A new year is finally upon us, which means movie lovers like myself will finally be able to watch all of the films that were delayed this past year. While all of the upcoming movies won’t be viewed on the big screen like intended – the simultaneous release deal from Warner Media and the extensive streaming services will help make sure that our media gullet will be filled with copious amounts of content.
Even with the amount of films that were delayed, rescheduled, and pulled from cinemas, I was still able to watch a lot of flicks in the new decade. I rewatched a lot of my favorite movies, and even got to watch some classics for the first time – but today I will be discussing the top 10 movies (for me) that were released in 2020.
#10 – You Cannot Kill David Arquette (Hulu)
This documentary surprised the hell out of me. With a nice balance between wrestling antics and realism, this doc made me a huge fan of what David Arquette has been trying to do over the years with his wrestling career. With a quick runtime of an hour and a half, we get in, watch his ups and downs, injuries, let him prove to us that he truly cannot be killed, and then get out.
#9 – The King of Staten Island (HBO Max)
Maybe my expectations were low for the acting skills of SNL star Pete Davidson, but I was blown away by how good he was in this movie. Even though this one of Judd Apatow’s slightly unnecessarily long 2 hour and change comedies, I found myself pretty immersed in the character Pete portrays and just how funny the movie is. Pete’s chemistry with Bill Burr and the rest of the fire crew is hands down the highlight of this movie.
#8 – Time (Prime Video)
A story of a woman who has been fighting for nearly two decades to see her husband and the father of her children be released from prison. This documentary is a hard watch, but it is necessary to be told so people can see the struggles that a black family goes through when dealing with the justice system. Extremely worth the watch for the ending alone.
#7 – Invisible Man (HBO Max)
Elizabeth Moss is a young GOAT in the making, but my God do I wish this woman would pick roles where she isn’t being physically or mentally abused by someone she loves. I just want her to have some fun in a movie one day. Anyway, this movie is really good and also one of the last movies I saw in theaters in 2020. With this being Leigh Whannell’s follow up to the 2018 sci-fi thriller Upgrade, I am excited to see what else he has in his director bag. I am very impressed with what I have seen so far.
#6 – Palm Springs (Hulu)
I absolutely loved this movie. While the movie doesn’t really bring anything new to the table with the time loop plot that is involved, it can easily be overlooked due to how much fun the movie is. With the vibrant colors, hilarious dialogue, and J.K Simmons cameo – there’s no wonder why this Hulu original feature took over the popular culture discussion when it did. I also have to say that Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg had some of THE best on-screen chemistry I’ve seen in a very long time. *Chef’s Kiss*
#5 – Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
I wanted this movie to be higher on my list just for my love of Spike, but there are some things in this movie that just didn’t work for me. Regardless of the things that didn’t work – there is absolutely no taking away how incredible this movie is. With a lot to say politically, just like any other Spike Lee movie, Da 5 Bloods is also full of action and a performance from Delroy Lindo that feels like a secured spot for a Best Actor nomination in this year’s upcoming Academy Awards ceremony. I also hope to see Spike Lee in the Best Directing category with what he was able to do with a budget that can only be described as a disappointing vet minimum. Especially with Spike just coming off of an Academy win for Blackkklansman. And that’s the double truth, Ruth!
#4 – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
What can I say about this Netflix original film that I didn’t already say previously on The Daily Drunk? This movie is beautiful and I can almost guarantee that someone representing Chadwick will be walking on stage to accept his Best Actor Oscar this upcoming award season.
#3 – Dick Johnson Is Dead (Netflix)
What would you do if you knew that your time with your last living parent was limited? That’s what director Kirsten Johnson answered when she found out that her father, Dick Johnson, was diagnosed with dementia. She picks up her camera and turns this inevitable sadness into a documentary full of surrealism and charm to be able to help ease the pain for herself and her father – for what is eventually to come. What a beautiful movie that completely fell under the radar this year.
#2 – Soul (Disney+)
Another movie that I had the pleasure of writing about for The Daily Drunk. With the movie releasing exclusively on Disney+ right on Christmas Day, I think it was something that everyone who was old enough to understand the movie really needed to end the year.
#1 – Boys State (Apple TV+)
With a year full of drama no matter what side of the political spectrum you reside on, there is no wonder that my favorite movie that I saw in 2020 was a documentary about just that. Boys State is about a summer camp that hosts a thousand boys from Texas and guides them on how to have a political future. This is hands down the most interesting movie I’ve seen in years. We get to see how kids deal with political quarrels, joining forces to take over a political party, and use social media and people’s past life interactions against them – just like in real life. There are several times where I couldn’t believe that what I was watching was real or how insane it was that the directors were able to get what they did on camera. With confessional talks that feel like you are watching a messy episode of “Jersey Shore” or any of the other “reality” TV shows, and scenes of political triumph that happen right on camera, it truly is hard to believe that this documentary is the real deal – but it is. I’ve never wanted to punch a child more in my life than I did watching this documentary. I know a lot of people don’t have Apple TV+ due to their lack of original content, but if they’re still offering that week free trial, I highly recommend people to use it just to watch this doc. My only 5 star 2020 release on Letterboxd.
I can’t wait to see what the new year of content has in store for us on the big screens and small screens alike. Here’s to hoping we have a lot more options to choose from this year. Cheers and Happy New Year, everyone!
Elijah Horton is a Long Island born, Orlando-based writer and photographer. Since he was a kid, Elijah has had a deep passion for movies, music, and photography.
That passion led him to Full Sail where he graduated with a film degree and a desire to make a film of his own one day. For now he’s just pretty good at writing about them.