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Movies at MoPOP Presents: "The Comeback" Online Watchalong Film Series

Movies at MoPOP Presents: "The Comeback" Film Series
Movies at MoPOP Presents: "The Comeback" film series - Watch 'Legally Blonde' (2001), 'School of Rock' (2003), 'Child's Play' (1988), '9 to 5' (1980), 'Cool Runnings' (1993), and 'Kiki's Delivery Service' (1989) online with MoPOP to close out 2021!

I love an underdog. I mean, don’t we all? Not much is better than rooting for a team with a losing streak for them to finally see victory. Or finding yourself attached to the character that used to be the main villain two seasons ago and thinking “ugh, they deserve the world.” Redemption, hope, passion and unbridled joy are all standards in comeback films. They are here to warm your soul and inspire you to experience your own comeback journey. With the world being no less than a raging garbage fire for the most part, we could all use a little of that.  

Starting August 28, 2021, we'll launch our brand new Movies at MoPOP series “The Comeback.” We’ll be covering cult films from all over the genre map that exemplify the uphill battle and eventual victory of the unlikely comeback, while also illuminating the many, many comeback stories in our own backyards. We are so excited to be showcasing some of our community's great achievements within the last 18 months. So make sure to stay tuned to the MoPOP blog and social media channels (linked at the bottom of this blog) to see all the highlights in the coming months! You won’t want to miss the opportunity to support and bask in the greatness of these community partners.

Here's a look at all of “The Comeback” films we'll be watching together with you online to close out 2021:

But before we officially kick off The Comeback series, I wanted to share a few of my favorite underdog stories in TV and film. In creating the film list for this series, it was easy to tell that many of my favorite stories include some sort of redemption arc or rise-from-the-bottom storyline. There is something so truly special about seeing the breadth of human emotion a character must go through to come out the other side of the tunnel. Whether you relate to them or not, it’s still a journey you experience together. So here are three comebacks that are special to me.

Attack the Block (2001) – Straight Outta South London 

OK, I’ll try to do this without spoilers, but hot damn everyone should watch this movie!! Led by a pre-Star Wars John Boyega, and a pre-Doctor Who Jodie Whitaker, this is the sci-fi alien apocalypse romp of my dreams. A group of rather rambunctious teens from South London find themselves in the midst of an alien invasion, and these aliens are built. When we meet Boyega’s Moses, he has no need or want to be a hero. He’s got his own shit to figure out, he’s a little bit lost and closed off, and all his pals are all kind of assholes. When they first encounter the aliens, their plan is to hole up in a friend's apartment and let someone else take care of it. As the shenanigans play out, and the crew realizes they have to be the heroes of the story and save their block, Moses steps up as leader. Turns out he’s pretty darn good at it, too! And by the end, when everyone is behind Moses, recognizing him as a true hero and leader...well let's just say I cry every time. What I love about Moses’ comeback is that we get to see every step from teen boy to hero of the block. We see his hesitance and denial of the situation, his missteps, and how he leans on his pals when he needs to. It is wonderfully human and it’s messy and nonlinear, which makes it relatable and believable and keeps us wanting more (*wink, wink*).

Zuko – Bad Boy to Best Boy

Anyone who was watching Nickelodeon in 2005 probably saw this one coming. Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation has the best and most holistic redemption arc of modern media. All bad boy to best boy arcs wish they could have the gravitas and satisfaction of Zuko’s journey (I’m looking directly at you, Kylo!!). Zuko made a lot of bad choices in his past and was literally the Big Bad of seasons 1-2 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. But yet, in the final episode it’s like Zuko was a part of Team Avatar the whole time. I think something that sticks out with Zuko, is that he is forced to face and deal with the consequences of his previous actions before he can be fully accepted as a good guy, both to us and to Team Avatar. He is sorry, genuinely and completely sorry. He seeks out a better destiny, rather than succumbing to the bad guy life that was handed to him. He tries! He fails! He still makes mistakes and spends his time shakily trying to navigate friendship and his newly founded good guy path (see: That’s Rough, Buddy gif). We see the hesitancy of...well basically everyone and we see him work hard to earn their trust. His turn from the dark side to the light side doesn’t happen in an instant, it’s not sealed with a kiss or one good deed for the protagonist. It is earned, and I think there is something special about that. Regardless of how many times I watch this series through, the impact and satisfaction of Zuko’s metamorphosis never lessens. It’s also so special to watch a piece of storytelling that is just so right. Ain’t nobody out there doin’ it like Fire Lord Zuko!!

Brendan Fraser – HE’S BACK, BABY!

If you know me, you know that this one is deeply personal. Also, if you have ever read anything I have put onto the MoPOP blog, you have read the words The Mummy (1999) is my favorite film of all time.” Which it is! It also features the wonderful and wholesome Brendan Fraser. Not too long after The Mummy (1999), Brendan was unrightfully blacklisted from Hollywood and forcefully pushed out of the limelightBut still, he persisted. And it’s hard to keep such a powerhouse actor from the game for too long. We should all be thanking our lucky stars that we get to witness the Brendan Fraser renaissance, and hopefully he’ll keep on this hot streak. And while I have not seen Doom Patrol, I did run to my HBO app the moment No Sudden Move (2021), directed by Steven Soderbergh, was released to see Brendan doing the damn thing. And boy howdy, does he do it! You can also catch him in a pair of upcoming films, including Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale and Martin Scorsese's Killers of the Flower Moon. Seems like all these hot-shot directors are itching to get Brendan in their next project, as they should! Throughout all of this, Fraser has remained kind and humble, even tearing up when a fan mentioned to him that we’re all rooting for him (watch Brendan Fraser's EMOTIONAL TikTok Moment)Whether your passion for Brendan Fraser burns with the intensity of a thousand suns (like mine), or if you’ve never seen a movie, there’s no doubt that we’re all rooting for Brendan Fraser’s comeback of the century.

Comeback stories are wonderful vehicles for showcasing the human experience. They explore change and missteps and forgiveness. Whether they’re characters in a movie or a TV show, or a real-life comeback, these stories should be shared! They’re joyful and sad and exciting and maybe most importantly, they’re hopeful. And who doesn’t need a little bit of that right now? I find myself going back to these examples for a little boost of hope and humanity (and some tears...every time). So, I hope you all join me for The Comeback films to cry and be hopeful together. Bring your tissues and your dream journal and let's watch some movies!

Did I miss your favorite comeback story? Make sure to check out the list of films we have coming up in the series, it might be there! If not, feel free to complain to me about it on MoPOP's social media channels.

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Film, Pop Culture

About the author

Kasi is a climate worrier, sitcom fan and the MoPOP Production Associate.