My name is John Krizel, and I consider myself to be an appropriately happy person. I have a loving family, great friends, and the ability to generally avoid thinking about the deep existential questions that have haunted human beings throughout the centuries. Like, how lame it is that everyone will eventually die, and such.
I believe that, for someone of my age and socioeconomic status, I have seen my share of movies and TV shows, listened to my share of music, and read my share of books. I’d say I’m well educated, well mediated, and up on the popular culture. (What’s the deal with this Justin Bieber kid anyway?) Like most people my age, my choices of what to consume generally skew toward things that are not-terribly-depressing. For every Breaking Bad in my TV diet, there’s a Community or SportsCenter or Jersey Shore to make it all better at the end of the day.
But what effect does this avoidance of more depressing media have on my daily life? Am I willfully refusing to confront the grim realities of my existence, and if so, might not I become a more enlightened, self-aware individual if I changed? And, most importantly, how will this affect my sense of humor/facility with the ladies? To address the question, I have started this blog/social experiment.
TERMS OF THE SOCIAL EXPERIMENT:
1) For the next [I have no idea for how long I will write this blog], I will make every effort to only watch movies that could be described as “sad,” “depressing,” “tragic,” “lachrymose,” and/or “bummertown USA.” I’ll be focusing on movies over other media because they’re easier to consume and write about in a fairly short amount of time. I reserve the right to throw in the odd book or TV special every now and again.
2) I will also make every effort to avoid lighter movies/shows/music/books. Let’s not go crazy here; I won’t run screaming from the room if someone flips on The Office. But I’ll do my best.
3) I will write about the films I watch in this blog, and how the experiment is affecting my daily happiness.
I do this because I am genuinely curious about the relationship between what entertainment we choose to consume and how we feel. Will watching only depressing films make me depressed? More socially aware? Less fun to be around (if such a thing is possible)? Only time will tell.
So what kind of movies are we talking about here? I’m thinking really, really heavy, bleak, depressing stuff. Holocaust movies, movies about other genocides, war movies, war-related-amputee movies, movies about poverty and addiction and immigration and other Important Social Issues. But I’m also not opposed to girlier stuff. Tearjerkers and such.
[Quick aside: here is a list of ten movies/TV episodes that have brought me to tears of either joy or sadness:
1) It’s a Wonderful Life
2) Toy Story 3, Up, WALL-E, basically every recent Pixar (except, like, Cars)
3) Home Alone
4) You’ve Got Mail (BRINKLEYYYYY)
5) A Muppet Christmas Carol
6) The Lost finale
7) The last Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien
8) Jim and Pam’s wedding on The Office
9) Homeward Bound
10) Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco
I make no apologies for this list.]
So. In this blog, I hope to evoke just how sad each film makes me, and what, if any, cumulative effect this project will have on my life as I forge ahead. I will begin tomorrow with Roman Polanski’s 2002 Holocaust drama The Pianist, featuring an Oscar-winning performance from Adrien Brody. I’ll continue on a semi-regular basis that will likely grow more infrequent if/when I get a job.
To do this, I need the help of all of you out there in BlogLand. I have some good ideas of what films to watch, but I can’t do it all on my own. Comment with your suggestions. Comment to tell me what a dumb idea this is. Comment however you like! I’d appreciate it. Let the sadness begin.