Monday, January 4, 2016

Award Show Season Thoughts

Seeing as I have plenty of time on my hands this year, one thing I really wanted to do is start watching more movies. I hate the feeling of watching the Oscars every year and not recognizing any of the titles - I guess it's like some weird kind of FOMO, like I'm not "in the know" about all these stellar movies that I should be seeing. As I've watched some movies from the list of predicted Oscar contenders, I can't help but think I'm not actually missing out at all. Let me explain.

So far, I've seen Spotlight, Steve Jobs, and The Big Short, all of which are meant to be taking home the Oscar in top categories. I've read reviews on each of them, and none of the critiques point out their major flaws: these movies cast no actors of color whatsoever AND they each fail the Bechdel test miserably. The lack of POC and women in these films seriously prohibit me from connecting with them on any kind of meaningful level, so how can I ever agree that they should win best picture of the year? Sure, they each have other merits, but how can I be expected to get over this glaring oversight? Or maybe not a glaring oversight, but rather deliberate exclusion.

The cast of "Spotlight"

You can surely argue that the three movies I mentioned above are based on true stories, for which no POC or women play active roles in the real-life version of the narrative. Even so, film writers, producers, and directors take creative liberties all the time - would it seriously hinder the story if a main character was written as black or Latino or Asian & not white? Female, not male? I don't think so. In fact, I think it would enhance not only the storyline, but rather the perception of minorities in public consciousness in general. It would open the story up to a broader range of audiences.

A still from "The Big Short"

I feel like, in this respect, the film industry is really lagging behind television. With critically-renown TV shows like How to Get Away With Murder, Scandal, Orange is the New Black, more women from diverse walks of life are getting the screen-time they deserve. And they frickin' own it. The actresses playing these roles compelling, talented, and awesomely qualified. Why is it so hard for the film industry to follow suit?

As Viola Davis said in her Emmy acceptance speech last year, "You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there" - same applies to Oscars. She means that if complex roles for women aren't written into the script, they won't be nominated. Conversely I would argue that if TV shows/films with great, intriguing female characters aren't awarded, they won't be written. It's pretty symbiotic. And of course with this thought comes the obvious follow-up argument that women and POC need to play active roles in all aspects of the industry, not just in terms of acting. I mean in writing, producing, directing, and even holding spots on the Academy board.

That said, I know I have lots of work to do in terms of what's left to watch. I definitely want to watch Carol, Creed, Joy, Mad Max, and a couple more, so hopefully those will make me change my mind a little.

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year's Resolutions 2016

Happy new year everyone! Personally, I'm a big fan of a good list of new year resolutions. Having general, reasonably attainable goals for the new year has proven to be really positive in my life. In the past I've accomplished a fair few resolutions myself - like experimenting with hair color, losing weight, and getting better grades. So here are my goals for 2016!

Cheers to 2016!
First and foremost, "lose weight" has to make an appearance on this list. Let's just say 2015 was not my year in terms of health. In 2014 I actually went to the gym on a consistent basis for the entire year, but somehow that stopped in 2015... I think I'm going to try exercising at home, since I'm graduated from university now and will have lots of time off. With YouTube nowadays it shouldn't be hard to find lots of good cardio workouts. I even bought a yoga mat that remains unused (oops lol), so I could probably squeeze some yoga time in there.

Next, I would like to achieve my business goals. As you may or may not know, in 2015 I started my own business selling planner stickers on Etsy. I have a separate list of business goals that I would like to achieve, which includes things like keeping track of my expenses more diligently, and achieve 1000 sales. Wish me luck!

I would also like to get back on that 52 week savings plan! If you don't know about the 52 week savings plan, essentially you deposit money into a savings account every week of the year, and every week you add $1 more to the amount. So for the first week of January you deposit $1, the second week $2, then $3, etc. You won't ever have to deposit more than $52 per week (totally doable) and by the end of the year you will have saved over $1000! Last year I only made it to $450, but I'm going to try again this year.

Seeing as I will have more time on my hands this year, I do want to make the effort to blog more. I know I'm like a broken record and I say this nearly every post, but this time I mean it! For some reason I guess I wasn't inspired to blog last year, but I'm already feeling more up to it this year. I think the key will be low-maintenance blogging - i.e. not worrying about word counts or quality images, and keeping expectations on the lower side.

Another thing I want to make an effort to do this year is to leave the house at least every second day. I know this may seem ridiculous to some, but since I'll be working from home this year, I so easily see myself forgetting to leave the house for days on-end. Even if it's just grabbing coffee at Starbucks in the morning instead of making my coffee at home, I really feel the need to stick to this one.

The last thing I want to accomplish in 2016 is to Instagram more! It may seem insignificant but I didn't post nearly enough photos in 2015. I love looking back on my Instagrams at the end of the year and I was thoroughly disappointed by my lack of posts this time around. That has to change!

All in all, I wish you a good 2016, and I hope you accomplish all the goals you set out to achieve :) Best of luck!