Favorites of 2020, Part 2: Movies, TV, and YouTube

Yesterday’s entry was what I read throughout the year (with a quick note that I’m probably going to have a book-related one on the Required Reading blog at some point before December 31); today’s is going to be about what I watched. 2020 being a weird year is an understatement, and as I said in my most recent episode of Pop Culture Affidavit, it’s actually to the point where I am tired of the 2020 jokes (and also the merchandise. 300,000+ dead from a pandemic, so let’s buy a Friends-themed T-shirt? Go to hell). But in a weird way, my mission in 2020 with what I watched was similar to what I’d done in prior years. The difference is that I had more time on my hands.

I watched a LOT this year, and as I wrote down my list, I decided that I needed to cut it down to six items, because if I didn’t, I would be here all day. So here they are in random order.

Netflix Trash. So while I did really enjoy the latest season of The Crown, I think I spent more time thinking about Love is Blind, Indian Matchmaking, Too Hot to Handle, and Tiger King. While the latter was a documentary and not a reality dating show, it was still this weird trashy spectacle that I couldn’t help but look at. I’ve been enjoying crappy reality shows like these for decades now (and even did a Pop Culture Affidavit episode about it earlier this year), and it was great to see that there were these offerings this year, especially as we started go to into the pandemic lockdown in the spring.

Netflix Comfort. And yet for every piece of crap on Netflix, there are gems wherein people are being nice to one another or someone is baking something. I have spent what probably amounts to hundreds of hours watching GBBO reruns as well as episodes of Nailed It! and The Repair Shop. These all fall into reality, yet nobody is an asshole and I get the same warm fuzzies that I get from watching my usual slate of PBS cooking and travel shows or Antiques Roadshow.

Curiosity, Inc. Back when I did the Uncollecting episode of Pop Culture Affidavit, I talked about a few pieces of popular culture that tackled this topic, one of which was this YouTube channel hosted by Alex Archbold of Edmonton. If you’re unfamiliar with him or the channel, he owns an antiques and collectibles store and has been YouTubing about the store as well as various collecting adventures he’s been on. I came upon him courtesy of the TTF group when someone posted one of his videos of buying, cleaning, and restoring what became known as “The Potter’s House”, a house that had a ton of hoarded material in it but once belonged to a well-known Canadian pottery artist, Mary Borgstrom. Most recently, he purchased the contents (though I don’t think the actual house) of another “hoarder house” that he’s calling “The Musician’s House” and while I’m about 10 videos behind the series, I’ve been glued to my screen watching him go through the place and find stuff. He seems like an incredibly nice guy as does his family and it’s actually kind of refreshing to see considering how many times I’ve tried to watch some of the television shows that are about similar people and those guys seem to just be greedy jerks.

Kanopy. I can’t remember if I had a subscription to Kanopy last year or not, but this was definitely the year when I cleared out my list on that site (although there may be a couple of documentaries left to watch). This is a streaming service that my local library subscribes to, and I have spent much of my time watching independent films and documentaries, all for free. I think my favorites have been those I actually haven’t written about on this site, which are all three of Penelope Spheeris’ The Decline of Western Civilization movies, but that’s because I’m saving them for a podcast episode at some point. Really though, as I looked through my blog entries this year, I noticed how many films I’d watched because of that streaming service. I’m pretty grateful that my library has an available subscription because it’s opened up quite a bit that would have been hard to find or previously unavailable.

Classics. When I reviewed Goodfellas earlier this year, I had noted that I wasn’t sure if I’d actually ever seen the entire movie. The same can be said for a few films I watched this year that are definite classics that I knew of but didn’t really remember sitting through in their entirety or movies I had seen but not in a couple of decades. This includes a few Godzilla films, a couple of Bond movies, and some by Alfred Hitchcock. Thanks to HBO Max, Hulu, and some Christmas gifts, I’ve been able to catch up on stuff that’s been around for a very long time. I also have one of those scratch-off posters that has various film titles on it, and I keep meaning to hang it up somewhere (I just need a frame). So that might be another watch project in itself in the coming years.

Horror. I am not a horror fan, but man, did I watch a number of horror flicks this year. Granted, some of them were less than good (the Polish film Demon and It Comes at Night being among them), but others, like The Witch and Hereditary, were insanely good (with The Witch probably being my favorite of the bunch). I don’t think I have that many left on my “to watch” list, and there’s probably not too many that are going to be added in the future. And I don’t know what drove me to watch so much horror this year. I’d say it was the nature of 2020, but that’s not really true and it’s more than likely that I simply had saved up these movies in watch lists over the last few years and finally got around to them. Either way, it proved to be a mixed bag but one that I went through quite often.

I guess being more or less trapped inside your house has its advantages, especially when you are like me and have accounts on multiple streaming services. I’m still not really that “up” on the type of quality entertainment that serious people would approve of, as you can see here, but I’ve never been one to flex my prestige muscles. After all, I grew up watching glorified toy commercials in the form of cartoons and sitcom reruns. So to take that time to escape was very nice, even if it was trashy at times.

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