There are a select few movies that were released in this year of delays that will leave a mark on the world because of the content they brought to the table. Whether it’s for good reasons, or for bad, here are nine movies we’ll probably still be talking about into 2030, and potentially beyond.
Songbird The race to be the first film to cover a major world event, be it through fiction or non-fiction, is always something to behold. While technically those honors go to the film Corona, the Michael Bay-produced Songbird has earned its place in history by being the actual first movie to shoot during the pandemic itself. With a lightning-fast writing and production phase, the intercutting drama will always be a footnote of curiosity that marked the beginning of making movies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm Sacha Baron Cohen has an immutable knack for tackling sociopolitical issues of the here and now with an approach that makes a lasting impression. Much like Borat did in 2006, Borat Subesquent Moviefilm very much acts as a chronicle for the times we live in, hyper-focusing on issues so relevant that it felt like it was written moments before hitting the screen before you. Cohen and his team resurrected a fan favorite persona to great comic effect, thus providing the world with another time capsule that will be discussed for years to come.
Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey There’s a special dichotomy that Birds of Prey, and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn sees itself sitting at the center of when it comes to its legacy. On one side, the DC Comics film will be remembered by its hardcore fans as a moment when the experimental approach Warner Bros took after the failure of Justice League yielded colorful and rambunctious results. On the other hand, the supposedly low grosses of the film’s pre-pandemic run will have people wondering if COVID-19 cut into what could have been a long-term blockbuster.
Tenet When you’re the first big Hollywood movie that tried to jump-start the theatrical market after months of closures, you’ve already landed a spot in the history books. But when you’re talking about Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, the fact that the film attempted such an action is amplified. The discourse surrounding the theatrical release, as well as the content of the film itself, will be debated for quite some time, especially as the evolution of the theatrical window and streaming debuts continue to shift in ways yet to be seen.
Sonic The Hedgehog Sonic The Hedgehog was always going to be memorable for the sheer fact that they had to redesign the Ben Schwartz-voiced character from the top down. But with the film becoming a rather successful video game adaptation in the face of such online snark, the redemption of Sonic The Hedgehog is going to be a topic that filmmakers and audiences will likely revisit. It won’t even take that long to start that conversation, as Sonic The Hedgehog 2’s production cycle is already in the works, keeping in mind what worked, and what didn’t when it came to one of 2020’s largest theatrical hits.
Bad Boys For Life 2020 will forever go down as the year that Bad Boys For Life topped the domestic box office and came in second in the worldwide lineup. It’s the sort of asterisk that the history books thrive on, and surely there’s a trivia question or two in the works heralding this fact. Pushing the financials aside though, the long-awaited return of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence to the franchise they helped make famous pleased the crowd to no end. Revitalizing the franchise and showing that a legacyquel could be more than just a cash-in, Bad Boys For Life happened at the right time, and that makes it even harder to forget.
The New Mutants There were those that doubted co-writer/director Josh Boone’s The New Mutants even existed, as the final Fox/Marvel collaboration was pushed numerous times from its initial release window. It was the movie that couldn’t catch a break, with the setbacks only finding even more of a cultural foothold when the strife behind the scenes became more widely reported. There are enough stories from the funhouse that is The New Mutants that an entire book could be written about the ordeal, and one day we’ll probably see that happen; because the subject won't away any time soon.
Never Rarely Sometimes Always There are so many ways that a movie can live on past its initial release window. Writer/director Eilza Hittman’s personal drama Never Rarely Sometimes Always is the perfect example of why, as the story of a teenage girl’s attempt to have an abortion sees her and her cousin braving New York City alone. Already landing itself nominations with various critics associations, the movie feels destined for awards attention. But no matter what happens on the prestige circuit, Never Rarely Sometimes Always trades in a brutal honesty that allows its memory to linger long after the credits have rolled.
Promising Young Woman Some debuts are so powerful, a filmmaker like Killing Eve writer Emerald Fennell practically forges their signature with just one film. If Promising Young Woman is any indication, then Fennell’s calling card throughout her future career will be a continued tradition of writing sharp examinations of characters that beg us to take a further look underneath the surface. Not to mention, the Carey Mulligan-fronted film has such a killer ending, it’ll be hard trying to keep it under wraps.
The Eight Hundred The Eight Hundred is a Chinese film that depicts the historical event known Battle of Shanghai and was a massive hit overseas. So massive, in fact, that it is the highest-grossing film of 2020 outright. Co-writer/director Guan Hu’s grand-scale drama is more than likely starting the rounds in articles that’ll tease the surprising #1 hit at the worldwide box office.
More than likely this might help the film find an even wider audience as a result, which will only boost its standings as the champion of this past year. And that’s the sort of success that keeps films like these in the conversation long after they’ve faded from view. Though who can really tell which of these films will be talked about 10 years from now. Come back in 2030 to see if we were right or wrong, as time is the best teacher of what sticks with audiences and what becomes another statistic.