Now, this was originally supposed to be a ‘Best Films of 2020’ list, but there weren’t enough releases this year that I saw in theaters to make a legit top 10 list, so instead, I’m going to talk about the best shows and movies that I watched this year. These shows or movies can be from any year, but I just happened to check them out. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
The Boys – season 1
Luckily, I, and a couple of my friends, were able to see Christopher Nolan’s latest project during the pandemic. Harkins Theatre, in Flagstaff, opened with regard to social distancing and mask wearing. It was a pleasant experience as our theatre was almost empty. While this movie’s plot is quite complex and there isn’t a second you can miss without getting completely lost, I loved almost every second of this film. Robert Pattinson continues to prove his chops with the best of the best and John David Washington is making his own name as well. The visual effects will leave you in complete awe and asking “how did they pull that off?” It’s just an incredibly fun watch and I hope y’all will check it out in your homes On Demand.
9. The Mandalorian – season 2
The Star Wars franchise’s most-popular TV series sees an improvement on season one with Mando (Pedro Pascal) trying to take “The Child”, Grogu, back to a place where he can be mentored by the Jedi. Along the way, we get some fantastic action and a lot of admirable shots that you would see in a classic spaghetti western. This is a western in space and encompasses everything that Star Wars should be.
I love the additions of Boba Fett, Fennec and Bo-Katan into the show and the final two episodes are great enough to be their own movie. Surprisingly, Bill Burr stole the show in the penultimate episode and had one of the most emotional and heartfelt scenes in the entire show.
Outside of episode two, I really loved everything The Mandalorian brought this season and I’m excited to see just how deep we get into Star Wars lore in season three.
8. Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun
I’d like to send a special shoutout to my friends, John Wintroub and Sean Clark. During the time I was going through this dark state following the end of a relationship I was in, these two really lightened up my days by introducing me to the world of anime. Safe to say, I’m pretty grateful to have seen some now as Nozaki-kun is a hilarious romantic-comedy with some great wit. There was never a time where I cringed like I was expecting to. I came into it with an open mind and was very satisfied with the end product. This is a damn good show even though it’s only one season long, but I definitely recommend checking it out on Netflix while it is still on there.
Leigh Whannell re-imagines the classic science-fiction novel into one of the greatest thrill rides horror has brought in recent memory. The special effects are immaculate, and the sense of paranoia is astonishing. We feel for Elisabeth Moss every time she is being haunted by her abusive ex, who is using this invisible suit to stalk her and ruin her life. There are moments that totally subvert our expectations, leading to one of the craziest final acts I’ve seen put to screen.
I’m a sucker for a great war film, and 1917 is no stranger. I adore Sam Mendes’ vision of making this film look like it was done in one shot. The editing should be given every single award there is for that respective aspect. The chemistry between George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman is palpable. One of the most intense and beautiful scenes I’ve ever witnessed in film occurs close to the end of the second act with a great score and some really eye-popping lighting. Don’t miss this film, guys.
5. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
I was late to the party as my friends were showing this anime to another person, but my thoughts on the show never wavered. This is one of the most exciting shows I’ve ever seen. The action is thrilling. The vocal performances are way above anything you’d expect to hear from voiceover actors — all culminating in one of the most epic final seasons a show can offer.
If you are not a believer in anime, this is definitely a show to start with because I guarantee you’ll love everything it has to offer.
Bong Joon-ho is an absolute genius. I saw this early in 2020 so that’s why it’s getting mentioned in this list. What a trip this film is. The plot just throws curveballs, slurves and knuckleballs at you left and right. The tone can go from light-hearted and funny to emotionally devastating in seconds, and that’s credit to the brilliant performances from the ensemble. This is definitely in the running for the best film of the 2010s, maybe of the century. There isn’t a single flaw with Parasite. Go watch this movie!
Soul was easily my favorite movie of 2020, and honestly, it’s close to a top-five Pixar film ever and that’s incredibly hard to do. Musician Jon Batiste curates one of Pixar’s best scores with exquisite jazz compositions. The lighting of New York City and the barbershop scene will leave you with your jaw dropped, and the visuals of the ‘Great Beyond’ and ‘Great Before’ are astonishing. Jamie Foxx continues to flash his highly-underrated talents with a great voice-acting performance, and Tina Fey is pretty great as well. This is the feel-good film everyone needs to close out a terrible year and go into 2021 with some positive vibes.
2. Breaking Bad
During the early stages of the pandemic when we all went home, myself, Sean and Johnny Crane decided to binge watch all five seasons of Breaking Bad and it’s one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul give Hall of Fame performances in every single episode and the show’s most-riveting episodes are some of the best things ever put to screen, film or television. Outside of a few episodes that are kind of slow, there isn’t a minute wasted. Giancarlo Esposito plays one of the greatest villains ever. If you have not watched this yet, please do.
There are few shows that come around in your lifetime that you fall in love with. OreGairu is definitely a show I will never forget. For three seasons, my friends and I endured weeks of debate as we tried to figure out who Hikigaya should end up with. The writing and the story of these friends falling into a very wholesome love triangle gets you fully invested into the show. The music and ambience of the show are also just so welcoming. I never thought a day would come up where an anime may be my favorite show ever. OreGairu may be my favorite TV series ever. It’s that good. Put aside your assumptions of anime and just sit and watch. You’ll love every single character thrown onto this show and get emotional and upset if you don’t get the ending for a character you wanted. This is an all-timer.