Why I love movies…

Okay – so I am a SERIOUS movie addict. In fact there is almost nothing else that I prefer to do with my leisure time – when I’m not writing, reading, or eating.

Okay…so sometimes EVEN when I am eating.

So, what sort of movies do I love to watch?

Well, for starters, old ones. I LOVE the Turner Channel and I’m always happy to tune in an old Bogart or John Wayne movie. Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn – I love those old tough guy movies.

So – it’s no surprise that I have spent a fair bit of my leisure time here in Toronto just kicking up at the movie theatre.

I’ve seen two movies in Toronto so far.

The first was IRON MAN 3 – which was a pretty good superhero movie – but as far as Iron Man movies go it sort of sucked. Which isn’t surprising. IRON MAN 2 basically sucked as well.

For starters – Ben Kingsley made a pretty good Mandarin until they started goofing him up and playing it for laughs. Man – I hate it when they take what should be a straight movie and play it up goofy. Where the heck were his rings? And why wasn’t he using them? That’s how I remember the Mandarin – sort of a Fu Man Chu sort of dude with two handfuls of rings – each with their own unique power. Goofy, corny – but heck, it’s a comic book, right? But instead the main menace was some dude who kept turning into some sort of molten fire. I mean – who was he supposed to be – Fing Fang Foom?

I know, I know – my inner geek is shining through.

So sue me.

Another problem – a BIG problem – that I had with Iron Man 3 was the fact that Tony Stark spent about three quarters of the movie WITHOUT his costume on. I mean – comme on – the movie was called Iron Man 3 – NOT Tony Stark 3. I had the same beef with the Tobey Mcguire – Sam Raimi Spiderman movies that kept taking his mask offover and over and over.

I mean – what is it? Is this an actor issue? An agent issue? A contract issue? Did somebody say – if Robert Downey Jr. doesn’t his face seen a certain number of times he isn’t making this movie?

Finally – I was REALLY cheesed off at the lamebrain anticlimactic goofy added scene at the very end of the movie. I think somebody has been watching too many episodes of The Sopranos.

BUT on the plus side let me say that the theatre I watched Iron Man 3 was first rate. It was a little independent theatre called The Rainbow Market Square. They had a full piano in the lobby with a young man playing classical music which – I believe- was then piped into the theatre. It gave the theatre a really classy restrained atmosphere. Sitting in the darkness, waiting for the movie to begin and listening to the piano music was a little like stepping back into a time machine.

I enjoyed the sensation.

Last nght I watched EVIL DEAD at the Richmond Street Scotiabank Theatre.

The movie itself was pretty good. Keep in mind I love the original version, I really enjoy Ash, and I didn’t particular appreciate the goofiness that Raimi insisted on putting into EVIL DEAD 2 – although I did appreciate the over-the-top gore of it all.

Talking about the EVIL DEAD is a bit of mind game – in the way that Raimi has sort of remade this movie TWICE now. It is like the man has eaten a bad cucumber that continues to repeat on him over and over again. It’s like that friend that you have that constantly talks about his days on the high school team – even when he’s forty or fifty years old.

It’s a little unhealthy.

But – like I’ve said a couple of times, I enjoyed this new version.

I didn’t really empathise with any of the characters because they were all film school puppies with milk cream complexion and a distinct lack of anything even resembling personal character – but the jump scenes got to me and a couple of the creep-out booga-booga moments really had me worried.

Of course, it helped a lot that there were ONLY about three people in the theatre, counting me – and we were ALL there for the sole purpose of watching us a creepshow movie. Nobody was giggling, noboday was whispering and NOBODY was trying to text their mom.

(I’ll get back to that texting business in a minute)

An empty theatre like that is PERFECT for watching this sort of movie because it allows you to lean in and soak up the intent of the movie. You experience better without the distraction of giggles and blue screen afterglow.

So I dug the movie and – like IRON MAN 3 – there was a little tiny insert scene at the very end of credits that was worth sticking around to watch.

Unlike IRON MAN 3’s giggling cheapshot little tiny insert scene that REALLY wasn’t worth hanging in there for a billion years worth of rolling credits.

On top of that the movie preshow was a really tedious carnival barker spiel of teasing hints and tiresome trivia and about eight to ten separate FREAKING COMMERCIALS (rising to a raving rant-like fervor) – and worst of all – they actually encouraged the audience to use their cell phones.

That’s right – Cineplex – this whole interactive pre-movie warm-up that you are pushing us movie-goers towards actually encourages movie watchers to USE THEIR FREAKING CELL PHONE.

This loud brassy vapid-brained spokesperson grins out at us from the movie screen and says – “Hey, why don’t you download this uber-cool sky-net-app that will let you play this trivia game and win some skynet-movie-buck-virtual-money – which is then followed by a half a dozen trivia questions worse than anything you might ever see on The Repo Games – following which the winner’s cyber-name is projected up their along with the runners up.

Near as I could tell there was only one person in the audience who actually played – and then that loud brassy woman on the screen – (I think she was a Terminator or something like that) – cheerfully reminded us that we could download the skynet-movie-game-app and play along the next time.

And then she told us in a small-print-voice – oh yeah, you better turn your cell phone off now.

Now come on, Cineplex. Haven’t you ever given a child a single lick at a candy apple and then said – Now save that candy apple for after supper, would you?

Keep in mind this last bit of rant is coming at you from a fellow who is operating on the keyboard of a REALLY FRUSTRATING little netbook that is barely able to keep up with me – and that this is the SAME fellow who refuses to buy and use a cell phone of his own.

Take that, Skynet.

Lastly, I’ll be meeting with editor Christopher Jones tonight for supper at a place called BARBARIANS. Christopher edited the small press anthology EULOGIES 2 – TALES FROM THE CELLAR. I’d post a photo of the cover – but this rinky-tink netbook is just a little too stubborn to adequately bounce that image onto my blog page.

My golly, I sure miss my own computer.
I should mention that I had brunch at Paddington’s Pump Restaurant – Home of the Big Oink – at the St. Lawrence Market. I had a meal of eggs and really tasty pancakes and sausages and pea bacon fried to a tasty crisp. It was a lot closer to walk to than Rasher’s and had the same sort of bacon sandwich – so I was a happy camper. My feet appreciated it to – although the Dr. Scholl’s insoles that I picked up along with the ZIM’S HEEL CRACK CREME really helped with my comfort level.

By golly, I sure miss my youth. I walked clear across Canada with nothing but my thumb stuck out in the breeze – and now a few Toronto blocks have brought to my knees…

Sounds like there’s a rap tune in there somewhere.

Who says old dudes like me aren’t hip?

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

5 responses to “Why I love movies…

  1. I remember skipping an afternoon at college to go and see the original Evil Dead movie. My mate and I both staggered out of the cinema at the end into the bright afternoon sunshine, looked at each other, and said, “What the hell was that?!” I also skipped college to see Tootsie, Blue Thunder, and a double bill of Mad Max movies, amongst others.
    Somehow I managed to pass all my exams.
    Just last weekend I showed my two boys (6 and 9) The Great Escape. They were gutted when Steve McQueen crashed into the barbed wire. (Sorry if I spoilt that for you!)
    Next, I’m going to show them The Magnificent Seven.
    Late last year my 9 year old and I sat down and watched my favourite movie of all time: Jaws. My wife took our younger boy out for the afternoon, and we sat down in the cellar, and watched Jaws on Blu ray, on a big screen, with surround sound.
    He cheered at the end when Roy Scheider blows the shark up. Which is what happened when I saw it back in ’75 at the cinema. Everybody in the theatre leaped to their feet and cheered and stomped their feet and just went crazy.
    Did I tell you I love movies, too? 😉
    Thanks for the post, and for reading my rather long, rambling reply.


    • I showed my step-son a WHOLE lot of John Wayne movies while he was growing up. THE COWBOYS absolutely floored him.

      “Oh my God,” he said. “They killed John Wayne.”

      THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN is one of my favorite of favorites.


  2. Oh yeah, The Cowboys, I forgot about that one. Evil Bruce Dern. So many good films out there, to show my kids. So little time…


  3. You going to show a 9 year old a John Wayne movie, I’d recommend going with BIG JAKE first. Then maybe THE WAR WAGON.


  4. Thanks, I’ll do that. Just found the blu ray on Amazon, and I happen to have a voucher… 😉


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