Bye bye 2020

I thought about making a post about all my thoughts and feelings from 2020. I thought about reflecting, and being introspective, and talking about 2021 and how to move forward.

But instead, I’m going to make a list of things that made me happy in 2020. Just random things that made me happy. I’m not going to list movies I talked about before, or songs that I also posted about before, or TV shows (I attempted to make a list of every show I watched in 2020. It uh. Got long.).

The novel “Red White and Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston

Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel: McQuiston, Casey: Books

This is a story about the Prince of England and the son of the US President falling in love. The description was enough to sell me on reading it, but it also turned out to be cute, funny, heartwrenching, and heartwarming. It made me feel warm and happy inside. It was like reading a really excellent romantic comedy.

The explicit version of the Potential Breakup Song by Aly & AJ.

This song was a jam and still is a jam. A dance around your room kind of song. Now with swear words.

Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit

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I really didn’t do much this year. I played it very safe, as one should. But this summer, when cases weren’t as high as they are now, I attended the socially-distant, mask-required Immersive Van Gogh exhibit in downtown Toronto. It’s a massive warehouse space with shifting images projected on the wall, immersing you in Van Gogh paintings combined with light and music. I went twice, once with one of my good friends who got a job there and got us free tickets, and once with my mother. It was worth it both times.

Walking by the lake

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I took a few walks this year around my neighbourhood. There are some lovely parks and pockets that make you feel like you are much farther away from the city than you actually are. Those were all very nice walks. But the two times I was able to take a walk by the lake downtown get a special mention. There’s something about it that just can’t be matched by the streams in the parks.

Soul (2020)

If I had watched this before yesterday, it would have definitely made my list of favourite movies of 2020. It was so beautifully animated and stunning to look at. The concepts and lessons really resonated with me. I had a mini existential crisis and then got put back together again. I laughed and cried and hummed along to music. Beautiful!

Visiting the Bloodsukers and Winnie the Pooh Exhibits at the ROM

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This was my last proper outing pre COVID. Me and one of my close friends got tickets to see some exhibits at the Royal Ontario Museum–one about bloodsuckers, which included everything from leeches to vampires, and one about the Winnie the Pooh books. They were both beautiful and educational exhibits, and we had a great day. I miss it. (And yes, in a first for this blog, that is my back in the picture).

I built a Lego Harry Potter Castle

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I only have a good image of the full thing in video form but it was 400 pieces and it took ages and it looked cool and it was a fun project.

Hamilton on Disney+

I lied before, you’re hearing about this one again. I was supposed to see Hamilton live this year. I had gotten the tickets in October after waiting years for the show to come to Toronto. So the recording of the original show coming to Disney+ this summer, earlier than it was supposed to, felt like fate.

On to 2021!

Fave Movies I saw in 2020

It’s December 20th and you know what time of year that is…the time of year end lists. I was in the mood for a list, and so I thought I would share some of my favourite movies that I watched in 2020. They didn’t all come out in 2020, but I watched them all for the first time this year. This also definitely isn’t every single movie I watched this year–as you can probably tell from earlier posts, I have spend a lot of time in 2020 watching film and television. But these are some that stand out in my mind as I look back at the year.

Emma (2020)

I love Jane Austen’s novel Emma, I love the modern adaptation Clueless, and I love period pieces in general. So it’s no surprise that the 2020 Emma was one of the highlights of the year. The movie is an aesthetic feast between the colours, the cinematography, the historically accurate costumes, and the beautiful cast. But every single one of those aspects is more than just there for aesthetic purposes. The shots, the lighting, and the costuming all are integral parts of the story. The cast is perfect, finding the perfect balance of emotion and humour. I absolutely loved this film.

The Half of It (2020)

This was a Netflix original movie that I watched with no knowledge because I thought it looked interesting. I cried on and off for half an hour when it was finished. That sounds like an exaggeration, but it isn’t. Something about this movie just hit me hard in the chest that day. It isn’t a romantic love story as much as it’s about friendship and identity and belonging, as much as it’s about different kinds of love.

Parasite (2019)

If you paid even a little attention to movies or awards show last year, you heard about Parasite. Everyone everywhere was talking about it. And they were absolutely right to do so. This thriller is genuinely amazing. There’s so many layers to it, so many universal concepts of class and money and family and fear. It 100% deserved all of the praise and accolades it received. Go watch it if you haven’t–don’t be scared of subtitles!

Jojo Rabbit (2019)

Another big name on the awards circuit this year, it’s a bit hard to describe the plot of Jojo Rabbit without sounding absolutely insane. But this was one of the most unexpectedly powerful and heartfelt movies I watched in recent years. It’s not always an easy watch, in places, but it’s worth it. This movie is also hilarious–not surprising when it’s directed by and co-starring Taika Waititi, who I love (Thor Ragnarok is one of my fave Marvel movies, and if you haven’t seen his film What We Do In The Shadows, give it a shot, it’s one of the funniest movies I have ever seen). This is another one absolutely deserving of the accolades it got.

Coraline (2009)

It’s surprising even to me that I hadn’t watched this movie before this year–it has an animation style and aesthetic that I love, is kind of creepy, and based on a book by Neil Gaiman, whose work I really enjoy. But I hadn’t, so I took the opportunity this year around Halloween to finally sit down and watch. I did not regret it! Even though this is made for kids, I think the imagery, animation, and storyline is still enjoyable for adults. There’s also some genuinely creepy images and concepts, especially in the latter half of the film.

But I’m a Cheerleader! (1999)

This is another movie I was surprised I hadn’t watched yet. It’s a cult classic that I had seen on recommendation lists for years and years, but never really got around to watching. Despite seeing it often recommended, other than a basic idea of the plot, I had no idea what to expect. But it was quirky, fun, funny, and also genuinely heartwarming. If like me you have missed out on this movie, give it a watch!

Frozen 2 (2019)

Okay HEAR ME OUT. This was the last movie I saw in theatres before the pandemic. I have such a vivid memory of me and my (fellow adult) cousins driving home from the theatre and immediately turning on one of the major songs, “Into the Unknown” because it was just that great a song. And also in general…I love Disney movies, and I loved this one. The animation was beautiful, there was more of an intense story than the first (which I also saw in theatres, for the record), and the songs are all great.

Honourable Mentions

Buffaloed (2020)

Quirky, weird, and held up by the performance of lead Zoey Deutch, who I absolutely adore.

Work it (2020)

As a dancer I am legally obligated to include a dance movie on this list, no matter how cheesy, especially when there is actually good dancing and actual dancers in it.

Enola Holmes (2020)

Another one for a slightly younger demographic and the costumes are not very accurate but it’s fun and fluffy and has absolute brick house Henry Cavill as Sherlock Holmes so that’s fun.

These Aren‘t Movies but Close Enough

Hannah Gadsby: Douglas (2020)

If you haven’t watched this comedy special, what are you even doing? It’s hilarious and touching and clever and hard-hitting.

Hamilton (2020)

I was supposed to see this in theatres this year, and sadly couldn’t. Luckily I have this original cast recording and soundtrack to watch and listen to on repeat now.

A Quick List of Some Songs of my 2020

This wasn’t the post I planned to write this week, and it won’t be the only one I post, but Spotify Wrapped dropped today (for those of you who don’t know, it gives you, among other things, your most listened to songs of the year). While I won’t be telling you what every song or even artist at the top of my list is, I thought I would share links to a few of my most listened to songs here.

My number one most listened to song of 2020, because I guess I really love an angry break up song: You Should Be Sad by Halsey

This song makes my heart beat faster: Slip Away by Perfume Genius

I’m surprised my whole list isn’t just songs from this musical: Wait For It from Hamilton

For the summer we were supposed to have: 3 Nights by Dominic Fike

Because sometimes this is just how you’re feeling that day: Young and Sad by Noah Cyrus

Sometimes I put this on and stare at the ceiling: Seven by Taylor Swift

Makes me feel sunny and I don’t know how else to put that: Sunflower Vol 6 by Harry Styles

For when it’s raining: You’re Somebody Else by flora cash

I have a memory from February of dancing to this with a bunch of people, and it makes me smile: Blinding Lights by The Weeknd

Even if our tastes in music differ wildly, it feels good to say “hey, here are songs that make me happy, I hope you have songs that make you happy too.”