RESOLUTIONARY ROAD

or, The Unaffiliated Critic's Unrealistic Personal Fitness Goals for 2017

It's a Shiny New Year here at the Unaffiliated Critic: a period of sober reflection on the past, and of painfully naive optimism about the future.

Twenty-sixteen, as we all know, was a terrible, no good, very bad year—by every metric known to humankind—and we were all very pleased to see the last of it. Deep down, however, I think we all secretly know that there is absolutely no logical reason to think that 2017 will be any better. (In fact, with a rough orange beast slouching its way towards Washington, we have every reason to believe that 2017 will be much, much worse.) 

But the illusion of a fresh start is a powerful thing: for a few precious weeks in January each year, we can all pretend that we have been given a nice clean slate on which we can chalk out our well-intentioned plans for a better life. 

So that's what I'm doing. And one of my small, personal goals for 2017 is to stop neglecting this website so shamefully. 

For a variety of reasons—many valid, many not—I posted less frequently in 2016 than I have at any point in The Unaffiliated Critic's five-year history. My movie reviews were almost non-existent. My reviews of TV series suffered unconscionable delays at best, or petered out completely at worst. My long-abandoned Independent Study in World Cinema was proudly revived in February of 2016, and then quietly abandoned again by April. And it's been almost two full years now since I've cajoled my wife, The Unenthusiastic Critic, into watching something she really didn't want to watch. 

I am deeply ashamed, I am suitably repentant, and I am determined to do better in 2017. So, before the glow of false hopes and good intentions fades—as it inevitably does by mid-January every year—I wanted to get my New Year's Resolutions down on virtual paper:

  1. I will see, and review, one new movie per week in 2017. (As movies generally open Friday, Sundays are looking like the most likely day for new movie reviews to go up.)
  2. I will resume my Independent Study in World Cinemastill aiming to post twice a month. (The next post, on Jean Vigo's L'Atalante, is already well underway, and should go up within the next week. Then, I'm really hoping to speed through the next entry, since posting about Triumph of the Will on January 20 just seems too appropriate to pass up.)
  3. The Unenthusiastic Critic will return in 2017, for monthly visits. (I can't get my wife to agree to more than that.) I've already got the next couple of movies picked out, and she's really looking forward to them. (Quoth she: "Is that a musical? I'm not watching any more fucking musicals.") 
  4. Of my TV reviews, I still haven't decided what shows I will commit to reviewing in 2017, but I will say that I'm resolved not to abandon any more shows halfway through a season. I'm going to try not to bite off more than I can reasonably chew, so my posting schedule will no longer fall months or years behind. (This will also be easier if I can learn to write shorter reviews. No promises there, but I'm going to try.) Over the next couple of months I will be checking out new shows to see if there's anything I want to review regularly. If not, I may undertake another Binge Watch to fill in one of the many shameful gaps in my education. (Raise your hand if you're a self-proclaimed TV critic who has never seen more than a few episodes of The Sopranos. No? Just me, then.)

So those are my New Year's Resolutions for 2017. And I fully expect to keep them, with the same dedication, diligence, and discipline that characterize all such resolutions I make. 

(Hey, am I still paying for that gym membership? Where was that gym, anyway?) 

Fortunately, in this arena, I know I can count on all of you to keep me honest. Happy New Year, all. 

The Unaffiliated Critic

Michael G. McDunnah is a freelance writer, a recovering lit major, a pop-culture junkie, and an unaffiliated critic. He lives in Chicago.

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