Slate Movie Club 2020 final post.

This is the last entry in Slate’s Annual movie club, in which film critic Dana Stevens emails other critics – this year Justin Chang, Odie Henderson and Alison Willmore – about the year in the movies. Read the previous dispatch here.

Future karaoke collaborators,

One of the nicest ripple effects of The Movie Club every year is the feeling that in the end, I got to know a few of my colleagues a little better as critics and as people. Justin, I so appreciate that you were honest enough to revisit a long hasty review that you now regret for the flippancy, and also give yourself a moment to praise a movie directed by a close friend who you were therefore forbidden. revise. Minari made my Top 10, and that of dozens of other reviews. This is one of the most impeccably crafted films of the year, pictorial beauty besides being clever and funny as hell, and I would recommend it to viewers of all generations and backgrounds because he has something to say about being a child, a parent, a grandparent, a spouse, an immigrant, a worker, a husband, a wife. It is both a category error and an embarrassment to place it in the “foreign language film” box for the Golden Globes review; it’s a film made in America by an American that tells the most American of stories.

Minari is the kind of movie that, in a normal movie year, might have started out as the audience’s darling at Sundance, then faded into the deafening vortex of big, year-end Oscar-seeking releases. Instead, because much of the planned release schedule was postponed to 2021, the reverberations of that January love party lasted throughout the film’s brief virtual release window in early December. It won’t be available to stream until February, which feels like a long time ago in our current ‘give me all the content, immediately’ era. But that makes it one of many 2021 films to look forward to, with previously unreleased titles like Nia DaCosta’s. Candy, Craig Brewer’s Coming 2 America, and Edgar Wright Last night in Soho (with none other than Anya Taylor-Joy, this year’s chess player). The romantic drama John David Washington / Zendaya is also currently slated for the first half of next year. Malcolm & Marie of Euphoria creator Sam Levinson, Wes Anderson journalism-themed ensemble comedy The French dispatch, and Judas and the Black Messiah, Shaka King’s civil rights-era biopic starring Daniel Kaluuya as Black Panthers frontman Fred Hampton. One of my favorite movies I’ve seen this year, Rose Glass’ mind-blowing body horror debut Holy maud, still has no release date. That’s okay – like all of us with our lives currently in suspension, he should only come out into the world when he and the world are good and ready.

Speaking of deafening peaks: Odie, I knew you only had one functional eye because of all the Colombo jokes you’ve made about it over the years, but that’s only thanks to your touching writing on The sound of metal that I learned that you also have a hearing loss. Riz Ahmed, a British rapper and actor who should have been a famous movie star at least since the 2010s Four Lions (although I remember for the first time noticing it four years ago, in The road to Guantanamo), gives one of the performances of the year in Darius Marder’s powerful character study of a drummer and former heroin addict who is losing his hearing. As Vulture’s Bilge Ebiri beautifully puts it, the motionless and vigilant Ahmed “sometimes seems like a silent film artist who accidentally landed in the 21st century. ”This quality of eloquent silence makes Ahmed the perfect actor for this very difficult role. disability but a harsh and sometimes disorienting attempt to represent what the experience of losing a major meaning can feel from within.

In my own private Oscars, Ahmed would get at least one nomination for Best Actor, though I’d still reserve my best vote for Delroy Lindo in Da 5 bloods– if he continues to do a job as well, Rice’s time will come. Paul Raci, who plays a recovering alcoholic who becomes the young man’s mentor, would win the award for best actor in a supporting role. Best Supporting Actress would go to Amanda Seyfried for man, although I agree that the film was mostly a fanfic for classic Hollywood nerds, and the best actress is still up for grabs. I know she already has one, but I’m tempted to cast another one. statuette in the style of Frances McDormand, if only to hear what speech of acceptance she has to surpass the thrilling “inclusion rider” of her victory for Three billboards outside of Ebbing, Missouri—a movie that, whatever you think of it when it comes out, we can certainly all agree that it will age less well than Nomadic country.

Something about the way we make, watch, buy and sell movies has changed since Well.

Alison, as we’ve been writing in round robin form all week, you’ve been busy backstage settling in with a new puppy, which has been a lot of awwwws in the Club thread and undoubtedly for you a lot of posts have been posted on very little sleep over a week vacation. It makes it even more impressive that you feel ambitious enough to take charge of not just individual films, but the business as a whole at this rapidly evolving point in its history. It’s still unclear if we’ll all be watching movies together in theaters around this time next year, but your last post helped me reflect on the inevitable feeling that, with the pandemic but not just because of it, something about the way we make and watch, buy and sell movies has changed for good. I’m so glad that your posts are often pulled out to get the big picture. While it’s also a thrill when you’ve looked at films like the world’s best box office hit of 2020, a title that had never crossed the walls of my particular media silo. Congratulations on your new living Ewok, and may he take a nap in your lap watching and writing on many great movies in the year to come.

As I finish this year’s club, it’s the first day of 2021. 2020, the year that finally made us understand the previously elusive concept of infinity, is finally over. And thanks to two of the Slate Culture writers who parachuted in to talk between the last two rounds (is that still an “interruption” if that’s welcome?), I have movies to watch the first two nights of the week. ‘year. Tonight will be for The painter and the thief, which sounds strangely odd, and which, if Sam hadn’t written an article about it, I would have gone through the whole year without ever hearing about it. He’s right that flattening the output of an entire industry into a few corporate brand hits of Soylent-style content dough would be a very bleak prospect for the future of film marketing, let alone watching. movies. But we’re fortunate to have the Movie Club as a place to serve homemade slow food and draw people’s attention to quirky little outings like The painter and the thief, which otherwise might never pass through their algorithms and, therefore, their field of view.

And tomorrow night you better believe that I’m going to make a cocktail shaker and settle down in Eurovision Song Contest: The History of Fire Saga. Karen didn’t even need to spell out which celebrity belts which power ballad: she had me at “Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams like a couple of Icelandic rubes and future Eurovision stars calling themselves” Fire Saga ”. “Well, of course they are! It sounds like a celebration of life, love, and karaoke designed for Ferrell fans who, like me, will never hear Aerosmith’s “I don’t want to miss a thing” again without laughing at the memory of her. triumphant interpretation of ice dancing. song opposite Jon Heder in Blade of glory. While “Jaja Ding Dong” installs the earworm residence in my brain for the coming year, I will have a drink for all of you. Thanks for making this year’s club look like what we all need right now: a jaw-dropping party, hang out, no zoom.

Love,
Dana

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