Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

ResolutionarYeaRedux

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

– Jeremiah 29:11

A new year full of golden opportunities

Once again, the new year is upon us and it’s time to assess how we did on our resolutions for 2010 and to develop our goals for 2011. Let’s see how I did last year:

–          Staying in one place: Partial – I spent a lot of time in Maryland, and I ended up moving out of my apartment into another one. At least it was an apartment in the same complex.
–          Bad habits: Failed – only lasted about a month.
–          Dentist and Doctor: Failed – still pending on actually visiting the dentist, and haven’t really looked for a doctor either.
–          Working out & constant weight: Accomplished – only had a 1% gain, but considering the circumstances, that’s pretty good. Plus, it’s probably muscle weight anyways . . . from working out.
–          Cooking: Success – plus many other social benefits.
–          Reading: Accomplished – a book a week is pretty good, but there’s still some left to read.
–          Movies: Accomplished – still have a few more to watch from my collection, but I did manage to finish watching all the Best Pictures.
–          NaNoWriMo: Success – not only did I complete the challenge, I took a little extra effort to complete the novel.
–          Prayer: Accomplished – although not as much in my personal life as I would have liked, I have found myself in more opportunities in which to participate in prayer than in years past.

So, on average, a successful year. Despite some emotional turmoil at the beginning of last year, I managed to work through it and pull myself up to a new high. 2010 was really about finding myself. It was trying to figure out who I was, what I believed, and what I could do. The time up in Maryland was kind of like going into the wilderness for a vision quest (or some similar activity). I spent a lot of time alone, thinking and diving deep into my inner self.

But that was last year. Last year was laying a foundation for this year. Now that I’ve figured out what I’m about, it’s time to take this year and really reinforce the new life. It’s time to develop roots, but also to still take time to grow. I think that one of the best results of the resolutions I had last year was that they gave me goals to strive for. I’m a very goal-oriented person, so once I set my mind to something, I’ll usually finish what I start. The resolutions for 2010 were a good balance of tasks to develop many aspects of my life; to remain well rounded. Also, the resolutions were attainable and realistic. It always feels better when you can accomplish a goal, but also know that there was a challenge to it.

Now, on to 2011. I turn 26 this year, and I think that 26 is a good number to use for many of the following goals. It’s a week in, but here are the 11 resolutions I’ve come up with to work on for this year:

1.       Bad habits – same deal as last year. They’ll continue to make the list until I stop. A lot of them are ingrained on my subconscious, so it’ll be a challenge to break them. However, I have heard that it usually takes about 28 days to break (or gain) habits, so February may be the month I really sit down and work at breaking them.
2.       Health – Now that I’m not travelling so much, I will probably take some time to finally visit a dentist and to find a doctor. As usual, I will continue to work out at least twice a week, in the hopes that I might be able to lose the 1% of my weight that I gained last year. I think that my 2010 baseline was a good spot to be (even if it is a little heavy), so I’m going to aim for that baseline.
3.       Softball – Once again, my lack of extended travel means that I can get involved in activities like recreational softball. I really enjoyed playing in the one game that I had the chance to participate in last summer, so I hope that the team starts up again this year so that I can join its ranks and really get in shape.
4.       ‘Splorin’ – There’s a few places in Alabama that I just haven’t gotten around to visiting yet, and this year I’d like to do so. One of the places I’d like to visit is Cathedral Caverns state park. I passed by the sign for this so many times that my interest has been piqued. I’d also like to visit the high-point of Alabama (such as it is) so that I can claim another state’s highest altitude. I might even make it down to the Gulf of Mexico if I can put forth enough planning.
5.       Cooking – Now that I am well versed in the culinary world, it’s time to expand the repertoire. I’m not going to go quite as crazy as I did last year and demand 52 different recipes, but I am still going to hold myself to something. I figure that I can cook 26 new recipes this year. Now these will be recipes that I have not had before, so that’s where the challenge will come in. I already know that I can cook what I’m familiar with, so it’s time to branch out. Also, I’ll probably still have the dinner parties from time to time, as they were excellent ways to socialize on my turf.
6.       Reading – Once again, I don’t think I’m going to read 52 books this year, but 26 is still a good place to start. Now that I’ve stopped buying new books, this goal will definitely get me close to having read every book I own.
7.       Movies – I definitely know I can finish watching the DVDs (and Blu-Rays) from my collection that I have not seen yet, so that will be my goal. Right now, that’s about 26 movies. Depending on what wins Best Picture this year, I may or may not have to watch that film as well. However, I do not have any particular list that I am looking to complete this year.
8.       Videos – I no longer have an excuse. Now that I own a HD camcorder, and now that I have an upgraded computer, it’s time to get back into making videos. I’ve been on about a two to three year hiatus, and I’m really looking forward to getting back into this. Expect new videos to start appearing by the end of January.
9.       Writing – As it stands right now, I will not participate in National Novel Writing Month this year. However, the novel that I wrote last year will go through the editing and revising process starting in March. I’ve already got some of my friends working on notes for the first draft, and I have many areas that I know need work. At the very least, I want it passable by the middle of the summer, so that I can get my free proof copy published through CreateSpace (an Amazon subsidiary).
10.   Music – I started teaching myself how to play the piano last year, and so far it’s gone pretty well. I now can read sheet music, albeit somewhat slow. By the end of the year, I would like to know how to play 26 more songs on top of the 20 or so that I already know. I still enjoy the learning process, so I hope that trend continues. Also, having participated in the choir at my church for a full year now, I feel that it is time to step up into a role of more responsibility and leadership. Starting this year, I will be singing on the front line, and I look forward to developing my ministry.
11.   Relationships – Partly due to my constant travel last year, I did not actively pursue the search for a girlfriend. I was somewhat passively looking, but I didn’t go out of my way to try and find new venues for opportunities to meet single women. Also, from the soul searching of last year, I now have a better understanding of myself, and what I am looking for in a potential wife. This year I will provide myself with these opportunities. One of the best words of advice that I was given last year was, “Draw nearer to God, so that when she’s looking for you, she’ll have to look to Him first in order to find you.” I know this resolution is a little vague, but the point here is that now I’ll actually put some effort forth. And yet, such as it is,  I am definitely open to any local suggestions.

All said and done, a lot of the same resolutions, but also some new ones to start branching out my skill set. I hope to do a better job of updating this blog this year, and hopefully these resolutions and adventures will help me to post something more than just once a month.

Lastly, for the Christmas musical last year, Jeremiah 29:11 was the only solo line that I had. I don’t know if the director purposely gave me that verse, or if it was merely by chance, but it’s definitely a word that has gotten me through 2010. Now that 2011 has started, I’m going to declare the LORD’s plan over my life. I know that He wants me to prosper and I know that He knows my future, so I’m just going to have to put my trust in Him to make it happen.

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MoviExamination

As many of you may remember, I am a statistics nut. More specifically, I am interested in statistics of collections that I own. Recall for a moment my post on my music catalog. It can come to no surprise from the data presented there that I am a fan of movies. I mean, for someone who has motion picture scores comprising 50% of his 500+ CD collection, it stands to reason that he would have an equally large movie collection. I have been keeping track of the films I own along with other DVDs of TV shows and anime for almost a year now. Recently, however, I have expanded some of the data that was included in the spreadsheet and have found some interesting information about my collection.

 

Decade Distribution

 

The one difference between my DVD collection when compared with my CD collection is that I have listened to everything in my CD collection. When video rental stores like Movie Gallery and Hollywood Video were going out of business, I managed to expand my DVD collection from the meager selection of a college student to a library of many hundreds of films. Now I am merely waiting for Blockbuster to follow suit so that I can take advantage of extremely inexpensive DVDs. However, one interesting quirk I have found about myself is that I have certain impulse levels. When I find a movie that’s $2 to own, I will buy it so that I can watch it, instead of taking the rental route. As such, there are about 20 movies that I own but have not yet seen. I am remedying this situation and hope to have a completely watched collection by the end of the year.

Of course, part of the reason that I own so many movies is that I have a goal in mind. During my Junior year in college, I became interested in the American Film Institute’s (AFI) “100 movies, 100 years” list. I figured that I had already seen about 1/3 of the list, and had enjoyed the films that I had seen; therefore, the rest of the list must be equally as good. As I watched, AFI came out with an updated list that included movies from the 10 years since the first list appeared. Consequently, by the time I was done with the first list, I was extremely close to finishing the second. By the end of my Senior year, I had watched the entirety of both top 100 lists. I had found a lot of movies that I really enjoyed. I had also gained an understanding of many movie references that were made in TV shows like “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy”.

Now that I have a job with an adequate income, I felt that I owe it to myself to own these 100+ films and started to expand my collection to include them. For the most recent top 100 list, there was a list of 400 nominees that was used to narrow down the tens of thousands of films that have been made since the beginning of cinema. As of this post, I have seen 54% of that list. That list may be my final movie watching accomplishment, but for the time being, I have set my sights on a much more attainable goal: Best Picture Oscar winners. There was a lot of crossover between the Oscar list and the top 100 lists, so I had already seen more than half of the Best Pictures by the start of this year. Now that I am 10 films away from reaching the goal of having seen all the Best Pictures, I have found even more films that are worthy of my collection and have added them accordingly.

The one unfortunate conundrum that I have run into after obtaining so many DVDs is the issue of Blu-Rays. As of a few months ago, I have purchased a PS3 and have been using it as a Blu-Ray / DVD player. I had tired of using my computer for my DVD watching and was looking to advance my movie watching experience. I agree that if you have the right equipment, Blu-Rays are definitely worth the investment due to their superior picture sharpness and audio quality. However, the selection of Blu-Rays that you can actually purchase is somewhat lacking at this point in time. What is even more unfortunate is that a lot of the Blu-Rays that are affordable and I would want to buy are of movies that I already own on DVD. Right now the only reason that I could see to buy a Blu-Ray of an already owned DVD is if that DVD happened to be a Full Screen version, to which I would like to upgrade to Widescreen. Who knows, maybe I might be generous and donate the DVDs to those who would want them so that I can upgrade.

But enough of my rambling, lets get on to the statistics!

Total Movies: 395
Total Time: 46,874 minutes / 781.23 hours / 32.55 days / 4.65 weeks

Stats . . .
Averages: Year = 1987 / Running Time = 119.3 minutes
Mode: Year = 2006 / Running Time = 110 minutes
Median: Year = 1997 / Running Time = 116 minutes
Minimum: Year = 1927 / Running Time = 27 minutes [Thumb Wars]
Maximum: Year = 2010 / Running Time = 251 minutes [Lawrence of Arabia]

Percentages . . .
Blu-Rays: 5.31%
Animated: 6%
Color: 85% / Black & White: 15%
Best Picture Winners: 17% [66 of possible 82]
AFI List 1: 20.5% [81 of possible 100]
AFI List 2: 20.3% [80 of possible 100]
AFI 400 Nominees: 39% [154 of possible 400]

Some interesting findings from this sample set:

  • The distribution of Running Times was a normal distribution, which I had kind of figured that it would be. However, I did learn that each studio puts the Running Time in a different spot on the case, which makes this data often very difficult to find.
  • Also of note is the distribution of the ratings. I’m curious if the reason that films become acclaimed is due to their content. I base this on the observation that many films that win awards tend to be a lot grittier than movies that were made purely for entertainment’s sake. However, we must also consider that the films which are “Not Rated” could very well fill in some of the gaps, due to their being produced early in the 20th century when most of the films that are being produced today would probably be rated NC-17 or above by their standards.
  • One also wonders if supply and demand are the contributing factors to the distribution of decades in which these films were made. Movies are sometimes like books in that they will no longer be “in print” and require back-ordering in order to acquire them. This has made the task of purchasing some of the films from the 1920’s and 1930’s quite the ordeal. And yet, the distribution could be due to the fact that I really got into watching movies in the 2000’s; and as such, felt that many of those were worthy of my ownership.

Keep in mind that these statistics are only for the movies that I own, and not the TV shows and anime that I have on DVD and Blu-Ray. These categories would skew the results of the analysis by increasing Running Time and heavily weighting the production years to the 2000’s (or at least more so than is already shown). Never-the-less, with these categories added, my total DVD collection would be near 500 . . . which is what my CD collection used to be at long ago (it’s larger now).