I screened 230 new movies in 2020 (a few of which aren’t technically opening until 2021). This is a personal record, crushing the previous champion year (2017, with 148 new films). So many excellent movies were released in 2020… in theaters, on TV, on VOD and on streaming services and platforms. Some had big marketing budgets behind them. Others you gotta seek to find and then you’ll be rewarded.
This lineup includes three dramedies with depth, surprise and juicy performances and dialogue (“Let Them All Talk”, “Bad Education” and “Misbehaviour”). A duo of documentaries chronicle people who deserve more attention now than they had when they were alive (“My Darling Vivian” & “Harry Chapin: When in Doubt, Do Something”). “The Secrets We Keep” is a good old fashioned character thriller. “SamSam” is a charming animated comedy adventure for the whole family. “Stargirl” and “Sylvie’s Love” signify what it means to fall in love and stay true to who you are.
“Driveways” and “The Last Full Measure” honor those who make the ultimate sacrifice… and their impact on us is everlasting. Doc “Dear Santa” is a beautiful reminder that doing good goes a long way. “I Used to Go Here” is not only funny but an honest reflection of where life can take you. “The Assistant” is a painfully realistic portrayal of workplace troubles and an urgency to escape and rise above gray clouds of negativity and disgust. And “Sound of Metal” is an awe-inspiring, one of a kind experience that really makes you think.
Here they are – my selections for the 10 Best Movies of the Year, followed by my five Honorable Mentions… and where you can watch them:
1. “SOUND OF METAL” (Prime Video)
2. “LET THEM ALL TALK” (HBO Max)
3. “BAD EDUCATION” (HBO Max)
4. “MISBEHAVIOUR” (Prime Video)
5. “MY DARLING VIVIAN” (Prime Video)
6. “HARRY CHAPIN: WHEN IN DOUBT, DO SOMETHING” (Prime Video)
7. “I USED TO GO HERE” (HBO Max)
8. “DRIVEWAYS” (Hulu)
9. “THE ASSISTANT” (Hulu)
10. “STARGIRL” (Disney+)
“DEAR SANTA” (AppleTV)
“THE LAST FULL MEASURE” (Hulu)
“THE SECRETS WE KEEP” (Prime Video)
“SYLVIE’S LOVE” (Prime Video)