Top 10 Movies of 2020

2020 wasn’t necessarily the year that killed movie theaters, but more so expedited the process of phasing them out. Ticket sales and box office figures have wained over the past two decades, and it was only a matter of time until their judgement day came. And thanks to HBO Max and Warner Bros., that fear has now become reality (because what better time to pull a day-and-date release announcement than during a pandemic?) However, filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Quentin Tarantino will make damn sure that movie theaters will still be an option for moviegoing, even though current business models say otherwise. 2020 was detrimental for film and theaters. But in the end, it’s for the best. It’s time to stop clinging to tools of the past and embrace and prepare for the future. Here are Era of Good Feeling’s top 10 movies of 2020.

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Top 10 Albums of 2020

2020 has been a year of exceptions. There will forever be an asterisk marked next to the year in any textbook we read. But damn were there a lot of great albums this year. Some were years in the making (A Written Testimony, Fetch the Bolt Cutters), some started and completed all in quarantine (Folklore, McCartney III). And wow was music our saving grace this year – whether it was refrigerator buzz noise just to have on in the background to keep us company, or in depth, reflective epics that required us to study. Despite the feeling that making an album and needing to share it with the world is so self-indulgent, these albums were here to remind us that, we don’t have to make anything during this time. We don’t have to be productive. But rather, sit in and feel these feelings that we’ve suppressed and never had to feel before. Here are Era of Good Feeling’s top 10 albums of 2020.

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Texas Forever: The Character Dimensionalities of Friday Night Lights

Throughout the series Friday Night Lights, Coach Eric Taylor’s ignorance of the outside world is what ultimately brings about its characters’ demises in the town of Dillon, Texas. By having his life only revolve around football, Taylor ultimately hinders the futures of the people around him, and only the ones that suffer are the ones who truly transcend their high school bubble. It begins in the pilot episode, when hot-shot quarterback Jason Street of the Dillon Panthers loses his ability to walk. Afterward, the pressure on Coach Taylor increases ten-fold, as everyone in the small town feels like their opinions about the team matter and constantly harass him. This, essentially, is what the show is about – community.

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An Echo of an Echo: Mad Men and the Study of Time and Change

Mad Men is the best show ever created. And I don’t mean that lightly – I will fight someone to win that argument. But maybe that only stems from the passion I have for this show. The intangible effects the show gives off makes one feel like they can feel time itself passing. And maybe it’s because that’s what the show is ultimately about: change – social change, cultural change, political change… if television is a medium centered on change – a flawed protagonist changing over a period of time based on the characters they surround themselves with – then Mad Men is the ultimate form of change.

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What the Warner Bros. Move to HBO Max Means for Moviegoing

Over the weekend, Warner Bros. announced it will be moving its entire 2021 theatrical slate to Day-and-Date release on HBO Max. That is, when these 17 movies – whose production costs total over one billion dollars – hit theaters, they’ll also be available for streaming on HBO Max that very same day. When the news broke, most people shrugged it off and didn’t give it a second thought. However, the ones who were paying attention knew it was a turning point.

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How Do We Separate an Artist’s Sound from Whence it Came?

Radiohead’s Kid A turned 20 last month, which, at the time of its release, was considered polarizing: was it groundbreaking, or a letdown? It’s been regarded as the former, but upon its anniversary, a common response was: “I remember how game changing it was, but I can’t seem to recall a single song on there.” Kid A was, in fact, deemed a gamechanger – the first album of its kind to not only effectively use the internet, but also sound like it. They were a rock band that was not afraid to take a left turn.

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Thief of Hearts: Adrianne Lenker’s Empathy

On a rainy night last February, Adrianne Lenker played a show at Pico Union Project, touring for her excellent solo record, abysskiss. Half way through the set a woman started to have a seizure. Lenker immediately called for the crowd to give her space, and after a few tough minutes, it passed and they were able to recover. “I’m sorry,” the woman mustered on her way out. Lenker sweetly, and yet also seriously reassured her, “We’re all in this boat together.” 

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Arcade Fire’s ‘The Suburbs’ at 10

Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs turns ten years old this summer, and for many people, it wasn’t worth batting an eye. But to others, if it feels like it’s been longer than ten years, than the album has done its job. Having released not one, but two (!!) era defining records within a decade of each other, The Suburbs solidified the band as one of the biggest and best in the world.

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Yes, We’re Writing About Taylor Swift’s ‘Folklore,’ Because It’s that Relevant

The last time I listened to an entire Taylor Swift album was 2008. My family was spending the summer in Chicago and Fearless was the only CD in my sister’s car. So, naturally, it wore many repeats on its sleeve. I don’t listen to Taylor Swift, and I never have. I have heard her music, but never gone out of my way to do so. But this, more importantly, meant that she’s simply always been “there” in my life, always lurking, much like any sitting U.S. President or Kanye West. (Although we see who’s having the last laugh now.)

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How ‘The Wire’ is Still the Most Pertinent Show Nearly Twenty Years Later

Every once in a while, The Guardian or Rolling Stone will put out a list of the “100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time” or something along those lines. The Wire, more often than not, always lands near the top. It was ranked 1st on Entertainment Weekly’s list, and the WGA ranked it as the 9th greatest show ever made. However, it won zero Emmys, was always dwarfed in ratings by HBO’s other darling The Sopranos, and very much like the oppressive nature within the show, it struggled and fought to get renewed each year. But it’s the only show I know of that tackles real world problems in the landscape of urban development.

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