As everything becomes incendiary, all news confusing, all social media polarised, I have spent long periods in my local multiplex

At the 11am screening of A Million Little Pieces at the Vue multiplex, which I slunk into to hide from a parliamentary coup, I arrived to find the 272-seat cinema entirely empty. It was a little spooky, but I stayed. Just me, eating popcorn, enjoying Aaron Taylor-Johnsons penis while Britain burns.

Ive spent a lot of time hiding in this gargantuan 20-screen cinema on the top floor of a shopping centre through the summer of 2019. Finally, I understand the meaning of the safe space. I love the crisp air-con and pure anonymity. The snacks are atrocious, the staff sullenly dehumanising, and the tickets, all day every day, are a penny short of seven quid.

As everything about Brexit has become incendiary, all news items confusing, all social media feeds angrily polarised, making the miners dispute look like a period of warm societal cohesion by comparison, I have spent long periods in the dark. Well, youll be first against the wall, several of you may be presently thinking, you whining, fascist Marie-Antoinette bint! Well, quite.

But at the multiplex, there is none of this anger. (I cannot vouch for rage levels at my local art-house independent, where entry is at least 17 and an earnest film student will ferry a bespoke organic fudge sundae to your seat as you watch weighty Oscar 2020 contenders such as Parasite or The Souvenir.) Its the blockbusters that provide a refuge. As Spinal Taps Nigel Tufnel says on his tour of Graceland: Well, it really puts perspective on things, though, doesnt it?

Too much, sighs David St Hubbins. Theres too much fucking perspective now.

Perhaps like me, right now, you do not have the bandwidth for perspective. Perhaps you are instead in the mood to see if Jason Statham can win a ninja battle against 12 assassins, accompanied by a score of Tha Movement & Anonymouz ft Poetik and MC Arme. Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw ticks this box.

What else? The Queens Corgi was a Belgian-animated pile of dog mess-scented will-this-do gubbins which left me feeling dizzy; but it stopped me worrying about whether I should stockpile groceries, medication and water. Or whether even thinking that is the hallmark of a hysteric? Or whether, if the worst happens, I will brave starvation-related civil unrest by just killing a lot of people as Gerard Butler does in the atrocious (ergo amazing) third part of the Lidl Jason Bourne franchise that is Angel Has Fallen?

Midsommar, a horror film loosely depicting what happens if one takes mushrooms and gets lost in the Petersham Nurseries garden centre, positioned itself as a clever movie, but was actually soothingly daft. The Current War with Benedict Cumberbatch was 108 minutes of men in top hats bickering about lightbulbs, but also a good chance to hide while the nation came to terms with the word prorogue.

Likewise Rocketman, in which Taron Egerton batters nonstop through Elton John hits, the perfect pick-me-up after I observed a mass social-media-blocking spree between friends, which started out about Brexit but slid into trans rights in the Trumpian era and concluded with a call to arms from both sides. Clearly neither side would be committing violence themselves; they merely suggested that if someone bigger and harder punched a Brexiter, a Terf, a Nazi, a misogynist or a remoaner, well, it would only be understandable.

Alas, all good things cannot last. Summer is over. The race to win prestigious trophies has begun. Film distributors will stop quietly pushing out stinkers that they were contractually obliged to show, instead unveiling the big guns. Here comes The Goldfinch, the adaptation of the epic Donna Tartt novel; Joker, with Joaquin Phoenix, about a standup comedian who turns psychopath; Judy, about Judy Garland, set to be one of the roles of Rene Zellwegers life. The forthcoming Bombshell stars Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie, and is about sexual harassment and Fox News. These are films one will be required to have a strident view on. Whats more, as the 92nd Academy Awards look set to be more political than ever, Hollywood will try to show that it really cares about climate change, gun control, #MeToo and a dozen other pressing issues through various sombre outfits and angry speeches.

Stars should be able to use their celebrity to make important points; but for me, Oscars season is anything but an escape. I am awarding my summer 2019 prize for acting to Taylor-Johnsons member. It stole the entire movie. We live in interesting times, surrounded by idiots. Lets at least give credit to useful pricks.



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