By Mike Samuelson
Shit, 2020 was wild huh? At a time where movie theaters seemed like ghost towns, you’d think they’d just cancel the awards season entirely. However, we actually had some gems in 2020 that may have been overlooked (you know, more important craziness going on?). I’m here to give you my top 10 movies of the year along with their streaming service to watch on! This list is subject to change, as more award contenders will be coming that’re widely available over the next 2 months. But first, I want to give some honorable mentions before heading into the list. These were good, just not great to make the leap.
Honorable Mentions: One Night In Miami (Amazon): Incredible acting on display from the four main actors here. Almost setup as a play, it’s a fictional character study of four African American males (Malcolm X, Cassius Clay (Ali), Sam Cooke & Jim Brown) and a random night in a Miami hotel just before the civil rights movement. Regina King takes her next leap from acting to Directing, but because the storyline isn’t as constructed, it didn’t make my top list. But check it out on Amazon if you’re interested.
Borat Subsequent Movie Film (Amazon): This one was very nice indeed! 14 years after the original & during a pandemic, Sacha Baron Cohen is at it again with his hijiinx & real-time interactions with everyday Americans. It gives a culture shock at different stereotypes in society and a welcoming emergence of Borat’s daughter Tutar played by Maria Bakalova. Borat 2 continues with the shock value, but I think because it wasn’t as funny as the first it was just short in my list. But hey, what do I know? Check this one out if you haven’t already.
Now, time for the big dogs.. starting at Number 10…
10. The Devil All The Time (Netflix): Tom Holland & Robert Pattinston star in this fantastic Drama about a young Ohio man named Marvin (Holland) overcoming struggles in a Post-WW2 era. Robert Pattinson stars as a preacher who makes his presence known with his youth and intense practices. Both of these powerhouses deliver in acting, as it’s an intense accessible movie that I probably wouldn’t rewatch due to its mature themes. That being said, check this one out. I know, convincing…
9. Hamilton (Disney+): A known Musical; the filmed version brings all of the classic songs to your screen. Instead of $300+ on a Broadway ticket, Disney brings it home & it turns out incredible. Terrific soundtrack, and Lin-Manuel Miranda both stars & WRITES all of the music in this one. C’mon, everyone knows what Hamilton is, don’t throw away your shot by not watching…
8. I’m Thinking Of Ending Things (Netflix): Charlie Kauffman directs one of those movies that has you thinking “What. The. Hell am I watching?” A psychological movie, it looks at the mindset of a depressed man in a rural town. That’s about ALL I want to give, as this was a movie I had to look up the original source material. Check it out if you enjoy smart psychological movies, as this one isn’t for everybody.
7. The Trail of the Chicago 7 (Netflix): Director Aaron Sorkin delivers on his take on the famous Chicago Riot of the Vietnam War at the Democratic National Convention in 1968. Phenomenal cast with heavy hitters like Eddie Redmayne, Sasha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong & Joseph Gordon-Levitt, it’s a smart dramatic thriller that even shows society’s approaches to peaceful protesting today (*cough* All this going on today *cough*) but I digress…
6. The Invisible Man (HBO Max): I’m just as surprised a horror movie made it this high on my list. Elizabeth Moss (Cecilia) stars as a single woman who is left a fortune from her abusive ex-boyfriend. When she suspects he’s actually NOT dead, trouble arises while trying to prove things aren’t as ordinary as they seem. Smartly written & not TOO spooky, this is an accessible movie that’ll have you on the edge of your seat.
5. The King Of Staten Island (HBO Max): Judd Apatow’s film is hilarious & a great look at Pete Davidson in Staten Island. Davidson stars essentially as himself, as the movie takes a look at Pete struggling with things like his father’s death, and just figuring the crazy thing we call life out. The movie also stars Bill Burr, who plays a more dramatic role but knocks it out of the park. Not as raunchy or funny as Apatow’s other movies like Knocked Up & 40-Year-Old Virgin, but it’s one to check out nonetheless!
4. Tenet (Rent/Own wherever you do that.. or download it from somewhere idk): Christopher Nolan insisted this one gets shown in theaters, and I don’t blame him. With all of Nolan’s movies, I like not knowing what I’m getting myself into and just watching them visually unfold in front of me. In a time where superhero movies weren’t present, this movie’s special effects made up for it. Similar to Inception & other thought-provoking movies, you’ll want to watch something afterwards to truly explain it.
3. Sound Of Metal (Amazon): Just posted the blog on this one, so check out my review for a full analysis. This one just stayed with me, and it’s going to keep going up my rankings. Once the Oscars role around, don’t be surprised this one makes it to number one. Lock in for this wild ride.
2. Palm Springs (Hulu): Hulu’s sole contributor to the list, this romantic comedy is the one I’ve watched the most on this list so far. Andy Samberg & Alyson Brie star as two people who are attending a wedding & fall into a Groundhog Day-esque situation. I don’t want to give anymore away, but the writers of The Lonely Island helped write this one and was the highest sold movie at Sundance of all time (yeah, it’s that good). Check this movie out for a lighthearted comedy we could all use right now.
And my number one movie…
1. Soul (Disney+): Pixar doesn’t miss. Even in the heat of battle this mf don’t miss.. (let’s ignore Cars 2 as a whole). Soul stars Jamie Foxx as a middle-aged Jazz musician in the heart of New York pursuing his dreams in being a star. Tina Fey also stars in this one, but I’m not going to tell you who she is. The trailers don’t do it justice, as this mature-themed masterpiece took five years to fully develop the screenplay. The top-notch animation, incredible voice acting & important storytelling make this the one you’ll think about for 2020. A movie with a focus on the true meaning of life & to enjoy all aspects of it, makes it a must-watch. Kids film or not, this one feels like it was made for the adults and might actually make some real noise towards Awards season.
Let me know your thoughts/opinions, and what were some movies YOU loved in 2020 that I may have missed? A possible worst of 2020 list may be coming soon.