FOR ALL PRACTICAL purposes, most consider 2020 to have been the year from hell. Even my parents, who haven't seen midnight since the millennium, vowed to stay up past 12am on December 31 just to make damn sure they kissed 2020 goodbye.

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I HADN'T PLANNED on entering an existential tailspin while reading a children's book to our four-year-old at bedtime, but that's exactly where Adam Rex's Why? left me.

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© 2020 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

MY FAMILY CAPPED off Christmas this year with Soul, Pixar's latest computer-animated gem. In it, Joe Gardner, a struggling jazz pianist and middle school band teacher, falls into a manhole and into the afterlife just as he's approaching his big break. For most of the movie, he fights to return to the living to realize his dream of becoming a successful musician. He makes it back just in time for his debut with a famed jazz ensemble, performs brilliantly, and yet, when the set ends and he steps out of the club, he is visibly disappointed. "I thought I'd feel different," he admits.

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