Sometimes, at the height of our revelries, when our joy is at its zenith, when all is most right with the world...the most unthinkable disasters descend upon us.
- Adult Ralphie, A Christmas Story
Well, this was quite an amazing time we went through, wasn't it? We saw society going through a major change due to unprecedented tides, and yet, as we put up with all the chaos, we discovered newer, better ways to stay closer together, not just for one another, but also, in the face of such uncertainties at hand. We learned to harness our potential for the needs of so many people, and, in so doing, we started to become savvier over the pratfalls found in our everyday parts of life, from social media to our ways of living, and even from our leaders. We learned to embrace what we cherished the most about them, while also addressing the bad, for the betterment of America, of the world, and most importantly, of mankind.
But we'll talk about the 2020s later. Let's talk about 2020 itself.
We had to put up with a disease, called the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, that put a standstill on our day to day lifestyles.
We had to be restricted of our cherished activities just to maintain our health and those of other people around us.
We had to try to keep the younger generations educated on our own as many schools across the country closed down and forced us to settle for online classes.
We had to deal with a fight for racial recognition jumpstarted from a fatal mistake one police officer made on George Floyd that could easily have been averted.
We lost a legend in Sean Connery, the first-ever James Bond on screen.
We lost Kobe Bryant and Chadwick Boseman, both of whom were very talented, in their prime, and taken from us too soon.
We had to put up with the trust in the police as a whole being put to the test like there was no tomorrow!
We had to deal with our moviegoing and TV-going pastimes being rocked to the core!
We had to deal with protests that started by targeting the police, then the flawed historical figures, then religion itself!
We had to wrap our heads around the idea of some of the most notorious criminals in American history being freed!
We had to put up with a fight to develop a vaccine to combat the Coronavirus!
A fight to maintain our American values in the face of riotous activities!
A fight to preserve the history that gave America her identity!
Two of the world's biggest social media giants being put under scrutiny for tampering with news concerning the son of our new POTUS!
American unemployment rising to an all-time high!
Widespread lawlessness rising to an all-time high!
Politics clouding the IQ of the everyday American elite!
Cinematic ventures being left to hang in the balance!
The authentication of the First Amendment itself left to hang in the balance!
Millions of taxpayers’ dollars going to waste!
Our political system teetering into borderline Socialism!
Presidential debates dwindling into verbal jabs!
Political correctness running wild!
Social justice ploys that do more harm than good!
Wildfires scorching the western USA clean!
Hurricanes washing the southeastern USA clean!
Dogs and cats living together!
Sorry. Okay, so, starting all over, the way the 2020s were kicked off was nothing short of... calamitous. The restrictions, the health issues, the outrage, the confusion, the manipulation, it all added up to what I feel was one of the most challenging, frightening, and frustrating times we ever lived to see.
Franklin D. Roosevelt lambasted December 7, 1941, where Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, as "a date which will live in infamy". September 11, 2001, was one of the most devastating days in recent history for the terrorist attacks that rocked our country to the core. Well, I will bet you that in about five or ten years from now, we can all look back on this year as the year of the wake-up calls, if not just as the year of the COVID-19.
And don't even get me started on the 'news'. As soon as I saw conflicting reports after conflicting reports pop up everywhere, both on social media and on broadcast TV, I continually took the news with a pinch of salt. Why? Because these reports carried varying levels of credibility as of late, some of them even expressed political ties, and all of them were more concerned about what they condoned or didn't condone, as opposed to what we as Americans condoned or didn't condone. At this rate, the only thing they convinced me of was that the outside world as we know it has devolved into a dog-eat-dog world. This ain't feeling like the America I know and love!
Many of you might think that what we witnessed through the news, or, God forbid, in person, was the late 1960s riots all over again. But I can assure you this: those riots had a point to make compared to what we witnessed this year.
On the other hand, this isn't the first time we had to go through such a widespread standstill due to a pandemic. I remember reading that 1918 had to deal with the Spanish flu, while, at the same time, it still had to put up with World War I. That pandemic couldn't have come at a worse time, but one thing that convinced me of is that, somehow, if America made it through that year in one piece, I'm sure we'll survive this year, too.
And, as much as we should all be feeling thankful to be moving away from the year we had to suffer from all the atrocities I brought up, let's also be thankful for the good things that came about from it.
Even though friends and families had to be separated and asked to stay inside their homes to sustain their health, they still found ways to stay connected through such methods as Zoom, and in the case of certain families and friends, they arguably felt closer together than they ever felt before.
And while the creative outputs this year were varied, it was a blessing in disguise as far as animation and writing were concerned. Many animators and voice actors stuck at home could still have done what they did best from the comfort of their own homes, without ever feeling like they had to go anywhere to do what's asked of them. And in the case of writers - and it doesn't matter at this point what kind - they felt like they were given more time to either develop new stories or improve what they already had in their arsenal.
David Harbour said that the pandemic gave the Duffer Brothers more time to develop and improve their scripts for the upcoming (as of this writing) fourth season of Stranger Things. Taiki Waitiki said that the extra time during the lockdown allowed him to hone in his skills to improve the script for the fourth Thor movie, Thor: Love and Thunder, the way he felt was perfect for the movie. And acclaimed writer Stephen Soderbergh said that the lockdown allowed him more time to develop not one, not two, but three screenplays, including, interestingly enough, one for a sequel to his cult film Sex, Lies, and Videotape.
While many theaters across the country had to be shut down due to the pandemic, there was a slight rebirth of another movie theater chain: the classic drive-in theaters. During their resurgences in operation, they had the opportunities to show two types of movies - newly released movies that could otherwise not have been seen in a conventional theater, and, more commonly, classic movies that were given a return to the silver screens everywhere. And this all happened while the viewers saw them and enjoyed it in their maintained distances and from the comfort of their own cars.
I hope that, as we move forward into 2021, things will not only go back - or, at least, attempt to go back - to normal, but that all the chaos we had to put up with throughout the year will teach us how to live better, think better, solve problems better, and function better as human beings.
Before I forget...as I sat here reflecting on everything we witnessed in 2020, the general outcomes turned out to slowly, and with the innermost, quiet determination, call me back to a particular movie that I've seen not too long ago, that coincidentally addressed ahead of time what we had to put up with in 2020. Stay tuned, for you'll see which movie I'm talking about and why 2020 reminded me of this movie.
I’d say Happy New Year, but who are we kidding? This is probably one of the happiest New Years we are about to have in a long, long, LONG time, anyway. As Bing Crosby put it in Holiday Inn:
Let’s watch the old year die with a fond goodbye
And our hopes as high as a kite.
I’ll see you soon, and I’ll see you in 2021!