Normally my lists for the year are about the movies that I was able to see in the theater, well we all know how that went in 2020, so this year, I am listing out the best things I saw that were released in 2020.
So thankful this was one of the few movies I was able to see on the big screen during the COVID season. It truly was meant to be experienced in the theater. In my opinion there is no greater filmmaker of our time than Christopher Nolan. This film is, in many ways. the culmination of all that he has been building on since Memento. The imagination at work in this movie is astounding. Some may have had trouble keeping up with the story but thankfully a lifetime of Star Trek and sci-fi allowed me to get what Nolan was doing. This is a movie I cannot wait to watch over and over, allowing me to pick up all the little connections placed throughout the film. Don’t miss The 602 Club episode on this one!
Pixar has brought our inner world to life with Inside Out and now they tackle the great beyond. What a perfect gift at the end of 2020, to be reminded of the beauty of life, even with all the bumps and bruises we acquire along the way. The movie smartly stays away from answering what lies beyond and its message about the souls we all have is one of the most pro-life messages I’ve seen. Don’t miss Soul on Disney+ and look for The 602 Club episode next week!
This was the perfect Christmas movie for 2020. So sad I was not able to see it on the big screen but it was something I’ll be returning to as a new Christmas classic every year. Mel Gibson is perfect as a Santa that has almost run out of holiday cheer and who’s being hunted by a hitman payed but the indefatigable Walter Goggins. Do yourself a favor and rent this!
This is a fantastic ride from start to finish. Every single actor is on top of their game. Hugh Grant is the standout and almost unrecognizable from his usual fair. Don’t sleep on this one if you missed it at the beginning of the year.
This might be a controversial pick but I found this movie to be a powerful depiction of a side of life many of us don’t even know exists. The performances are brilliant and Glenn Close is perfection as Mamaw. I’m honestly not sure why people have not responded better to this movie but it’s worth your time, as is the book it’s based off of.
The Way Back
In many ways this movie feels semi-autobiographical for its star Ben Affleck. He is so good as a man struggling to overcome is addiction to alcohol and find a way to rebuild his life. It feels like the kind of intimate storytelling that gets lost in the blockbuster shuffle but that 2020 has made more relevant since studios will be looking for ways to get people back into the theaters with films that don’t cost $300 million to make.
Love and Monsters
This movie was a complete surprise and one of the few I was able to see on the big screen during the COVID season. It has such heart and it’s message about not staying locked away because life can be dangerous was one of the most timely in 2020. My favorite quote from the movie, “There is a great big beautiful inspiring world out there. Crank open that hatch, breathe some fresh air, go live your life. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it.” Worth checking out and enjoying with friends!
I am so thankful that Apple+ picked this one up. The movie knew exactly what it was, an intense war thriller about the trials of a Captain trying to get as many ships safely to England in the middle of “Battle of the Atlantic”. It’s a story from WWII that is often overlooked and yet was one of the most pivotal. You really feel apart of the stress and worry these men went through as they knew that any minute could be their last. Don’t miss The 602 Club episode!
Such a fun idea, a world where magic use to be a way of life and has now become mundane. It is a beautiful story about brotherhood, as well as the importance of good male role models in the life of a young boy. Pixar was on fire this year. Don’t miss The 602 Club and Cinema Stories episodes!
Wonder Woman 1984
I’m positive this will be the most controversial pick of the list. I cannot get over how important the themes are in this movie, what it has to say about Truth is astounding. It was not as good as Wonder Woman, but it was a lot of fun and the chemistry between Gal Gadot and Chris Pine is electric. Please don’t miss The 602 Club episode about this film, I’m so proud of the conversation we had about the movie.
The Queen’s Gambit
Engrossing and utterly fascinating character study of a chess prodigy in the 1960s. Anya Taylor Joy is beyond brilliant as Beth Harmon, as is Isla Johnston who plays her as a young girl. This is a series you just have to watch.
The Mandalorian: Season 2
Season one blew everyone away, season two left everyone speechless. Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau continue their resume for why they should be running creative for Star Wars at this point. The way they have been able to connect with the larger universe is excellent, while at the same time never losing sight of the story of The Mandalorian himself. Don’t miss The 602 Club conversation about the season!
The Social Dilemma
We tweet, we like, and we share— but what are the consequences of our growing dependence on social media? This documentary-drama hybrid reveals how social media is reprogramming civilization with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations.
This is what The Social Dilemma looks to answer. This documentary from Netflix explores, in depth, how social media, technology and smart devices are reshaping the human race. To do this Tristan Harris, former Google design ethicist and the co-founder of The Center for Humane Technology has gathered experts from all over social media and technology to talk about the dangers they see in their own creations.
This panel of experts breaks down the ways in which technology is dangerous. They help explain the ways in which social media is addictive by describing the algorithms behind these platforms and the ways they are meant to keep people engaged, even tempt people to become engaged when they are not actively using them.
They also dive into the ways in which fake news has rapidly spread on these networks and the way in which people can fall down the “rabbit hole” very quickly. These “rabbit holes” are the ways people can become radicalized because they only see one side of an issue because algorithms suggest new content based on what you’ve previously watched.
Each of these experts also confesses that this is all driven by profit, the more you scroll, watch, like, stream, the more they make on advertising. For them it’s about keeping you engaged. They never had any thought as to how this would impact the lives of kids. Therefore entire generations are the test subjects for the impact of these devices and platforms. We’re only now realizing what these things are doing to our children and to ourselves. It is interesting to note that none of these experts allow their children time on social media or much time with the technology they helped create, says a lot.
With all this said, I would recommend spending the hour and a half to watch this, watch it with your teens and talk about the impact these things are having on their lives and your family. This may just be the most important thing to come out of 2020, don’t miss it.
The Last Dance
There are very few teams as storied as the Chicago Bulls from the 90s and this documentary shows why. A look inside the dynasty that defined a generation as well as reminder of who the true GOAT of basketball is. The series will have you binging for sure.
There are a few movies this year that belong on this list. Ava and The New Mutants were absolutely dreadful, avoid them.