Best Movies of 2020

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2020 was truly a game-changer. Among other public venues, movie theaters became almost invisible. Result? 2020 Academy Award nominees (which requires a theatrical release) are dominated by low-budget indies. Second, movie studios have permanently shifted their emphasis to a split release pattern, with some “big” movies still going to theaters, but others, like Mulan and Godzilla vs. Kong premiering at studio-owned websites like Disney+ and HBO (Warner Bros/AT&T). Third, some movie projects are being retooled as “limited series.” So here, including a few of the latter, are my favorites of 2020.

Dramas

  1. One Night in Miami – This dramedy about the historic meeting of three 1960s icons, Muhammad Ali, Malcom X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown, captured me from start to finish. The fact that it was a virtually all-Black creation–with brilliant writing, directing, acting and cinematography–is just icing on the cultural cake. It would have been my favorite anyway.

  2. The Invisible Man – The last film I saw at a theater before last year’s lockdown, this smart, perfectly-plotted thriller is a white-knuckler. If I had an “Action Movie” category, it would be #1. True character-driven sci-fi.

  3. Queen’s Gambit – This book-turned-limited-(Netflix)-series explores the the fascinating and surprisingly moving journey of a troubled chess-playing genius in search of a family. Anya Taylor-Joy is heart-breakingly tough and vulnerable in the central role.

  4. The Father – This twisty “what the heck is going on here?” drama shows us everything from the perspective of a proud, aging man (Anthony Hopkins), who may or may not have dementia. Engrossing and touching.

  5. Hamilton – The Broadway musical smash-turned-streaming-event (Disney+) is shot from a stage, but employs multiple cameras and inventive lighting, and works perfectly on screen. Yes, it’s as much comedy as drama, but in the end it’s the tears you remember more than the laughs.

  • Healing River (Special Award) – Three of my own feature films were released in 2020 (two written and directed by me), so yes, I’m biased. That said, Healing River has received rapturous reviews at Amazon Prime, where it remains the highest-rated inspirational drama of 2020 and 2021!

Comedies

  1. WandaVision – A weak year for comedy, 2020 did bring us this Marvel-ous limited series that hilariously spoofs old television sitcoms from the 1950s through the present.

  2. I Care a Lot – This dark comedy from Netflix wears its heart on it’s… Wait–does it have a heart? It’s heartless hero, played to chilly perfection by Rosamund Pike, ruins people’s lives for a living, and gets away with it. Or does she?

  3. Soul – 2020 wasn’t a strong year for animation either. But Pixar came through with this truly entertaining, gorgeously animated story of a soul in limbo. Vague pop philosophy notwithstanding, Soul is a sweet little tale.

  4. Onward – Pixar again. Onward may not be a classic, but it’s a fun and, again touching, action comedy well worth the ride.

  • Notzilla (Special Award) – Me again. My affectionate, award-winning send-up of old monster movies was also released on Amazon Prime in 2020. And now, expanded to Amazon and other outlets worldwide, it’s being hailed as a cult classic!

Honorable Mentions also check out these other worthy 2020 releases:

  • Tenet – convoluted sci-fi thriller – pay close attention

  • News of the World – touching John Ford-esque western

  • Midnight Sky – thoughtful, character-driven sci-fi

  • Judas and the Black Messiah – great acting ensemble

  • Minari – low-key, ultimately affecting immigrant family drama

  • Trial of the Chicago 7 – strong script, superb acting

  • Nomadland – slow-moving but rewarding docudrama

  • The Sound of Metal – predictable but touching personal journey

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Movies, Popular Culture & Entertainment, Videos and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Best Movies of 2020

  1. I don’t know heads or tails about chess but lived “The Queen’s Gambit” movie. I’m deaf (but have two cochlear implants now) and emotionally related to “The Sound of Metal.” I’m a big Anthony Hopkins fan and look forward to seeing “The Father.”

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Typo sorry. Loved not lived. Ugh.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. My permanent home was in Miami on 2/25/64 when Mohammed Ali won the Heavyweight Championship of the World as he defeated Sonny Liston. In one of my memoirs at my WordPress site on Sonny, called A Handshake of a Different Kind, the story takes place several months prior to the fight and recalls my fear as I shook this bear of man’s hand after his training workout. On that day of the fight in 1964, I was still in College at Emory University in Atlanta. In a sense, the film re-engaged me with my youth, its music, its cars, and, most importantly, its culture. Way beyond that it was a brilliant film that asked critical questions. I completely agree with your review.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Sad to say, I’ve seen very few movies on your list. Lot’s of catching up to do.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Healing River is one of my favorites from the past year. My students keep telling me to see Tenet. Maybe this summer. I’ve been pondering Nomadland. Great list, Mitch!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Limited series are now considered to be movies? Bad idea!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you for the roundup, Mitch. #1 and #4 piqued my interest.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Congratulations on your successes. I will have to check them out some time. The only one of these I’ve seen is “Queen’s Gambit” which I really enjoyed. So far, I don’t have Disney+ but would probably enjoy it if I did.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Pam Webb says:

    Congrats on your films doing so well. I’ve turned to PBS for my film needs with their well produced series like All Creatures Great and Small. Thank goodness for BBC.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. pkadams says:

    Thanks for the list. I’m so confused about movies and theatres in the time of the plague . I have been looking at the list of movies showing thinking , what ?

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I don’t know how they decided this year or last since all our theaters have been closed since last March. Most have gone bankrupt. So sad and I miss a good movie. Thanks for the list and hopefully I will find a way to catch a few of them.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Nice picks and overviews. I haven’t seen any of these flicks but now I am interested. Thank you!🍂🍮🍂🍮

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Mitch, many congratulations!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. lilyofthevalley777 says:

    Haven’t seen any of the afore mentioned movies except —
    Tenet…and yes, pay very close attention, somewhat like the movie Inception.
    …and I’m thinking about watching News of the World.
    Have a blessed weekend Mitch.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. I liked hearing your take on some really awesome movies/series, Mitch 🙂 great job xx

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Rhonda says:

    I will check out your movie on Amazon Prime, Mitch! I watched all but one of the Oscar nominated films from last year and I thought Judas and the Black Messiah should have won. On the other hand, I absolutely loved Nomadland and certainly Frances McDormand deserved that Oscar. I was hoping for two things that didn’t happen though-News of the World being nominated for Best Picture and Riz Ahmed winning the best actor for “The Sound of Metal”. His performance blew me away.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. marcella16092 says:

    Those are good movies, i agree

    Liked by 1 person

  18. 115_Manvi Kadam says:

    I’ve seen a number of those and I love them! One of my all-time favourites is Guys And Dolls with Marlon Brando (I also love the actual musical theatre version which I saw a number of years ago). Thanks for this list, I’ve got a few I can check out!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Pingback: Best Movies of 2020 – Nhatdaily

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