Lists

Best and Worst Movies of 2020…so far!

Can you believe we’re halfway through the shitstorm that is 2020? I like to do a little mid-year best and worst post but for a while, I thought it wasn’t going to be possible. Thanks to plenty of cinema visits before lockdown and the joys of Netflix, I can confidently say I’ve seen enough movies to give you a list of the 5 Best and 5 Worst movies of 2020 so far. With Mulan and Tenet pushed back AGAIN, who knows when the next big release will be?

I watched Hamilton (2020) on Disney+ between choosing which movies would feature in this list and actually sitting down to write it, so it’s excluded for now. I guess there’s an argument to be made that it isn’t a movie, but that’s an argument for another day.

Let’s kick off with the 5 worst movies of 2020 so far, shall we?

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#5 Bloodshot

I doubt I would have even watched this if it weren’t for lockdown. Vin Diesel isn’t my cup of tea and the movie trailer didn’t excite me. The actual movie itself wasn’t bad, just painfully average in every way. It would have been a solid 6 or 7 out of 10 if it came about 10 years ago, but action movies like this have moved on.

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#4 Dolittle

Since writing my full review of Dolittle I have learned that Robert Downey Jr was meant to be doing a Welsh accent. Oh. Wales is about an hour drive away from me, and my boss is Welsh. I really should have been able to detect that accent. Yikes.

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#3 Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl is on par with Dolittle for the most WTF moment in a children’s movie. Dolittle had a grown man pulling objects out of a dragon’s butt, Artemis Fowl had Josh Gad widen his jaw enough to burrow using his mouth and fart out dirt. I don’t know what more to tell you, guys.

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#2 365 Days

I haven’t mentioned it yet but yes, I watched 365 Days. It’s surely the most-watched movie on Netflix by now. I never thought I would see the day that I could say I would watch something with a worse story than Fifty Shades…but here we are. Those…naughty scenes were quite something though, weren’t they?

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#1 Brahms: The Boy II

You know what? I’m still salty about this sequel. I kind of loved the original movie for thinking out of the box and I was optimistic about seeing more. The Boy II basically just pretends the first movie didn’t exist and was full to the brim of modern horror movie cliches. Brahms deserved better.

2020 hasn’t been a complete disaster (yet) in terms of movies however. I found no trouble picking 5 movies that I loved enough to award them the title of best so far, and I present them to you now.

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#5 Extraction

I’ll admit, by the end of the year Extraction will probably fall into the category of ‘good’, but for now, it most definitely ‘good’ enough to feature in this list. I was expecting an average, run of the mill action movie and a chance to drool over Chris Hemsworth for a couple of hours. Instead, I got a decent story, characters I cared about, and a huge action scene that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a John Wick movie.

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#4 The Invisible Man

One of the last movies I got to see at the cinema before they all closed. This was such a good experience, watching it on the big screen with nowhere to hide when the tension got too high. I’m normally very quiet at the cinema but that restaurant scene? I gasped VERY loudly.

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#3 Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

Warner Bros’ marketing department have a lot to answer for here. They failed to promote their own, promising movie and then tried to blame anyone but themselves when it flopped at the box office. Margot Robbie fits this role perfectly, and it’s full of fun, colourful action scenes from the very beginning. I’ve watched it 3 times now and it’s a blast every time.

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#2 Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

Jaja…DING DONG. I’m not sorry for ranking Eurovision so high. It was a solid 8/10 when I watched it and I love it even more almost 2 weeks after watching it. It’s everything I need it to be. It’s funny, it has a touching story, it has songs way catchier than Frozen 2 (I mean it) and did I mention that 4 men ripped Dan Stevens’ shirt off? I love it.

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#1 The Gentlemen

This was the first movie I saw at the cinema in 2020 and when I came out, I had to sleep on my feelings. It felt like a solid 10/10, but could I really give the first movie of the year full marks? Turns out yes. Yes I can. The Gentlemen is brilliant. Hugh Grant is disgustingly phenomenal in his role, and not only did Matthew McConnaughey not get on my nerves like he always does…I really loved his character and what he stood for. It was so much fun, and it’s going to take a lot to knock this off the top spot at the end of the year.

Lists

Top 100 Movies of the Decade: 2019

Phew – what a wild ride this little project has been! Yes, I wimped out of ranking 100 movies across 10 years, but with the exception of 2010-2013, I feel like I’ve picked some solid choices here. It’s been such a fun exercise looking back at everything I’ve watched over the last 10 years, seeing how much my taste in movies has broadened and matured. It was probably handy that I took longer than I thought to make these lists because now I’ve arrived at 2019, there are movies in this list I only got the chance to see very recently, and they would have missed out otherwise.

2019 was a pretty incredible year for movies if my rankings are anything to go by. For my starter list, I only included anything that I rated 4.5/5 or higher, and I gave 21 movies that score! Just like with 2018’s list, I’m crossing movies out that could very well be in my Top 5 on another day.

Have a look at my other lists here if you haven’t seen them already!

2019 Movies Watched: 89
Movies that just missed out: Ready or Not, The Lion King, The Dead Don’t Die, Toy Story 4, Midsommar, Aladdin, Detective Pikachu, Shazam!, Good Boys, Booksmart

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#10 Joker

You might think for all my annoyance at Joaquin Phoenix taking Adam Driver’s awards that I hated Joker, but I really enjoyed it. I said at the time Phoenix should get an Oscar for his part. But then Marriage Story came along and changed my mind. I feel stuck in the middle! I’m being torn apart. I want to be free of this – sorry.

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#9 Klaus

December is when I try to consume as many Christmas movies as possible. I have my annual rewatches, but I love finding new movies, too, and Netflix handed me Klaus on a shiny platter. It’s a gorgeous movie. The animation style was so unique, the story was perfect for adults and children alike, the soundtrack was spot on, and it’s in the running for an Oscar next month. I doubt it’s chances of winning but I always root for the underdog.

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#8 Marriage Story

Netflix sure had a good year last year! December also brought us Marriage Story, a painfully emotional story of a couple dealing with a messy divorce whilst trying to be the best parent they can be for their son. Even if you haven’t watched the movie you’re probably aware of ‘the scene’. I almost felt like I needed to turn away, like I’d walked into a very real and ugly situation. Such a good movie!

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#7 Avengers: Endgame

The MCU movies haven’t gotten a lot of love from me in these posts but I’ve found that as much as I enjoy them, I rarely rewatch them. I don’t know why. That said, 2019 brought the culmination of every MCU story so far, and it was a spectacle. So many great moments, and it was a lot of fun to be part of the crowd on opening weekend.

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#6 Parasite

Director Bong Joon Ho said something that really struck a chord with me at the Golden Globes this year. “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” I’ve seen so few foreign-language movies, but the ones I have I found to be incredible. Parasite is such a unique movie in how it crosses genres. I thought I knew where the story was leading, but no!

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#5 1917

See, if I wasn’t so late for everything 1917 would never have made this list, because I only watched it last week. I wonder if we’ll start to see more of this one-take style of movie and get fed up of it, but it was the perfect way of telling the story of these 2 young soldiers sent on a seemingly impossible mission. See it in the cinema if you can, it won’t be the same at home!

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#4 Jojo Rabbit

Honestly, as soon as I heard Taika Waititi was making a movie about a young boy whose imaginary friend is Hitler, I knew it would be in my Top 10 of the year list. No one can make a movie like this like Waititi can. It’s somehow hilarious, shocking, and moving all at the same time.

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#3 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

It’s not a list made by yours truly without a controversial pick, is it? Whatever your thoughts on The Rise of Skywalker, for me, Star Wars is Star Wars. Has my opinion changed with time? Yes, because I can’t help but over analyse everything. But the 5 minutes we got of Ben Solo means this movie earns it’s spot here regardless.

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#2 Knives Out

The wait for Knives Out felt so long, you guys. I was hyping myself up for so long I was terrified I was building myself up for a fall. But it delivered on everything I hoped it would. What a fantastic little mystery movie. I wondered if it would hold up on a second viewing when you already know how it’s going to end, and so on, and somehow it was even better.

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#1 John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Parabellum was my #1 movie of 2019 at its halfway point, but I thought by year-end something would knock it down at least one place. It hasn’t. I give all my ratings on a mix of whether I thought it was actually a good movie, and my enjoyment of it. I enjoyed the hell out of Parabellum, and I just can’t find fault with it. How many trilogies can say their 3rd movie was even better than their previous 2? There’s no way Chapter 4 can be this good but I have everything crossed that it is!

Lists

Top 100 Movies of the Decade: 2018

Are you actually kidding me? I’ve done 8 of these lists now, you’d think I would have become hardened to only picking the very best movies that I truly loved. I should have it down to a cold-hearted process, right? I just counted my starter list for 2018, and it has 21 movies on it. 21! That’s not including a lot of movies I really enjoyed but knew they weren’t quite Top 10 material. I have to cut this list in half, and chop another off after that.

Maybe 2018 was a fantastic year for movies, but it’s maybe more down to me re-finding my love for this little hobby of mine after losing myself at the start of the year. Either way, this is going to be tough. Here goes nothing. You can find my other lists here.

2018 Movies Watched: 84
Movies that just missed out: Bandersnatch, Bird Box, The Favourite, Incredibles 2, Deadpool 2, Avengers: Infinity War, Ready Player One, A Quiet Place, Game Night, Love Simon, American Animals

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#10 BlacKkKlansman

I knew what to expect about a movie where an African American cop teams up with a Jewish cop to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan, but I didn’t think it would be so entertaining. Come for the important message, stay for the performances.

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#9 Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Watching this movie was never on my agenda until Melissa McCarthy started getting nominations left, right and centre for it. I’m very love her or hate her with McCarthy but she was incredible here, and Richard E. Grant is a delight too. It’s a story that some might find a bit dry but I was enthralled.

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#8 Hereditary

Hereditary was the first movie I went to see by myself with my shiny new Odeon card. I must have been mad, but it was a great experience. I’m still not sure how I feel about the ending but there are scenes in that movie that still bug me and haunt me, and they always will!

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#7 Widows

Badass women doing badass things – count me in. Viola Davs is absolutely terrifying in Widows, I 100% would not want to be on her bad side. There are bound to be some copycat style movies following this, but Widows will remain the original and best.

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#6 Ant-Man and the Wasp

Look – I don’t know what to tell you. I’m sure this is at the bottom of everyone’s favourite MCU movies but there was something about Ant-Man and the Wasp that struck a chord with me. It’s funny, it’s got great action scenes and it’s just…wholesome.

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#5 Green Book

Green Book is another of those movies I would have skipped if I didn’t make a habit of watching all the Best Picture nominees. I know it wasn’t a popular winner but I loved it. The story was engaging, the message powerful, and it had a surprising number of funny moments. I’m still a little mad Mahershala Ali was considered a Supporting Actor rather than Lead Actor, though.

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#4 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

So the internet decided that Into the Spider-Verse was the best Spider-Man movie ever made. I thought there was no way that could be true, but there’s only one way to find out. Turns out, the internet was right! From the stylish animation, to the smart story, funny one-liners and characters that should be annoying but aren’t, I loved every minute of this.

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#3 A Simple Favor

A comedy/mystery movie directed by Paul Feig and starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively is like, right up there on my list of dream movies. There was no way I wasn’t going to love A Simple Favor. It’s stylish, sexy and mysterious, and although it gets way too over the top at the end, it’s a wild ride.

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#2 A Star Is Born

I’ve listened to the soundtrack from A Star Is Born countless times since watching the movie, but I’m yet to bring myself to actually rewatch it. It’s such a beautifully painful story, but ugh, my heart hasn’t recovered quite yet.

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#1 Searching

An odd choice, I admit, but let me explain. I love movies that bring something a little different to the table. All scenes in Searching are through a screen, be it a laptop, mobile, CCTV, FaceTime. That alone makes it great in my eyes. The cherry on the top is a simply brilliant mystery story that twists and turns constantly, with a hugely satisfying conclusion. Love it.

Lists

Top 100 Movies of the Decade: 2017

There’s one good thing that’s come of me taking way too long to make these lists. A lot of the great 2019 movies are only just coming out now in the UK and it’s given me time to watch them before making my Top 10 of last year! In fact, if I wasn’t notoriously late for everything, you might even believe me if I told you that was my plan all along. We’re approaching the end though, and this has been a lot of fun to put together.

2017 was easier to be strict with, but I still had to cross 4 off my original list, and it took a lot of going back and forth before I could decide what 4 they were going to be. My original Best of 2017 list had 15 movies in and I’ve seen loads more since then! As always, you can find my other lists here.

2017 Movies Watched: 86
Movies that just missed out: Coco, It, Lady Bird, Logan

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#10 Dunkirk

I’ll forever be kicking myself for not watching Dunkirk in the cinema, but I’m glad I at least gave it a chance because it was the war movie that made me realise that I do in fact enjoy a good war movie! I’ve since finally watched Saving Private Ryan which was fantastic.

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#9 Beauty and the Beast

Here’s my unpopular choice thrown in for good measure. Yep, it was virtually a shot for shot remake, but the original is perhaps my all-time favourite Disney movie so that’s not a problem for me. The extra song, Evermore will forever be one of my favourite songs ever, too.

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#8 Baby Driver

Fun fact, Baby Driver was the last movie I watched at the cinema before giving birth to my little girl. I had to watch it again once it was out on DVD because I missed at least half thanks to running off to the toilets every 5 minutes!

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#7 A Ghost Story

I really want to watch A Ghost Story again. It’s not a horror, if you’ve never heard of it, but a quirky little mysterious movie with a cracking ending. Just be warned, you’ll be put off from eating pie for quite a while afterwards.

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#6 The Florida Project

Who knew that just a stone’s throw away from the most magical place on earth is…a very unmagical, sad place, where families struggle to get by and raise their children. Poor Willem Dafoe plays the manager of the Magic Castle Motel and despite the kids there making his life hell, he loves them still. It took me a while to warm to the movie but I haven’t forgotten it since.

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#5 Battle of the Sexes

I never expected to enjoy Battle of the Sexes so much. I find biographical movies can be quite dry sometimes, and I have no interest in tennis at all, but I gave it a go for Emma Stone and Steve Carell, both of which I’m a big fan of. I don’t know what to tell you, I just found the story absolutely fascinating!

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#4 I, Tonya

Speaking of biographical movies to do with sports…oh boy was I, Tonya a lot of fun! Margot Robbie was the perfect choice here. I just love how her story was told, I laughed so much but at the same time, it’s really quite emotional. Just excellent performances all round, here.

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#3 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

A fantastically dark story about how a mother uses any means necessary to solve the case of her murdered daughter when the police fail to come up with an answer. Three Billboards is a must-watch.

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#2 Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Yeah, I put The Last Jedi up here. You didn’t expect anything less of me, did you? I’ll always have a soft spot for The Last Jedi, just like a have a soft spot for any Star Wars movie. We were blessed with unmasked Kylo Ren, the most beautifully shot lightsaber fight/team-up ever, and a whole host of galactic creatures and beings.

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#1 The Greatest Showman

Is the soundtrack for The Greatest Showman the most sold album of all time yet? I think it was #1 in the UK album charts for over a year! I didn’t realise until recently that it got quite mixed reviews, but for me it’s everything I want in a movie, and I honestly couldn’t fault it!

Lists

Top 100 Movies of the Decade: 2016

In the words of Geralt of Rivia, f**k. I thought when it came to doing 2015’s list that it was getting easier to whittle these yearly lists down to 10 but my preliminary list for 2016 is currently 19 movies, and I really don’t want to cross out any of these, let alone 9 of them! 2016, you were clearly an incredible year for movies.

The end of 2016 was when I set up Often Off Topic so I had a quick glance at my original Top 10 of 2016 list in the hopes it would help but it looks like it was hard enough to write at the time, let alone now.

Well, here goes nothing. If you haven’t seen my other Top 100 Movies of the Decade lists you can find them here.

2016 Movies Watched: 93
Movies that just missed out: Rogue One, Moana, Bridget Jones’ Baby, Lion, Hacksaw Ridge, Colossal, Midnight Special, Tallulah, Swiss Army Man

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#10 Hidden Figures

Most of us know the story about the race to the moon between the US and Russia, but not many know the story of the 3 female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in that race. I knew I wanted to see Hidden Figures, but I never expected it to be such an entertaining watch.

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#9 Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange might just be my favourite Marvel character, you know. Maybe it’s because of Benedict Cumberbatch, but it’s probably more to do with the fact that Doctor Strange’s origin story felt so different to the other Avengers. I love how he’s still likeable, even though he’s a bit of a jerk, and only Iron Man gets away with that most of the time.

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#8 Nocturnal Animals

There may come a day that I stop mentioning the jump scare in Nocturnal Animals, but today is not that day. Damn it, movie! Anyway, Nocturnal Animals is terribly dark and gritty, but it has such a good story, and an ending that will really get you talking. It has one hell of a cast, too!

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#7 Kubo and the Two Strings

I love animated movies, and stop motion movies in particular. 2016 was the year I realised Laika Studios are brilliant, and that I’d happily watch anything they produced. It’s just incredible, the amount of work that gets put into every second of footage. Kubo and the Two Strings is a delightful story full of twists and turns, and it was surprisingly emotional, too.

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#6 I, Daniel Blake

Oh man, just thinking about this movie is making me upset. I wrote it off as another copy-cat piece highlighting how people in the UK on benefits exploit the system for more money, but it’s the complete opposite. It’s probably not a widely known movie but its so worth a watch!

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#5 Deadpool

How long were we waiting for the Deadpool movie in the end? The marketing behind this movie was legendary and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one terrified the movie would be awful after all the work that went into getting it made. Safe to say, it was hilarious, and everything it should have been.

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#4 Arrival

Arrival is one of those movies I want to erase from my memory so that I can watch it again for the very first time. Nothing beats that moment towards the end where your mind is fitting all the pieces together. What a year for Amy Adams, eh?

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#3 The Nice Guys

Making this list reminded me that quite a few bloggers told me to watch Kiss Kiss Bang Bang after I raved about how much I loved The Nice Guys. I guess that makes it 4 years that it’s been sat on my watchlist, then. Whoops. Maybe 2020 will be my year for tackling the ever-growing watchlist?

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#2 La La Land

We’re surely due another Emma Stone/Ryan Gosling movie by now, right? Honestly, the pair of them have so much chemistry on screen it’s unreal. Add them to a beautiful movie set in LA with a glorious soundtrack and an ending that will rip your heart out and well. What more can I say?

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#1 Hunt for the Wilderpeople

I’m so glad Jojo Rabbit is doing so well right now, with critics and casual movie fans alike. Hopefully, it makes director Taiki Waititi more of a household name, and more people end up watching Hunt for the Wilderpeople, which is just fantastic in every sense. It’s cute, it’s funny, it’s serious, it’ll make you cry!