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Some things I like – August 2018

Some things I have liked over the last few months and want to share –

FILM – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and soundtrack

When this film came out in 2013 I thought that looks odd and couldn’t figure out what it’s about. I caught it on Film 4 a year or so ago and really liked it. I’ve since watched it a couple of times and now love it.

This story’s about daydreaming office worker and a missing photo negative. It’s really about a man breaking out of his safe life and taking risks and grows when he stops going along with being told what to do. The film got mixed reviews on its release and is directed by and stars Ben Stiller and co-stars Kristen Wiig.

There’s humour, some melancholia, the beautiful Icelandic landscape, a subtle cameo from Sean Penn and a terrific ending. The soundtrack with original songs from Jose Gonzalez is also superb. It’s a little film with a big heart, showing why you should break outside your comfort zone.

TV – Cobra Kai

The web series set 34 years after the original 80s classic The Karate Kid shows that Johnny Lawrence’s defeat to Daniel LaRusso was a turning point for both of them. The series stars the original Johnny (William Zabka) and Daniel (Ralph Macchio). Johnny is now a handyman and estranged husband and Dad with a drinking problem and Daniels a happy family man with a successful chain of car dealerships. Their paths cross again as Johnny reopens the Cobra Kai dojo and takes a kid in his block under his wing (ala Mr Miyagi) and unbeknownst to him, Daniel hires Johnny’s son and also begins to train him. The All-Valley Karate Tournament looms in the future.

This is a good stand-alone series but really comes to life for fans of the original film. There are great nods and winks to the original and a fun sense of déjà vu with nice use of flashbacks. In one scene, while Johnny and Daniel bury the hatchet for 5 minutes, go get a drink and end up looking up their ex-girlfriend Ali on Facebook.

The series is available on YouTube Red/ Original and the first two are free to view and then the other episodes are pay per view and have a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Well worth a watch.

FILM – Borg vs McEnroe

I’ve had this on my Watchlist on Amazon Prime for a while. Having a spare evening, I stuck this film on. It follows the rivalry between Björn Borg and John McEnroe at the 1980 Wimbledon Championships and stars Sverrir Gudnason, an absolute spit of Borg and Shia LaBeouf as the Superbrat New Yorker.

The film follows the build-up to Wimbledon with flashbacks to their upbringings and development in the sport. Borg is trying to win his fifth consecutive title and struggling with the mental pressures. McEnroe what’s to be taken seriously for his tennis and not in on-court antics and grows angrier whilst people fawn over Borg.

The film is excellent and shows McEnroe’s respect for Borg and how he grew up idolising him. Shia LaBeouf has his detectors but is outstanding in this film. It’s Gudnason’s film though, as the ice-cold Swede who’s drive to win (or not to lose) is also tearing him apart.

The music in the film is also sensational portraying the turmoil and isolation of both of the superstars. A highly recommended watch.

PODCAST – The Rewatchables

This is a podcast from The Ringer website about films that are highly rewatchable.

Some of the movies covered so far are Point Break, The Science of the Lambs, Speed, The Fugitive, Good Will Hunting, Creed, The Social Network, Jurassic Park, Forrest Gump, Jaws, Die Hard and my personal favourite, Miami Vice as well as many more.

Bill Simmons and his editors discuss their love of these films and include Casting What Ifs, Career Apex, Half-Assed Internet Research and Who won the movie.

It’s so nice to hear people talk so passionately about some of my favourite films and how it drives you to go and watch them again with a new found perspective. I’ve really enjoyed these over the last couple of months and are a great suggestion for film lovers.

BOOK – The 4 Pillar Plan: How to Relax, Eat, Move and Sleep Your Way to a Longer, Healthier Life by Dr Rangan Chatterjee

UK readers may know Rangan from the BBC TV show – Doctor in the House where he went to live with some patients for a week or so instead of the 10-15 minutes UK GPs have per appointment. He used progressive medicine to find the root cause of people’s problems and not just treat their symptoms and had dramatic results.

This book gives you the opportunity to try it out for yourself. It’s broken down into the 4 pillars – relax, eat, move, sleep and provides small, achievable changes in each of these key areas you can create and maintain good health – and avoid illness.

The book is full of ideas (maybe too many) and does get scientific in some places when the background is required. I think it would be good to pick one of the pillars and focus on a few points as not to get overwhelmed at the start. There is a good summary at the end of a chapter with the actions to take.

Rangan has been on the Rich Roll podcast which is a good primer to what the book sets out to do and has a number of anecdotes about how making tiny steps have led to big changes for some of his patients.

Even if you’re on top of your nutrition, go to bed on time, are active and know how you like to kick back, there will be something of use in the book. I liked the idea of getting some sunlight first thing in the morning to help set your body rhythms and is actually just a nice thing to do, having a cup of tea outside especially when the weather is nice as it is now.

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