Steve Davis Top 10 Films of 2020

"The continued development of my film education"


I had big plans for 2020, the first year of my newly minted retirement from professional life as a lawyer. The social restrictions of the pandemic, however, quickly squelched most of those ambitions. But the isolation of sheltering in place actually nourished my most personal goal for this year: the continued development of my film education. Watching movies from the time I woke up until I fell asleep? Honestly, I've never enjoyed being in school so much.

Initially, I would choose a topic – say, "early 1960s Italian cinema" – and then surf Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Turner Classic Movies to program a personal film festival, such as the one featuring Rocco and His Brothers and a couple of De Sica films starring the glorious Sophia Loren. (It added up, moneywise.) When I mentioned this to my friend Robert Bloom, he told me about the Criterion Channel, a streaming service that offers an embarrassment of riches in curated and programmed film selections. It has become my learned tutor in Cinema 101. I hope to be enrolled in its class for a long time.

Am I more knowledgeable about films? Definitely. A better reviewer? I'm still working on that. A happier human being? Unequivocally, yes.

1) Mank

2) Nomadland

3) Black Bear

4) Dick Johnson Is Dead

5) Emma.

6) Never Rarely Sometimes Always

7) My Octopus Teacher

8) I'm Thinking of Ending Things

9) David Byrne's American Utopia

10) Possessor Uncut

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