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2020 Movies

Movie reviews that released in 2020. Rankings, analysis, and recommendations for over 40 critically acclaimed or blockbuster films from the year.
2020 Movies
Photo by Felix Mooneeram / Unsplash

This article reports Mr. Wanderer's reviews for movies that released in the year 2020. There are tons of movies that are released every year, many great and many terrible; the trick is figuring out which ones to watch. My goal is to help you figure out which ones to watch by giving recommendations for each year's movies.

For starters, these movie ratings are based on my opinion. Nothing else. I am giving a full-faithed effort to analyze and judge these movies based on my personal enjoyment, and my own untrained perception of quality. I think that oftentimes this combination can offer a better compass for guiding you on which movies to watch. This is due to the opposing biases of the two main review sources a movie-goer has access to: Festivals / Awards and aggregate review sites. For example, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences can often have an elitist or artsy bias that doesn't resonate with the average movie-lover. On the other hand, review aggregate sites are the voice of every single person, and if you've ever met more than a handful of humans you'll know that the average person's taste in movies is not ideal. You might argue that is the point of averaging a large sample size, but I would argue that this large average has a strong preference toward lower-quality, blockbuster films. This isn't to say that most people don't love great movies, but there is an underlying bias that complicates the situation. In the past I have found that certain individual critics have a better take on the media released in a given year than I can find by searching aggregate review sites or seeing what got nominated for an Oscar that year. I now add those personalities and their opinions into the equation when exploring new content to consume; like a helpful third dimension to the critics vs. masses debate. Therefore, this series of posts is what I will do for you every year. I will watch all the movies that are commonly recommended by aggregate review sites or Festivals / Awards, in addition to any movies that interests me, and report back my review. It is my sincerest hope that in doing so someone discovers something beautiful that they otherwise would have never explored.  


​​Tenet - 8.5

​​Intense, mind-bending blockbuster of the year. Think of inception meets mission impossible. Fantastic movie that managed dealing with time travel plot holes.

​​Hamilton - 8

​​Fantastic musical, one of my favorites. I thought the movie was a high quality and clever recording of the Broadway hit. While of course not the same as the stage, it was definitely still a good experience on the screen.

​​Trial of the Chicago 7 - 8

​​Entertaining, emotional movie about the Democratic convention of 1970. Stellar cast and surprisingly impressive storytelling makes for a great watch.

​​Riders of Justice - 7.5

​​The PR department for Danish mental health is putting out some exciting media content. Powerful and different take on a revenge story. I was surprised and impressed.

​​Promising Young Woman - 7.5

​​Powerful social commentary discussing sexual assault. Maintains discomfort throughout the movie with some punchy themes. Not a fun watch, but impactful. Mild trigger warning here.

​​Palm Springs - 7

​​Palm Springs is a fun romantic movie that slipped under the radar for most, but was a ton of fun. Think groundhog day time loop with some romantic comedy cuteness. Would recommend to all.​​

​​Another Round - 7

​​Wonderful performance about mid-life crisis, relationships, and alcohol. (The PR team for the Danish health department at it again)

The Gentlemen - 7

Gangster movie in the UK. It was similar to things that have been done before (Layer Cake vibes) but it was still interesting and entertaining. Characters had a variety of captivating personalities. While it wasn't anything special, I enjoyed it. Glad I watched it for sure.​​

​​A Life on Our Planet - 6.5

​​Documentary on the impact humans have had on our planet, with a slightly different angle than most climate change documentaries. Good presentation, great narrator.

​​Irresistible - 6.5

​​John Stewart can do anything can't he? Fun commentary on U.S. democracy and politics which packs a thematic punch. I enjoyed the movie and would recommend.​​

​​The Invisible Man - 6.5

​​Good, thrilling, and slightly different take on an invisible person trope. Enough of the plot is unpredictable. Invisible aspects are well done in all but one scene. Not usually my genre but was glad I watched it.​​

​​Extraction - 6

​​Spec-ops mission that goes awry leads to an action-packed shooting extravaganza. Hemsworth delivers. Don't expect a super high quality plot, but it was certainly entertaining.

​​The Courier - 6

​​Historical spy movie hollywooded up showing some behind the scenes of spies leading to the Cuban missle crisis. Great acting for a decent dramatic watch.

​​The Social Dilemma - 6

​​Documentary showing negative impacts of social media. Slightly anecdotal, but paints a picture to show audiences the seriousness of the issue.

​​Soul - 6

​​Solid life-reflecting Pixar movie with lots of jazz and some impressive ethereal being animations. Inspiring themes, just didn't stand out in excitement or plot.

​​Nomadland - 6

​​Introspective movie about American life, aging, retirement, and what truly matters. Interesting academy watch.

​​Mank - 6

​​I see why the Academies loved this, but I’m not a huge fan of movies dreaming about old Hollywood. However, there is a solid political element that adds a lot to a story that builds very well. All in all, a little too "Academy" but nonetheless impressive.

​​Pieces of a Woman - 6

​​Sad. Slow sad perspective look into trauma and healing. Obvious plot goal but well done and multiple emotional aspects. Solid cinematography.

​​Hillbilly Elegy - 5.5

​​Traumatic drama about poverty and strife in middle America. Oscar bait style and decent emotions, but felt a little pandering at times.

​​I'm Your Woman - 5.5

​​Unique perspective movie- the wife of a killer after it all goes wrong. Touches on a variety of themes while trying to hold suspense.

​​The Devil All the Time - 5.5

​​Thriller that gives you the creeps watching it. Sinister backcountry abounds!​​

​​Athlete A - 5.5

Not a fun documentary at all. But obviously important. As far as documentary quality, it did not do anything novel or particularly impressive, and it did not stretch any claims. It was a little narrative from the journalistic perspective and relied a little too heavily on the parents, but perhaps that was a smart choice. Impactful documentary, worthwhile to watch.

​​Emma - 5.5

​​Honest Jane Austin adaptation. Enough dry humor, good acting, and beautiful costumes to make it a decent movie even though it isn't personally my favorite genre.

​​The Rhythm Section - 5.5

​​Interesting assassin revenge story that isn't wildly outrageous (novice makes actual mistakes, reasonable progression). Decent movie; Blake Lively fans should enjoy.

Sound of Metal - 5

Movie about a young heavy metal drummer who loses his hearing. Focused a lot on dealing with the loss of hearing and his introduction to the deaf community. I am partial to this demographic and so lean towards liking these types of movies. However, it portrayed a negative aspect of the deaf community in a positive light. Additionally, it didn’t have a whole lot of direct plot action- it felt like each next step was stitched together. Albeit, maybe that was symbolic? Either way, Riz performed great as the leading role in a deep dissection of identity and the human spirit. Overall, a mild recommend.

​​MA Raineys Black Bottom - 5

​​Interesting biographical drama. Not my particular style of storytelling, but was well done.

​​The Old Guard - 5

​​Kick butt assassins that are hunted but can't be killed. Tons of slaughter, decent fighting sequences. Enjoyable enough.

​​Enola Holmes - 4.5

​​Fun twisted idea on Sherlock Holmes. Great watch for young ones (ignoring some awkward plot holes).

​​Borat Subsequent Moviefilm - 4.5

​​It played its role as a political commentary movie which included some cringe laughs. Not nearly as funny as the original unfortunately, and the "plot" was too weird. However, the Rudy Giuliani scene made the entire movie worth it.

​​Tesla - 4.5

​​Highlighted parts of Tesla's life I wasn't as familiar with in an interesting manner. Not bad, but lacking a bit in terms of novelty or anything particularly special.

One Night in Miami - 4.5

Not a great film from an entertainment point of view, but it had great dialogue  to highlight different points of view of black activists. The conversation is great and is good to watch for that reason even if the movie aspect is eh. Plus, if you wait long enough Leslie Odom will sing you sweet melodies.

​​Spenser Confidential - 4

​​Cheesy action comedy typical of Walberg. Entertaining watch but don't look for anything deep.

​​Da 5 Bloods - 3.5

A politically punching movie that was terribly executed. Didn’t enjoy the cinematography, acting was extremely hit and miss through, and the plot was painfully weak (a miracle poop discovery… really…). Talking points were fine and expected from a Spike Lee film, but were delivered with awkward dialogue and acting. Unfortunately, an honorable attempt at poignant ethics couldn’t save a bad movie.

​​Wonder Woman 1984 - 3.5

​​DC comic movie that again dissapoints. Movie did not make a lot of sense at times, and ended with super cheesy fireworks… again… I wanted to like it, but it just did not deliver.

​​The Last Thing He Wanted - 3.5

​​Tries to weave a complex web of political subterfuge, but it falls flat hard. Way too many plot jumps, and quite nonsensical motivations. Not a fan.

​​Birds of Prey - 3

​​DC movie featuring Harley Quinn that had its moments but was altogether poorly executed. Margot Robbie is fun, but way too ridiculous action sequences.

​​Project Power - 3

​​Does a decent job at creating thrill, has some fun action and super power scenes, but overall is not original or particularly quality.

Love and Monsters - 2

Terrible. I think it was supposed to be a comedy, but it was never funny… Much of the dialogue hurt. Oof.

Not Reviewed

Movies I am excited to watch, but haven't yet:

  • Minari
  • A Quiet Place 2
  • The Father
  • The Way Back
  • Tolo Tolo

Other maybe movies: Bacurau, First Cow, Zola

Movies I intentionally didn't watch: Mulan, The Call of the Wild, Onward, Dolittle, Sonic the Hedgehog, Bad Boys for Life, Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Qualifiers / Interpretation

I feel the need to add some qualifiers to a post in which I give so many ratings with only snippet reviews for context.

How should you interpret this mysterious, numerical rating that I give each movie? Well this isn't an aggregate site, and I don't grade like a primary school report card. In other words, it is my personal opinion on a movie that balances my interpretation of both its quality and its enjoyment factor. Many of us are used to interpreting a rating in the manner that we were trained to do so for 12 years of primary education: a 70-75 is average, and a 50 is failing. A numerical rating system out of 10 is already extremely reductive, and further narrowing that field of view makes it even more limiting of a resource (notice how a vast majority of movies are rated between a 6 and 7.5 on IMDB). Therefore, my goal is that rating a movie a 5, means it is an average theatrical-release movie (meaning we already have a self-selection bias and it is technically already a better than averge movie). I would suggest interpreting anything 5.5 or above as worth a watch if the context is interesting to you, and anything 7.5 or above as a great movie which I would recommend for everyone.

I am human. Therefore, I have biases. My preference in movies includes a bias. I combat this bias by trying to don my critic hat while watching a movie. My critic hat does its best to judge a movie based on the merits of its cinematography, plot, screenwriting, editing, sound / music, acting, themes, and its ability to engage the audience while presenting insight into the human experience. It is impossible to completely put aside my personal preferences in genre, subject, or style of movie while wearing my critic hat, but I do my best. Additionally, when viewing movies that are typically not "my type" I try to be generous with the rating I give them; vice versa, I aim to be a little extra critical of movies that are "junk food" movies for me.

While I do my best to be concious of my biases and combat them to give the best review I can, my reviews are ultimately a personal opinion. And that is ok! The benefit of a single individual's opinion is you can quickly understand how many of my opinions map to your own. You can then use that mapping as a sort of filter when reading my reviews, and find some great movies to add to your watchlist in future years.

Regardless of these qualifications, I hope you get something out of my reviews and discover some amazing new content! Make sure to check out additional reviews and media articles below:

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