Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Movies is Good: Moments Out of Time 2020

 by JB 

Some memories of a strange and unique moviegoing year.

1. Debating with myself endlessly about whether to attend the TCM/Fathom Events screening of King Kong in March, never realizing that it would be the last movie I saw in a real movie theater for at least a year and a half.

2. Elizabeth Moss is “picked up” in her kitchen, The Invisible Man.

3. Sitting through Dolittle and trying to imagine what it was like... before all of the rewrites and reshootles.

4. Really happy in retrospect that I got to see Underwater in a theater; much of its effect relies on sound design and the claustrophobic ambience of a darkened auditorium.

5. Delroy Lindo explains himself, Da 5 Bloods.
6. William Friedkin talks about the Zen garden, Leap of Faith.

7. Darren discusses “a baker’s dozen” with white-rapper Brian, Horse Girl.

8. Abby Hoffman pauses... and explains to the prosecuting attorney that it’s the first time he’s ever been arrested for something he thought... Trial of the Chicago 7.

9. The cast performs “Hell You Talmbout,” David Byrne’s American Utopia.

10. Eliza’s gasp, Hamilton.
11. Nicola Tesla sings a song, Tesla.

12. Rachel Bhargava’s unemployed father David helps her make sense of a huge pile of contracts and receipts, Bad Education.

13. Borat is shown a newly-upholstered chair, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

14. Tutar extolls the virtue of masturbation to a Republican woman’s group, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.
15. Herschel Greenbaum uses produce from dumpsters, used glass jars, and rainwater to craft “artisanal” pickles to terrific success, American Pickle.

16. Bill Murray charms a police officer, On the Rocks.

17. Alia Shawkat finds a skeleton, First Cow.

18. The oilycakes go on sale; Cookie and King-Lu learn the wonders of supply and demand, First Cow.
19. Gail Zappa explains the logistics and behind-the-scenes turmoil when her husband’s record label scored an instant Top Ten hit with the song “Valley Girl” in 1982 when the label had only one employee: Gail Zappa—from Alex Winter’s documentary, Zappa.

20. Realizing that my face hurt from all the times I physically winced watching Class Action Park.

21. Molly washes her babies, Ammonite.

22. Laughing out loud when some anonymous wag on the Twitter Machine pointed out that Mank’s “tremendous effort to mimic ’40s film style” extended to its “use of widescreen.”

23. Laughing out loud when some anonymous wag on the Twitter Machine pointed out that in Mank, Gary Oldman, who is 62, is married to Tuppence Middleton, who is 33. In real life, Herman Mankiewicz and his wife Sara were the same age, and he died at the age of 55. Acting!

24. Realizing that at the end of the year, thanks to the pandemic and resulting quarantine, I only had to sit through two of the “Top Ten Grossing Films” of 2020. (HINT: Dolittle came in 4th.)
25. Enjoying a pleasant, leisurely discussion with my wife the day after Christmas about how disappointing WW84 was in just about every conceivable way.


  1. Mank, the age thing, a friend pointed it out to me. My reply was that in those days, men look way older that they do today at the same age. And the boozing and drinking certainly didn't help. Also, as you said... acting

  2. I love this list of movie moments, JB. I'm glad you went for that King Kong screening!

    My last movie in theaters in 2020 was The Hunt for Red October at Elk Grove. So I guess I'm glad that I saw a Sean Connery movie in the theater the year he left us. Another memorable movie experience this year also involved Connery, as I watched him light up the (small) screen in The Offence, his best performance I've seen by far.

    I also loved that Invisible Woman scene and that On the Rocks scene.

    Class Action Park is one of the few 2020 movies I watched twice! Part of me somehow wishes I'd visited it in its heyday but I think I'd have been too scared to go on most of the rides. It also made me want to re-watch Adventureland.

    Thanks for ushering us through this utterly wretched year with grace, humor, and personal anecdotes and digressions! Your column is one I look forward to every week.

  3. Definitely on number 4. Rewatching Underwater at home, I’m so glad it was one of the last theater experiences this year.