The year 2020 has been quite a whirlwind for the world of film. But with cinemas closed, there was a saving grace: Netflix. With the platform’s content continually changing, though, it’s been hard to keep track of popular movies.
So, get ready for some Chadwick Boseman, Marky Mark, Rachel McAdams, and everyone in between; we’re about to give you a quick recap of some of the most popular films released to Netflix so far this year.
Da 5 Bloods
It’s no wonder Spike Lee’s action drama Da 5 Bloods became one of the most popular films on Netflix this year. It follows the story of four Vietnam veterans who return to the country in search of the body of their fallen squad leader and some gold they left behind.
Digging into the relationship and racial tensions between the Vietnamese and United States soldiers, the film cuts no corners in showing the good, bad, and the downright ugly side of humanity.
One Netflix documentary that has a lot of people talking is Crip Camp. Following the story of slow activism for the disabled community, the documentary starts with some archival footage of Camp Jened, a camp for disabled teens in 1971.
The film goes on to chronicle the lives of some of the campers as they fight for accessibility legislation and the disability rights movement. It’s a heartwrenching movie that is very insightful and brings the viewer into a world they might otherwise be unfamiliar with.
To some, The Platform isn’t just one of the best films on Netflix this year, but it’s one of the best movies, period. Set in a dystopian future inside a prison tower, the film explores what happens when a table full of food makes its way from Level 1 to the higher levels.
The twist is, the table isn’t replenished. So, higher-level prisoners get crumbs. It’s a story on survival and what humans are capable of doing, with some capable of eating their cellmates.
Circus Of Books
The documentary Circus of Books piqued people’s interest because of the unassuming older couple it follows and their Los Angeles shop of hardcore gay porn. Directed by the couple’s daughter, Rachel Mason, the film explores the shop and how it became a haven for the LGBTQ+ community.
In a way, the documentary is also a historical piece, exploring how the Mason’s went up against first amendment rights during the 70s, fighting for acceptance in their family and within themselves.
Ironically, Miss Americana was way more in-depth than most expected it to be. When the documentary first came to Netflix, many thought it was going to chronicle Taylor Swift’s rise to fame.
No one expected it to be a pseudo origin story of the famous singer and songwriter finding her voice and becoming a feminist. While the documentary does dive into Swift’s songwriting and fame, it more so explores young women standing up to a world that expects them to stay quiet and smile.
First off, Extraction stars Chris Hemsworth, so that’s most likely reason enough this film became so popular. But, real talk, the plot is intense, raw, and action-packed. If you haven’t seen it, the story follows Tyler Rake, a black market hitman hired for an extremely dangerous gig.
The job: the find and save the kidnapped son of one of the world’s most brutal crime lords, who just so happens to be in prison. Of course, in that type of underworld, nothing goes as planned.
To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You
One of the highly-anticipated films of 2020 also became one of the most popular upon its release. To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You starts where the prequel left off, with Lara Jean Covey in a relationship with Peter.
And while the film is a high school rom-com, it sets itself apart from the typical teenage drama that comes with new romances because it dives into the emotional headspace and thinking of the lead. If you haven’t seen it, we recommend watching it one night!
With the civil unrest in the United States, the documentary Becoming launched on Netflix at precisely the right time. The film explores the life of Michelle Obama and the frustration and fulfillment of setting aside her career to raise two lovely daughters and, eventually, becoming the First Lady.
The documentary is full of Obama’s heartfelt stories, thoughts of the future, and how she rose from the ashes the press tried to bury her underneath. It’s a film dedicated to her strength, determination, and perseverance through hard times.
The Half Of It
With the coming of age story illustrated in the Netflix film The Half of It, it’s no wonder it received a 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Unlike other high school romances, this movie explores a love triangle between two girls and a guy.
The twist is the shy, demure girl is trying to help the popular jock woo the girl she secretly has a crush on. It’s a comedy-drama about first loves and finding oneself.
The Lovebirds was one of the films to release on Netflix because of the cinema closures this year. As such, it became one of the most popular movies on the streaming platform. And while the chemistry between Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae helped with the film’s reception, the plot didn’t hurt either!
On the brink of breaking up, an ordinary couple finds themselves navigating the criminal underground. Their only goal is to survive the night, and afterward, see if they can fix their relationship.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga
Although parody movies tend to be pretty hit or miss, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga wound up becoming very popular on Netflix. Poking fun at an actual song contest hosted in Europe, the movie follows two musicians as they enter the competition and dream of becoming international pop sensations.
Of course, it helps the film’s appeal that Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams star as the two friends, Lars and Sigrit. This is just one of those movies that you have to see to believe.
With everything that’s happened in 2020, some people found peace watching the quirky romance film Desperados. Ironically, the rom-com became very popular among Netflix subscribers.
After drunkenly sending a rant-filled email to her new boyfriend, Wes drags her friends to Mexico in hopes of deleting the cringe-worthy letter before he reads it. Honestly, with a “girls trip gone wrong” plot, it’s hard not to enjoy the film solely for its entertainment aspect.
One film that has become both popular and a topic of controversy is the Polish movie 365 Days. Think Fifty Shades of Grey but with a guy from the Sicilian Mafia family and a sales representative that gets kidnapped.
The premise of the film is Mafia member Massimo takes hold of Laura, a woman who travels to Sicily to save her failing relationship, and he gives her 365 days to fall in love with him.
Ironically, it took a Marky Mark film to bump the romance film 365 Days from the top slot of Netflix’s “Top 10” list. While Patriots Day pretty much bombed in the box office, it gained the attention of a lot of subscribers when it released on the streaming platform.
The movie follows the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, with Mark Wahlberg playing a police sergeant working alongside the FBI and survivors to find the people responsible.
Considering that The Town was extremely popular when it first came out in 2010, gaining a 93 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s no surprise that it had the same reception in 2020.
Ben Affleck plays Doug MacRay, the leader of a band of bank robbers. But the dynamic of everything changes when one of the robbers takes a hostage who lives in the same neighborhood. Things become more complicated when MacRay falls in love with her. Yea, it’s full of action, suspense, and a whole lot of drama.
The French film Lost Bullet quickly became a favorite among Netflix subscribers. It reminds people of the joy action films can bring when they’re not bogged down by the fluff Hollywood blockbuster plots tend to add.
For example, Lost Bullet follows the story of Lino, a Ram car enthusiast who is framed for a death he doesn’t cause. Now, he has to deal with dirty cops to escape prison time. Direct, clean, and to the point!
Feel The Beat
Everyone loves a good redemption story, so that’s probably why the teen drama Feel the Beat became so popular on Netflix. The film was even able to snag the top spot in the platforms “Top 10” list for a few weeks.
Following the story of April, the movie explores her life as she moves back home to Wisconsin after bombing a very important Broadway audition. Now, with a sour attitude, she teaches New Hope, her town’s dance team. Will April ever make it back to New York? Only one way to find out!
The Last Days Of American Crime
The interesting concept behind the Netflix thriller film The Last Days of American Crime made it a very popular option for people on their movie night. It explores the idea of a signal being transmitted across the country, making it so no crime will ever be committed again.
For the film, three people plan the ultimate heist, wanting to break the law one last time before the “synaptic blocker” is transmitted, making it impossible.
All The Bright Places
One of the earlier releases of 2020 was All the Bright Places, based on a novel of the same name. When the coming of age story was released, it became all the rage on Netflix. Starring Elle Fanning and Justice Smith, the movie explores mental illness, young love, and how little moments in life can have a huge impact.
The film pretty much dives into two teenagers lives, both baring mental and physical scars of their past, and how love can heal. It’s the opposite of how romance movies play out.
Based on the Robert Kolker novel Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery is the Netflix film Lost Girl. Released on March 13, 2020, the mystery movie became wildly popular with subscribers.
Following the story of activist Mari Gilbert, the movie explores one woman’s determination to find her missing daughter. Unfortunately, her investigation leads her to the underground world of female online escorts who are being targeted by a serial killer.