This year, the entertainment world came to a halt, with limited releases in 2020. However, for those that were released, there are some stand out picks that got the Platform committee through what has been an usual year for everyone.
Taylor Swift – Miss Americana
I’m going to say my entertainment highlight of the year was Taylor Swift’s documentary Miss Americana. It feels like it came out years ago, but it really did only come out in January! Taylor gave us an authentic glimpse into her life in the limelight, showcasing her struggles and the dilemmas she faced.
We saw her go public with her political views for the first time, her opinion on her sexual assault trial and her production of new music. For Taylor Swift fans, this was all they could have ever wanted and provided an insight into the otherwise rather private superstar.
By Faith Pring (Editor-in-Chief)
South Korean director Bong Joon-ho cemented himself as a worldwide household name this year with the release of Parasite, which became the first non-English language film to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Far from just overhyped Oscar bait, Bong’s seventh feature won over general moviegoers and critics alike thanks to its dark humour, feverishly paced plot and explosive – but tragic – finale.
In addition to Parasite, 2020 also saw UK Blu-Ray releases of Bong’s previous movies Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000), Memories of Murder (2003) and Snowpiercer (2013), making the director’s entire back catalogue easily accessible to anyone interested in a journey through the unmissable works of one of our generation’s finest filmmakers.
By Jamie Morris (Deputy Editor)
The Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez
My favourite book this year has to be The Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez, a formidable piece that exposes bias in “a world designed by men”.
This book challenges gender stereotypes that have made it through the last centuries and go under the radar in today’s society.
Perez goes in depth, calmly presenting the facts and data to the reader in an objective way, even if she could’ve gone even further with her feminist rhetoric.
Her findings and analysis are impressive, and it just makes you think how ridiculous the world we live in is. For some of us, at least…
By Olimpia Zagnat (News Editor)
My entertainment pick of 2020 has to be the latest series of Googlebox. After being a fan of the Channel 4 programme for a long time, this year in particular it has provided a much-needed comic relief in a very dark and depressing time.
Television has become something of a crutch for me in recent months, and I look forward to having something to watch in the evenings. While watching other people watch telly might not sound like fun to some people, for me, it is the perfect form of entertainment and escapism!
Stand out characters on the show have to be either Jenny and Lee or Peter and Sophie as I think they are just hilarious, and they never fail to put a smile on my face.
By Jessica Goddard (Travel & Lifestyle Editor)
Whilst not necessarily released in 2020, the US Election has brought the American TV series West Wing back off the shelves for many political fans.
Regardless of your political leaning – whether it be Republican or Democrat – the Golden Globe-winning drama is a must-watch for political geeks.
Based on the inner workings of a presidential administration, the narrative takes you to the inside track of the key advisors right to the President – including communications director, the chief of staff, chief speechwriter and press secretary.
Focusing on Democratic President Josiah “Jed” Bartlett, the show highlights the important role each individual plays in a gripping, entertaining and comedic style. While we may not have dramatic attempts to take the President’s life as seen within West Wing
in recent years, the chaotic atmosphere pictured on screen does make us wonder how close a representation of modern-day it could well be.
By Matthew Lee (Online Editor)
I saw Jojo Rabbit on New Year’s Day. Not only would it become my favourite film of the year – albeit with no real competition – but it has become a keen reminder of what normality used to be. Me, a group of friends packed into a crowded cinema with no fear of forgetting a mask and no overpowering waft of hand sanitizer accompanying each breath.
Sentimentality aside, Jojo Rabbit is an excellent film. A carefully balanced tale of satirical surrealist humour and dark contextual undertones that made the Nazis – the most reviled group of individuals in modern history – the figures of quick wits and endearing self-deprecation.
For those that are yet to see it I won’t give much away regarding plot lines but know that you’re in the hands of some truly talented people. Taika Watiti’s Adolf Hitler is a surprisingly likeable and almost juvenile in his mannerisms, Scarlet Johannson pulls out one of her greatest performances with the believable hope and heart of a loving mother whilst Roman Griffin Davis is a wonderful Jojo that brings refreshing quality to the usual plight of child actors.
Wrapped in a beautifully shot and meticulously sound tracked package, Jojo Rabbit might just be the most charming and heartfelt take on Germany at war that we will ever see.
By Alex Mace (Music Editor)
Middleditch and Schwartz
The last thing I’m sure many of us would optionally do is go to see an improv show. In my experience, they’re rarely good and they just leave you with that awful cringe worthy feeling of “why on earth did I come to this?”.
Netflix’s Middleditch and Schwartz is not like that. Each of the three episodes sees the cast of two improvise an hour’s worth of story based on an audience member’s suggestion. This is improv performed by two comedians you can rely on.
Ben Schwartz, known for his stint as Jean-Ralphio in Parks and Recreations and Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch is the closest thing to a masterclass in improv I think there will ever be. It is hilarious and slick.
There is not a single moment where the two comedians drop the ball and make you go “Oh God, why I have I watched this?”. It’s pure joy, especially when they mess up.
By Robbie Nichols (Creative Corner Editor)
Lockdown was a time that seemed to never end, but a show that made the time less boring was the BBC Three romantic drama Normal People. Based on the 2018 novel by Sally Rooney, Normal People tells the story of on and off couple Connell Waldron and Marianne Sheridan, as they battle through their years of adolescent through to their university years – together.
Normal People not only went down a hit with me, but the world. What made it so great was the raw appeal it had to people as they could relate. The reality it represented to us as viewers made it an even better watch, as it reminded us of our more innocent times – despite still being in university myself. The chemistry between Paul Mescal and Daisy-Edgar Jones drew me in the most, appealing to my love (ironic) towards the romantic genre.
Through watching the series, I went on to read the novel, as well as Sally Rooney’s other popular fiction Conversation with Friends. After repeating the series several times already this year, it is no wonder this is my entertainment highlight of the year.
By Katie Green (Culture & Entertainment Editor)
Similar to Katie, I also chose Normal People are my favourite entertainment choice of the year.
In the midst of lockdown blues, I was looking for something to sink my teeth into, other than the ridiculous amount of cheese toasties I was consuming, to begin with. I read the book and was immediately hooked. Never before had I read a book that so adequately explained the trials of relationship anxiety as well as this book, has.
Connell and Marianne being deeply flawed individuals throughout the book was welcomed, and it was nice to read something which delved deep into problems that we all face as young people navigating our way through school and sixth form. I ended up finishing the book and reading all of Sally Rooney’s back catalogue, including Conversations with Friends which wasn’t as engrossing as normal people (but was far more scandalous).
I watched the TV show afterwards and would recommend reading and watching for the full experience.
By George Cowell (Social Secretary)
So there you have it, that’s 2020 – well for the entertainment world at least. Looking to 2021, we are not sure what will happen in the world of culture and entertainment, but with so many films and TV shows to still be released, it is a year we can look forward to…