Movie lessons

I absolutely love movie nights at Amplify, our student and young adult social nights at King’s. I have never missed a single Film Night and over the past two years have seen the likes of Hotel Rwanda, The Prestige, Transformers, The Incredible Hulk and just last week, Cool Running.

The reason I love Film Night at King’s is because they never tell us what movie they are showing. And every time I go I am never disappointed, even though it is a film I have seen before.

I am not known as a very adventurous person. A friend in high school once chided me when I picked chocolate bubble tea over a selection of exotic flavours like durian or taro. “Very adventurous,” he remarked.

And then I realised I did not want to be the type of person who would go to the same restaurant and have the same dish every time, just because it is a safe bet. I wanted to be a risk-taker, because if I was risk averse I would never know what else was better than good.

But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say.

So in the same way, these movie nights challenge me to watch films I otherwise wouldn’t. And the result of this is that I absolutely loved The Incredible Hulk, a film I had previously dismissed as action hero nonsense.

That film brought me to the slums of Rio de Janeiro, to the clean north American campuses in Virginia and the majestic Canadian Rockies.

Motel room and hair scissors scenes between Liv Tyler and Edward Norton remind me of Jason Bourne cutting Marie’s hair in the Paris motel when they are on the run from the CIA in Langley, Virginia.

Franka Potente plays Marie on the run with Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity (2002)

Alright, fine. Everyone had their favourite action heroes when they were young, and mine was Jason Bourne, except that I only discovered him when I was 17, and I wanted to be Marie so I could have Bourne cut my hair in a motel bathroom, so leave me alone!

Trailing on from The Incredible Hulk is the joy of Edward Norton films – Fight Club, Red Dragon, The Painted Veil et al. I wasn’t particularly impressed with his character in The Italian Job, as he was outshone by Jason Statham, Mos Def and Seth Green, but still did play his villain role pretty well.

This was because he played a rich baddie who did not wear a silky maroon robe and drank whisky in the morning. Instead, he dons a blue cotton robe, black shorts, Primark-like men’s bedroom slippers and held a mug of coffee in his hand! How humble. None of that Beverley Hills/Bel Air tosh.

Edward Norton in American History X was phenomenal. And don’t even get me started on Fight Club.

When I was 14 I watched American History X because of Edward Furlong, whom I was obsessed with since seeing him race down his scrambler in Terminator 2 to the tune of Guns ‘n’ Roses’ You Could Be Mine.

In my undeveloped teenage tastes at that point in time, Edward Norton was no match for Edward Furlong. But isn’t it always the case that when you watch a film for a particular actor, you always end up getting disappointed because you realise how much you prefer the supporting actor.

I remember being so afraid of the cinema when I was young, because I know that when the credits roll and the lights turn on, the dream is over and I would have to get back to reality, back to the real world, back to the hausaufgaben waiting for me at home.

In the end, I suppose, it serves as escapism in 90 minutes of moving pictures. But I say, bring on the Film Nights at King’s!

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