Bo Burnham’s special Inside is a masterpiece. It holds a mirror to our society from these past few months and makes us ponder a cacophony of social and political issues? What has the pandemic done to our mental states? How has comedy changed? Is technology a force of good or evil? What does it mean to be canceled? How do people change over time?

The special gives a left-leaning point of view, but at the same time, it never feels like Burnham is trying to cajole your opinions. Inside paints a desultory picture of both social isolation during the pandemic and the vanity of the internet. Burnham manages to do all this while using comedy, a unique set, lighting, and camera angles to portray his opinions.

Inside resonates because everyone can relate to it with their own covid experiences. It gives the message that it’s okay to not be okay during these distressing times. The pandemic is coming to an end, but the transition back to routine life will not be easy.

Sound of Metal

This was a depressing movie. It followed Ruben Stone, a gypsy punk-metal drummer who loses his hearing and deals with an identity crisis. This really resonated with audiences in 2020 because an unexpected health crisis can wreak havoc on your life.

The movie was very astute with the sound in the movie and had it emphasize the struggles of being deaf. Moreover, the movie does a great job at bringing awareness to the deaf community in a way that is not condescending. It perfectly portrays that deafness isn’t a disability, it’s a culture.

The ending was left open for interpretation. We don’t get to learn whether Ruben decides to return to his ‘old life’ or embraces deaf culture further. Ruben runs back to Peris to be with his girlfriend after the surgery. however, he shortly thereafter leaves early in the morning. The movie closes with him unplugging his earphones and enjoying the silence.

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie

Cowboy Bebop, the movie, definitely lives up to the reputation of the anime. The plot follows the Bebop crew as they foil the plans of a biological terrorist using nano technology developed in secret by the martian government.

The terrorist (Vincent) was an ex-military member used as a Guinea pig for anti-nano technology. The particular nanotechnology that he got infected with completely wiped out his memories. This led Vincent down a dangerous path where he questioned his very nature of being believed that he was trapped in a dream. Vincent believed that the only way to escape this dream would be to be the last one standing: ie kill everyone else with nanotechnology.

The very notion of being in a dream and not “living” is reminiscent of the themes in the rest of the anime. In fact, during the show, Spike said that he and Vincent aren’t all that different since they have both died before — in this case, a spiritual death rather than a physical one. For Spike, he died when he fled the crime Syndicate, leaving behind the love of his life.

More recently, Mugen Train explored dreams in an Inception fashion way. But, all this begs the question of what happens when you can’t trust the very nature of your reality? Do we use dreams as a fantasy, a way of escaping reality since the world is too cruel to accept?