This is a documentary that feels like it could have been something so much better than it is. It is slow, making it feel like it drags on. It is poorly edited, making it nearly impossible at times to understand the point trying to be made. It feels like they found a bunch of important statements and just put them all together whether they belonged together or not.
It has been said a million times, but it deserves repeating, 2020 has been a very weird year. Everything started out smooth for the first couple of months, and then the theaters shut down and movies, as we knew them, disappeared. It was nearly six months before any of us would see the inside of a theater again. During that time the Hollywood studios, the major streaming services, and most of the theaters figured out a way for us to start watching films that were scheduled for theatrical release at home.
We have been trending in the direction of at-home streaming for several years now, but this year has forced that change to happen a lot faster than any of us could have imagined in January of 2020. I personally feel that the theater experience will always be a part of our lives, but it will be the market that determines how big of a role they play in the release of movies once everything gets back to "normal."
For a while it looked as though we weren't going to see a lot of films released in 2020, but through all of the various channels we ended up with a fairly full slate of films. Many of those films were pretty good. A few of them were outstanding.
These are my favorites in this very weird year.
1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 - Aaron Sorkin gives us a powerful, poignant, and timely film that is the most exciting courtroom film to be released since My Cousin Vinny. This is the kind of movie you want to watch again and again.
2. Eternal Beauty - This film will run you through the emotional obstacle course. You'll laugh out loud, you'll ugly cry, and you'll cringe at the awkward, but you will also embrace everything that is not "normal" and out of balance. Most of all, you will completely fall in love with Jane (Sally Hawkins).
3. Enola Holmes - Millie Bobby Brown gives us the Holmes we all needed, even though we didn't know we needed her. This is a fun, fast-paced film with an epic mystery that must be solved around the world's smartest dysfunctional family.
4. Promising Young Woman - Carey Mulligan gives the performance of her career (so far). Her character is complex and complicated. She is playing chess while everyone around her is playing checkers.
5. Words on Bathroom Walls - This film will have you doubled over in laughter one minute and ugly crying the next. It is wonderfully told, beautifully shot, and filled with deep characters.
6. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom - This may not be an outstanding movie, but the acting by Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis is so extraordinary that it makes my top 10 list. If you want to see a true master class in acting, watch this movie.
7. Sound of Metal - Imagine striving for one thing your whole life and then having that thing taken from you. What would you do? This film deals with that struggle in a powerful and moving way.
8. The Personal History of David Copperfield - This is the first film that I am aware of that didn't pay any attention to race in the casting. It is also one of the most beautifully shot and costumed films of the year. Beyond that it is a fun and fanciful story suitable for the whole family.
9. Mulan - Maybe it is because I have two Chinese daughters. Maybe it is because I have spent time in rural China and have an affinity for their culture. Maybe this is just a fantastic and beautiful movie. Whatever it is, I absolutely love this rendition of Mulan.
10. A Call To Spy - A WWII-era spy flick filled with double-crossing, high stakes, and last-second heroics, and it's all based in reality. What's not to love?
Last Call - A lot of people hated this film, but I found it raw and powerful. It's not a film for everyone, but check out the first five minutes and see if it captures your interest.
WONDER WOMAN 1984
Simply put, this is one of the best movies of the year. Carey Mulligan, who is typically amazing in everything she is in, gives the best performance of her career to this point. She plays a woman set on revenge, but she doesn't just charge ahead without thinking. No, she is playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers.
Three decades ago a movie came out called Fatal Attraction. It was a huge hit and ended up getting six Oscar nominations. Now, 33 years later, this movie comes along with an almost identical plot. And while this film is decent, it doesn't hold a candle to the original.
Do you love musicals? Are you a fan of Broadway? Do you consider MAMA MIA to be one of the greatest movies of all time?
Well, get ready to move it down a notch, because it is time to go to THE PROM.
This is a fantastically funny musical that is essentially FOOTLOOSE for a new generation.
The songs are catchy, and the lyrics are hysterical. The costumes are out of this world, and the story is captivating.
This film is an emotional roller coaster in the best way possible. You will be feeling something from the opening credits until the very end. One minute your jaw will be hurting from all of the smiling, the next you'll be searching the couch cushions for another tissue to soak up your tears.
James Corden deserves a best supporting actor award for his role. He will have you laughing until your side hurts and then he will break your heart and have you ugly crying on your laptop keyboard.
The movie also introduces us to Jo Ellen Pellman. She plays the lead role of Emma, and she is amazing. You will fall in love with her character immediately and cheer her on the entire way.
My only real criticism of it is that it is way too long. Clocking in at almost 2 hours and 15 minutes. Thankfully, it is streaming so you can create your own intermission.
So, grab your sequin dress, or your sequin tux, and enjoy THE PROM.
When I saw the trailer for this film I thought it was going to attempt to be a riotously hilarious road trip, buddy comedy. Then I saw the film and realized it was something much more than that.