Here are not only the films that made 4 out of 4 on my website from 2020 movies, but also ones that I struggled to see if I could include on the list. Surprisingly, three of these are documentaries (with two documentaries also making the top 15).
Why is it on the list? The second film from Jim Cummings, it reflects and carries on many of the themes from his first film, Thunder Road. It is doing it in a different genre this time, but it feels like the same character, experiencing some amount of growth, with still a big set of issues. If you want to experience a long panic attack along with the main character, this film really makes you feel antsy.
Favorite moment? The townspeople interrogations and the many breakdowns.
Any Best Awards? Best film starring the guy who wrote and directed it also of 2020. [Surprisingly not the best “werewolf” movie of 2020?]
Why is it on the list? Despite being a film I thought I would just brush off, it took me away with its passion and heart that it presented in the beginning of the movie. The loss and the longing felt by the lead was so strong, I was captivated the rest of the film. It goes into basic animation territory in the middle, and I don’t love the graphics on the moon too much, but it also nails the emotional payoff of the ending, and the reason for the entire journey.
Favorite moment? The Rocket to the Moon scene and montage.
Any Best Awards? Best film-I-thought-would-be-terrible-but-I-actually-loved-and-cried-during-multiple-times and best film featuring a song about ping pong of 2020.
Why is it on the list? I love documentaries. I am less likely to say I love foreign movies, but I do like watching foreign movies in theaters. I didn’t get to see this one in theaters. But it still captivated me from beginning to end. A sports magazine did some reports on a tragic event, and this hero journalist for them kept up with it, finding layers of governmental corruption? Holy shit. Is this made up? This is their watergate scandal. Good job Romania. Well, bad job for the corruption, good job for the journalism.
Favorite moment? Every new reveal and escalation as things grew more corrupt.
Any Best Awards? Best foreign film and best foreign documentary film of 2020.
Why is it on the list? Palm Springs, to me, was a breath of fresh air. It took a couple of months during quarantine for movies to still start to come out slowly on streaming services, and I know that Palm Springs came out in a pretty busy weekend. I expected nothing and would have never known of its existence without others letting me know, and what it did to the genre was very unique and worth the set up to discover. Our leads were wonderful together, and it also hyped up science, so what is not to love?
Favorite moment? The initial reveal with what the hell was going on, the physics montage, and the J.K. Simmons home visit.
Any Best Awards? Best science fiction film of 2020.
Why is it on the list? This is an interesting movie for me, because honestly, I went back and fourth which how much I liked it. Part of me was upset about a few aspects, part of me loved everything. And that is really why it dropped out of the top 10. I love the performance from Carey Mulligan, I love how the story goes against expectations of the plot line and really keeps the viewers guessing. The ending is completely unbelievable as well.
Favorite moment? The daughter abduction.
Any Best Awards? Best film surprise third act of 2020.
Why is it on the list? If I didn’t first hear about this film from other critics, I would have assumed not much going into this film, and probably skilled it. I loved Riz Ahmed as the lead, and his journey from sound to lack of sound. The meanings of the title, how they incorporated hearing loss, and the use of sign language make this a film
Favorite moment? The audio tricks and the real deaf actors.
Any Best Awards? Best film featuring sign language and best film featuring metal in 2020.
Why is it on the list? Minari comes in quiet, and stays relatively quietly throughout the picture, but feels like an old friend you haven’t seen in a long time. It is familiar, but it has a unique air to its story. It is well acted, without having to be showy about how well acted it is. It tells a story about hope, success, failures, and relationships and growing up in a specific place, in a specific time. Most of us can probably say we don’t have the same experiences as the main character in this film, and it gives a unique look into a unique story of history.
Favorite moment? The fire and the crop successes/failures.
Any Best Awards? Best film that uses subtitles occasionally, and best film set in Arkansas of 2020.
Why is it on the list? Spontaneous is certainly not a movie I expected to be on my top list when I started it, nor did I know about it going into it. I saw a single post about its existence, months after its release date and just decided to give it a whirl. And what a whirl it was. I’ve only seen Katherine Langford in other projects, never as the lead, and she absolutely blows this movie up with her performance. And it was nice to see Charlie Plummer as well, in his second movie based on a YA romance novel released this year. Damn, he made me cry in both films as well.
Favorite moment? The entire romance and the dwindling class size.
Any Best Awards? Best YA novel adaptation and best romance of 2020.
Why is it on the list? Although about a fictions conversation, the men in equation where all real and presumably pretty accurate towards their thoughts and feelings on various topics discussed in the film. I wouldn’t have ever dreamed about bringing together these four names for a night of conversation and camaraderie, but that is one of the many reasons I am not a playwright or screenwriter. The discussions they had in the film resonate with today, and it becomes a wonderful learning and emotional experience.
Favorite moment? When the power went out at the show.
Any Best Awards? Best first time director and best discourse of 2020.
Why is it on the list? At this point, it’d probably be really hard for me to not absolutely love an Aaron Sorkin movie. He is directing more so that does add some potential problems, like Molly’s Game wasn’t his best work. But this is some of his best work for sure, carried by the strength of the actors and the dialogue. Like Molly’s Game, some of the problems lie with the director choices, and he should hopefully get better.
Related, and cheating this onto the list, this film pairs really well with Mangrove, also available on streaming, and something you should see as well.
Favorite moment? The mistrial scene and the grammar epiphany scene.
Any Best Awards? Best ensemble cast and best Aaron Sorkin of 2020.
Why is it on the list? First of all, have you seen their previous work? The Breadwinner and Song of the Sea? Both amazing, with wonderful animation. This one takes the cake and is their best work. From the cinematography to the story it is so full of wonder and magic. The main characters are both strong and unique in their own rights, but lets go back to the ANIMATION oh my goodness, gorgeous. Like stained glass windows some times. Fuck, Wolfwalkers blows out all of the animated competition this year, by far.
Favorite moment? The split scene cinematography and the art style in general.
Any Best Awards? Best animated film, best foreign film (Irish), and best fantasy film of 2020.
Why is it on the list? This one is pretty easy to talk about and explain. Hey look, a documentary about the 2020 pandemic, and the lack of leadership from the American government. It has first hand accounts from people involved in teams that were supposed to work and repeatedly got hindered for reasons. This only deals with a few months of the response too, and can’t wait (unfortunately) for the sequels that give us the informed part two and or three of these chucklefucks in charge who have no regard for human life.
Favorite moment? The dirt on the white house planning team volunteers who were told to stop the virus.
Any Best Awards? Best political documentary (there were quite a few this year…) and best documentary of 2020.
Why is it on the list? Strong strong strong. This film is led by Viola Davis who transformed herself to play the lead, and Chadwick Boseman, who shined brightly as the smooth talking upstart looking to advance his own career. Based on an August Wilson play, quite obviously, the many cast members work together to tell a quick story but one with passion and justice in mind. I don’t know who will be nominated for best actor, but if Boseman is, I have a good chance of supporting it, despite his unfortunate early passing.
Favorite moment? The stutter success and fail and the conclusion.
Any Best Awards? Best play to film, best non-live musical performance, and best dialogue of 2020!
Why is it on the list? This is definitely a film I didn’t expect to be on this list early in 2020, because damn it, this was supposed to come out in 2021. But thanks to other delays, they decided to release this one really early, and, It. Is. Perfection. I saw this the most out of movies released last year, and I’d watch it again in almost any moment (assuming I had the time for it). Something that can always pick me up, and the result of years of hard work, it deserves everything and more.
Favorite moment? One Last Time, The Ending, and Farmer Refuted (so much better visually).
Any Best Awards? Best soundtrack, best musical, best taping of a live show (sorry David Byrne), and best Lafayette of 2020.
Why is it on the list? For sure, this one was a hard choice, and yet, an easy choice. I saw this movie in February of 2020 and it absolutely blew me away. It was my number one pick halfway through the year, and it maintained that status despite a good onslaught (eventually) of other films. It did that by telling a realistic and heartfelt story, a powerful story about a struggle many women have or attempt to go through.
The crying questionnaire scene hit me SO HARD and the whole thing wrapped together and made so much more sense. And it did it without having to directly tell you what happened prior to the film, but the pieces are there.