If thereâ€™s one thing that brought this former Movie Manâ€™s mojo back to life, itâ€™s Netflix.
A long time ago, when I was just a wee lad who somehow managed to vault the velvet ropes and integrate himself into my extended familiesâ€™ vacation itineraries, I was gifted that nickname by my Uncle Ron and Aunt Sharon. Well, technically it was Vacation Man at the time â€“ as they saw clear through my ruse. I must have been decent company or at the very least, a nice distraction for their first born, my cousin Jason, because I found myself invited to tag-along again and again.
It was during these formative years that my love of cinema grew. I was Dawson before anyone set foot in that creek and I genuinely genuflected at the feet of Spielberg while my brethren bowed down before the madness of King George Lucas.
Yup, I was more of the Indiana Jones type, while they were all claiming Star Wars as the end all-be all of popcorn summer escapism. I liked Star Wars, like any other pre-tween boy, but Spielbergâ€™s confections stirred something a bit more magical within, igniting my imagination â€“ and soon I began to seek out any movie I could plant my peepers before. And thus, Uncle Ron redubbed me Movie Man; and used me as his excuse to sneak out of the house and catch the latest summer blockbuster. I was there alongside him for The Goonies. Conan the Destroyer. Clash of the Titans. Godzilla 1985. Dragonslayer. Back to the Future. The list is long, glorious and geeky.
The point is, I have that uncle to thank for feeding my jones. And as is so often in life, whatever we fall in love with at that magic twilight in a boyâ€™s life â€“ the small window of wonder that only opens between the ages of 8 and 10 â€“ we tend to keep near and dear ’til our dying day.
So, as long as I live, I will love the movies.
Through high school and college, I often spent every penny of my discretionary income at the local multiplex â€“ checking out whatever big event flick was opening that weekend. At the time, I seemed to have a tolerance for some abysmal choices â€“so while the more nourishing art house fare flew by me, Iâ€™d grab a ticket for Bird on the Wire and actually find something to enjoy. Years later, as I matured and realized I knew better, I would flip the poles and seek out the indies over whatever bloated excess Hollywood was hoping Iâ€™d scarf down. There’s a reason every college town worth its salt has an art house cinema.
And even in my twenties, while the production may have diminished, I still made a point to see all of the year’s notable releases and the critical darlings â€“ and would often point myself towards all 5 Best Picture Nominees so that I could make an educated decision on the big night. I think with any hobby, the more you soak in, the better you get at chasing down those rare and unique flavors. The pleasure is in discovering something new to rock your world.
Now as I write this, Iâ€™m staring down 40. Well, technically 39 â€“ but 40 will come sliding in sooner than later. And as I look back at this decade, I realize that my hobby has suffered. Thatâ€™s what happens when you create a family. Your time gets scattered and you find your hobbies are the first to suffer.
But, two things happened in the last two years that allowed me to reconnect. First off, my children have grown, naturally. While theyâ€™re not out driving, they are finally in school. With those first fledgling steps of independence, parents find they get a little bit back in precious free time; meaning more time to enjoy the things we love and hopefully share those passions with them.
Knowing Iâ€™d have more time to spend on my “precious”, I kick-started my Netflix account. And this one act has led me to see many more films that I ever had before. When youâ€™re not dropping $10 a ticket for every release, itâ€™s easier to become less choosy and give many more films a chance. And thatâ€™s just what Iâ€™ve done â€“ filling my queue to the brim with choices from all disciplines. And watching most anything. I have precious few TV shows that I call appointment viewing (Rest in Peace, Lost) so that gives the movies first run basis on my tube.
Discipline is the final piece of this puzzle. Almost two years ago, I decided to make a serious push to drop some pounds. Thatâ€™s been documented on this site before, but in a nutshell â€“ I went from 180ish to 150ish in about 8 months. My secret. Sticking to 2,000 calories a day and running/exercising for 30 minutes â€“ 5 times a week. Thatâ€™s it. Oh â€“ I also curbed my snacking and dropped doughnuts cold turkey. But other than that, no major concessions. Pizza. Beer. Chocolate. All still in the mix â€“ albeit in moderation.
But exercising can be so dull and dreary, so I decided to marry the movies with the mundane, and now instead of hitting the treadmill for 30 minutes with nothing but Kathie Lee and Hoda Kotb to entertain, Iâ€™ll fire in the latest flick and watch it in 30 to 45 minute segments.Â And as the pounds dropped, my viewership rose.
All this rambling preamble has a point.
Each year, I like to list my top favorite movies of the year. The problem is, I probably only make it to the theater to see 2 or 3, meaning the rest are viewed at home and usually as part of my fitness regime. What this means is I cannot offer up the Top 5 Best Movies of 2010 because I likely wonâ€™t get to The Social Network until May. But, I can offer you the My Top 5 Favorite Movies Viewed in 2010 and then amend the list later if anything happens to kick one from the curb.
On Friday, I am going to highlight my Top 5 Favorite Flicks. If youâ€™ve seen the movie(s), I encourage you to join the conversation. To those who havenâ€™t seen the flicks and want to, I am going to remain spoiler-free in my posts; but the Comments are fair game. So feel free to enter the discussion there but donâ€™t be afraid to read the main post if you prefer to remain virginal.
To set this up, hereâ€™s the list of movies that I watched in 2010. On Friday, Iâ€™ll reveal my favorites. And then, Iâ€™ll tell you what to avoid. Oh, and if you have 5 favorite flicks â€“ or even just one â€“ let us know. Better yet, if you know of anything we should avoid at all costs, donâ€™t keep that a secret. We need a neighborhood watch, people!!!
Without further adieu, hereâ€™s the list of flicks I saw in 2010.
The Invention of Lying (released Oct. 2009)
Whip It (released Oct. 2009)
Zombieland (released Oct. 2009)
Where the Wild Things Are (released Oct. 2009)
The Box (released Nov. 2009)
The Men Who Stare At Goats (released Nov. 2009)
2012 (released Nov. 2009)
The Messenger (released Nov. 2009)
The Blind Side (released Nov. 2009)
Ninja Assassin (Released Nov. 2009)
The Road (released Nov. 2009)
Up in the Air (released Dec. 2009)
The Lovely Bones (released Dec. 2009)
Iron Man 2
Prince of Persia
Exit through the Gift Shop
Toy Story 3
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Get Him to the Greek
Knight & Day
Clash of the Titans
The Book of Eli
Edge of Darkness
The Ghost Writer
Alice in Wonderland
Hot Tub Time Machine
How to Train Your Dragon
The Karate Kid
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1)
Come back Friday to see which five are my faves. And stay tuned afterwords asÂ I reveal the worst from that list.