Palm Springs

Who’s ready for a top 10 movie list for 2020? Unfortunately, I don’t have one. I haven’t been to the theater since February, which makes me depressed. Thankfully, television was fantastic. I did enjoy quite a few movies on demand and via streaming with many standout performances. Let’s stay positive, shall we? Here are the best TV and movie performances of 2020.

Anya Taylor-Joy in The Queen’s Gambit

Who knew chess could be so interesting and intriguing? The Queen’s Gambit could be the sleeper hit of the year, and most of the show’s success can be attributed to the fantastic lead, Anya Taylor-Joy. Between her exquisite fashion choices and brutal honesty, Taylor-Joy captivated my attention from start to finish. I couldn’t look away for fear of missing Beth and her magnetic stare.

Elisabeth Moss in The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man

Remember movie theaters? I miss them dearly. The last movie I saw in a theater was The Invisible Man so it will always hold a special place in my heart. Horror movies are always better in theaters, and The Invisible Man continues that trend as my theater was on the edge of their seats throughout the entire film. The Invisible Man is a good movie anchored by a great performance by Elisabeth Moss. At this point, I hope Elisabeth does a rom-com soon because she deserves a hug and a kiss instead of a traumatizing experience, one after the other.

Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones in Normal People

Normal People Hulu
Normal People / Hulu

The “Chemistry of the Year” award goes to Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones for their work in Normal People. I’ve screamed my praise for Normal People from the highest mountains on Twitter. It’s one of the most moving depictions of young love you’ll ever see. Mescal and Edgar-Jones were spectacular as the show’s leads. Buy stock in these two young performers now before they skyrocket.

Malachi Kirby and Shaun Parkes in Mangrove from Small Axe

Mangrove / Amazon Studios

Is it a movie? Is it a television show? Don’t worry about the confusion surrounding Small Axe, Steve McQueen’s film anthology series on Amazon Prime Video. Instead, focus on the source material within the five movies of Small Axe and appreciate McQueen’s sheer brilliance as a director and storyteller. Small Axe focuses on West Indian immigrants in London during the 1960s and 1970s. The best film in the series is Mangrove, which tells the story of the Mangrove restaurant and the subsequent trial against nine Black activists who were charged with inciting a riot in response to the unfair treatment from the police to the Mangrove restaurant. Not only is Mangrove one of the best films of the year, but it’s one of the strongest depictions of institutional racism in films of the 21st century. Both Malachi Kirby and Shaun Parkes, who play two members of the Mangrove Nine, bring emotion to a new level with their passionate speeches during the trial. Mangrove is a must-watch film in 2020.

Rhea Seehorn in Better Call Saul

Rhea Seehorn is perfect. Better Call Saul is about Saul Goodman, but all I care about is Kim Wexler and what happens to her before the show ends. Kim may be the second lead of the show, but she’s the most important character. Not only does Seehorn go toe-to-toe with Bob Odenkirk, but she ends up stealing the spotlight in Season 5. Take a bow, Rhea.

Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti in Palm Springs

Palm Springs / Hulu

In a year of few laughs, the film where I had the most fun was Palm Springs. The film stars Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti as two guests at a wedding that become stuck in a time loop and relieve the same day over and over again. Palm Springs tackles depressing topics like hopelessness and infidelity with a comedic, rom-com approach. The result is a charming movie with two standout performances from Samberg and Milioti.

Other Favorite Performances

  • Lil Dicky in Dave
  • Jonathan Banks in Better Call Saul
  • Delroy Lindo and Chadwick Boseman in Da 5 Bloods
  • Bill Burr in The King of Staten Island
  • Riz Ahmed and Paul Raci in Sound of Metal
  • Grogu in The Mandalorian

What were your favorite performances of the year? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @danny_giro.

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