Well, there’s no doubt that 2020 was real dumpster fire of a year, amIright? And starting as far back as March, many theaters across the U.S. shut down, limiting the number of theatrical releases and the movies being shown in your neighborhood cineplex. Fortunately, streaming services came to the rescue and many of the films got to be seen, while the others got pushed back to 2021, 2022, and later. That being said, here’s my personal list for the best & worst of 2020.
BEST OF 2020
1917 — An audacious, ambitious, and eye-popping movie that dared to do something absolutely insane: shoot an entire film in ONE TAKE! Of course, director Sam Mendes didn’t really shoot it in one take, but it sure looks like it! Plus, the gripping story of two WWI soldiers tasked with delivering a critical message behind enemy lines, added to the heightened excitement. Wow, what a movie!
Guns Akimo — Never heard of it? Not surprised. This radically off-the-wall and frenetically funny sci-fi-ish comedy starring Daniel Radcliffe who, after leaving some negative comments online, has two guns surgically sewn into his hands! With Brooklyn 99 like fast-paced dialogue, this movie is nothing you’d expect and is bonkers crazy… but in a good way!
Tenet — What was Christopher Nolan on? Watching 150 minutes of his mind-bending script and jaw-dropping direction makes you wanna grab some Excedrin and chill. Except you can’t, because trying to figure out the quantum psychics of “inversion” and moving backwards in time is enough to drive you totally insane! It’s SO good, but SO confusing at the same time.
Enola Holmes — Rare does a Netflix family movie spark the imagination and fun of a book series with the likability of it’s main character. Millie Bobby Brown shines as she brilliantly portrays Sherlock Holmes’ smarter teenage sister, trying to track down her missing mom and breaking the fourth wall at the same time! This really needs to be a Netflix series!!
Let Him Go — It starts out like your basic clichéd tale of some desperate grandparents (the fantastic Diane Lane & Kevin Costner) trying to get their grandson back from the hands of a sick ‘n’ twisted family of hillbillies, but then it makes a left turn and delivers a one-two gut punch. An unexpected and triumphant screenplay from Thomas Bezucha and only his second directorial effort!
Trial of the Chicago 7 — Seriously, you simply couldn’t go wrong with this Netflix bio-pic. A movie about the infamous 1968 Chicago Seven trial that’s written and directed by legendary screenwriter Aaron Sorkin? Yes, please! AND starring an A-list of actors that speak his words with eloquence, compassion, wit, and articulation that you are spellbound from frame one. Worth a second look.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom — Bio-pic’s about musicians come and go, but this one has the dubious distinction of not only being genuinely awesome in its content, but marks the final, dazzling performance of the late, great Chadwick Boseman. Viola Davis (is that really her??) gives a powerful showing as the cantankerous, bossy, and talented blues singer, Ma Rainey. This entire movie has ‘Oscar’ written all over it!
WORST OF 2020
Downhill — Reason #43 why you should NOT remake a perfectly good foreign film. Did we learn nothing from 2017’s The Upside? Will Farrell and Julia Louis-Dryfus lose their comedic mojo in this remake of the Swedish dramedy. Not a comedy, barely a drama, it’s a waste of these guys talents and film. Watching them TRY and milk the funny out of this terrible script is cringe-inducing.
Dolittle — OMG!Who would have thought that Robert Downey, jr would star in a terrible, illogical, and pointless kids movie where he had to be dubbed because of the bizarre accent he was attempting! WTH?! RDJ, we love you, but geez, Louise, read the script first next time!!
Artemis Fowl — One of the most highly anticipated Disney movies to be streamed and it crashed and burned in spectacular form. Based on the popular kids books, this major $$$ film went down in flames, thanks to a lead star that never acted before, a screenplay that butchered the books, and way too many similarities to other franchises (*cough* Harry Potter *cough*).
Magic Camp — This movie should have been called Clichéd–The Movie. Another Disney disaster that had a great premise–that of a magic camp for kids–and destroyed it with a (rolling eyes) bombastic plethora of overused jokes, tropes, stereotypes, and caricatures that insulted the very nature of the film.
The Witches — Reason #87 why remaking classic movies is a BAD thing! Anyone remember that Ghostbusters reboot? Uh, helloooooo? Someone said, “Hey, let’s take that great 80’s kids movie and ruin it with CGI effects instead of practical effects, mundane acting, and a script that was boring as the mice. Where’s the D-Con when you need it?
The War With Grandpa — Sometimes you can figure out why a movie sits on a shelf for years. Seeing the likes of Robert DeNiro, Chris Walken, Uma Thurman, Jane Seymour, Rob Riggle, and Cheech Marin doing this so-called comedy and flailing about like a goldfish that fell out of its bowl was sad. Oh, so very, very sad. Can you say, “paycheck movie”?