Hello and welcome to the movie blog of author John DeFrank - FilmZ and Guy Sobriquet Malone - Researcher

The 2020 Bi-Czarries

The 2020 B0-Czarries: The Worthy, the Lost, and the Forgotten 
-- by FilmZ and Guy S. Malone, Researcher
Proofread by Marge Inovera and guarded by Dragan Armansky, Milton Security

Yes, it's time again for the real movie awards for real people: the 2020 "Bi-Czarries!" (pat. pending).  We don't assign an arbitrary limit on films and performances, and all genres are considered.  Where we do get arbitrary is with the categories (professional wrestling, zombie-comedies) and the fact that we don't really cover documentaries and animated films, except where they may fall in other categories.  And our choices are arbitrary. ... Arbitrary and capricious, if I'm being honest. ... Well, it is our list, now, isn't it?


Simple criteria: movies we enjoyed in the sheer entertainment sense, like, we could handle repeated viewings, and those we appreciated in the sense that the art of filmmaking burst through.  We chose three "best films" of the year, and then the others we liked the most.  For your convenience, we rank-ordered the rest, breaking them into two categories: "Popular Films" and  "Indies and Hidden Gems."


Three films stood a notch above the rest:

1 - JoJo Rabbit - A film I could watch over and over; Waititi's signature hilarity with true heart
2 - Parasite - Artistically, the best, most original film of the year
3 - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - Tarantino's riff on history, nostalgia, best since Pulp Fiction

The Rest of the Best (with comments on the non-Oscar nominated):

4 - Avengers: Endgame - (Kevin Feige brilliantly steered the MCU to this grand finale)
5 - The Irishman 
6 - 1917 
7 - Little Women 
8 - Knives Out  Daniel Craig's Southern-fried Poirot in the best mystery Agatha Christie didn't write
8 - Ford v Ferrari 
10 - Marriage Story 
11 - The Farewell - Alternately hilarious and heartwarming story of Chinese family covering a secret
12 - The Two Popes - Politics take a back seat to personal beliefs and conscience
13 - A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood - A fitting tribute to a man who heals through love

These films received less publicity and generated less money, but they are among the best of 2019:

Hidden Life - Terrence Malick's true story of an Austrian farmer refusing to serve Hitler in WWII
Booksmart - Olivia Wilde makes the last day of high school for two nerds fresh and hysterical
Motherless Brooklyn - Edward Norton tour de force detective story of corruption in 1950's NYC
The Mustang - Matthias Schoenaerts brilliant as a violent convict redeemed by equine therapy
Dolemite is My Name - Eddie Murphy loving, laughing riff on a 1970s Blacksploitation phenom
The Peanut Butter Falcon - Down Syndrome man escapes home to become a pro wrestler
The Last Black Man in San Francisco - A man squats in his family's ancestral home
Fighting with My Family - Two siblings dream of becoming professional wrestlers, one makes it
Midsommar - A fragile young woman and friends study a Scandinavian Nature cult
The Dead Don’t Die - Bill Murray and Adam Driver protect their small town from zombies


Female Actor - Scarlett Johansson 
We could argue, with some justification that Johansson turned in the Best Lead as Nicole in Marriage Story; as JoJo's Mom, Rosie Betzler, in JoJo Rabbit; and as Best Ill-Fated Super-Hero Natasha Romanoff in Avengers: Endgame.  In addition to garnering awards nominations for two roles, no female actor was seen by so many misty eyes in 2019.

Actor - Adam Driver
What a year.  In addition to playing Scarlett's husband, Charlie in the rom-com Marriage Story,  Driver starred as Daniel Jones in the political history/drama The Report, as Bill Murrays's laconic deputy in the zom-com The Dead Don't Die,  and as emo-baddie Kylo Ren in Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker, making us laugh, cry, love, and hate, all in 2019.

Breakout Actor - Florence Pugh
The 24-year-old started the year as Goth-girl professional wrestler Saraya "Paige" Knight in the comedy-drama Fighting with my Family and ended it playing Amy March, youngest of the Little Women.  In between, she played the troubled Dani in the Indie horror hit Midsommar.  If that's not range, I don't know what to tell you.
Note; Despite no formal acting training, the Oxfordshire, England native is set to follow-up an impressive 2019 and become a household name in May when she stars opposite Scarlett Johansson in the next Marvel blockbuster, Black Widow.  Her career eerily parallels that of Jennifer Lawrence, arguably the biggest female star of the 20-teens, and Florence Pugh could become the successor to J-Law of the 2020s.


Lead Female Actor
Ana de Armas - Knives Out
Awkwafina - The Farewell
Annette Bening - The Report
Sienna Miller - 21 Bridges
Lupita Nyong'o - Us

Lead Male Actor
Daniel Craig - Knives Out
August Diehl - A Hidden Life
Eddie Murphy - Dolemite is My Name
Edward Norton - Motherless Brooklyn
Matthias Schoenaerts - The Mustang

Supporting Female Actor
Toni Collette - Knives Out
Jamie Leigh Curtis - Knives Out
Zoey Deutch - Zombieland: Double Tap
Gugu Mbatha-Raw - Motherless Brooklyn
Shuzhen Zhao - The Farewell

Supporting Male Actor
Alan Alda - Marriage Story
Chris Evans - Knives Out
Don Johnson - Knives Out
Kang-ho Song - Parasite
Ben Mendelsohn - Captain Marvel

All of these folks also wrote the Screenplays for their films, BTW

Taika Waititi - JoJo Rabbit
Greta Gerwig - Little Women
Rian JohnsonKnives Out
Terrence Malick - A Hidden Life
LuLu Wang - The Farewell


Terrence Malick - It took him three years to whittle A Hidden Life down to a 2:54 runtime, thus scuttling both the film's chances at wide distribution and its awards consideration.  Hokey smokes!

Martin Scorsese - At a 3:29 runtime, make a decision: either it's a limited TV series, or a film on the big screen with an intermission.  Actually, it should have been on the big screen.


Joker - The supervillain's origin story is unremittingly grim, but Joaquin Phoenix is amazing
The Lighthouse - Fascinating cinematography and acting take a back seat to body functions



JoJo Rabbit 
Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood 
Knives Out -
Dolemite is My Name - Eddie Murphy's comeback is a wild, profane ride
The Upside - Formulaic, but Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart, and Nicole Kidman are winning


Zombieland: Double Tap - Zoey Deutch's hysterical turn ratchets up an already worthy sequel
The Dead Don't Die -  Bill Murray, Adam Driver, and Tom Waits bring the weirdness


The Peanut Butter Falcon -  (See above)
Fighting with My Family -  (See above)


Rocketman - Genre-bending, but not like Bong Joon-Ho, more like Dolemite
Men in Black: International - They thought Chris and Tessa's charisma was transferrable
Tolkien - A fascinating man reduced to a mundane story
X-Men: Dark Phoenix - Not as bad a critics said, just not up to previous chapters' standard
Downton Abbey - All right for fans, but foreshadowing hit like a sledgehammer


Avengers: Endgame 
Captain Marvel - We didn't think Brie could pull it off, but she and Samuel L. had chemistry
Spider-Man: Far From Home - Don't let the teen-centered story fool you, it's fun and funny
Ad Astra - The problem was advertising; it's not an action film but rather a pensive study
Alita: Battle Angel - Ancient cyborg is revived and seeks to learn the origins of her power
Pokémon Detective Pikachu - Ryan Reynolds gives adults something to like


The Lighthouse - Photographed like Nosferatu, lit like Caligari; moody study of insanity
Us - Not as strong as Get Out, but a creepy original with a scary good Lupita Nyong'o


Knives Out
Motherless Brooklyn 
The Report - Fact-based political thriller that counterpunches Zero Dark Thirty
21 Bridges - Intense police procedural with Chadwick Boseman and a terrific Sienna Miller


Parasite - Of course
Honeyland - Macedonian documentary that sides with nature over predatory capitalism.


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