The Picture Palace
In another life on another continent, in my first job in journalism we used to fantasise about becoming successful newspaper columnists. I decided my work colleague's right-leaning column would be called: "What's in it for me?" She decided my column would be called: "Think like me now''.
In jest, as always, she had struck at a truth. It was worse when I was younger, but I have a terrible habit of trying to foist my movie tastes on people. As a teenager obsessed with Hitchcock films I would see a friend coming round as an opportunity for indoctrination. "You have to watch this," I would burble while clutching a VHS of Psycho in my hot little hands.
I was on a one-man crusade to make everyone think like me. I remember constantly trying to convince friends with the line: "My opinion is fact.'' They weren't convinced.
At times, it was like that bit at the end of A Clockwork Orange where they force Alex to watch the mind-control films. I was probably the only person to watch that scene and think: "Mmmm, I wonder where I could get a pair of those eye things from? They could come in handy.''
Even now, when friends come over and make the mistake of perusing my DVD shelf, they are in danger of having their sense of taste hijacked. "What do you mean you've never seen John Carpenter's The Thing? Are you crazy? Here, borrow it. I said borrow it. I expect a 600-word appreciation on my desk by Tuesday morning.''
But time and experience have taught me to develop a grudging tolerance of different opinions. I still believe everyone else is wrong, but have reluctantly decided to leave them in their happy ignorance. I realised I was a bit like those people who knock door-to-door and ask if you have accepted Jesus into your heart.
"Have you accepted John Carpenter's peak period oeuvre into your heart?" I would ask with religious zeal.
"Have you seen Woody Allen's bleak experiment with minimalist, Bergmanesque emotionscapes? You know, the one that isn't funny or entertaining? You haven't?''
I think the person who taught me most about tolerating, or even respecting, other people's opinions is the love of my life, known here as The Essex Princess.
I remember showing her the Gene Kelly scene that gives Singin' in the Rain its title. Any old excuse to share this clip, but here it is:
At the end of what I consider to be a joyfully life-affirming piece of of film, I turned to The Essex Princess to see what she thought. I probably looked a bit like an eel. You know, like this:
The Essex Princess paused to consider her words, then she grinned impishly and said:
"It's just a daft old man splashing about in puddles."
For me, that was a hilarious revelation. Not only will people never think like me, but the fact they don't is glorious.
I might still forcibly lend people much-loved DVDs, but I have hopefully lost a bit of my zealous fervour. In short, I hope I am less of a pain in the arse.
But, what about you? Are you always introducing people to a particular film? What are the films you want the world to love? Post below.
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