10 movies and 10 sincere apologies to those I made watch them


5th April 2010

When going to the cinema on your own just isn't an option, sometimes you wind up dragging along some helpless individual just to bump up the numbers. For the following movie experiences, I apologise.

Baise Moi (London, 2000)

Dear Jo Farncombe,

Ah, the summer of 2000. What a heady few months they were. Two best friends from a tiny rural town in Shropshire; living and working in London for the first time. So innocent, so pure, so 'Jo and Christopher'.

We were in love with film and we greedily devoured every cinematic gift that came our way, and for that one gorgeous summer, my friend, we were in the perfect place to receive those treasures.

On a hot, late-August afternoon, you and I went to the Curzon in Soho to see Baise Moi.

You squirmed. I squirmed. We witnessed fully explicit vaginal penetration on screen for the first time and far larger than anyone really needs to see it. I became aroused, then so very afraid. I dare not speak of what was happening on your side of the cup holder...

We left the cinema in the early evening, changed. The sun still beamed down on us but it made no difference. It felt altered somehow. Everything felt altered now. We felt altered.

We could have blamed the big city. We could have blamed the film. Instead we blamed each other.

I never saw you again.


Paranormal Activity (Cambridge, 2009)

Dear Alexia Smith,

My long-term girlfriend, Alexia, things are now hanging by a tiny thread. In fact I realise I can draw a distinct line straight back through to last December...

You said: "I know it's your birthday, but I just don't like horror films." I ignored you. We saw Paranormal Activity. Now you won't go upstairs anymore.

Upstairs is where our bedroom is. In our bedroom is where the attic is. Therefore you won't go in the bedroom.

That is where our best stuff is. You refuse to have sex in the kitchen. I have made so many mistakes.


The Orphic Trilogy (Chester, 2006)

Dear Jack Gocher,

There are those who say you can't mix weighty film criticism with babysitting one's 4 year-old nephew. Those people may just be right.

Oh Jack, your tiny infant mind struggled with the complex themes of artistic obsession, poeticism and the power of metaphor. And although you could probably fathom that these three masterpieces (running time totalling 225 minutes) were decadent and playfully subversive, I feel the larger meta-textual layers were beyond you.

You held a vacant stare for weeks afterwards that no amount of Spongebob Squarepants could erase.


PS. Your suggestions for my Film International editorial piece were largely amateurish.
Look Who's Talking Too (Shrewsbury, 1990)

Dear Mr & Mrs Radcliffe,

This apology is regarding any film I saw on any given birthday with you, my Mum and Dad, throughout the late eighties and early nineties.

Ghostbusters 2, Home Alone 2, Never Ending Story 2, Teen Wolf Too, Karate Kid 2... Sigh.

Dad, during that period of time your favourite films included A Clockwork Orange and Blade Runner. This must have been a heavily traumatic experience for you. But then I suppose that's the ultimate sacrifice a person makes when they have a child: taste.

Look Who's Talking Too is most notable for having a title that makes you picture a very wacky gentleman saying the title whilst pointing and shaking his head in disbelief. This is what a prick looks like.

The second sequel included a dog. We saw that one too. For fuck's sake.


Speed (Wrexham 1994)

Dear Sarah Butters,

My high school crush. You loved Keanu Reeves. I loved you. I invited you to see Speed with me. Unbelievably you accepted.

I thought that Keanu Reeves' heroism and vacant yet chiselled handsomeness would somehow reflect on to me. Instead you fell in love with Keanu Reeves even harder.

I had to sit through Speed. I had failed to win your heart.

I left you at the retail park without a lift home. My bad.


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