List

The Midway Point 2020

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The Best and Worst Movies of 2020 So Far

It’s time for my annual Midway Point list when I commemorate the best and worst movies I’ve seen so far this year. These are the films that either entertained me the most or left with a very painful headache. There wasn’t much, given the COVID-19 circumstances, but there were selections for me to dish on.

Let’s start with the best, shall we?

10.) “Bad Boys for Life”

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This was the best of the three films with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence reprising their roles with elements we never would have guessed from the series. Michael Bay only cameoed. He didn’t produce or direct. That would happen to be Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, both of whom jumpstart the franchise.

9.) “Shirley”

Elisabeth Moss explodes off the screen as horror novelist Shirley Jackson, while Odessa Young and Michael Stuhlbarg both round out the cast profoundly. You know what they say: “All work and no play makes Jack dull boy.”

8.) “The Invisible Man”

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Before “Shirley,” Elisabeth Moss played one of the best women in horror movies in recent years as a woman avoiding her abusive ex-boyfriend, who has found a way to make himself invisible. Not only is it scary and visually stunning, but it’s also well-suited for the #MeToo era.

7.) “Saint Frances”

Kelly O’Sullivan wrote and acted in this Indie that splices different topics, regarding abortions, pregnancies, lesbianism, and choices. Its sense of humor is honest, and its emotions are pure. There are actors in this movie you’ve probably never heard of before, but once you see this movie, you’ll be begging to see them again.

6.) “Crip Camp”

The first great documentary of the decade is about how disabled campers can make a difference in life. I’m autistic, so I sympathize what they had to go through to be accepted into reality. It’s about overpowering cynicisms and going for the gold.

5.) “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”

Writer/director Eliza Hittman gives a passionate, respectful, and reserved narrative about teenage pregnancy and abortion. It never solves its problems with anger and cursing; it shows one young woman’s choices in life, and we support her 100%.

4.) “Bad Education”

Aired on HBO, this movie gave Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney some of the best performances of their distinguished careers. It’s based on a true story in 2002 about the biggest school embezzlement scandal in history, which took place at the Roslyn High School in Long Island. The way “Bad Education” is written, acted, and presented is both dangerous and riveting.

3.) “Birds of Prey”

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I disliked “Suicide Squad,” but I found its spin-off to a surprisingly non-stop lark with Margot Robbie igniting the screen as Harley Quinn. But best of all, that Jared Leto Joker pimp isn’t in it. We never liked him to begin with. This movie is fresh, original, old-fashioned, and damn fun.

2.) “The King of Staten Island”

Judd Apatow’s next comedy has SNL veteran Pete Davidson writing himself as a stoner and tattoo artist, who wants to live life in the slow lane. They both provide a lot of laughs and heart, thus making it a comedy masterwork.

1.) “Da 5 Bloods”

Just released on Netflix, Spike Lee’s latest feature comes in a timely fashion just as the Black Lives Matter protests are kicking in. This one introduces us to some African-American Vietnam War soldiers, who demand liberation for their people, and how the spirit of their fallen leader consumes one of them.

Other Movies You Should Check Out

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“Trolls: World Tour,” “The Lodge,” “The Trip to Greece,” “Spenser Confidential,” “Beastie Boys Story,” “Selah and the Spades,” “The Gentlemen,” “Blue Story,” “Arkansas,” “Elephant,” “Resistance,” “The Way Back,” “Big Time Adolescence,” “Onward,” “Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band,” “Emma,” “Sonic the Hedgehog,” “Farmageddon: A Shaun the Sheep Movie,” “The Photograph,” “Olympic Dreams,” “The Last Full Measure,” “The Willoughbys,” “The Lovebirds,” “How to Build a Girl,” and “The Assistant”

Don’t worry, I’ll review “First Cow,” as soon as they release it online, or at least begin to open up the theaters.

Now, let’s get to the 10 stinkers.

10.) “Underwater”

The water was so dark and dirty, that I couldn’t see anything in this movie. Not even Kristen Stewart can save this “Alien” rip-off.

9.) “The Wrong Missy”

Happy Madison Productions will just release any incompetent movie, and this was no exception. David Spade is trapped in this formulaic mismatched romcom with Lauren Laupkis horrifying us with her crass behavior and mass stupidity.

8.) “Call of the Wild”

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Harrison Ford is the only real thing in this first loser for director Chris Sanders (“Lilo & Stitch,” “How to Train Your Dragon”). Who said we wanted CGI dogs in live-action movies? Not me! I’m surprised he didn’t make himself a dry martini.

7.) “The Hunt”

This “Ready or Not” meets “The Purge” splice shouldn’t have been scraped from the schedule. It should have been erased from the cosmos, never to be seen again.

6.) “Downhill”

Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus are two of the best comedy talents in the entertainment world, but they’re both trapped in a sappy and whiny remake of “Force Majeure.” Not even directors Nat Faxon or Jim Rash could guide these two on the right path.

5.) “Capone”

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Tom Hardy is a great actor, who can play the ambitious man, but as Al Capone, when we see him crap his pants, we’re hoping he’s going to fire his agent. And every time, people called him “Fonz,” I was expecting him to say “ayyy.”

4.) “Like a Boss”

Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne, and Salma Hayek both star in a comedy so sexist, stupid, and crass, it’s impossible to like anyone or anything here. And the fact that this is about a cosmetics company or a small business, it feels like it has been given a botox injection.

3.) “Bloodshot”

Vin Diesel stars as a super soldier, who can cheat death every step of the way, because bad guy Guy Pearce made him this way. It’s based on a comic book, and he made this movie version for his son. Nonetheless, it goes right in the paper shredder.

2.) “Dolittle”

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Robert Downey Jr. is now the man who can talk to animals. So are we supposed to laugh or have fun or what? I don’t know. All I know is that this next version is stupid, cheap, lazy, and humiliating. If I were you, I’d watch the Eddie Murphy movie from 1998. That was a childhood favorite of mine; this one was a disaster on the conception level.

1.) “Coffee & Kareem”

What is the nastiest movie of 2020 so far? That would be this R-rated “Cop and a Half” with Ed Helms dealing with newcomer Terrence Little Gardenhigh, who is so mean and dirty that you need more than soap to wash his mouth off. You need to give him a George Jefferson hairdo like in “Barbershop: The Next Cut.” Or better yet, how about he deals with the drunk teacher from “Boyhood?” That’ll teach him.

Now, I have the next six months to figure out what will be the best and worst movies of the whole year. My choices are subject to change, and even I am anxious to find out what will bring home the gold or the trash.

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