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Other than motorsport, one of my other big passions is movies.
Saying that, the last time I went to a cinema - does that word show my age? - was a fortnight ago, to see the excellent About Schmidt featuring one of my all-time favourites Jack Nicholson, while a month or so before I went to see Tom Hanks in Road to Perdition. Prior to this I don't think I'd been to a cinema for close on two years.
I guess it's a bit like F1. In the old days the entire experience of visiting the cinema was special, almost a big occasion. I grew up in the time of 'B-Movies' and Pathe News, an era when the advertisements were different to those seen on TV, anyone remember those excellent ads for Benson & Hedges featuring another hero, and fellow north London boy Peter Sellers, I loved those ads, but like F1 they never induced me to smoke.
Nowadays, much like F1, the cinema experience leaves me empty, a bit like that Chinese meal I had an hour ago, I thought I enjoyed it at the time but now I'm hungry again. For the most part the movies are crap while the ads are the same as the ones on TV but ten times the volume. It's very much style over substance, so corporate, and even the support show is missing, much like F1.
There are some movies that come out that have me thinking "I must see that", but then reflecting on my last cinema experience I opt to wait until it's shown on one of the satellite stations. More often than not I'm glad that I never wasted my time, for so many modern movies are absolute garbage.
Therefore many of the movies that I still watch, a bit like F1 again, are from the 'good old days'.
My taste is, I like to think, eclectic, though even I admit that for every classic such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest you'll find a real oddball such as the original La Cage Aux Folles, an extremely camp French film starring the woefully underrated - outside France anyway - Michel Serrault - in a movie poorly remade in Hollywood as The Birdcage. Why do the Americans insist on remaking brilliant foreign films such as Les Diaboliques, The Vanishing and the Return of Martin Guerre and remaking them as soulless pap?
Sadly, for the most part motorsport has been badly treated by the movies. The race footage in both Grand Prix and Le Mans is superb, but the scripts.. sheesh!
Then again other than the first few minutes, has anybody out there actually sat through the whole of Bobby Deerfield? Every actor has to make at least one 'turkey' in his life even Al Pacino, but why did it have to revolve around F1?
Other 'classic' race films include Checkpoint which is centred around a Mille Miglia type event, The Green Helmet featuring Carry On stalwart and Tony Hancock side-kick Sid James, and Winning, a drippy love story featuring real-life racer Paul Newman and Robert Wagner. I have intentionally omitted Days of Thunder and the even more dire Driven
Though in my humble opinion my sport has been poorly treated, cars have often played a key role in movies and in some cases starring roles.
For me, after more than thirty years one of the most exciting moments in cinema history is the moment when the Black Dodge Charger appears - on what I now know to be Columbus Avenue in San Francisco - it's two passengers intent on doing harm to the man about to get into a Highland Green Ford Mustang 390GT.
The rest is history. Over the next thirteen minutes movie fans are treated to one of the first, and still most exciting, car chases in the history of the movies, a chase that has spawned a thousand imitations.
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