The Big Movie House's Favorite Films of 2020

As everyone already knows: 2020 was not the best year for anything, let alone movies. Still, there were some great ones to be found and we have compiled a list of the ten that were our favorites.

10. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix) I am not the biggest Aaron Sorkin fan, but I have to admit that I was looking forward to The Trial of the Chicago 7. I am fascinated with this trial and I thought that the film was an outstanding representation of what happened and why. Everyone is really good, but it is Frank Langella who steals the show as one of the worst judges I have ever seen in any film ever and the film scaled it back because they feared that audiences wouldn't think it was realistic. This thing is on Netflix and should be seen to be believed. 

9. Unhinged (Lionsgate) Unhinged was one of the first films back when theaters reopened in August and it made some money doing so. I thought that it would be your standard straight-to-video schlock given a theatrical release type of film, but boy was I wrong. The film is tense and exciting with a really scary performance from Russell Crowe. There even a few moments that made me and my wife jump and that is rare. The whole film plays on the same level as a film like Cellular or Speed. It ramps up pretty quickly and doesn't let go until the end. 

8. Bill and Ted Face the Music (Orion) It has been almost 30 years since we went on our last adventure with loveable goofballs Bill and Ted, but the wait was worth it. Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves fall back into Bill and Ted surprisingly (Keanu seems to have a bit of trouble at first) and they are game for whatever the film throws at them. The addition of daughters seems like a cheap ploy, but both actresses are game too and they really steal the film from Winter and Reeves. This is a really fun film that has a nice message about positivity that we all need right now. 

7. Call of the Wild (20th Century Studios) Here is a film I had no faith in whatsoever. I like the novel the film is based on, but thought that a CGI dog would ruin the film. It doesn't. Sure, the dog does stick out like a sore thumb, but the film is built around that. They could have used a real dog, but no dog is as animated as this dog. The whole film is a fun adventure that I think people should give a chance to. It is surprisingly heavy for a PG-rated film.

6. Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (Warner Brothers) I thought that Magot Robbie wasn't very good as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad, so I was not looking forward to this. Then I saw the trailers and I heard how she sounded in this film and I decided to give it a chance. I am glad that I did because I had a blast watching this in the theater back in February. I felt that Robbie took any and all criticisms about her portrayal of Quinn in Suicide Squad and decided to rework the character. Now she looks more like Harley Quinn and she sounds exactly like her. The film is a lot of fun too. I liked this female-centric story and wonder why Marvel hasn't done anything like this. The action scenes are well shot and the whole look of the film gives Gotham City a fresh look. 

5. Blood and Flesh: The Reel Life and Ghastly Death of Al Adamson (Severin Films) Al Adamson is a director that most have not heard of, but this shouldn't deter you from watching this. Adamson was a fairly prolific director of films that were destined for the drive-in and he even released films multiple times under different names with added footage that "counted" as a new film. He was brutally murdered and buried underneath his jacuzzi (well, where it used to be) by a live-in construction worker Adamson hired to fix up the very house he was murdered in. The film is a chronologically told story of his films, the people who worked on them, and what they really thought about Adamson. 

4. Invisible Man, The (Universal) Leigh Whannell continues to prove that he is a force to be reckoned with The Invisible Man. The film focuses on a battered woman who is tormented by her dead abusive husband. Is he really dead? Who knows? What I will tell you about this film is that this was the last film I saw in the theater before the shit hit the fan and it was worth every minute. Whannell uses silence extremely well and his scares feel earned and not forced. Even the first scare of the film. Elizabeth Moss is great here as our tortured heroine and we are with her every step of the way. The film is actually scary, something that most horror films nowadays can't say.

3. Vast of Night (Amazon) I heard about Vast of Night from Red Letter Media. They reviewed it on their Half in the Bag show and I did something that I have never really done before. I turned the review off before they got to any spoilers, flipped over to Amazon Prime, watched the film, and then finished their review. I don't think that I have ever seen a film quite like Vast of Night. Here is a film that doesn't even really tell what it's about until the end of the film and I loved that. We are given clues throughout the film, but I never tried to guess what was going on and just went along for the ride. The film is really well directed with long takes to draw us in. This includes a shot that goes from one side of the town to the other without cutting. It is a truly amazing shot and that is just one thing about the film that I love. Vast of Night is a film that more people need to see.

2. VFW (RLJE) VFW is the closest thing to a John Carpenter film we have had in almost a decade. This is high praise and the film deserves it. The film is a siege film inside of a VFW (hence the title) and it is brutal and unforgiving. It also has some great performances from some great actors finally given their time in the spotlight. The director, Joe Begos, really does a bang-up job directing this thing, although I do wish he had stayed away from the shaky cam. He uses it a lot, something that Carpenter, the clear inspiration for the film, hardly ever used. Outside of that, this is a wonderful film.

1. The Last Dance (ESPN and Netflix) As the Bulls hit their stride and won their first of six championships, I was becoming a teenager. I watched the Bulls win all of their championships, but I never really got into sports. This doc, which is about ten hours long, brings back these days of hanging out with my dad, watching the games on tv, and even going to a few of the playoff games thanks to his job. There are things here that I knew, but there is plenty that I did not know. We feel for the team as they persevere through some very troubling times. This doc is a celebration of the Bulls and their triumphs. 

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