Writing about movies
A few years ago I developed a fear of movies. I was working as a movie critic at the time (as I still am), so it posed a problem. I was then the Listings Editor at my paper, writing about films on my days off and at night. I was still making my bones in the film section, which meant I had to go to a lot of movies my higher-ups didn’t want to see themselves, often just for a “blurb,” the short, 75-word reviews that appeared in the movie listings. I would often have to see these after the films opened, with a general audience, as some companies wouldn’t screen films for us in advance. I always put these off until Monday or Tuesday night (the deadline was Wednesday), so I would end up having to go to the movies straight from work.
This doesn’t sound that bad, but in the dead of winter, when you’re tired from data-entry all day (which my job basically was), trudging up the steep, icy hills from Old Montreal to downtown, eating in a food court, and then going alone to see Angel Eyes or Pokémon 2000 or something else that the world has by now justifiably forgotten, felt like a grim labour.
This was where the fear, which had emerged quietly out of the shadows, was at its height. As the lights would go down I would start to feel nervous, jumpy, irrational. I would feel panicky, like I was on the verge of being overwhelmed, being physically hurt, or drowned somehow, by what I was about to see.
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