I’m going to be quite honest with you: normally I don’t make resolutions in the new year. I don’t typically see the point of them. That’s not to say I don’t see the point in trying to better yourself – the thing that I always got hung up on was artificially limiting one’s self to setting goals in January. Whenever I want to make a change I try to build up some momentum, and just do it irrespective of the time of year.
That said, this year I did make a few resolutions. I decided I wanted to watch 10 films, 10 television shows, and read 10 books. I chose 10 because it was easy to remember, and seemed manageable. Having said that, there is one major qualifier there. Television shows can span multiple seasons, and go on for a painfully long time so I decided to count a single season of a show toward my total tally. I could already envision a future state where I was struggling to get through the painful later seasons of a show that refused to die, and decided to take mercy on myself. Completion isn’t really the end goal here anyway.
That raises a question though: if completion isn’t my motivation for this, then what is? Well I’m glad you asked: I feel like I’m getting dumber. I play a lot of games, and, while I actively try to experience games from a broad range of genres, I don’t feel like I have the easiest time expressing my opinions about them. I read posts by fellow bloggers in envy. I am jealous with how easily some of you seem to express your opinions. It’s a skill I wish I had. So I’m going to try to develop it.
To that end, I decided I needed to expose myself to an even broader range of stories, and experiences. Obviously, I still have concerns with going outside, so watching more cinema, and reading more books seemed like the best path forward. I just…feel like I need to have some more spices mixed into my brain soup. It feels like it is going stagnant with only a steady diet of video games to sustain it.
I feel like I should say something insightful here, but I really don’t have much else to say beyond that. I mean – I have already watched 3 films, and 1 television show, so I’m making good progress. Should I talk about those? Do you even care about my opinions?
The first thing I watched this year was Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. It’s a detective film, and sequel to Knives Out. Mir, and I decided to give it a go since we enjoyed Knives Out, and assumed we’d enjoy Glass Onion too. It helped that it was doing the rounds on social media, which is usually a good sign. Predictably, we weren’t wrong, and had a great time with it. The film wasn’t particularly profound though – it was a lot of fun, but I quickly forgot about it until I was writing up this post. Not exactly a flattering review, but I think there’s a lot of value in being entertaining.
I don’t want to spoil anything here, but I’d describe Glass Onion as feeling like a carnival ride. You go through the whole film just sort of taking it all in as it comes until the halfway point. Then it’s flipped on its head, and you re-watch everything from a different perspective. This gives the audience a much greater appreciation for the scope of what’s going on. The film does an excellent job of presenting the motive, and means for each of the potential suspects, which all comes to a roaring finale at the point where the 2 perspectives converge.
A week later we watched Everything Everywhere All at Once. I wasn’t as big on it. I think a decade of Marvel films has conditioned me to expect every film I watch to be entertaining. Everything Everywhere All at Once has its moments, but as a film about nihilism it isn’t exactly a popcorn muncher. Though there is a mountain of terrible Kung Fu, and I do love me some terrible Kung Fu.
As for what the film is actually about, Everything Everywhere All at Once is a story about how it is pointless to be alive, or even try. It explores the frustration of struggling to do, or make anything out of one’s self. Despite the dower subject material, the film ultimately concludes that life might just be about the time we spend with those we love. That feels too simple to be profound, but I’m still thinking about Everything Everywhere All at Once, where I completely forgot about Glass Onion until I sat down to write this. So maybe it really is that simple.
The third film, was one I watched last weekend: Coraline. I’d never seen it before, but it is one of Miranda’s favourites. She has a lot of nostalgia for it because it was one of the first films she saw when she moved to the city. She’s originally from backwater, buttfuck nowhere, and places like that have a tendency to trap people. The government always turns their back on those communities, opting to funnel all their money into the city centres instead. This results in there being less services, and opportunity in these areas, which has a sort of tar pit effect. Once you’re in too deep it becomes impossible to escape because you won’t have the socioeconomic means to do so.
Anyway, Coraline is really creepy film. It’s about a girl who thinks her life is terrible, so she visits this alternative dimension where everything about her life seems so much better. Unfortunately, the longer she spends in this alternative world, the more Coraline notices the cracks in the fabric.
One of my favourite aspects of the film was how the alternative world is presented. Numerous scenes within it are shot with Dutch angles, or use a slower framerate than the rest of the film. This gives the whole place an other worldly feel that is immediately apparent to the audience because we’re able to experience it just as much as Coraline is. This provides the whole film with this really creepy undercurrent that I really enjoyed. Highly recommend checking this one out if you haven’t already.
Finally, we come to Fleabag. I watched the first season all in one go, and have intentions of watching the second to completion as well. It’s about a degenerate, sex-crazed modern woman working through the trauma of her recently departed friend, and the stresses of day-to-day life. The whole thing is a bit of a black comedy, and I found that highly refreshing. It seems like nothing is allowed to just be a comedy anymore – comedy has instead been relegated to quips, and reference humour. That, and the dry wit of Fleabag made it a great time.
The thing I appreciate most about Fleabag was how it used comedy as the means by which to express sadness. I am someone that uses humour as a coping mechanism. It’s how I get through things. It was nice to see that reflected through a television show – a subtle reminder that I’m not alone, and there are others out there that share my experience for moving on from pain.
Well, that all felt incredibly pretentious. If you got this far – thank you. I don’t know if this post was any good, and frankly I don’t care. It was fun to reflect, and I feel a little lighter for it.
I don’t know if I’ll do another one of these, but it couldn’t hurt. I was able to express myself, and that was the end goal of all this. Look forward to more posts like this in future, I guess? Until next time, stay safe out there.