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If you think this is morbid, read no more. If you’re a dreamer or a planner, read on.

Warner Brothers Pictures’ 2007 film, “The Bucket List,” starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, surprised movie moguls and a lot of other people. High hopes cast it as a feel-good, maybe low profit film. Yet it was considered DOA by some film critics—and we all know how inerrant they are. But in the end the film grossed over $174 million worldwide.

The movie featured two older men facing terminal illnesses, who, rather than lie around and wait for the end, created a wish list of things to do before they “kicked the bucket.” Than they flew around the world visiting sites and checking off each item on their “Bucket List.” Humor played a role in the film’s success, and two old hands at movie-making didn’t hurt, but it was the story and message that put the film over the top.

Audiences loved it, at least older members of audiences. Some of my 20-something and 30-something kids and their spouses or friends watched it. They pretty much thought it was “dumb.” But my wife and I thought it was interesting, thought-provoking, poignant, and not-dumb.

It’s called age or time or maturity, I think. Something like that. We liked the film because we’re old enough it made sense to us. So if you’re over 50 I’d say “Watch it; you’ll like it.”

The film introduced "Bucket List" into the cultural lexicon and people began making their list for fun, fantasy, or forming plans. It’s an interesting exercise that reveals something about the bucket-lister. That’s why it’s an enjoyable family or group exercise. You discover things about the people beside you that you didn’t know.

My Bucket List is a work-in-progress. In no particular order, here’s the current list:

--Hike Yellowstone National Park for about two weeks with Sarah.

--Play a round of golf at St. Andrews in Scotland with Sarah and son Eric.

--Ride horses in the Colorado Rockies in the fall when the aspen turn yellow.

--Visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY with Sarah and son Andrew and Kristen, who are fan-atics.

--Attend the Christmas Mass led by the Pope in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on Christmas Eve. I’m not Catholic, but I’ve watched this spectacle for years while Sarah placed the kids’ presents around the tree downstairs. It’s quite an interesting service re the history of the Church and Christian teaching. I’d take Sarah and our son Adam and Morgan; Adam’s begun his own tradition of late night Christmas Eve viewing.

--Attend the Olympics, summer or winter, anywhere.

--Go on safari in Kenya or other African nation.

--Take Sarah and our daughter Elizabeth and Joe to NYC where Elizabeth spent a portion of her youth.

--Bicycle Ireland for a week or two with a group of cyclers. We’ve already done this, but I’d do it again in a second.

--Travel the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri to the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

--Write the Great American Novel or my Magnum Opus, whichever.

This list evolves as I evolve. A few years ago one item would have been attending a national political party convention. Now I’d find that interesting but wouldn’t strain myself to get there. Is this new perspective progress or regress? Depends on whether you believe in evolution, I guess.

So what’s on your Bucket List?


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

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