Favorite Movies of the Year 2020

Updated: Jan 1

I usually don't give much in the way of commentary here. I usually let the films speak for themselves and for the most part, I will with these, but this year is different. This was a year when movie theaters shuttered early in the year and as people tired of being at home, they opened again with a whimper, never making even close to their former glory. Now most have shuttered again, some to never open back up.


In a typical year I would see around 50 films in a theater and about 15-20 upon digital or physical media release, including the films I would see for the Seattle International Film Festival. This year, before they closed down and I realized the gravity of what it would take for me to want to sit in a crowded room with a few dozen people again, I saw 10 in a theater. The other 131 (updated 12/31) releases I saw that came out this year were at home, mostly on my laptop. Bringing my total for the year to 445 (updated 12/31) movies watched for review, for my Adam Sandler project, for pleasure, for a way to escape, which is about 75 more than in a typical year.


This year is going to go down in history in so many ways and I hope that when blockbusters do invade our eyes and our theaters again, we won't forget this year of small, weird, experimental, and often moving films. Without the cavalcade of cacophonous cinema offerings, we made room and will see come year end lists, the incredible diversity of films that chose to move forward in uncertain times with unknowns about audience or attention. My list this year reflects that diversity and while in the past I have narrowed it down to 20 or so from about 35, this year I have just let it be. I have given the unfiltered truth of films I loved.


I also rarely ranked as this is a "favorites" list and not a "best" list, but I feel that there are 15 films that stand out so far above the rest that I must put them in a league of their own. The other films appear in alphabetical order. I will keep my tradition of not commenting on the actual films themselves, but I will link to a review if I have written one. Thanks for watching with me this year. I know we still have several weeks of 2020 left, but damn do I need some kind of normalcy and that normalcy for me is lists. I may add to it if the films I see for the end of the year blow me away, but I don't think any will crack this top 15.


Small Axe: Alex Wheatle (added 12/27)

Bad Education

Birds of Prey

Black Box

BLACKPINK: Light Up the Sky

Blow the Man Down

Driveways

Small Axe: Education (added 12/31)

Extra Ordinary

Get Duked!

The Half of It

Happiest Season

His House

I'm Your Woman (added 12/17)

Love and Monsters (added 12/29)

Small Axe: Lovers Rock

Small Axe: Mangrove

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (added 12/18)

Miss Americana

Miss Juneteenth

The Old Guard

On the Rocks

Small Axe: Red, White and Blue (added 12/17)

The Rental

Shithouse (added 12/22)

Soul (12/30)

Sputnik

Tigertail

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Unpregnant

The Vast of Night

Weathering With You

The Wolf of Snow Hollow

Yes, God, Yes


15. Memories of Murder (2003)

I realize this is sort of a cheat, but it was rereleased this year and is spectacular



14. Shirley



13. Saint Frances



12. Emma.




11. Relic



10. The Personal History of David Copperfield



9. Never Rarely Sometimes Always



8. The Assistant



7. Da 5 Bloods



6. The Forty-Year-Old Version



5. Palm Springs



4. Lucky Grandma



3. First Cow



2. Sound of Metal



1. Portrait of a Lady on Fire



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