“New year, new me!”, so they say. It’s true that time is only relative and dates are little more than tiny white boxes with numbers in them, invented and arranged for us to help keep our lives in order. Herein, it’s no surprise that the New Year’s resolution has gotten more backlash than praise in recent times. You know the type: personal goals cast away until the first of January comes around,which at that point suddenly become of utmost importance. To some degree, I share this general apathy toward the idea of resolutions – after all, come the following season, most would have dropped off from their excursion towards betterment and continued their same regular routines as before. Every year, however, I still continue to make resolutions for the upcoming degree, for little more reason other than that I enjoy doing so! While the odds are ever against me accomplishing something very drastic in as short of a time frame as a year – for reasons that usually relate to time, health, and/or money – it’s still worth a little something for me that the willingness and good intention is still there.
While I’ve made a few resolutions that relate more toward my personal life, I have also decided to make a few to improve my proficiency in film, music, books, and other forms of media. I’ve decided to share the major ones here in my blog, partially as a way to motivate myself and partially with the chance that maybe it can motivate others to strive for similar goals.
Finish more director filmographies. As a film-watcher, I tend to prefer not falling in line with specific patterns and trends (with the exception of my horror binges every October). My watching habits heavily rely on whatever I’m in the mood for at the moment. This has always been the case and as a result, there are many major films from major filmmakers that I have yet to get around to. Such filmmakers include Scorsese, Spielberg, the Coens, Kubrick, Coppola (both Sofia and Francis Ford), Lynch, Malick… you get the drill. Once 2016 hits, I want to make an active effort to start filling in some of these gaps – and believe me, there are quite a few embarrassing ones!
Watch more classic (pre-70s) cinema. This falls in line with the previous one (i.e. I still haven’t seen most Hitchcock films). Back in my early days of cinephilia, upon discovering the works of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, I was hooked on early cinema, watching Turner Classic Movies and setting my DVR accordingly so I wouldn’t miss the movies I wanted to watch the most. These days, however, I’ve fallen off that wagon pretty hard. Due to many long hours of work and general barriers due to mental health, 2015 was highly made up of viewings of any run-of-the-mill comedy I could find on Netflix that takes little energy to watch. While I pride myself on being willing and able to watch pretty much any film and appreciate it as art, I do find myself missing the flair and mood of many of these bonafide classics. Luckily, many of these are public domain and easily found through channels like YouTube, so I’ll try not to hold myself to any excuses any longer.
Watch more non-US cinema. Probably about 80-90% of what I watched in 2015 were American films. In my early days of being a cinephile, I was much more open to discovering new and exciting works from internationally acclaimed directors; I’d like to go back to this tendency.
Watch more films from filmmakers who aren’t (straight) (cis) (neurotypical) (able-bodied) white men. This is more of a lifelong endeavor, rather than one tied specifically to the upcoming year. I’m always trying to watch more acclaimed films by women and spread the word of their existence (even though the fact that all the movies most talked about are made by men makes this so difficult). However, I’m also relatively lacking in proficiency of stories crafted by women of color (especially Black women), queer women, trans women, disabled women, and women of other intersections of identities. Why get so excited about the same old recycled, slightly-distorted concept being filmed year after year when there are so many other individuals whose personal, intimate, beautiful stories barely leave the cutting room floor and are barely noticed once they actually do because the whole world won’t stop talking about the next Marvel film or falling over about the mere existence of the same exact brand of Strong Female Character set up against just another Attractive Male Hero??
Okay, off my soapbox now.
Watch every Best Picture winner. Although I like to rip on the Academy Awards a lot, I do think that what gets chosen for nominations offers a unique time capsule for the cinematic scene of that particular year. At the very least, it provides a distinct grounds for discussion. Among the numerous lists I’d like to complete (iCheckMovies helps me with these a lot!), finishing off all the Best Picture winners is one I’ve been putting off for so long and one that I’d like to make a lot of headway on throughout this upcoming year.
Review/discuss more films on my blog and/or other outlets. This one would have to have come around eventually. Once again, many obstacles keep me from being as active in the film community as I would like, but the passion and fervor emitted by many internet folks I appreciate make me want to change this immediately. My lack of a proper laptop obviously hinders this, but I do want to try my hand at more capsule reviews and brief thoughts in my blog. Even some more proper engagement on Twitter would be a nice step up!
Fire up Cinephiling With Epilepsy once again. Sigh. Unfortunately, the project I eagerly started up this past summer proved to be more exhausting than I was anticipating. I do think, however, that this resource is something that can be very important to others besides myself. Perhaps with some accompaniment I can get it off the ground once again – but I’ll take my time with this particular goal.
Complete my Billboard challenge. Once again, my laptop being out of my life, the high costs of buying another one, and the many hours of research that go into crafting each post make this resolution a near impossibility. At the same time, however, it’s something that I’ve come to really enjoy and an outlet that has made me appreciate pop music more than ever before. It’s a project that I really want to complete, even if my capacity does fall at a one-post-a-month rate (which has already been achieved). At the very least, I want to try for a two-a-month rate, which should get me to the 90s by the end of the year.
Keep up with new music. This is a big one. While I can talk for hours about my love and appreciation for music of the past, I tend to go silent once the subject begins to dwell on today’s popular music. I’m definitely not one of those champions of older music above today’s trends – I’m simply clueless and a bit lazy when it comes to seeking out the new stuff. Therefore, I’m determined to make an active effort at keeping up with new releases and contributing to the conversation surrounding the especially profound ones. This also includes buying more albums, and perhaps writing more reviews for the new stuff.
Attempt to finish the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die list. Much emphasis on “attempt”. I have a lot of criticisms toward both the 1001 Movies and 1001 Albums lists, with the latter offering way too much emphasis on 90s music and being practically devoid of much world music and non-pop offerings in general. It is, however, fiercely comprehensive and a great reference for my Billboard challenge and musical discoveries in general. While I’m about 60% complete with 1001 Movies, I’m only about 25% complete with 1001 Albums. I want to listen through all my new listens chronologically, at least to some degree – which also works perfectly with my Billboard challenge.
Complete more discographies. Similar to my filmography goal in the movies category of resolutions, I have a lot of catching up to do in the music world. There are many “important” albums I’ve yet to listen to and quite a few artists I consider among my favorites from which I’ve only listened to an album or two. While I agree that “importance” is completely relative, it’s also true that I should have a strong understanding of the history of certain influential media if I plan to write about them. This is the case with film, and it’s the same situation with music. Moreover, I’m a perfectionist and a bit of a completionist as well; I could only be happier with completing the full discographies of some pretty darn talented musicians.
Review/discuss more music. Now that this blog has become more music-related in recent months, it would only be beneficial to also write some album reviews as well. Once again, no laptop makes this hard. I do want to try my best, though.
Read more novels. Hilariously, even though I have a Bachelor’s in Comparative Literature, I haven’t read very many of the “important” novels (importance, once again, being completely subjective). Novels like Moby Dick and the ilk. Simply put, I think reading all the novels I did read in college burnt me out so much that the mere sight of a fat book subconsciously made me queasy the entire year following. At the same time, however, I have dozens of unread books sitting in my bookshelf and it could only do me good to finally delve into some of those.
Read more comics. My boyfriend Malcolm, on the other hand, is an illustrator and got his art degree in Comics. I’d never been very involved and interested in comics until I met him, and at this point I lamented over the fact that I’ve never gotten into them sooner. There are a few titles I’ve been trying to keep up with, but the clout of the comics world is so large and certainly overwhelming for my own wallet. Nonetheless, there are a great number of artists and storytellers out there (particularly women) who are doing some rather impressive stuff and I’d love to support them as much as possible.
Complete more TV shows. The reason why I don’t talk much about television on this blog is simply because I don’t watch a lot of it. Name any major show to ever air and there’s a good chance that, with the exception of about five or six shows, I’ve ever seen more than a few episodes of it. This is not including animation, as I’ve watched a lot of animated TV. So simply put, I want to complete more of what I’ve been missing out on all those years. Although I personally feel that binge-watching TV is pretty draining, I binge-watch a lot of films so it shouldn’t be too much different.
Write more about TV. Yeeeah, this probably won’t happen. But I’m just going to add this as a resolution with the possibility that maybe television will be my new love and that’s all I’ll ever want to write about from now on. Fat chance, but once again, the possibility is there.
On top of all of this, I have been mulling around with this idea of a podcast or vlog I want to set up. Essentially, I’ll be discussing cartoons and animation, but the idea is still in its pre-pre-production stages. I’m really excited for this (and all of these resolutions, for that matter) and I hope that this year will provide me with the incentive and strength to fulfill these goals to the best of my ability. I’ll probably print this blog post out and tape it above my desk or something. If you’re planning on accomplishing any similar goals for this upcoming year, I’d love to hear about them in the comments. Let’s inspire each other!