The A-Z of Film

C = Cinema

What could be better than going to the cinema? The smell of popcorn, watching trailers for upcoming films and the joy of seeing a great film on the big screen.

Cinema growing up

The cinema was a haven for me growing up, but I did start quite late. The first film I saw in the cinema, at the age of 9, was Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. After that though, you couldn’t stop me. By time I was 11 I was going to the cinema most weeks. Paid for by my paper round (I was the worst paperboy ever), I would get on the bus with friends, or my brother, and visit the ABC cinema, or at the time, the very new Warner cinema in Cambridge. I saw all sorts of films, most of which I saw without seeing a trailer or knowing anything about the film. I just wanted to go to the cinema. In 1995 my brother and I went and saw Nine Months. I was 12, I had no idea it was about a pregnancy. (I was very naive as a boy) Thankfully it was a comedy and actually a really enjoyable film. In 1995 I also went to see The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie with my brother. As I said, I was 12, I could get away with it, but my brother was 15 at the time.

One of my greatest triumphs as a child was taking a girl to the cinema, who was in the year above me. We decided to go watch Starship Troopers, which is a 15 certificate, and I was only 14 at the time. We went up to counter, I asked for the tickets and was asked my age by the steward. Calming I told them my date of birth exactly the same as it really is but one year earlier. The steward said thank you, and passed me the tickets. I’m sure I must have blacked out for a moment, I couldn’t believe I got away with it. In hindsight however, if you’re taking a girl to the cinema, don’t decide on a gory sci-fi horror with loads of death and nudity. I loved it, but I’m not so sure she did.

I’ve had great days at the cinema. In 1997 I watched all three Star Wars in one day. Warner cinema also used to do, £1 a ticket days. In 1997 I watched Ghostbusters, The Fifth Element and Beavis and Butthead do America in one day. They also did the £1 a ticket in 1996. That selection of films wasn’t as good. I watched Babe, Spy Hard and Muppet Treasure Island in one day.

Although I have quite an impressive selection of ticket stubs, lots have been mislaid over the years. Also, some have faded so much you can barely see what film I watched. Below are the only James Bond tickets I can find. Yes I am ashamed about the amount of times I watched Die Another Day.

North Devon

Living in North Devon, it can be a struggle to catch some of the more obscure films. That’s not to say we don’t have a decent selection of cinemas. It just means every so often I take a trip to the Picturehouse cinema in Exeter.

My closest cinemas are Scott Cinemas in Barnstaple and The Embassy in Ilfracombe. Both charming establishments and in comparison to Cineworld and Odeon are a bargain. Scott charge £7.15 for an adult ticket and Embassy in Ilfracombe charge £7.00 for an adult ticket, or £4.50 a ticket if you have an annual £9.95 magic merlin card. It’s great.

Ilfracombe Film Festival

Ilfracombe also has its very own festival every other year. Organised by volunteers, the Ilfracombe Film Festival has been a great addition to the community, with special screenings of Titanic, Shaun of the Dead, The Poseidon Adventure and many more. They also do fundraising evenings before the festival. Last year they did and a special themed Les Misérables night with sing-along, a meal and dressing up. There’s so much going on, including locally made films. Last years theme was Zombies, and the previous centred around the ocean. It’s lovely to see something like this in the local community, and hopefully we’ll see the festival back in 2020.

I do love the cinema. Now I’m off to watch Mary Queen of Scots at The Embassy in Ilfracombe.