Bottoms Up, Tom

new year 6

So. For the New Year, some years ago, I resolved again to go back to gym. I saw Evan (über-physio) for the first time about this time – late January.  After exchanging good wishes he asked me if I made any resolutions, and I said, yes, I am going back to gym this year. He looked slightly amused. So go then, he said, it’s almost February. And I think I went.

Going back to gym never featured again in my annual list of good intentions. I now just try to carry on going, regardless of the size of the gap between visits. One day, one week, one month: in a sense the gym resolution is the opposite of the quit-smoking one. Mercia Axon told us (Smokenders) that people who say that they had, in the past, stopped smoking for a week, a month or a year, only to start again, did not really stop. They only took a break. I now try to apply that principle to the gym thing. I don’t have to go back; I can just carry on going. It works in a weird way.

I make a list every year even though, strictly speaking, I have only ever managed to stick to one resolution – the one to recycle. In a fragment of a 702 discussion I heard in the car early in Jan some expert told Redi Hlabi that resolutions are more likely to be kept if they are linked to a personal value, or if they are seen as long-term goals, rather than do-or-die ultimatums. This explains the recycling thing. This, and the fact that I installed a simple and manageable system, based on Nicola and Ofer’s, in my kitchen.

Every now and then I separate plastic and cans – the wine bottles have their own special place – and drive to the Melrose dump where I can feel even more virtuous if I tip the guy that helps me offload R10. Of course, when the visits to the dump are too infrequent, the wine bottles become a rather embarrassing mountain in the shopping trolley I use to haul them past the neighbouring flats, down in the lift, through the foyer and into the garage. Sometimes I manage to hide them under the plastic, but I am always convinced that Esther and Joe from next door are watching through the peep hole and judging me.

Anyway. My resolutions this year include un-cluttering my life and my flat, cooking new things, learning new things, seeing friends more, making my world bigger (not sure yet how, but working on a couple of things) and to blog more often.

What I should have resolved instead is to no longer see any Tom Cruise movies. I once decided not to see any more Charlie Sheen films, and I have stopped paying for anything starring Sarah Jessica Parker last year, but I am not sure if those efforts were, strictly, on the resolutions list. I considered that their agents may just have chosen crap scripts for them, but SJP shares the CAA stable with Cate Blanchett and George Clooney, who have both managed impeccable filmographies. On the other hand, she also shares it with Tom Cruise, whose Jack Reacher was a colourless and incredible affair, flailing in spite of its excellent bad guys – Jai Courtney and Werner Hertzog – and Robert Duvall. The main characters, Reacher and Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike), lawyer, love interest and rebellious daughter of District Attorney Alex Rodin (Richard Jenkins), are a poorly defined, dull pair with absolutely no raison d’être. We have no idea who Reacher is – a fuzzy history expediently revealed in the dialogue only makes him more impenetrable – or why Helen decides to defy her father. If there has ever been a good lesson in how not write a back story, Jack Reacher would be it.

The film was so bad that the entire franchise it was supposed to launch has apparently been canned. One might suggest that director Christopher McQuarrie sticks to writing screenplays (The Usual Suspects, Valkyrie and The Tourist) where he seems to know his craft. Anyway, I resolve to forego Tom Cruise movies in future. Excluding, maybe Mission: Impossible 5, in spite of the fact that McQuarrie may direct, again. They do seem to be getting better and better. (Does this mean I am already resolving to break my resolution?) Maybe I’ll wait to hear what Barry says. I think 2013 is going to be a very good year.