Lists

Top 10 Best Movies of 2020

Well, here it is, my Top 10 Best Movies of 2020! It’s late, in true fashion of course, because 2021 is really testing my resolve right now. I’d tell you all about it to make my chest feel lighter, but there’s going off topic and then there’s derailing a blog post completely. So let’s stick with the positives, shall we? I already posted my Top 10 Worst Movies of 2020 if you happened to miss that. As much as I love these lists, it can be so confusing with release dates around the world. The UK tends to get the big, Oscars type movies in January but I’ve also been lucky enough to be given screeners for movies that aren’t released in the UK until 2021, so please bare that in mind.

Let’s do this, shall we?

Number of 2020 movies watched: 94
Movies that just missed out: Over the Moon, The Broken Hearts Gallery, Soul, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special

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#10 Kajillionaire – Pre-pandemic I would have had to wait months to see this, when one of the streaming services picked it up. But with a lack of blockbusters my local cinema was playing Kajillionaire in the small summer window that it was allowed to open and it was such a great experience. I love quirky movies like this and I highly recommend it.

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#9 Happiest Season – Christmas is my favourite time of year, it’s no secret. So when new festive movies get released, I get excited. When last year’s biggest offering also happened to star some of my favourite actresses as well as one of geniuses behind Schitt’s Creek, my most adored TV show of 2020 – I was absolutely desperate to see it. And despite some troubled story telling as far as the lead couple goes, I still loved every minute.

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#8 Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga – Just when I was at an all time low living under Lockdown 1.0, this movie came along to brighten my spirits. Let the anthem of 2020 be Jaja Ding Dong! You don’t need to be a hardcore Eurovision fan to enjoy this but you will need to find a bit of joy in being silly.

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#7 Palm Springs – Another entry to the ‘Groundhog Day’ genre but this time featuring Andy Samberg in the glorious sunshine. It shouldn’t have been as good as it was but it had such charm that it was impossible not to love.

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#6 Wonder Woman 1984 – I have to admit, by Halloween I never thought we would have gotten Wonder Woman 1984 released in 2020. I had the privilege of watching it on the big screen at one of the very few open cinemas at the time, just days before they all closed (again!) and it was delightful. It served as a reminder that cinemas are still relevant and needed. Yes, it’s great watching new releases in the comfort of our own homes but you just can’t beat the big screen experience.

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#5 Tenet – Whether you loved it or hated it, Tenet was surely one of the most talked about movies of the year. Once the cinemas closed in March and speculation began as to what would be the first big release when they reopened, Tenet was the one. I needed two watches to fully appreciate it and understand it as much as I was ever going to, but if I were to describe my ideal kind of movie, Tenet is it, so I was always going to be a fan.

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#4 The Gentlemen – I had to check and re-check but yes, The Gentlemen was released on January 1st, 2020 in the UK. It was the first of very few movies I saw at the cinema last year and I loved every second of it. At the time I questioned myself giving it a full 5/5, but it turned out to be only one of four that I gave the rating to in the end! If you’ve only ever seen Hugh Grant as a charming British gentleman, you absolutely need to see how different he is in this!

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#3 The Trial of the Chicago 7 – I’ll admit, I haven’t watched many courtroom dramas. I think they can be quite slow and dry, but when they’re good they tend to be incredible, and that was the case with The Trial of the Chicago 7. I won’t even pretend to understand American politics so the beginning confused me but the trial itself was astounding, and shocking when it’s based on a real case.

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#2 Promising Young Woman – I’ve only recently reviewed this so I won’t ramble much but oh my goodness I loved this movie. Mix together Gone Girl (2014) and A Simple Favor (2018), give it a candy coloured aesthetic and a killer soundtrack and you have…this *chefs kiss*

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#1 Hamilton – I almost left Hamilton out of this list completely. It’s not considered eligible for the Oscars after all as really, it’s an edited recording of a live theatre performance that happened a few years ago. But it is so captivating and so easily the best thing I watched on any screen last year that it would be a travesty to disclude it from this list.

Lists

Top 10 Worst Movies of 2020

As the UK enters it’s THIRD national lockdown, and I’m clearly feeling grumpy, why not put that energy into listing the worst movies that 2020 brought? I’ll be back later this week with best movies but for now let’s focus on the mundane and downright awful. Thanks to streaming services there have still been plenty of movies released this year – of varying qualities.

I’m always nervous posting a worst movies list because there’s always something here that someone loves! I also seem to have gone against the crowd a lot this year, if the Twitter noise is anything to go by. So no hard feelings, okay?

As far as release dates go – if you see something in one of my lists and think it’s from a different year, just remember UK release dates can be completely different! Also – bonus points if you spot all the poop emojis.

2020 movies watched: 91
Movies that narrowly missed out: Antebellum, The Witches, Superintelligence, Songbird, Tesla, The Call of the Wild, Bloodshot, Dolittle, Brahms: The Boy II

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#10 Artemis Fowl – I’m not the target audience of this movie, I get it. But the best kids movies have something that appeals to adults and this…had nothing. Other than a horrifying Josh Gad dislocating his jaw to eat dirt and poor Judi Dench with the world’s sorest throat.

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#9 Fantasy Island – This is a shame because the idea was fun, and the movie wasn’t all terrible. Jetting off to a remote island in order to live out a fantasy of yours seems pretty ideal right now, huh? Some plot lines work, others don’t, but the characters are just downright terrible.

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#8 I’m Thinking of Ending Things – Now is when I start to get anxious. I know this is a widely loved movie. Since reading many other reviews I also understand the movie a whole lot better. But I stand by it being included in this list. I don’t mind a movie being so confusing it needs a second watch but if it’s so dull that I can’t even bring myself to give it another go then it’s just not going to work.

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#7 Rebecca – Reviews for this one are all over the place so I don’t know if mine is a popular opinion or not. If anything I’ve made a mental note to watch the original 1940 Hitchcock version. This remake was just…boring. There’s nothing particularly bad about it, but it felt about 3 hours long.

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#6 365 Days – We all watched this out of morbid curiosity, didn’t we? If you hated the Fifty Shades trilogy then boy…you’re either going to want to avoid this like the plague or hate-watch it with a very large drink!

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#5 Desperados – Huge thank you to Letterboxd and it’s Diary feature because if it wasn’t for the fact I log every movie I watch Ii would have forgotten about this movie all together. I remember it stars Aly and Winston from New Girl and that’s why I watched it but other than that? I can only assume it’s a terrible romcom that fades into nothingness.

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#4 She Dies Tomorrow – This is the exception to the rule, I don’t feel anxious at all telling you how much I hated this. The idea is great, I’ve never seen anything like it, but to be it’s the absolute definition of style over substance.

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#3 After We Collided – Clearly I’m now officially an old person because I had no idea this series was such a big deal. I saw at in the brief summer window that cinemas reopened and made sure I watched the original first. That one was actually a decent watch but this sequel? It felt like Fifty Shades for young teens…wrong on every level!

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#2 Ava – This movie is just downright disappointing in every single way. It’s a spy movie, so how is it so mind numbingly boring? It also boasts a stellar cast including Jessica Chastain, John Malkovich and Colin Farrell. It doesn’t feel like anyone is phoning in their performance here but still – ugh.

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#1 Wild Mountain Thyme – Maybe this takes the top spot because it’s the most recent in my mind but it still very much deserves it’s place in this list. Wild Mountain Thyme feels like a TV movie broadcast in the middle of the night with a target audience of insomniacs simply needing to pass the time. And yet it’s not. I thought Alex Baldwin had a dodgy Irish accent in this year’s Pixie (2020) but Christopher Walken manages to speak only around 1 in 5 words with an actual accent. It’s…magnificently bad. The moment that firmly plants this movie though is Jamie Dornan’s confession towards the very end. I won’t spoil it, but ask me in the comments if you want to know without suffering through this movie.

Lists

Thursday Movie Picks: Favorite Cinematography

When I first got in movie blogging in 2014 I was only really watching the same kind of movies I’d ever known, all romcoms, comedies and blockbuster action flicks. Being a blogger has obviously opened my eyes to the whole spectrum but back then I had no time for what I know as ‘Oscar movies’. I actually laughed at the trailer for Whiplash (2014) but when I saw it? Wow.

That year, like many movie bloggers, I put together my predictions for the Oscars. They were all blind guesses, I’m not going to lie. Even now there are some categories I still have to make a guess at, I don’t think I’ll ever understand the difference between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. But one category in particular confused me more than ever, and that was Best Cinematography. To try and explain it to someone else would make me look like a tit, but my best understanding of it now is the way a movie looks. You know those moments where you think wow, that looks beautiful? That’s cinematography.

And that’s the topic of Wandering Through the Shelves’ Thursday Movie Picks this week. So before I make a bigger fool of myself, let me share some of my favourite shots.

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1917 (2019)

I could have picked 100 shots from this movie, it’s absolutely stunning. But this moment during night time is the one that sticks with me. I was already exhausted and on edge, and then in this quiet, stunning moment there’s a shadow in the distance and we have no idea if they’re a friend or foe.

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La La Land (2016)

Los Angeles has a special place in my heart. My husband and I first visited in 2016 on our honeymoon, and we went back last year with our daughter and my parents and brother to celebrate our 30th birthday. My favourite way to spend the day there was at one of its many beaches, walking the pier was just so peaceful. That’s just one of the many reasons I love La La Land.

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Sicario (2015)

Sicario was one of those first few movies to really shock me when I was still discovering movies outside my comfort zone. It was so tense, and yet absolutely stunning at the same time. The scenes shot at night time were incredible.

Lists

Thursday Movie Picks: Bookish Movies

England has just entered what is being called ‘Lockdown 2’ so I completely forgot it was Thursday today until I was checking my blog feed. I just feel like all new things should start on a Monday, you know? More on the lockdown later this week though, I have something fun for you all this Sunday. So – this Thursday Wandering Through the Shelves is asking us to share some of our favourite ‘bookish’ movies.

It’ll be a really interesting week as there are many ways to interpret the theme, but all of my choices are movies I’ve loved for years now, and their main characters all love books.

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Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Everyone in Belle’s town finds her odd because her favourite pastime is reading a book. Maybe it’s because it was my most watched Disney movie as a child but as a pre-teen who loved nothing more than reading, I saw myself in Belle, and she’ll always be my favourite Disney princess because of that.

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Matilda (1996)

What is it with childhood movies and their hatred of children who like to read?! Belle might have alienated her town for her hobby but Matilda was scorned by her very own parents for it! Seriously though, Matilda is just such a classic, I’m terrified it’s going to be re-made within the next few years and as much as I’d hate that to happen, I’d still be super interested in the casting choices.

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The Good Girl (2002)

Back when I was a mopey teenager with a love of the TV show Friends, a discovery of movies outside my childhood favourites and a growing crush on Jake Gyllenhaal, The Good Girl came along and fulfilled all of my desires. It’s a mopey movie and I watched and re-watched my DVD (or it may even have been a VHS) so many times. I loved Gyllenhaal’s character Holden, and his obsession with the book The Catcher in the Rye.

Lists

Thursday Movie Picks: Holiday Horror

I might not know a lot about horror movies, but one thing I can easily talk to you all day about is Christmas movies! This week’s Thursday Movie Picks theme (ran by Wandering Through the Shelves) encompasses horror movies set in all kinds of holidays, but I am the self-proclaimed Queen of Christmas and so all 3 of my picks this week are festive!

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Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

My first pick is the best, let’s start off strong. Not only is Anna and the Apocalypse a horror movie set at Christmas, it’s also a musical! You heard me. The songs are catchy and there are plenty of laugh out loud moments. It also has a lot of heart, Ii wasn’t expecting to cry for this one. If you haven’t seen it yet please give it a chance this year, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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Krampus (2015)

Krampus came to town just when I needed it. I wanted to get into horror movies but I was still too scared, but Krampus is more of a horror comedy which is a nicer transition. Plus it stars Toni Collette who basically makes any movie instantly better!

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Black Christmas (2019)

You can’t have good movies all the time, just like you can’t have good Christmas presents all the time (do we really need that many Lynx/Axe gift sets?) so here’s one to avoid. Actually scrap that, because Black Christmas just about falls into that category of being so bad it’s quite funny. If I remember correctly it’s a remake of a movie I’m going to assume was much better in quality.