The top ten movies of 2020

Title The top ten movies of 2020
Author Tom Chick and Kelly Wand
Posted in Features
When January 19, 2021

When we were doing the Qt3 Movie Podcast, we would normally see about fifty movies a year in the theater, because we had a podcast once a week for new releases. This year was different because we're not doing the podcast any longer and because theaters were closed..

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I have to admit, I had zero interest in seeing ‘The Hunt’, but this quote:

my heart melted every time Betty Gilpin said “you done fucked up” in her exaggerated podunk twang in The Hunt

might force me to see it, just to imagine it’s some kind of weird crossover with Black Dynamite.

I’m 100% certain Possessor is a better and more interesting movie than Freaky and I definitely need to see it, but I thought Freaky was a disposable kind of fun and still worth seeing. Although, admittedly, I could have done with a bit less gore given that the vast majority of the runtime is about being amused by Vince Vaughn playing a teenage girl.

With you on Invisible Woman, Vast of Night (though I wouldn’t rate it as highly) and Color Out of Space. haven’t seen the rest, though my interest in The Nest spiked when I heard it was from the Martha Marcy May Marlene guy. (I wrote those in the right order, right?) Color Out of Space was so good that I not only saw it in the theater, I bought it on Bluray the second I was able to (and watched it again the night it arrived) and hunted down both of Richard Stanley’s other movies, which are nearly as mesmerizing. Holy shit do I understand why people were so excited about his return to movie-making now. Can’t wait for his next Lovecraft adaptation. (Dunwich Horror, I think it is?)

I’m so glad you mentioned the grossness of Hollow Man. I watched the Director’s Cut this year, and it was absolutely disgusting. There’s an extended r*pe scene that just . . . no. So glad that they took the turn they did with The Invisible Man. A super smart use of a franchise.

Possessor is on my list as well, but mainly because I find it fascinating how open to interpretation a lot of the acting is. For most of his screentime, Christopher Abbot is playing an outsider’s interpretation of his life. It adds such a separation from the events of the film that you have to read so much into it and that colors how much you like the film.

Lastly, I wish I liked Color Out of Space more than I do. I recoiled from Cage’s invocation of Vampire’s Kiss, and several effects felt like they were lifted straight out of John Carpenter’s The Thing. It’s telling that most of the time when I say that, people try to defend the Mother-Son creation, when I was referring to the Alpacas.

Eek. How have I not seen Color out of Space? I’ll remedy that tonight, maybe.

You say that like it’s a bad thing.

Awesome choices (especially I’m Your Woman and The Nest), and a few other flicks I need to check out. While I agree with your choice for most disappointing, Tom, which unfortunately used elements of Pauline Kael’s baseless hitjob as a key inspiration, I really enjoyed Arliss Howard’s take on Louis B. Mayer. His faux sentimentality, convenient principles, and bouts of rage were spot on with everything I’ve read about him. Amanda Seyfried was decent, too, but otherwise most of it was a missed opportunity, especially the awkward implementation of the Upton Sinclair subplot.

Still no UK release for The Nest, despite it apparently being a UK/Canadian production. Grr.

Given Picturehouse is affiliated with a cinema chain, seems unlikely it will be online any time soon.

I’m not sure I watch more than 1 movie per year.

I guess here’s where I have to confess that I bailed on Mank after about 30 minutes. I just couldn’t stick with it. How is that even possible in a David Fincher movie? I mean, really, even the Fincher movies I don’t like – Benjamin Button, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl – are still compelling enough for me to sit through. But I just couldn’t do it with Mank.

So, technically, I haven’t even seen Mank. :( I blame Netflix for making it so easy to bail on a movie.


LOL at the description of The Nest as a “romantic drama”!

I bet I know why! The UK plays the role that was played by an alien color in Color Out of Space. The Queen or whoever it is over there in charge of what movies are allowed probably wasn’t amused.

Seriously, though, that sucks. The upside is that it’s a gorgeous movie and you might get to see it in a theater. Awesome production design and cinematography that would look fantastic on a big screen. I’m jealous.


Hey, just a note to folks interested in #3 - The Nest. Be advised that it’s not included with Amazon Prime, but The Nest from 1987 about giant mutant cockroaches is available at no extra charge. Depending on your outlook, that’s either a good thing or a bad thing.


There’s no shame of bailing out on something that doesn’t work for you. I guess it’s worth it for people who want to see some meticulous recreations of classical Hollywood techniques realized on a Netflix auteur budget, but for me it just wasn’t a good movie. Everyone would be better served by watching Citizen Kane or The Magnificent Ambersons instead. :)



I like how Imogen Poots moves from a Green Room to a green house in Vivarium. Maybe we’ll get a trilogy?

I don’t think I saw 10 films from 2020, and that makes me really sad. I used to see movies in the theater twice a month, at the very least.

But I’m grateful I was able to see Tenet in the theater. That one just would not have been the same on a small screen.

True. For example, seeing it at home, I had no trouble understanding the dialogue. ;)

Movies mentioned in this article, and the streaming services they are currently on in the U.S:

The Rhythm Section - Hulu, Prime Video
I’m Your Woman - Prime Video
The Invisible Man - HBO Max
The Wolf of Snow Hollow - None (Rental)
I’m Thinking of Ending Things - Netflix
Sound of Metal - Prime Video
The Vast of Night - Prime Video
The Nest - None (Rental)
Possessor - None (Rental)
Color Out of Space - Hoopla, Shudder
Amulet - Hulu
The Assistant - Hulu, Kanopy
Blood Machines - Shudder
Little Joe - Hulu
Relic - None (Rental)
Vivarium - Prime Video
The Hunt - CBS All Access, Max Go
Underwater - HBO Max
Mank - Netflix
Minari - ?
Nomadland - ?
On The Rocks - Apple TV+
The Phenomenon - Fubo TV
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm - Prime Video
Devil All the Time - Netflix
Host - Shudder
Queen’s Gambit - Netflix
Wonder Woman 1984 - HBO Max (for another 5 days)
The Grudge - Starz
Swallow - FuboTV, Showtime

You rock, Mr. 8man! Very cool of you to assemble that list.

So these aren’t online now, but they’re part of the 2020 critics lists and they’re eligible for awards in 2020 because they had a limited theatrical release in December. As if there was any other kind of theatrical release in December. If you have friends in the industry (i.e. if you live in Los Angeles), you probably know someone with screener copies. But for my own 2020 list, I decided to just keep it to movies available to Real People.

So, I haven’t seen them yet myself. But I loved The Rider, which is the last movie from the director of Nomadland. And Minari is set in my home state of Arkansas, which is always, uh, interesting. So I’m eager to see them both.


Did you watch Another Round? And the new David Copperfield movie? Those were two movies that I had my eye on this year because of interviews with their directors, but you didn’t mention them in the “Did Not Watch” section or disappointments or top 10.