The pre-pre-screening organisation was a mixed affair. While the bar area steadily filled with impatient punters, Ali and I were busy trying to fix a computer connection problem that threatened to undo all of our hard work. Even more importantly, I realised that I didn't know how to put on a bow-tie. Not even a clip-on one. And those braces I bought for the occasion? I might as well have been trying to squirm my way into a Chinese finger puzzle. Still, it all worked ok in the end - we all looked reasonably dashing (even if the final look was more 'waiter' than 'spy') and the computer problem was magically fixed just in time by someone flipping a switch somewhere. Probably. I was too busy slapping myself in the face with brace elastic to notice.
As the doors opened, and the seats quickly filled, our 'champagne reception' of cheap cava and Haribo sweets was demolished in seconds. So thanks to Neil and Luke and Ed and Rob for getting dressed up and looking the part only to have their 'drinks and food' responsibilities reduced to rubble by a mob of sweet-starved alcohol vultures. I'm sure it made the following three hours sat in uncomfortable, smart clothing worth it.
As the hour-long playlist we specially prepared died down after just two songs (there's a lesson), it was my time to take the stage. A wonderfully receptive audience who whooped and giggled at the mere mention of 'Arnie' or 'harrier jump jets' made this fairly nervous public speaker feel right at home. I knew that the spirit of True Lies was with us when, after mentioning that this was the first time the film had been screened in London in nearly 20 years, the crowd cheered and a spare bottle of unopened cava on stage popped all by itself in celebration! I can only assume the ghost of Tia Carrere's career was looking down on us, smiling.
And then we continued the fun with a game and some prize-giving. A simple PowerPoint challenge entitled True Or Lies - devised and created by us, and which you can play yourself on the next page - thankfully proved to elicit lots of chuckles from the audience and made a few volunteering strangers some Blu-rays and several t-shirts richer.
Just as it should be, however, the real delight came with watching the film itself. Perhaps marking the start of the end for stupendously expensive explosions and questionable stunt doubles - before they were replaced with soulless CGI and pretend pixels - there are few films more daft and over-the-toppier than True Lies. While it can't possibly claim the crown for being the best film ever made, there's certainly an argument to be made for it being the most fun. Two decades later and all of the comedy beats still hit their mark and, like all good 90s actioners, the over-abundance of gun power and quippy one-liners makes for great entertainment.
And yet, the evening could have easily ended on a subdued note if it wasn't for a keen audience uproariously laughing at every intentional - and unintentional - funny moment. Between Jamie Lee Curtis' awkward strip-tease and Tom Arnold's smart-mouthing, not to mention Arnie's frequent gurn face and his incredible line reading of the word 'Bye', this is a film made to be watched with a crowd primed for fun. It turns out that, through sheer choice of a good film and the right audience, this ended up genuinely being one of the most enjoyable screenings I have ever attended.
So thanks again to the PCC for having us, thanks to all those that helped on the night and supplied us with prizes to give away and, most importantly, thanks to those who came. Without you guys, it would have been a far less scintillating experience. In fact, it would have been much like reading this very write-up.
Now click over to the next page to play our special game of True Or Lies...
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