Well, let’s start by saying 2020 sucked, movie-wise. At least in the theatrical releases. With the pandemic keeping us inside, theaters have been (mostly) closed all year — tough for film fanatics like us.
The trickle of new wide release films hasn’t provided much in the way of outstanding offerings: I’ve had to fill in the gaps on my Top Ten List from streaming movies and limited release indies. I wanted to make a great article title called Top 20 in 2020, but — sadly — I can’t think of enough movies I’ve seen with a B grade or better to fill a list of 20!
Since movie theaters in my area have been closed since March, I have a few big 2020 movie gaps (ie – Broken Hearts Gallery is supposed to be quite excellent, but I haven’t seen it).
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For what it’s worth in this Year Of CoVid, here are the top ten films I really enjoyed, even though only one gets an A+: (See note about 1917, below). Links go to our full reviews.
- Palm Springs – A+ Funny, warm, weird, deep and light all at once. With dinosaurs! As Golden Man said, everyone should see this movie! It will make your day better, guaranteed.
- Onward – A I think if you’ve played Dungeons & Dragons (like me), adore Lord of the Rings and high fantasy (also like me), and read Greek mythology obsessively as a child (guilty), Onward is your dream film. Pixar and Disney have a great formula, and maintain their usual high storytelling standards. Also: Gelatinous Cubes are really scary. And if you know what that is, fly you fools — straight to this film.
- Alien Addiction – A The absolute best limited release indie film. We loved it so much we interviewed the director! Alien Addiction has wacky Kiwi sensibilities, amiable aliens who just want to party, and a delightful tone throughout. We want a sequel.
- Bill and Ted Face the Music – B+ Charming and a fine — if unasked-for — close to the trilogy. This is best seen when you view the original films first, since there are a LOT of characters and callbacks and gags that only made sense if you’ve kept your most excellent and unbogus observations sharp.
- Enola Holmes – B+ Cute fluff. Sherlock’s little sister is another smart apple from the Holmesian tree. Quite likable — not demanding or deep — which is quite alright.
- Happy Face – B+ Another movie we loved enough to do an interview and we got most of the cast, and the director and writer onboard. We’ll publish the totally cool interview later this week. In the meantime, see Happy Face. It’s an engaging story about facial disfigurement and how a group of people (using their own real facial features) handle life and love, while looking different. It’s fresh and exciting. Well worth your time to rent and view!
- Birds of Prey – B Surprising us all, this female-led superhero film beats the pants off the other one. You know which one. (Clue: big hammer beats golden lasso.)
- Love in Dangerous Times – B I enjoyed this CoVid Rom Com, and while this kind of movie should have been expected during the pandemic, it still reads as fresh, cute, and even graceful. Well handled.
- Trolls World Tour – B I doubt this is on anyone else’s favorites list. Maybe it was my low expectations going in, and the dearth of any of new movies at the time, but this subversive, colorful musical was a delight. Good songs, good message, and a revelation that the astute will find very timely. I won’t ruin that for you. Note: Adults might want to have some colorful cocktails to help them relax into the rhythm of the Troll-verse.
- Call Me Brother – B A sweet little film about sibling incest. Seriously, I don’t know how this one manages to be fun and sympathetic, but not offensive. You’ll have to just see it.
- Jurassic Thunder – B- This is a rollicking action whack job that also manages to feature dinosaurs. So my top and bottom entry on this list has creatures from the Cretaceous in them. (That probably says more about me than anything else — that I know T-Rex and Diplodocus are not from the Jurassic Era is also telling.) Jurassic Thunder, like Trolls World Tour, is better with a few beers in you. I’m not recommending becoming alcoholics, but some movies are just that right amount of silly/strange/outright mad to be best served in an easygoing state. Jurassic Thunder also has a dancing orange president to help you finalize your thoughts about the year 2020. And we interviewed one of our favorite actors in JT, too.
One note: many lists consider 1917 a 2020 film
I saw it in the theater in 2019, but that was a limited run to enable 1917 to get consideration at the Oscars, followed by a full world-wide release in 2020. I’ll have to say I LOVED 1917, and this would not only get an A+ from me, but also steal my top spot from the Groundhog Day themed comedy Palm Springs.
Much as I adore Palm Springs, it can’t compete with the sheer excellence of 1917, which is a top movie in any year.
So since I placed 1917 among my top films of 2019, I’ll give this an honorable mention and leave room for Palm Springs to stay on the top, and Jurassic Thunder to stay on the bottom.
So, with theaters (mostly) closed, what did RunPee do all year?
I did get out to see a Drive-In double feature (Palm Springs and The Empire Strikes Back). But for most of 2020 I rewatched a lot of classics to fill in the gaps on old favorite reviews at RunPee (and now we have a LOT of cool rewatch reviews up on the site, so the year was somewhat productive). Obviously, there have been very few new wide release films this year, and only one true blockbuster — Wonder Woman 1984. Unfortunately, Wonder Woman 1984 sucked, and we have the data to prove it.
We also got our mitts on hundreds of screener links to review 2020’s wide selection of indies and limited releases. (Some of which are absolutely worth tracking down — several made this Top Ten post!)
So there’s my sad little list. What movies are your 2020 favorites?
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Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)
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Golden Man Author
I love that Palm Springs got your top slot.
I believe your exact words about Trolls World Tour were: “I love that acid trip of a movie.”
I’ll never understand why George MacKay didn’t get a Best Actor nomination for 1917. I’m certain he’s destined to win one after that performance.