This year, Mrs P and I have been particularly good cinema customers over the last year. We both enjoyed Gary Oldman’s version of Winston Churchill. I had my doubts about the casting of wirey, high pitched Oldman. But he pulled it off, then some. Worthy of an Oscar? Definitely. We watched the Post, which many people have referred to as the prequel to All The Presidents Men. Has Tom Hanks ever made a bad movie? I mean, a real stinker? I can’t think of one. I’m also currently watching the sequel, being played out in episodes each night on the news. It may end up being called All The Presidents Russians. We’ll see.
Coco was a lovely movie, although it probably didn’t get the same attention on this side of the Atlantic for obvious reasons. Day of the Dead is not ‘a thing’ here. And it wasn’t the best movie of the year aimed at that sort of audience. To not enjoy Paddington 2 is to be entirely dead inside. Jump off a cliff now, and formally end it all. Or go and watch Dunkirk for an appreciation of life. That was a stupendous film, told well with acting that lived up to the event. But my very favourite film of the year? It is a British movie, apparently. It was a very different film from the usual fare, and tugged, probed, knocked, provoked and generally molested every emotion and thought process a human is capable of. Perhaps. I certainly left the cinema feeling a little bit #metoo.
But my award, the most sought after award in the industry – the one given by the paying customer that keeps the industry going – is to be pinned on an unlikely candidate. Drum roll, por favour. The Mexile Academy Award for 2018 goes to…the BH2 cinema complex in Bournemouth. For years and years, for those promoting the ‘movie going experience‘ to me, I’ve been asking the question – “why would I want to spend two hours of my life in one of the most uncomfortable seats ever designed, with my knees firmly embedded in the chair in front of me, with the guarantee of an aching back for the rest of the evening?” Sure, there are premium seats, which will allow one’s backside the decency of an hour of sensation before being numbed. But cinema seating is terrible. In fact anything that puts a budget airline’s seating into the super luxury category is, by definition, frigging awful.
The new Odeon cinema complex has delivered. Last year, a sodden and neglected corner of Bournemouth was transformed into a development worthy of one of the UK’s premier seaside towns. A five star Hilton hotel, complete with a skybar which I have yet to visit, rose up into the sky. And next to it, the BH2 centre. I love that we now have a Nando’s and Five Guys within walking distance. The Real Greek is ok too, if a bit pricey. But best of all, we have a brand spanking new Odeon cinema, fully kitted out with recliners. Properly luxurious, massive immitation leather armchairs complete with drink holders and a tray thats swings in over your lap to hold the mammoth plate of nachos and cheese with a generous serving of jalapenos.
There’s even a small but cosy bar there, and a Costa Coffee. I would have preferred a Starbucks, but hey. You can’t have everything. Well done, Odeon. Well done indeed. Mrs P and I have been very happy cinema goers these last few months. Long may that continue. As a final word, if you are in the UK and go to the cinema at least once a month, then you might want to subscribe to the Times newspaper Sunday Digital pack. It costs £8 and the pence per month, and besides being a decent read, one of the MyTimes+ perks, are 2 for 1 tickets at Odeon cinemas on a Saturday and Sunday.