Establishing the Challenge
My name is Jonathan Berkenfield and I am a high school teacher in Florida. I never imagined myself as a teacher, but it is where I found myself after receiving my Mass Communications degree from Florida Southern College. I started off teaching English, but lucked into television production. I found that subject was the perfect class for me as I was able to combine my teaching skills and my college degree into one area.
Eventually, through teaching that subject I discovered that film was the love of my life. It had always been there through good times and bad. I’ve collected movies in some format or another since I was a kid. Some of the movies in my collection I’m ashamed to own as they wouldn’t be listed in a film critic’s personal library, but I’ve broadened my taste over the years and my collection is quite diverse. This love of film has encouraged me to change TV production into a high school film class.
I definitely was not qualified to be a film teacher when I started TV production a few years ago, but through motivation and YouTube coaches like Ryan from Film Riot I have learned a lot about what makes a film good! It is this knowledge and the aforementioned love that has driven me to this crazy task. I plan to watch 365 movies in the year 2016 and write some type of review for each one.
Before I get into the logistics of the challenge I am putting on myself, there are a few things I want to make clear. I am a full time high school teacher. I am a full time parent to my up-and-coming film buff daughter, Taylor. I am a full time husband to my loving wife, Cathy. I am currently pursuing my master’s degree in information technology and will complete that before this year is over. I’m a gamer, both cards and video games, and I’ll be pushing those more often than not to the back burner. That’s my life and it will sometimes get in the way of this goal. I’m trying to set myself up to succeed in this craziness so that has structured the rules I’m going to place upon myself.
Let’s lay down the rules:
- I must watch 7 movies in 7 days, but I can watch multiple movies in a single day to hit that number. My week goes Monday-Sunday normally, however, I’m going to adjust for New Year’s being on a Friday. I’ll watch 2 movies the first week and then 7 for every week after that. I should hit 366 movies for the year.
- I cannot use the same movie twice, even if I actually watch it twice. For example, say I watch Scott Pilgrim vs. The world as movie number 7, then I catch it again later in the year, I can’t write another review for it and it count as one of the 7 for that week.
- I must write at least two paragraphs for each film I watch as a review. Some reviews will resemble what you would see by a film critics while others may take a more personal reflective tone as I explain why I re-watched something, or why I just couldn’t keep my focus on the movie.
- I will to watch a variety of film genres that include: 25% Action/Adventure, 25% Comedy, 25% Drama, 10% Documentary, 5% Foreign, 5% Horror, 3% Sci-fi, and 2% Thriller/Suspense. Anything that I would put into a sub-genre (i.e. martial arts can fall under action as could westerns), will count for the main genre. I will use IMDB as the main source for genre assignment and some movies can be placed into multiple genres.
- I will watch movies for one of three reasons:
- I’ve seen it and want to re-watch it (either I think my opinion may have changed, or I loved it and it’s worth re-watching).
- I’ve wanted to see it but haven’t (this applies to new movies coming out or ones that slipped past me for one reason or another)
- The movie has been suggested or recommended (I listen to lots of film related podcasts, talk to lots of movie goers, and will hope to elicit some suggests from readers of this blog)
- I will watch movies on a variety of formats. I will indicate how I watched the movie in the review. The formats include:
- Steaming services onto a TV
- Streaming service onto a tablet or phone
- Theaters (IMAX, 3D, and traditional)
- Cable (even with commercials)
- Blu-ray or DVD (maybe even VHS although I no longer own a VCR)
- I must post 7 reviews in a week and as close to the viewing of the film as my life will allow.
Alright, seven rules seems good. This should sound familiar. I wish this was 100% original of an idea, but this type of thing has been done before. In fact, they made a movie about it. Originality isn’t always necessary though right? I mean, I loved Creed and the Force Awakens, but the plots of both of those films were basically the same as the first film of their respective franchises. Which means that this idea can be a winner…right?
I’m hoping this will gain me something. Maybe money, maybe a book deal, or at the very least a movie review gig. The benefit is I do love movies. While this will make it feel like a chore, there are tons of films I’ve wanted to watch. One of my dark dirty secrets is I’ve never seen ANY of the Godfather films. Before you quit let me explain why. They came out before I was born. I know all or most of the iconic moments and scenes. They are LONG! And, until I saw Goodfellas, I’d never been that interested in movies about organized crime. Luckily, I snagged the entire trilogy on Vudu and will be watching them soon.
I think that covers the introduction pretty nicely. I’ll be starting on January 1st, 2016 and going to December 31st, 2016. It’s going to be a fun year and I hope to hear your thoughts and suggestions as the year goes on.