Culture Crash: Film Highlights So Far In 2020

Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture. What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.

By now, it’s no secret that the year 2020 in movies is not shaping up to be what we all envisioned back in January. The summer is waning on and most theaters remain closed due to COVID-19, and yes, that is a bummer… but all is not lost! While the theater experience is vastly superior to that of watching movies at home, the theme of this year seems to be making due with what we have, and what we have is actually pretty exciting, thanks to the offerings of major streamers and direct-to-rental movie releases.

I finally got around to catching up with Invisible Man, which was released pre-COVID and then transitioned to streaming services early. The reimagination of the classic title manages to take a modern approach to the story that serves its plot very well while still retaining the elemental fear of, well, being chased by an invisible man. I have heard great things about The King of Staten Island, the latest from Judd Apatow starring Pete Davison, and I thoroughly enjoyed the Andy Samberg-starrer, Palm Springs, which takes a romcom approach to the Groundhog Day formula and is available on Hulu. Spike Lee’s latest film, Da 5 Bloods, was also released during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is streaming on Netflix.

But in addition to those, the rest of this year has a lot in store for those of us still stuck at home, hoping to help the country lower its viral outbreak numbers. The incomparable Charlie Kaufman has made a movie based on I’m Thinking of Ending Things, a novel by Iain Reid that scared the heck out of me, which will come to Netflix on September 4. Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7, which features a star-studded cast and an election-year tie-in, will hit Netflix on September 25 after the streamer paid $50 million for the film.

Seth Rogan’s An American Pickle looks to be a big swing, telling the story of a man preserved 100 years in a pickle factory before waking up in modern America, and it will hit HBO Max on August 6. And finally, David Fincher is set to release his first film since Gone Girl on Netflix this fall with Mank, a biopic about a script doctor Herman Makiewicz, who fought with Orson Welles for screenplay credit for Citizen Kane.

So yes, 2020 is a weird year for film, but there are still good movies out there, and plenty to look forward to this fall.

I’m Evan Rook.


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