It is time now to look forward into the next year with the promise of a new beginning. No matter how much of a dumpster fire 2020 was, everything has the possibility to be fresh and new.
And with all of the content that had been pushed into 2021, this year, in Geek culture, has the chance to be greatest year to date.
With nothing new coming out in 2020, and not since July 2019 (Spider-Man: Far From Home). Marvel Studios is primed for the biggest year of its history.
On Disney +
I am so excited for WandaVision. It is most likely my number one most anticipated. I don’t know if that is because it is just a few weeks away or if it is because it looks to be a crazy ride. Maybe both. I love the Tom King Vision series which this looks to be based upon somewhat.
Falcon & the Winter Soldier. It is advertised as a 6-hour Marvel movie and that sounds excellent. There are some hints about the story possibly including some deep Marvel cuts including Isaiah Bradley (Google him if you do not know).
The trailer for Loki shown at the Disney Investor call was so epic that it really made me more intrigued by the Trickster God. I have always loved Tom Hiddleston and he looks amazing here. Is he really D.B. Cooper? Mind blown.
Another trailer that looked unbelievable was What If? with Geoffrey Rush voicing The Watcher. I was a fan of the What If? comic back when I was younger and, with the use of the MCU voice cast, this looks to be tremendous. The animation looks beautiful.
Ms. Marvel may be scheduled for 2021 release as well. Toss in the Hawkeye series with Jeremy Renner and Hailee Stanfield. That is an amazing slate for this year, and that is only on Disney +.
Black Widow is finally going to be out in May. Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is one that I have been really excited about since I heard it announced. Eternals is also coming out this year. There is the third movie in the MCU Spider-Man Home trilogy.
But there is more than just the MCU to look forward to in 2021.
The Snyder cut is coming out on HBO Max. Snyder’s Justice League is rumored to be 4-hours long, depending on how it is going to be released. DC should also be offering The Suicide Squad with James Gunn. Rumors include that Black Adam is in that list as well. The gigantic fight between two titans are finally going to be here in Godzilla vs. Kong. I know some are not fans of the idea, but I am looking forward to Ghostbusters: Afterlife with Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard. Neo is back in The Matrix 4. Dune is looking to have won in its struggle for theatrical release instead of just on HBO Max. Robert Downey Jr. is back as Sherlock Holmes in the third film of that trilogy. There is the return to season 3 of the Mandalorian and the first season of The Book of Boba Fett, both in December. James Bond returns finally for the final appearance of Daniel Craig’s Bond in No Time to Die.
Here it is. Here is the list of the Top 30 Movies of 2020. The whole Year in Review has been building to this list.
Some reminders. This is my list. It may or may not, most likely not, match your own list. And that is fine. I expect that. I celebrate that. Feel free to make your own lists and put whatever movie you want at number one. This is my list so please respect that.
Secondly, as I stated in the Worst Movies list, the star ratings I give when I first review the movie are used only to narrow this list down. If one movie had a lower star score than another movie, it does not mean that it will be lower on the list. There is a perfect example at #7 on this list.
Moving along to the top of the list, this year’s number one film was really difficult to determine. There were literally three films that I considered for the number one spot and was not sure which way they would go. Heck, I’ll be curious to see if they remain that way by the time I get to typing them into the post. I have usually had number one determined for awhile. Not this year.
So here we go….
#30. Black is King. Great music movie from Disney + and Beyoncé. It is like a long music video with amazing visuals and costumes.
#29. Sound of Metal. Riz Ahmed brings a amazing performance as a heavy metal drummer who loses his hearing. The scenes with the other deaf people were some of the best of the film.
#28. Hunter Hunter. A solid thriller/horror film with a disturbing and remarkably satisfying end scene. Vengeance at its goriest.
#27. Mank. The black and white filmed story of the creation of Citizen Kane through the POV of Herman J. Mankiewicz. David Fincher does a fantastic job with the Netflix film.
#26. News of the World. Tom Hanks in the Old West reading news from newspapers to the people. Then, everything changes when he finds young girl Helena Zengel abandoned and in trouble.
#25. The Old Guard. Based on the comic of the same name, this Netflix film brings these immortal mercenaries to life, led by Charlize Theron.
#24. Spontaneous. High school kids begin spontaneously combusting. Isn’t high school hard enough? Charlie Plummer and Katherine Langford star.
#23. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. The Borat sequel caused plenty of controversy for plenty of Republicans over the last year. We see you Rudy! By the way, the movie is really funny.
#22 Greenland. Never thought this would be good, but I had such a good time with it. The disaster movie starring Gerard Butler that was more of a character piece than CGI-fest. What? Surprisingly great.
#21. Enola Holmes. A Netflix movie with Millie Bobby Brown as the sister of Sherlock Holmes. It is a lot of fun and Brown is exceptionally charming and charismatic as the lead.
#20. Promising Young Woman. Star making performance from Carey Mulligan. Mulligan’s character is severely damaged from her past and looking to make things better by any means necessary.
#19. Run. A great film on Hulu. Sarah Paulson continues to show how wide her range is and Kiera Allen steps up to the challenging role.
#18. Blow the Man Down. From Amazon Prime, there is a fantastic cast of characters highlighting the dark corners of a little town. Margo Martindale is the standout performance.
#17. The Vast of Night. Another surprise from Amazon Prime. The Vast of Night is an old fashioned sci-fi movie about aliens and the conspiracies surrounding them. The mood is especially tight.
#16. His House. A Netflix horror movie dealing with a man and his wife who have escaped from South Sudan to London, and the spirit that may have followed them.
#15. Extraction. Another Netflix film that features Chris Hemsworth as a bad ass hero who takes on a mission that sounds pretty harrowing. This is the best Non-Thor performance for Hemsworth.
#14. Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn. Margot Robbie shows that she is still a great choice to play Harley Quinn. This film was a lot of fun and filled with some fantastic DC female anti-heroes.
#13. Onward. Pixar’s first of two great movies this year. This focuses on Tom Holland and Chris Pratt as brothers trying to use a special magical stick to bring back their deceased father for one day. It is Pixar’s typical heart-warming film.
#12. Palm Springs. The Hulu movie that takes the Groundhog Day trope and twisted it around. Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti have great chemistry in this Rom Com/Sci fi film.
#11. Host. It is just over 60 minutes, but this film on Shudder is one of the best horror films of the year. Dealing with a zoom meeting gone wrong, Host is as anxiety-ridden as any film this year.
#10. Love and Monsters. Dylan O’Brien is in a dystopian future where he is trying to get back to the woman of his dreams. Along the way, he has to fight monsters. This is a ton of fun.
#9. Pooka Lives! This Hulu film was one of the biggest surprises of the year. The horror film of these little pooka creatures being unleashed on the public.
#8. Soul. The second Pixar movie is one of transcendent thought and amazing music. Joe and 22 have a great relationship and create that wonderful feeling and emotion Pixar is so great at.
#7. The Invisible Man. Here is the film that had a lower star score than many of the films on this list, but has found itself higher on the list. It is a tremendous remake of a classic Universal monster.
#6. Black Box. This Amazon Prime film was so great. It was frightening, tense and surprising. It had great performances and some excellent twists.
#5. Wolfwalkers. The top animated movie of the year, it is beautifully created and the story is one of a folklore from Ireland. It is fantasy at its best.
#4. Hamilton. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s stage play was recorded live and put together as a musical movie and Disney gained the rights. Then this past July, instead of holding off until 2021 as they initially had planned, Disney released this on Disney + and revealed the brilliant musical to a wider audience than ever before.
#3. Da 5 Bloods. Spike Lee’s new film, from Netflix, tells the story of a group of Vietnam vets heading back to the country to find a treasure they had hidden. Brilliant performances from Delroy Lindo, Chadwick Boseman and others. Da 5 Bloods was shown in flashbacks, but the current day actors still played them. It was a great chocie.
#2. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. The final, utterly brilliant, performance from Chadwick Boseman is not the only reason to watch Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. It is just the top reason. Viola Davis was also unbeleivable as Ma Rainey herself. This is like a stage paly on film and it has some of the best dialogue in any movies this year. Powerful.
#1. The Trial of the Chicago 7. This was a tough choice as either Da 5 Bloods or Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom could have been number one. However, I wound up with Aaron Sorkin’s Netflix film, which had one of the greatest ensemble casts you will ever find. Amazing dialogue. Suspenseful tone. Brilliant performances. Based on the true story, The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a masterful film.
We are coming to the end of the strangest, most unconventional year of movie viewing that we have ever lived through. With Covid-19 causing all kinds of trouble, something like going to the movie theater seemed pretty insignificant. Yet, it changed the lives of many hard working people.
The way we view our movies may be changed now forever. I do not know if the old ways of going to the movies will ever return, but, no matter what, there will be movies that are stinkers.
Now, I will once again stress that this is my personal list and should not be taken as an insult to any of the people out there who may think of one of these movies as their all-time favorite. Movies are subjective and this is the rule we go by here at EYG. You have every right to disagree with my assessment.
I do not mean to insult any of the creative folks involved in these projects. I can still respect what you do even if the final product does not reach me as a viewer.
Finally, I need to state that the star ratings that I give to the movies are simply a guide to help organize these films. I do not strictly follow a score. Just because something received a 1.5 does not necessarily mean it will be lower on the list than one that received a 1.3. An opinion on films is constantly changing. If I redid this list in a year, it might be totally different.
With the clarifications finished, here is the Top 30 Worst films of 2020.
#30. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. In a normal year, this would not have made the list, but with the lower number of films, the Will Farrell musical gets added.
#29. Come Play. A real truth of how creatures from a nearby dimension can use cell phones to sneak into our dimension. Always knew those electronic devices were dangerous.
#28. Babysitter: Killer Queen. Total schlock and a waste of a sequel of a Netflix film that I actually liked.
#27. The F**k-It List. This is where this movie actually belongs.
#26. The Craft: Legacy. Another sequel that should have stayed hidden.
#25. Twin Murders: The Silence of the White City. A waste of time from Netflix. Boring and repetitive.
#24. Black Beauty. As soon as I heard the horse with the voice over, I knew this one was not going to jump the hurdle.
#23. Spenser Confidential. I did not realize until well into the film that this was a reboot/remake of the TV show Spenser for Hire. It made me miss that show, and I was never a big fan of it in the first place.
#22. Roald Dahl’s The Witches. Some of the worst CGI of the year with these kids turned into talking mice plot and cartoon-like ideas. Roald Dahl deserved better.
#21. Christmas Chronicle 2. Seeing a trend, this was another sequel that just flopped in comparison to a really decent original. Even Santa Kurt Russell could not save this.
#20. The Rhythm Section. Blake Lively is out for revenge. Turning to the CIA may not have been the best choice.
#19. The Rental. This one has 75% on Rotten Tomatoes. This was just too stupid for me with couples doing stupid things.
#18. The Last Thing He Wanted. A unremarkable, hard to remember Netflix film with Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck and Willem Dafoe. This had no right to be as bad as it was.
#17. Hillbilly Elegy. Ron Howard’s Oscar bait film has great actors in horrible wigs and a terrible story. Sorry I watched this. It is Krista’s fault.
#16. Bloodshot. Vin Diesel in a comic book adaptation. He had to say more than “I am Groot” in this one.
#15. Underwater. Sci-fi story underwater with Kristin Stewart. She has been doing better work lately. This one reverts back to the old days.
#14. Gretel & Hansel. A retelling of the Hansel & Gretel tale with the witch and the oven. Ugh.
#13. Brahms: The Boy II. Yet another needless sequel. This is worse yet because it took the decent bits about the original and screwed it all up.
#12. Nocturne. One of the Halloween films dropped on Amazon Prime. Not the worst of them… pretty close though.
#11. Into the Dark: Delivered. Pregnant woman chained to the wall. Sounds fun.
#10. The Night Clerk. Poor Tye Sheridan. Kind of a crime drama. More insulting than anything else.
#9. The Lie. Remember how I mentioned that Nocturne wasn’t the worst of the Amazon Prime Halloween films. I now present to you The Lie.
#8. Dolittle. How many more times can I reference the dragon’s anus? This is the last, I promise.
#7. Fantasy Island. There was all kinds of potential to make this into a great horror movie. Unfortunately, we get this.
#6. Shark Season. This year’s shark attack movie. What could go wrong?
#5. The Grudge. The first film of the year for me. Only four others were worse. This is a metaphor for the year 2020.
#4. Last Days of American Crime. 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. There is a silly, futuristic heist.
#3. Coffee & Kareem. Mean-spirited. Unfunny. In a good year for Netflix, this is a black eye.
#2. Artemis Fowl. I had hoped this adaptation of a YA book would be a great start to a new franchise of fun, fantasy storytelling. Oops. At least I could watch it on Disney + and not have to go to the theater.
#1. The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson. Easily the worst movie of the year. Makes Artemis Fowl look like Avengers Endgame. Not only the worst of the year, this goes into the list of worst of all time. My personal list includes Movie 43, Batman & Robin, Holmes and Watson. This is not even the kind of film like The Room or Birdemic that you know is terrible and you can laugh about later (so bad it’s good). Movie critic Chris Stuckmann had done a video early in the year warning people to not watch this movie. I heard that and thought that I wanted to see exactly what he was talking about. I was wrong. That was a bad choice. I should have listened to Chris.
As I was working on the final tabulations of the Top 30 Best and Worst Lists for 2020, I came up with a different idea. On that was perfect for the year of movies from 2020. I decided to rank the movies this year that I actually went and saw in the theater from best to worst.
Rules were simple and the same as my normal top 30 list. This is a list of movies I saw in the theater, not on streaming. This is a list of movies that I saw that were released in 2020. That means that, although I saw 1917 and Just Mercy in the theater in 2020, they were 2019 movies and so did not qualify for this list.
Intriguingly enough, there are several of these films that will be found on both of the Best and Worst Lists (twelve actually), but there are a bunch that would not have made either list. Now, they are here.
It turns out that I have seen 24 movies in the theater this year. Here they are, from worst to best.
#24. The Grudge. The first movie I saw in 2020 and it was one of the worst.
#23. Fantasy Island. I had some hopes for this one. They were just a fantasy.
#22. Dolittle. Robert Downey Jr. trying to find a franchise besides Iron Man. He did not fnd one in the dragon’s anus.
#21. Brahms: The Boy II. No reason for this sequel. Especially one that ruins the passable original.
#20. Gretel & Hansel. I honestly do not remember much about this one. It has a witch.
#19. Underwater. Kristin Stewart in a science fiction monster story underwater.
#18. The Rhythm Section. Blake Lively and a ridiculous revenge plot.
#17. The Turning. I actually did not hate the first part of this film but the ending ruined any good will I had.
#16. The Call of the Wild. Harrison Ford and the CGI dog.
#15. Downhill. A reboot of a Swedish film. A skiing movie with Will Farrell and Julia Louis- Dreyfus.
#14. Tenet. Not really sure what was happening here. Still disappointed though.
#13. The Gentlemen. A British action comedy from Guy Ritchie. Parts of this one were decent while other parts needed work.
#12. Let Him Go. Kevin Costner and Diane Lane are out to get their grandchild back from a crazy Texas family.
#11. The Hunt. The last film I saw in the theaters before the pandemic. It was controversial. And Betty Gilpin was great.
#10. The Way Back. Ben Affleck is a basketball coach with a substance abuse problem. Isn’t that all of them? Affleck does a great job in the role.
#9. Words on Bathroom Walls. A look at the problems of mental illness and the development of the high school teenager.
#8. Bad Boys for Life. I did not like the first two at all. Then, Bad Boys for Life came along and was really great. Who knew?
#7. Sonic the Hedgehog. A really fun ride with Jim Carrey returning to his roots of crazed over the top roles. Sonic looked great (eventually) and this became one of the best video game movies around.
#6. The New Mutants. Waited for what seemed forever for this to be released. When it was released, I liked it. It was not universally loved, but that is okay. I thought it was a decent adaptation.
#5. News of the World. This is the most recent (and likely) the last film I saw in theaters in 2020. Tom Hanks was great and Helena Zengel matched him in this Western.
#4. Promising Young Woman. A revenge story unlike many seen before. And an awesome performance from Carey Mulligan.
#3. Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). Eventually labeled Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey. Harley Quinn is fantabulous here and the Birds of Prey have a fun adventure against Ewan McGregor (though his villain feels one note) as Black Mask.
#2. Onward. The first Pixar movie of the year. An emotional story with Tom Holland and Chris Pratt providing great voice over work. Fathers and sons worldwide can relate.
#1. The Invisible Man. A great rebooting of a classic Universal monster. This is what the Dark Universe should have been about. Elizabeth Moss gives an epic performance as the protagonist of the film, trying to avoid the Invisible Man. Full of tension and anxiety.
And now… The Liz Award, in honor of Elizabeth Taylor. Best Actress
The Liz Award
Previous Winners: Frances McDormand (3 Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri), Viola Davis (Fences), Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road), Rosemund Pike (Gone Girl), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Berenice Bejo (The Artist), Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn), Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Renee Zellweger (Judy)
#12. Diane Lane (Let Him Go).
#11. Margot Robbie (Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).
#10. Anya Taylor Joy (Emma)
#9. Amy Ryan (Lost Girls)
#8. Millie Bobby Brown (Enola Holmes)
#7. Kathryn Newton (Freaky)
#6. Wunmi Mosaku (His House)
#5. Betty Gilpin (The Hunt)
#4. Sarah Paulson (Run)
#3. Elizabeth Moss (The Invisible Man)
Part of the success of the new version of The Invisible Man was the kick ass performance of Elizabeth Moss in the lead. She had to go through so much to battle her old boyfriend. She was great in one of the best movies we saw in the theater.
#2. Corey Mulligan (Promising Young Women)
Corey Mulligan carries Promising Young Woman with her raw, painful performance as a damaged woman with a desire to make the past pay for the slights against her. She was amazing here.
And the winner….
#1. Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom).
Viola Davis becomes the first actress to win The Liz Award twice, previously taking the award for Fences, another play-like film. Her transformative performance as Ma Rainey is shocking. I had to double look to make sure that this was actually Viola. Her work in this is so amazing that she is able to be as memorable in this role in a movie where Chadwick Boseman gives his final performance. She is unbelievable in the Netflix film.
Best Actor of the year receives The Strangelove, in honor of EYG Hall of Famer Peter Sellers and his remarkable turn as three distinct characters in Dr. Strangelove.
The Strangelove (Best Actor in Movie)
Previous Winners: James McAvoy (Split), Denzel Washington (Fences), Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Michael Keaton (Birdman), Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips), Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), Ryan Gosling (Drive), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
Top 12 actors of 2020 are….
#12. The Bad Boys [Will Smith & Martin Lawrence] (Bad Boys for Life)
#11. Charlie Plummer (Words on Bathroom Walls)
#10. Ben Affleck (The Way Back)
#9. Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton)
#8. Gary Oldman (Mank)
#7. Sope Dirisu (His House)
#6. Paul Bettany (Uncle Frank)
#5. Tom Hanks (News of the World)
#4. Eddie Redmayne (Trial of the Chicago 7)
#3. Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal)
Riz Ahmed was tremendous in Sound of Metal with his performance as a rock drummer who is loses his hearing and has to deal with his silence.
#2. Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods)
I thought for sure that Delroy Lindo was winning the Strangelove this year after seeing his transcendent performance in Da 5 Bloods. He was so brilliant.
And the winner….
#1. Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
This was Chadwick Boseman’s final performance and it was so off the charts. Some of the monologues that he delivers in the movie is awe-inspiring. It was difficult to watch knowing how the end result in real life was going to play out. One has to wonder if Chadwick brought the pain from his real life into this fictional character. It is a tear-inducing watch and he is amazing.
Moving along to the Best Supporting Actor for 2020…
Previous Winners: Patrick Stewart (Logan), Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals), Sylvester Stallone (Creed), Edward Norton (Birdman), Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club), Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained), Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Richard Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Robert Downey Jr (Avengers: Endgame)
Again, we have top 12 for this category.
#12. Chris Pine (Wonder Woman 1984)
#11. Peter Macdissi (Uncle Frank)
#10. Jim Carrey (Sonic the Hedgehog)
#9. Bill Murray (On the Rocks)
#8. David Thewlis (I’m Thinking About Ending Things)
#7. Walter Goggins (Words on Bathroom Walls)
#6. Glynn Turman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
#5. Hugh Laurie (The Personal History of David Copperfield)
#4. Chadwick Boseman (Da 5 Bloods)
#3. Frank Langella (Trial of the Chicago 7)
Frank Langella provided the great Sorkin film with their racist judge. Some of the things that he does in this movie truly make you hate this guy. His performance is utterly fantastic.
#2. Daveed Diggs (Hamilton)
Daveed Diggs was a huge standout in the play Hamilton, especially as Thomas Jefferson. With the play filmed on Disney +, I got a chance to see this amazing play.
And the winner….
#1. Sasha Baron Cohen (Trial of the Chicago 7)
Sasha Baron Cohen has had a great year and he just knocks this one out of the park. Playing Abby Hoffman, Cohen was one of the standouts in the best cast ensemble of the year.
Beginning the acting awards for the movies, we will still have the issues as mentioned in the director category. There will be a bunch of films that I will not see until 2021 but will be on a bunch of critics final lists. Nothing I can do about that.
Best Supporting Actresses
Previous Winners: Dafne Keene (Logan), Tilda Swinton (Dr. Strange), Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina), Emma Stone (Birdman), Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), Sally Field (Lincoln), Jennifer Aniston (Horrible Bosses), Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place), Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit)
I have a list of 12 for the Supporting Actress category.
#12. Alison Brie (Promising Young Woman)
#11. Amada Seyfried (Mank)
#10. Marsha Stephanie Blake (I’m Your Woman)
#9. Allison Janney (Troop Zero)
#8. Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm)
#7. Viola Davis (Troop Zero)
#6. Toni Collette (I’m Thinking About Ending Things)
#5. Tilda Swinton (The Personal History of David Copperfield)
#4. Phylicia Rashaad (Black Box)
#3. Helen Zengel (News of the World)
Helen Zengel was so great in this movie. Honestly, had I seen this performance sooner than I did, Helen may have been in serious consideration for the “I See Kid Actors” Award this season. Instead, she is #3 on supporting actresses.
#2. Candice Bergen (Let Them All Talk)
Candice Bergen was far and away my favorite part of this movie. She had great chemistry with Meryl Streep and Dianne West. Plus, her character is one who really has some darkness in her. She was great.
And the winner….
#1. Margo Martindale (Blow the Man Down)
Margo Martindale was a brilliant part of this Amazon Prime film. Her performance made this one truly pop.
So the new Oscar rules have messed up this award. Pushing the Oscars back a couple of months have meant that the films that are usually the Oscar contenders and thus Best Director contenders can be released through February. Well, in February, that is 2021 for me. I won’t be able to see a bunch of them until 2021.
For example, there have been a lot of word of mouth about Chloe Zhao and her film Nomadland. Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari is another one that has not been released in this area yet. Regina King has been getting buzz over One Night in Miami. Still no….
Still, I had plenty of excellent choices from 2020, of movies that I actually saw. Top ten in fact
Previous Winners: A.G. Inarritu (Birdman), Tim McCarthy (Spotlight), Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman), Alfonso Cuarón (Roma), Anthony and Joe Russo (Avengers: Endgame)
#10. Pete Docter & Kemp Powers (Soul)
#9. Sofia Coppola (On the Rocks)
#8. Bridget Savage Cole & Danielle Krudy (Blow the Man Down)
#7. Remi Weeks (His Home)
#6. David Fincher (Mank)
#5. Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman)
#4. Leigh Whannell (The Invisible Man)
#3. Aaron Sorkin (Trial of the Chicago 7)
#2. George C. Wolfe (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
and the winner of the All Right, Mr. DeMille, I am Ready for my Close Up Director of the Year is…
#1. Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods)
Spike Lee’s tremendous story of a group of Vietnam vets returning to Vietnam to go after a treasure they had buried is an amazing accomplishment. The performances were amazing (including a powerhouse performance from Chadwick Boseman) and Delroy Lindo is a leading Oscar candidate. The storytelling of the film is remarkable and Spike Lee deserves a lot of credit.
2020 was a year.
I can’t say that I am sad to see it end. There were so many stories coming out of the year that I have to adjust my usual Top Geek Stories entry in the Year in Review. In the past, I have listed a top (usually) 15 stories in order for the year. This year, I am not going to pretend to list them. I considered going by month, but that felt like it was too much of an undertaking. So… we will see how this works itself out.
Joe Biden defeats Donald Trump in Presidential Election. This year’s most important election of our lives might have actually reached that level. Joe Biden received over 81 million votes and 306 electoral votes to win the contest, although as of this writing, President Trump has not conceded. I will admit to being nervous to see what the lame duck president may do between now and Jan. 20th when Biden is sworn in.
Coronavirus aka COVID-19. The biggest story of all areas this year is the arrival of the coronavirus in late January. It arrived, was ignored, spread like crazy and spread again. We are still dealing with the virus by social distancing and wearing masks, though there are plenty of people who believe that infringes on their rights. There was a vaccine developed (couple actually) near the end of the year so there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, over 330,000+ Americans have died from Covid-19 so far.
Movies pushed. Because of the pandemic, theaters wound up closing down for a chunk of time in 2020 (some which are still closed). This has led to a bunch of movies being delayed, some originally to the end of the year like Wonder Woman 1984, but most into 2021 like Black Widow, Fate 9, the new James Bond: No Time to Die, The Eternals, Godzilla vs. Kong, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Halloween Kills, Jungle Cruise, A Quiet Place Part II, Top Gun: Maverick etc. Several movies, such as Trolls 2 and Artemis Fowl, skipped their theatrical release and released on streaming services instead.
Tenet saves theaters. Not. However, Christopher Nolan’s new movie Tenet ended up opening in 2020 because of pressure placed on the studio from Nolan. Nolan wanted his film released on the big screen and there was discussions about whether Tenet would save the box office. The answer to that was no as Tenet had fair to middling results.
Warner Brothers/HBO Max had an idea. WB announced that they would be releasing all of their large tentpole releases for 2021 on their streaming service, HBO Max. Max, which rolled out this year with a mixed review (difficult to work, not on Roku etc), would be getting the releases of major films, starting with Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas. The films would also be released in the theaters, where available. The creative folks were not pleased with this news. Dune (and Lionsgate) fought the release and it may have worked. Other creative people such as Christopher Nolan and James Gunn (among others) spoke about their disappointment with the company.
Disney drops their load. As if it wasn’t tough enough on WB, about a week later, Disney had their investor call and proceeded to drop information on dozens and dozens of projects… everywhere from new Star Wars shows such as Ahsoka and Andor to Marvel and their new shows such as Armor Wars, Secret Invasion as well as trailers for Loki, WandaVision and Falcon & the Winter Soldier. But it was not just Star Wars and Marvel either. We got Pixar, Hulu, Disney proper, National Geographic news too.
Who’s got the Toilet Paper? At the beginning of the pandemic, with people restricted to work from home, toilet paper supplies from the stores nationwide started disappearing. People went nuts over the TP, deciding that this would be the stuff worth hording.
Release the Snyder Cut! The cry of fanboys everywhere since the release of a less-than-expected quality Justice League movie was for WB to release the Snyder cut. It was an online thing for years. Finally, WB announced in 2020 that they would release the Snyder cut of Justice League in 2021. However, it does appear that they have give Zach Snyder $80 million to finish the film (which will be 4 hours long and released on HBO Max) so there must not have been a finished cut of the movie prior.
Black Lives Matter: As if the pandemic wasn’t enough of a problem, African American man George Floyd was, in the process of being arrested, killed by the police. It all happened on camera for the world to see as the police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for over 8 minutes. This led to Floyd suffocating and kicked off a series of protests and riots across the country. Though most of the protests were non-violent, those that did end up in violence were what were focused on and led to further racial strife in the country. It became political theater for many (on both sides to be fair) and the message got lost.
Imagine. Gal Gadot and many of her celebrity friends recorded a version of John Lennon’s Imagine that was both figuratively and literally tone deaf. Though they may have had good intentions, I have heard that the road to hell is paved with those.
Tiger King. In March, Netflix released a true crime type show called Tiger King which focused on zoo owner Joe Exotic and his rivalry with big-cat activist Carol Baskin. Tiger King was shock TV at its finest as people everywhere could not believe what they were seeing each episode. From the revelation that Carol Baskin may have fed her previous husband to a tiger to Joe Exotic’s bizarre campaign for governor, Tiger King was what everyone wanted to talk about.
Zoom. This company went from nothing to everything. The world knows now about Zoom and many have had Zoom meetings. Schools held classes virtually over Zoom, TV programs broadcast their shows with the web site, businesses used it as for a meeting. We all now know that we have to “unmute” ourselves and that you only need to dress from the waste up. Just be sure that your computer is facing a wall where no one can walk behind you (I know a friend who had a parent walk behind a student and the parent was naked).
Don’t call him Baby Yoda. Season two of the Mandalorian came to Disney + and it was joyous. One of the biggest reveals of the season was when Ahsoka Tano (yup, played in live action by Rosario Dawson) told us the real name of Baby Yoda. It was Grogu… and the internet whined. It was a weird name, and people seem to be getting used to it. At least it did not create the same stir as when Grogu ate those frog eggs.
Dodgers win! Yeah, this one is in for me. The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4 game to 2 to win the 2020 World Series after a shortened regular season. The Dodgers had not won the World Series since the year when Kirk Gibson hit the game one walk-off home run (1988) so it was a long time coming.
Rest In Peace. 2020 had a terrible number of people die, but there were at least two celebrities who died unexpectedly that crushed countless people. NBA legend Kobie Bryant died in January after his helicopter crashed. His daughter was on the helicopter as well. Actor Chadwick Boseman died after a years-long battle with cancer that he had kept secret from most of the world. These two men in the prime of their lives passed on leaving a massive hole in the hearts of their families, friends and fans. There was too much loss in 2020 as a whole.
Impeached for life. Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives and had his trial in the Senate in January. Trump was not convicted by the Senate, with it being a nearly partisan vote. Only Utah Republican Mitt Romney voted to remove Trump. I can’t imagine how the year might have been different if the Senate would have removed Trump from office when the legitimate chance presented itself. Trump’s failure with the Covid-19 virus might have been different and the entire year might have been changed.
Oh no….oh no… oh no no no no no. With the pandemic forcing everyone home, another app that benefitted hugely was TikTok. The short-video sharing platform exploded into a nationwide sensation with Americans everywhere dancing, posting videos of “Karen” and lip synching. TikTok even affected the national political events when the TikTok kids requested thousands of tickets for the first Trump rally in Oklahoma (during the pandemic) and did not show up. They drew the ire of Trump from this but they seem to be as strong as ever.
Live from my living room…. TV show, in particular talk shows such as the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show, The View, and news network programming set up Zooms and Streamlabs and continued to provide interview segments and entertainment for the isolated public at large. YouTube was deep into the broadcasts as well as podcasters everywhere learned how to ask for money via Super Chat.
Murder Hornets. There was so much news happening in 2020, that it seemed like every month there was something new and tremendously horrible was going on. When news of murder hornets, large insects that were coming from South America and would murder bumblebees, the nation could only wonder what wa next. Fortunately, murder hornets have not led to the insect apocalypse… at least not yet.
Fire! Fire! Fire! Things have burned all over the place this year. Starting in Australia, the bush fires set that continent ablaze for nearly three months. The event was horrendously tragic for the people and wildlife of Australia. Not to be out done, California was once again on fire with wildfires all across the state. Smoke came from the fires and was seen across the country. Skies in California turned a shockingly red even without a fire in sight.
Have you ever seen 2001: A Space Odyssey? At the end of November, a mysterious monolith, reminiscent of Kubrick’s classic film, appeared in the desert of Lockhart Basin, Utah. Then, after several days of intensive scrutiny by the world at large, the monolith disappeared. Copycat monoliths appeared in Romania, California and New Zealand. A group on TikTok claimed responsibility for removal (and showed videos of the monolith in a backyard) but the monolith’s original appearance and origin is still a mystery.
Unidentified, you say? Oh yeah… and the US Military confirmed that there were UFOs. In any other year, this would be the biggest story around and this year it is way down my list. The US Military released three videos that the Pentagon said were “unidentified aerial phenomena.” The three Navy videos were said to be “real” by the Pentagon, meaning that they did not know what they were but they were not behind it. UFO enthusiasts were excited, but it is not like the Military walked us through Area 51.
- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle quit the royal family
- Parasite won Best Picture at the Oscars becoming first foreign language film to win main award
- Harvey Weinstein convicted of sex crimes
- Stock Market crashed
- Kim Jong Un was believed to be dead. Reports of his death were apparently greatly exaggerated
- Twitter was hacked in a bitcoin scam
- Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested; President trump wishes her well
- Trump spend first debate with Biden talking over him and interrupting the entire event.
- Massive explosion rocked the city of Beirut.
- Ruth Bader Ginsberg died. Trump and Republicans hypocritically push through her replacement
- Trump tested positive for Covid-19. Gets best treatment in world.
- Eddie Van Halen died
- Alex Trebek died
- Locusts swarmed in Africa
- Avoided World War III after Trump launched drone strikes against Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in January
- Trump suggested that bleach could kill the virus and wanted doctors to look into ways to inject it into people.
- Kanye West ran for president of the United States. Really.
- Live action Mulan premiered on Disney + and Disney charged everyone an extra $30.
- Carole Baskin was on Dancing with the Stars
- Tom Hanks got Covid. So did the Rock.
- Person Woman Man Camera TV
- The nation got its Space Force (and they called them Guardians)
- Quibi launched and shut down in six months (after losing 1.75 billion dollars)
- There was a plot to kidnap the Governor of Michigan.
- Speaking of Michigan, a group of armed people stormed the state capitol because of the shutdown.
- Trump teargassed protestors so he could pose with a Bible outside of St. John’s Church across the street from the White House.
- Steve Bannon was arrested for stealing Build a Wall donations. Trump has not yet pardoned him.
- Trump pardoned everyone else in his orbit.
- Rudy Giuliani …well what else needs to be said about “America’s Mayor”?
- All kinds of sporting events were cancelled.
- Sarah Palin appeared on the Masked Singer
- The Undertaker officially retired from WWE in ring action (for now)
- Randy Orton set The fiend on fire in WWE
- DC Comics fires a ton of staff members.
- Luke Skywalker appeared as The Jedi on the Mandalorian season finale
- Trump tries to bring down the post office to slow mail in voting.
- Jim Carrey played Joe Biden on SNL for a few months
- Oscars postpone ceremony until April- extend eligibility requirements.
- Collider fire a bunch of on air and behind the scenes talents in January; plan on changing directions
- Za Flertinflaus arrives on SEN Live!
- John Lewis died.
- Adam Collins defeats Dan Murrell for Movie Trivia Schmoedown Championship
- Odd Couple defeats Shazam for Movie Trivia Schmoedown Team Championship
- MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki spends weeks at the “Big Board” during election season. Clear MVP on network
Here are the worst of the worst for 2020: the Batman & Robins!
The F-You Award: COVID-19. This goes without saying.
Worst Movie of the Year: You have to wait and see on the Year End List. However, a hint, it is one of the worst of all-time.
Worst Actor: Nick Stahl (The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson). He may have been the standout in this movie. That is not saying much.
Worst Actress: Mena Suvari (The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson). Her performance was not quite as obscene as the film.
Worst CGI: Roald Dahl’s The Witches. The CGI here was disappointing and it surpassed the badness of the dog from Call of the Wild, which was a runner-up.
Worst Sequel: Brahms: The Boy II. A sequel that was terrible and had zero reason to have been made. The first Boy move was okay, but this one took the good parts of that one and tossed it out the window.
Worst Superhero Movie: Project Power. This was not terrible, but there were limited number of superhero movies this year and I did not want to give this to Wonder Woman 1984.
Worst Director: Daniel Farrands (The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson). Amateurish.
My Favorite Rotten Movie (Low Score on Rotten Tomatoes): The New Mutants. Lots of people disliked this long-delayed movie, but I found it decent. Perhaps I am more willing to give this a break because of my background.
Worst Movie I did not see: Songbird. At 11% on Rotten Tomatoes, it is low. As the first major film involving COVID, it most likely is a little too tone deaf.
Cashing a Paycheck: Harrison Ford (Call of the Wild). Harrison was good in the movie. The CGI dog was a horrid distraction.
Book was Better: Artemis Fowl. Although I have never read the book, it would have to be better than this Disney + flopper.
Worst Reboot/Remake: Dolittle. The sad “adventure” starring Robert Downey Jr and his weird accent. He was Tony Stark once. Now he is pulling items out of a dragon’s anus.
Most Successful Bad Movie: Spencer Confidential. This Netflix series was successful for the streamer, but it was just God awful.
Worst Movie Based on TV Show: Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island. Michael Pena as Mr. Rourke was the fisr mistake, but far from the only ones in this terrible re-imagining of the class TV show.
Worst Performance from an Oscar winner: Judi Dench (Artemis Fowl). She was Commander Root, head of the fairies. Coming on the heels of Old Deuteronomy in Cats, this was maybe another step down.
Worst Wig of the Year: Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy). It was a horrible distraction the entire time.
Science Fiction was not the most used genre for 2020. Maybe because the world itself was living out a sci-fi story. Still, there are some choices for Best and Worst Sci-Fi.
One rule I have followed. I do not include superhero movies in this award. That would be less of a constrictive rule this year with the limited number of superhero flicks that came out, but it does mean that there will be no Wonder Woman 1984 or Old Guard on these lists.
Best Sci-Fi Movie
Previous Winners: Upgrade, Blade Runner 2049, Arrival, The Martian, Ex Machina, Star Trek Into Darkness, Edge of Tomorrow, Freaks
Runners-Up for Best: Spontaneous, Freaky, Bill & Ted Face the Music, Vivarium, The Vast of Night, Color Out of Space
The Invisible Man
The Invisible Man finished high up on the horror list as well, this time taking the gold for sci-fi. The Invisible Man starred Elisabeth Moss as a woman tormented by her old boyfriend who had supposedly died. Instead, he found a way to turn himself invisible.
The movie was one of the breakout hits of the year in the few months that films were released in the theaters worldwide. It had a very modest $7 million dollar budget and made that back in a massive amount. It was tense and anxious and still stands out as one of the top films of 2020.
Worst Sci-Fi Film
Runners-Up: Underwater, Dolittle, Bloodshot, Tenet, The Midnight Sky.
Both Tenet and The Midnight Sky were okay. They are certainly much better than the other films on this list. Bloodshot is a comic book movie, but I am not considering him a superhero. The character does feel more sci-fi than superheroic and Vin Diesel brings his same old act to this. Dolittle was not the massive success that Robert Downey Jr. had hoped. It was a dragon fart of a movie. Underwater was one that I barely remembered seeing in the theater in January.
This was released by Disney straight to Disney + midway through the year. Based on a young adult book, the movie brought a level of stupidity that had not been seen in quite a while. It was truly disappointing since the potential premise of the young thief Artemis Fowl had some merit. However, the execution of this film was just not there. And poor, poor Judi Dench, who went from Cats to this atrocity.
A brand new category for 2020! Probably should have been one several years ago. There certainly is not any end in sight for comic book movies, no matter what the pundits may say about “comic book movie fatigue.” 2021 will truly test that theory as there will be a ton of new comic book movies coming out.
Meanwhile, 2020 was the least amount of comic book movies to come out in a decade.
In order to celebrate the new award, named after the iconic and EYG Hall of Famer Christopher Reeve, I went back in time and chose a winner for ever year back until 1989. I stopped at 1989 because 1988 was the first year that did not have anything in place even remotely worth honoring.
Doing it this way, there were a couple of CBMs that might not have made a list of great movies from the genre, but since it was the best of the year, they made the list.
Some of these will be easy to predict. Starting off:
1990 Dick Tracy (I debated between Dick Tracy and Darkman for this year)
1991 The Rocketeer
1992 Batman Returns
1993 Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
1994 The Crow
1995 Batman Forever
1996 The Phantom
1997 Men in Black
1999 Mystery Men
2001 From Hell
2003 X2: X-Men United
2004 Spider-Man 2
2005 V for Vendetta
2007 Superman: Doomsday
2008 The Dark Knight (honorable mention to Iron Man)
2010 Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
2011 Captain America: First Avenger
2012 The Avengers
2013 Iron Man 3
2014 (Tie) Captain America: Winter Soldier & Guardians of the Galaxy
2015 Avengers: Age of Ultron
2016 Captain America: Civil War
2018 Avengers: Infinity War
2019 Avengers: Endgame
Runners-Up for 2020: Old Guard, Wonder Woman 1984, The New Mutants, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, Superman: Red Son
2020: Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
Though most of the CBM of 2020 are on their way to 2021, Birds of Prey was a solid early year entry with Margot Robbie reprising her role as Harley Quinn (from Suicide Squad). The supporting cast around Robbie was strong as well with some of the lesser known DC heroines (at least to the public at large) in place.
Horror has been one of the most popular genres over the last decade. There has been a resurgence in the realm of horror and, with the arrival of such horror specific streaming services as Shudder, horror has become very prevalent.
There are a few horror movies that could also appear on a sci-fi list coming up.
We will start with the Worst!
Runners-Up: There are a lot of these. When horror goes bad, it gets really bad. Gretel & Hansel was a horrid film while we were still in theaters. Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island was a huge disappointment. The unneeded sequels Brahms: The Boy II and Babysitter: Killer Queen were bad. I had liked the Babysitter on Netflix and that sequel was quite disappointing. The Rental and The Lodge were not good. Come Play, Nocturne and The Lie varied for the badness. Evil Eye was another on Amazon Prime that did not reach the level expected. Antebellum wasted an intriguing premise thanks to the trailer. Into the Dark: Delivered was terrible too.
Worst Horror Movie of 2020
The Grudge was the first movie I saw in 2020 and it was never equaled in badness among horror movies. The movie had a great cast but it was such a dull film and horrible film.
Best Horror Movies
Runners-Up: I really enjoyed the online Host film. It was short, but it may have been the most intense of the films. Pooka Lives! is one of my personal favorites for the year on Hulu. The Invisible Man was one of the best films early this year and was break out for Elisabeth Moss. The Netflix film His House was one of the best of the year, with one of the deeper story. Alone was an interesting thriller that started on the highway. The Hunt was another early year controversial film with a break out performance by Betty Gilpin. Z was a streaming film that caught me off guard.
Best Horror Film of the Year:
Black Box was a surprise. It appeared on Amazon Prime during the Halloween and it caught me off guard with how great this film was. It had Phylicia Rashaad appearing and there were some real frightening images. There was a real twist in the film and I loved it.