Joe Cornish on his best cinematic memories

Tuesday December 21st 2010


What was the first film you saw at the cinema as a child?
Probably The Jungle Book at the Brixton Academy when it was still a cinema. Otherwise it would have been one of my family’s regular trips to the Disney Cinema on St. Martins’ Lane, where they had the actual dinosaur prop from One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing in the foyer!  That cinema later became a lovely huge arthouse screen called The Lumiere, but now it’s a fucking health club. Which is sacrilegious. Physical exercise is the polar opposite of film viewing. Makes me angry every time I walk past.

What was the first film you ever snuck into?
That would have been Tarzan The Apeman at the Elephant and Castle Coronet in 1981. It was an ‘AA’ and I was about twelve. I sat alone in the rear circle, frozen with erotic excitement at the prospect of a sustained viewing of Bo Derek’s magnificent jungle bongos.  I was terrified that the police would raid the cinema at any moment and arrest me for illicit underage bongo observation. When they were finally unveiled, I was entranced for 5 minutes, then bored. I just couldn’t figure out why they’d bothered with a tedious feature length story, when surely all anyone wanted to see were the bongos.

What’s the best cinemagoing experience
you’ve ever had?
Die Hard in Manhattan in July 1988, the night it opened. Me and Adam (Buxton) were staying with our friend Chad Auchincloss. Neither of us wanted to see it because it had that smarmy tit from Moonlighting in it. But Chad said it had got (he probably said ‘gotten’) great reviews. So we smoked a large quantity of grass to insulate ourselves and reluctantly went along. HOLY SHIIIIT!!!!  It was amazing. The cinema was packed. People were cheering and shouting at the screen and standing up and applauding. It was my first experience of how different cinemagoing in the USA can be.

Which movie would you most like to see at the cinema?
Mad Max 2 in 70mm please. On the IMAX screen on the South Bank if at all possible. In fact they should do a whole season of 70mm prints at the IMAX. That would be fantastic. In facter, you should move Ultra Culture Cinema to the IMAX. Do it! Come on! Hurry up! I’m waiting.