My first year at university was pretty tough. Among the million other things going on in my head and around me, I suddenly realised how much I missed watching films with my family. That’s when I started watching 2 or 3 films a day, afraid that giving up on them would have made me feel even more distant from home. Then a friend told me he had managed to watch 365 films over a year, which sounded like a great idea. So I got a personal blog and waited patiently until the 1st of January to start this challenge.
As if watching 365 films in 365 days didn’t sound crazy enough to me, I decided to review every single one of them. Of course that didn’t really work out very well. I stopped after 65 reviews, which I think is still a decent number. As the number of films I watched increased, I went through different phases and found out that Glasgow has a lot to offer to film lovers on a low budget like me. Now the year is over and I’ve reached my target, here are some of the things I learned in 2015 and some good resolutions for 2016.
I thought I hated comedies. I got from my mother the belief that a film with a happy ending is not worth watching. When the final credits appeared on the screen I wanted to feel like someone ripped my heart from my chest, stepped on it and put it back upside down. I had to reconsider my views when I realised that most people don’t fancy watching Schindler’s List on a Friday night. The first film that actually made me change my mind about comedies was Dr. Strangelove. After that I decided to step out of my comfort zone and let my flatmate broaden my views, introducing me to romantic comedy. Not my thing, but I do feel like a better person now.
After a couple of months I got really picky. I couldn’t stand wasting my precious time watching films picked by someone else. Yet I had to, because I didn’t want to become a TV dictator. I began trusting people’s taste less and less and at one point it would take me a couple of hours to pick a film that I considered worth my time. Couple of hours I could have spent watching another film. I eventually learned to relax and enjoy the overall experience. It didn’t matter if I was watching a German teen romance drama rated 30% on IMDb, as long as I was doing it with my grandma. Plus I owed her one after making her watch There Will be Blood.
I tried to track down every single film I’ve seen in my life. It turned out they were not that many. That might be because I tend to rewatch the ones I like a million times. I had a Donnie Darko phase when I was 14, a Sleepy Hollow phase at 15, an Amélie phase at 16 and so on. But I’m proud to say that the number of films I watched in my time in this life has almost doubled in just 365 days.
I can afford buying DVDs and going to the cinema once a week! I don’t own a laptop so downloading films was not an option for me. But older films can be very cheap and shops like CeX sell second hand DVDs for less than £1. I also got very familiar with the Glasgow Film Theatre, where people aged 21 or less can get a free Youth Card and get cinema tickets for £4.50 (cheaper than a night out). And for the dark times where I had to live on Aldi’s instant noodles, free screening in pubs like The Flying Duck and Nice N Sleazy were a good alternative to the GFT. Many societies also have multiple free screening events around campus and you don’t have to be a member to attend those. Although I did end up joining quite a few good societies.
I found it hard to believe at first, but friends, acquaintances and strangers were all really interested in what I was doing. People seemed genuinely curious and excited about this challenge. They kept asking me questions and recommending films. I was also really surprised by how much this experience changed me. I’ve never been a particularly patient, constant or organised person, but things are different now. I have unexpectedly managed to increase my organisation and productivity, boost my mood and reduce the time spent overthinking. Which led to a few changes in my lifestyle that I’m really happy about. My new year resolutions include being more open to new genres, not showing violent films to my grandma and trying to be nice to Film and TV students. I’m happy to say that 2015 was a great success on many different levels. They say that sometimes a film can change your life, so just try and imagine what 365 films can do for you.