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.

Movie Reviews

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

the-trial-chicago-7-netflix-movie-review-posterDirector: Aaron Sorkin

Genre: Drama, History, Thriller

Runtime: 129 Minutes

Main Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Alex Sharpe, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, John Carroll Lynch, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Mark Rylance, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Frank Langella, Michael Keaton

Plot: At the 1968 Democratic National Convention, what was intended to be a peaceful protest against the Vietnam War turned violent. The organisers of the protest were all charged with conspiracy to incite a riot, and this movie is the story of that trial that went on for months.

My Thoughts: Let’s file this under ‘movies that taught Allie about actual history’ because this is another historical event I was oblivious to until now. I guess that’s why movies like this are so important! Courtroom dramas can be difficult to get right I think, when they don’t work they can be slow, dull even, but when they’re done right? They are fascinating, frustrating, and compelling. I’m happy to say that The Trail of the Chicago 7 falls into the latter category for me. I haven’t been this engrossed in a movie since, well…possibly all year, to be honest.

I wouldn’t even pretend to understand American politics so I was a little lost at first but once the trial actually started I was in for the long haul, and it didn’t take long until I was shouting at the TV. It’s the Chicago 7, right, so why are there 8 men on trial? The 8th man was Bobby Seale, the co-founder of the Black Panther Party. He was in Chicago during the riot for all of 4 hours, but was brought in essentially so that there was a black man to scare the jury. Think that’s bad? The man didn’t even have a lawyer present! That’s only the start of the shocking, dirty tactics at hand here, I’ll let you see the rest for yourselves.

The movies doesn’t stop outside of the courtroom though, we get to see what happens in between each day of the trial too, as well as flashbacks to what happened in the run up to and during the protest itself. This is where we get to see the relationship between the defense grow stronger but also strain at the seams. It’s a tough movie to sell to the average Netflix user, it certainly doesn’t scream ‘fun’, but I haven’t felt this way about a movie like this since Spotlight (2015). Each performance is on point, and if I’m praising Eddie Redmayne then you know I really mean it, because he normally just winds me up.

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Best Bit:  The cast is stacked, there’s no other way to say it, and everyone puts in 110% making it almost impossible to pick a stand out performance, I could write a whole post in itself just to talk about everyone. Eddie Redmayne reminds me that he’s actually pretty darn talented, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is just a delight to see in new movies again but the actor who blew me away was Sacha Baron Cohen. I’ve only seen his silly, comedic roles which he’s great at, and I’ve never seen him like this. He still brings most of the laughs but when he takes the stand as a witness it genuinely shocked me.

Worst Bit: There’s nothing about this movie that makes me want to say “I didn’t like this bit” or “this scene kinda sucked”. Yes, the start confused me a little but that’s on me. But there was a moment that made me so uncomfortable that I felt quite nautious, and that was when *SPOILERS* Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) was dragged out of court and brought back gagged and tied to his chair. Like, that ACTUALLY happened. 

Fun Trivia: As a method actor, Jeremy Strong (Jerry Rubin) begged writer-director Aaron Sorkin to get him teargassed as well as being thrown on the ground by an ex-cop portraying a riot police officer. Sorkin refused to have this happen on set.

My Rating:  A full 5 gavels, and it wouldn’t matter how loud Judge Hoffman smacked them, that room was never going to quiet down in the end.

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