100 Movies Bucket List: 3 Idiots

100 Movies Bucket List was a poster given to Jesse by his sister on Christmas 2019. We are committed to watching all of these movies and writing about them. We have no idea how long this will take. What even is time during the quarantine? And sometimes, these posts will include spoilers. Just a friendly warning from two friendly guys.

Once upon a time I was traveling through Southeast Asia on a quest to find myself. Well actually I was on a quest to travel around Southeast Asia and I wasn’t thinking about much else but I was young and looking to connect with the world outside of the suburbs of Colorado.

During my travels my wife and I made a lot of new friends. Most were ex-pats (ex-patriots, AKA extended travelers from the USA), others were from Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, and a few were from Southeast Asia. I wanted to connect with this region so obviously the few from Southeast Asia were my favorite (yes I pick favorites among my friends! Jesse is currently trending up so good for him.)

One such friend was from India. She told us stories of the wars her country had fought in, the struggles her family had endured to survive, and all of her favorite Bollywood movies. Yes we would often transition from the most haunting stories of war to her favorite Bollywood actor seamlessly. Travel friends are funny like that, you feel an instant connection and you have to pack your entire life story and personality into a constrained amount of time.

I remember her recommending 3 Idiots, a coming-of-age Bollywood film. At the time I wasn’t aware of how large of an impact this movie made in the film industry. Based on the name I assumed it was the Indian version of Dumb and Dumber except with three dummies instead of two.

I was very wrong. Unfortunately I didn’t pursue her recommendation, I put it on a list that has since been lost. Thankfully due to another friend (Jesse, you see why he’s moving up the rankings?) and his ‘100 Movies Bucket List’ project the recommendation was given another chance of life.

I’m profoundly grateful as 3 Idiots is an absolute delight. Despite being near three hours long the heart and fun never let up in this beautiful film. And as far as an introduction to Bollywood? Well let’s just say 3 Idiots piqued my interest in Indian film as Old Boy piqued my interest in Korean film. Albeit with far less blood and psychological fuckery.

3 Idiots is a typical coming-of-age story with a traditional collegiate setting that follows three young men as they attempt to survive the unrelenting pressure of a prestigious engineering school. And while the story hits all the usual beats it has a freshness to it thanks to the natural charisma from the wise-beyond-his-years lead in Rancho (played by Aamir Khan who plays a teenage character despite being in his 40’s during filming).

The film is also distinct because it has a secondary timeline, ten years in the future, that provides the audience with a natural fulfillment. Typically the joy behind a coming-of-age story is seeing a young protagonist grow into themselves and then by the end you are ready to let them go in to the world alone because you know they will thrive. It’s like being a parent to a fictional character. But in this film we actually get to see the people they become, in some instances, before we see their collegiate journey. Even better we see them in their grown state while they are on another journey in the present timeline which provides further growth! It’s a beautiful touch that teaches humans are constantly learning even outside of their formative years.

Perhaps that’s why the film resonated with me so much. I may not be Indian nor smart enough to be an engineer but the characters and the story still spoke to me. The two journeys the characters go on, with one journey explicitly shaping who they are in the other, is relatable no matter who you are, especially as you get older and more reflective and you realize how much of an impact your past has on your present and future.

Cheesy as it is the memory of a simple act, in this case a movie recommendation, by a travel friend from another country allowed my mind to jump back to the time my wife and I traversed the great region of Southeast Asia. And the recommendation coming back to me six years later allowed me to connect the dots of my own journey from a wandering 20-something in Bangkok to the present day 30-year-old living in Brooklyn. I discovered I have been in my own coming-of-age story this whole time and it reminded me there is always more to learn.

Let’s Talk About: 100 Movies Bucket List

Kevin: Why hello there friends, family, and enemies! How are your self-quarantine days going? Does each day feel like a month to anyone else?! Of course it does! We are all miserable together.

Here at Flimsy Film Critics we like to focus on the silver lining and while it’s pretty tough to find a positive in a literally deathly situation, we are still trying to enjoy our time at home. I’ve been practicing my handstands while hanging out with my best friend (social distancing doesn’t apply to married couples right?). And we have also sat through quite a few movies.

Which brings me to the main point of this post. My friend Jesse had a great idea to keep ourselves entertained through this unprecedented time. Jesse, what is the great idea and how are you holding up during these strange times?

Jesse: Introverts were made for quarantines, Kevin. Staying at home, ignoring the outside world and spending time on all of the hobbies that we love and never have time for? This is OUR moment! That being said, I do miss my family and friends. And sports. I REALLY miss sports.

But like you said, we’re all about the silver linings. My sister gave me a poster for Christmas titled, “100 Movies Scratch Off Bucket List.” As you can likely surmise, it is a poster with a list of 100 movies, but it also features a little scratch off picture for after you watch each movie. It’s a pretty cool novelty for a film fanatic like me and a much more interesting way to check things off a list.

Anyway, I suggested to Kevin that since we’re all under quarantine and have all this extra time on our hands, why not attack this list together, watch all these movies and make a series where we write about it? Kevin either actually liked the idea or he’s being really nice because he doesn’t want to stifle my creativity. Either way, it’s much appreciated, my friend.

So what about this series are you looking forward to, Kevin? Are you chomping at the bit to share how overrated some of these movies are or are you genuinely looking forward to seeing some of them for the first time?

Kevin: I’m looking forward to you watching Oldboy, the top-notch Korean film that will leave you absolutely shook. You won’t be able to forget it! I’m also looking forward to the act of crossing off so many classic films on my movie bucket list. There’s movies on here that I should have seen already that I am ashamed I haven’t like Casablanca, Scarface, and The Goonies. Plus, crossing things off lists is very satisfying.

There is something I am not looking forward though. The dark secret behind this “100” Movies Bucket List is there are actually 104 movies because it lumps in the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy and the original Star Wars trilogy together. That means I will have to attempt to get through Lord of the Rings, something I have failed many times in the past. I think at this point my official watch history is I fell asleep during the first one, skipped the second one, and begrudgingly sat through the entirety of the third one in a theater. I got up multiple times thinking it was over only to realize the movie had a lot of fakeout endings. As you know I’m not too good with the whole middle earth genre (still never planning to catch up on Game of Thrones) so this will be a painful experience to say the least.

I’m going to assume you will enjoy my suffering but what else are you looking forward to? And how should we go about this project? Should we each watch every movie (we are quarantined after all) or should we divide and conquer?

Jesse: I really love the idea of us each watching every movie on that list. One thing this quarantine has taught me is that there are plenty of ways for you to connect with people without actually seeing them. And while tackling 104 movies together seems rather daunting, we aren’t doing much else at the moment and even when all of this is over, that still gives us plenty to post about in the post-quarantine world. On top of all that, it sounds like you’re going to need some moral support to get through Lord of the Rings. I got you pal!

What say you, Kevin? Are you ready to embark on this grand adventure with me? And what should we be looking for and paying attention to as we rewatch the 104 greatest films of all-time (according to a random movie poster)?

Kevin: I am READY! Let’s do this and let’s make sure we review as many of these classics as possible because people want to know our opinions on movies that are already beloved right?

Things to look for? Maybe we will get in a fight over a few movies on the list. Maybe you’ll finally catch the Korean films bug that I caught. Maybe our relationships will slowly falter as we spend days of our lives watching movies from a random poster. There are so many possibilities!

And for those of you at home who want to watch along or see us progress, I have taken the liberty to translate the poster into a friendly excel/sheets document to view. Jesse and I have already marked which movies have seen. Are we going to rewatch those? Who the hell knows, stay tuned to find out!

So Jesse, what say we get this started this weekend? What will you dive into first? I’m thinking I might start with a modern like Moonlight mostly because I think I saw it was available on Netflix.

Jesse: Is it a cop out if I also say that Moonlight jumped out at me too? It’s even potentially a two for one, since it’s currently sitting on my movie shelf and I still haven’t watched it.

I’m convinced this is the way to go. Any last thoughts?

Kevin: My last thought, I wish you luck on this journey my friend. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility (to review as many of the 104 movies as possible). That’s how that quote goes right?