Oscars 2020: Ready to Roll

I don’t know when I became this person who keeps track of the date and time that Oscar nominations are announced, but since I missed my goal of watching 75% of the nominated movies last year by just three movies (see here), there was no way I was going to let slip any precious time to figure out how and where I could see this year’s movies.

Right now, on the movie page, are all of the nominations and this year’s goal – still at 75%. I was thinking of raising the goal, hoping that being right on top of things would allow for me to see a couple more this year, but frankly, there are a few on the list I’m looking to avoid.

Once – Mini Movie Review

“Falling Slowly” is a good song but I feel like The Civil Wars really improved upon the story concept. If you want to feel bad about musicians not getting to be together, I mean. Just watch a few of their live performances on youtube and let it break your heart that they’re not together and are no longer even a band.

The whole movie feels spun out from the concept of this song and the grip on any actual story with plot feels tenuous. I can definitely see why Once ended up as a play, though. Actors embodying characters fully and feeling it in a live setting is so much more moving than it is through a screen. When all you have is that performance and not a lot else? I didn’t feel anything at all while watching the movie. I wonder if hearing the song for a decade and knowing the basics of the story ruined it for me.

Verdict: It was fine! I’m not mad about it.

Filling in the Gaps

The gaps between what I want to have watched, read, listened to and how much I actually have experienced is huge. The whole reason I started this blog was to help start to close that gap. Without having set any specific goals, apart from the Oscar movies, I’m in the middle of a Game of Thrones re-watch, watching Disappeared and Friends (my weird casual comfort shows),  listening to podcasts, and little else. I don’t feel great about that!

I have been keeping up with the ONTD book club on Goodreads, but even there, I’m still doing my March reading five days into April. I am reading three books at once, which I downloaded in desperation during a week without TV. Also, during March, I did have some wonderful house-guests who I enjoyed immensely, definitely more than reading. That was followed by a week-long work meeting I had to run (the aforementioned week without TV was because of the meeting site), but excuses, excuses. I need to set some other goals!

So: I guess I should break this down into separate lists so I can set some measurable goals. My hope is to turn all of the lists below into blog posts or other pages altogether on the site where I can then track whatever it is I’ve been up to.

Television

  • Continue with GOT re-watch to prepare for the final season! Maybe do one or two small recaps of new things I’m noticing this time around?
  • New shows I’ve been interested in and meaning to watch but haven’t started.
  • Create a list of shows I’ve abandoned in the middle and would like to finish.
    • There have been a lot of shows I’ve started but through moves, life, jobs, and cable cord-cutting have dropped – but not because I didn’t enjoy them.
  • List the shows I want to grudge-finish.
    • Breaking Bad has broken me but I feel like I have to finish it someday, eventually.
  • “Classic” shows I would like to watch.
    • I’m thinking anything from Alfred Hitchcock Presents to 90210 to Mad Men. Shows that were an important part of the zeitgeist of their time.

Movies

  • Oscar-related movies (or other awards?)
    • Identify Oscar winners and nominees I actually want to watch (both worthy and “can you believe this shit?” -type movies.)
    • This Had Oscar Buzz – the movies identified by this podcast are Oscar bait movies that went wrong somehow and weren’t successful either financially or in their goal to be “prestige” viewing.
  • Current releases I want to catch ASAP in theater or on digital release.
  • Past blockbusters I never got around to watching.
  • Netflix queue – originals or random movies I’ve bookmarked to watch.
  • Classics, both ones I’m interested in and ones that are “important” to watch. I was a Theatre major for a hot minute and took a film course that I loved. I had great fun hate-watching A Few Good Men.

Books

  • Classics! (Again!) I’ll find some lists and link to sources.
    • I’ve already been trying to do this with a focus on women writers (and am interested in broadening this category to everything beyond the European and American White Dude Canon that is the default in US ~Literature). So far, I have read all of Jane Austen’s novels and tried to read all of Louisa May Alcott’s (though I found some of the later ones in the Little Women series kind of insufferable and abandoned that pursuit). I also recently read Rebecca which was fantastic.
    • Revisit books I read in school and didn’t pay enough attention to? Reading Slaughterhouse-Five and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings during all-nighters at the end of my Summer vacations probably didn’t give these books their due.
  • Keep up with ONTD book club, maybe pick the books for the rest of the year?
  • Current literature, NYT bestsellers, popular YA, other items already on my to-read list.
  • Garbage and guilty pleasures
    • I love reading stuff like Jodi Picoult or like, salacious mystery/crime novels and getting mad. I also would be down to set some goals to read or reread some series like Goosebumps, Sweet Valley High, etc. I also really, really love reading memoirs, celebrity and otherwise. It might be fun to dig up some old ones from the 80’s.

Music

  • Classics I GUESS, though I feel like classic music (not classical) is a way more ephemeral concept than “Classic Movies” or “Classic TV”
  • Grammy winners, other award winners and nominees.
  • Revisiting old faves, both work I already know but hasn’t been in regular rotation and new (or new-to-me) music by artists I used to be into.
  • Billboard top 40 now and into the past.
  • Current finds from Spotify Discover Weekly & Release Radar and music blogs I’m following (please recommend your fave music discovery methods!)

I’m having a really hard time figuring out a way to set goals for the music category, which I guess is because I can pull a finite list of books from somewhere and read a certain number a month, or jot down the movies and shows I want to see and put one on in the evenings, but it’s sort of impossible to know if you want to listen to certain music until you’ve experienced it at least once.

And I like to experience music in different ways, in the car, in the context of an album, maybe at a desk with good headphones on, looking up lyrics and following up on the writers or musicians – what they’ve done before and what the context is if it’s not entirely current. Or I haphazardly toss together a Spotify playlist of tracks the algorithm has selected for me and let it run in the background while I work, deleting any songs I truly, truly hate, until I like some enough to collect my favorites into a more permanent playlist, like some really weirdly organized magpie.

All in all, I need to be less precious about how to work in some more new music on a regular basis and I definitely welcome suggestions. My hope is that with regular blog posting, maybe scheduling particular reviews for different times, I’ll figure out a way to work more music in to my regular media diet.

SO, all of that said, in between all of this goal-setting and this blog being my Camp Nanowrimo project (which I don’t think I was aware was a thing until this year), expect more regularly scheduled posting and more fun to come.

-Melanie

Oscars 2019: Mistakes Were Made

We watched Hereditary and Toni Collette was not nominated, so we have some regrets. Granted, it was a wild ride of a movie and an experience, to be sure, but with 34 days left until the Oscars, it was perhaps not the best use of our time. Still, with the movies readily available, it was the most appealing choice for the night.

Since the last post, I watched four movies (Roma, Ready Player One, Minding the Gap, and Hereditary), which felt like good progress – seven movies down, a bajillion to go, but I lost Dumplin’ – which was predicted for best song for “Girl in the Movies” and Hereditary missed the list as well.

So far, my total is five and Julie is at two.

Wish us luck. We need it.

-Melanie

Oscars 2019: The Prep-ening

The Oscars are in 38 days and with a goal of watching 75% of the nominated movies, I am not feeling great about that! So far, I have started a list of 44 movies that may be nominated, which includes none of the short (documentary, animated, and live action), nor any of the foreign films. I think those will be the toughest to track down (apart from Roma, which will probably be nominated for a ton of other things as well), so I don’t want to get ahead of those nominations. They can wait four days until the nominees are announced.

So far, I have seen three movies that will maybe be nominated. A whole 6 percent. 69% left to go.

Yiiiiiiiikes.
-Melanie