During normal times, I would usually spend the first week of the new year going through all the movies that were released throughout the previous year. This would give me a list the top ten films I enjoyed the most. This is always a fun and easy way to put together a quick wrap-up article — and it makes me appreciate all the good art and content we’ve been given recently.
But with the entertainment industry (and every other industry on the planet) turned on its head during 2020 — and with there being weeks upon weeks of no new movies to view — I now find myself with an unusually hard task of finding films I think are worth revisiting.
To be fair, there were some new film releases that hit screens by the end of the year, and some were even released in theaters. But while there was a smattering of new film content to watch, it was clear the studios intentionally saved all the really good films for a time when it would be considered most appropriate to fill public places again. That was likely compounded by the backlash and lackluster welcome that the supposed blockbusters that did drop, like Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” Niki Caro’s “Mulan,” and Patty Jenkins’ underperforming “Wonder Woman 1984,” received.
Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch,” the movie I was anticipating the most in 2020, was supposed to get a holiday season release, but is now set to release next summer. That further whittled down the options for this list. While digging through all of the movies that made it through the pandemic wave of uncertainty, I listed less than five I would recommend as a top favorite.
For example, I found David Fincher’s “Mank” and Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7” to be fine, but neither had enough impact on me that I felt compelled to revisit them any time soon.
Thomas Bezucha’s “Let Him Go” and Sofia Coppola’s “On the Rocks” were probably the features I enjoyed the most as of late, and I was apparently one of the few people to think Steven Bernstein’s “Last Call” wasn’t too bad. That said, I wouldn’t rate any of these films very high during a normal movie season.
Right now is anything but normal, though, and we’ll have to take what we get. I can only hope by January 2022 that we are back to regular movie schedules. That way, I can tell you if “The French Dispatch,” Cate Shortland’s “Black Widow,” or P.T. Anderson’s “Soggy Bottom” are worthy of my next top 10 list.
That remains to be seen, but I do know one thing. I hope that last film, “Saggy Bottom, gets an explanation or a title change by the time it’s released.