When “Stay At Home” orders were issued in March, PB and I started taking a walk every evening. Then we would sit down and watch “The Andy Griffith Show”. Every evening. It was a routine that provided some comfort, a bit of stress relief and a little escape from the headline news.
We watched more TV than usual this year, something I ordinarily consider to be a colossal waste of time. But I discovered that it’s not all twaddle (trivial, silly or tedious). In fact, I welcomed the entertaining diversion and even learned a few things. Here are some of my favorite films and shows from 2020.
- Little Women — I love every version ever made of this classic. PB and I saw this movie in a theater in January. Haven’t been inside a theater since.
- The Great British Baking Show series (Netflix) — seasons 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. Yep, we got hooked. I even bought a thermapen and a digital scale.
- Somebody Feed Phil series (Netflix) — One of the happiest people on earth, traveling all over the world, eating amazing food. A perfect trifecta.
- The Chosen series (free app) — The best Jesus film I’ve ever seen. Finally, a Jesus with personality. I have so much appreciation and respect for the director and his approach to this project. Beautifully done.
- Chef’s Table – BBQ (Netflix) — Especially episode 1: Tootsie Tomanetz, an 85 year old pit master.
- Lars and the Real Girl — A sweet movie about the power of community to help a young man work through mental health issues. Don’t let the blow-up doll throw you. We borrowed it from the library, but I bought a copy so I could make all my family and friends watch it.
- Hamilton (Disney+) — PB and I saw the show in Chicago, but watching it in our living room, with subtitles on, was such fun. Then we watched it without subtitles. Twice.
- Pioneer Quest series (Amazon Prime) — Two couples spend a year out on a Canadian prairie, living like it’s 1870. Filmed in 2000, it’s reality TV before it was a thing. I would have lasted a week. Maybe. Pioneers were tough folks. Alone series (Netflix) was a modern day version of survival in the Canadian tundra, but had a competitive twist. I would have lasted a day. Maybe.
- The Crown series (Netflix) — Can’t stop watching those British royal historical dramas. Also Victoria (Masterpiece Theater – PBS)
- The Mandalorian series (Disney+) — I never was a serious Star Wars fan, but it was fun watching this series with our son and daughter-in-law every Friday night this fall. Mando is so cool.
- Enola Holmes (Netflix) — A smart, quirky mystery featuring Sherlock Holmes’ sister, Enola. Pure fun.
- A Most Beautiful Thing (Amazon Prime) — A documentary about four young men from rival gangs from Chicago’s west side who became a rowing team.
- The Movies That Made Us (Netflix) — The behind-the-scenes stories of how movies got made. We just watched the “Home Alone” episode. Then we caught the “Elf” episode on The Holiday Movies That Made Us. The insider information produced in an engaging style was interesting and entertaining.
- Just Mercy — PB and I saw this in a theater in January, too. We didn’t know then how poignant this film would become in the coming year. As I write this, I am reminded of a quote from my #1 book of the year, “Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers”.
“But God, being rich in mercy…” (Ephesians 2:4) Nowhere else in the Bible is God described as rich in anything. The only thing he is called rich in is: mercy. In his justice, God is exacting; in his mercy, God is overflowing.Dane Ortlund
May the same be said of His people in the coming year.
That’s just a sampling! We watched about 50 movies/television series this year. I’m not necessarily proud of that, but I also feel no shame! After all, it was 2020. Got any film recommendations to get me through the winter?