2020 had fewer films released, but here’s five that made the cut

Although the 2020 box office plummeted, the movies released were good.

Photo Credit: Photo by Joseph Sanfilippo used with permission

Although the 2020 box office plummeted, the movies released were good.

By: Joe Sanfilippo

Movie theaters have been a form of entertainment since 1905, and before the pandemic, they weren’t going anywhere.

In 2019, Avengers: Endgame became the highest-grossing film of all time. At that time, the global box office hit a record $42.5 billion dollars. 2020 looked like a great year for films financially as No Time to Die and F9 were supposed to releases. Awards contenders also had promising films to look forward to.

All of this changed when theaters shut down in March due to the Coronavirus pandemic. As we enter 2021, movies have found a new way to release. Studios have been toying with the idea of streaming. Warner Bros. is sending their entire 2021 film slate to HBO Max.

As an avid movie-goer, I was not happy with this idea. Smaller to mid-budget movies were being sent to streaming services and PVOD. I’ve come to notice that filmmakers can still tell moving stories at home. 2020 had substantially fewer films than 2019, but artistic stories can always be told.

Soul

Soul was originally going to be released in June but was sent to Disney+ on Christmas. Disney released the most relevant film of the year. Pixar was able to tell another deep, yet original story that affects you long after you watch. Soul follows music teacher Joe Gardner who suddenly dies after losing the gig of his life. He meets Soul 22 and learns what life really means.

I love how both characters play off each other. Soul’s tackles on issues of anxiety, depression, abandonment were some of the best I’ve seen in an animated movie. The theme of enjoying the smaller, finer things in life affected me throughout. Disney maturely handled a film about death, rebirth, and externalism.

The Hunt

Another great film in 2020 was The Hunt. Betty Gilpen plays Crystal who’s stuck with 11 other strangers who are being hunted. The Hunt’s play on politics during a modern era was brilliant. The film knows how to subvert your expectations by cleverly misguiding you with its ensemble cast. The Hunt is completely unbiased and makes fun of both sides in a way that makes you question your ideals.

I love how it’s part satire, part far-fetched action film. Filled with many subtle nuances that make the film more engaging, this is a must-watch.

Run

Aneesh Chaganty’s Run was the best thriller all last year. Sarah Paulson definitely knows how to play a mysterious yet creepy mother. Run plays with the idea that being overbearing can be just like abuse.  Kiera Allen does a great job with her character. The film doesn’t skip ahead and you learn what happens just as soon as the protagonist does. I also like how you slowly figure out the antagonist’s sick secret. It’s extremely well-written, and you should check it out on Hulu.

An American Pickle

HBO Max released An American Pickle in August, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. An American Pickle may be a cute movie about a man who wakes up after being brined for 100 years, but it also tells a deep message about letting go. Seth Rogen plays both main characters, and this may be his best performance yet.

I like the fact that both characters learn their lessons and overcome their difficulties in a thought-out, emotional way. It’s a fun watch, and you’ll love Rogen’s acting.

Tenet

Finally, Tenet came out in theaters in September. Although it didn’t make much, I enjoyed it. Christopher Nolan knows how to craft big-budget sci-fi films in an innovative way. John David Washington proves he can act well in Tenet. Tenet’s story is engaging and acts as a sci-fi version of Bond. Tenet’s visuals are spectacular and worth seeing on the big screen. Tenet’s score is fantastic too, and it fits in with its themes of time manipulation.

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