END OF 2020 FILMS (Death to 2020, Yearly Departed): Laugh So You Don’t Cry – Netflix/Amazon Prime Review

If you missed these, we’re almost a month into the next year and it’s time to set the last one on fire.

SUMMARY

Death to 2020 – Presented as a mockumentary about the last year and how completely and ridiculously unbelievable it was from an objective viewpoint, this special has performances by Samuel L. Jackson as a reporter, Hugh Grant as a historian, Lisa Kudrow as a conservative pundit, Leslie Jones as a behavioral psychologist, Joe Keery as a millennial, Kumail Nanjiani as a tech billionaire, Tracy Ullman as Queen Elizabeth II, Cristin Milioti as a “Karen,” Diane Morgan as a British person, and Laurence Fishburne as a voice. 

Shut the f*ck up, Karen.

Yearly Departed – Presented as a complicated funeral for the year, a group of female comedians (Rachel Brosnahan, Sarah Silverman, Natasha Leggero, Tiffany Haddish, Patti Harrison, Natasha Rothwell, Ziwe Fumudoh, and Phoebe Robinson) all give hilarious eulogies about various things that “died” in 2020.

Like most of us watching this, she’s not wearing pants.

END SUMMARY

2020 sucked. There was a lot of death, a lot of loneliness, and a lot of my neighbors planning an insurrection to overthrow the US government unless their candidate won (HEY, FBI, THEY’RE NEXT DOOR AND THEY HAVE A LOT OF GUNS). However, through it all, we found out that there is a lot of shit in this world that really isn’t necessary (working in an office building for many jobs) and a bunch that is more necessary than we could ever have imagined (teachers, nurses, and other people we don’t pay well enough). These films are a testament to the insanity that was the last year. What’s funniest, I think, is how many of the things in these films you will have forgotten about because other, crazier things happened afterwards. 

Remember how people were quickly cancelling cop shows and films?

If I had to choose between them, and I don’t really because they’re both fairly short, but if I did, I would say that I enjoyed the mockumentary format of Death to 2020 more than the fake funeral of Yearly Departed. Viewing last year through a semi-objective lens and just reminding us how much shit actually happened during it feels almost like a self-parody. Like when the movie Airplane! just lifted lines directly from the film Zero Hour and that made it apparent that Zero Hour was itself a terrible and ridiculous movie. However, I did appreciate that Yearly Departed focused almost entirely on female comics, giving it a distinction that most specials don’t have. They each essentially give different comedy monologues and they are all amazingly funny, it’s just that the format gets a little old eventually.

Plus, only Samuel L. Jackson is capable of expressing the frustration of 2020.

Overall, I recommend checking both of these out to help you move forward into the new year strong.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Netflix Review – The Lovebirds: It’s Pretty Fun, But Lacks Heart

It’s not The Big Sick, but the leads carry the movie.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Jibran (Kumail Nanjiani) and Leilani (Issa Rae) have been a couple for several years. After their arguments come to a head, the two agree to break up, only to hit a man on a bicycle (Nicholas X. Parsons) a few moments later. The man on the bicycle flees. They are then commandeered by a police officer (Paul Sparks), who runs down and then shoots the bicyclist. He flees, leaving two bystanders to discover Jibran and Leilani over the body. The bystanders call the police and, worried that they’ll be the suspects, the couple flees. Now they need to find the murderer and clear their names, while also dealing with their own awkward situation.

Admittedly, the clothing is pretty great.

END SUMMARY

I almost loved this movie. I really wanted to, if I’m being honest, because I loved the last collaboration between director Michael Showalter and Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick. But while that movie had the heart of a tragic relationship to fall back on to break up the comedy and nailed the tone of Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon (because they wrote it), this movie doesn’t quite pull it off. 

This movie had just a little more heart to it.

A big part of what this movie doesn’t get right is that we don’t get a lot of time with Jibran and Leilani as a couple before they’re fighting and breaking up, so we don’t ever really have a connection with them. I’m not saying that I needed an Up-style intro depicting the happy couple living together, but for a four year relationship, we really only get a short picture of them being together, going from the end of their apparent one-night stand which, within two-and-a-half minutes jumps to them fighting four years later. We then get six minutes of them fighting and breaking up. Less than nine minutes into the movie, the people we’re supposed to root for are not together and we spent most of that nine minutes just hearing them bicker, most of which was over nonsensical crap. Since this is a rom-com and we know they’re going to be back together at the end, I guess it’s good that most of their complaints are crap, aside from the marriage issue from the last thirty seconds of the fight. Again, it’s hard to root for people that we don’t know and don’t really have a reason to like, and the timing on this is so formulaic, I found multiple screenplay guides that describe it. 

Yeah, this is almost exactly the timing of this film.

Then there’s the plot, which appears to just borrow from other films whenever they had an idea for a scene that would be funnier with the addition of these two characters, going from weird torture to awkward shopping to police chase to Eyes Wide Shut. I’m pretty sure I followed the plot, but it was so dumb that missing out on it really wouldn’t have made a difference. 

I mean, Kumail is basically Tom Cruise.

The thing that almost makes this movie work, though, is that the leads are just that funny. No matter how weird or awkward or stupid the situation, they play off of each other perfectly. Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani are both charming, they’re both likable, they’re both attractive, and, even though the film is dialogue heavy, they actually do a good job of adding levels with their performances. Acting is, supposedly, reacting and they both nail it when dealing with each other. 

You can be in sync comedically, but out of sync romantically.

Overall, if you like either of the leads, you’ll like this movie. If you just want something on in the background to laugh at while you do other stuff, this movie’s a good choice. It’s got some pretty solid laughs at times, but there are much better comedies out there. 

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.