Sometimes once a year comes to an end, I like to close it out with a few thoughts on the year that is about to be behind us. Just last year, I spent a lot of my Goodbye 2020 article on the state of the film and movie theater industries during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it certainly seems like this edition of these New Year’s Eve articles will have to have a similar focus.
Because while I do think it’s possible to see a light at the end of the tunnel since most people are accepting the vaccines, it is also true that the world isn’t completely out of the woods yet (in part due to the various different variants of the contagious disease that has dictated our lives for a very long time now). But what has all of this meant for the aforementioned industries and, more broadly, the ‘movie year’ that was 2021? Well, let’s talk about that.
In recent years, Netflix has gained a foothold in basically all corners of the world. As it becomes a global streaming service, Netflix is also starting to churn out local foreign language content that can grow a global audience. In recent weeks, that has happened with a show like the South Korean survival drama Squid Game, which has been compared to everything from The Hunger Games to Saw. But, of course, the most famous non-English language Netflix original series are Money Heist from Spain and Dark from Germany.
At this point, I feel like Mike Flanagan is becoming a master of horror. I don’t think it happened over night, though. I think his output was fairly consistent in the beginning, but the latest works in his oeuvre are just outstanding. While I think Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil, and Hush were all right, I think Gerald’s Game, Doctor Sleep, and his Netflix shows (The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor) are all great must-watch horror films or shows. I think he has this ability to find beauty in even some of his more frightening works, and that is also true of his latest horror series, Midnight Mass, which I think is pretty much on par with the truly excellent Hill House.
It is kind of incredible just how much streaming services have overtaken the top tier of what we still refer to as ‘television shows.’ Perhaps we need to find another name for these series. Some of them are released all at once, some are released week-by-week, but almost all of the shows on my list were released on streaming services, and, in my case, I watched all ten of my top ten television shows on streaming services. In the 2020-edition, there are plenty of ‘familiar faces,’ as it were, but it’s also the first time that both Apple TV+ and Disney+ have made an appearance on any of my end of the year-lists. But where do the top shows on these relatively new streaming services land on my top ten, and what is the best show of the year? Let’s have a look!
To tell you the truth, I couldn’t possibly tell you how many times I’ve watched the ending of Bo Burnham’s previous comedy special, Make Happy. With his closing song “Can’t Handle This,” he showed everyone watching the kind of uniquely gifted talent he is. I remember thinking so many times about the line from the song that intimated that Burnham struggled to make himself happy, and I also learned since then that he quit stand-up comedy shows due to him having suffered from severe panic attacks on stage. But his talents off the stage have nonetheless shone since then, which was evident from his incredible directorial feature film debut, Eighth Grade.
On Monday April 26th, 2021, the day after Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round (Danish Title: Druk) had won the Best International Feature Film Oscar, DEADLINE Hollywood reported that, to the surprise of no one, Hollywood wanted to make another English-language remake of a popular non-American hit. What was surprising, however, was that the English-language remake rights had been acquired by Appian Way, Endeavor Content, and Makeready for the purpose of developing a remake as a star vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio, arguably the biggest movie star on the planet. So, how should we feel about that? Is it an exciting pat on the back, or should we be upset?
In honor of Thomas Vinterberg’s extremely moving acceptance speech last night, allow me to open with a reference to arguably his most famous film. There is a moment in Thomas Vinterberg’s Cannes Awards-winning Dogme-film Festen (international title: The Celebration), where the main character Christian (played by Ulrich Thomsen) asks his father, whose birthday is being celebrated, what speech he would like Christian to read for him — the green speech or the yellow speech? His father chooses the ‘green’ speech, and, as a result, the events of the unforgettable film take place. Sometimes a single decision can change everything. And, in the case of the 93rd Academy Awards’ ceremony, a decision was made that ultimately destroyed an otherwise decent ceremony.
Late at night on Sunday — April 18th, 2021 — as most football fans across Europe were getting ready to lie down in bed with dreams of new success at home and abroad, twelve of the biggest association football clubs in the world all announced that they were forming their own isolated European ‘Super League.’
April 15th, 2021 was a good day to be a Danish actor. At least, it sure seemed that way. On this day, Deadline Hollywood revealed two ‘exclusive’ casting news articles. Now, why is that significant? It’s simple really. Two very popular Danish actors are joining two major Hollywood franchises in highly anticipated sequels, and, again, for some unknown (but somewhat amusing) reason these unrelated casting news articles were released on the very same day.
The nominations for the 93rd Academy Awards were revealed a couple of days ago. As always, there were great surprises, disappointingly safe choices, and frustrating ‘snubs.’ I’ve now had some time to think about the decisions that the various branches of the Academy made, and I want to share with you a couple of thoughts that I have had over the course of the last two days or so. I’m going to talk about a couple of Oscar snubs, but, mostly, I want to talk about the Best Director-category. Or, rather, one of the nominees in that category. Continue reading “Reaction to the 93rd Academy Awards Nominations”→