A ROCKY START:
As January 1st rolled around, it was easy to set down Jurassic Park after a year of viewings and analysis. I’d seen all I’d needed to see, and said all I’d needed to say. If only picking up Avatar was as easy as ridding myself of its predecessor. From the very first moment, Avatar seems like an unwanted chore, its tediousness almost unbearable.

Thinking and writing about Avatar is just no fun. I know that I’m not just sick of discussing films, because when I joined Bill to write about my personal issues with The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, I had a blast. It actively made me dread having to go home and write down my thoughts on Avatar. I was having more fun writing about Jurassic Park at the end of December than looking at Avatar in the second week of January. This is a sad state of affairs.

And things only go downhill from there. As I was trying to fall asleep a little later in the month, I was dwelling on some fears and doubts, and guess what swooped into my thoughts, entirely unbidden?

LastShadow

This thing!

That’s right, toruk, or as the Na’vi translation goes, last shadow, or as the humans call it, the great leonopteryx (or as anyone who isn’t a huge nerd calls it, that big fucking dragon thing). Whatever the damn thing is called, apparently my unconscious mind is associating it with dread and apprehension. And this is only three weeks in? Shit.

ALL-TIME TOP FIVE:
Stepping away from Avatar for a moment, near the beginning of the month, a friend I was talking to was asking me for book recommendations. Finding this difficult, I immediately thought of High Fidelity, the film I watched every week during 2012. See, when asked what my favorite book is, I’m in as much trouble as Rob Gordon when he’s asked for his all-time top five songs. I could easily tell you my favorite book in any number of specific categories, but I couldn’t pick the five that you must read. I suppose I could make a reading list, much like Rob Gordon makes mix-tapes. More significantly, apparently High Fidelity is still the first thing to pop into my mind when I have to rank works of art.

Rob book

He’ll just smugly sit there in the back of my mind forever.

OUTSIDE CIRCUMSTANCES:
Now things take a bit of a lousy turn. A family member, with whom I am very close, has been struggling with mental illness for several years. Near the end of January, his condition worsened and he had to be hospitalized. While this had happened before, this episode was more severe, and I found it to be very difficult to cope with. 

As I immediately discovered, a weekly commitment to watch a film you hate is not particularly pleasant when dealing with a family crisis. The viewing for the final week of January was my first after this occurred. Watching Avatar was the last thing in the world I wanted to be doing, and I might not have made myself do it if I hadn’t been joined by a supportive friend.

Aside from getting my weekly viewing accomplished, Avatar entirely ceased to be a presence in my life. I had no dreams about stupid hammerhead rhinos. I didn’t start quoting the film’s forgettable dialogue. My thoughts did not start wandering unbidden to blue cat people. My mind was entirely focused on other matters.

JakeSeeds

Who would have thought not thinking about this jackassery would have been a negative thing in my life?

It might seem ridiculous for me to have been forcing myself to watch a movie I hate when I’m going through a particularly bad time. But Cinema 52 is about the effect of films on our lives, and what are our lives but a collection of good and bad times? So, from January we’re beginning to learn that Avatar is very unpleasant to watch during the bad times. For how it affects the good times, keep yourself tuned in; rest assured, they’re coming up (though the smart money is on Avatar being no fun during those either.)

Ah well, what did I expect? I’m watching a movie I hate for an entire year.