This of course the definitive Best & Worst list of films that came out in 2020. There really are no other lists that compare and are really worth reading but mine. If you disagree with my choices, know that you are wrong and I am very disappointed in you. So to start things off, let’s get into…
The Best of 2020
20) Alone – I ended up watched a few movies named Alone during Horror Month, thinking it was this one. I don’t know if that’s my fault or the fact Alone is a commonly used movie title. Either way, this is by far the best movie I watched named Alone. It really lives up to the name, dropping a normal woman traveling across the country alone on the road, running into Ned Flanders who may want to kidnap and kill you.
19) The Wolf of Snow Hollow – Thing about werewolf movies are, they usually suck. I don’t know why it’s a hard thing to to pull off, but it is. I can count on one hand how many are good and with two hands and a few toes how many werewolf films end up being garbage. Thankfully, this one joins the ranks of one of the good ones. The best way to really explain it is, it’s Fargo but with a werewolf. I loved the dialogue writing here, the way the character retort with a snappy comeback. The film isn’t perfect, as there were a few moments I was left slightly confused by some editing and plotholes. But mainly, this is a solid watch.
18) Onward – I enjoyed the concept of taking a fantasy world, but bringing it into the modern era. This has been done before of course with Bright and a few other things, but never this competently. I loved the journey they were on, trying to get the other half of their father’s body back, but also stopping this great evil from rising again. Added with wonderful animation and you got yourself a great time that isn’t just made for kids to love.
17) Run – Fast paced thriller that might be a bit predictable, but manages to still be competent in almost every aspect. It could have benefited from a longer runtime, getting to see and believe the mother daughter bond they shared. As it is, she starts to suspect her mother is doing something nefarious almost immediately.
16) Fatman – Not your typical Christmas Santa movie. The idea may seem to be comedic, however this is played very straight, taking everything seriously. Mel Gibson also takes the role seriously as he gives one hell of a performance, only bested by his arch nemesis played by the always entertaining Walton Goggins.
15) Game of Death – I honestly don’t know when this movie came out. Everything I’ve read says 2017, but it finally just got a release in October, so your guess is as good as mine. I’m still counting it as I absolutely loved this movie. Favorite horror movie of the year. It’s gory as all hell with a sick and twisted little plot. A must see.
14) Possessor – Brutal film almost punishing you for liking or wanting to see violence. You want some of the old ultra violence, well here you go. The film has some plot issues however, mostly revolving around the tech they use to do their assassinations and our assassin herself. But aside from that, this is one brutal as hell movie with an ending that is fucked up beyond measure. Still though, for you gorehounds, this is a must see.
13) Bad Boys For Life – I was not a fan of the previous two films, so I wasn’t exactly expecting much from this one. However I was pleasantly surprised with just how much I enjoyed myself. For some reason the dynamic of these two together but now much older works so much better than when they were these cocky young bucks. Seeing them now humbled by their age and the jokes that come with it made this a favorite of mine. I’m also wondering if maybe I was being too critical of the other films and if I shouldn’t try revisiting them.
12) Shadow in the Cloud – You can take Max Landis’ name from the film, but you can’t remove his voice, as his style is all over this, even with I’m sure extensive rewrites. This was the first and maybe the only of Max Landis’ single location scripts to be filmed. Before it is Higher, Deeper… and one other aside from Shadow in the Cloud. The idea of taking the single location and trying to make it actually feel like a big budget movie is a fine goal and this being a fine attempt as yes a majority does take place in the gunner seat under a WW2 plane, but tossing in a gremlin and enemy fighter planes, you got yourself a tense little action thriller. Not to mention the troubles brewing inside the plane not a gremlin.
11) Love & Monsters – From the trailer, my first impression was it felt like some YA novel adaptation. It looked geared more towards teens than something I’d be interested in. However that quickly changed. It wasn’t automatic, as the writing was reminding me a lot of Warm Bodies but also Zombieland. Not insults exactly, but it really took a few minutes into the plot to really get into everything. What helped were the fantastic monster designs. A film with “Monster” in the title, you have expectations and I loved what they delivered. The love part however I thought was lacking. But seeing as the real relationship was between man and dog, I kind of give it a pass.
10. The Hunt – This one had a lot of controversy around it, which seems pretty silly now if you had watched the film. It really doesn’t take a side, poking fun at everyone. But aside from that, this was a fun dark comedy horror movie. The one scene I loved the most was at the beginning where we still don’t know who our lead is. Everyone is running for their lives, when one of them hits a landmine, survives and then falls into a spike pit. But still manages to live. It was a fun ride, making it comfortably in my top 10.
9. Come to Daddy– Twisted little comedic horror thriller that you have no clue where it will go. This film was a blast with each act of the film being as insane as the next. This dark comedy horror blend makes this a must see, giving us a great performance by not only Elijah Wood but Canadian all-star Stephen McHattie.
8. Tenet – This is a Christopher Nolan film, so clearly it’s going to be masterfully done. But he also has a tendency to have his head up his ass sometimes. Because of that, his films can be a bit hit or miss. Though even the misses still have something you can like in it. Tenet is no different. Was the plot simplistic yet told in a complicated way? Sure, but seeing the fantastic spectral of things playing out backwards is again, extremely masterful. Unlike some of the films on this best list, this film almost demands repeat viewings.
7. Synchronic – This one got past me during it’s release. I only found out about it because Hank did a review of the script. I’m a fan of this directing duo, enjoying Resolution and The Endless, but absolutely loving Spring, taking a step back from their time travel, sci-fi genre and giving us a lovecraftian love story. Synchronic does take us back to what they seem to love most, time travel, but they seem to be taking what they learned from Spring and giving us more character depth. This is also their most ambitious film yet. It’s a story of friendship, addiction and time travel and I loved it.
6. Palm Springs – Hands down one of the funniest films to be released in 2020, believe me, I know. Because I had to suffer through so many just to compile this list. Thankfully this gem shined through the piles of shit. I love anything time travel related, time loops in particular. Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti have fantastic chemistry, a rarity oddly enough in romantic comedies these days. But what really got me was the fact it was actually funny. Yeah, a romantic comedy both romantic and funny? Look out!
5. News of the World – Tom Hanks in a western, need I say more? Something about the plot really grabbed me. Not the main plot of Hanks trying to get this young girl back to family, but him going from town to town reading folks articles from newspapers around the country. Essentially being a news anchor. I love that concept, especially with how things are now with people not even accepting the news these days.. It is a very beautifully shot film as well. It even has this feel good ending that I really didn’t think I’d get.
4. The Croods: A New Age – Beautifully animated, insanely hilarious with jokes that will have you laughing your ass off. Not to mention a fantastic performance from Nic Cage. This is by far the best animated movie of the year. People will talk about Soul, but don’t believe the hype, this is the best you’ll see. It gets the Nic Cage guarantee.
3. The Kid Detective – Absolutely fell in love with this movie. I thought this was just going to be a redemption story of a man trying to prove himself after he fails to find his childhood friend after she was kidnapped. But like many noir detective stories do, the plot takes you in a whole bunch of directions, ones I didn’t see coming. There’s also a fantastic little scene where he is stuck in a kid’s house, unable to leave.
2. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman deliver a topnotch performance. The film more or less takes place in a single room, that room being a practice room in the basement of a studio. With this being so limited in its local, leaves them to focus and utilize the fantastic actors they have for any given scene. And by god do they deliver. One powerful monologue after another, becoming the definition of Academy Award worthy acting.
1. Color Out of Space – This is my fuck it pick. I know there are better acted films on this list that are better in every way, but this is my list so I say fuck it. If I want a Nic Cage film as my number 1, so be it. 2020 has not been a very good year for movies. There’s a ton of bad ones, which you’ll see on my Worst List, but as for Best… that wasn’t as simple to pick from. Usually I know what movie I’m picking for the Best spot as soon as I see it. But that never really happened this year. Here I am, a few days away from the deadline, still no number one pick for Best film of the year, so why not a film with Nic Cage blasting mutated alpacas with a shotgun.
The Worst of 2020
20) We Can Be Heroes – I don’t think there’s been a kids film Robert Rodriguez has made that I’ve liked. It might be a generational thing, as his kids film are aimed to a much much younger audience than I’m used to watching. It also doesn’t help that they rarely have anything for adults to also enjoy like most good kids films. And it really didn’t help that this is more or less a sequel spinoff to Sharkboy and Lavagirl, a movie literally written by children. And is possibly the worst thing he has ever slapped his name onto. This one isn’t as bad, but in no way is it in the realm of good, borderline unwatchable. The VFX look horrendous, the acting is painful, and the writing… well I’m guessing children wrote it. It’s a terrible movie, no one should see. It has a great concept, the children of fallen superheroes must save the day, but the execution is terrible.
19) On the Rocks – I always joke that when Sofia Coppola was dating Quentin Tarantino that hopefully some of his talent might rub off on her. Nope. I can’t think of a single film of hers that I enjoyed. Everyone seems to love Lost in Translation, but I always felt meh on it. And that’s pretty much how I feel about this boring mess of a movie. Just meh.
18) The New Mutants – This is a film that was held back for years for various reasons. I call this a “film” with a slight smirk as this doesn’t feel like a movie, but a FOX pilot that never got picked up. There’s not much of a movie here, as most of the characters just sit around, doing nothing until they have to fight a bear. Boring is an understatement.
17) Artemis Fowl – It took a few watches for me to get through this. It’s a jumbled mess, I’m not even sure a fan of the source material could tell me what was going on. It felt like half the movie was cut out and new scenes added in. Why? Not sure.
16) Like A Boss – I was expecting or I should say I was hoping for Horrible Bosses but with ladies. I feel like someone with a head injury that keeps repeating himself, but no, this film was not what I was hoping it would be. The plot to this is so generic but also very forgettable. None of the jokes worked. Not one. The characters are all unlikable lazy people that could no way run their own business.
15) The Turning – I was kind of enjoying this, I honestly had no idea it was based on something. The major issue this film has is the ending. Or should I say lack there of. The film literally just ends. No resolution, nothing. It just shits itself and the credits roll. I know there’s an alternate ending, but even that didn’t help.
14) The Grudge – Sloppy jumbled plot that leaves you confused about what the hell is even happening. Instead of ghosts we get redneck zombies, I guess. I was never a fan of the original, as that film is also a mess to understand. The US remake did a better job of containing the story, but this new remake is like an odd mixture of both, that really doesn’t work. The biggest sin however, it is never scary.
13) Soul – The animation in the afterlife was so dull and unimaginative, not to mention the by the books plot that kept making my eyes roll. The whole film felt so manufactured and fake, ironically soulless. It’s basically Inside Out. The plot also didn’t make a ton of sense, like soul 22 knows how to get to earth through this meditating hippy. So I don’t really see the conflict the rest of the story brings up. Also making the ending stupid as shit. He basically kills himself to give 22 a body. Why?! Just talk to the hippy and find a new body like before. It’s all just written to be so manipulative and I wasn’t buying it.
12) The Tax Collector – This is hands down the worst thing David Ayer has ever written and/or directed. Thing about David Ayer is, he keeps writing the same movie over and over again. But they somehow keep getting worse and worse. It’s also funny that Shia LaBeouf got a real life full back tattoo for the film, yet we never once see his back in the movie.
11) Bloodshot – I don’t really know anything about the comic this is based on or the character, but I can tell you they got everything wrong. It just feels like everything lifted from the comic was wrong. For a comic book action film, this thing is boring as hell, with very little action. And when there is, it’s incredibly lame. That kind of sums up the whole movie perfectly. Lame.
10. Scoob! – The worst animated movie of the year, congrats! I can’t even remember if I was able to finish this one. Usually I make note of not listing films or reviewing films I can’t even finish, but I really had to put this one on the list for several reasons. The animation looks terrible first of all. But it’s also very unclear what year this is meant to be set in. At first when we see Scoob and gang, it seems modern times. But then it flash forwards to them as adults, so is it now the future? That’s really just the tip of the iceberg as things get worse from there.
9. Wonder Woman 1984 – Hilarious nonsensical film. Wonder Woman is reduced to sad girl who misses her long dead boyfriend, fighting villains that never killed anyone, and for some reason is set in the 80’s because nostalgic reasons, even though they don’t really learn that hard into it like Stranger Things does. The plot is so dumb and nonsensical, involving a magical gem that grants wishes. There’s also very little action in this, instead giving us really bad character moments that don’t really matter much in the end. Speaking of ending, it dies in a whimper. Can’t wait for the 3rd installment.
8. The Last Days of American Crime – Long boring mess. You don’t give one shit about what is happening in this story. That has to do with the boring unlikable characters and the idiotic plot that at first sounds interesting. But the way it is presented is so uninteresting. Most of the blame I think falls on the fact this is another Olivier Megaton film. Someone who would need 50 cuts and angle changes just to film someone opening a paper bag.
7. Birds of Prey – So many superhero/comicbook movies on the worst list this year. Wonder if it has always been like that or 2020 was just a special year for crap superhero movies. The main issue with this movie, aside from it being connected to Suicide Squad and the whole DCCU, is this really should have just been a Harley Quinn movie, as the other girls in this serve absolutely no point to the plot. The only thing worth wild is seeing Ewan McGregor ham it up.
6. I’m Thinking of Ending Things – I love Charlie Kaufman. As a writer. Most of the time. Not so much as a director. You know right away almost instantly that these two characters are just the imagination of this old man. So that means our lead narrating, not only isn’t our lead but also isn’t real. But the other guy, who comes off more as our lead, also isn’t real. Then we meet his parents, who we know also aren’t real… it just makes this film feel pointless. Like why am I bothering with these imaginary characters? It isn’t like this is some giant reveal. Like I said, we know almost instantly none of them are real, so what’s the point? This sad old man has to imagine a happier life, where even his dreams are strife with disappoint. Blah, no thank you. Also, our not lead woman constantly changes character, so again, how are we meant to care about any of this?
5. Mulan – I was never a fan of the animated cartoon, but in no way did this live action adaptation work. Instead of mongolians invading it’s something else, but it sounds like “morons”. So morons are invading! There’s also no dragon, but a phoenix that is never explained. She also never once looks convincing disguised as a man. It makes everyone look like idiots they couldn’t figure it out. The action sequences also seemed off, or at the very least filmed improperly. It could have been that they were meant to be seen on a theater, but seeing as this one got a VOD release instead, the transfer never happened… I don’t know. Either way this is yet another terrible live action adaptation of one of their animated classics.
4. The War with Grandpa – The plot to this was weird. Mainly because it makes everyone involved seem like complete assholes. The kid wanting his room back being the worst. I was hoping maybe about halfway through this film would become a horror movie, with Robert De Niro accidentally killing the kid and having to cover it up. Unfortunately that never happened.
3. Guest House – I admit it, I’m a Pauly Shore fan… like 20 years ago. Now I only know him for his bizarre podcast he does on YouTube. But when I saw he was doing another comedy, that felt like a throwback to his 90’s work, I happily watched it. Right away you’re hit with the realization that this is going to only get worse as time goes on and oh boy did it get worse. Unfunny, embarrassing, trash.
2. Cuties – One of the most disturbing and uncomfortable films I’ve ever sat through. I get everything the director is trying to convey, however it’s still kids shot in the most provocative way possible, and not be considered pornography. To say it was off putting is an understatement, as I had to fast forward through several parts, mostly the dancing. The only reason I watched it was the controversy surrounding it. I must have overlooked why people were upset as I was shocked to see kids wearing basically nothing, while gyrating. It was not entertaining and I hated every moment of this movie. I think the only reason I held on till the end was just how much people were also praising the film. The kids in skimpy clothes aside, the film is still terrible with awful, unlikable characters. All the girls in the group are horrible.
1. Hubie Halloween – I had some hope that this one might have been good. Crazy, I know. Part of me still has hope for Adam Sandler. Adam Sandler in a deliberate horror movie? That sounds cool. At least it wouldn’t be another excuse to take his family and friends on a studio paid vacation. Plus, it worked for Ernest Scared Stupid, so why not the modern day hack version? But seeing as it’s number one on my list, you know I was wrong. I was so very very wrong. The character Adam Sandler is playing seems almost mentally challenged, more than his usual characters. They seemed to have realized this halfway into the writing process so they made sure to make it clear he wasn’t as dumb as he appears. Aside from that, the jokes never land, there’s also this forced romance plot that felt awkward as hell since you know, you think he has the mind of a child. Everyone is so unlikable, even Hubie himself comes off as creepy and annoying. There’s also a ton of callbacks to his previous films, that I honestly didn’t mind. Has my lesson been learned to get excited for the next Adam Sandler film? Honestly, probably not. Expect to see him again on another list.
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