ComingSoon’s Favorite Movies of 2020 Lists!
It goes without saying that 2020 has been a compromised year at the movies. While many of the blockbusters we were so looking forward to never saw the light of day, there were still plenty of worthy films, to be sure. The staff of ComingSoon.net is keeping up the holiday tradition of its annual countdown of those worthy entries in our Favorite Movies of 2020 lists, which you can check out below! Click each title to purchase through Amazon!
MAX EVRY’S 10 FAVORITE MOVIES OF 2020
1. The Vast of Night – Andrew Patterson announced himself as a voice to be reckoned with on this ultra-low-budget sci-fi stunner that pulls off some incredible hurdles (1950’s setting, special effects, long one-er shots, children, animals, etc) with Spielberg-ian mastery. It’s also very rare that you see an indie with performances this confident, especially leads Sierra McCormick and Jake Horowitz. If you’re a genre fan and you haven’t seen this one yet you owe it to yourself!
2. Color Out of Space – Richard Stanley (Hardware) knocked his first feature film in nearly three decades out of the park with this Lovecraft adaptation that leans into the cosmic weirdness with surreal aplomb. Nic Cage manages to be alternately restrained and out of his gourd.
3. Zappa – Alex Winter’s documentary about the late, great iconoclastic musician Frank Zappa is an odyssey that makes brilliant use of the extensive archives the artist left behind.
4. Bill & Ted Face the Music – Winter and Keanu Reeves returned in front of the camera to bring back their famous duo in what turned out to be the perfect ray of sunshine we needed in the year of COVID.
5. Onward – This Pixar effort unfortunately didn’t get the play it deserved in theaters, as it’s one of their most unique and brilliant efforts since WALL-E. The tale of two brothers trying to utilize magic to bring their father back for one day creates an ingenious world worth revisiting over and over, with the emotional resonance you’ve come to expect from the studio.
6. Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story – A very insightful deep-dive documentary for fans of the Nickelodeon show that sheds light on both the genius and self-destructive tendencies of creator John Kricfalusi that doomed one of the greatest/most influential achievements in animation history and tragically left a trail of human wreckage in its wake.
7. The Invisible Man – Elisabeth Moss earned her place in the horror pantheon with a brilliant performance in a stellar reinvention that makes the title monster relevant in the #MeToo age. Cannot wait to see what director Leigh Whannell does with The Wolfman!
8. 1BR – David Marmor made his auspicious debut with a taut thriller that manages to be both claustrophobic and communal with the terror it inflicts. Just when you think it might go down a cheap or cliched route it does something unexpected. Also great to see Taylor Nichols as such an effective baddie!
9. The Wretched – The first movie since Avatar to take the #1 spot at the box office for six straight weeks is actually a very clever reinvention of witch mythology that is primed to become a franchise.
10. Wolfman’s Got Nards – This doc about the cult favorite tween movie The Monster Squad is great about not only revealing the passion of the fandom but being very honest about creator Fred Dekker’s mixed feelings on the movie not finding its audience until it was far too late to rescue his own directorial career.
KYLIE HEMMERT’S 5 FAVORITE MOVIES OF 2020
1. The King of Staten Island – Full of character and life, Pete Davidson and Judd Apatow’s hilarious and touching film has been a stand out for me all year, and will now forever be connected to The Wallflowers’ “One Headlight” whenever the song comes back around on my playlist.
2. The Invisible Man – Elisabeth Moss is mesmerizing in Leigh Whannell’s timely take on the classic horror tale that remains my favorite, and arguably the most meaningful, scary movie of 2020.
3. Tenet – Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending sci-fi action thriller pulled me in quickly through its impressive cast, visuals, smart writing, and a fascinating exploration of the concept of time inversion that culminates in an exciting, stunning, and even sad final act. This one is absolutely worth the rewatch and the many conversations it spawns.
4. Love and Monsters – Dylan O’Brien is excellent in this fun, sweet, and exciting post-apocalyptic adventure that nicely balances its humor with its thrills and drama, serving as a perfect movie to escape with on the days where a world infested with giant, mutated monsters proves to be more ideal than the real one.
5. Underwater – William Eubank’s movie may stumble a bit as the story unfolds, but where it shines are its characters and a largely talented cast led by the effortless Kristen Stewart who helps to make moments of horror feel as claustrophobic as possible while providing the narrative with unexpected but sorely-needed heart.
GRANT HERMANNS’ 10 FAVORITE MOVIES OF 2020
1. The Wolf of Snow Hollow — Picking the top movie of any year is always hard for me, as I always try to find something that’s the right balance of a quality film and one I feel I could come back to time and again, and this year’s squarely falls in the lap of Jim Cummings for his odd, hilarious and thrilling werewolf/murder mystery affair that feels like the right mix of David Fincher’s earlier works and Rian Johnson’s masterpiece — and my top film of 2019 — Knives Out.
2. Happiest Season — It may have arrived late in the year, but it quickly set itself as high on my favorites for the year, so much so I gave it a rare 10/10 review. Clea DuVall’s gay holiday rom-com not only wonderfully embraced the trappings of its various genres, but it also remained a subversive and unpredictable joy with an incredible ensemble cast and a stellar sense of inclusion and authentic representation and is one of the purest films to come out of a truly impure year.
3. The Invisible Man — I’ll be one of the only ones to say I had some fun with Tom Cruise’s The Mummy, but it was definitely the nail in the coffin the rushed Dark Universe needed in order for Universal to hand its Classic Monsters library over to filmmakers looking to deliver more unique takes on the material, and Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man was the perfect start for this plan. Bringing his stylish eye to the director’s chair and his flair for compelling storytelling to the script and pairing them with a wonderful ensemble cast led by a powerful Elisabeth Moss, the latest adaptation of H.G. Wells’ iconic novel is a chilling, tense and incredibly timely affair.
4. Palm Springs — Time loops have been used in everything from comedies to horror movies to action pics, but one of the best and brightest came in the Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti-led rom-com Palm Springs. Its structure and story frequently break the general formula of other looping films, the characters and likable and compelling, even when being despicable, and the chemistry and individual performances from its leads was a thing of beauty, resulting in one of the most thoughtful, hilarious and intriguing films of the year.
5. Scare Me — Even without my proclivity for horror, this year has proven to be one of true excitement for fans of the genre in film and television, but one of the best to come from the former is Josh Ruben’s wonderfully fresh feature directorial debut Scare Me. Making the most of its simple story setup and single location to break down toxic masculinity and horror genre tropes in a simultaneously funny and haunting fashion, Ruben established himself as a remarkable talent both in front of and behind the camera and, paired with an always-excellent Aya Cash and never-not-funny Chris Redd, delivered the most unique and exhilarating take on the horror anthology genre in years.
6. Bill & Ted Face the Music — Though born just a few years too late to watch them in my childhood, when I was finally introduced to Keanu Reeves’ Theodore “Ted” Logan and Alex Winter’s William S. “Bill” Preston, Esq., I immediately connected to the duo and their lovable airheaded and optimistic personality, so when the long-awaited threequel was finally released this year, I had my concerns, but they immediately subsided upon seeing the film. The central leads and writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon show none have lost a step as they all do a wonderful job of bringing the fan-favorite duo to life and with a story that also sees the return of William Sadler’s hilarious Death, moving odes to the late George Carlin and the introduction of Bill & Ted’s equally-lovable children, Face the Music is the rare belated sequel that works and delivers exactly what fans wanted from their return and needed this year.
7. Uncle Frank — While there have been countless groundbreaking and subversive twists on the “coming out” movie formula over the years, sometimes a more old fashioned approach still proves plenty entertaining and Alan Ball’s Uncle Frank proves just that. Utilizing some of the best tropes of both the road trip and coming out genres, the story may play out in fairly formulaic fashion, but between Ball’s compelling writing and character work and the fantastic performances from Paul Bettany, Sophia Lillis (sure to win an Oscar in the next few years) and Peter Macdissi, it’s a funny, powerful and moving tale of family and acceptance.
8. Kajillionaire — If one were to head to IMDb and read the synopsis for Miranda July’s breathtaking Kajillionaire, they will be treated to an appropriately vague description that doesn’t even come close to detailing the hypnotic, transcendent and wholly original film she has crafted. There aren’t enough words here to express my love for this film and simultaneously avoid spoiling the best parts of it, so I shall simply say go watch this marvelous work of art led by an Oscar-worthy performance from Evan Rachel Wood as soon as you can.
9. The Way Back — Say whatever you want about some of his film choices, Ben Affleck’s recent recovery from his addictions has proven to be one of the best bits of news to come from 2020 and a true relief for fans, including myself, who saw more than just an actor but a person as well. Though seen through the lenses of various paparazzi in recent years, Affleck’s performance as a struggling alcoholic in The Way Back went a respectful step further and saw the star go to a vulnerable place to authentically bring his character to life and if he isn’t nominated for an Oscar at the very least, it will go on the list of blights against humanity to come from 2020.
10. Host — While some TV shows are beginning to use the current situation to their advantage in new seasons, director Rob Savage and his co-writers Gemma Hurley and Jed Shepherd not only beat most to the punch in incorporating the global quarantine into their story, they also delivered one of the most horrifying films in years. Shot and set entirely under pandemic restrictions via Zoom, the film doesn’t show signs of an essentially-no-budget pic as everything from its effects to its camerawork and editing all feel indicative of a well-budgeted Blumhouse project and Savage delivers a number of effective shocks in its smartly-short 56-minute runtime, making for one of the best films of the year and one of the best horror films in years.
Runners Up: Come to Daddy, Sonic the Hedgehog, Bad Boys For Life, Babysplitters, The Rental, Freaky, Soul, Da 5 Bloods, The Trial of the Chicago 7, Love and Monsters, Scare Package, The Pale Door, Promising Young Woman
MAGGIE DELA PAZ’S FAVORITE MOVIES OF 2020
1. The Half of It – As a sucker for coming-of-age films, Alice Wu’s second directorial feature has absolutely captivated me from its animated opening sequence up to its ending. Even though it had a familiar premise, its’ well-crafted storytelling and charming performances from its leading cast are what really elevated the film which somehow made it feel so unique. What I love about this film is that it didn’t only revolve around the budding romance part or the coming-out story but it also featured a genuine friendship between two unlikely people. Despite not gaining its well-deserved recognition, I also think The Half of It is so fresh and groundbreaking as it is the kind of film that the LGBTQ+ community has been missing and has been waiting for a long time.
2. The Old Guard – Director Gina Prince-Blythewood’s action film is probably one of the very few films I’ve seen this year that left me wanting for more. On top of its incredible action sequences, the film also featured a very interesting storyline and background story unlike most action films with predictable and typical plots. The chemistry between the main cast had really resonated well with their characters’ bond within the story. Even though Charlize Theron delivered a great leading performance, I think Marwan Kenzari and Luca Marinelli were definitely the breakout performances of the movie as their engrossing portrayals of Joe and Nicky made them instant fan-favorites. I honestly can’t wait for Netflix to officially announce its sequel and it would really be a huge loss for them if they’ve decided to miss out on the chance of exploring more of these great characters.
3. Love and Monsters – This adventure comedy is definitely one of best features ever made in the post-apocalyptic genre. From its engaging storyline, to its good-natured humor, to its fun visual style, to its incredible monster designs up to its characters, I absolutely adore this film and new viewers will undoubtedly be delighted with it. In addition to its thrilling sequences, it has also done a great job executing an entertaining and emotional story that was able to convey a meaningful message. Dylan O’Brien’s charming, quirky and relatable performance as Joel is another proof of his immense talent which further solidifies how formidable he is as a leading man.
4. The Invisible Man – If you haven’t watched The Handmaid’s Tale yet, Elisabeth Moss’ powerful and emotional performance in Leigh Whannell’s latest horror film will certainly make you believe that she is truly a force to be reckoned with. Whannell’s clever and effective take on a classic horror icon was well-combined with a timely story about overcoming trauma and abuse. I also love how this film’s success further proves to studios that you don’t always need a big budget to produce high-quality content.
5. The Trial of Chicago 7 – Aaron Sorkin has delivered another exceptional screenplay with his latest directorial effort which allowed each of his star-studded cast to shine through their characters. Sometimes an ensemble this big wouldn’t be able to highlight each character. However, due to Sorkin’s admirable talent and creativity as a storyteller, all of the leading cast including Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Jeremy Strong and Yahya Abdul Mateen II were able to give out brilliant performances that will just leave you at awe of their acting prowess. On top of its great cast, this historical drama importantly features a powerful and gripping story that hauntingly reflects recent real-life events.
6. Portrait of a Lady on Fire – Céline Sciamma’s beautiful film is a masterpiece that should’ve gotten more recognition for its amazing visual, compelling story, and strong magnetic leading performances from Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel. Even though I already know that forbidden love stories don’t always end well, it still didn’t prepare me for the heartache that I’ve felt while watching Merlant and Haenel as they perfectly handled and conveyed their characters’ emotional scenes together.
Runners Up: King of Staten Island, The Broken Hearts Gallery, A Secret Love, The Willoughbys, Selah and the Spades, Palm Springs, The Vast of Night, Wolfwalkers
JEFF AMES’ 10 FAVORITE MOVIES OF 2020
Arkansas – Clark Duke’s offbeat crime drama/comedy about low-level drug pushers working in rural Arkansas didn’t strike a chord with most critics, but won me over with its rugged charm, fiery intensity and slick dialogue. Liam Hemsworth is awesome in the lead role, but its Duke’s supporting turn as the affable Swin and Vince Vaughn’s smooth portrayal of a ruthless, yet somehow likeable kingpin that really carry the picture.
Jungleland -Tremendous acting and solid directing propel this fascinating sports drama about two brothers, played by Charlie Hunnam and Jack O’Connell, attempting to escape their downtrodden life via bareknuckle boxing. Director Max Winkler paints a haunting portrait of the American dream as seen through the eyes of uniquely flawed characters who are forced to traverse the seedy underground of professional sports where a bag of cash and a loaded weapon are all that stand in the way of victory and redemption.
Extraction – Perhaps the most entertaining B-grade action thriller in years, Extraction leans on Chris Hemsworth rugged charm (and hulk-sized physique) to tell its admittedly pedestrian tale about a mercenary attempting to rescue a crime lord’s kidnapped son. Top-tier stunt work, fight choreography and John Wick-style carnage — what more could you want from a direct-to-streaming action thriller?
The Last Shift – Strong performances from Richard Jenkins and Shane Paul McGhie carry this fascinating look at two fast food workers who develop an unexpected friendship. The film, as written and directed by Andrew Cohn, touches on current social issues revolving around racism and the current state of our society; and while its political points offer plenty to discuss, it’s the film’s depiction of the dismal, 9-to-5 life of low-class working Americans that leaves the strongest impression.
The Kid Detective – This fun, albeit dark, crime story benefits from Evan Morgan’s sharp script and Adam Brody’s fine-tuned performance as a former child detective-turned-deadbeat gumshoe attempting to solve a murder in his hometown. The mystery tale is packed with the necessary twists and turns atypical for stories of this ilk but is at its best when deconstructing its genre; and examining its central hero and the negative effects of his former celebrity status.
Enola Holmes – Mille Bobby Brown charms in this fun, albeit predictable, Sherlock Holmes adventure that offers plenty of excitement for the little ones and enough grit and intrigue to keep older audiences invested.
The Invisible Man – A fine example of blending a classic story with modern sensibilities, The Invisible Man works as an action thriller replete with clever FX; and as a psychological tale about the current dilemma faced by victims of gaslighting. The results are never as scary as they should be but Invisible Man still packs a punch thanks to Leigh Whannell’s assured direction and Elisabeth Moss’ powerful performance.
Tenet – Tenet is much too in love with its own premise to stand alongside Christopher Nolan’s masterpieces, but it still functions as one of the more ambitious blockbusters in years. Forget the confusing plot and bland exposition-dumping characters and enjoy the mind-bending spectacle, which includes an inverted freeway chase and a climax involving soldiers moving forwards and backwards through time. Nolan’s ambition has no rival, though Tenet’s greatest sin could be its expansive reach.
Fatman – Mel Gibson stars as a begrudged St. Nick fighting for his life against Walton Goggins’ crazed assassin in this entertaining B-grade thriller that goes down like a fine glass of spiked eggnog — if that’s your thing. Directors Eshom and Ian Helms pull no punches in terms of violence, but, surprisingly, spend a good deal of time developing uniquely drawn characters who are interesting enough to root for during the action bits. Is Fatman a great movie? Nah. Is it entertaining? Absolutely.
Capone – Look, I love batshit crazy movies and in that vein Josh Trank’s Capone is a goddamned masterpiece. Tom Hardy goes for broke as the titular Al Capone, who, in his later years, was a shell of his former self as a result of dementia and prone to wandering around in a bathrobe hurling profanity at long-deceased friends. Trank’s film, while absurd and often hilarious, is also tragic in its depiction of a once powerful icon forced to endure the painful disease of regret brought upon by past sins. Is it for everyone? Nope. But it works as a wildly ambitious bit of balls-to-the-wall showmanship.
What’s on your Favorite Movies of 2020 list? Let us know in the comments below!