2017 Challenges: January Recap

I’d like to be able to tell you things are going well, but I’m not in the business of lying. Let’s find out just how poorly things are going!

Make 10 new cosplays (including one entirely from scratch)
To be honest, I feel like I should be panicking a bit more about this target, but con season isn’t even here yet. I say that, but I’m actually attending MCM Midlands in two weeks time, so maybe I am in the business of lying after all. What I mean is, MCM London in May is my first ‘big con’ of the year, the first one that’s not just a day event, and that’s where I’ll put the wheels into motion for my first new cosplays of the year. I’ve got something planned for each day (including the one cosplay from scratch), so I have just over four months to pull it all together! As it stands, I’ve made no new cosplays, though I have got a variation on one of last years together, but I’m not counting that for the purposes of this challenge.

Watch 30 anime series
Failure breeds failure, it turns out. This year so far, I’m ashamed to say I’ve watched no new anime. I do have my reasons for this, and they can all pretty much be attributed to Kuroko No Basuke. My relationship with KNB feels really weird at the moment. When I’m watching it, I love it, and I want to watch more and more, but it’s just getting to the point where I actually put it on that I’m struggling with. For this reason, I decided not to start any new anime until I’d finished it, simply because I know I’ll never go back to it and I really do want to finish it. I’m about 8 episodes from the end, so looking forward to wrapping it up and making some headway on this one!

Platinum 12 games
Can you sense a theme? I’ve also not made any progress with this one. In the interest of saving money, I want to platinum as many games as I already own before I go trawling for some new ones. I’ve recently finished the main storyline of Final Fantasy XV (expect more on that another time), so I’m going to aim for that to be the first platinum of the year.

Watch 30 new ‘old’ films
Finally! A challenge I’ve done something on! My last post mentioned that I’d recently watched E.T for the first time, and this counts towards this portion of the 2017 challenges. Where I am failing is making the whole damn list in the first place, which I will definitely get to soon!

Watch 60 films at the cinema
Now we’re talking. So far this year, I’ve seen 7 films and you can track which ones on Twitter, either by following me or by viewing the hashtag #cs2017challenge. I’m keen to get as far ahead with this one as possible, as I know later in the year I’ll trail off.

Clear the gaming backlog
Damn Jade, back at it again with the weak resolve. Unless you can count Final Fantasy XV towards this one, I’ve made no progress. Once again, I haven’t even made the list of what I’m trying to clear! I will though. Very soon!

The four film cinema trip

Cineworld Unlimited cards are great. £15.99 a month, and you can see as many films as you like, as many as you can cram into one day. While a working week often puts a dampener on any mid-week cinema plans, the weekends are made for abusing the Unlimited card.

Last Saturday I went to Cineworld and made myself at home. Armed with my Unlimited card (premium now, so 25% off snacks) and a meticulously planned film schedule, I settled in for the long haul.

Not one to ease myself in, I launched straight in with Elysium. It wasn’t entirely what I was expecting, but good none-the-less. A stand-up sci-fi film, though it does contain some much used clichés (countdown timer anyone?). I found it quite refreshing that for a change the protagonist was less concerned with saving the world, and was all about saving his own bacon. Altogether, I had expected Elysium to be more visually spectacular with a more strongly driven story. Though I hadn’t expected much from the film, I had anticipated it being a bit more revolutionary and out of the ordinary. Elysium was a thoroughly standard film, just not entirely what I was expecting.

Out of Elysium and straight into We’re The Millers, which could not have been a more different experience. Whilst We’re The Millers doesn’t stand out as being a brilliant comedy, it is by no means a terrible film. Unlike Elysium, We’re The Millers basically lived up to my expectations. It did have funny moments, but now, some five days after seeing the film, I’m struggling to remember a single joke that I laughed hard at. At times, the chemistry between Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston seems a little forced, but again, better than in some films that I’ve seen. There are some awful, cringeworthy moments, but these are soon over with, and the audience are left with an average comedy as a result.

Two films in a day is more than enough for most people, but for me, it was a mere halfway point. Time for an important break, lunch and some much needed fresh air (which would have been much more enjoyable if it wasn’t pouring down with rain). For anyone considering the four film trip, I would recommend having a nice long lunchbreak, trying to stay away from screens of any kind (my iPad, iPhone and the It Box in the cinema and pub opposite meant I probably struggled with a headache for longer than I needed to).

Out of lunch and (almost) straight into film three, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. This was probably the film of the day I was least looking forward to. A sort of pseudo-Twilight teen fiction film, The Mortal Instruments tried to dip itself into a few genres and tick off a few of the core plot fillers. I think the film spread itself a little thinly over a lot of plot, and tried to cram in too much. Whilst there have been grumbles with other books being split into two films, often it is necessary, especially in instances like this when a whole new world and mythology has to be introduced. Having said that, the film moved quickly and didn’t lack action, but perhaps would have benefitted a little more time with characters, learning their motivations and allowing us to feel more of an affinity to them.

Partway through The Mortal Instruments is when I hit my film wall. My bum was numb, I was getting fidgety. I could feel the mother of all headaches coming on, and I was in no mood for the next film to be complicated, or anything that required me to concentrate too hard on. Luckily, the fourth and final film in my day of cinema was Pain and Gain. Thoroughly ridiculous, and frankly, totally unbelievable as a true story, Pain and Gain is the story of three bodybuilders who seek to take the wealth and lifestyles from their rich clients. I had expected the film to be more about the trio enjoying the wealth they have acquired, but there is a lot of focus on the planning and the actual acquisitions. The plot of the film has obviously been dramatised, and it makes you wonder how much of the story has been fabricated; how would it be known that one of the characters fed his toe to a dog? Again, another okay film, for what it is and as a piece of cinema which is designed purely to entertain and not to evoke any strong feelings, it sets out what it aims to do.

An enjoyable day out, in all, and a variety of films watched; I’d say if you’re considering doing a four film day the key is to mix it up with different genres and film styles. The Unlimited card meant instead of spending £36 on cinema tickets per person, we got our month’s money’s worth in one day, anything after that is just a bonus.