Monday, March 8, 2010

The First Challenge Pt. 2

My first challenge has come to an end. The Oscars were handed out last night in a ceremony that was unsurprisingly long, but went surprisingly fast. I got to watch with friends for the first time, and keeping score on our ballots was certainly a fun new twist to my annual Oscar-watch. (I never thought I'd hear the words "Okay, Jamie's on the scoreboard" as I watched an awards show.)

I was able to predict 15 out of the 22 categories. I'm not sure if that's because of my challenge, or if it was because the Academy was somehow more predictable this year. I'll choose to believe that I gained some astounding insights as I watched film after nominated film (whether that's fact or fiction, I'll not debate for now.)

What I did gain from this challenge was a better understanding of what it takes to reach a goal. From the countless challenges I face in daily life (some mundane and some not so), I should have understood this to some degree already. However, in the pursuit of something that is your bliss, the lessons become more poignant and meaningful.

I learned that to achieve a goal, it will involve a certain amount of sacrifice. The pursuit will also steal a large chunk of your focus and become somewhat of an obsession. Being prepared is important (think spreadsheet and highlighters) but being willing to go with the flow at the drop of a hat is vital. Economic support is important, but constantly worrying about it will hold you back. Not to sound cliché, but knowledge is key- and if you don't already know something, be prepared to research it. Be open to learning, open to advice and ready to hear criticism. Know that you'll feel guilty and self-centered at various points in the quest, but that it's part and parcel to the adventure. Let go of fears and doubt. And perhaps the most amazing thing I learned, rather was reminded of, was that the journey is so much more rewarding with friends and loved ones in the seats beside you.

Thanks to everyone who gave me a shot and read my blog. HUGE thank yous to those who commented... it was nice to know I wasn't just rambling in cyberspace. Can't wait to see you all back for The Second Challenge. Stay tuned to see what's next.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Adored this Article

10 Ways to Win an Oscar

The Home Stretch

So I have neared the end of my journey. I don't think I can fit many more films in between now and Sunday. I have "The Hurt Locker" to view tonight, and "In the Loop" sometime Thursday or Saturday. After this past weekend, this will bring my total to: 31 out of 58 films. Here's what I thought of the most recent 4:

"The Cove" was a documentary detailing what happens to 23,000 dolphins a year in Taiji, Japan. (Taiji made American News when actress Hayden Panettiere protested with friends on surfboards in the water trying to save the animals from the oncoming slaughter.) The coverage is difficult to watch, but this work is probably one of the best films I've seen during this challenge. It has authentic suspense and what struck me most was the passion Ric O'Barry has for the dolphins... how that passion inspired world class divers, a rock concert organizer, a marine scientist and an adrenaline junkie to risk arrest and persecution to bring this reality to the world.

I wanted "The Young Victoria" to go on and on for hours. It was SO beautiful to watch. The colors were rich, the costumes were gorgeous and Emily Blunt was a perfect sovereign. I consider a movie great that inspires me to learn more on the subject matter, and I truly want to learn more about Victoria and Albert following my viewing of this beautiful piece of filmmaking. I'm a sucker, though, for strong women- and I will for certain be adding this one to my collection of Elizabeth films.

I probably shouldn't have seen them on the same day because they are such contrasting pieces, but I followed Victoria with "The Messenger" starring Woody Harrelson. Such a well-done film, but so hard to watch. My heart broke as families fell apart at the news of a loved one being killed in action. It's too real and all I could think about was how many times that has had to happen. What I appreciated, however, was seeing how it tore 'the messengers' apart as well- and the rules they have to follow on a notification to keep the situation under control.

Lastly, "Coco Before Chanel." While I am now used to subtitles and hearing French, I didn't care for the movie as much as I'd hoped and the costuming (for which it was nominated) wasn't nearly as exciting as I thought it would be. If you read one of my earlier blogs, you'll see I was rather rooting for this movie to win its category. I'm not so sure now.