My Favorites of 2020

Like so many of you, I spent countless hours these past nine excruciating months locked inside my home, consuming music, reading and watching too many shows. I’m really not a big fan of these “best of” lists (I don’t believe art ought to be judged), but of all the arts entertainment (or edutainment as KRS-One would say) I consumed, here’s what helped me most in wading through the muddied waters of 2020.


Mangrove, directed by Steve McQueen, co-written with Alastair Siddons.

Dick Johnson is Dead, directed by Kirsten Johnson and co-written with Nels Bangerter.

The Assistant, directed and written by Kitty Green.

My Octopus Teacher, written and directed by Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed.

Driveways, directed by Andrew Ahn, written by Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen.

The Public Trust, directed by David Byars.


We Are Who We Are, created by Sean Conway, Paolo Giordano, and Luca Guadagnino

I Know This Much is True, directed by Derek Cianfrance, created with Anya Epstein and Wally Lamb.

Immigration Nation, directed by Christina Clusiau.

Better Call Saul (season 5), created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould.

Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children, directed by Maro Chermayeff and Sam Pollard.


Fiona Apple, Fetch the Bolt Cutters (Epic)

Khruangbin, Mordechai (Dead Oceans)

Nas, King’s Disease (Mass Appeal Records)

Mapache, From Liberty Street (Yep Roc)

Kevin Morby, Sundowner (Dead Oceans)

Gillian Welch, Boots 2: The Lost Songs (Acony Records)


We Still Here: Pandemic, Policing, Protest, and Possibility, by Marc Lamont Hill (Haymarket Books)

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982, by Cho Nam-Joo (released in English this year) (Liveright)

Desert Oracle: Volume 1: Strange True Tales from the American Southwest, by Ken Layne (MCD)

The Apocalypse Factory: Plutonium and the Making of the Atomic Age, by Steve Olson (Norton)

The Corona Crash: How the Pandemic Will Change Capitalism, by Grace Blakeley (Verso)

The Green New Deal and Beyond: Ending the Climate Emergency While We Still Can, by Stan Cox (City Lights)

JOSHUA FRANK is the managing editor of CounterPunch. He is the author of the new book, Atomic Days: The Untold Story of the Most Toxic Place in America, published by Haymarket Books. He can be reached at You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank.