#EDITORSNOTE: TEAM MR. WILL’S TOP TENS OF 2020
Well that was some year! Though 2020 presented its share of challenges, our Team grew that little bit closer in our collective navigation of the obstacles that came our way. We appreciate more than ever those of you who continued to stand by us as we did our best to adapt to our new normal and still find ways to keep you engaged. We get it, we miss those in-person screenings, red carpets and stars in the City too. Things are changing on the daily and you have our word that we will be here every step of the way for you!
While the year won’t be remembered as one filled with joy, there were still some bright spots. Our Dave Baldwin welcomed his son Quentin into the world. Our Jonathan Godfrey just got married! Mr. Will got to go to Hollywood again for Awards Season, attending the Independent Spirit Awards. Above that, he welcomed his puppy beanie to the family. Justin Waldman and George Kozera continue to deliver fantatsic work for the Team, and we can’t wait till in-person screenings are back so we can hear more from Nicholas Porteous, our newest member! And we’ve just received word that we’re accredited not only to the SXSW Festival, but also once again, Sundance Festival (go, Amanda Gilmore!).
While morale was down from previous years, nothing could take away our love of Film, Television and Entertainment. Perhaps more than ever we found ourselves turning to Entertainment as an escape to lift our spirits.
Team Mr. Will shares with you our favourites of 2020. Do keep in mind that you might not have had a chance to see some of these, which did the festival circuit this year, but hoping everyone gets a chance to see these!
Wishing you all the very best in 2021. And thank you for all your heartfelt support.
I had many favourite films this year so my Top Ten list is comprised of the favourites I can’t stop thinking about. Some of these include films that did the festival circuit in 2020 but will be released early 2021. Such as Promising Young Woman, The Father, Minari & Nomadland.
My list is in alphabetical order because I can’t narrow down the films any more than I already have.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Invisible Man
Special Mention: Nine Days
It’s my #1 for 2020 but releases Summer 2021. Do not miss it!
Documentary Favourite: Time
GEORGE KOZERA (Twitter: @PartyG)
3. First Cow
5. Sound of Metal
6. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
7. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
8. David Byrne’s American Utopia
10. One Night in Miami
2020 had so many exciting prospects that I awaited with breathless anticipation: Spielberg’s adaptation of West Side Story, a new James Bond adventure, anything with ScarJo, and then…you know! This was followed by the Academy Awards extending their deadline submission date to February 2021 for Oscar consideration, hence this is my best of 2020 thus far! But before I do, please indulge me with these two honorable mentions:
Nothing I watched in 2020 made my spirits rise to unprecedented levels than to experience HAMILTON on the screen. Filmed live over two nights on Broadway with its original Cast, Lin Manuel Miranda’s masterpiece received the diamond quality cinematic treatment it deserved.
Had Steven McQueen‘s MANGROVE (from his SMALL AXE anthology) been a standalone, it would have easily been in my Top Three. Yet, despite McQueen’s unequivocal genius behind the camera, John Boyega’s best screen performance to date, outstanding Cinematography and Soundtrack and a truly memorable job from young Kenyah Sandy, the focus should have been placed on making one dish excellent rather than five very good ones.
JUSTIN WALDMAN (Twitter: @DubsReviews)
2020 has been a year, and that is to put it lightly, nothing about this year has been normal. For someone who visited theatres on a weekly basis (with very few exceptions) and not being able or comfortable to visit a theatre since mid-March has been challenging, however that does not mean there have not been some quality and excellent movies to have come out in 2020. Below are my personal favourite movies of this past year, in alphabetical order. I was not able to see either Minari or Promising Young Woman, without further ado my top 10!
Death to 2020
On The Rocks
Pieces of a Woman
Some of these movies are available to watch now, some will be coming out in the new year through various channels, if you have not watched these, don’t wait and watch these at your earliest convenience! Cheers to 2021 and a whole new slate of movies and adventures!
NICHOLAS PORTEOUS (Twitter: @NoveltyHat)
Despite some minor setbacks, this year brought a dump truck full of great content to my house. I’m very much still sorting through it. Soul, First Cow, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, most of Small Axe etc. will have to wait for a belated, potentially more accurate list. All that aside, Kajillionaire decisively leads the pack. Miranda July has evolved as a narrative filmmaker, and no other human on the planet is capable of constructing this Rube Goldberg machine of hilarious sadness and scam logic. Meanwhile, our technological and intuitive ease of self-documentation grows exponentially alongside the number of great films produced with front-facing cameras. Half the films on my list this year are Documentaries, and three of them are largely shot by their own subjects. American Murder, in particular, represents the future of the form—consisting mostly of Facebook posts, texts, and bodycam footage. We’re creating so much intimate content every day, wittingly or unwittingly waiting to be woven into feature-length visions. In ten years, I imagine many of the great movies will be cobbled from perfect little social media scraps, which probably sounds worse than it is. Sound of Metal puts us inside the body of Riz Ahmed as he struggles with the sudden onset of deafness. That conceit—embedded in the Sound Design—is so visceral and cinematic, I was amazed I hadn’t experienced a movie like it before now. Eric Andre flipped the Netflix standup special genre sideways while Christopher Nolan twirled his obsession with time, both making quite a mess. And Ema defies categorization—much like this year. (Unless you count psychological dance squad heist poly relationship movie).
Note, this list combines Film and Television.
2. Tiger King
3. Expecting Amy
4. Sound of Metal
5. Eric Andre: Legalize Everything
7. American Murder
9. The Painter and the Thief
10. Totally Under Control
2. Promising Young Woman
3. The Father
4. Palm Springs
5. The Invisible Man
6. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
7. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
9. Boys State
10. Another Round
Is there really anything left to say about 2020? It was a dumpster fire of a year for so many people, and the collective experience we had living through it will stay with us for the rest of our lives. I already knew my life was going to be changed forever when my son was born in March, but who knew everyone else would see their lives changed when WHO called Covid-19 a worldwide pandemic the exact same week? It is shocking to think about how different our lives used to be, and how in an instant, everything changed. This year saw some incredible highs, some miserable lows, and a whole lot in the margins. To me, that says everything about 2020 as well as the landscape of films that actually did get released. It was truly a mixed bag of delight and disappointment. While I am still bewildered that I saw less than 10 films in the theatre this year (for the first time in more than 20 years!), I am grateful for the studios pivoting to streaming and PVOD – if only because I was able to see new films in a timely fashion and still take care of my newborn! I miss theatres dearly and still wish I was able to see a few more films before putting this list together – I am looking at you Minari! – but I truly hope the studios and festivals take the lessons they learned this year and continue to provide greater accessibility to those that want to see their films.
And hey, maybe we should have known this year was going to be less than stellar after such a monumentally amazing year of film in 2019?
And for some of Mr. Will‘s favourite performances of 2020:
MR. WILL (Twitter: @mrwillw)
What an interesting time it is for Cinema. If you told me a few years back if streaming services would be playing as big of a factor in Awards Season as they are right now, I’d have never believed you! More than half of my Top Ten of 2020 are available or will be available soon on streaming services. This is the future of Cinema and we already are living it. That being said, I can’t wait to be back at the theatres. Large pop, medium popcorn, white cheddar seasoning. Temperature so cold I need to wear my parka.
Also an honourable mention to Toronto’s Emma Seligmann‘s fine directorial debut SHIVA BABY which you’ll be able to see in 2021 and Ben Affleck‘s superb work in THE WAY BACK which barely missed the cut, but should be seen and mentioned.
My Top Ten in no particular order, although THE FATHER was my standout.
Pieces of a Woman
Promising Young Woman
The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
Borat: Subsequent Film
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
The Invisible Man
What were your favourites? Feel free to share with us on our Facebook Page or Tweet at us!
(Photo credit: Amazon Prime/Netflix/Disney/Focus Features/Elevation Pictures)