Despite not being able to get out much (or maybe because of it) I watched a lot more new (to me) movies than usual this year. These 8 were definitely my favorite:
I’d heard of this, but never saw it until it was featured on one of this year’s Joe Bob Briggs Christmas episodes. Thanks to him I learned the story behind its production and budget issues, making it even sadder than this became a hidden gem instead of getting more credit when it came out. It’s a story about a disturbed man and how for one night he became his hero, Santa, but with an edge that he thinks is missing from the saccharine Norman Rockwell version we celebrate. The guy playing him does such a fantastic job portraying his complicated madness that you genuinely feel bad for this character’s feelings of isolation and “otherness”, and that ending really hits it mark because of it.
Saturday the 14th
We went to a (socially distanced) showing of this at a local movie house this year on Saturday the 14th. The whole showing was paid for by a guy who said he did it because it’s his favorite film. I can see how this movie would garner that kind of devotion. It was a hilariously weird treat, made great by the performances (especially Jeffrey Tambor). It’s a very goofy horror spoof that I highly recommend if you’re like me and managed to go all these years without it in your life.
Well this was certainly a ride. Easily one of the most violent films I’ve ever seen, so for those who may be turned off by that sort of thing look elsewhere. If not, however, be prepared for an adrenaline-filled, intense film with great performances. Well worth seeing if you’re looking for something tense and horrifying.
It’s not often I see a new Christmas movie that I really love, so this one was one of my favorite surprises of 2020. Unfortunately I didn’t see this until January, but it’s so well done and sympathetic that it’s a great watch any time of year. Klaus is gorgeously animated, superbly voice acted, and aside from a bit of Liar Revealed (WHY!? WHYYYY ARE WE STILL DOING THIS?) at the end, it’s well written. It’s funny and a little heartbreaking at times, giving it just the right emotional edge for a truly memorable Christmas film.
I love the unusual imagery and legitimately creepy atmosphere here. The film is chilling, thoughtful, and… maybe “woeful” is the right word to use? It tugged at some emotions for sure, especially when I thought back on certain scenes after finishing the film and realized some particularly sad/tragic implications.
Hoo boy. This is DISTURBING. It’s violent at times, but that doesn’t compare to the impending sense of dread, mystery, and confusion that will have you feeling completely out of sorts. Midsommar gets under your skin. It’s also so full of easter eggs, hints, and deeper meaning that I was inspired for hours afterward to look for articles and Youtube videos dissecting it. It was intriguing and I’m glad I saw it, but I’m honestly not planning to go through that again.
My Cousin Vinny
Add this one to the gigantic pile of films I wish I’d seen long before this. Joe Pesci is just one of the funniest people, and he and Marisa Tomei work so well together. I laughed a lot at their interactions, the situations his character got into, and just how ingenious he really was. To top it all off, I finally know where SEVERAL quotes I kept hearing throughout my life had come from. Never again will I have to hear someone pronounce “youths” “YOOTS” and be completely confused.
Shaun the Sheep: The Movie
This one might have been the biggest surprise for me. I knew this studio was renowned and that I could expect some fantastic animation, but I honestly thought Shaun the Sheep would be too far on the “for children” scale for me. I wasn’t ready for just how much I would love this film…that scene in the pound is the highlight of the film for me thanks to Hannibal Lecter cat and Crazy Eyes dog (make sure to watch during the credits for a very unexpected payoff). I loved this one so much I immediately sought out the other Shaun the Sheep media I’ve been missing out on (and so far I’ve not been disappointed).
Honorable Mention: Suspiria (the original)
Overall I didn’t like this movie all that much, but the cinematography and colors were stunning.
That’s it. No, really. Shoo! Go on and enjoy the rest of your year, and may 2021 be a balm to our souls after the nightmare that was 2020.