6 Movies About Starting Fresh

Bridget Jones’s Diary

This movie has everything you want in a story about starting over: an embarrassing moment that precipitates ambitious goal setting, a love triangle, and a ridiculous exercise montage. It also has the requisite dry humour that make British comedies such a treat. When I was younger, I thought Renee Zellweger was English. Turns out she’s from Texas.

Coming To America

After deciding it will be too difficult to find a woman who will marry him for love at home, Prince Hakim of the fictional African country Zamunda makes a dramatic move to the United States in an effort to find his future bride. As heir to the throne of Zamunda he is exceptionally wealthy but decides to work for a living in – wait for it – Queens, New York. He takes a job at McDowell’s, an obvious rip-off of McDonald’s, and falls in love with the owner’s daughter, Lisa, who is the kind of smart, independent woman he desires. It’s a hilarious chronicling of the clashing of two cultures, albeit one fictional culture.

Sunshine Cleaning

Two sisters, Rose and Norah, open a crime scene clean-up business. Norah is a bit of a bum and Rose is her older sister raising a son on her own. She opens the business in order to earn enough money to send her troubled son to private school, and own something of her own. There is a particularly gross moment where Norah falls on a bloody mattress, but all in a day’s work, right?

Eat Pray Love

People will never stop rolling their eyes at this story, but if you’d like something easy to watch this is the film for you. Elizabeth Gilbert divorces her husband, and then embarks on a year-long journey of self-discovery with stops in Italy, India, and Indonesia, countries that all conveniently start with “I”. If you’re gonna watch it for anything watch it for the gorge fest that is her stop off in Italy. I’m not evolved enough to get much out of the meditation stuff later in the film, but I’ve watched the first third of the movie with all the pizza and the pasta half a dozen times. On the other hand, Javier Bardem shows up in the last third of the movie so just make an evening out of it and watch the entire flick.

Sleeping With The Enemy

This is another Julia Roberts movie. Granted, it’s quite different. Laura lives a seemingly perfect and privileged life with her husband Martin. Little do outsiders know, the big house and the fancy lifestyle are distractions from Martin’s abuse. After learning how to swim, Laura fakes her own drowning and moves to a new town where she gets a job, meets someone new, and starts over. But things take a terrifying turn when Martin begins to suspect that Laura may still be alive after all.

The Bourne Identity

I’m cheating a little bit with this film. Technically, Jason Bourne didn’t start fresh in order to change his life but rather lost his memory during a mission gone wrong. After escaping an attempt on his life, he wakes up unsure of his name or story but in possession of remarkable fighting skills and the ability to speak multiple languages. Over the course of the film he attempts to regain his memory and piece together his life.

10 Notable Toronto Moments of 2015

This year has seen Torontonians bond over its baseball team, and become divided over Uber and taxis. Whether you were for Kanye performing at the Pan Am games, or secretly felt bad for Meek Mill, at least one item on this list caught your attention in 2015. In no particular order, here are some of the moments that had Toronto’s tongues wagging.

 Liberals Paint the Town Red

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In October, the Liberals formed government in the country’s 42nd election. Canadians weren’t expecting the red wave that swept across the nation, but what was even more surprising was the Liberals’ dominance in Toronto, a key battleground for votes in the country. The Liberals managed to win all 25 ridings in Toronto. They not only grabbed seats in areas that typically vote NDP, they even managed to oust formidable opponents like former Eglinton-Lawrence MP, Finance Minister Joe Oliver. The MP for Eglinton-Lawrence is now Marco Mendicino.

Kanye West Performs at the Pan Am Closing Ceremony

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Pan Am organizers announced that Kanye West would be performing at the closing ceremony. Naturally, many Torontonians were excited about the rapper’s planned appearance, but there were also people who expressed displeasure about the choice. Their criticism stemmed from West’s controversial actions and the belief that the organizers should choose a Canadian performer. Torontonians were also concerned that taxpayers would foot the bill for the star, but organizers were quick to assure everyone that Live Nation covered the cost of performers, and dealt directly with them. At the end, West threw what seemed to be a faulty microphone and walked off the stage. We still don’t know for sure if that was genuine or planned.

The Installation of the Toronto Sign

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Torontonians weren’t completely sure how they felt about the Pan Am games. Public opinion shifted back and forth between anticipation for Toronto’s hosting gig and condemnation of the spending, not to mention frustration about the HOV lanes. One thing city dwellers across the board loved was the installation of the Toronto sign in Nathan Phillips Square. We may have built new stadiums and swimming pools, but those colourful seven letters were the most delightful addition. The sign will remain up and serves as a nice photo background for Toronto natives and tourists alike.

The Taxi-Uber showdown

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The taxi industry has been up in arms over Uber’s creep into the city. Uber’s lack of regulation allows it the luxury of cheaper prices while cab drivers have to follow city rules which prevent them from being as competitive as the new ride-sharing service. Uber’s refusal to cease operations until City Council can draft new regulations, and the city’s unwillingness to enforce existing bylaws in the meantime, has resulted in mounting frustration from the taxi industry leading to protests. Proponents of Uber rave about its lower costs, focus on customer satisfaction, and the ability to track your ride. Critics point to its illegal operations and the risk to passengers who would only be able to deal with a driver’s private insurance in the case of an accident.

Trudeau’s Welcoming of Refugees at Pearson Airport

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Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau personally welcomed Syrian refugees arriving at Pearson. He was joined by Ontario premier, Kathleen Wynne. The move drew international praise and media attention, and served as a refreshing contrast to the hateful and divisive rhetoric south of the border. Trudeau and the Liberals campaigned on the promise of bringing 25,000 refugees to Canada by the end of the year, but they have backtracked on that number saying they will only be able to bring in 10,000 by the end of December.

The City Finds a Father Figure in a Councillor

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Councillor Norm Kelly waded into this summer’s feud between Drake and Meek Mill. Meek Mill accused the Toronto rapper of using a ghostwriter. Kelly came to Drizzy’s defence, famously tweeting that Meek Mill was no longer welcome in Toronto and consistently trolling the Philadelphia rapper over the next few weeks with everything from pithy jabs to Simpsons memes. His foray into hip-hop culture has earned him a younger audience that has taken to referring to the 74-year-old politician as “daddy”. Kelly regularly tweets helpful information about city services, important questions like “is white chocolate really chocolate?” and “what kind of monster buys half a pie?” Kelly even won the title of Canada’s Most Valuable Tweeter beating the likes of Justin Bieber and P.K. Subban.

The Blue Jays’ Wild Ride

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The Blue Jays whipped the city into a frenzy with their successful season, securing their first playoff berth in 22 years. After months of crazy ticket prices and an increase in commuters sporting Jays merch, the boys in blue ended their season with a 4-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS. Nevertheless, it was still a terrific season and images like Jose Bautista’s triumphant bat flip will remain imprinted on the city’s heart for quite some time.

Opening of the Union Pearson Express Line

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In June, the Union Pearson Express train officially opened for business. The line that runs from Union Station to Pearson gets travelers from the downtown core to the airport in 25 minutes. Though decidedly more comfortable than lugging your bags on the subway, many balked at the price: $27.50 or $19 for Presto cardholders. The train also boasts amenities like food services and free WiFi.

First Leaders’ Debate

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The Maclean’s National Leaders’ Debate took place in Toronto at City’s downtown studio. It was notable not only for being the first debate of the campaign period, but also for the performance of the leaders. Harper was his usual collected self, working through his talking points. Trudeau, though also quite reliant on repetitive talking points, performed better than expected. The most talked about candidate was Mulcair due to his demeanour that came across at best amusing and at worst, uncomfortable. Whoever suggested he tone down the aggressive tactics he employed in Parliament and adopt a kindly uncle approach clearly miscalculated, leaving viewers a little weirded out by his wide eyes and constant smiling. Elizabeth May was the most knowledgeable and eloquent of the four presenting smart, interesting ideas, but she was shamefully excluded from future debates including the Globe and Mail debate on the economy.

Peegate

In what was arguably the most cringe-worthy story of 2015, former Conservative candidate Jerry Bance left the Tory party in disgrace after a video of him urinating in a homeowner’s mug surfaced online causing confused Twitter users to click on the trending topic #peegate to figure out what the hell was going on. Bance, a service technician by trade, was caught on hidden camera in a 2012 episode of CBC’s Marketplace casually peeing into a cup and then rinsing it out sans soap. He was responding to a call to replace a leaky sink. As if the situation wasn’t comedic enough already. Bance, who was running in the riding of Scarborough-Rouge Park, released a statement saying the video “does not reflect who I am as a professional or a person.” One Twitter user responded by tweeting, “Sorry Jerry – if you pee in someone else’s mug, that is who you are.”

10 Things To Finally Get Around To Before the New Year

Set Up the Find My Device Feature on Your Phone

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A lost or stolen phone sucks. A lost or stolen phone with sensitive financial or personal information is awful. If you have an iPhone, activate Find my iPhone so that you can locate your phone or remotely erase everything from another device. It will be expensive replacing a missing smart phone, but it will give you great peace of mind to know your credit card info and nudes are safe. (Unless you’ve been targeted by a malicious tech genius that will mine your device with expert skill. If that’s the case, you have bigger problems.) This service is also available for your Macbook, iPod, or iPad. Google also provides a way to locate Android powered devices.

Back Up Your Phone

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On that note, another stressful part about losing your phone is losing all the valuables it contains like photographs, text messages, and songs. Save yourself the hassle and back up your phone regularly by either using services like the Cloud or manually uploading your phone’s contents to your computer periodically.

 Install A Period Tracker

This isn’t 1998, ladies. Circling the date on your calendar in red marker is cute, but if your alarm clock, mail, and schedule are all on your phone, what makes you think tracking your period with a pen and paper is sustainable – or accurate for that matter? Download a period tracker like Clue (also available on Google Play) and outsource worrying about when to avoid wearing white pants to a handy app.

See Your Doctor About That Thing

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If you have a question about your health or an awkward problem you’ve avoided addressing because you hate uncomfortable situations, go see your family practitioner. That is what they are there for, and I can assure you they’ve either seen or studied worse. I would even suggest writing down your specific concerns because it is natural to feel rushed or silly, and having them on a sheet of paper will help you tackle the issues you came in to address.

Install Software Updates

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Software updates are annoying and we are ungrateful. Their point is to get rid of any bugs, but we keep hitting “Remind Me Tomorrow” because heaven forbid an invitation to improve our computer interrupts us reading “8 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Died”. They will fix issues that you can remain blissfully unaware of and – more relevant to your everyday life – make your computer run faster.

Tidy Up Your Computer Desktop

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Cleaning up your desktop is another easy way to make your computer run faster. All those files you save to your desktop for easy access take up bits of memory and those shortcuts add up! Do yourself a favour and get rid of files you no longer need and move the rest of them to folders for your documents, photos, or downloads. It has the added bonus of leaving you with a filing system that makes it easier to find the items you’re looking for later. Also, it’s much more aesthetically pleasing.

Unsubscribe From All Those Emails

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Sure, at one point you felt proactive about learning a second language or when you were in high school you bought a lot of plaid and sweats, but subscriptions to “One French Word A Day” and Garage’s mailing list are not life sentences. It is time to clean up your inbox – and your life – by unsubscribing to those pesky emails. If it’s too much of a pain to do on your phone, open your computer, click on one of those three thousand emails, scroll to the bottom, and hit unsubscribe. You may be redirected to a second page. Stay focused; they want you to give up. Take a deep breath and click to say, “Yes, I’m sure.”

Put A Deposit On That Experience

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Everyone has something they’d like to do whether it’s to travel, take a music class, or sign up for personal training. Each person’s financial situation is different so this may not be an option for some, but if you have enough money to regularly go out to eat or drink, then you definitely have enough money for these experiences. Sign up for whatever it is you want to try or learn. Think of your phone bill. You don’t need all those features and services, but you want them and you will actively work to ensure you have money to keep them. Financing something you enjoy will quickly fall into the same category as your phone bill. If it’s genuinely something you’re interested in, you’ll be more motivated to go to work to pay for it, and it is sure to bring you more happiness than Canada-wide calling ever did – unless your love interest lives in Iqaluit or something.

Hit Send on “I Miss You”

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I bet most people would rather do everything else on this list twice over than consider this last one, but it’s probably the most important item. What’s the point of all this technology if we can’t use it to communicate with one another? Being vulnerable is terrifying, and it can often end in hurt and disappointment. One thing it shouldn’t be is embarrassing. At the end of your life you’re going to be left with the things you did and didn’t do, and it is easier to deal with rejection than it is to live with coulda, woulda, shoulda. Send a text or an email telling that special person, friend, or family member that you hope all is well and that you miss them. If you like, mention whatever it is that made you think of them. In addition, try to remove any expectations from the act so that the reward lies in your honesty and not their reciprocity. Keep it polite, don’t put them in a position to feel obligated to do anything, and then go on with your life knowing you’re living it truthfully.