Rhys Ifans as Dylan Thomas in “Last Call,” one of the few standouts in a dismal year for movies. Image from official trailer

By Megan Bianco

Usually during the first week of the year, I like to reconsider all the new movies released throughout the previous year and determine my top 10. This has always been a rewarding exercise and grist for a quick article.

But with the whole entertainment industry turned on its head in 2020, and there being weeks with no new movies to view, I find myself with an unusually hard task of finding films I think are worth revisiting. Of course there were some new releases by the end of the year, and some were even released in theaters.

But it’s also clear the studios intentionally saved all the really good films for when it would be considered most appropriate to fill public places again. That was especially the case after supposed blockbusters like Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and Niki Caro’s Mulan underperformed and reviewers criticized Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984.

The 2020 movie that I most anticipated, Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, was supposed to get a holiday-season release, but is now hopefully set to come out next summer.

While going through all the movies that made it through the pandemic wave of uncertainty, I found fewer than five I would recommend as a “top” favorite. David Fincher’s Mank and Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 were both fine, but without enough impact for me to want to revisit them any time soon. Thomas Bezucha’s Let Him Go and Sofia Coppola’s On the Rocks were the features I enjoyed most. For the fifth on my list, I was apparently one of the few people to think Steven Bernstein’s Last Call wasn’t bad.

But even then, I wouldn’t rate any of these films very highly during any normal movie season.

I can only hope by January 2022 we will be back to regular movie schedules so I can tell you if The French Dispatch or Cate Shortland’s Black Widow or P.T. Anderson’s Soggy Bottom are worthy of my next top 10 list. And hopefully the last of these will get a title change by the time it’s released.

Megan Bianco is a Southern California-based movie reviewer and content writer with a degree from California State University Northridge.

Show comments