2020 vision: Our New Year movie resolutions

What does 2020 hold for cinema and what will it mean for movie fans? And more importantly, how will it affect our viewing habits? Here, your Pod Syndicate family share their movie-related new year resolutions. Check ’em out and let us know yours in the comments!

‘Kill my Netflix paralysis’ – Noel, Beyond the Neon

I’m a huge fan of Netflix. Anything that can so comprehensively change the home video game deserves respect, and in the last few years, it has shown real commitment to producing original content that might never have been made under the increasingly risk-averse studio system. But while Netflix has changed many things for the better, it’s also given many of us some very bad habits – and in 2020 I want to kick that habit.

We’ve all been there. How many times have we hit the Netflix button, then spent the best part of an hour scrolling through pages and pages of comedy specials, bland-looking documentaries and TV shows before giving up and going to bed? Aside from its completely useless categories, the fact of the matter is, the Netflix UI just isn’t built for movie lovers… unless they’re looking for a Netflix-produced film which came out that week. Years ago, before I had kids, I watched 365 movies I’d never seen before in a year. These days, time is tight, so if I’ve got two hours to spare, I should be filing it with a classic, or something recent that was well reviewed, or even just some weird 80s flick that has managed to pass me by.

So how am I going to do that? Well, I’m going to get a little more organised. I’ll be listening to more movie podcasts, using Letterboxd a lot more and speaking with friends about the stuff they’ve watched. And, as I used to, I’ll make lists and notes for anything that tickles my fancy and then make sure it is there waiting for me when I have some free time. I’m tired of snacking on largely ‘average’ streaming shows and features. I need movies that have meat on their bones. And the only way that is going to happen is by killing off the paralysis of choice that comes when I press that little red and white button.

Follow Noel on Letterboxd

Trim Those Rewatches’ – Marc, Film Basterds

Like many of you reading this, I watch a lot of films. It’s New Years Eve and I’ve watched just over 300 movies this year (306 to be precise). Of that 306, 114 were first watches – most of which were 2019 releases – which means 192 were rewatches. That’s over 60% of my film watching was things I’ve already seen. That’s too high. 

Now as with all New Year’s resolutions, the key is to make it realistic. It would be easy for me to say ‘I’m going to watch more silent era cinema’ or ‘this year 1 in every 3 films will be foreign’. But the reality is, I wouldn’t stick to it and by the end of January it would be a forgotten promise to myself. So this year I’m going in simple. This year I’m going to attempt to cut my rewatch percentage down to somewhere between 40-50%.

How are you going to achieve this I hear nobody ask? Well I’ll tell you nobody! I’m going to achieve this by watching all those films that I scroll past, as I’m sure many of you do, and say ‘yeah I wanna watch that, but just not now’. I’m turning 2020 into the year of now, the year of cutting down my scroll time on Netflix, Prime etc and actually getting to films I’ve promised myself (and Ian & Becky) that I will get to at some point. Well people this is the point.

Over the course of the year I’ll be keeping a list of films that pop into my head, or films that folks recommend to me that I haven’t seen and that’s the list I’ll be going to of an evening when settling down to do the dreaded streaming scroll. I’m genuinely excited and buoyed by the fact that I’ve already got around forty films in my list as it stands and the New Year hasn’t even started. So happy new year and leave a comment below with your New Years Film resolutions or any recommendations you might have for my list.

Follow Marc on Letterboxd

Get to the Cinema’ – Jordan, His Film Her Movie

Streaming services seem to be consistent theme looking through these resolutions and there’s a reason for this, over the last 5 or so years we’ve seen the biggest shift in the cinema experience that the medium has seen in decades. And given this my own viewing habits have changed dramatically. As a person who used to see 100+ films in the cinema each year, happy to sit through double (or even triple) bills of the week’s releases, I’d be surprised if I saw 20 films on the big screen in each of the last 4 years.

Now, this is due too many different reasons not solely the rise of streaming services. Most of all being that free time is generally harder to come by as you get older. My working hours take up a large part of day and you then feel you need to ration the rest of your time effectively and – I know this may come as a shock – watching a movie is sometimes not the best way to spend that time.

So my one film resolution for this new year is to go see 52 films (one for each week) at the cinema and to regain my passion for the theatrical experience. You can follow which films I’m going to see as I’ll be setting up a list on my Letterboxd account, which I will update every time I go to the cinema.

Follow Jordan on Letterboxd

Get out of my rom-com rut – Lauren, His Film Her Movie 

For years I thought I was a connoisseur of films. People would come to me to ask my opinion, get film recommendations and discuss cult classics.

All this changed when I started the podcast and realised I was a big fish in a small pond. It’s hard to feel like you know films when you’re in a relationship with someone who has lived, breathed and slept film for years. And while I thought I enjoyed many genres, Jordan made me realise I most definitely have a go-to genre. The rom-com. 

So for 2020, I want to break out of this rut. Already though the podcast I have had to watch films that I would normally never look at, and I’ve enjoyed them! I want to carry this on and explore and find a new favourite genre. Something that I can learn about, get my teeth stuck into and find new films and actors to fall in love with all over again. 

Everyone has an old favourite, be that your lucky socks, favourite chocolate or that book you read again and again. And that for me is the Rom-Com. It’ll never leave my number one spot, but I hope to find something to share that space. I can promise you one thing though. As the groups official scaredy-cat, it won’t be horror!

Follow Lauren on Letterboxd

Read more while watching’ – Ian, Film Basterds

On recording our best of the decade show, one thing that struck me was just how little foreign language fare there was on the list – and this is entirely my fault.

I’ve owned Kore-eda’s Shoplifters for months and scroll past it every time I’m looking for something to watch. I hear amazing things about Ash Is Purest White but it always seems to disappear from my mind when I’m struggling for an evening’s entertainment. I feel I’ve become more closed off from world cinema and I need to dive back in. I think my Decade list would have been substantially changed if I’d made more of an effort.

As a side note, I also need to watch the classics I never have before. I’ve owned Rear Window for years. WHY HAVE I NOT SEEN IT???? Also, I haven’t hit a one film a day batting average in years, that can surely be rectified….

Follow Ian on Letterboxd