Episode #68: Our Favorite TV + Movies of 2020

In this week’s episode, we’re chatting about our favorite TV and movies of 2020 (mostly TV!).

You can stream the episode here on the blog or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayTuneInPocket Casts, and Stitcher. You can find the podcast posts archive here.

Big thanks to our sponsors for supporting our podcast! Be sure to check out the offers from Leahlani, Issuu and Ember this week. xoxo!

Show Notes:
This episode may contain spoilers (small ones, in my opinion, but this is your warning)

-Emma recommends: Little Fires Everywhere (which is also a book!)

-Elsie recommends: The Politician

-Emma recommends: The Outsider

-Elsie recommends: Love On The Spectrum

-Emma recommends: Perry Mason

-Elsie recommends: Schitt’s Creek

-Emma recommends: The King Of Staten Island, Palm Springs

-Elsie recommends: Knives Out, Horror Movie Bucket List (we watched a bunch of new ones, most namely House)

-Honorable Mentions: The New Pope, Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On, The Vow, The Last Dance, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The OC (throwback of the year).

-We give an update on The Holiday House. We originally purchased this home to be an Airbnb. We spent about a year renovating, then we couldn’t find a local property manager and we ended up doing a long-term rental while our friend renovated her home. And now Emma is living there. We don’t know what the future of this home will be currently. Elsie is interested in it, but we also might sell it in the next few years. It’s been a useful and very special house! You can see photos of the house here.

Miss an episode? Get caught up!

Episode 68 Transcript

Emma: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast this week, we’re chatting about our favorite TV and some movies of 2020, it has been a weird year, but we definitely watched a lot of TV. So, yeah. And we’re also going to give you a little update on the holiday house. Let’s get cozy.

Elsie: Woo! Ok, so we’re just going to kind of do a back and forth, back and forth talking about what TV we enjoyed this year. And yeah, like I, I definitely watched as much or more TV as I ever have in any other year of my life this year. And it was fun. It was something, it was something to do!

Emma: It was something to do, that’s for sure. There was some good stuff. The first one I want to mention is a series that I believe I watched on Hulu. It might be available other places and it’s Little Fires Everywhere, which is also a book. And I haven’t read the book yet. Now that I’ve watched the series, I’m going to wait a little while (laughs) so I forget some of it so that I can read the book because I loved the series and I can’t wait to read the book now. But part of why I got interested was because it’s — one of the stars of the show is Reese Witherspoon, and I feel like I’ll watch basically anything with her in it.

Elsie: Oh yeah, for sure.

Emma: Yeah. It’s a very interesting show. It has to do with race. It has to do with motherhood. It has to do with adoption. It has to do with class. Yeah, it’s definitely a drama and it’s really beautiful. Really, really interesting. I loved it. I highly recommend.

Elsie: (sigh) Okay. My first one. Oh my gosh I love the show, is The Politician. It has two seasons. We watched both of them this year. So we first started watching the first episode of the first season. We were like, oh, this is very like Wes Anderson inspired. And the esthetic is very Wes Anderson inspired. The costuming is very Gucci. But then there’s so much more like the characters are hilarious. There’s so many good woke jokes, which is its own category. And they really nailed it. And I fell in love with Ben Platt and now, yeah, I’ll love him forever. It’s really a great show and I, I would just like recommend it to absolutely everyone because it’s just like so up there in quality you have to watch it.

Emma: So it’s a comedy?

Elsie: It’s a comedy, yes. It’s a comedy with a little bit of singing and…

Emma: Oh!

Elsie: …cool costumes. It has Gwyneth Paltrow and it’s just really great.

Emma: Okay, singing. I feel like that’s giving me a different…because I haven’t seen it.

Elsie: It’s not a musical. It just happens to have a lot of singing because it has Ben Platt and I feel like they just didn’t want to waste him.

Emma: Right. They were like, well, we got this guy…

Elsie: Right.

Emma: …I get it. Okay, my next one is a drama. And I really liked this. And Elsie did not like this.

Elsie: I did not like it.

Emma: OK, it’s The Outsider which is based on a Stephen King novel, and I really like things that are kind of crime thrillers. This one has kind of a supernatural element to it, as you might guess, since it’s from Stephen King. I think part of why I wanted to watch it initially was that it had Jason Bateman in it and he’s kind of one of my celebrity crushes.

Elsie: He’s kind of not in it very much, though.

Emma: Ooh, spoiler!

Elsie: Sorry, sorry.

Emma: No, it’s fine. It’s been out. So I feel like, you know, if you haven’t seen it, you… I don’t know. It’s not really…anyway. You don’t know why he’s not in it very long. Don’t worry about it. But yeah I enjoyed it. I didn’t know what was going to happen that’s for sure. So I thought it was fun. It was a spooky one.

Elsie: My review of it is “I watched that”, next one.

Emma: (laughs)

Elsie: So I loved the — it’s one season — the reality show, Love on the Spectrum. It’s beautiful. It’s…

Emma: She’s been recommending this to me and I haven’t seen it yet because I don’t watch a lot of reality. It sounds really sweet.

Elsie: It doesn’t have a lot of episodes, it was maybe three episodes? I feel like we watched it over just a couple of days. It’s so sweet. I feel like I learned a lot about the spectrum and I fell in love with the characters or the, the people featured. Just…oh there’s so much to love. And yeah, there’s this one very adorable character who just — he’s like life changingly cute. Everyone has to watch it and you will love it. It’s just not a thing…it’s not a show that I think anyone could hate.

Emma: It sounds like one you have ready to cry in.

Elsie: Oh also I cried so much the first episode I — it was like we were at our friends’ house and I was weirdly bawling, like weirdly bawling. So yeah. It’s beautiful.

Emma: Yeah. I think that’s been my hang up is I’m like, am I in the mood to cry? Because it just sounds like you’re going to because it’s so sweet.

Elsie: Yeah. OK. I’m excited to hear about the next one because I watched of this one, one episode, and then we didn’t get all the way in. So tell me the hard sell.

Emma: Okay. So I really, really enjoyed the new Perry Mason. Now, I haven’t seen the old Perry Mason. I don’t even I don’t really know. You know, I guess this is a remake? And I’m sorry. I really don’t know anything about that, to be really honest with you. So I just watched the new one and I really liked it. So it’s a crime drama and it kind of goes from the main character being just an investigator where he’s chasing down leads and trying to get evidence for this lawyer character to where he kind of becomes a part of the legal team over the course of it. And he does kind of solve the crime. And he, you know, does kind of triumph in his own way. But he also has a lot of setbacks. And he’s one of those characters where you do love him and you do root for him, but you also learn things about him that are very complicated. And, you know, and I think that’s really interesting. I like characters like that. I think it seems more like real life because most people are very complicated. They’re not perfectly black and white or always a hero or always a bad guy. (laughs) So anyway, I liked that. And then there’s also kind of this religious storyline to it where there’s this very, you know, church where they kind of like speak in tongues or have miracles or like that type of thing, like big performances that are theatrical. And so it was fun is fun to watch because it’s kind of set, I believe, in the 20s or 30s. I want to say? Maybe it’s later than that, I don’t really know. So it’s just really pretty, like the set design. But it was also just kind of an interesting, I don’t know, look into that type of world and how it intersects with the crime that happened. And yeah, I really enjoyed it. I did not know what was going to happen. I did not know where it was going to go. And I definitely thought all the performances were great. And it was I would love to see a next season of it.

Elsie: Oh, OK, nice. Maybe we’ll have to go back to that one.

Emma: I liked it a lot.

Elsie: All right. My ultimate the best ever.

Emma: This one is the best.

Elsie: Simply the best…is Schitt’s Creek. They had their final season and it was so beautiful. Like I’m trying to express how I feel about it without cursing. It was just like so incredibly beautiful, wonderful, heartwarming, magical. I don’t know if anyone else watched the weird Emmys this year, but…

Emma: Oh, I didn’t.

Elsie: It was like they won like every award. And after, like three or four, Dan Levy was like, the Internet’s about to turn on me now.

Emma: (laughs)

Elsie: And I was like, I just love him so much. And I was so happy that it was like I feel like it was like one of those shows where, like on the first season, no one had really heard of it. And then by the end it was like so super famous. Which is always like exciting for a TV show, you know?

Emma: Yeah!

Elsie: Like how Mad Men was back in the day? So anyway, it was wonderful. And I highly recommend it just from every single angle. Loveable and were wonderful and yeah. Warm fuzzies.

Emma: OK, we’re going to take a quick break and we’ll be right back.

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Emma: Ok, so let’s move on to movies. This…I love movies and that’s usually something that I consume a lot of. But this year, not as many have come out because it’s weird. So…

Elsie: Yeah!

Emma: I did want to mention two movies though that came out on TV like they had their release, not in theaters. Or maybe they had them in theaters and TV? I don’t know. But I really liked them and I feel like both of these I have heard people say they didn’t like them. So I’m like, I don’t really get it because I thought these were really enjoyable and fun.

Elsie: Love what you love, sister.

Emma: One is The King of Staten Island, which has…

Elsie: Pete Davidson.

Emma: Pete Davidson! I was like “the young man from SNL”. I’m an old lady. (laughs)

Elsie: Oh my God, Emma! (laughs)

Emma: Pete Davidson! And yeah, I really liked this. It’s kind of a love story, kind of a coming of age story. And I thought it was really funny and also really touching. And I really liked it a lot. Marissa Tomei is in it, I’m a huge fan, so I thought it was super touching and really sweet. So I liked that one. Another one is Palm Springs, which you watched you didn’t love, right?

Elsie: I liked it okay.

Emma: She liked it okay. OK, so more than The Outsider. So I would describe it as…

Elsie: It’s worth watching.

Emma: Yeah. I really liked it. It’s kind of a modern or a new take on Groundhog Day I guess? And it’s a bit more…leans in more to the supernatural side of that I suppose. But it’s kind of about coming of age, love, the meaning of life, that kind of thing. It, so it was…

Elsie: It was fine.

Emma: I don’t think Elsie loved it because she was expecting more Palm Springs in it. So if you’re going into the movie thinking you’re going to see a lot of cool interiors, no, that’s not really a big part of it.

Elsie: No interiors.

Emma: It’s more just…

Elsie: Just desert scenes and like one AirBnB.

Emma: …a weird comedy, but it’s — I thought was really fun and also really touching and sweet. So I really liked it.

Elsie: Yeah. I mean, they could have shown — they could have filmed in at least like a couple of famous spots in Palm Springs is like my opinion. (laughs) But it could have been filmed in any neighborhood in the desert. But it was, it was cute and it was a good movie. So whatever. And it’s like beggars can’t be choosers. At least there was a new movie that came out that week.

Emma: Yeah, that was fun!

Elsie: And we all watched it. Yeah. OK, so mine was…I watched Knives Out this year, which I know, I think it came out the year before, but it was still like I hadn’t seen it yet. And then one night we decided to watch it and it was so wonderful. We loved it. And yeah, I recommend it to everyone just because it was like a little escape.

Emma: It’s really good.

Elsie: Like what you want in a movie is just this like two-hour escape from your life. And it was that, it provided that…

Emma: Yes.

Elsie: …and I loved it. And then also I know it’s December now, but we did our horror movie Bucket List leading up to Halloween. And honestly, like, we just we love horror movies.

Emma: You can watch horror movies year round.

Elsie: It’s like like one of our special cute things. But this year we watched quite a few new ones that we had much before that are kind of like, considered classics. And one of the ones that we watched, Emma watched it as well with us, we watched it twice —  it was so good — was the Japanese movie House and it’s…

Emma: Oh man. It’s weird.

Elsie: …zany.

Emma: It’s so zany.

Elsie: It’s a trip.

Emma: It’s really good, though, and I keep thinking about it.

Elsie: Everyone has to watch it! If you just want, like a comically insane horror movie, like the most possible fake blood, like there’s a scene where they’re like floating on a raft in fake blood.

Emma: In fake blood. Yeah. And it’s…I’m not a huge horror movie person. I get scared real easy. So it’s not really scary.

Elsie: It’s not scary, it’s basically just funny and zany.

Emma: Yeah. It’s just zany, really so and wacky. And the whole time you trying to figure out if it’s real? Or if it’s supposed to be in someone’s mind? Or, you know, that type of thing. So it’s, it’s good and it’s got interesting music.

Elsie: Yes.

Emma: Anyway, it’s, it’s a trip.

Elsie: It delivers. So a couple of our honorable mentions. So Jeremy and I watched The New Pope and we loved it with John Malkovich as the pope. And we just like, love John Malkovich. Like he’s…

Emma: He’s a great actor.

Elsie: We were like, why are we both so into him? Like we just are, you know what I mean? It was wonderful. And then we found out that it was like, sort of like a spin off of a show called The Young Pope with Jude Law. So Jude Law is also in The New Pope, but he’s like in a coma almost the whole time. And in The Young Pope, it came up before it, but we watched his second. So you watched them backwards, and it was like so bad compared to The New Pope. Like, don’t even just go for the new one. Don’t go for the young one. OK, that’s my recommendation.

Emma: That’s good to know.

Elsie: OK, the next honorable mention that we all loved.

Emma: This is from both of us. (laughs)

Elsie: Do you want to say it?

Emma: It’s the Garth Brooks documentary, which I think it’s just two parts, right?

Elsie: Yes.

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: So just two nights of your life…

Emma: Or one very long night.

Elsie: …hand it over to Garth Brooks, and enjoy the journey.

Emma: And if you’re not even like a huge Garth Brooks fan, because I would say I knew all like the hits, but I really didn’t know that much about him and I don’t know that much about country music. I’ll just be honest. I just know his big hits. That’s it. I loved it! I’ve put so many…so he’s probably the most — speaking into the camera, very sincere voice person — like it’s almost too much, really. But I really wrote down like in the notes app on my phone, a whole bunch of, like, inspiring quotes from him throughout the movie. Because I just like, I love this! Like, if you can get past that, like how intense he kind of, you know, presents, you’ll love him because it’s just so I don’t know. I just loved it. I loved it. But it’s kind of my thing, I guess. Sincere, too much self-helpy type feel. (laughs) So…

Elsie: Yeah, it’s exceedingly sincere. We loved it so much. We talked about it a lot. Everyone has to watch it. Just do it! Just don’t think. Just watch.

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: OK. The next one is The Vow. So we both really enjoyed The Vow. It’s like kind of long.

Emma: I think it’s too long but it still works.

Elsie: We both thought…it’s like nine episodes and it should have been like four.

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: But I’m still going to watch the second season and I’m still very invested in like, it’s a cult documentary. You’re going to love — if you love cults it’s just a must see. It’s a really interesting story.

Emma: Or if you hate cults! Another way to put it. So…(laughs)

Elsie: If you’re interested in cults.

Emma: It’s a very interesting human psychology thing, because the beginning of it, we both like watched the first episode and we were like, we would join this. This sounds great. And then it keeps going. And you’re like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a sec. You know, like it’s that kind of thing. And I think that’s interesting to think like, oh, I totally would have thought this was great and like a very, like…way to grow as a human. And then it takes very dark turns, and you’re like, never mind, don’t like.

Elsie: Yeah, it’s a very interesting story for sure. The next one is The Last Dance, which is following the 1990s Chicago Bulls mostly and…

Emma: Another documentary.

Elsie: …a lot of Michael Jordan…

Emma: It’s a Michael Jordan documentary.

Elsie: Yeah, it basically is a Michael Jordan documentary. It’s wonderful. I loved every second of it. Emma thought it was a little long.

Emma: I thought it was a little long and I didn’t like how they would kind of jump back and forth, back and forth because I just don’t know enough about basketball to really keep up well, but there’s a lot of very inspiring moments and also kind of a lot of throwbacks to childhood.

Elsie: A lot of it happened when I was in elementary school. So it would be like 1/100th of the story was something that I remembered.

Emma: Right.

Elsie: And ninety nine percent of it was new information for me. So it was like I knew who Dennis Rodman was, but I really didn’t remember anything about him except for that he dated Madonna. So if you’re into that kind stuff, you’ll love it.

Emma: And he had crazy hair.

Elsie: Yeah, it was great.

Emma: I want to watch one that’s more about Dennis Rodman now because I’m like, this guy is fascinating. I would love to learn more.

Elsie: Dennis Rodman was pretty great. Yeah. Yeah. It was a fun watch. Let’s take a quick break for our sponsor.

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Elsie: Ok we wrote down John Oliver. But it’s really just because I love John Oliver and I just had to mention him.

Emma: She just wants to talk about John Oliver

Elsie: I just love John Oliver.

Emma: Yeah, but it’s a great show obviously.

Elsie: Yeah. And then my throwback show of the year was The O.C. It has like twenty-five episodes a season. It’s so many episodes. So if you just want…

Emma: …it’s a soap opera.

Elsie: …the longest show ever, that’ll take you months to watch highly recommend!

Emma: It’s the kind of show to like it’s very fun and very throwback as far as like clothing and like interiors.

Elsie: Oh my God.

Emma: And you can also kind of do something else while you’re watching it.

Elsie: For sure.

Emma: And keep up, you know what I mean? So it’s like a good, like, background type. You know, I’m working on a craft project…

Elsie: When you’re online shopping…

Emma: Yeah. Or whatever. Yeah. Knitting, whatever you do. You know.

Elsie: I loved it though.

Emma: Oh yeah. It’s the best.

Elsie: OK. Is there anything else that you loved that you wanted to mention? I feel like that’s my whole list.

Emma: No that’s really pretty much it for me.

Elsie: What a year. What a time to be alive.

Emma: What a time to be alive.

Elsie: OK, so we had a couple of requests to give an update on the holiday house, and also…well Emma said that someone was asking just like, “what even is this?”

Emma: Yeah. I felt like they didn’t know what it was, because I think in some of our earlier episodes, we talked a lot about our Florida short term rentals and like what we were doing with that. And so maybe we never really, I don’t know, maybe some of our podcast listeners don’t even know what it is.

Elsie: So let’s quickly just summarize. So first, we bought a couple AirBnBs in Nashville.

Emma: A duplex.

Elsie: And we bought a couple AirBnBs in Florida, which we later decided it was not such a good idea.

Emma: Hasn’t worked out this year!

Elsie: And somewhere in there, we decided to get a house in our hometown of Springfield, Missouri. And…

Emma: Which is where I live.

Elsie: There’s a couple of reasons why it really made sense. Real estate, there’s really affordable. I really wanted a place to stay during Christmas and like Halloween and just like a place for our kids to make traditions that wasn’t an AirBnB.

Emma: Well, your parents and Jeremy’s parents both live in Springfield, so they come here pretty often.

Elsie: We go Springfield super often, but nobody has quite a big enough house for our growing family. And it just kind of just like…

Emma: You have dogs.

Elsie: Introverts need a little bit more wind down time alone and things like that. So that it had that perk. And then also, Emma did a ton of renovation blog posts a couple of years ago for the blog. So that was super cool, like we did a kitchen with the Home Depot and stuff like that.

Emma: Yeah, that was really fun.

Elsie: So a couple things happened, like we had a couple of hiccups. The big one was that we could never find a manager.

Emma: Yeah, a property manager.

Elsie: For people like us a property manager is really important because we can’t be on call 24/7 and we have full-time jobs and it just wasn’t fair to Emma to not be able to find a property manager. So we put it up for sale and then someone tried to buy it, but then it fell through. And then I was like, I think I want to buy it because I just don’t want to lose this like part of my kid’s childhood.

Emma: Nova like, loves it and talks about it.

Elsie: Yeah.

Emma: I mean, Goldie loves it too. But Nova is very sentimental and at that age where she…

Elsie: Such a good location. But the house is not perfect, so it’s a little complicated.

Emma: It’s an older house.

Elsie: And then now Emma’s living there so we’re just kind of like rolling with it. (laughs) That’s the whole story. It’s been a useful house.

Emma: Yeah. We have one friend who we’d love to have her on the podcast sometime, we’ll see if it happens. But she was renovating her house. She has four kids and a husband, and they lived there for, I think, three months, four months because it was kind of during covid because their renovation took longer than they had anticipated, which happens. So it’s kind of become like more of like the refuge house. Because now I live there. (laughs) So it’s been kind of a weird like, this isn’t what we thought was the destiny of this house, but it’s really worked out, I guess…so.

Elsie: It’s literally never had an AirBnB guest and we’ve owned it for two years now. So it’s not what we intended, but we’re still thinking we might keep it. We’ll see. We’ll let you know what happens. But in the meantime Emma’s living there and it’s like a good, cozy place for her to be and…

Emma: I love it.

Elsie: The kitchen is so super cute. You did a great job renovating the kitchen.

Emma: I love the neighborhood too. And it has like tons of holiday decor. I really did it up for Christmas.

Elsie: Yes.

Emma: And yeah. So it’s it’s magical. Yeah, it’s been great, but that’s what the holiday house is. So if you hear us talk about it, that’s what it is. It’s also now Emma’s house.

Elsie: Yes. It’s probably never going to be an AirBnB or maybe like years down the road when a property manager magically appears. (laughs) At the moment it’s not something we can do.

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: OK, well I hope you enjoy this rambling about TV. What a frickin year!

Emma: For real. Yeah. We hope you’re as well as can be. We love you. Thank you for listening and let us know if you have TV shows you think we should watch because we have plenty of time.

Elsie: Send us Christmas movie recommendations we want to hear!

Emma: Thank you.

Elsie: Have a good week!

Emma: Bye!

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  • I can’t wait to delve into this list of shows and movies. (okay, minus the horror stuff). But, I have to say Perry Mason?? You never watched the originals??!! I used to watch as a kid with my mom. Recently watched with my own daughter – they are still good, just slow. I’m going to have to get HBO to see the new ones. The trailer looks good!! Can’t wait until they come out with Columbo remakes – same idea as Perry Mason!!

    Just want to say I love Monday’s – I drive way more slowly to work those days so I can hear the whole podcast.

    Merry Christmas – Happy New Year!!! Looking forward to many more podcasts!!! You girls have really spiked my interest in so many things. In a year when we really needed it. THANK YOU!!

    Wishing you all the best in 2021 0 life is a journey!!

  • I’m Australian and saw Love On The Spectrum when it aired locally on our ABC channel. It was such a beautiful series and I’m glad it made it onto Netflix. There was a similar series called Employable Me which followed people with a wide range of disabilities trying to enter/re enter the workforce. It was a really insightful series that demonstrated the unique talents some people have and also demonstrated the harsh criticism/knockbacks people with disabilities face when trying to gain employment.

    I also loved Knives Out, Ozarks.

  • I haven’t seen Little Fires Everywhere, but I did read the book. It sounds like the show is better. The characters were very one dimensional and unrealistic in the book.

    Honestly, I think I would skip it. There are better books. But I could see how it could make a great TV series. There is a lot of room to expand the characters and make them more nuanced and human.

    I’ve been watching Kim’s Convenience on Netflix, which is hilarious. We also watched the Great British Baking Show and just discovered that there is a Great Canadian Baking Show. I haven’t really been in the mood for horror or drama.

  • The good place was on my list for sure!! Highly recommend. Thanks for the fun podcast- I always look forward to new podcast Monday’s!

  • I am surprised neither of you mentioned my absolute favorites of 2020: Normal People (hulu) and The Queen’s Gambit!

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