Remember my ongoing quest to watch all of the Best Picture Oscar winners? It continues, and I am current through 1953's From Here to Eternity. It has truly been one of the better ideas I have ever had and has enriched my life greatly.
How has it enriched my life? Well, that's hard to define. I have more emotional range? I think about issues I didn't think about before? My horizons are broadened? I have a better appreciation of movies as art? I get cultural in-jokes that went over my head previously?
While thinking about how I would convince someone that watching a bunch of old movies is worth their time, it occurred to me that I need some concrete, real-world benefits from my movie watching to point to. And so I begin a new project, probably to be never mentioned again and forgotten after this post, to find a way to use the movies I watch to improve my life. We start with the iconic winner from 1976, Rocky.
Unlike most viewers, I feel the real take-home message from this picture is that the key to success is to make yourself as miserable as possible and give yourself every possible disadvantage. Rocky trains by beating up cow carcasses hanging in a butcher's freezer. In the third installment, he leaves his state-of-the-art fancy pants personal training center to train with Apollo Creed in the disgusting gym populated by, horror of horrors, poor black boxers who have nothing except for the Eye of the Tiger. In Rocky IV, he jogs up and down mountain in Siberia while coddled nancy boy Ivan Drago runs on a treadmill with electrodes taped to him and uses the Soviet version of the Commodore 64 home computing system to analyze his punching power.
As such, today I stocked my garage with an exercise mat, resistance bands, and a set of 20 lb dumbbells to form a very primitive gym. As my garage is not remotely climate controlled, it frequently reaches temperatures approaching 100 with little air circulation to be found. I shall now begin my routine of working out in these intolerable conditions (with nary an electrode to be found, mind you) until I have the physical and mental strength to almost but not quite succeed at, um, something or other. I seem to have forgotten that I have to have a goal in place first, but then again, that was never a problem for Rocky. In fact, Rocky was pretty much a loser with absolutely nothing going for him until Apollo offered him the exhibition match. New plan: I'm going to continue being a loser with very little going for me until I receive the opportunity of a lifetime, at which point I will begin using my miserable new hot garage gym to gain the ability to succeed, only to just barely fall short. Inspiring.