Finally, we have gotten to the homestretch of the year like no other. Congratulations to all of you that have managed to remain somewhat sane. There are no ifs or buts about it, this year has been the most unusual year of our time. The whole world was at a standstill as businesses were forced to temporarily close; restrictions were put up; and we all had to loiter around the house for a few weeks. We can now look ahead to the remainder of the year with cautious optimism in hope that next year will be better for all. The one thing that I actually liked about this year, however, was that we all did the same thing – watched movies and television shows at home.
Thanks to the postponement or cancellation of a lot of productions throughout the year, and our increased availability to lie down on our beds with some shows flicked on, we were all probably watching the same things. These shows and movies have become a part of our year, some more than others, and I thought it would be a fun idea to look back on this period as a whole and what we all sat around watching. From video game characters on the big screen, to the strange portrayal of a certain former Prime Minister, to tigers and killing husbands, it was certainly a mad twelve months.
January: ‘Blockbuster after Blockbuster.’ Looking back at how normal January was is scary. We all just carried on with our lives and chilled out. The cinemas, like during every January, were booming. Blockbusters are perfect for January. They are action packed and entertaining, nothing too thought-provoking to take in after the Christmas period. We got nice, easy movies such as Dolittle or the long-awaited Bad Boys for Life to get our movie fix for the month, while we also got season two of Sex Education on Netflix. All in all, it was a basic month.
February: ‘The Parasite craze hits Ireland.’ February delivered both on the big screen and the small screen. We got new episodes of the likes of Narco’s, The Walking Dead, and Better Call Saul to keep us entertained for weeks. SEGA brought Sonic The Hedgehog to cinemas which was a nice nostalgia trip, while we also got the highly anticipated Harley Quinn movie Birds of Prey. Despite these releases, the one movie that was on everyone’s mind this month was Parasite. After months of discussion on social media, it finally came to Ireland on February 7th,
and it did not disappoint one bit. If you missed that craze, it is available on Amazon Prime. Please, watch it.
March: ‘Disney+ saves the day.’ March 12th, 2020. The day that will linger in the back of our heads for so long. The day the first set of precautions were announced, and they only got more drastic as the weeks went on. Cinemas were shut while production of many shows and movies was postponed. Colleges and schools were closed as well as some non-essential workplaces. How did we survive? Well, Disney+ came to Ireland on March 24th and for a lot of us, it brought the much-needed innocence and happiness that we required. We were able to watch whatever childhood Disney shows or films that we grew up on to keep us in a bubble filled with nostalgia. It arrived at the perfect time.
April: ‘The Tiger King Era.’ If there is one face that we will forever associate lockdown with, it is the face of Joe Exotic. The documentary Tiger King arrived on Netflix the previous month, but by the beginning of April everyone and their dogs had seen the tale of Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin for themselves. It was inescapable. For the entire month you had new people watching it, new discussions, and a special talk show on April 12th. Memes, TikTok dances, merchandise, everything. Joe’s antics will always remain a part of our memories when we look back at this year decades from now.
May: ‘The World falls in love with Paul Mescal.’ Another show we will forever associate with lockdown is Normal People, a drama based on Sally Rooney’s novel that managed to convince people that Trinity College was a place of romance. Premiering in Ireland on April 28th and airing weekly throughout May, the show was the talk of the town for everyone as we all became invested in Marianne and Connell’s relationship. Paul Mescal catapulted into stardom as he went from being the fella from the Denny’s advert to Ireland’s heartthrob overnight.
June: ‘Immeasurable Disappointment.’ Because we were at the peak of Summer, no one decided to release much quality this month, but surely, they could have given us more than 13 Reasons Why Season 4? How that show lasted for four whole seasons is beyond me. I enjoyed the first one, could not stomach any more of them. Alas, that was the only show on peoples’ minds this month, coming out on June 5th. We did get the rather enjoyable Eurovision movie The Story of Fire Saga, but we also got a movie called Becky, where Kevin James starred as a Neo-Nazi, so they cancel each other out.
July: ‘Hamilton, the film on everyone’s screen.’ The movie that caused everyone to renew their Disney+ subscriptions, Hamilton, came to our screens on July 3rd and it was unavoidable. This film was the most streamed out of any movie released in 2020. The Broadway musical was a smash hit that brought some newfound interest in Broadway amongst younger audiences. It was the real deal of the month, which is easy when your competition is The Kissing Booth 2.
August: ‘The Cinema Strikes Back.’ After a long gruelling period, the cinemas made a triumphant return into our everyday lives and they did it with a bang. Although limited capacity, they made a real statement of intent releasing movies like Tenet, and Bill, and Ted Face the Music for our enjoyment. They could have rereleased The Emoji Movie and I probably would have seen it in cinemas. Although short lived, it was a welcome return that was well needed.
September: ‘Dishonour to us All, for €22.’ One movie that haunted me for the month, and inspired my first ever University Express article, was the Mulan remake. While I was thankful that I did not have to pay the ludicrous fee to watch it, I was still massively let down. To remove iconic characters and the soundtrack to create “realism”, yet you have a witch roaming around and Mulan herself doing backflips casually? I could not believe what I was seeing. Even the anticipated Ratched or Enola Holmes could not get the dire memory of that movie out of my head.
October: ‘The Good, The Great, The Haunting.’ Possibly the most jam packed month of all, there were plenty of shows to discuss. We got the new The Mandalorian for more Baby Yoda action, Sir David Attenborough’s new documentary, A Life on Our Planet was released, and we also had Emily in Paris giving everyone an obsession with the ‘City of Love’ once again. The two main releases were perfect for Halloween, The Haunting of Bly Manor, which delved into a spooky place, Bly Manor, and then Borat 2, which also delved into a spooky place, redneck America. There was a lot to take in, but boy was it worth it.
November: ‘The World falls in love with…Margaret Thatcher?’ As if the year could not have gotten any stranger, for some reason, people became attracted to Margaret Thatcher thanks to her appearances during season four of The Crown. Beloved Gillian Anderson took the role, and her rather flattering performance as Maggie led to everyone losing their minds and probably creating a glitch in the 2020 simulation. Thankfully, we finished the month with a heart-warming edition of The Late Late Toy Show, one of the best shows in recent years.
December: ‘A Christmas Miracle.’ December has only just begun, but there is a lot to look forward to that can cap off the year in style. The bells will be ringing out for Christmas Day as we will finally get to watch Wonder Woman 1984 and Soul straight to streaming services. Releases do not matter much this month. All that is important is that we find the time to watch the likes of Home Alone and Elf for that Christmas spirit.
It was a unique year to say the least. One that will linger in the memory for a long time and one that we will be glad to see the back of. It was a hard year for a lot of us but thankfully we had these programs and films to distract us for a few days. As it is now the final month, the “Season of Joy”, we are at a time where we can further distract ourselves with Christmas movies. Have a sit down with family and friends and watch a few Christmas classics together to help each other through this last month, whether in person, or from afar thanks to Teleparty or Zoom. I would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas, and here’s to a better year.