Favourite Entertainment of 2020
As we all know, not much happened in the entertainment world last year, except drama and delays. That said, I think a surprising amount of what was actually published was pretty good. Many of the published works of art were very contemporary and also took advantage of the lack of competition. However, some of the results obtained were particularly good in themselves. It’s been a difficult year and we haven’t had time to see many of the expected films in the theatres. From this point of view, I think it is even more important that we take credit where credit is due and look at the positive aspects. That’s exactly what I want to do today. For the sake of simplicity (and the relative lack of content) I will limit myself to 5 lines that could be any type of entertainment from 2020. Immersion.
5.) The artistic rebirth of Taylor Swift.
Let me start by saying I like most of the music in Taylor Swift. His songs about relationships don’t bother me as much as others. She went from the rare country artist I could bear to the equally elusive and endearing pop diva. I don’t really like their eponymous debut album, but most of their music ranges from decent background sounds to an absolute explosion. Yet her self-reform as an independent folk singer has been one of the biggest pleasant surprises of 2020 for me. Their two press releases about the pandemic, Folklore and Evermore, were a surprise at the last minute. But this is not the only, nor the most critical point of departure of the two albums; the style, tone and content do not resemble what the singer-songwriter has done before. The songs on the companion albums usually tell stories based on Taylor’s original characters and show many different perspectives on different subjects. My favorite folk is The Last Great American Dynasty, and that’s not at all what I thought when I read the title. I like most things that happen the same way, but No Body – No Crime stays in my mind. I’m by no means a music critic, so I have nothing else to say. Nevertheless, I have greatly appreciated the transformation of this artist, which I have already enjoyed. It is a ripening of style and personality that came at the right time. I’m not saying these are the best albums of 2020 (although Folk would be my favourite), but it’s a big and amazing moment in popular music.
4.) Helluva Boss.
Unlike the other entries on this list, until recently I had never heard of Helluva Boss or the creator and host Vivien Medrano. In fact, I saw a video from SaberSpark (which I strongly recommend) about the new 2020 cartoons, and I was shocked that Helluva Boss escaped me. I like to think that I’m pretty well aware of what’s happening in the world of animation, and it’s been a very slow year, but I haven’t heard or read anything about the series. The pilot and two other episodes are available for free on YouTube (along with many other works by Mrs. Medrano), so of course I watched them. Surprisingly, the pilot didn’t catch me, and I wondered what Saber and others liked so much. But the episodes are short, from 11 to 16 minutes, and I still had a lot of time, so I continued. The pilot of the series is simply called Pilot and, oddly enough, is not considered the episode No. 1 of the series, this distinction goes to Killer Family. I was thinking about shutting down The Killer Family after the opening scene. I don’t want to ruin everything, but the events leading up to the murder in question have made me angry, and that’s all very exaggerated and stupid. However, the episode sucked me in as soon as I realized what was really going on and why this opening sequence was aired. The cheerful and childish antics of the teacher and her pupils were shown in contrast to what happened later. It seems painfully clear now, but at first I had the feeling that the whole show would be like this. The killer family is not fiction. However, I managed to get into one of the characters, Moxxie (Richard Stephen Horwitz), and he’s very creative. The pilot wasn’t bad, but I didn’t like the characters and I didn’t think it was funny.
But Loo Loo Land is a place I really loved and I can’t wait to see more of it now. This episode focuses on another character, a kind of owl devil called Stolas (Bryce Pinkham). Of the three episodes available so far, Loo Loo Land is the funniest, the most visually stunning and the one that does the most with its characters. The Killer Family challenged Moxxie’s moral and pushed him to the limit, but Lu Lu’s Earth is about a family that is falling apart. The episode wisely begins with the memory of Saint Nicholas who comforted his daughter Octavia after a nightmare. It is this relationship that is at the heart of the episode, and Octavia has not been presented before. They do a lot with little time and create an amazing series in which he puts them to sleep with a beautifully simple song and striking images. This series always looks good, even the pilot, but between this scene and another later in the episode with an animatronic clown in the unofficial Lucifer theme park, Loo Loo Land is a visual feast. Of the three, Loo Loo Land is also the most emotionally charged. He examines the difficulties of self-discovery and divorce, and their unfortunate consequences for his teenage daughter and their relationship. But I also think it’s the funniest part. Through his humour he delves into the story and aspirations of Blizzo, a rather one-dimensional character. Most adult cartoons fail in my eyes because they work almost exclusively for humour and don’t make you care about the characters. This isn’t always the case, but that’s why I can’t identify with many of the better-known ones. You wouldn’t know about the pilot, but judging from the other episodes, Helluva Boss is well on her way to master this delicate balancing act. I can’t wait to see more. Among Vivienne’s other projects, the only one I have seen so far is the Hazbin Hotel pilot project. This show shares its place in hell with boss Helluva. There are no other episodes on YouTube, but the series has been picked up by A24. This driver is entertaining, but lacks the spirit and emotional involvement of The Killer Family and Liberty Land. Having said that, I think he actually performs better than Helluva Boss’ driver, and I have high expectations of the series.
3.) I’m very happy
I don’t want to talk too much about the things I’ve already discussed here, but this film deserves a place on the list. The film has an impressive cast and a unique and memorable soundtrack that ranges from cheerful earwigs to flowing tears. As usual Netflix didn’t do any marketing for it (although surprisingly they came out of the merchandise through Mattel). I only heard it from Hamilton fans eagerly looking forward to Philippa Su in the role of the Chinese moon goddess Chang’e. Directed by Disney animation veteran (and designer of some of their best characters) Glen Keane, Over the Moon is a delight. I can’t say anything about the accuracy of the depiction of the Chang’e legend or Chinese culture in the film, but it can’t be worse than Mulan 2020, can it? This film is great and has a very special look, with exceptional songs and a cast of memorable characters. This is my favorite animated film of 2020 that I will see again in the near future.
2.) Release of Hamilton at Disney+
Although Hamilton is a set film and I didn’t even like it, it is by far my favourite film of 2020. This series is so good that it’s hard to know where to start. The amplitude excels; it’s as if they were born to play these historical figures who often don’t even look like them. The performances and the music are so good that you forget them after a few songs. It is a story of epic proportions and a predetermined tragic meaning, but it also manages to feel intensely personal. In his first act, Hamilton embodies the spirit of the American Revolution and the courage of youth. On the contrary, the second act acts as a kind of resemblance, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. I almost came first because seeing Hamilton was one of the few good things that happened for me in 2020. It’s one of the most thematically intense stories I’ve ever experienced in any medium, and I’ve rarely had so much fun with a variety of characters.
Even the meanest characters have redeeming qualities (okay, maybe not King George) and are extremely entertaining. The reading of Hamilton’s biography was inspired, of course Miranda took creative liberties with the characters (there can’t be hundreds of named characters in a musical) and some details. But it is impressive to see the spirit of a man, the message of his life and the lasting impact of the people around him shine through. It doesn’t matter if the story is factual or fictional, I think it’s a way to fit in. If people want to know the exact details, they have to do their own research. But if you don’t keep the feeling that the story radiates, the essence of the characters? You’ve already lost. I forgot to mention energy lighting and staging in my report. The room where it happens has this light effect where the characters are sometimes in boxes, which is really cool and visually conveys what Barr is talking about. The staging and choreography are all fantastic, but this song and Non-Stop stand out to me because they use these subtle technical elements to hammer out the narrative and thematic details. When he shows up, does Hamilton have to deal with all the important figures in his life that draw him in different directions, while he wonders whether he is always looking for personal success and whether he is capable of slowing down? That’s very good.
1.) Star Wars
I could have chosen something more specific, and I’m sure many would have said the Mandalorian Season 2. But the only thing that can obscure my new favorite movie (or at least a reliable link to an old movie) is the restoration of a series that had an impact on my life (and on the lives of many others). The rest of the trilogy ruined my hopes for the Star Wars franchise. The Awakens Force had a number of promising elements, most of which were quickly wasted in the next two tranches. I want to focus as little as possible on that. In 2020, Star Wars TV was released in almost every area. I really enjoyed season 1 of the Mandalorian Archipelago, but I think season 2 is a big improvement. I liked the feeling of slowness and smallness of the first season, and unlike some people, the stand-alone episodes didn’t bother me. However, the second season was overloaded and gave people a lot of what they expected from the films and what they didn’t get. I loved Ahsoka’s return and the live encounter with Bo-Katan, and the last scene in Rescue was just the embodiment of hope. I saw Luke’s appearance as a surprise, as the Christmas present we all needed. If I at least enjoyed Season 7 of Clone Wars, the siege of the Arch of Mandalore was really something. For me it felt more like a film than a sequel, in which the natural development of the characters and the great action were skillfully interwoven with the fall of the Republic. His connection to Revenge of the Sith improves the best prequel, instead of making the fans feel.
As much as I have enjoyed this season of Mandalorian Wars, as much as I have enjoyed the last 4 episodes of Clone Wars. Ahsoka is my favourite Star Wars heroine who didn’t appear in the original trilogy, and we had to see that part of her story. She came back to the rebels older and wiser, but it’s beautiful and heartbreaking to see how she did it. I wish the rest of their story had been more substantial this season. But it is clear that Siege is the reason why they wanted to come in this last season. Filoni and his team, I mean we all know Disney did this because they wanted money and to bring back the goodwill of the fans. Many of the themes of this arch have already been dealt with in films and in previous TCW-seasons. The harshness and uselessness of war, the inability to protect those we love and the intervention of politics to do the right thing are remarkable examples. But behind the brilliant battle sequences and stunning effects is what will happen to Anakin and Palpatine and how it will affect Rex and Ahsoka, not to mention the clones that won’t survive. It’s the darkest ending to a Star Wars movie or series – darker than The Empire Strikes Back because Han survives and Luke Vader saves; darker than Rogue One because few people have sacrificed, and for something bigger than them. If Order 66 falls and Ahsoka’s entire regiment dies because of it, it’s not for the greater good. They didn’t do it to stop the Empire or save anyone else. They have served their purpose by waging war in the name of Palpatine, they are dying and all for nothing. Asoka would take a look at their destroyed troops and pick them up and bring them to the scene, but they don’t stop there. The epilogue, in which Father finds the sword he gave him in the snow and the ashes, sums it all up. Not to mention what they did for Maul (a character from previous seasons of HOA and Rebel that has already been saved) and his philosophical reportage with Ahsoka. Who would have thought that a man with two lines in The Phantom Menace and Star Wars Clones would carry the best Star Wars content since the original trilogy? That’s why Dave Filoni has more of his own shows.
Soul is my second favorite animated film of 2020 and would be on my list if Over the Moon wasn’t so good. It’s another movie I thought came at the right time. It would have been a good film every year, and it’s impressive to see how mature he is and how seriously he takes his subject. But a memory to enjoy every moment and not just live for the great things? Do you realize that eating a piece of pizza is more than fulfilling your wildest dreams? That you wouldn’t be happy with what you want if nothing was ever good enough? In the year of our Lord 2020? It’s even hard to know what to say. Pixar has always excelled in making complex concepts accessible, but in this respect it is on a different level. The Incredibles say that everyone should be able to pursue their dreams, and Ratatouille says that everyone can make their dreams come true. The soul is a grim reminder that your dreams shouldn’t be your whole life. You can’t ignore everything and everyone you already have to achieve something bigger and better. At the end of the year, when many people (including myself) thought it was a waste of progress and personal growth, it had to be said, and no one could have done better than Pixar.
Castlevania Season 3
Castlevania’s always been a good show. The first season was short but effective, and the second was very nice. But season three is a different beast. The main animation was somehow improved, the secondary characters and the new characters were among the most interesting and, thematically, this series raised the bar a little higher. The plots of Isaac and Saint-Germain were particularly impressive, as were the good music and the impressive visual scheme. But what strikes me most is that when you take a step back and look at the story as a whole, all the characters are looking for the same thing. Well, pretty much all of them. Isaac’s actively trying to avoid them. This season focuses on all kinds of human bonds: lost loves, young loves, bonds between friends, and even bonds between strangers. It’s a masterly season, because most stories are somehow about the most obvious idea, which makes it fresh and compelling. I like the ambiguity that means we never know who lost St. Germain; all we know is that he’ll do everything he can to find and reconnect that person. I really hope this character comes back. Someone who hates mankind and has no desire to make friends or form any kind of bond. And whatever happens, he seems to find interesting souls and befriend them wherever he goes. Now that Trevor and Sifa are together, the question is whether each other’s company is sufficient and whether it will even last. Alucard is the most vulnerable of all, left alone, without family or friends, until a mysterious couple arrives at ….. appears. And even that leads to his own problems. Even evil vampires seek companionship, either with each other or, as in the case of Lenore, with a human. Even in the world of witches and vampires everyone needs someone to help them and be there for them, otherwise they go crazy. She almost made the list, and I just chose not to knot for one of the spots.
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