It’s been an interesting year for cinema, but fortunately, there were still some films I was able to watch and enjoy. Here are my 10 favorites.
At the start of 2020, there was plenty of promise in terms of films to come. As a movie buff, I was overwhelmed with excitement about all the movie releases to come. Then, COVID-19 happened and pretty much everything went on hold. I think the industry that took the biggest hit was the movie industry since many films were postponed for a short period of time, others for a year, and some even indefinitely.
It’s an unfortunate situation since I was very much looking forward to seeing Black Widow, No Time to Die, Top Gun: Maverick, and many others. Thankfully, they’re slated to release in 2021. That is, of course, if everything returns to normal.
For my list, these are simply 10 of my favorite films that I have seen this year. If even half of the movies that were supposed to release came out, there’s a chance half of the movies on this list wouldn’t even be on there. There are also some films I haven’t seen yet either, so maybe some of your favorites may not be there. I also won’t be doing an honorable mentions list since I don’t think I’ve seen many movies this year either.
10. End of Sentence
I saw End of Sentence earlier on in the year during the peak of quarantine and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought it was a great father and son story, which I’m always a sucker for. I’m also a big fan of Logan Lerman since his The Perks of Being a Wallflower days. He delivered a somewhat distinct performance in this film, at least in comparison to what I’ve seen him do already. John Hawkes steals the show, though, in what’s, in my opinion, a very convincing role.
Onward was the last film I saw in theaters before heading into quarantine, so it’ll somehow always hold a special place in my heart. I don’t think it’s up there in terms of Pixar movies, but it’s still a very enjoyable watch. Tom Holland and Chris Pratt are fantastic in their voice acting roles and the journey they venture on the film is overwhelmingly heartfelt at times. It’ll definitely pull at your heart strings in typical Pixar fashion.
8. The Way Back
Gavin O’Connor is arguably the most underrated director working today. In my opinion, he has created the Holy Trinity of sports dramas, that being Miracle, Warrior, and now, The Way Back. We also can’t forget his incredible work with The Accountant. For the sake of the topic though, The Way Back was a pleasant surprise. It’s honestly one of the best performances of Ben Affleck’s career and the story it tells is one many people can relate to. I’ve seen it a few times already and still enjoy it after every watch. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets some recognition come awards season as well.
Freaky is actually the first movie I saw once I decided to return to the movie theater. I’m glad I started again with this one since it’s a very fun time. It’s obviously inspired by stories we’ve seen already, but it takes an interesting twist on the genre and makes it its own. The performances are phenomenal, especially from Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton. It’s also hilarious and has its fair share of jump scares at times.
6. Love & Monsters
I’ve always been a big fan of Dylan O’Brien since his incredible performance in season 3 of Teen Wolf. He was, easily, the best part of the show and since then, I knew he would have a successful career to follow. So far, he’s been in some pretty good films, but I think his best yet is Love & Monsters, which I thoroughly enjoyed from beginning to end. It’s an interesting story and there isn’t another film this year that captures the essence of what 2020 really felt like for the majority of the year. In the end, however, hope always remains and there’s still some good to look forward to out here in the world if you look for it.
5. Bad Boys for Life
Bad Boys for Life breathed fresh air into what seemed to be a dormant franchise. I enjoy the first two for what they are, but I never held it in such high regard like most fans of the series do. However, I enjoyed the third installment a lot more than I thought I would. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are still as funny as ever, but what did it for me is the story that came along with this new film. The creators did a fantastic job crafting a story that brings something new and refreshing to this series. It also sets up potential sequels to follow.
4. Palm Springs
I’m pretty sure Palm Springs is the best comedy of the year. I’ve seen many movies and TV shows which deal with the storyline of an infinite time loop, such as Doctor Strange showcasing it for a specific scene. But, this takes it to the next level with its witty screenplay and great performances. I definitely didn’t see this film coming, but after seeing all the buzz, I had to check it out, and it ended up being one of my favorites of the year. Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti have wonderful chemistry on screen and really shine as the duo in this film.
3. The Invisible Man
The Invisible Man is one of the best horror films I’ve seen in the last couple of years. I wasn’t sure how the filmmakers were going to pull it off due to the character’s history, but I feel the direction director Leigh Whannell decided to go actually paid off. The highlight of the film is Elizabeth Moss, though. She’s an incredible actress and seeing her portray all kinds of emotions, anxiety, and paranoia really left a lasting impact on me long after watching the film.
I’ve been the biggest Hamilton fan since it’s been on Broadway. Sadly, I never got to see it throughout its Broadway run, so I had to settle with the soundtrack and that was more than enough. Deep down though, I knew it didn’t compare to seeing it live on stage. Thanks to Disney+, I was finally able to experience it this year. Technically, I don’t consider it a 2020 film, or a film at all for that matter. But, in reality, it kind of is. The production is masterful in every aspect, including the costume design, the set, and most importantly, the cast bringing these characters to life with their incredible talent. It’s one of the best things to happen in 2020, if I’m being honest, and I’ve gone through multiple viewings of it already. I know an actual feature film will be coming eventually as well, so I’m very much looking forward to that as well. I’m pretty sure Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius.
I was expecting Soul to hit me this hard. I mean, in the past, as soon as I saw “Pixar” come up on the screen, it didn’t take much for me to get excited, so I was already going to see it anyway. But, seeing the trailers for this one, I knew it was going to be more than just another Pixar film. I don’t think its a movie catered to kids in many ways. Soul is very much for adults based on the subject matter and the themes it tries to convey. At the same time though, I also think kids can enjoy it as well. It treats the audience with respect in many ways with its intelligent story-telling and it’s an absolute joy to watch from beginning to end. You may want some tissues nearby as well. It’s my favorite film of the year, by far, and I still think it could be this high up even if every other scheduled release actually made it in 2020.