Yeovil man watches 1,000 movies in a year after Covid job loss in tribute to his movie-mad dad

A movie buff who lost his job due to Covid has challenged himself to watch 1,000 movies in a year – and smashed his goal.

Phil Watts, 47, revealed he watched 1,028 movies in 2021 – spending up to seven movies a day to stay on target. The Yeovil movie fanatic set his sights after losing his job in January 2021 due to the pandemic.

On December 15, he had reached 1,000 with a screening of Gone with the Wind – but ended up watching another 28 before the end of the year. Phil, who is a movie blogger and runs a side business converting old videos to digital, said he watches movies of all genres.

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Phil said: “When most kids were playing football with their dads, I was watching a movie with mine. Everyone has a different passion, and mine is to sit down and be transported to a different place. for a few hours.

“It could be deep in the ocean or in space, that’s what movies can do. I like to watch things that people have never heard of before and I found myself digging up things from the past – if it’s a movie, I’ll enjoy it.”

“I got a little tired of watching movies”

Phil admitted that movie fatigue set in a few times before hitting the 1,000 mark. that I knew I was so close.

“Passionate people push each other and that’s what it was like for me, like running a marathon – I kept going even when it was hard.”

Son of a former cinema projectionist, he tells how he rubbed shoulders with the cinema all his life. Phil, who lives with his wife Anna, grew up watching movies with his father Roger before dying of cancer aged 53.

He recalls his earliest memory was watching Star Wars with his father in a home theater Roger had built in their garage. The father-son duo have also made documentaries together to share their love of cinema.

Phil said, “He was my best friend, and we worked together a lot besides watching movies. We would sit down and talk about every movie and how it was made.”

Roger and Jill Watts in 1974

Phil still honors his father’s legacy

In 1992, the duo created Aarchive (CORR), which converts old movies on video to digital such as DVD and USB. Enthusiast Phil still runs Aarchive to this day, alongside retail jobs to support income.

But in January 2021, he lost his job in a haberdashery because of the impacts of Covid, and found himself with a lot of free time over the months. In March, he realized he had seen several hundred, prompting him to set a goal of 1,000.

He juggled this alongside running Aarchive, which has seen custom fluctuate during the pandemic – but generated “just enough to get by”. Some days he only had time for one, but other days he said he watched up to seven movies at once.

He said: “I kept a note of everything so I could remember what I had watched. I often liked to watch things that people hadn’t heard of and found myself digging things up. the past.

“I’ve watched everything from Alien to Zulu. But the list is a healthy mix – I’ll watch anything.”

Phil’s favorite film of all time, 1988’s Cinema Paradiso, earned a spot on the list – and he hailed the “life-changing” coming-of-age drama. He said, “But at the end of the movie, I cried, because it was so wonderful. It’s my favorite movie of all time, even after Star Wars.”

“I wasn’t going to give up”

Sometimes Phil would sit and enjoy a movie with his wife Anna, an accountant, although he said she didn’t have the same movie obsession as he did.

Towards the end of his 1,000-movie marathon, Phil admitted he was a little tired – but kept up the challenge nonetheless.

He said: “Towards the end I knew I was so close – I kept watching anyway, but I watched a few just to hit the mark.

“I’m not a marathon runner – I’m tired of taking a bath – but for me it was pushing me to finish it like runners do. I was pretty determined and I wasn’t going to give up.”

To read Phil’s writing under the username “Not George Lucas”, visit Last Movie Outpost.