Thursday, December 31, 2020

Watch or Pass's Top 10 Movies of 2020: Weathering With You, Onward, All About Who You Know, The High Note, Host, Emma, Fishbowl, Sword of God, Gutterbug, Soul

2020 has been a unique year and one that has brought lots of hardship and challenges, but also some titanic changes in the movie industry.  With theaters essentially closed this year, the risse of digital distribution and indie films filled the void that theaters used to fill.  Here are my top 10 movies I saw this year. 

Weathering With You
My absolute favorite movie of this year!  It came out right at the start of 2020 but was such an amazingly beautiful, heartfelt animated film that it stuck with me all year.  It is absolutely the film I watched the most in 2020 and its lessons about burdening future generations is an important one.  For more information, check out the review!

One of the first casualties of theaters closing, Onward opened at the absolute worst time and led to an early Disney+ release.  It ushered in a more digital focus for releases and led to hours and hours of entertainment for kids and adults stuck at home.  And as a nerd, the fantasy modern setting and wonderfully heartfelt and heart wrenching story cast a spell over me from the first time I saw it.  For more information, check out the review!

What a wonderful burst of color right before the pandemic started.  Emma was a wonderful retelling of the Jane Austin classic with some amazing performances and a confident costume design that brought the story to life.  It was an enjoyable film even if you have no experience with the story and had an absolute charm that brought a smile to my face throughout.  For more information, check out the review!

All About Who You Know
This wonderful film was the first indie I saw this year to knock my socks off.  In a year that saw a huge uptick in indie films, this movie was such a refreshingly different love story that I had to take notice.  The characters, the writing, the acting, and the overall anit-Hollywood take on romantic films was so much fun to see and has held up on repeated viewings.  For more information, check out the review!

The High Note
This film had the combination of wonderful characters, performances, and some truly amazing music.  A chance for Tracie Ellis Ross to show that she is both an amazingly funny actor and wonderful singer, this film had so much heart and a soundtrack that I listened to for months after the film was over.  For more information, check out the review!

No film captured the pandemic quite like Host.  A film that was filmed completely during the early months of lockdown, Host showed what could be done even without the ability for people to gather on a set.  Filmed completely remotely, the movie had an amazingly modern take on life because it was filmed during that time.  The references were timely and the effects were still exciting and scary.  For more information, check out the review!

Few movies this year spoke to me like this one did.  From the wonderful shot choice and fantastic characters, to the focus on small town and religious angst, this movie touched on some weighty topics with a dramatic and sometimes darkly comedic style.  The film is a special one and so smartly done.  It is a master of telling you about the story without overtly saying it, and the iconography and cinematography are truly amazing.  For more information, check out the review!

Sword of God
I called this a devoutly atmospheric masterpiece and I stick by it.  The movie has a horror aesthetic that is more primal than supernatural, but it just does everything so well.  It has a smart use of colors to really make the intense scene pop, and a story that evolves slowly as you learn more and more about this situation.  And the sets and costumes are perfectly done, completely transporting you to this unsettling medieval village.  For more information, check out the review!

What a high energy film about mental illness and youthful rebellion, Gutterbug is fueled by an amazing performance by Andrew Yackel and a confident filmmaking that belies the indie nature of this film.  And underneath this all, it tells a very human story about many of societies vices and issues, and the trouble with coming to terms with your choices and changing your life.  For more information, check out the review!

What a way to close out the year.  In a year filled with so much uncertainty, we were given a hopeful, beautiful film about finding your purpose in life.  And it also marked a milestone being Pixar's first film with a black lead character and a wonderful animated portrayal of black culture.  But it also showed the beauty in the world, for a year with so much ugliness just stopping to appreciate what is around you and our short time on Earth is a gift in itself.  For more information, check out the review!

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