Making a ‘Top Ten’ movie list for one of the worst years on record isn’t as easy as it sounds. I’m someone who believes in the theater experiences and, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, only a few of the movies I’ll be listing here were seen on the big screen.
We can’t pipe in the wonderful smell of the popcorn popping at the concession stand, but I hope you were able to pop some yourself or purchase it straight from your local chain, to at least enjoy the taste as you viewed your movies at home.
Harkins Theaters, here in Phoenix with some locations in other states, as well, sells it. It’s popped fresh and it’s delicious, waiting for you to pick up a bag tonight. That said, here’s to hoping 2021 gets us back into the cinemas where we belong, enjoying movies with like-minded crowds of people, safe and sound.
I digress. Here are my favorites for the year.
I feel I must mention that this list will include a lot of outstanding documentaries. 2020 offered a lot, so much so it was difficult to narrow it down, but I feel I must. I’ll give you four titles.
‘John Lewis: Good Trouble,’ directed by Dawn Porter. The movie recounts the life of an activist turned politician, John Lewis. He fought for civil rights and voting rights among many other important pieces of legislation. Seen in the documentary is archival footage, as well as interviews with the man himself.
‘I Am Greta,’ directed by Nathan Grossman was outstanding. It’s about a fifteen-year-old girl who starts a movement for leaders to acknowledge and do something about climate change. What she achieves is so unbelievable you have to see it here for yourself. You can do that today on HULU.
My favorite documentary was ’76 Days’ directed by Hao Wu, Weixi Chen. This is about the medical staff in several hospitals in Wuhan, China at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. What they do is nothing short of a miracle… how they achieve their goals will astound you.
Honorable Mentions: ‘Dear Santa’ directed by Dana Nachman and ‘The Dissident’ directed by Bryan Fogel
The choice of Best Animated Movie was easy. There’s no beating Pixar’s contribution, ‘Soul’ directed by Peter Doctor. It’s a lovely and inspiring story about a man who has to go to the ‘Great Beyond’ before he understands the true meaning of the word Soul.
Best Foreign Film goes to the entry from the Ivory Coast called, ‘Night of the Kings.’ In the second film by ‘Run’ director, Philippe Lacôte, a very young, new prisoner in an institution that’s run by the inmates, finds out that he has to entertain the others with a story, if he wants to live to see another day. It may not sound like much, but I was glued to my screen. It’s so well done I can’t image it not getting attention during Oscar season.
My choice for Best Film of the Year goes to the Amazon Studios release, ‘Sound of Metal,’ directed by Darius Marder. Ruben, the drummer in a hard-rock band, begins to lose his hearing. This film is beautifully crafted. How the subject matter is handled is delicate and entertaining, the cast divine. Here is my review.
The other favorites on my list are:
Searchlight Pictures ‘Nomadland’ directed by Chloé Zhao
‘Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always,’
A24’s ‘First Cow,’ directed by Kelly Reichardt
Netflix film, ‘Trial of the Chicago 7,’ Directed by Aaron Sorkin
My pick for Best Actor goes to Riz Ahmed of ‘Sound of Metal’ directed by Darius Marderand
Best Actress goes to Beanie Feldstein of ‘How to Build a Girl,’ directed by Coky Giedroyc
Best Score goes to ‘Nomadland,’ directed by Chloé Zhao