Five Movies to Reinforce Your New Year's Resolutions

Categories: Film and TV


While surveying 2012, there are probably a few areas that you'd like to tweak: finances, romance, your workout plan. Sometimes converting those goals into actions requires an extra push, and you can't beat a visual reminder when putting yourself in gear. Here's a few movies that align with your resolutions -- now go be the best you in 2013.

Loose a Few Pounds: Rocky IV

Normally I wouldn't suggest any sequel above Rocky II, but for weight loss purposes it's Cold War Rocky or bust. Just look at this training montage (above): Sure, the Soviets have high-tech facilities fueled by diamond-encrusted unicorn horns, but Rocky doesn't need all that flash. Our boy chops down mighty trees and pulls horses through waist-high snow.

By the time the credits roll you'll fake jog to check your mail and air punch your way to your car, then drive two blocks to buy a frozen pizza from 7-11. Keep it up, Tiger.
(Bonus: Rocky IV has a robot sidekick. Pro Tip: If you watch Rocky films primarily for their training montages, try Rocky V: It's one long montage composed of the montages in Rocky's I through IV.)

(Alternative: Conan the Barbarian (1982), mostly just for the growing up on that wheel scene.)Save Money: The Queen of Versailles
Jackie Siegel didn't start her life surrounded by luxury, in her youth she worked a string of low-paying jobs. At the beginning of this film, her life is quite different: she and her husband, time share mogul David Siegel, are a cool 75 million deep into a half-finished single-family home in Orlando, Florida, modeled after the grotesque grandeur of Versailles.

Jackie isn't an unintelligent woman -- she even has a degree in engineering -- but we see her compulsively hoard everything from pets and children to luxury fashion accessories and toys. Suze Orman would put her in time out, indefinitely.

When the economic world disintegrates, we watch as the Siegels lose everything. Even then, or perhaps especially then, Jackie cannot stop spending. As their financial house crumbles around them, you rethink all of those bar tabs, tickets for shows and late-night online shopping benders that you've supported in your own life. You do not want to be Jackie Siegel: not in 2013, not ever.
(Available now on Netflix streaming)

Date Better Guys: Karate Kid
All right, so in the past you've dated a few Johnnys. Those days are over. In 2013 start looking for quality dudes: men willing to cleverly disguise themselves as a shower just to spend time with you at a party. You want a guy who works hard and meditates and respects you, not a leg-sweeping Cobra. This year, date a Danielson.

Date Better Woman: Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Yep, Kristen Bell is hot. You love hot chicks, so this film speaks to you. But remember the all-important rule of life: The really sexy, tv-ready women of the world are typically manipulative crazies. That's fun when you're in your early 20s, but then you learn to care about yourself. That's when you start looking for quality. According to Forgetting Sarah Marshall, when you're ready to ditch the devil woman, you wind up with the equally gorgeous and eternally cool Mila Kunis.

I'm not going to lie -- that isn't how life works, but it's still a good reminder film that focusing on substantive women can also get you laid.


Be A Better Human: Young Adult

Warning: This movie is misfiled under "Comedy" on Netflix streaming: It should be listed under Movies That Make You Fear the Monster Sleeping Inside You.

Charlize Theron ghost writes a Sweet Vally High-esque series of books that's on the brink of getting cancelled, which is fitting because she's mentally trapped in the bitchy, cruel, immature stroke halo of adolescence. Passing out nightly with men and bottles of alcohol finally sparks A Big Idea: achieving true happiness is possible -- but it requires stealing her high school boyfriend from his enriching marriage and new baby.

This movie will leave you emotionally shipwrecked. You'll clear out your closet of grievances and start working recovery steps, even if you don't have a drinking problem. You'll text everyone you've ever wronged and beg for forgiveness followed by a long string of powerfully vocal Emojis, because you never, ever want to wind up like this terrible woman. (You'll also find yourself strangely attracted to a beaten-down Patton Oswalt.)

(Alternative pick: Groundhog Day)


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1 comments
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

After a lot of thought about what the enigmatic Shining is really about, I've developed my own theory.  Early on in the movie there are clues that Jack Torrance is deeply troubled.  Beyond the fact that he beat his son in a drunken rage, which led him to "swear off alcohol forever", there is a sarcastic and disdainful tone in his comments to his "beloved son" during the drive up to Overlook.  I believe Jack was ripe for a full-blown manifestation of his paranoid schizophrenia, and the isolation merely triggered it.  I pretty much have rejected the theory that the hotel was haunted.  All of the bizarre scenes: of a 20s New Year's Eve party in the ballroom, the hideous transformation of the nude beauty in the bathroom of room 237, etc., were delusions.  Jack's clairvoyant son was able to see into Jack's psychotic mind and the horrifying images of oceans of blood and dismembered bodies.

Anyone who is a longtime fan of The Shining must have a theory, and there will probably always be a battle between the groups that explain the great enigma of this film: whether what you see is a haunted hotel, or the delusions of a psychotic.

What's maddening, though, is the final shot of the 1920s photo with Jack in it.  That part I can't figure out.

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