This year is one for the history books, maybe not in the way that we expected though. Time have been tough, and it’s times like these when art and cinema are more important than ever. Many of us have been placed under stay-at-home orders or had to quarantine at home, and with many films moving to streaming and On-Demand, moviegoing became a primarily at-home experience that has helped us escape from the harsh reality outside. These are a few of the films that have this year bearable and have given us something to look back fondly on from 2020.
#10: The King of Staten Island
Being a fan of both Judd Apatow and Pete Davidson, The King of Staten Island was a film I’ve been looking forward to when I first heard about it. The thing I love about this film is how it tackles grief by proving humor is the best way to express pain. As someone who deals trauma with humor to cope, I can relate to Pete Davidson’s character and genuinely was happy to see his transformation throughout the film.
– Melissa Cusano
The King of Staten Island was great, it could be because I am biased and love Pete Davidson (he’s one of the only reasons I still watch Saturday Night Live) but I thought it was good! It is a semi documentary about his life and how it was after his father passed away during 9/11, it was insightful but also very much what I would expect Pete Davidson to be.
#9: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Sacha Baron Cohen returned this year–seemingly out of nowhere–as the lovable Kazakh interviewer Borat Sagdiyev. This time, he’s not so subtly mocking the ignorance and apathy of the American public in the face of the worst pandemic in 100 years, along with his daughter. Mass chaos ensues and the film even finds them in a bizarre situation with President Trump’s attorney Rudolph Giluiani. You have to see what happens to believe it.
I loved every minute of it! It was hilarious but at the same time weirdly concerning about how this nation is running. Maria Bakalova did an amazing job in this movie, I thought she was hilarious and really caught the concept of her character, she was a joy to watch on the screen!
#8: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a tragic story about the African-American experience in the 1920’s, based on some true events as well as an August Wilson play. This is all about performance. Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman give aggressively heartbreaking performances. It still reads like a play and is still an incredible watch.
-Tyler Justin Pruyn
#7: The Trial of the Chicago Seven
The Trial of the Chicago Seven hit home this year, with the events of the film being more relevant than ever. The film acts as a poignant reminder that the United States is still struggling with the same structural inequities and injustices that Americans have been facing for decades. It is an expert piece of writing and filmmaking from Aaron Sorkin, with amazing performances from the entire cast.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 was more than good. It was a very relevant that needed to be shared, and even though the more outlandish elements of the movie were in fact real events, it tells us a powerful message, don’t give up your ideals and don’t let the powerful crush your spirit.
#6: Birds of Prey
Birds of Prey was a fun ensemble film led by Margot Robbie, clearly having a great time putting her all into this character. Though the villain felt weak and one-dimensional, it was still one of the more enjoyable action flicks of the year and one of my favorites of the more recent DC films.
Despite not having the weight that Soul had, Onward is still a fresh and interesting Pixar movie that pays homage to all that makes DnD so much fun to play. It’s a geeky, heartfelt story about brotherly love and finding out who your real family has been and letting go of your wants to help others achieve theirs that they never got. It’s unique and tasks risks, something Pixar has and always will do.
#4: I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Like many things from Charlie Kaufmann, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is a very intellectual and artistic movie that has a ton to take in. It’s a movie with a ton of layers to it, with so much to unravel as a narrative about regret and how we handle situations we now don’t want to be a part of now. It manages to be not only very subtle with its approach, with even the title itself having a double meaning, but it’s also fairly heartbreaking when it comes to its characters as well. Certainly an experimental watch from one of the most ambitious directors in the industry.
#3: Wonder Woman 1984
I loved this movie because I made me feel like I could kick some ass in the safety of my room. It also made me realize how selfish I could be and to think outside myself. I also really enjoyed how colorful and pleasing to the eye it was. It me feel like I was a part of the movie too.
#2: The Invisible Man
The Invisible Man got Universals’ monster movies back on track with a stunning and intense film from Leigh Whanell. It was also socially relevant with the #metoo movement. I love horror so this was a massive treat.
The Invisible Man was probably the last movie I saw in theaters. Like Get Out it is a social commentary drama that has some amazing horror elements sprinkled throughout. A captivating tale told brilliantly by Leigh Whannell.
It’s hard not to see why Soul excels as a Pixar movie. It has all the makings of one of their finest films, with a lot of humor, creativity and emotion to it, yet Pixar manage to their tried and true buddy film into a much deeper dive into personalities and passions that makes this one of their most mature films. It also helps that this movie is expertly directed with every little decision from camerawork, score and world building feeling absolutely fantastic. It’s hard to be on the same page of people who say Pixar hasn’t been good in years, as with films like Inside Out, Coco and now Soul, just makes me more excited for what ambitious projects Pixar will have for us next time.
The way in which sound is visualized and explored. The animation. The soundtrack, not to mention the themes. Pixar does it again! I wanted so badly not to put a Disney movie on the top of my list, but I can’t not.
Another beautifully animated film from Pixar that more than surpassed what I was expecting, which was another rehash of something like Inside Out. However, boy was I surprised to find an emotionally mature film that delves into black culture, hard-hitting, introspective themes, and great characters (specifically Joe, who I fell in love with). This movie feels much more adult than any other Pixar film I’ve seen in a while, and I love it for that.