My husband and I have many films that “mean something” to us – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (discussed and recited at our first real meeting), numerous Hitchcock films (recognised as a shared passion on the night of our first kiss), Moulin Rouge (our first date film), The Indiana Jones films (we walked out of the church at our wedding to John Williams’ Raiders March), Zoolander (our baby daughter mastered Blue Steel at six weeks of age), and obviously there’s the vast array of films that we constantly quote in an attempt to survive the trials of life, Dodgeball (“Nose and lips!”), Anchorman (“You have man boobs”), Meet the Parents (“Teach you THAT in the CIA?”)
Being married to a cinephile involves a lot of film watching. It means that on a cosy Friday night, when most couples grab a take-away and watch a comedy, we watch films that are, in my humble opinion, pretty heavy-going. Oscar winners that are too clever for their own good, art-house, foreign language (if I wanted to read a story, I’d buy the book), adaptations of novels by John Grisham, war-themed films, where men are men, and their legs get blown off (definitely a boy thing, and I’ll accept no argument on that point) and martial arts films with “stunning cinematography”….(She yawns, checks Facebook, Twitter, Ebay and Etsy whilst sipping on her glass of Dr Pepper Zero.)
My husband occasionally has Boys Night, where he joins a group of guys to set fire to old furniture in their gardens. Sometimes, they pop to the cinema to see a Boy Film. They have been known to run through local woods with torches tied to their heads and I recall a curry night in the mix somewhere. It is on these nights that I indulge my private passion…Films I Watch When He’s Not There…
These films are not merely Chick Flicks. They are not just soppy romances. These films tend to be from my childhood and my teenage years; films that I read about in Smash Hits and waited for them to come out on video, so that my dad could rent them out for my birthday sleepover. Some of these films I remember sneaking into the cinema to see, as I was a bit too young to see them. Most of these films have not been remembered. They did not win awards, but when I watch them, I feel twelve years old again. I remember school discos, art lessons where I sat on the same table as a boy I fancied, Saturday afternoons when my dad did the gardening, and my mum baked Millionaire’s Shortbread, or her Raspberry & Coconut Tray bake. I remember first loves, best friends, favourite songs and dreams of a grown-up life.
So here they are, my guilty pleasures, my indulgences, my secrets…
“License to Drive” – Corey Haim…I loved him. We were going to get married, until I met Alex Brown who was in the Sixth Form, had nice hair and wore his school blazer with the sleeves rolled up.
“Big Business” – I just loved this. And I shan’t qualify that with a reason. I just did.
“Can’t Buy Me Love” – a nerd becomes cool and the most popular girl in school realises that he was amazing and all she ever wanted, even before he was cool. No teenage girl can resist this kind of thing…
“Roxanne” – my best friend, Lucy, and I repeated played the “Ten more seconds and I’m leaving” scene again and again, laughing until we couldn’t make any noise anymore.
“Beaches” - I watched this whenever I needed a cry. I also was a big fan of the girl from “Blossom” who played a young Cece Bloom. So, all-in-all, a winner.
“Sing” - I read about it in Smash Hits and became obsessed with seeing it. When I finally did, I could see that it was terrible, but I’ve always been an unashamed musicals fan, so it worked for me. Although I never did work out why they have silver face paints on at the end…
“Sleeping With The Enemy” - sooooo scary. The first thriller I saw…and it was a 15!
“Pretty in Pink” - Molly Ringwald at her 80′s best. Random mis-matched clothes, poor girl and rich boy fall in love. Another Romeo & Juliet tale that made me long to be in love, and wear a homemade dress to an American high school prom.
“Truly, Madly, Deeply” – I fell truly, madly, deeply in love Alan Rickman, and designed my perfect house around Nina’s flat, wooden boards, piano, teacups and…umm…ghosts….maybe not the ghosts.
I think that I will always love these films, even though many others will never enjoy them as I do. I’ll keep watching them. I’ll keep enjoying them.
Whilst these films remain the same, my life has changed significantly since I first saw them…so now, instead of watching them (without shame) after the school run, I watch them (in secret) before the school run…and there’s always His Boys’ Nights.
Sal Roper is the continuingly long-suffering wife of Dave Roper.