Josh Kupecki's Top 10 Films of 2020

"The outrage, the tragedy, the surprise"

City Hall

In a year that saw usage of the word "unprecedented" second only to that of "pandemic" (with "Four Seasons Total Landscaping" not too far behind), 2020 lodged a number of monkey wrenches into the film industry. With movie theatres dark and empty, Hollywood studios and independent distributors didn't have much of a choice but to go all in with streaming and VOD. And while the outcry to this inevitability continues, it's not like we haven't been here before. The introduction of television, the collapse of the studio system, the advent of home video, and a dozen other harbingers all foretold the death of cinema, and they were all greatly exaggerated.

There are various pleasures derived from going to a movie theatre, but the one I miss is the sense of captivity that is hard (but possible) to replicate on the couch. It is surrendering yourself to a solitary sensory experience. For filmgoing is a solitary experience, no matter how many friends or strangers surround you. No distractions, no disruptions, nothing but a window into a new experience that has the unlimited ability to transport you anywhere. That desire, that longing, will never fade for me, and as I look over this list of films that resonated with me the most this year, I see the outrage, the tragedy, the surprise, the horror, the recognition, and above all, the joy that cinema offers as a continued catharsis to my soul.

1) City Hall

2) Collective

3) First Cow

4) Kajillionaire

5) Possessor Uncut

6) Beanpole

7) Swallow

8) The Whistlers

9) The Assistant

10) Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Josh Kupecki
There There
Mumblecore pioneer innovates again with his pandemicless pandemic film

Nov. 25, 2022

Last Flight Home
The decision to embrace death becomes a touching affirmation of life

Oct. 28, 2022


Top 10s 2020

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle