On January 12, 2016

The Movie Diary: Joy to the world

By Dom Cioffi

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been making and breaking New Year’s resolutions.

Every year it’s the same thing: Once Christmas wraps up, and over the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, I begin analyzing what I could do to either improve myself or help others in the coming year.

I then come up with several ideas that I deem worthy and spend the remaining days of the year mulling over which one to focus on. Then, on New Year’s Eve, I pinpoint the one resolution that I’m going to run with and at 11:59 p.m., I make a vow to see it through for one entire year.

When I was much younger, I would make “little kid” resolutions that were next to impossible to complete. These would include the year that I vowed to make a million dollars and the year that I decided to build an actual racecar.

As I got older I began to understand how undermining it was to create resolutions that were unrealistic in scope. That’s when I started my diary phase.

For several years as a teenager I attempted to make diary entries for 365 consecutive days. Consequently, somewhere in my attic I have four or five diaries that span anywhere from two to five months before the entries trail off, leaving the majority of pages blank. In every case, either I determined that my life was too boring to chronicle on a daily basis or too many days passed, which rendered the resolution void.

During my college years, I, along with everyone else I knew, made the same hopeless resolution to stop partying in order to focus on studying. These resolutions were especially difficult to follow through with, given that all it took was one friend to fall off the wagon before the whole crew went tumbling.

I believe one year this resolution lasted only minutes before a tray full of shot glasses made the rounds about a half hour after midnight. I knew that grabbing that shot would officially end my resolution, but the pressure of ten friends (five of whom were probably in on the same resolution) was too much to fight.

As I rolled into my 20s and the real world after college, my resolutions began to take on a more self-improvement tone. This is when I made the commitments to get in better shape or eat better quality food.

While I never went the route of joining a gym, I did attempt the 25 miles a week running thing and the 50 pushups a day thing. These also would last two or three months before a vacation week or sickness would derail the streak.

Once I hit my thirties, I started considering more humanitarian themes to my resolutions. This is the period where I made gentle commitments like doing a daily gesture of kindness for someone or meditating about world peace every night prior to bed. Inevitably, these resolutions, while meaningful and valid, ultimately dissipated over time from lack of true effort.

Once my son was born, he became the focus of my resolutions. However, getting him to play catch or shoot baskets with me every day proved daunting. As I learned, you should never make a resolution dependent on another person – especially a little boy!

So that brings us to this past year when I made yet another resolution, except this time I found success. After decades of failing at a daily task, I can now say that I have completed one resolution that cycled 365 days.

So, I know what you’re thinking: He must have made a resolution like “take a deep breath every morning” or “smile once a day.” But I promise I did not opt for the mundane.

Every day for this past year, I made some type of journal entry into a sketch pad. The entry may have been a quick sketch about something that happened that day or it may have been a few words describing an event or memory. The idea was to make one entry each day no matter how brief. And I did it!

Thankfully this past year did not see many traumas so the sketchpad is filled with unique and happy reminders of 2015.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the main character in this week’s feature, “Joy.”

Starring Jennifer Lawrence as a down-and-out mom with little going for her, “Joy” chronicles her unexpected rise to stardom as an inventor of home products.

While this picture had its share of negative reviews, I’m happy to report that I found it both creative and endearing.

Jennifer Lawrence delivered another stellar portrayal, which was bolstered by a slew of supporting performances from Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper, among others.

Check this one out if you’re in the mood for an interesting life story that pits one woman against the world.

A joyful “B+” for “Joy.”

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him atmoviediary@att.net.

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