Films in 2020: December

Happy New Year! As you probably noticed throughout 2020, I watched a lot of movies over the past 12 months, and December was no exception. I spent the last month of the year catching up on some new releases (which will continue into January at least) and indulging in TCM’s weeklong, 24-hour classic Christmas marathon, with several other movies in between all of that. I’ll post my film year in review in the coming days with a look back at my viewing habits. In the meantime, here’s a quick look at what I watched over the past 31 days.

New-to-Me: 63

Re-Watched: 31

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1910s – 1
  • 1920s – 1
  • 1930s – 3
  • 1940s – 13
  • 1950s – 9
  • 1960s – 3
  • 1970s – 6
  • 1980s – 1
  • 1990s – 0
  • 2000s – 0
  • 2010s – 8
  • 2020s – 16

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. Smithereens (1982)
  2. Heart of a Dog (2015)
  3. Pina (2011)
  4. Mank (2020)
  5. Mulan (2020)
  6. Emma. (2020)
  7. First Cow (2019)
  8. The Assistant (2019)
  9. Happiest Season (2020)
  10. O Ébrio (1946)
  11. La cigarette (1919)
  12. One Desire (1955)
  13. Marjorie Morningstar (1958)
  14. Young at Heart (1954)
  15. Marsha Hunt’s Sweet Adversity (2015)
  16. Our Modern Maidens (1929)
  17. Mannequin (1937)
  18. The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1937)
  19. Strange Cargo (1940)
  20. Above Suspicion (1943)
  21. Harriet Craig (1950)
  22. The House of the Seven Gables (1940)
  23. Moonfleet (1950)
  24. Green Fire (1954)
  25. The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954)
  26. Darling Lili (1970)
  27. The Prom (2020)
  28. Let Them All Talk (2020)
  29. On the Double (1961)
  30. Knock on Wood (1954)
  31. Minari (2020)
  32. Lost Boundaries (1949)
  33. Intruder in the Dust (1949)
  34. Mangrove (2020)
  35. Lovers Rock (2020)
  36. Red, White and Blue (2020)
  37. Alex Wheatle (2020)
  38. Education (2020)
  39. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020)
  40. Black Christmas (1974)
  41. The Silent Partner (1978)
  42. Fitzwilly (1967)
  43. Cover Up (1949)
  44. All Mine to Give (1957)
  45. 3 Godfathers (1948)
  46. Come to the Stable (1949)
  47. The Miracle of the Bells (1948)
  48. Good Sam (1948)
  49. The Blue Bird (1940)
  50. The World of Henry Orient (1964)
  51. The Cheaters (1945)
  52. Soul (2020)
  53. Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
  54. Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020)
  55. Sound of Metal (2019)
  56. The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (2020)
  57. Contemporary Color (2016)
  58. California Typewriter (2016)
  59. Italianamerican (1974)
  60. American Boy: A Profile of Steven Prince (1978)
  61. Liza with a Z (1972)
  62. Tabu (1931)
  63. Holiday (1930)

A Few Favorite Discoveries:

Emma. (2020)

Emma. (2020), directed by Autumn de Wilde

I’m so glad I caught up with Emma. before the year ended as it instantly became one of my favorite 2020 releases. It’s a fun adaptation of the Jane Austen novel with gorgeous production and costume design, and a fully dynamic cast led brilliantly by Anya Taylor Joy.

Mannequin (1937)

Mannequin (1937), directed by Frank Borzage

The Criterion Channel had a 25-film Joan Crawford retrospective that was expiring at the end of December, and there were six films featured that I hadn’t seen before, and Mannequin was one of them and the one I enjoyed watching the most of the new-to-me films. While Crawford and Spencer Tracy were among the biggest stars of their era, to me they seem like a bit of an unlikely pair, but I thought they were well-matched together in this.

Minari (2020)

Minari (2020), directed by Lee Isaac Chung

I was lucky to catch Minari during its one-week run at Film at Lincoln Center’s virtual cinema because it will still be a couple of months before it gets a wider release after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival just about a year ago now. It’s a heartfelt look at a Korean family trying to live a better life on an Arkansas farm, with wonderful performances from Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, and Youn Yuh-jung. And I’d be remiss not to mention the adorable Alan S. Kim who practically steals the movie.

Black Christmas (1974)

Black Christmas (1974), directed by Bob Clark

I had watched a couple of Christmas favorites before TCM’s weeklong marathon started, but Black Christmas, which was screened as a part of TCM Underground, really kicked off my non-stop holiday viewing. It’s definitely an atypical Christmas movie, bringing more scares than cheers into the holiday season, but an entertaining and thrilling movie nonetheless. It’s crazy to think Bob Clark directed both this ’70s horror movie and another holiday classic, A Christmas Story.

The Silent Partner (1978)

The Silent Partner (1978), directed by Daryl Duke

I watched The Silent Partner straight after Black Christmas, as it was the second half of the double bill from TCM Underground. This is another sort of unusual holiday movie, focusing on a cat and mouse game between bank teller Elliott Gould and crook Christopher Plummer. Though it has a couple of gruesome scenes featuring Plummer’s particularly ruthless character, I still found it quite enjoyable overall.

Good Sam (1948)

Good Sam (1948), directed by Leo McCarey

Good Sam was my favorite of the more classic holiday movies I watched on TCM. I read somewhere of someone saying this film is basically like It’s a Wonderful Life minus the fantasy element, and I think that’s a pretty fair assessment, though there’s a little more to the movie than that. My favorite aspect of the film is the marriage between the characters played by Gary Cooper and Ann Sheridan, whose chemistry I thought was so good, I wish they had done more movies together instead of just this one.

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