I’ve been home for over a month now and you all know what that means––it’s time to exploit my family for content. As I reflected on my year of media (TV, movies, music, etc.), I wondered how my parents experienced this very same year. I sat down with them and talked about the most memorable content of the year. From an interview that started with an extended Sanford and Son impression and ended with some very typical Donald Trump slander, I’ve managed to compose a list of the best and the worst media moments from Matt Grant and Eileen Yoshina.
I should mention that my brother was also present for this interview. When asked about his opinions, he simply stated, “I didn’t read and I didn’t watch anything. Breaking Bad is good.”
So, without further ado...
“It made me explore a new genre that I was previously unaware of (Europop music). It was fun to make fun of something besides American politics.”
This one bounced in and out of the top three. Dad struggled with the conflicting dualities of this being an objectively bad movie as well as one of his favorites of the year. In fact, my parents demanded that I create a new category called “best/worst” which included titles like Eurovision as well as Tiger King and the new Bill and Ted movie.
Trial of Chicago 7 (2020)
“I LOVED Sacha Baron Cohen as Abby Hoffman. All the seven were so unique and such an important role later on in history. It made me look up a lot of things after the movie was over. Did a lot of googling.”
Dad seems to have a love/hate relationship with Sacha Baron Cohen. About Cohen’s other project Borat (which was originally categorized as a TV show?), he said, “I liked when he tricked those evil Olympia people and Rudy Giuliani but not when he pranks stupid people.” As a former history teacher, I knew Dad would connect with something that is so dedicated to getting a historical story right.
Small Axe Series––Mangrove (2020)
“What was happening [in America] was also happening over there [in England]. It materialized in a different way but there was a common feeling of injustice.”
I watched this with my parents a couple of weeks ago and agree that Mangrove is definitely worth the watch. Directed by Steven McQueen (12 Years a Slave), Mangrove is incredibly unique and a good one for people of all ages. This pick exemplifies my dad’s need to get as close to a documentary as possible without ever crossing that line into nonfiction. I’ll let it slide this time because this is a good choice.
“I’ve thought about it ever since I saw it. I needed it to counteract the terribleness of the world.”
If there’s one thing I can be proud of this year, it’s introducing my parents to the talents of Bong Joon Ho. While this doesn’t exactly fit the criteria of 2020 films, it does perhaps embody the bittersweetness of living life while the world rots around us. After all, what’s more 2020 than the evils of capitalism?
Hunt For The Wilderpeople (2016)
“I like the love of people, the love of the land, the love of animals”
Well, I’ll give my mom points here for originality. Of course, I’ll take those points away again for picking another movie from four years ago. As we get closer to the end of this year, I realize that my parents really don’t have a sense of when movies come out. I guess if they saw it this year, it’s a 2020 movie. Fair enough.
The Half of It (2020)
“So sweet, that was a good movie...I watched it without you [my dad] because I didn’t think you’d be interested.”
We finally struck gold on this third pick––a solid choice AND from the correct year! Although my dad was indignant about my mom’s comment, there is no doubt in my mind that he would’ve been asleep before the title credits finished rolling. However, for anyone who isn’t my father, this movie is an excellent and incredibly watchable pick!
Matt Grant and Eileen Yoshina:
I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)
“Well somebody has to be the maggot-infested pig.” –Actor Guy Boyd to a cartoon maggot infested pig
When I asked my parents why they hated this movie so much (because they listed this highly acclaimed film unanimously as the worst of the year), they kept coming back to this quote. While I actually quite enjoyed the movie, I guess I can see why it’s not for everyone. What I do not understand is the visceral hatred that my parents feel for this movie. I get that surrealism isn’t for everyone, but in a year as awful as 2020, I did not expect this Charlie Kaufman trip of a film to make the bottom of the list.
This is part of an ongoing series (one hour-long interview that resulted in 6 pages of notes) where I ask my parents about their favorites and least favorites of the last year. No googling, just the (mostly) unfiltered opinions of my educator parents on all things pop culture.