April 2016 Update

Progress remains slow and disappointing here at Life vs Film, and the realisation that my targets are out of my grasp becomes ever clearer, and as much as I’d like to either a) knuckle down and get on top of them or b) let it go and take what is essentially my own blog upon which I make all the rules, I seem unable to stop stressing about everything in a way that makes no sense and will be of zero benefit to anyone, with the distinct exception of some inevitable therapist who will profit handsomely from my myriad of psychological issues. What I need to do is focus on the positives. Whilst I didn’t meet my targets for April, I still reviewed more 1001 Movies than in the previous two months. Whilst a couple of podcast episodes went disastrously wrong in terms of scheduling or losing the recordings, I still had a great deal of fun at the time. And whilst I neither enjoyed the new book or new destination this month, I’ve now taken one of the heftier tomes off my shelf and still found somewhere new to walk the dog in the future. Every cloud and all that. Here’s how the month ended up:

Aim: Review 8 or 9 1001 List movies each month
Reviewed: 6
Cleo From 5 to 7
Three Brothers
The Exterminating Angel
The Godfather
1900 (Novecento)
The Elephant Man
Successful?: No!

Aim: Review 1 “Bad” movie each month
Reviewed: 0
Successful?: No!

Aim: Review 1 “Blind Spot” movie each month
Reviewed: 1
The Elephant Man

Aim: Review 2 “Film-Makers” movies each month
Reviewed: 0

Aim: Read A New-To-Me Book
Read: 1
11.22.63 (Stephen King)

Aim: Visit Somewhere New
Visited: 1.5
Avon Beach
Merley Forest
Successful?: Yes!

As you can see, the only thing I’m on track with is the Blind Spot movies. It seems I work best to a deadline set outside of the realm of my control, which is why I miss school homework I guess. I’m not sure what May’s Blind Spot movie will be, but I think I’ll be saving Lawrence of Arabia for September, as I know my partner will be away for a week which will give me time to watch some of those pesky longer movies still sitting on the List. The challenge for May will be catching up on those minor targets as well as completing the films for May, so expect two “Bad” movies (I’ve got Věra Chytilová’s Daisies waiting to watch already), four “Film-Makers” movies (The Dressmaker, Steve Jobs and Bridge of Spies are all pending) and a heap of 1001 films at some point (too long of a list to mention).

As I finished The Girl On The Train early in April it seemed a good opportunity to read one of the longer books I’ve not read before, as I’d have almost two months to finish it. Even still, it was a close call with Stephen King’s 11.22.63. I knew a TV adaptation was in the works (though for some reason I thought it would be a little later in the year, ah well), so it seemed time to finally read the book I’d owned for a little while, bought solely on the premise of it involving time travel. The premise is an English teacher, Jake, has an old friend, Al, with a portal in his diner that leads from the present day to an afternoon in September, 1958. There’s no explanation for why it’s there, how it works or anything like that, and really I’ve got no problem there. It’s just one of those things. Al has been using the portal to buy ridiculously cheap meat for his burgers at 1958 prices, but recently embarked on a mission to go back to ’58, live in the world there for five years, then stop Lee Harvey Oswald from shooting President John F. Kennedy. Al fails due to health issues, so he wants Jake to try instead. The catch is every time you go through the portal, the past resets, so anything Al may have done on his attempt to erased from existence as soon as Jake steps through the portal. I love the premise, and the way it skips over the technical bits of how the time travel works, with only one mysterious component in the form of the “Green Card Man”, a guy nearby the exit to the portal with a coloured card in his hat. This is made up to be a bigger mystery than was needed, but it added an air of suspicion over some elements. I mentioned at the top of this post that I didn’t like this month’s book, and that’s not completely true. I loved the journey, I just hated the destination. All of Jake’s adventures in the past, his attempts to alter history in minor or major ways, the relationships he forms and his views on the past were all great, but going through I had my concerns for the ending. I was unsure how King was going to satisfying finish this story, knowing it would somehow have to address the ramifications of what Jake was doing. Either it would end in failure, with Jake unable to prevent Kennedy’s assassination, which would have been incredibly unfulfilling, or he’d be successful and the rest of time would alter, but in what way? Not to give anything away, but the ending chosen was not one I was in any way fond of. It was a colossal let-down after the 700+ pages prior. The length of a book shouldn’t necessarily have any impact on how good the ending should be, but having committed so much time to the reading – sometimes it takes a long time for the book to really get somewhere – I felt a little cheated by the end. The only other King book sat on my shelf is the similarly adapted Under The Dome, so now I’m reluctant to ever pick that one up, despite another very intriguing premise. We’ll see.

So that’s the book I didn’t like, but what about the location? Well, there’s kind of two this week. One is another place I’ve visited before but Murphy had not, Avon Place. In actuality I’ve got no memory of going here, but Aisha says we definitely have, and she’s normally right about these kinds of things (if nothing else). Our neighbour has a 2-year-old cocker spaniel named Bailey that, due to her arthritis, she has become too old to walk far, so we take him out with us most weekends, so he came to Avon Beach too. Living in Bournemouth is great for all the beaches, so we’re often spoiled by the options available to us. We’ve also got a lot of woodland surrounding the area, The new-to-everyone location this month was Merley Forest, but it was a very unsuccessful trip for several reasons. Firstly it took us longer than expected to get there as we didn’t quite no where we were going after running some errands to equally unfamiliar locations on the way. Secondly, and more importantly, Murphy was being a right shit on the walk, which would have been otherwise lovely. No photos were taken there, but I hope to go back some day (it turned out to only be about 20 minutes drive from our house) as there was a lot of nice scenery and a little stream for Murphy to paddle in, we just had to cut the walk short and head home after he got too excited and made Aisha and I both very frustrated with him. He’s like that sometimes, far too much energy and bounding around. Here are some photos from Avon Beach:
IMAG1907 IMAG1913

What delights will May hold? We’re going on holiday to the Peak District this month, so there’ll be lots to discuss location-wise, and hopefully a few books as well. And a movie or two, I’m sure. Come back next month to find out!

2 thoughts on “April 2016 Update

  1. For what it’s worth, while there are parts of Daisies that go on too long, I rather enjoyed it. It’s sort of a live-action Bugs Bunny cartoon in a lot of respects. It’s weird beyond all measure, but there are moments of inspired brilliance.

    Regarding the endings of Stephen King’s books, one of the reasons I’ve stopped reading King in general is that he punks his endings a lot.

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