2. A Face in the Crowd (dir. Elia Kazan)
Not sure there’s a more relevant film to have watched in 2020 than Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd. The film follows Lonesome Rhodes as he ascends from jailhouse drunk to radio stardom and eventually television and beyond. It’s a terrifying depiction of how fame leads to power and how that power corrupts and distorts reality. It features a mesmerizing and downright scary performance from Andy Griffith. He’s charismatic, charming but ultimately too egocentric for his own good. The final scene is as haunting as anything I’ve seen all year. An incredibly prescient film, A Face in the Crowd begs to be rediscovered during this strange time we live in now.
1. The Swimmer (dir. Frank Perry)
Sometimes a film reaches out and just hits you in the chest. The Swimmer was one of those films for me in 2020. It’s about the existential crisis of growing old and losing everything. I won’t go into plot machinations as this film works best going in blind. Just fire up the film and let it wash over you. A masterpiece of modern cinema.