Posters for Bill and Ted Face the Music, Emma, and Hamilton (2020)

The Summer I Kept Watching Films, But Stopped Reviewing Them, so Now… a Series of Mini-Reviews

Reviews for Hamilton, The Kissing Booth 2, Class Action Park, An American Pickle, Bill and Ted Face the Music, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, and Unpregnant

COVID-19 can really just go ahead and fuck off, as can Trump’s government and any anti-maskers or anti-vaxxers out there. We are still quite literally living through a global pandemic, something that nobody really expected, and yet many people are just content with going back to living life. Whether it is because they are bored, believe that it will not kill them, have become numb to the always-increasing death toll, or just choose not to believe in the virus, all of these are awful reasons and if you are someone who has gone back to living life as if it is normal, you should truly feel bad about yourself. For those who have continued to live life properly by going out for necessities only, keeping your in-person socializing to a minimum with only those closest to you, and always wearing a mask when you go out, good job! With that all being said, how this comes into effect for myself goes back to the week of March 12, my Birthday week, when college came to a screeching halt for myself. We were set to go on Spring Break the following week, but word began spreading that it would be extended to a two-week break with the first cases of COVID-19 hitting the New York/New Jersey area. So, we all went home and college shut down for two weeks. At the time we all thought we’d possibly be back in a few weeks, then it became apparent that we would not, but most were optimistic about the fall. Well, here we are, it is September of 2020, and once again, we are all online now. With theaters shutting down, my drive for writing reviews closed down as well. The last reviews I ended up writing was for Palm Springs in early July, Da 5 Bloods in June, and before that Perfect Blue in April. So yeah… I think it might be time to post again, so what better way than to post some mini-reviews of all of the 2020 films I watched since then?! I also will include my favorite non-2020 films that I have watched since quarantine began, so sit down, relax, and let’s get to it!

Gif from Cape Fear (1991)

If you wanna check out one of my reviews from the films I listed above after reading through this, I would recommend my review of Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods

Screencap from Hamilton (2020)

]Hamilton — ★★★★★

As a huge musical theater and musical fan in general, as well as someone who will always sing the praise of Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton dropping on Disney+ in July was a truly great moment this summer. Nearly 3 hours long, it re-tells the story of Alexander Hamilton and his role in the birth of America, as well as some frivolous tea between he, his wife, his wife’s sister who he loves, and his mistress. Having a story be told about the white immigrants who founded the United States in which they are played by a cast of minorities, featuring the musical stylings of Hip-Hop, as well as more traditional theater music, is definitely a point of contention for some, mainly those who actually have not seen the film and are claiming that it is lying about history. To that crowd all I have to say is… why are you looking at musical theater as historical fact? I do not think George Washington and pals just randomly broke out into song while fighting the British, so what does it matter if their skin color is different? What matters is that the story works, the cast of different ethnic backgrounds helps boost the message of immigrants should not be looked at as evildoers, and the music slaps so hard. If you have yet to watch, please do yourself a service and sit down to be taken over by this work of art.

Best SongsYou’ll Be Back, What’d I Miss, Satisfied, Wait For It, Washington on Your Side, The Room Where it Happens, Guns and Ships, and Yorktown

Screencap from The Kissing Booth 2 (2020)

The Kissing Booth 2–1/2

Please, please spare yourself the pain. Skip this movie at all costs and do not follow in my footsteps next year when The Kissing Booth 3 releases on Netflix.

Class Action Park — ★★★1/2

Living in New Jersey, I’ve always heard about Action Park, but being as young as I am (21), it just was something I never got to experience. When I sat down to watch this with my brother in August, we actually got a call from our dad who now resides in South Carolina, and when we told him what we were watching, he told us about how he did in fact visit Action Park with his family during its heyday. So that is my somewhat-of-a-stretch connection to the park itself! As for the documentary, it’s pretty fun throughout, going over each attraction in the park and having some eyewitness accounts from some local celebrities who attended before then taking a deep dive into the serious nature of the deaths at the park, managing to have the family of one of the victims present for the documentary. Their part really was touching, and just brutal to hear how the process went about with them trying to get justice for their son’s wrongful death.

Screencap from An American Pickle (2020)

An American Pickle — ★★★

Seth Rogen gives two really great performances here. The movie has one of the most bizarre premises I’ve ever come across, but for the most part it works. Having the film deal with death in the way it does was extremely poignant, in having Herschel (Seth Rogen) have to come to terms with living his new life without constantly mourning his wife, while Ben (Seth Rogen) learns to mourn the death of his parents, something he refused to do for years. Good stuff all-around, funny throughout, and like I said before, Rogen is really great in this!

Screencap from Bill and Ted Face the Music (2020)

Bill and Ted Face the Music — ★★★1/2

Okay so, this was the biggest surprise of the summer for me. I expected this to be truly, utterly awful based off of the marketing and trailers for the movie. Instead, we got a love letter to the first two films that also felt entirely new. This is a multi-decade sequel done right, bringing the right amount of nostalgia to match new ideas, new stories, and new characters. When Death showed up, absolute *chef’s kiss*. The killer robot who just becomes a needy dork after arriving in hell with Bill and Ted, truly wholesome. Kid Cudi being revealed to be Station at the end of the movie after showing a bizarre, random sense of knowing how quantum mechanics and time travel works was really just the icing on the cake. Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves are Bill and Ted, and this movie was the best send-off imaginable for the Wyld Stallions.

Screencap from I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)

I’m Thinking of Ending Things — ???

Man, I do not even know. I have put off rewatching this for a few weeks now, and I promise I will get back to it, but for now… ??? is my official rating! As someone who does not adore Being John Malkovich like some do, I did not really know what to expect from this. While it is one hell of a confusing ride, Jesse Plemons and Jessie Buckley provide two genuinely amazing performances, especially the latter. The score is also quite mesmerizing throughout, often feeling like a trance-like state over the entire film. Jesse Plemons also sings a song from Oklahoma! at the end in a school gymnasium while the audience is all in spooky old-person makeup that you would find on a Broadway play or at Fright Fest or Halloween Horror Nights! This movie is very weird.

Screencap from Unpregnant (2020)

Unpregnant — ★★1/2

I don’t really have all that much to say on this one. I think the way it deals with teen pregnancy, and subsequently, teen abortions is really well done. The sequence at the end of the film that actually takes place in the abortion clinic is a great way of showing what said process is actually like, showing that it is not some cold, dark, scary place where evil women go to kill their children. The chemistry between the leads is solid enough, but as a movie, it (at least for me) was pretty good, but ultimately forgettable. Giancarlo Esposito also shows up briefly as a conspiracy nut who runs a limo company and that’s about it for him. Just felt like they wasted his presence.

Screencap from Emma (2020)

Emma — ★★★★

Anya Taylor-Joy is a friggin’ star man! I feel like everytime I see her in something, she blows me away. First in Split, then Glass, then The VVitch, and now Emma. I really am looking forward to her career in the next five years as I feel it is going to be filled to the brim with some all-star performances. She has great comedic timing in this, the film just looks like the most vibrant thing ever, and the rest of the cast fits in perfectly. Big fan, one of my favorites of the year, I highly recommend!

Screencap from The Way Back (2020)

The Way Back — ★★★1/2

It’s a basketball movie, but it is also a basketball movie that features a truly amazing, grounded, and likely therapeutic performance from Ben Affleck. The movie has its flaws, including a pretty abrupt ending, but coming for the Affleck performance is enough to warrant a watch.

So that about does it for the 2020 films I’ve watched. I still plan on watching Tenet and New Mutants, but really do not feel comfortable going to the theater right now, so for now, I shall wait on those! The Trial of the Chicago 7 is heading to Netflix in October and David Fincher’s Mank is also coming out this Fall, so at least there are some things to look forward to for those not comfortable going to theaters!

Now moving on, this is just going to be a list of my favorite non-2020 films that I have watched since quarantine life began back in March. I’ve reviewed all of these over on my Letterboxd, so follow me over there and I’ll probably follow you back! Anyways, let us get to it:

  • The entire Star Trek Film franchise, from Star Trek: The Motion Picture-Star Trek: Beyond (I do plan on doing a special A Look Back article for this)
  • Vertigo *MUST WATCH*
Screencap from Vertigo (1958)
  • The VVitch
  • Volver
  • Double Indemnity
  • Y Tu Mama Tambien *MUST WATCH*
  • Once Upon a Time in the West *MUST WATCH*
  • The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
  • Shoplifters *MUST WATCH*
Screencap from Shoplifters (2018)
  • Ingrid Goes West
  • The Godfather *MUST WATCH*
  • The Godfather: Part II *MUST WATCH*
  • An American in Paris
  • 13th
  • Do the Right Thing *MUST WATCH*
  • Jaws
  • The King
  • Honey Boy
  • Chicago
  • Citizen Kane
  • Princess Mononoke *MUST WATCH*
  • Heathers
  • Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
  • There Will be Blood *MUST WATCH*
  • Cape Fear (1962) *MUST WATCH*
  • Cape Fear (1991)*MUST WATCH*
Gif from Cape Fear (1991)
  • The Silence of the Lambs *MUST WATCH*
  • The Talented Mr. Ripely
  • Stop Making Sense *MUST WATCH*
Screencap from Stop Making Sense (1984)

Thanks for checking out this series of mini reviews for the films I missed writing actual reviews on, and if you found any of this interesting and want to check out some of my actual work, be sure to check out some of my other work, and also be sure to follow me on social media to keep an eye out on what I’m up to! Here’s my review of Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue (or just click on my profile link and check out what else I’ve got)!

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Entertainment Writer, Sometimes a Film Critic, Avid Disney Villain Song Connoisseur || Follow me on Twitter @NVProfoundFilm