1. "Well you just stay on the tail of that jukebox and there's an extra twenty in it for you."
The cinema closest to the station didn't always show new films. Most of the time it showed films that were a year or two, (or five, or ten), old. Sam found this odd and occasionally worrying. But this was a brand new film - at least to Gene. It had been released just a week before.
Sam didn't think it was an especially great film, but it was enjoyable in an over-the-top kind of way. Gene was certainly entertained - laughing and making less than savoury noises at the girls who flitted on the screen. Jane Seymour aroused in Gene a particularly loud exclamation - and Sam hoped not much else.
After the film, Sam tried to get into a discussion of the narrative, the special effects, the acting. But Gene said something about not being a wanker and left Sam standing outside the cinema.
The next day Gene asked what they'd see the next week.
2. "You know, I'd almost forgotten what your eyes looked like. Still the same. Pissholes in the snow."
Sam began to suspect that a lot of Gene's flair for words of insult came from his viewing habits. Sam had thought there was only a limited catalogue of abusive missives. He had been wrong. Phrases by which to cut a man down to size were seemingly unending, stretching on for an eternity.
There was something distinctly familiar about this film that unnerved him, something about its look, its style. He couldn't place his finger on it.
Upon coming out into a strangely warm Manchester evening, Gene was the one to ask the question.
"What do you think of that Michael Caine?"
"Yeah, he's good."
Sam didn't tell Gene that his favourite Michael Caine role was as Scrooge in The Muppet Christmas Carol. Nor that he had last seen him in Batman Begins. Even though part of him wanted to.
3. "Of course, over the last few months. Her letters were not the same. She didn't answer my questions. She was writing without conviction. But marrying another man! I thought she was mad at me."
Something told Sam that when Gene had said he'd wanted to see a French film, he hadn't actually had this in mind.
In fact, he was fairly sure that Gene had had no idea what the film had been about. And Sam hadn't corrected his assumption of it being a saucy romp with interesting camera angles. Oh no. He'd waited for Gene's reaction with barely contained malicious glee.
So when Gene came out of the cinema humming, Sam was perplexed, annoyed, and just a little bit completely curious.
"There are two true genres, Sammy-boy. Westerns and Musicals. The rest are just there to fill in the gaps."
Sam was disturbed.
4. "Milo, baby, lemme handle this one, eh? Crime's my bag. I got this caper worked out ta the last detail!"
So the truth was, whenever Sam watched a British film that glorified crime, he twitched on the inside. And he was unsurprised to see that Gene reacted in much the same way. Instead of taking a gigantic handful of Sam's popcorn, after refusing Sam's offer of his own container - as was Gene's usual custom, Gene flexed his fingers and practically writhed in his seat.
On the upside, Michael Caine was still really good - and Olivier was undeniably talented. And, on the other upside, Gene was finally becoming more amenable to talking about the films they went to see. He ranted for hours about this one. Over the period of several weeks.
5. "I can imagine, Father. I can imagine. Living such promiscuity. All of them in one room, male and female together, lying in a heap like rats in a sewer. At night, when the lights are out, all their inhibitions disappear. You never know who is next: mother, sister, daughter... goat."
It was inevitable, Sam supposed. Inescapable. At some point, a Western would come on, and at some point, he'd be dragged to it, and at some point, he'd be forced to sit through hours of wide shots and landscape and clickety clack and moustaches and hats and - strangely, it wasn't all that bad.
Perhaps Gene's boyish enthusiasm - that was wildly out of place in the gruff cop exterior Sam was used to - made the experience seem much less horrible than it could potentially have been, but Sam realised that he was enjoying himself. He realised that he had enjoyed every film they'd gone to see, in some way. And the realisation made him question himself, something he usually avoided.
Perhaps he simply enjoyed spending time with Gene, out of hours, when they could just be them. No need for conflict, because it was on screen. No need for words, because they came through the speakers. Just that contact in mutually revelling in fantasy for two hours or more.
And then, as he usually did, Sam dismissed these thoughts out of hand, and offered to buy Gene a whisky chaser in an uncharacteristic show of generosity. Before asking what the next flick would be.
Live and Let Die, Get Carter, Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, Sleuth and A Fistful of Dynamite