#28: Watch every Best Picture winner since 1961.
Taking a little break between ER seasons this week. Tom and I just finished Season 10 (!), but my work schedule for last week and this week has me working later hours (10:30-7:00 instead of 8:00-5:00), so we haven't have much time to sit down and watch anything together. Fortunately, most of the remaining BPWs on my list are movies that Tom doesn't really want to see, so I put a couple of those at the top of the Netflix queue this past week.
So...American Beauty. Where to begin? I guess I will start by saying that I was uncomfortable from the very beginning of the movie until the very end. I mean, there wasn't a single character that I didn't think was at least a little on the weird side, especially behind closed doors. Maybe that was the point, that so many of us have really weird quirks and really messed-up lives, but we've gotten really good at hiding it. The movie did have its up-sides: This was another rare one that actually made me notice the cinematography, which was great...you know, based on my limited knowledge of cinematography. Also, I thought Annette Bening was fantastic. Her character was a freak show, but hey, so was everyone else's; and she played hers incredibly well. That being said, I'm not a fan of this movie as a whole. In fact, it might be one of my least favorite BPWs so far. A little too much depravity for my taste, I guess.
Next up was The Deer Hunter. I can honestly say that I knew absolutely nothing about this movie before I watched it: the actors, the plot, nothing. OK, I did know it was about Vietnam in some way, but that was it. Based on that limited knowledge, I assumed it was going to be a lot like Platoon, which I wasn't crazy about, and I'd been putting off watching The Deer Hunter for that reason. So you can imagine my surprise when the movie ended and I was in tears (both happy and sad...the ending is bittersweet). It was so different from Platoon, mostly because it focused on the soldiers' lives before and after Vietnam, which I really appreciated. Actually, in that sense, it reminded me a little of The Hurt Locker, only better. It was a lot longer than I would've liked--just over three hours, the first of which was spent just establishing the main characters--but it really picks up after awhile. Overall, I guess it's not one of my favorites, but I did enjoy it. I'd probably even watch it again if the opportunity arose, and that's more than I can say for a lot of the BPWs I've seen.
#97: Take a self-defense class.
So, I get a Norton employee daily newsletter sent to my work email, and sometime late last week, one of the topics in the newsletter was for a free class on assault prevention and self-defense! I jumped on it; fortunately they let me register even though I'm not technically a Norton employee. This is something I've wanted (and needed) to do for a very long time. I take the stairs instead of the elevator and park in parking garages and stuff like that way too often; the way I see it, I can't afford not to know how to defend myself if I ever needed to. Thankfully, I've never been in a situation where I needed to, and hopefully I never will be; but in this day and age, especially as a woman, one can never be too careful. And the class was great; I learned lots of easy techniques; and when it came time to practice, the instructor even asked if I had done it before. (I guess that's a good sign!) Anyway, I feel so much safer with these techniques in my skill set. I highly recommend taking a class like this. Even if you never have to use the stuff you learn (and I pray you never do), you will feel so empowered!