Thursday 2 April 2009: the standard
Along with Episodes IV and V, Alien, Aliens, Blade Runner, Robocop, Terminator, RotLA and other visually resplendent/genre-yardstick films which I was too young to catch in the cinema when they were first released Full Metal Jacket was something which I first saw either on rented VHS cassette or when it eventually reached either proper telly or the pikey Murdoch-telly of our next-door neighbours or a school-colleague; despite the single initial viewing large chunks stuck in my memory though it's one of the many things I never got round to properly re-watching as a proper adult with access to money and DVD players and everything. It was a popular thing for people my age to claim to have seen (due, I expect, to the swearing and killings) in the very late eighties despite their relatively tender years but the fact that I worked as a paperboy for the newsagent which also functioned as the only source of rental videos in the village meant that they refused to let me rent anything age-restricted until I was officially old enough as they were quite aware of my real age. Occasionally my sister or one neighbour (both two years older) could get better stuff but many BBFC-tainted things remained unattainable for years. I eventually saw it and others but don't think I've seen Full Metal Jacket all the way through more than once or twice and not for twelve or more years but it surprised me how little my remembrance of it has been garbled by time. Very good, and definitely better bigger.
The odd re-release over the years and the occasional but sadly unknown-in-recent-years all-night triple- or quadruple-bill at the Cameo has allowed me to see a few originally-seen-on-television films as they were intended to be seen but there are still a few gaps. As time passes it might become more debatable whether the cinema remains the best place to see old film films... master-print-sourced DVD crispiness on a smallish screen versus extra-large but slightly fuzzy and scratched (and occasionally imperfectly focussed if the projectionist isn't paying attention) is becoming more evenly-matched and one thing which is always different between the old memory of a film and the cinema-screen reality is the crispiness, possibly because the brain remembers it in vector rather than raster form. It's been a bit weird watching a few film films recently after a good few years of seeing the slightly fuzzy jumpiness of the ads and trailers replaced with a crisp and rock-solid BBFC certificate when the main feature starts. All definitely better than any of the screens currently available at home which is currently the point.