2020 was a difficult year all around but August brought with it a big blow to the world of cinema when it was announced that Chadwick Boseman had died. The actor had been secretly battling cancer for years and, on August 28th 2020, he died at his home aged 43. I know, in the age of social media, there’s always a huge outpouring of grief when a famous person dies but this felt slightly different. Boseman was a magnificent actor and was a big part of Black representation in the film industry. He had played some key figures in Black history and, as Black Panther, had proudly brought diversity to the MCU. Losing him so young was a shock and so many people felt it. Boseman’s talent will never be forgotten and he has justly been awarded with posthumous nominations for his work n Da 5 Bloods and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. It’s a this time of year that I’d usually be trying to catch up on all of the films with all of the likely Oscar nominated films but I’m all out of sorts thanks to Covid. That wasn’t going to stop me watching this. I had high hopes for this film.
As soon as I saw the trailer for this on Netflix, I knew that it wasn’t going to be the film for me. It just looked stupid and just sitting through a short preview made me cringe. Yet, part of me did want to watch it. I was intrigued about just how bad it was going to be. I wanted to see just how embarrassingly awful James Corden’s performance turned out. How over-the-top and unsubtle Ryan Murphy’s message of inclusivity was. How cheesy the choreography would be. I knew that I’d watch it eventually so it was just a question of when. I decided that, whatever happened, I couldn’t let it be the first film that I watched in 2021 because that would have felt as though I was jinxing my entire year. It also felt like the most appropriate film to end 2020 on. After all, the year has been a huge shit show. It’s not as if this film could make it anyway worse. And maybe it would put everything into perspective?
I’ll tell you what, the 25th really can’t come quickly enough for my liking. I am so tired and really craving a break. Which is another reason why my heart really isn’t in this post. It’s probably going to be a fairly quick one because it’s quite late as I’m writing this. I’m also currently listening to a Spotify playlist called Christmas Lullabies so I can feel festive and get ready for sleep. I’ll be honest, I’m not feeling particularly festive right now. No matter how hard I try, it’s just not there right now. Watching a Christmas film every day hasn’t done much to help but that’s possibly due to the films I’ve been watching. They weren’t necessarily the best of the bunch. I’d better get round to my favourites soon or I’ll run out of time.
It’s going to be a tough Christmas all round this year thanks to Covid and the various restrictions in place. For the lucky ones, it will mean a pared down Christmas with fewer guest and more Zoom calls. For many families though, it will mean facing their first Christmas without beloved family members who died during the pandemic. It doesn’t exactly feel like a time for revelling but I guess we have to try to make the best of it. At least there’s a steady supply of fairly mindless Netflix original films to numb everyone for a few hours. Most of these films don’t tend to fill me with much hope or inspiration but there’s one that stood out this year. Dolly Parton has already done a great deal to help fight Coronavirus with her donation to help find a vaccine. Now, she’s here to entertain us all as we wait for it to be rolled out around the world. Even if this did turn out to be pretty standard fare, I was sure that Dolly’s mere presence would lift it. Surely there’s very little that woman can’t do?
The year 2020 has been the year of the Netflix controversy hasn’t it. First, you had Cuties causing all sorts of problems in America. The Crown has the British government confused about the difference between drama and real-life. More recently, Hillbilly Elegy has been creating some strife thanks to its source material. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, there’s another social media storm. Now, it’s about their latest Christmas release The Princess Switch: Switched Again. Fans have taken to Twitter to share their confusion and, in some cases, outrage that two characters from The Christmas Prince franchise appeared in a scene towards the end. Personally, I didn’t even register, so well done to these people for actually watching the film properly. As we all remember, in the original film, Vanessa Hudgens settles down to watch The Christmas Prince at one point in the film. So, how do these clearly fictional characters turn up in the actual film? It’s a big question but not quite as important as “who cares?” Or even as “why did they even make a second film?”
I’ve experienced quite a few reading slumps over the years but never a film slump. It’s probably just another consequence of 2020 but I just can’t be bothered with films right now. Last week, I left it to the last minute to watch both Over the Moon and Coco. This week, I didn’t watch anything. I spent most of Sunday finishing off Pizza Girl and then started binge watching season 4 of The Crown. It’s not that I didn’t have the time. After all, I got through 7 full episodes that night. It’s just that I’m not in the mood. The Crown is the perfect kind of viewing for a time like this. I’m not overly invested in the show but was still interested enough to keep going. My only issue is that I can’t actually decide if I like it or not.
I almost didn’t have anything to review today. For some reason, I never got around to watching a film this weekend. I guess I just spent too long trying to get through that bloody Murder, She Wrote book. I didn’t realise until Monday that I’d forgotten. So, I had the choice to write something else for today or watch something and review it in the same night. I had thought about weighing in on the Johnny Depp/Fantastic Beasts news but I didn’t know if that would go against my ban of the writer who must not be named. In the end, I picked the quickest new release on Netflix that I could find. I didn’t know anything about it but someone I follow on Instagram had watched it recently. What did I have to lose?
I have to admit to something, I never got round to watching Uncut Gems. Phew, that’s a weight off my chest. At the time that it was really doing the rounds, I was desperately trying to watch all of the Oscar nominated films and, unfortunately, it was totally ignored by the Academy. I always intended to catch up but it never happened. Not because I didn’t think it would be good but because it just seemed so heavy. I mean this year is heavy enough. The reason I bring it up is because Uncut Gems could very well be the reason that Hubie Halloween exists. Before awards season kicked off, Sandler made a vow that he would make the worst film possible if he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. 10 months on and another Netflix original hits us. So, was it really going to be the worst of his vast and often uninspiring career? There was only one way to find out.
Now that Henry Cavill has played Sherlock Holmes, does that mean that Benedict Cumberbatch or Robert Downey Jr. are going to play Superman? It would only be the fair thing to do. Although, they’d have to play him as a side character in another person’s film. For Cavill is mere a bit player in Netflix’s adaptation of Nancy Springer’s YA series about his younger sister. It has garnered an awful lot of attention thanks to the fact that Stranger Thing‘s Millie Bobby Brown has been cast in the main role. Brown has become quite the darling since she became Eleven. There was little doubt that people would rave about his film but how much of it is about her rather than the film? I guess I had to find out for myself.
I miss going out to the cinema. The news that Cineworld would be closing due to Covid has made me realise just how long it been since I was las sat in a cinema. I obviously hope that cinemas will survive but it seems clear that, post-Coronavirus, the way people watch films is going to change. I’d love to be able to go out and support my local cinema but I just don’t want to take the risk. I’m not officially shielding but as a “high risk” individual in a virus hotspot, it really doesn’t seem worth the risk to sit in a room full of strangers for a few hours. No matter how good Tenet might be. And it’s not fair to place the survival of a whole industry on individuals anyway. But I digress. For the time being, there are plenty of films being released on Netflix at the moment to keep me occupied. It won’t ever be the same but it’s something.