2020: Pop Culture Challenges

We’re at the dawn of a new decade**, and that always causes me to feel inspired to take on some big challenges. Usually in December I find myself setting up challenges for the next year ahead, but let’s face it — the days are long but the years are short, and maybe a ten year challenge is a more attainable course to set myself out on.

There are a handful of hobbies I intend to pick up and work on over the next ten years (beginning in or continuing with 2020). They are:

🍰 Baking
🎹 Playing Piano

But there are also three pop culture challenges I’m going to take on – two about movies, one about books. Two have already been created for me, one I have to go through and make the list myself. I might finish some of these earlier (like, maybe even within 2020 itself) and I might add more later on, but these are the three I’m aiming to complete in the next decade.

The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

This is the one that’s going to probably take me close to ten years, but I’m committing. Hey, maybe we’ll get another Year in the Life in the meantime and the list will get even longer. (Amy Sherman-Palladino, if you’re reading this and you’re too busy with Mrs. Maisel, I’m totally volunteering to jump in and write another four-part mini-series for you…).

There are 339 books on the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge list. Some of them I’ve already read, and will re-read in the spirit of the challenge. Some of them, like Europe through the Back Door 2003 by Rick Steves, I’m telling you right now I’m gonna skip. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do about Swan’s Way, but I am going to give Beowulf a try (and I’m already regretting that, but here we are…).

Here’s the list, if you want to play along at any point. I might follow this blog’s structure and do it season by season…

The Disney Animated Classics Challenge

This one I might get done in a year. Maybe two. But the idea is simple: start with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and watch, in order, through…well, through Frozen 2 at the very least, and anything else that might come out in the meantime before I finish the challenge.

This will include sequels. This will not include Pixar or “live” versions (even if the live versions are animated, like the new The Lion King and Lady & the Tramp.). I’m going off this list.

The How I Met Your Mother Movie Reference Challenge

Okay, this is the one I actually have to write for myself, which means I have to rewatch every episode (again), which means it’s gonna take me a bit to get it up and running.

My reasoning here is this (and I’ve explained this to my friends before) — if a movie is ubiquitous enough in popular culture to be referenced on a show like How I Met Your Mother, then it’s a movie I need to have seen (or need to watch again for the purposes of this challenge). A few that I already know off the top of my head that are mentioned (repeatedly):

  • Top Gun
  • The Karate Kid
  • Die Hard
  • Star Wars (Original Trilogy)
  • Field of Dreams
  • Ghostbusters
  • The Princess Bride

And I’m sure many more. Again, I have to compile the complete list. There’s a good pop culture thread about it on Reddit, but I want to do this one on my own. Adds to the challenge.

And yes – that’s a lot of books to read (or re-read) and a lot of movies to watch (or re-watch) over the next ten years, but I have faith I can get it all done before the 30s roll around.

How about you? What sort of fun pop culture challenges are you deciding to embark upon in this next decade? Let me know in the comments or tweet me at @ThatColette.

**We can get all pedantic and argue whether or not the new decade begins in 2020 or 2021, but here’s my reasoning: there’s no way Gatsby and his ilk would claim the Roaring 20s were from 1921-1930, so our roaring twenties won’t be from 2021-2030 either. We’re starting ’em now, thankyouverymuch.