Sunday, January 31, 2021

Films That I Saw: January 2021


Well, this year certainly kicked off with a bang and for all of the wrong reasons. I knew something like what happened on January 6 was going to come but I didn’t expect to see it in my own lifetime. Yet, I shouldn’t be surprised considering that it was a bunch of stupid people who were willing to do the bidding of a dip-shit dumb-fuck of a dictator who couldn’t accept the fact that he lost the election last year so he, his dumbass son, that perverted Rudy Giuliani, and a couple of Senators rallied this base to storm the U.S. Capitol building. While it is obvious that there’s people in the American government that aren’t popular including Vice President Mike Pence but the fact that his boss put his life in danger as well as several other colleagues is proof that Dookie Tank went way too far. After everything that had happened, Pence made the decision to get everyone back on board and certified the results that Joe Biden had won the 2020 U.S. Presidential election as think it was a decision he made out of spite and as a big “fuck you” to Dookie Tank.

George Carlin is right, never underestimate the power of stupid people and look what happened. Five people are dead for stupid reasons while it also noting that it was largely white people who stormed the Capitol. If it was a large number of Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and anyone who isn’t white, you know the death toll would be bigger and it would be an act of racism. The fact that these retarded morons would do this not just because they didn’t like the results of the election and the fact that their leader didn’t win and getting away with being inside Congress and all sorts of shit is proof that Americans are indeed a bunch of stupid-ass motherfuckers. Sure, it lead to Dookie Tank’s second impeachment but it was too little and too late though it should’ve been done a long time ago.

Now that Joe Biden is our new president, it must suck for the fact that he has to clean up this mess though I will give him credit for not wasting time and just go straight to work to actually do something. Even as there’s nearly half a million people who have died from COVID as he is trying to make sure we all get vaccinated but it’s not over yet. There’s still people in denial about this pandemic while there is also this uncertainty that it might be a while longer for the whole thing to end.
In the month of January 2021, I saw a total of 32 films in 10 first-timers and 22 re-watches with two of those first-timers being films directed by women as part of the 52 Films by Women pledge. A highlight of the month has been my Blind Spot Series assignment in A Streetcar Named Desire. Here are my top 5 first-timers for January 2021:

1. Soul
2. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
3. Krisha
4. Burrow
5. Elvis Presley: The Searcher
Monthly Mini-Reviews

A short film that I saw on Disney+ with my nephew, it’s a charming little story about a bunny rabbit trying to create her new home underground but has a hard time trying to create it though other creatures offer to help out. Yet, she is reluctant to ask for help and things get worse yet it is a touching story but also funny. There’s a richness to the animation as it is one of the best shorts from the Pixar Sparkshort series.

Elvis Presley: The Searcher
This two-part documentary series from HBO about the life and career of Elvis Presley that I watched on Elvis Bowie day (Elvis and David Bowie’s birthdays) is this fascinating film that explore not just about his upbringing but also his desire to be more than just a singer. Featuring audio commentary from the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Priscilla Presley, the late Tom Petty, and many others including historians, music critics, and others. The film goes into great depth into who Elvis is and why he means so much to many fans and musicians as well as the struggles he went through as an artist. Even in some of awful films he did and his own issues later in his life as he’s trying to be this iconic figure when he wanted to be just a normal person.

Another two-part documentary series from HBO that is about the rise, fall, and epic comeback of Tiger Woods is an engrossing documentary that showcases not just this man who would become this incredible athlete who broke barriers in the world of golf but also the complex relationship he had with his father Earl. Especially in how Earl made him focus on just being a golfer and a brand rather than a human being as it would eventually lead to his own downfall. Though Woods isn’t interviewed in the film, many colleagues, family friends, a former high school girlfriend, one of the women he had an affair with, the asshole who runs the National Enquirer, and many others are among those interviewed. Even as it showcases someone who didn’t just lose some of his humanity but also his love of playing golf as there were also some racist disdain towards him from those in the world of golf following his extramarital affairs. Yet, the film does have a happy ending as he would not just get his family, friends, and love for golf back but also his self-respect that culminated with his victory at the 2019 Masters.


Having seen the 2015 film by Trey Edwards Shults and was fortunate to learn that the 2014 short film that the film is based on is available on YouTube. I had to see what Shults did in the short that he would later expand into his feature film version. Though it is essentially the same story but shortened while it does have shots that Shults would copy in the feature film but it does remain to be really haunting as it’s something that fans of the feature film should see.

On the TV/Streaming Services

Cobra Kai Season 3
If anyone was born in the 80s obviously have seen The Karate Kid movies as I grew up on those films and I enjoyed this spin-off series that takes place 30 years plus after the events of those films. This new season I would say is the best one so far not just in its character and narrative development but also for the fact that we get to know more about a few characters such as John Kreese and why he’s become this evil sensei that wants to create chaos. He is a true villain who manipulates as well as take advantage of any situation that benefits him. Yet, the season does play into the fallout of what happened at the second season finale where Miguel Diaz was kicked and then fell into a guard rail as it looked like he wasn’t going to recover or survive. Thankfully, this is why Johnny Lawrence is there for him and would help Diaz not just walk again through unconventional means but also give this kid some hope.

The narrative arcs for the characters such as Samantha LaRusso, Hawk, Demetri, Tory, and Robby are much stronger as Samantha has to deal with her own fears and PTSD while Hawk becomes confused by Kreese’s methods and Tory being more vengeful as she wants to destroy Samantha. Yet, Demetri is the show’s breakout character as his asshole speech in the final episode where he brings the former students of Cobra Kai and the currents in Miyagi-Do to come together and see the bigger picture as it culminates into this big showdown. The show also has some great development for Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso as the latter returns to Okinawa where he doesn’t reunite with his old flame Kumiko but also sees his old rival Chozen as the latter proves to be a joy to watch as someone who has found redemption and helps LaRusso see what must be done in extreme situations. Elisabeth Shue’s return as Lawrence and LaRusso’s former flame in Ali for the last two episodes is fun to watch as she does bring closure for the two characters who realize how similar they are and why they need to work together against Kreese.

Pixar Popcorn
This collection of shorts from Pixar that is on Disney+ was something I discovered as it’s really these small short films all based on characters from the films at Pixar. I watched them with my nephew as he enjoyed what we watched as it picks up on where the characters from the Toy Story movies, the Incredibles, Coco, Cars, and Soul are doing after the films. My favorites involve the Parr family fighting over a cookie as well as what is going in the day of the life of the dead in the afterlife in Coco. It is fun to watch as it’s only 11 minutes in total as it’s something that everyone can enjoy.

WandaVision (first 4 episodes)
After a year and a half of no new content from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and even though this show wasn’t supposed to be the start of the Phase 4 period of the MCU. Yet, four episodes in so far and it’s a hell of a start where it leaves you wanting more. It is definitely the strangest thing the MCU has created so far as the first three episodes mirror the sitcoms of the 1950s through the 1970s and with some strange commercials in between those episodes. It revolves around Wanda Maximoff and Vision living their new life post-Infinity War as if they’re in a sitcom yet something isn’t right as well as questions into why the latter is alive. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany do bring a lot of charm and humor in their respective roles while Kathryn Hahn is a total delight as their neighbor Agnes.

The fourth episode is a break from the format as it is more about the world outside of Wanda’s sitcom illusion as it well as revealing that the character Geraldine is really Monica Rambeau played with such wit by Teyonnah Parris who had disappeared during the Blip as she wakes up learning a horrifying secret. She is then revealed to be an agent of an organization her mother founded in S.W.O.R.D. as she is asked to uncover this strange event. The episode also re-introduces a couple of key supporting players of the MCU in Randall Park’s FBI Agent Jimmy Woo and Kat Dennings’ Dr. Darcy Lewis who both prove to be fun to watch in not just being reliable and smarter than most of the people trying to figure out what is going on but also watch this strange show we’re all watching as it is definitely a crowning achievement from Marvel Studios so far.

Top 10 Re-Watches:

1. The Lobster
2. Trading Places
3. Shazam!
4. The Last Dragon
5. Working Girl
6. Moana
7. About a Boy
8. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
9. Ruby Sparks
10. The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
Well, that is all for January. Next month, I will focus largely on African-American and African films based on my never-ending DVR list including a few films directed by women and hopefully some of the films I have in my laptop hard drive of 2020 releases that I want to catch up on. Even as I hope to go into my A Little Something Extra list for some ideas. Other than that and my next Blind Spot which will be Daughters of the Dust, that’s all I have planned for next month. In closing, since the year before was a tough year as far as deaths related to COVID and un-related. I want to express my condolences to the families and friends of the true major league home run king in Hank Aaron as well as Larry King, Cloris Leachman, Cicely Tyson, Tanya Roberts, and Julie Strain. Until then, this is thevoid99 signing off…

© thevoid99 2021


Often Off Topic said...

I really didn't know what to expect from WandaVision but I'm loving it so far! That 4th episode went by in a flash, I couldn't believe it was already over when the credits rolled. It's so hard to avoid spoilers for it.

Jay said...

You were busy!
You also reminded me that I watched those shorts as well.

thevoid99 said...

@Often Off Topic-I am in love with that show and the last episode made me re-watch all the previous episodes for clues and Easter Eggs. Seriously, if they're going to announce a few more seasons. I'll be on board as long as they keep the supporting cast. I could watch Jimmy Woo be the straight man and do card tricks for hours and wouldn't get tired of it as long as there's Dr. Darcy Lewis being funny and Monica Rambeau being cool.

@Jay-Well, it took me a while to find some time to watch things and I'm fortunate that there were some good films that came across me to re-watch.

Ruth said...

Yay for SOUL, glad you love that movie too! I rewatched a bunch of movies too last month. The Lobster is such a crazy movie, and I love About A Boy and Working Girl, both are great for rewatches.

thevoid99 said...

@Ruth-Re-watches are fun to watch as I'm glad to re-watch those films.

Katy said...

Nice round-up for January! I'm quite enjoying WandaVision so far, especially the vintage episodes of the 1940s and 1950s. The latest episode didn't reveal too many new things as I anticipated, but I'm still excited to see where it goes and if it fits into the MCU.

thevoid99 said...

@Katy-I am in love with the show as I'm really excited for what the next episode is going to be like. I am also eager to see what the 80s credit will be like and the reaction from Monica, Woo, and Dr. Lewis.

Ipecac said...

WandaVision has been incredible, must-see TV, and I love seeing Marvel get more into long-form storytelling like this.

thevoid99 said...

@Ipecac-I saw the sixth episode earlier today and... goddamnit, I wanna know what happens next.