Every blogger has been editorializing on the subject of this year 2020. It has been, at best, a hard year. But instead of focusing on all of the negative aspects I would like to write about a few good things that have happened. And, if we are all fortunate enough, next year’s post will be a rave for 2021.
Firstly, though theaters seem to be on the brink of extinction, the home theater appears to be thriving. There have been some really monumentally important titles that have made their blu ray debuts in 2020. These aren’t necessarily the best releases of the year in terms of supplements, but each of these films is a must see if not a must own. From Warner Archive came Borzage’s The Mortal Storm (1940); one of the master’s greatest dramatic achievements. Sony Pictures finally gave us a release of Rubin and Ed (1991) while Scorpion put out the underrated Clifford (1994). Kino-Lorber were busy as usual and have released pre-code gems Love Me Tonight (1932) and Sign of the Cross (1932) for the first time. Vinegar Syndrome put out a gorgeous, decked out with special features release of Paul Schrader’s haunting and disturbing Patty Hearst (1988).
It hasn’t been a bad year for movie merchandising either (Jesus Franco Christmas tree toppers). Companies like NECA and Severin Films have kept action figures, comics, pins and other knick knacks coming pretty consistently. I think every collector has added a decoration here and there to augment their home video library this year. Personally my favorite was NECA’s Ultimate Gremlin action figure.
Gremlins (1984) and Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) are two of my favorite holiday films, though I admit that I find Gremlins 2 to be better. With Gremlins 2 Joe Dante really leans into his love for Tex Avery and Frank Tashlin to make the audience aware of just how much fun watching a movie can be. When I watch these films every holiday season that is why. It’s almost superficial that Gremlins takes place around Christmas. It’s the feeling that cinema is an adventure, one that is as enjoyable as it is unpredictable, that makes these two films perfect to bring in the new year.
So if you’re like me and you worry for the fate of your local movie theater and video store, take comfort in the blu rays that you have acquired this year then look ahead to new releases of The Train, Satantango, Celine & Julie Go Boating, The Court Jester, Baxter, and Small Soldiers. 2021 will be so much better than 2020. Trust in the enduring power of cinema.