Of The Best – but for me No Retreat is a clear winner. The story makes no sense, and it’s got a TERRIBLE rap in it, but it’s got some epic training montages and some even epic-er music. Plus, Bruce Lee comes back from the dead to help a dude improve his Karate. Fucking perfect.
I’ve always been a huge movie fan, but the experience has changed somewhat for me since I stopped drinking. My weekend cinema visits used to involve me covert-smuggling a bottle of something strong – usually vodka – that I could mix with the super-sweet/super-expensive coke they dispense at the popcorn counter. I still cringe whenever my brother and his lovely wife remind me of when we went to see Michael Jackson’s This Is It at the Odeon in Huddersfield. It was only a quarter full, and I’d managed to destroy a good sized bottle of brandy, mixed with coke. I turned in to a proper annoying dickhead – whooping and shouting. I don’t remember much about that night.
When I first properly discovered drinking it felt like I’d discovered a whole new exciting lifestyle. The first few years felt like an uninterruptible upwards trajectory – life became fun, and booze could put the sparkle into even the most mundane things.
Nothing on the telly? Just get twatted.
Being dragged around the shops? Just get twatted.
The problem was that, without realising it, I quickly became a proper dickhead. I lost a lot of friends (thankfully now fully reconnected), and my girlfriend dumped me. I’m pretty sure booze was the glaring problem here. Possibly not the fact I liked booze – but rather the person who I became. Self obsessed and self important. This meant that I spent an unhealthy amount of time drinking alone – especially unhealthy when you consider I was just a young lad of 18 or 19.
Luckily for me there were movies, and aside from playing Resident Evil on my PS1 or twatting around with Cubase, my free time revolved around my weekly pilgrimage to the local Blockbuster video shop to see what mind-bending nastiness I could find for £2 in the ex-rental bin. I’d stock up on cheap vodka, and while away the hours sat in my bedroom self-medicating whilst binge watching horror B-movies, or old sci-fi classics like Hardware and Dune.
The great thing about watching films drunk is that you can really get your money’s worth. Even on the 7th or 8th watch, I still never remembered how Dune actually ended.
Watching movies nowadays, with no more stimulation than a cup of Yorkshire Tea or a Becks Blue, I definitely have a better appreciation of a good story line (I can follow what’s happening, for a start). I’ll never fall out with the VHS gems that I grew up watching – but I also like a movie to give me something to think about these days. Watching Kickboxer three times a week was great fun drunk, but I’m not sure I could repeat-watch a film to that extent these days without getting bored or going a bit mad.
Except for No Retreat No Surrender or Robocop of course. I’d watch that shit every single day if I could.