Podcast: Best of 2020

Together again are Frank, Tim, Kyle, and Nate to discuss not just our top ten films of 2020, but also the current state of cinema, and what 2021 may hold.

Frank’s Top Ten:

  1. ANOTHER ROUND dir. Thomas Vinterberg
  2. TOMASSO dir. Abel Ferrera
  3. MANK dir. David Fincher
  4. TENET dir. Christopher Nolan
  5. VFW dir. Joe Begos
  6. SIBERIA dir. Abel Ferrara
  7. DA 5 BLOODS dir. Spike Lee
  8. POSSESSOR dir. Brandon Cronenberg
  9. 40 YEARS OF ROCK: A BIRTH OF A CLASSIC dir. Derek Wayne Johnson
  10. BIRDS OF PREY AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN dir. Cathy Chow

Nate’s Top Ten:

  1. THE EMPTY MAN dir. David Prior
  2. ANOTHER ROUND dir. Thomas Vinterberg
  3. WANDER DARKLY dir. Tara Miele
  4. UNDERWATER dir. William Eubanks
  5. CAPONE dir. Josh Trank
  6. THE INVISIBLE MAN dir. Leigh Whannell
  7. SOUL dir. Peter Docter and Kemp Powers
  8. ALONE dir. John Hyams
  9. VFW dir. Joe Begos
  10. HIS HOUSE dir. Remi Weekes

Kyle’s Top Ten:

  1. THE WANTING MARE dir. Nicholas Ashe Bateman
  2. BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS dir. Turner Ross, Bill Ross IV
  3. BACURAU dir. Kleber Mendonca Filho, Juliano Dornelles
  4. POSSESSOR dir. Brandon Cronenberg
  5. DA 5 BLOODS dir. Spike Lee
  6. THE DEVIL TO PAY dir. Ruckus Skye, Lane Skye
  7. THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME dir. Antonio Campos
  8. THE OUTPOST dir Rod Lurie
  9. I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS dir. Charlie Kaufman
  10. COLOR OUT OF SPACE dir. Richard Stanley

Tim’ Top Ten

  1. POSSESSOR dir. Brandon Cronenberg
  2. DA 5 BLOODS dir. Spike Lee
  3. THE INVISIBLE MAN dir. Leigh Whannell
  4. HORSE GIRL dir. Jeff Baena
  5. DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD dir. Kristen Johnson
  6. TENET dir. Christopher Nolan
  7. THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME dir. Antonio Campos
  8. I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS dir. Charlie Kaufman
  9. BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM dir. Jason Woliner
  10. BIRDS OF PREY dir. Cathy Chow – WONDER WOMAN 1984 dir. Patty Jenkins

Joe Begos’s VFW

They don’t make em like this anymore, and that goes for both the protagonists of Joe Begos’s VFW and the film itself. Coated in 16mm grain, dripping with gorgeous, driving 80’s style synth music and packed wall to wall with excessively gory, blood soaked extreme violence, this film feels like the old school right to the bone. Set in a particularly nasty urban hell where the opioid crisis has reached a breaking point, a group of tough, battle hardened Nam and Korea veterans fight til the death to protect their local VFW hall and drinking spot from a gang of evil marauding drug psychos out to get their stolen product back. It’s a barebones siege thriller infused with schlock from one angle but there’s a deeper level, care and attention paid to each of these characters, wonderful dialogue that has the scent of improvisation and super game performances from these familiar faces of the VHS golden age of genre filmmaking. Stephen Lang (Tombstone, The Hard Way, Manhunter) heads up the pack as ringleader and Fred is joined by beloved familiar faces including blaxploitation icon Fred Williamson (From Dusk Till Dawn, MASH, Vigilante), Martin Kove (The Karate Kid, Rambo II, Death Race 2000), George Wendt (Fletch, House, Space Truckers), William Sadler (Die Hard 2, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, The Shawshank Redemption) and David Patrick Kelly (Twin Peaks, 48 Hrs, The Crow). These guys are totems of a bygone era in terms of themselves and the characters they get to play. They all got their start in the industry back around the 70’s and 80’ when the age of VHS was just getting underway, and as such represent a time when you’d walk into a video store and see the horror/action sections adorned with countless titles just like this one. In the film itself they play these veterans with a strong sense of brotherhood, camaraderie and community, the kind I imagine you could only get from serving together or simply knowing what it’s like to be in the shit. The film shows a reverence for these old dudes as they fiercely rage against the dying of the light and lament a large portion of the younger generation lost to drugs. It’s also just a kickass fucking horror fest with retro sensibilities, a Wild Bunch meets John Carpenter with a dash of Panos Cosmatos kinda vibe. My favourite film so far this year and highly recommended, provided this aesthetic is your thing.

-Nate Hill