Dick Johnson Is Dead (2020) – Long Live Dick Johnson

Released: 2nd October
Seen: 5th October

Dick Johnson, father of filmmaker Kirsten Johnson, is on his way out. The former psychiatrist and current father is in the beginning stages of dementia and is starting to have to face the reality of his own mortality. Naturally, this leads to his daughter Kirsten coming up with an idea… she’ll film him dying in multiple gruesome ways, from falling down a set of stairs to having his neck punctured and bleeding out. It’s a fun little thing to keep Dick going, ironically by killing him over and over again.

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American Murder: The Family Next Door (2020) – Won’t You Meet The Neighbours?

Released: 30th September
Seen: 3rd October

American Murder The Family Next Door Info

August 13 of 2018, Shanann Watts and her two daughters Bella and Celeste went missing. For several days police investigated it as a missing persons case until they came to a heartbreaking conclusion… Shanann and her daughters weren’t missing, they’d been murdered by Shanann’s husband Chris who had been helping the police since the start of their investigation. Chris would later confess to murdering his family (I’ll spare you the details, but it’s in this documentary) when his affair was discovered and he was sentenced to multiple life sentences. It’s truly a devastating crime and this documentary has a unique way of telling that story and it kinda works, for the most part.

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The Social Dilemma (2020) – Oh, You Got Trouble

Released: 9th September
Seen: 20th September

The Social Dilemma Info

On some level we all know and accept that social media is evil. They sell our data to anyone who asks nicely, the algorithm has a disturbing habit of pushing people towards extremism and they have rules that they enforce sporadically at best. It’s a running joke that when someone we know finally joins Twitter or Facebook, we send them condolences because their lives are about to get dramatically worse. We know these companies are evil… but just how evil are they?

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Howard (2020) – Lyrically Beautiful

Released: 7th August
Seen: 8th August

Howard Info

Were it not for Howard Ashman, there’s a chance that Disney studios wouldn’t be the behemoth that it is today. The legendary lyricist is partially responsible (in conjunction with his friend Alan Menkin) for the songs from  The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin which would be the three films that began the Disney Renaissance and, effectively, saved the  company. He also wrote one of the greatest musicals of all time with Little Shop of Horrors, a masterpiece no one expected to work. His career was the stuff that icons are made of but judge as Howard was reaching his peak, he was taken from us. Now, in this hell year, we are given a documentary to honour a legend who should never be forgotten.

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Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado (2020) – Truly Legendary

Released: 8th July
Seen: 4th August

Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado Info

July 3rd of 2020 was the first time I’ve ever heard the name Walter Mercado. I wasn’t introduced to him the way a lot of people were, I didn’t watch his shows or call his hotline or see his interviews. No, I learned about him the same way I learned about Little Edie, Mary Berry and Theresa Caputo… I saw them being portrayed as characters on the Snatch Game during an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. That was my introduction to Walter, drag queen Alexis Mateo decided to portray Walter Mercado during the most iconic challenge in the entire series and the second I saw this impression I wanted to know more about this person and then, 5 days later Netflix released the documentary Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado and like a good procrastinator I didn’t watch it for over a month because damnit, that’s what a professional does!

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Scream, Queen! My Nightmare On Elm Street (2020) – 1, 2, History’s Coming For You

Released: 9th July (Revelation Film Festival)
Seen: 16th July

In 1985, the sequel to the monster hit film Nightmare on Elm Street was released to an unsuspecting public. The first film was nothing short of a phenomenon, becoming a big enough touchstone to actually be name dropped by the president of the United States so all eyes were glued to the second film in the franchise and oh boy did it get a different reaction. At first it wasn’t well received for reasons people couldn’t quite figure out, some would blame the weird choice to bring Freddy into the real world, some would pin it on Wes Craven not being involved… then people took a second look and realised that they were looking at the gayest horror movie of all time and it was being released in 1985.

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Disclosure (2020) – One Of The Most Important Films Of The Year

Released: 19th June
Seen: 21st June

In a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court, it is now illegal in the United States to fire someone for being gay or transgender. This has naturally made a lot of trans and gay people very happy while having the added benefit of making bigots cry because they can’t be bigots without consequence anymore. It’s fitting that this ruling came down during Pride month, especially a pride month where we’ve kind of had to shelve everything because of a pandemic. Sadly it’s not all good news, just as a positive ruling comes from the court the administration changes another rule that will allow discrimination in the healthcare system (because that’s the exact thing that needs to be done during a goddamn pandemic). Trans issues are a huge topic right now and Netflix recently released a film that focusses on just one small issue, trans representation in the media, and uses it as a springboard to remind us all about the importance of representation and just what that can do for a community.

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Becoming (2020) – It Becomes Something Good

Released: 6th May
Seen: 8th May

In November of 2008, America did something amazing. They elected their first black president, a major moment in history and a presidency that would’ve been important just for that alone if all Obama had done those 8 years was sit in the White House and eat cheerios. With Barrack Obama becoming president, this also meant that his wife Michelle Obama would go down in history as the first black woman to be first lady, another monumental moment on its own before you even factor in what was done over the next eight years. 

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Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (2020) – Touching and Important

Released: 25th March
Seen: 6th May

Crip Camp Info

In 1971, almost a decade before summer camps became associated with hockey mask-wearing murderers, there was a place called Camp Jened. This camp was a little different from a lot of other camps, in that it had a heavy focus on disabled kids who would be able to have a normal camp experience. They’d play ball, go swimming, catch crabs, all the things that one normally associated with going to summer camp back in the 1970s. It was a place where these kids could just be like any other kid without anything holding them back, because back in 1971 there still wasn’t an American Disabilities Act and the outside world effectively segregated them due to their physical and mental disabilities… eventually, the kids at Camp Jened would have enough of this system and went from camp goers to activists who fought the government and won.

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