5 must-watch movies so far in 2020

The King of Staten Island, courtesy Universal Studios
The King of Staten Island, courtesy Universal Studios /

The King of Staten Island is one of 5 must-watch movies so far in 2020

Not having movie theaters as an escape from the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on many of us television and film enthusiasts. Luckily, most of Hollywood quickly adapted and made some of the movies that were scheduled to hit theaters in 2020 available digitally.

In fact, Trolls: World Tour broke streaming records as one of the first films forced to be released digitally—and might change how Hollywood game-plans some of the bigger releases moving forward. Since then, we’ve seen other movies follow suit such as The Invisible Man and Just Mercy.

There have been some phenomenal movies released this year digitally on Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu that have really filled an empty void during these rough times. Whether it’s a comedy, a movie to watch with the family, or a thrilling action film.

Since we’re just over half-way through 2020, let’s take a look back at five must-watch movies that have been released in the year thus far.

The King of Staten Island (Multiple places to rent)

This comedy-drama film, directed by the comedic genius Judd Apatow, follows a 24-year-old high school dropout Scott Carlin (Pete Davidson), who is having a rough time dealing with his father’s death. Scott still lives at home with his mother Margie (Marisa Tomei) and his younger sister Claire (Maude Apatow).

While his sister leaves for college, Scott aspires to be a tattoo artist. Although he is unemployed, he does have dreams. He just doesn’t actually attempt to make them come to fruition. Until a new father figure Ray (Bill Burr) comes into his life. Of course, it doesn’t start off so peachy between the two of them as Ray begins dated Scott’s mother.

In its debut weekend (June 12), The King of Staten Island was the most rented film on FandangoNow, Amazon Prime, the iTunes Store, Comcast Xfinity, Apple TV, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube, Spectrum, and DirecTV.

Extraction (Netflix)

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This action-thriller will keep you on your toes from beginning to end. The film stars Chris Hemsworth as Tyler Rake, former SASR operator turned black-ops mercenary. The movie begins with Ovi Mahajan (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) sneaking out of his house to visit a club, where he is kidnapped by police officers working for rival drug lord Amir Asif. All while Ovi’s Indian drug lord father Ovi Mahajan Sr. remains incarcerated.

Saju Rav (Randeep Hooda), Ovi’s protector, visits Ovi’s father in prison. Ovi’s father refuses to pay the money to retrieve his son because it will hurt his prestige. Ovi Sr. orders Saju to retrieve his son.

Rake is then recruited by fellow mercenary Nik Khan (Golshifteh Farahani) to rescue Ovi from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Rake and Khan’s team prepare to extract Ovi, with his father’s men set to pay them once Ovi is recovered. Obviously, as you can imagine this is not an easy task.

My Spy (Amazon Prime)

For action-comedy fans, this is definitely a great one for the entire family to enjoy. Directed by Peter Segal (50 First Dates, Tommy Boy, The Nutty Professor), stars former wrestler Dave Batista, Ken Jeong, Kristen Schaal, Chloe Coleman, and Parisa Fitz-Henley.

J.J. (Batista) is a CIA agent who finds himself meeting an unprecedented new friend—a nine-year-old girl named Sophie (Coleman). This girl just so happens to be a part of a potentially dangerous family J.J. and his tech support Bobbi (Schaal) are surveilling while undercover after orders from their boss David Kim (Jeong).

Sophie quickly finds out what J.J. is up to after finding a hidden camera in her home, and continuously bribes J.J. into doing different things against his will. He plays along in order to keep her quiet. Eventually, these adventures impel Sophie’s mom Kate (Fitz-Henley) and J.J. to spend some quality time together as well. Which makes things both interesting and also nearly destructible.

Onward (Disney Plus)

Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios does it again. This computer-animated urban fantasy-adventure film stars the voices of Chris Pratt, Tom Holland, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Octavia Spencer. Literally being set in a fantasy world, the movie follows two elf brothers Barley (Pratt) and Ian (Holland) Lightfoot.

On Ian’s 16th birthday, his mother Laurel (Louis-Dreyfus) gives him a magical staff, a rare gem, and a letter describing a “visitation spell” that can bring back their father for a single day. Due to a total accident, Ian does succeed with the spell. Unfortunately, only the lower half of Wilden’s (their father) body appears before the gem disappears.

The brothers embark on a quest to find the other gem needed in order to complete the spell. The only problem is, Laurel panics when she notices they’re gone and leaves to find them. Another exhilarating Disney-Pixar film that can bring the family together for some tears and some laughs as well.

Palm Springs (Hulu)

Who doesn’t love Andy Samberg? As the lead star of this film, he is joined by Cristin Milioti, Peter Gallagher, and J. K. Simmons. This rom-com follows two strangers Nyles (Samberg) and Sarah Wilder (Milioti), who meet at a Palm Springs wedding only to get stuck in a time loop where they re-live the same day.

The day is November 9, Nyles begins the day waking up next to his girlfriend Misty on the wedding day of Tala (Camila Mendes) and Abe (Tyler Hoechlin). At the wedding reception, Nyles delivers a speech, which helps the unprepared maid-of-honor Sarah. Nyles and Sarah end up bonding, especially after Nyles discovers Misty is cheating on him.

Sarah is unaware of the time-loop. Meanwhile, Nyles knows what’s going on so he tries to guide her through this irritating experience, while not being completely up-front about everything.

Yes, there have been quite a few movies with this plot. But, none capture the perfected combination of laughter and tear-jerking moments like this one. Perfect for a date-night.

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Have you seen any of these movies? Which will you watch first? Did we miss any great new films released in 2020 that should be added to this list?