This was a hard list this year and there will be some controversial choices.
I saw half as many films in 2020 than I did in 2019. Only 25 of the hundreds of films released in theater, streaming, and video on demand. There are some on this list that I am certain if I had seen the usual 50 plus wouldn’t have ended up on this list. There were also some really good movies that didn’t make the cut because of other movies from previous years that I felt were much better. For example I really loved Pixar’s “Soul” and I think that many people will benefit from the messages promoted in the movie… it really didn’t connect with me as much as Pixar’s “Inside Out”. I would love to know what your list looks like so please comment on this post!
10- Birds of Prey (Saw in the theater)
I didn’t fully appreciate this movie until a second viewing. The premise is DC Batman villain Harley Quinn broke up with her long time boyfriend the Joker. Where this movie shines is it is told from the perspective of Harley Quinn who does the right things in the wrong way. I love how the stakes are high while the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously. A great “Girl Power” movie. This is probably my favorite DC movie since the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy.
9- The Invisible Man (Saw in the theater)
I love the tension in this movie where the main character is haunted by her dead abusive spouse but no one believes her and they think she is crazy. It’s a slow movie with a lot of tension with a worthwhile payoff.
8- The Hunt (Rented on Apple TV)
The movie is filled with dark humor. The plot of this movie is a bunch of liberal elites kidnapped a bunch of low income conservatives to hunt them for sport. This movie is very dark but so much fun! It makes fun of both the politically left and right equally. If you can handle blood and gore and you are able to laugh at yourself than this is worth watching.
7- Hamilton (Disney +)
This is a Broadway play that people have been talking about for years that tells the story of on of the founding fathers of the Untied States Alexander Hamilton. Since the whole play is rapped/sung I stopped it after about 12 minutes because I found it annoying. I took a 30 minute break and turned it back on. I got used to the style fairly quickly after that and by the end I cried so much I was dehydrated. I also love the “color-blind” cast. This type of story is why I love movies. I love learning the stories of real people and fictional people and this was extremely moving. If a story is told well I can become a part your story.
6- Yes God Yes (Netflix)
This is the last movie I watched in 2020 and I didn’t expect much from it and it ended up surprising me. In the late ’90s early ’00s church youth groups pushed purity culture. Yes it is good for church to encourage kids to ‘not mess around’ but the way the message was delivered was harmful to kids where they would think that the natural way their bodies were changing and the impulses they have were rooted in evil. I didn’t grow up in the church and in my adult life I did volunteer in youth ministry for over 20 years. I didn’t work against these messages in the ’90s and ’00s messages but if there was a student who was beating themselves up or were negatively affected I would step in and give a slightly counter message. This movie takes place in the early ’00s and focuses on a girl in a catholic school dealing with judgement from others because of a sexual rumor about her that didn’t happen and judgement from herself because she would rewatch the sex scene from the movie “Titanic” multiple times. This is a hard movie to watch and there are some suggested sexual situations but even in the comedy of this movie there is a lot of truth that I witnessed myself during this era of church history.
5- Love and Monsters (Saw in the theater)
What if mutated monster bugs took over the earth killing 85 percent of the human population. What if a character who is living in a colony underground and is the worst in his colony at killing these monster bugs goes on a mission to find his pre-monster invasion girlfriend whom he knows survived because he found her by connecting with her colony on the radio. This movie is a lot of fun and worth watching. The film is very self aware of how ridiculous it is while maintaining a lot of heart. Despite the paint by numbers ‘heroes journey’ plot it still has a few fun twists. I loved this so much that I purchased it the moment it was available.
4- Save Yourselves! (Saw in the theater)
My first movie back to theaters locally in October. This is an indie film with a fun premise. What would happen if you intentionally turned off all your tech for a couple weeks as you spend some time in a cabin in the mountains… the end of the world will happen of courses. I don’t want to say anymore. Find this movie and watch it. I purchased this one as well and watched it a few times.
3- Freaky (Saw in the theaters)
What if a classic horror serial killer switched places with his female high school victim. If that sounds like fun then see this movie!! This was the last movie I got to see in the theater before they shut down again. This will definitely be one that I will consider buying for the special features when it comes out. The producers of this movie create 2 of my all time favorite comedy horror movies “Happy Death Day” and “Happy Death Day 2 U” which I would HIGHLY recommend you check out. They take the “Groundhog’s day” concept and mixed with “Scream”.
2- The New Mutants (Drive-in, Theater, Video on Demand)
This movie is going to be controversial choice on this list since not a lot of people like how FOX handled the X-Men and X-Men related stories but I love the simplicity of this story. New Mutants was a movie that I had been looking forward to for over 2 years and it had been delayed multiple times and even more so since it was going to land in April and it was delayed to August. The general message of the story is that a handful of coming of age mutant teens who are discovering their mutant powers are trapped in a hospital as they are being studied to make sure they are not a threat to themselves or society. Something happens where their greatest fears come to life. I really do love this style story and I know it isn’t for everyone. This movie probably has a high place on my list because I saw it in the Drive Inn while movie theaters were shut down but then I took a trip to Orange County where movies were still open and I enjoyed a second time in a theater. Interestingly enough, it was the ONLY new movie release in theaters in 2020 that featured Marvel characters.
1- Palm Springs (Hulu)
One of my favorite movies in the 1990s is Bill Murray’s “Groundhog’s Day”. I loved the idea of someone having to relive the same day over and over again for years until he perfects the day. This movie takes the same concept but joins one of the main characters after he has been in the loop for most likely decades but is now joined by someone else who entered the same repeating time loop. He mentors her on how to deal with the same day repeating over and over. This movie now replaces Groundhog’s Day for me as my favorite in the repeating time loop drama (if that’s a thing). Some unnecessary sexual situations removes this from being a potential great family movie. What really connected me to this film was the parallel to our lives where we can end up unintentionally repeating the same day over and over. It really does make you think.
Introduction to Joy by Rob Bell (You Tube)
This isn’t a movie but it is feature length. It is a talk that really explains what “Joy” is using really entertaining funny stories. It is worth giving it a watch. Watch it for at least 5 minutes and if you aren’t hooked then stop watching. I watched it originally a few months back and I am still thinking about the messages taught in this video. If you do watch it make sure you have all other devices and notifications turned off. It really is worth your time. Even if you aren’t religious, you will get something out of this. Though it talks about biblical stuff it is for people of all religious beliefs.
Complete list of 2020 movies I’ve seen this year:
The Rhythm Section (theater)
Birds of Prey (theater)
The Invisible Man (theater)
Onward (Disney +)
The Hunt (Video on Demand)
Hamilton (Disney Plus)
The Old Guard (Netflix)
Palm Springs (Hulu)
Bill & Ted Face the Music (Video On Demand)
Yes God Yes (Netflix)
The New Mutants (Drive-in, Theater, Video On Demand)
Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe (Disney +)
Mulan (Disney +)
Enola Holmes (Netflix)
Save Yourselves! (Theater, Video On Demand)
Love and Monsters (Theater, Video On Demand)
Freaky (Theaters, Video On Demand)
Parallel (Video On Demand)
Greenland (Video On Demand)
Wonder Woman 1984 (HBO Max)
Soul (Disney +)