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The Year in Films: Top Movies We Watched in 2020

Last year, movies were a welcome distraction from the threat of COVID-19.

If there’s one industry that benefited from the pandemic, it’s streaming services— online providers of movies, series, and other forms of entertainment. 

According to a study conducted in Southeast Asia by tech company The Trade Desk, COVID-19 and the ensuing lockdowns have seen a spike in over-the-top (OTT) content. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed said they were viewing more OTT content during the pandemic, while 72 percent intend to maintain or increase their OTT consumption even when the pandemic ends. (Read: These Films About Catholic Saints Are Perfect for All Saints’ Day)

In turn, moviemakers respond by creating some of the most engaging and innovative content to keep us entertained and informed during stay-at-home orders. Here are some of the standout films that got our attention in 2020!

Top Movies of 2020: Fan Girl

The runaway hit at the 2020 Metro Manila Film Festival snapped up eight trophies on awards night, including those for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. (Read: 3 Filipino Films Coming to Netflix This December)

Those who’ve seen it on upstream.ph will tell you the recognition is well deserved. Charlie Dizon plays a hardcore fan of actor Paulo Avelino, who portrays a dark and angry version of himself once away from admirers’ adoring eyes. 

Top Movies of 2020: Soul

The animation film of 2020 has to be this deeply profound story from Pixar. A high school music teacher (voiced by Jaime Foxx) bags a dream gig playing piano with the hottest jazz group in New York City. An accident leads him to question his life’s purpose and passion, and to never take anything for granted. (Read: 5 Filipino Films to Premiere on Netflix This September)

Tina Fey, Angela Bassett, and Questlove also lend their voices to the movie that scored 95 percent on online movie and TV reviewer Rotten Tomatoes

Top Movies of 2020: Extraction

Released in the early months of the pandemic, the heart-pumping, action-packed film by Netflix was a welcome distraction from the alarming headlines about a then little-known virus that was spreading fast and taking lives just as quickly. 

Chris Hemsworth plays a black market mercenary who must rescue Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), the kidnapped son of an Indian drug lord, and take him to an extraction point. The seemingly simple mission goes awry when Ovi’s protector plans his own extraction. 

Top Movies of 2020: A Thousand Cuts

Award-winning journalist and Rappler founder Maria Ressa paints a disturbing picture of press freedom and the controversial drug war under the Duterte administration. This documentary premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. (Read: Rappler CEO Maria Ressa Found Guilty of Cyber Libel)

Reviews are polarized, to say the least. Praised by international critics, the documentary was called “one-sided” and “A Thousand Lies” by supporters of the administration. Either way, this is one film you can’t help but watch. 

Top Movies of 2020: Bad Boys for Life

What was the last movie you saw in theaters before the quarantine? Most likely it was the third installment of the action-comedy buddy pic starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Premiering pre-pandemic, the film grossed US$204,417,855, making it the highest-grossing Hollywood movie of 2020

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