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KABOOOOOM’S BEST OF 2020 – MOVIES & TELEVISION!

As 2020 draws to a close (finally!), the Kabooooom! Crew looks back on their favorite movies and television shows of the year. For Kabooooom’s favorite comic books, comic writers, artists, and covers — click here!

» MOVIES «

Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey

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Everything about Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is pitch perfect. The costumes! The music! The egg sandwich! The tone of Birds of Prey is absurd and over the top, with Harley Quinn spinning a tale that is a chaotic ride from beginning to end. The fight scenes are far and above the best the DCEU has yet to produce. Margot Robbie continues to live and breathe Harley and her interactions with the Birds are spot on. As for the Birds – Black Canary (Jurnee Smollet-Bell), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) – they are each sublime in their roles and it’ll be a crime if they never have the chance to reprise them.

The only thing I’d change about Birds of Prey, in hindsight, is its theatrical rating. Sure, I loved the leeway an R-rating gave the movie, but that fun could have just as easily been enjoyed as a home media exclusive, allowing its theatrical release to reach as wide an audience as possible. Not to mention, there’s another R-rated Harley Quinn that’s arguably using its adult content to better result. – Sarah Moran, Publisher

Justice League Dark: Apokolips War

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I haven’t always been the biggest fan of the DC Animated Universe. Many of its movies were uneven and it didn’t have the best source material to work with, being based on the New 52 reality. Yet this cinematic reality ended with a bang and a rather unlikely idea; John Constantine has to reform the Justice League and save the world after Darkseid conquers the Earth. By all rights, Apokolips War shouldn’t work and yet it does, largely thanks to a story by Batgirl writer Mairghread Scott that takes full advantage of the setting and isn’t afraid to get twisted, with Lois Lane fighting Harley Quinn for leadership of the Suicide Squad and the revelation that even John Constantine thinks Harley Quinn is too crazy to sleep with. Of course it helps that Constantine is once again played to perfection by Matt Ryan. With any luck we’ll hear him again in the new DCAU started by Superman: Man of Tomorrow. – Matt Morrison, Editor-In-Chief.

Scream, Queen! My Nightmare On Elm Street

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Despite being unable to go out to the movies this year, I did still get to see a lot of films via streaming. And I saw a number of great films, ranging from Invisible Man to Da Five Bloods. That said, no matter how many great films I was presented with this year, my mind kept returning to one particular film; a documentary that kept haunting me, which is appropriate given the subject matter. Scream, Queen: My Nightmare On Elm Street is about Mark Patton, star of the much maligned horror film A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. The film is a journey from his beginnings as a celebrated up and coming actor on Broadway in Back To The 5 and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (and the subsequent film adaptation) to his turn on both Dynasty and this film. The film then veers in an unexpected direction, becoming a blunt exploration of how ugly homophobia was in 1980s America and how scary it was to be gay in Hollywood during the Reagan/AIDS era. It is also, ultimately, a tale of  letting go of the demons that haunt your life and reclaiming your life as well. Mark Patton’s journey is one I feel i is important one to share. Whether you are a horror buff, a student of LGBTQ history, or just fascinated by how The American Dream can become a nightmare and ravish someone in unexpected ways, this film is a must see.  – Roy Buckingham, Staff Writer.

Onward

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When the world shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, nobody knew what was going to happen to Hollywood. Thankfully Disney had launched their streaming platform no more than four months before Onward released. The story of two brothers on a quest, this odd couple seeks a magical stone that will allow them to spend one more day with their deceased father. Neither of the boys were old enough to remember their Dad, but the prospect is enough to drive them from their lives in modern mundanity to high adventure and magical fantasy. This movie deviates a bit from the traditional Pixar story-telling process, but the heartwarming tale hammers out a power chord on your heartstrings as Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt) enrich their relationships with one another. – Harvey Moreno, Staff Writer.

» TELEVISION «

Harley Quinn Season 2

Season 2 of the DC Universe (now-HBO Max) Harley Quinn animated series continued to be smarter and funnier than just about anything else on television. This cartoon gets the DC Universe in ways that fans of all stripes will appreciate, lovingly mocking its characters and tropes. Plus, it has perhaps the greatest version of King Shark there’s ever been, and for that alone it deserves applause. Harley Quinn Season 2 was also the perfect complement to the character’s nearly three decade journey. It sees Harley confront her past with Joker and her future with Poison Ivy, capping off an emotional roller coaster she’s been riding a lot longer than this show’s two seasons. While the Harley Quinn cartoon may be only one interpretation of her canon, the Season 2 finale was the most perfect ending the show could have built towards. – Sarah Moran, Publisher.

Stargirl

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In an increasingly dark line-up of superhero streaming series, Stargirl stood out as a shining beacon of hope and optimism. Adapted by comic book writer Geoff Johns from his own writings, the show detailed one girl’s search for identity and family amid her efforts to become a superhero. Boasting cinema-level special effects, a fantastic ensemble and a slow-boiling storyline that played out like a classic 1980s family film amid all the high-octane action sequences, I have never seen anything quite like Stargirl. Thankfully, while its first season could have stood alone as a beloved treasure, The CW has seen fit to pick the show up and Season 2 promises to be even better. – Matt Morrison, Editor-In-Chief.

Lovecraft Country

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My favorite TV series of 2020 was HBO Max’s Lovecraft Country. Based on the book by Max Ruff, the magic powers of both Jordan Peele and JJ Abrams teamed up to give us not only one of the most expensive television shows ever made, but also one of the best-presented and best-acted. A mix of cosmic horror and African-American History, the show was quite the emotional journey; particularly the episode that dealt with the 1921 massacre of Black Wall Street in Tulsa.  The show is rich in what made H.P. Lovecraft’s weird horror so gripping and also a crash course in black culture/history. I also love that they found a way to take the problematic elements of Lovecraft himself and turned them on their ears. – Roy Buckingham, Staff Writer.

Homeland Season 8

Claire Danes has come a long way since My So-Called Life and I couldn’t be happier for the journey. Set in a modern political climate, Homeland follows Carrie Mathison (a CIA operative that also lives with bipolar disorder) as she navigates the anti-terrorism landscape to keep America alive and well under the tutelage of everybody’s favorite sword-wielding Spaniard Mandy Patinkin. The series wrapped in 2020 on a very powerful note that spun viewers on their rears! I discovered the show during the fall and it only took me a few weeks to devour all eight seasons. – Harvey Moreno, Staff Writer.

Those are our picks for our favorite movies and TV shows of 2020! What are some of yours? Let us know in the comments!

And from all of us here at Kabooooom – Happy New Year!

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