2020 was a film year of asterisks, where the question “what constitutes a 2020 movie?” collided with the more existential question, “what constitutes a movie, period?”
Two of my favorite “movie” experiences last year were filmed versions of Broadway productions, released on streaming platforms.
Should Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton count as a movie? Would it count if it had been released in theaters, as was the plan pre-pandemic? What about David Byrne’s American Utopia, filmed by no less a screen titan than Spike Lee, but inherently a faithful depiction of his stage show?
Ordinarily, by now I’d be posting my favorite movies of the year and writing about Oscar predictions. But 2020 was no ordinary year, for movies or anything else.
The Oscars were pushed back to April, and as a result plenty of “2020” films have yet to be released anywhere I can see them. So my official list will have to wait awhile.
In the meantime, I’ll spend this week writing about a few different aspects of my moviegoing in 2020.
Boy, Hamilton sure is brilliant. This ditty from early in Act Two runs less than two minutes and yet captures so much of what is smart, funny and musically interesting about the work.
Coming right after the emotional George Washington send-off ‘One Last Time,’ this playful track serves as King George’s exit and a shift from the Revolutionary period to the messier work of building a new government.
The biggest entertainment-related splurge of my life came in the spring of 2016, when I coughed up $500 per ticket for my family of four to see Hamilton on Broadway. Add in airfare, hotel and meals and you’re talking one extravagant weekend.
It was worthy every goddamn penny. My family, during our peak Hamilton obsession, got to witness the original cast a couple of months before they all left the show. Literally a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Today’s Random Weekend selection comes from the Hamilton soundtrack. ‘Hurricane’ comes after Alexander Hamilton has been exposed as an adulterer, and (even worse, in his eyes) accused of money laundering.
He decides to write his way out of the situation, as he had so many other difficult times in his life, from childhood through his political career.