6) The Story of the Weeping Camel.
Bridget Jones frequently laments the existence of the ‘smug marrieds’ who dominate dinner party conversation with unsolicited tales of their holidays, home improvement plans, experience with mortgage brokers and so on. I like to think we were never that boorish (which means we almost certainly were) but I do confess to a period of us evangelising about this film wherever we went. Our desperation to be seen as mature, sophisticated adults by watching subtitled foreign films like the aforementioned Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon might just about have come across as charming in 2001 when we were barely out of adolescence and didn’t know any better. In 2009 we were in our mid-late twenties, and really had no excuse. But, no, seriously, this is a gorgeous, uplifting film about a remote community living in Mongolia, and well worth seeking out.
7) The Cabin in the Woods
This list gets harder to compile as we progress through married life. Partly because we stopped going to the cinema as much, as box set binge watching at home became a preferred activity. Also as we’ve got older its become more obvious that we really have quite different tastes. I enjoy action films and TV shows, with well choreographed fight sequences and big explosions. Terry prefers comedies, and, sometimes, documentaries about fonts. Neither of us are particularly big on horror. But this meta commentary on the tropes and cliches of slasher fiction is so damn clever we found ourselves watching it more than once.
Part of the appeal was the casting of multiple actors more commonly found in the aforementioned box sets, including Whedon regular Amy Acker, West Wing alumnus Bradley Whitford, and Dollhouse architect Fran Kranz. Thanks to the assorted recent output of the likes of HBO & Netflix, TV is no longer the poor relation to the world of film.
Also, as we get older and more cynical about the fate of the world, we fully embraced the unapologetic nihilsm of the ending.
8) Star Wars VII – The Force Awakens
Once in a while, if you are lucky, something awesome happens. Something that will stay with you for the rest of your life which will bring a smile to your lips whenever you think of it. And if you are even luckier, you get to share that experience with your best friend.
There was a problem with the intermediate Star Wars films, which is to say the prequels released between 1999 & 2005. They are basically a bit crap. Not wholly crap by all means; there’s a lot of good work in there done by some very engaging actors. But quite a lot of people have written quite a lot of quite angry stuff about the sense of betrayal they felt at the plundering of their childhood memories for profit.
This attitude has become increasingly problematic, as a certain faction of individuals have allowed their disappointment to morph into an entitled sense that they want things to be like they were when they were twelve. Any attempt to refresh material to engage with a new audience, to bring a different perspective, and seek to bring diversity and inclusivity to what were sometimes very homogenous creations, is met with revulsion and fury.
But in the case of The Phantom Menace, the lacklustre response is in my opinion justified. Terry felt differently, which is nice for him. But that didn’t stop either of us feeling some trepidation about the new films. What if they are rubbish? What if they leave us feeling cold? What if we have already grown too old to recapture the giddy excitement of our youth, and we end up spewing bile on Reddit because we want to blame something external for the inexorable march of time?
It’s December 2015, and we have our tickets booked to go and see the new film in Threeeeee Deeeeeee at a cinema in Oxford. We have mostly avoided spoilers, and we are painfully excited. Ok, Terry is painfully excited. I am simply really looking forward to it. Star Wars has become part of the fabric of our relationship. Star Wars fever has gripped the nation, and every time I see a reference to the upcoming cinematic event (which is constantly) I think about our silly, glorious wedding.
The day before we are due to go, I get a text while I am at work. Through his employer at the time, O2, Terry has managed to nab a couple of tickets to the premiere. He really is strong with The Force.
Terry’s own review of the film is worth a read if you didn’t see it at the time.