Tag Archives: challenge

40 Before 40: Challenge #8

21 Sep

The eighth challenge on my #40Before40 list is to watch all of the films on the iMDB Top 250 films list.

These are the highest rated films on the iMDB (internet Movie Database). As the list is subject to change, I have “frozen” the list on 27.08.2017. My aim is to watch all of them before I turn 40.

Below is the complete list with the films that I have already seen highlighted in another colour. As I previously mentioned, the rule is that I don’t have to rewatch films that I have seen before.

I have been 100% honest with the list. I have seen parts of some of the films and then fallen asleep (think Lord of the Rings, but this was also true for Gladiator). So I will rewatch these in order to tick them off my list with confidence.

Of the 250 films, I have seen 79 of them. The films that are highlighted in green are films that I have recently watched. I have written a small review of these films at the bottom of the list.

  1. The Shawshank Redemption
  2. The Godfather
  3. The Godfather: Part II
  4. The Dark Knight
  5. 12 Angry Men
  6. Schindler’s List
  7. Pulp Fiction
  8. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
  9. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
  10. Fight Club
  11. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  12. Forrest Gump
  13. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
  14. Inception
  15. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  16. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  17. Goodfellas
  18. The Matrix
  19. Seven Samurai
  20. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
  21. City of God
  22. Se7en
  23. The Silence of the Lambs
  24. It’s a Wonderful Life
  25. Life is Beautiful
  26. The Usual Suspects
  27. Léon: The Professional
  28. Saving Private Ryan
  29. Spirited Away
  30. Once Upon a Time in the West
  31. American History X
  32. Interstellar
  33. Psycho
  34. City Lights
  35. Casablanca
  36. The Green Mile
  37. The Untouchables
  38. Modern Times
  39. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  40. The Pianist
  41. The Departed
  42. Rear Window
  43. Terminator 2: Judgement Day
  44. Back to the Future
  45. Whiplash
  46. Gladiator
  47. The Prestige
  48. The Lion King
  49. Memento
  50. Apocalyspe Now
  51. Alien
  52. The Great Dictator
  53. Sunset Boulevard
  54. Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
  55. Cinema Paradiso
  56. The Lives of Other
  57. Grave of the Fireflies
  58. Paths of Glory
  59. Django Unchained
  60. The Shining
  61. E
  62. American Beauty
  63. The Dark Knight Rises
  64. Princess Mononoke
  65. Aliens
  66. Old Boy
  67. Witness for the Prosecution
  68. Once Upon a Time in America
  69. Das Boot
  70. Citizen Kane
  71. Dunkirk
  72. Dangal
  73. Vertigo
  74. North by Northwest
  75. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
  76. Braveheart
  77. Resevior Dogs
  78. M
  79. Requiem for a Dream
  80. Amélie
  81. Like Stars on Earth
  82. A Clockwork Orange
  83. Lawrence of Arabia
  84. Double Indemnity
  85. Taxi Driver
  86. Your Name
  87. Amadeus
  88. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  89. To Kill a Mockingbird
  90. Full Metal Jacket
  91. Toy Story 3
  92. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  93. Singin’ in the Rain
  94. The Sting
  95. Toy Story
  96. Bicycle Thieves
  97. Inglorious Basterds
  98. The Kind
  99. 3 Idiots
  100. Snatch
  101. Monthy Python and the Holy Grail
  102. For a Few Dollars More
  103. L.A. Confidential
  104. The Hunt
  105. Good Will Hunting
  106. Scarface
  107. The Apartment
  108. Rashomon
  109. A Separation
  110. Metropolis
  111. My Father and My Son
  112. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  113. All About Eve
  114. Yojimbo
  115. Batman Begins
  116. Up
  117. Some Like It Hot
  118. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  119. Unforgiven
  120. Downfall
  121. Die Hard
  122. Raging Bull
  123. Heat
  124. The Third Man
  125. Children of Heaven
  126. The Great Escape
  127. Chinatown
  128. Ikiru
  129. Pan’s Labyrinth
  130. My Neighbor Totoro
  131. Ran
  132. Inside Out
  133. The Gold Rush
  134. The Secret in Their Eyes
  135. On the Waterfront
  136. Incendies
  137. Judgement at Nuremburg
  138. Bridge Over the River Kwai
  139. Howl’s Moving Castle
  140. Room
  141. Bladerunner
  142. The Seventh Seal
  143. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
  144. Smith Goes to Washington
  145. Casino
  146. A Beautiful Mind
  147. The Elephant Man
  148. Wild Strawberries
  149. V for Vendetta
  150. The Wolf of Wall Street
  151. The General
  152. Warrior
  153. La La Land
  154. Andrei Rublev
  155. Trainspotting
  156. Dial M for Murder
  157. Sunrise
  158. Gran Torino
  159. The Bandit
  160. The Deer Hunter
  161. Gone with the Wind
  162. Fargo
  163. The Sixth Sense
  164. The Big Lebowski
  165. The Thing
  166. No Country for Old Men
  167. Finding Nemo
  168. Tokyo Story
  169. Logan
  170. Hacksaw Ridge
  171. Cool Hand Luke
  172. Rang De Basanti
  173. There Will Be Blood
  174. Rebecca
  175. The Passion of Joan of Arc
  176. Come and See
  177. Kill Bill: Vol. 1
  178. How to Train Your Dragon
  179. Mary and Max
  180. Gone Girl
  181. A Wednesday
  182. Into the Wild
  183. Shutter Island
  184. It Happened One Night
  185. Life of Brian
  186. Wild Tales
  187. Platoon
  188. Hotel Rwanda
  189. The Wages of Fear
  190. Rush
  191. Network
  192. In the Name of the Father
  193. Stand By Me
  194. Baby Driver
  195. The 400 Blows
  196. Ben-Hur
  197. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  198. Persona
  199. Mad Max: Fury Road
  200. Spotlight
  201. 12 Years a Slave
  202. Million Dollar Baby
  203. Memories of Murder
  204. Jurassic Park
  205. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  206. Amores Perros
  207. Stalker
  208. The Maltese Falcon
  209. Paper Moon
  210. The Truman Show
  211. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale
  212. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
  213. The Night of Cabiria
  214. The Princess Bride
  215. Before Sunrise
  216. Munna Bhai M.B.B.S
  217. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
  218. The Grapes of Wrath
  219. Prisoners
  220. Rocky
  221. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  222. Touch of Evil
  223. Catch Me If You Can
  224. Diabolique
  225. Gandhi
  226. Sholay
  227. Donnie Darko
  228. Monsters, Inc
  229. Annie Hall
  230. The Bourne Ultimatum
  231. The Terminator
  232. Barry Lyndon
  233. The Wizard of Oz
  234. Groundhog Day
  235. Le Haine
  236. Jaws
  237. Twelve Monkeys
  238. Internal Affairs
  239. The Best Years of Our Lives
  240. Hera Pheri
  241. The Help
  242. In the Mood for Love
  243. Beauty and the Beast
  244. The Battle of Algiers
  245. Gangs of Wasseypur
  246. Dog Day Afternoon
  247. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
  248. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  249. K

 

Recent film reviews:

71. Dunkirk – I thoroughly enjoyed this film. To my shame I didn’t know much about what happened at Dunkirk. It was an eye opener and very emotional to watch. The woman sat next to me in the cinema was sobbing her heart out. The film shows three separate stories that are intertwined. I was completely engrossed until part way into the film when I thought “Oh that’s Harry Styles!”. In fairness, he performance was good; a lot better than his 1D days.

146. A Beautiful Mind –  I am not sure how I have managed to avoid this film for the past 16 years. I think that I have seen the start of the film before because it did seem familiar. It is the story of the mathematician John Nash, who suffered with mental health problems, even though his work and theories have probably influenced economics more than anyone else in the 20th century. The story was not 100% accurate, as I later found out reading more about his life online, but the story is interested and had me gripped.

170. Hawsaw Ridge – I had no idea what this film was about. It charts the life of Desmond Doss, a soldier in WWII, who is a consciencious objector to war because of his religious view. He enlists in the medical corps to save lives rather then take them. The film, more than any other war film I have seen, depicts the senselessness and futility of war and also serves as a reminder than one person can make a difference.

175. How to Train a Dragon – one of only two animated films on the list that I haven’t seen. For me, there weren’t enough innuendos aimed at adults in the film. Normally in these types of films there are several layers so that adults understand some parts of the film in a slightly different way to how a child would. Nevertheless, the good defeats evil in the end. And the dragons are pretty cool.

194. Baby Driver – I have no idea what I was expecting with this film. I had only seen the poster for the film before I went to the cinema. The film was a lot better than I was expecting and had a really good cast. I also loved all the music. Highly recommended.

238. Twelve Monkeys – I have a sneeky suspicion that I have seen this film before, but I watched it all anyway. Bruce Willis’ character time-travels between the 2034 and 1996 trying to find out who has wiped out the human race with a deadly virus. An, at times, complex plot because of the to-ing and fro-ing between the two time periods.

 

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40 Before 40: Challenge #29

19 Sep

One of my challenges for my #40Before40 is to read every book on the 40 Books that Every Woman Should Read list.

My reasoning behind this was that I predominately read books my male authors; more by accident than design. I recently discovered that the Norwegian writer, Jo Nesbo, is actually male. All this time I thought he was a woman, mainly because in English “Jo” is a woman’s name and “Joe” is a man’s name. So, this list will hopefully redress the balance.

There are a number of books on this list that I have part read and not finished. Some of them I definitely started as a young teenager and never go round to finishing.

Of course, I have read all of the Harry Potter books. I was a bit late to the party. I read all of them, one after another, in the summer of 2015. Some of the authors are not as famous as J.K. Rowling but I am sure that their books are equally as worthy of being on the list.

Below is the complete list. Those books highlights in red I have already read. Out of 40 I have read 4. Time to get reading!

  1. The Age of Grief by Jane Smiley
  2. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  3. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
  4. A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
  5. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  6. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  7. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
  8. Near to the Wild Heart by Clarice Lispector
  9. The House of Spirits by Isabelle Allende
  10. Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
  11. Play it as it Lays by Joan Didion
  12. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  13. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  14. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  15. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  16. Runaway by Alice Munro
  17. The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  18. Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson
  19. White Teeth by Zadie Smith
  20. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
  21. Cherry by Mary Karr
  22. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  23. Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
  24. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  25. My Antonia by Willa Cather
  26. Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by Z.Z. Packer
  27. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  28. Willful Creatures by Aimee Bender
  29. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  30. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  31. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  32. The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald
  33. Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
  34. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  35. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  36. What Was She Thinking? by Zoe Heller
  37. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
  38. Broken Harbor by Tana French
  39. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  40. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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40 Before 40: Part I

8 Sep

I was slightly surprised by the attention that my #40Before40 list generated, both on and offline.

I feel a lot more encouraged from the beginning and I am feeling optimistic about the whole challenge. But then I have a deadline of 5 years, so it feels like time is limitless. I know that time will quickly come around and before I know it I will be panicking about finishing certain items. I am aiming to avoid this, if at all possible.

I thought it would be a good idea to run through quickly the items on the list to understate the reasons why they are on the list. As I mentioned in my earlier post, some of these may not seem so difficult but I have my own reasons for having them on the list.

So here is a quick explanation of the first 20 challenges:

  1. Pass C2 Goethe German exam – this one is relatively straight forward. I live in a German speaking country and I don’t currently speak/write German fluently. C2 is the highest level of the European Framework of Reference for Languages. This means you are on par with a native speaker: almost no errors in writing or speaking. Could be tricky. I start C1 level lessons in two weeks which is one level below the highest level.
  2. Visit 40 countries in Europe – I didn’t even know that there were this many countries in Europe but there are actually 51. So far, I have visited 25 of them. The rule is that I don’t have to revisit the countries that I have been to before. I would love to do this but my employer would not be so happy.
  3. Go paragliding – this is one of the easier ones on the list. I just have to book in and go, right? I have been meaning to do this for literally years. It’s on the list so I have to do it now.
  4. Enter a photography competition – I am a keen photographer, which doesn’t necessarily mean that I am any good. I would like to improve a few of my photography skills and then enter a competition. There are lots of competitions. I am sure that one of my photos will be worthy of an entry.
  5. Write my will and plan my funeral – by far the most morbid item on the list but something that I have been meaning to do for a while. Hopefully planning my own funeral will take the stress out of arranging it for those who are left behind.
  6. (Re)Learn the flute – at school I was a decent flautist. I gave up my hobby of music to play hockey. I recently bought a flute and some music. I thought it would be easy to return to playing. It turns out that the sheet music now looks like Japanese to me. This will take some dedication.
  7. Go alcohol free for a year – I have, at times, voluntarily gone alcohol free. In the past I have gone without alcohol for 3 months before a half marathon and felt great about it and not really missed drinking. Let’s see if I can last a whole year without it…
  8. Watch every movie on iMDB Top 250 Films list – as with Number 2, I don’t have to re-watch any of the films that I have already seen. From the list of films, I have noticed that there are some films on there that I haven’t even heard of before. It should be interesting!
  9. Write a novel (at least 50,000 words) – this could have been on my list to do before 21 and 30. One of the reason why I have been blogging is to get into the habit of writing. I have at least one book desperately waiting to get out of me. It needs to get written.
  10. Beat at least one of my running PBs for 10k, 10 miles, half marathon or marathon – since writing the original list I have added 10 miles because I realised that I have an official race time for 10 miles when I ran in Liverpool in 2016. My times are not great and they are beatable. I feel that if I don’t do this challenge in the next few years that I will never beat my times. I decided to not limit myself to one race distance because recently I have had some knee problems and I don’t want to put too much stress on myself to beat the time and make my injury worse in the process.
  11. Read the Bible from cover to cover – as a theology graduate, I probably should have done this already. I haven’t. In the beginning, there will be a lot of “begatting”. I will need to power through to the end.
  12. Go to the Opera – another of the more easy ones. Book the tickets and go! Yes, I have been saying that for years. I think I will need to read up about the opera before I go so that I know what is going on. I don’t know any Italian. When I was at the Mozart concert at the Opera House in Vienna, I enjoyed the opera singers more than I thought I would.
  13. See the Northern Lights – this has also been on my list of things to do for years. I really can’t wait to see them but I will need some luck with the weather as they are not always visible.
  14. Go vegan for 3 months –  Why, oh why, did I put this on the list? I’m already regretting and dreading it. What on earth do vegans eat? The aim of this is to focus my attention on what I eat. I am a bad eater, in that I just eat whatever and don’t think about the nutrional value of food. I hope that this will help to correct this bad behaviour of mine.
  15. Have something that I have written published – related to Number 9, although I am almost positive that it will not be the outcome of Number 9 that is published.
  16. Save money for a rainy day – I am getting on a bit so it is time to think a bit about the future and money. The main motivation behind this is the thought of retiring early but maybe I am too late for that.
  17. Write a diary for a year – I did write a diary on and off as a teenager, which was mainly along the lines of “Oh my god, I hate her!” I’m hoping this will be slightly more mature and will be a lovely keepsake of a year of my life.
  18. Hot Air Balloon ride – again, I have wanted to do this for ages and ages. Let’s get it done!
  19. Take part in an Ultra race – an Ultra race in layman’s terms is a race that is longer than a marathon, normally 50km or more. At the moment, I am thinking about a walk, like London to Brighton, or something similar. But I am yet to decide which exact race and when.
  20. Throw a birthday party for myself – I’m not a huge fan of Christmas, New Year, Easter and definitely not of birthday party. It’s not that I am scared about getting old; it just that it takes a lot of organising and people don’t come when they have said that they will etc.. I don’t think I have had a birthday party with invitations and music for the whole of my adult life. I didn’t have anything for my 21st or 30th. This is my (possibly) vain attempt to be more socialable and more optimistic about people turning up. And, if people don’t turn up, I will listen to music and eat the whole of the birthday cake by myself.

I will post in a few days the rest of the challenges and my reasons for having them on the list!

#40Before40

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A new challenge is about to begin…

1 Sep

As I am rapidly approaching my 35 birthday (and please can someone explain how that happened so fast) I have decided to set myself a challenge. Stealing an idea from someone I know through blogging, I have made a list of 40 things to achieve before I reach my 40 birthday. Or, for short, my 40 before 40. The idea is that I don’t spend the next 5 years not doing very much and in 5 year’s time I can honestly say that I have achieved some worthwhile things. Some of the items on the list are more difficult than the others and some will take longer to achieve than others. The goal at the end of 5 years is that all of the 40 things have been completed successfully. The majority of the items are straight forward and don’t require further explanation and many of them would be on the bucket list of lots of people. A few things on the list are things I have been struggling with for a while or have been putting off until a more convenient time. I am hoping that this list will give me the extra bit of motivation to get them done.

I’m not very good about knowing what I want to do in the future and I have never had a plan about what I wanted to do or achieve since I left formal education. I hate getting that question in job interviews: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I am always tempted to say “Still breathing” but I am not sure that that answer would go down well. Now at least I can always say: “I am making an item of clothing to wear at the weekend.”

Naturally, I will be blogging about this so that you can read along with the ups and downs and frustrations.

Here is the full list:

  1. Pass C2 Goethe German exam
  2. Visit 40 countries in Europe
  3. Go paragliding
  4. Enter a photography competition
  5. Write my will and plan my funeral
  6. (Re)Learn the flute
  7. Go alcohol-free for a year
  8. Watch every movie on iMDB Top 250 Films list
  9. Write a novel (at least 50,000 words)
  10. Beat at least one of my running PBs for 10k, half marathon or marathon
  11. Read the Bible cover to cover
  12. Go to the Opera
  13. See the Northern Lights
  14. Go vegan for 3 months
  15. Have something that I have written published
  16. Save money for a rainy day
  17. Write a diary for a year
  18. Hot Air Balloon ride
  19. Take part in an Ultra race
  20. Throw a birthday party for myself
  21. Watch a series of 24 in 24 hours
  22. Learn how to wolf whistle
  23. Try snowboarding
  24. Take an overnight sleeper train
  25. Cook every recipe from one cookbook
  26. Learn how to fold 40 origami designs
  27. Read 40 novels in German
  28. Take a wine degustation course
  29. Read The 40 Books Every Woman Should Read
  30. Solve a Rubik cube
  31. Take up a new sport
  32. Catch, cook and eat a fish
  33. Make an item of clothing to wear
  34. Stop biting my nails
  35. Read 40 non-fiction books
  36. Fly long-haul business class
  37. Have a haircut at least 4 times a year
  38. Be able to touch my toes
  39. Downsize – get rid of anything I don’t need or want by selling, giving away or donating
  40. Start and maintain my own travel website

Time for the challenge to begin. #40Before40

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Finally it’s over…

10 Jul

On Saturday it was time to put the books away and just go for it. Too late to look at any more vocabulary lists or verb tables now – it was D-Day (Deutsch-Day). 

I was disappointed that the weather was completely glorious and that I would be spending the whole day cooped up in an exam room, wracking my brain to remember how to spell things while the weather outside was like this…


Not in the least bit fair, eh?

I arrived early at the exam centre and it was easy to find from the train station. I noticed one of the other candidates must be 60, if she was a day. I’m not sure that I will be still doing language exams at that age. If I am, you have permission to slap me in the face as hard as you can.

The first part of the exam was reading which is by far my favourite part of the exam. Partly because I enjoy reading and I have tried to develop the habit of reading German as much as possible over the past few months. So I find it a little bit easier than the other parts. The section was nothing that I hadn’t expected which was a nice surprise. Although there were some tricky parts, overall it went well. 

Next up was listening. Again it’s not a section that I particularly loathe but it was a bit tricky. When I had answered the questions, I realised on the multiple choice question that I had few too few Cs for me to have got 100% but maybe I’m reading too much into it!

Next up was the writing. Again a part that I find relatively straight forward. I had to write about fairy tales. I couldn’t think of any names of fairly tales in German so I just said I was a fan of the Brothers Grimm stories which, I hope, will not count against me. If it doesn’t, I am happy with my creativity of getting out of a potentially sticky situation.

So then I had a lovely 4 hour break before my speaking part began. I met a friend and we sat by the lake in the sun for a few hours. This was great because it really took my mind off the rest of the exam. I really hate the speaking test. I feel so self-conscious and it’s very obvious if you mess this part up. It’s not just the examiners that you are speaking with but also a fellow candidate. It’s potentially really embarrassing if you forget what to say or get a bit tongue tied.

I had to talk about the topic of reducing the voting age to 16. I managed to talk about Brexit and how this sort of issue impacts more young people in the long term. I finished by saying the issues are too complex for people so young to comprehend and that there must be other ways for them to be engaged in political thinkings. Then I had to discuss with the other candidate about three pictures on the topic “Your Friend – the animal”. These parts of the exam are always daft. The topics are sometimes really vague and it’s difficult to know what to say. Luckily I had had plenty of practice with the other half, so it ended up not being so bad.

Would you believe the moment I finished the exam and stepped out of the exam centre that the heavens opened? Typical, just typical! Even so I managed to go out and have a few drinks to celebrate.

I just had a 4 week wait now until I get my result. I will hopefully be able to share some good news with you soon….