Our Favorite Movies and Music from 2020

The Movies and Music Team picked our favorite releases in music and movies of the past year.

If you are enjoying this feature, check out the team's Movies and Music This Week page for fun recommendations throughout the year.

Here are the highlights of the Best Music releases.

Chilombo by Jhené Aiko  

Jhené Aiko unleashes her fierce inner beast while staying true to her chill R&B style on Chilombo. The soulful vocals, poetic freestyles, raw lyrics, and dreamy instrumentals that have become the singer’s signature are on full display. Chilombo is nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year. -Adrienne

Palo Alto by Thelonious Monk

This recording of Monk performing at Palo Alto High School in 1968 has been unreleased for decades. -Kay

Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers

This was my most listened to album of the year. It's just beautiful. Standout tracks: Chinese Satellite, Moon Song, I Know the End. - Anne

Rejoice by Tony Allen and Hugh Masekela

Two African legends joined together to create this memorable album. South African trumpet and flugelhorn master Hugh Masekela and Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer drummer Tony Allen make joyful music, made poignant by the fact that this was the final studio album for both artists. Masekela died in 2018 and Allen in 2020. -Jeff

Wild Life by Justin Roberts

Justin's 15th (!!) album is full of sweet, soothing songs that tenderly delve into the concerns of parenting little ones. I couldn't help but spin and bop around to Glad You're Here, a lovely dance jam for kids and adults, together. - Tamara

Here are the highlights of the Best DVD/Blu-ray releases.

Deadwater Fell, Season One

Wow. Don't watch this at night, alone. David Tennant plays Tom a physician who along with his wife, a teacher live a idyllic life. After a fire destroys their home, we see that Tom is a man of many secrets. Absorbing, terrifying, and a very suspenseful show. - Terye

Hope Gap

This is not a typical film. It centers around the story of the breakdown of a marriage and how it impacts each individual involved, including the couple's adult son. There are beautiful beach walks and talks, much pain and suffering, but also life-affirming hope and growth. I especially appreciated the son's words at the end of the film. ~Diane

The Irishman

An epic telling of the rise of a hitman and his association with labor leader Jimmy Hoffa. It's like a summation of Martin Scorsese's career in one vast, entertaining film with a cast that reflects some of his greatest collaborations. This is beautifully presented by Criterion with loads of fascinating behind the scenes extras and interviews. A great film experience! -Don

The Plot Against America

One of the best mini-series of the year, this is a fabulous adaptation of the book by Philip Roth, which depicts an alternative history in which Franklin D. Roosevelt is defeated in the presidential election of 1940 by Charles Lindbergh. It's so subtle and nuanced, which makes it totally believable. Who wouldn't vote for a dashing American hero whose campaign slogan is "Vote for Lindbergh, or Vote for War"? The very plausible plot is inspired by actual historical events, and is told from the point of view of Philip Roth himself, as a child growing up in Newark, New Jersey. - Debra

Uncut Gems

I have way more respect for Adam Sandler after watching this film, he is amazing in it! I won't give anything away, just watch it please. The Safdie brothers (directors) get me excited about movies again. -RL

SCCLD Movies and Music Team: Best Music of 2020

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SCCLD Movies and Music Team: Best DVD/Blu-Ray Releases of 2020

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