HOLLYWOOD—No one really went to the movies this year, but the movies still came to us. The 2020 pandemic sidelined a lot of big blockbusters, leaving smaller, more interesting movies to take center stage. Let’s look at some of the incredible movies from a year where movies still rallied to offer experiences that were compelling, provocative and fun.
The film “The Assistant” is one of the best films made in response to the crimes of Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo movement. The movie follows an assistant (Julia Garner) who works at an unnamed movie production company in New York City for a long, miserable day. The predatory boss, never shown or heard except over the phone-whom everyone accommodates and protects. The film is quite interesting.
While Amazon prime, says it’s video is unavailable, the movie “Birds of Prey,” is the only traditional superhero film we got this year. It’s an action movie about the breakup between Harley Quinn (Margo Robbie) and the Joker in this violent fallout. The film has great action choreography which is really a rarity for big superhero movies. Interesting that when Harley Quinn is leaving the police precinct, she points to a wanted poster and says “Hey, I know that guy!”
The wanted poster is that of Captain Boomerang, with whom she worked in “Suicide Squad” (2016). Another interesting tidbit about the movie is that Jurnee Smollett does her own singing in the film. Did you know that Harley also adopts a hyena in this film as a pet. In “Batman: The Animated Series” (1992) and the comics, she kept two hyenas named Bud and Lou, of course named after the comic duo Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.
The biggest surprise of the year was a third “Bill & Ted” movie, and it was a joyous one in the year 2020. It begins with disappointment: Bill and Ted (Alex and Keanu Reeves) have somehow not yet written the song that will unite the world, the one promised by “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” So they do, what they have to do, travel through time and space to try to find an easy way out, only to learn that there is so much love and joy to be found if you just commit to doing things the hard way, with the people you love by your side.
During filming in a neighborhood in Louisiana, the cast and crew were often greeted by local residents. While driving through, Keanu noticed a sign on a lawn that read “You’re breathtaking.” He stopped, got out of the car, went to the sign and autographed it. He also posed for a photo with the family that owned the sign. Alt.
Rock band Weezer released an original song “Beginning of the End” as the first single for the film’s soundtrack on August 14, 2020. Weezer’s first gig was a closing act for the Alt Rock bang Dogstar in 1992, in which by the way, Keanu Reeves was a member at the time. In this film, Kelly is Rufus’ daughter. The late George Carlin played Rufus in the first two “Bill & Ted” films and his real-life daughter’s name is Kelly. The “Kelly” role is named as a way to recognize and honor Carlin.
Then we have the film “Lover’s Rock,” by Steve McQueen. The movie is filled with romance and sexual adventure, as it tells the story of an uproarious celebration of the 80s, set in west London. The film was released as part of the anthology series Small Axe on November 27. It stars Michael Ward and Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn as two lovers who meet at a reggae house party. Last, but not least we have, “First Cow.” A film of two travelers, starring John Magaro and Orion Lee, on the run from a band of vengeful hunters in the 1820s northwest. They dream of striking it rich, however, their plan to make their fortune on the frontier comes to rely on the secret use of a landowner’s prized dairy cow.
Rose’s Scoop: Eddie Murphy is back in the new “Coming 2 America.” The comedy also stars Teyana Taylor, Leslie Jones and my buddy Tracy Morgan.
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas full of peace, joy, love and laughter.