by Rob DiCristino
10. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
9. Another Round
6. Soul Monsters, Inc., Up, and Inside Out deserved more of my respect. But something about Soul resonated with me the way that even those other films did not. It’s Docter’s cleanest and most engaging plot yet, an exercise in worldbuilding that avoids the convoluted pitfalls of Nolan’s Tenet or the empty moralizing of Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984 to create something simple, singular, and complete. Soul’s reach exceeds its grasp at times, mind you, and there are lots of bits that don’t land. But I’ll be damned if I don’t admire its sheer ambition, its eagerness to ask the hard questions about the shared human experience that connect us all.
5. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
4. Da 5 Bloods
1. Palm Springssaid everything I can about Max Barbakow’s exploration of spiritual loneliness, and I’ve praised its hunt for redemption in the face of our immeasurable personal flaws to high heaven. More than my favorite film of 2020, Palm Springs is an instant classic of my personal canon, a film I’ll revisit in dark days and light for years to come. Here’s to everyone finding their Irvine in 2021.