As part of my end of year reflection, I am taking a look at what I listened to, what I watched, and what I read. I didn’t keep a running list of every single thing I watched. These are the movie, shows, plays, and short videos that I remember watching this year.
The Philadelphia Eagles
This is the only thing on my list that I remember watching before quarantine started. I’m watching them now during the pandemic, too. They are not great this year (that’s an understatement!), but I will keep watching. It’s about loyalty.
Although I grew up in a sports-watching household, my husband did not. After we watched the Eagles win the Super Bowl in 2018, he said, “I think I could get into this.” So we’ve been watching together ever since! We’re still learning the fine details of the game and the league that most sports watchers pick up by osmosis when they are a kid.
In the spring, when the schools closed for COVID-19, the kids were doing school from home. My two middle-schoolers were required to watch a 10 minute news program everyday and take notes for a weekly quiz on the material. I decided we should all watch it together. Every morning, we started the day in the living room. First we read from the Bible then watched CNN10 on YouTube. Every day we watched the global pandemic spread and then they would play a clip about exploring around the world or in the ocean. When I think about watching CNN10, I remember the newness of the pandemic and the bizarre shock of staying at home.
During the quarantine, entertainers were looking for something creative to do. Jimmy Kimmel did his show from home. John Krazinski did Some Good News. Colt Clark sang cover songs everyday with his super cute kids.
My favorite was Josh Gad (the voice of Olaf the Snowman) and Reunited Apart. Through Zoom he would get together the casts of some great 80s movies and ask them questions about the film and ask them to reenact some of the scenes from the movies. My favorite was Back to the Future, but he also did Goonies, Wayne’s World, and some others.
Little Women (2019) and On the Basis of Sex
Although we watch a movie together each week as a family, when I was reflecting on the year there were only two that stood out to me as memorable. I greatly enjoyed Little Women because of the way they told the story with flashbacks. The movie focuses on all four girls and not just Jo. I especially liked the addition of the scene with Meg and buying the fabric she really couldn’t afford.
I also enjoyed On the Basis of Sex, the story of one of the sex-discrimination court cases of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Aside from learning about her remarkable history, I also appreciated the family dynamic and the relationship she had with her husband. It irks me when movies (like La La Land) presume that two ambitious people cannot marry one another, assuming their individual ambitions cannot happen if they commit themselves to each other. That’s a narrow view of accomplishing ambition. On the Basis of Sex is a real-life example of how a husband and wife support each other’s passions.
Our family started listening to the Hamilton soundtrack in 2016 and longed to be able to see the stage production. We were overjoyed when Disney+ added the filmed stage version of Hamilton to the streaming service in July 2020. It gave us something to look forward to! We were surprised there was no dialogue besides the soundtrack. Several of the songs made more sense since we got to the see the actions of the actors on stage. The play also showed me the importance of Eliza and how she tells Alexander’s story.
The Phantom of the Opera
Although I sang several of the songs from this musical in high school chorus, I had never seen the show. Thankfully, during quarantine, a theater YouTube channel decided to stream select shows for a short period of time. Around Easter time, they streamed The Phantom of the Opera so I finally got to watch it. Apparently this was a different version than the popular movie. It was a filmed stage version. The music was so catchy and the vocal power and range of the leads was amazing! But I still don’t understand the story. I need to read the book or watch it again to understand it. Is the Phantom a ghost? Or a Quasimodo type of person? I don’t get it.
5 Shows on Netflix
Tim and I rewatched the compelling Grand Hotel on Netflix. If you like Downton Abbey and you like mysteries, you will love this show! It’s in Spanish so you need to read subtitles, but it’s totally worth it. We also watched The English Game created and written by Julian Fellowes who wrote Downton Abbey. The English Game is about soccer in England and Scotland in Edwardian Times. It was okay. I didn’t love the characters as much as other shows. Love the costumes and the scenery though!
We watched the next season of The Crown as well. I was disappointed in this season. Too much liberal politics (why make Margaret Thatcher a bad guy?) and too much long drawing out of Charles and Diana saga. What I liked about the past seasons was learning new things about the royals and their removal from the world yet their impact on it. That focus seems to have been lost this season.
I like to watch something intellectually stimulating while washing dishes in the evening. This year I watched Ken Burn’s The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. I had read an Edith Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt biography in the last couple of years. This was a great series for putting all the Roosevelts together and I learned a lot more about Franklin than I knew before. I hope to visit Franklin and Eleanor’s homes in New York sometime. They are not too far from me.
The only show I binge watch is Jeopardy. The kids know that if they hear me asking random questions out loud when I’m in a room by myself, it’s okay. I haven’t gone crazy. It’s just me in the Jeopardy zone.
I’ve watched church online before when I was sick or home with one of our sick kids since our churches has been streaming our services for years, but this year online church was the only choice for weeks on end from mid-March to June. In June we worshipped outdoors until the first week of November when we moved back indoors with masks on.
It’s hard to stay focused when watching in the comfort of my couch. After the first few weeks I dressed up for online church to help my heart be in the mood. I will always remember what I wore those weeks. I wore the same thing every Sunday. It was a plain blue knit short sleeved shirt and an ankle length knit skirt with a crazy pattern of black, peach, and blue triangles. I bought them both to wear to Kenya where I was supposed to go this past spring to speak at a women’s retreat. Even though it’s comfortable, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to wear the outfit again next spring. It exudes frustration and sadness.
This year I also watched the video of George Floyd being killed by a police officer. I knew that this kind of thing happened. But to actually watch it? Wow. Heartbreaking. Sickening.
This coming year I’d like to understand more about racism and hear from Black voices. I think Phil Vischer’s video on Race in America was so helpful to me this year as I start to do that. Plus I read White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Race to help me understand how I fit in to the picture.
When my husband and I were digging in our yard we found an old plate, a penny, and some glass bottles buried under our sidewalk. I love old things and this reminded me about Antique Roadshow. My younger daughters and I watched old episodes on YouTube. I love old things so it was fun to learn about antiques at to guess whether something was going to be valuable and how valuable. We even went around our house looking up our old things to discover their stories.
What did you watch this year? Let me know in the comments!
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