It’s been awhile since I did a post that was somewhat personal and not entirely movie-centric. As I thought long and hard about a topic for a different kind of entry, I realized that this was something I’ve had germinating in my head for years, so I decided now would be a fantabulous time to finally finish it and put it out there.
I put that asterisk next to the blog title because this list is subject to change as I think of other things, which I inevitably will. Most of this was concocted off the top of my head in 2 days. I want to do all of these things, but this is not every big thing I want to do. Ya feel me? Anyway, I think bucket lists are an awesome idea, and like a lot of people, I’ve wanted to make one ever since the 2007 Rob Reiner/Morgan Freeman/Jack Nicholson buddy movie. Since then, thousands of people have done it, and there are entire websites where you can make and store your own official list. What I find most interesting about lists like this is that they have the ability to reveal all aspects of your personality and interests, and that’s certainly the case with mine. I think that’s pretty damn cool. While there are certainly some far-out items on my list, I’m not much of an adventurer, so you’re not gonna see some of the old clichés, such as skydiving or scuba diving or climbing a huge mountain or bungee jumping. Right now, those things all scare the shit out of me and I have no interest in doing them. However, based on my desire to know what it’s like to fly, you could probably talk me into skydiving at some point. But that’s another discussion for another time.
For the purposes of this post, I’m limiting the list to 30 items, although there may sometimes be a sub-list within an item. My only requirement was that they had to be somewhat realistic, based on what I think I have the ability to accomplish in life. For instance, there’s no “become a rock star and play Madison Square Garden”, because while that would be an amazing experience, I know I’ll never be a talented musician or a good singer. There’s no “cure cancer”, because I could never be a doctor and I’m not smart enough to be a scientist. BUT, there are movie-related things on this list, because I do have it in me to become a successful filmmaker and photographer if I get my shit together in the near future. So, with the basic rules in place, off we go…
These are in NO particular order. Click on the various links for cool background information or examples of what I’m writing about.
1. Make enough money to buy my mom her quaint little dream home and set her up so she never has to work again. – I want this more than anything, and it’s one of the first things I’d do after achieving any level of success. It’s the least I can do for everything she’s given me and done for me over the years.
2. Attend the Academy Awards as a nominee for Best Original Screenplay and/or Best Director, with my mom as my date. – I’ve promised my mom she’d be my first Oscar date since I was a teenager, and I intend to make that a reality.
3. Ride a Maglev bullet train. – Unfortunately, the U.S. probably won’t have the infrastructure for high-speed rail in my lifetime, so I’ll have to go to Europe or Japan to try this out. I think these are some of the coolest man-made creations on Earth.
4. Stand in the Oval Office for 5 minutes. – I don’t even need to meet the President, just let me stand there, walk around and take it in for a few minutes. That’s all I want.
5. Visit Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, CA (preferably to work on a movie). – Along those lines, I also want to see the ILM campus in San Francisco.
6. Have the score to at least one of my films be performed by the London Symphony Orchestra (at Abbey Road Studios). – John Williams‘ collaborations with the LSO (the Star Wars movies, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Superman) are the primary reasons film scores are my favorite genre of music. James Horner has used them a bunch also, including for the Braveheart score, which is his masterpiece. To be in that room and listen to some of the greatest musicians alive bring the music on a movie I wrote to life would be an incredible honor. I’d be happy just to sit on the floor in a corner of the room while they played, grinning from ear to ear. This has been a dream of mine literally since I was about 15.
7. Stay in the Bridge Suite at Atlantis Paradise Island in The Bahamas for a long weekend.
8. Throw out a ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park. – I have no idea what I’ll have done to deserve this honor, but goddammit I wanna do it. And after the first pitch, I want to be escorted to my VIP seats on the first base line right next to the Red Sox dugout.
9. Play in the World Series of Poker. – Obviously, I’d try my luck in the $10,000 Main Event, but I’d also be interested in playing a couple other tournaments there as well; definitely an Omaha tournament, and maybe one other No Limit Hold ‘Em tournament that has fewer contestants than the Main Event (which is a daunting challenge, with at least 6,000 players entering every year). Plus, the competitor in me wants one of those bracelets!
10. Attend a game at Wrigley Field and sit in the Steve Bartman seat (section 4, row 8, seat 113). – Other famous sports venues I’d like to attend a game at include Cowboys Stadium, Lambeau Field, and two college venues: Michigan Stadium (preferably in a game where they play Ohio State) and Cameron Indoor Stadium for a Duke/UNC game. And one day, when I learn to golf, I want to play a round at Augusta National.
11. 10 countries I want to visit: The United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand (basically to see every location where they filmed The Lord of the Rings and to see Peter Jackson‘s studios and post-production facilities), Japan, The Netherlands (Amsterdam!), China, Iceland, and United Arab Emirates (because I simply MUST see Dubai in person).
12. 10 places in the United States I want to visit: The Grand Canyon, Pearl Harbor, Chicago, Las Vegas, New York City (God’s honest truth, I’m 33 and I haven’t been there), New Orleans, anywhere in the Alaskan wilderness (cuz why not?), Northern California (for wine country and to see real live redwood trees), The Four Corners Monument (where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet), and Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio (seriously, if I had the time I’d be a roller coaster junkie). Of course, there are dozens of places in the U.S. I want to see, but those are 10 of the ones that interest me most.
13. Ride in or on, or operate any of the following U.S. military vehicles, with “America, Fuck Yeah!” blasting over the intercom: an M1 Abrams tank, an AH-64 Apache helicopter, an MH-6 Little Bird helicopter, a Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier, a Virginia or Seawolf-class nuclear submarine, or Air Force One. And by operate I don’t mean fly a helicopter or drive the tank. Just let me press a button that actually does something substantial and I’d be happy with that. I feel like every American taxpayer should get to do this once in their lives for all the money we spend on military technology. I’d include an Air Force fighter jet on the list, but I freely admit I’m probably too much of a pussy for that, and the pilot likely wouldn’t appreciate my vomit spraying all over the windshield.
14. Hold the Stanley Cup, a Vince Lombardi Trophy, a Larry O’Brien trophy, and an MLB Commissioner’s Trophy. – I want to know what each of the 4 major American sports’ championship trophies feels like. And so do you if you’re a sports fan. Along those lines, I’d also like to buy someone’s championship ring from the 2004 World Series, the Celtics’ 2008 championship, the 2011 Bruins Stanley Cup title, or the Patriots’ third Super Bowl victory. Ya never know. People fall on hard times and need the money. I’d love to be in a position to acquire one of those babies.
15. Have someone tell me that something I wrote, shot or otherwise created inspired them. – As an artist, that’s the whole ballgame right there. I want to do for someone else what people like Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams or Aaron Sorkin have done for me.
16. Vote for a politician (at ANY level of government) that I genuinely and passionately support. – Strangely enough, of all the outlandish things I’ve listed, this might be the least likely one to actually occur.
17. Stay at the Four Seasons Bora Bora. – ERMAGERD! PERERDERSE!
18. Write and sign a document (preferably a love letter) in fountain ink and pen. – This is something every writer should do at least once. Straight up 19th century in this bitch.
19. Learn to speak at least one new language fluently. – One (or more!) of any of the following; Latin, Spanish, Italian, French, German, Portuguese, Japanese.
20. Learn to play the piano, guitar, and harmonica. – Not so I can compose my own music, but because I’ve always wanted to be able to play my favorite movie themes and do my own variations on them. It’s the simple things.
21. Smoke a cigar in a jazz club. – I mean, come on. #WINNING
22. Stay at an underwater hotel. – This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that seems like it would indeed be worth every penny. I’m no fan of scuba diving or deep sea adventures, but beauty is beauty, and to have this perspective of the world, even if only for a few days…that’s not something I’m gonna pass up if I have the means and the opportunity. It would probably be a little creepy trying to sleep there with all those peeping fish swimming about (and wondering what larger creatures are lurking out of sight), but I’m willing to accept that as part of the bargain. I’m already having visions of a giant squid attacking my bedroom.
23. Make a difference in people’s lives through large charitable contributions, most likely to The Jimmy Fund and/or The Wounded Warrior Project. – This is something I definitely look forward to doing with any large sum of money I come into.
24. Go on the Drew Estate Cigar Safari in Nicaragua. – This has got to be one of the coolest things a cigar lover can do. You get to go down to Nicaragua, see where Drew Estate (one of my 2 favorite cigar brands) makes their product, see how they make cigars, smoke all the cigars you can handle with all meals and accommodations taken care of, and you get design your own blend and roll your own cigars as well. On top of that, you can visit some of Nicaragua’s sites, like volcanoes and historic nearby historic towns. Count me in.
Fascinating stuff. Must go.
25. Speaking of cigars, upon some success, I’d like to own my own brand of cigars. – Some celebrities have fashion lines or own a wine company, rappers buy into Vodka brands…I want to create a line of high-quality, premium cigars. I’d probably follow the Drew Estate model of having cool and random names for the various cigars. You know there’d have to be a cigar named “Biggie”, which would definitely be a full-bodied, 7×70 maduro beast.
26. Spend a night with a porn star. – Yeah, I went there. And if you’re a heterosexual male, this is on your list, too, whether you admit it openly or not. I choose to be honest with you, dear readers. Does this make me some kind of deviant? Well, that’s for you to decide, you judgmental whores! I didn’t say I wanted to do a gang bang. Just me and one beautiful woman. Okay, maybe two beautiful women. I’ve got a few different ladies in mind, too, but I’ll keep that to myself. Naturally, I’m not opposed to doing this more than once. Just never on camera. Perhaps I’ll take her to the underwater hotel. See, that’s economy! Figure out ways to check off more than one of these at the same time! MAYBE…me and the porn star can hitch a ride to the underwater hotel onboard a nuclear submarine (where I get to press buttons and listen to “America, Fuck Yeah!”), and THEN, in the wee hours of the morning, after we’ve put on a carnal spectacle in full view of the entire gallery of the aquatic kingdom, when we’re both utterly spent and our bodies can take no more, I’ll lay back, pull out my smartphone and make a $10,000 donation to the Jimmy Fund. Dude, that’s four in one day! BOOYA!
27. Go on another weeklong cruise. – I went on a cruise with my family in May, 1998 (on Carnival, from Miami to Cozumel, Mexico to Jamaica to Grand Cayman) and I still count it as one of the best experiences of my life. Ever since then, I’ve vowed to do another cruise at some point, either with family again or with a big group of friends.
28. Take a self-defense course. – I don’t know what kind of martial arts I’d like to learn, but I do want to learn the basics of hand-to-hand combat. Don’t come at me, bro! You’ll get hurt.
29. See the Earth from space. – How could a Star Trek/Star Wars geek like me not want to go into space at some point? It seems like we’re pretty close to successful private tourist-y type space voyages, and I would absolutely love to do that one day.
30. Finally, I want to die peacefully in my sleep before I reach the point where I need other people to physically take care of me. – Sorry, but at that point, it’s time to go, folks, whether I’ve finished this list or not. Oh, and someone else will need to check this one off for me once I’m gone. Thanks.
There you have it. You gotta think big and reach high in life, kids. Otherwise, what’s the point? Life is for living, and other such inspirational quotes. Of course, as soon as I post this, I’ll think of 10 more great ones, but I’m pretty sure the most important ones are all here. If any of my pals reading this would like to do their own bucket list, I’d love to read it.
Until next time, where I’ll see you for my review of The Lone Ranger, a film you need not rush out to see in theaters.