New Year’s Resolutions For Fun

New Year's resolutions can be tricky. That's why I rarely make them, but this year I decided to. Why? Because a friend suggested a way to make a new year's resolution fun.

Many people make resolutions to try to improve parts of their lives they struggle with. But often they focus on what the “should” do not what they want to do. Eat vegetables every day. Go to the gym once a week. Learn a language. The challenge comes when you miss a day or a week, then one more, and pretty soon it's March. Sometimes all you feel, if you think of resolutions at all, is sort of bummed that you didn't stick with it.

And here's my confession. Having fun is something I struggle with.

Needing More Fun

Kindle Scribe showing notebook with movie title What Happened To Monday written on it

It's not that I never have a good time. But quite often that's mixed with creativity and work. I love writing fiction. It makes me feel wonderful. I have a great time going out with my friends. But I met lots of them in my other life as a lawyer, so when we get together for fun we tend to talk work, too. Ditto with other writers and creators.

Also, for decades of my life I worked so many hours I didn't have much time to do things just because I enjoyed them. When I did, I read books, which I'm happily doing more of now that I'm working less. But I practically forgot what it's like to have a good amount of free time.

You can probably see why a New Year's resolution to have fun is a good thing.

New Year's Resolution Fun

One of my favorite things to in the years after college was to see movies. My boyfriend at the time (who is a screenwriter now) and I had little spending money. We both had arranged our lives to write as much as possible and work as few hours as possible at our day jobs.

But every Tuesday we either went to the second-run movie theater ($1.50) and saw whatever was playing or chose a movie ($1) from our local library's videotape collection. (Yes, it was that long ago.) There, too, selection was limited. That meant we saw a lot of movies we didn't absolutely love. But we loved taking them apart afterward as much as we did watching them.

That's why I settled on movies for my new year's resolution:

One movie a week in 2024. At the movie theater when I can, streaming otherwise. 

And, as long as it stays fun, I'll share a little about them here.

The First Movie

I know this is a great resolution because I started it early. Last Friday I picked a movie from Netflix with a cool concept. It's called What Happened To Monday. (Which you knew from the photo. That's my Kindle Scribe, which I just got as a holiday present. I'm having fun with that, too, as you can see by my starting my movie list using its notebook feature.)

The Premise

In a future very overpopulated world, a one-child policy is put in place. Additional children are taken away and put in cryogenic sleep. But a grandfather is unwilling to see this happen to his grandchildren, who are septuplets.

He names them each for a day of the week and pretends they are one person. Monday goes out only on Monday. Tuesday on Tuesday and so forth. At home each girl has her own life and expresses herself how she chooses. But to the outside world, these girls are only one girl, one personality they create between them. This works well for decades.

Then one day Monday doesn't return home from work to rehash the day with her siblings and her electronic tracking goes dark. The others must find out what happened to save her and themselves. But how can they without revealing their secret?

What I Liked

  • I loved this premise. It's a fascinating chance to explore identity, inner lives, and the pressures to present a certain way to society.
  • No question this movie passes the Bechdel test. These women, all named, talk to one another all the time about all sorts of topics other than men.
  • The early twists engaged me, and a few surprised me.
  • Glenn Close (she's the villain). I like her in any movie.

What Didn't Work As Well

  • The mystery shifted too quickly to chase and fight scenes for me, leaving too little time to explore the themes that intrigued me.
  • The gore likewise was a bit too much for me (and eyeballs freak me out).
  • Glenn Close's character was too much of an evil villain. I'm more intrigued by layered villains who do evil things but with whom we can sympathize. Some groundwork was laid for understanding her point of view, but we don't get to know her enough to feel for her.
  • The ending never dealt with the overpopulation issue, which the movie did a good job of showing truly was a serious and humanity-endangering problem but then in my view brushed aside.

Three Stars (Of Five)

The 3 stars is mainly for the premise and some interesting moments and world-building. If this were a usual year where I see maybe 4 or 5 movies, I'd be disappointed I picked this one. But it's 1 out of 52, so I felt like it was a pretty good start.

What's next? Check back and see. Oh, and Happy New Year!

Lisa M. Lilly

P.S. If you happen to be a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan and want to hear thoughts on the story elements of each episode, check out my Buffy and the Art of Story podcast and books here.