I’m lucky. I grew up in a city. I had a good choice of where I wanted to watch the latest film releases. There were cinemas all over Cork City. But if I wished to see Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters then there was only one place to go – the Capitol on the Grand Parade.
The place closed down in December 2005 – soon after screening Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire. Only yesterday (Jan 25, 2016) did the demolition crews move in to reduce the old lady to rubble so the site could transform into shops and offices. Seeing the inside of the six-screen cineplex conjured up scenes from my movie-going past.
10) Showing off the Capitol
Cousins were visiting from Britain. We took them to see a film about a man who dresses up at night and fights another guy who wears way too much makeup.
9) Falling asleep during Clueless
It still stands as the only film to make me ‘rest my eyes’. My only regret is that I hadn’t fallen asleep sooner. Or brought along Homer Simpson’s jury duty glasses.
8) Wanting to walk out during Fargo
It’s controversial to say you don’t like a Coen brothers’ movie. Not me. I don’t like lots of them: Lebowski; True Grit; The Ladykillers. I like some: No Country; Raising Arizona; Oh Brother. But Fargo… Fargo should be put in a wood chopper. There, I said it.
7) Being pummelled by noise during Independence Day
I remember my seat shaking as the shadow of something huge made Neil Armstrong’s boot print erode in the lunar dust. That movie assaulted my senses. I loved every second of it.
6) Being terrified by the Hulk
The Hulk already looked massive on television. Imagine the fear of seeing the Big Green Monster on a cinema screen for my first trip to the ‘pictures’.
5) Loving The Goonies
My enduring memory of this brilliant adventure story is queuing for tickets on the Capitol’s plush wine carpet and staring at the poster in the foyer. Look at those kids! I need to be one of them!
4) Enduring Titanic
The queue for this went from the box office, across the foyer, around the corner, and halfway down the hall towards one of the smaller screening rooms. It took us an age to get to our seats. It took another age to get through the movie. What made it worse is that I knew how it was going to end…
3) Watching the film melt on Private Parts
About halfway through the Howard Stern comedy the reel melted and blistered away, leaving only a bright white screen. The audience sat in silence for two long minutes before a staff member pulled open the door and dashed up the centre aisle. We were told we could get our money back at the box office. The meltdown was the most exciting part of the film.
2) Falling in love with Jodie Foster
The Silence of the Lambs was supposed to be a terrifying, edge-of-the-seat thriller with the best baddie since Vader. I didn’t notice. I was too engrossed in the heroine. I was sixteen. She was mesmerising.
1) Leaving in a daze after Trainspotting
It was a long, long time before I could speak after watching this. If Independence Day was an assault on the senses, Trainspotting was a relentless attack on the mind. The acting, visuals, the music. The vitality of the film. The toilet scene. The baby on the ceiling. The tension every time Begbie came into frame. They’re doing a sequel now. But it won’t be the same. I’ll see it, but it’ll probably be in some sanitised Maxx cinema with 3D option. It won’t be at the Capitol, where you could slip your arm around your girl’s shoulder, shovel vast amounts of hot popcorn into your mouth, and be transported to another world, if only for a couple of hours at least.