It’s become a tradition for me to call out an additional 25 strong films from every year, and since there was plenty more good stuff that didn’t make it into my Top Ten for 2020, I’m carrying on with it.
Nearly all of the following films have some political or sociological importance. I didn’t do that on purpose — it’s just what resonated with me this year. The reality we lived in during 2020 was so extreme, it often felt like a dystopic movie. The figureheads charged with ensuring our safety were so untruthful, so I sought truth in fiction. Things have gone seriously haywire when the movies tell us more about what’s going on in the world than our government will, but this was not entirely new in 2020. It was just worse than before.
As I noted in my Top Ten write-up, it was a sad year for movies, too, with productions halted, release dates abandoned, theaters shuttered, and a couple major studios betraying the medium that built them in the first place. The good films that did rise out of the ashes of 2020 were a lifeline. Cinema is just about the only thing that got me through a tough year. I can’t claim it was escapism, but these are the films that brought me joy — even if, in the case of many, it was through the sorrow, rage, or fear felt by their characters — and helped me feel connected to something beautiful, something human, when I otherwise couldn’t in real life.
25. TOTALLY UNDER CONTROL
Ugh. Where to start? Totally Under Control is not essential viewing for anyone who’s been watching the news. (The real news.) There are no bombshell revelations for sane, reasonably informed Americans who survived 2020. We’ve lived and breathed this story since last March, and it’s still ongoing. Filmed in secret, Alex Gibney’s doc was released in October, timed to inform the public of just how badly Trump fucked up the United States’ response to COVID-19 ahead of the election. Most of us who watched it were already well aware, and some of the biggest developments in this story — like Trump’s own bout with the virus — happened too late to make it into the film.
But it is essential that this film was made, and made now, if only to capture the truth while it’s fresh for future posterity. (To say nothing of the entirely separate investigative doc we’ll need to unravel just the first week of 2021.) Scientists and government insiders give testament to exactly how Trump’s cronies bungled early measures for containment of the virus, and how Trump’s ego then took precedence over saving lives once the spread had begun. Especially enlightening, for me, was the eyewitness account of just how useless and ill-conceived Kushner’s “task force” was from a young volunteer.
Effectively, Totally Under Control is a tale of two countries, cutting to South Korea as a frequent counterpoint to illuminate just how differently the outbreak could have gone in the United States. Trump and his slimy stooges have the blood of hundreds of thousands of Americans on their hands now — and the body count is climbing fast, lost not to disease, but to incompetence and sycophancy.
It’s understandable for a doc that covers such a massive topic to have one shortcoming. Totally Under Control shortchanges the disease itself, with little coverage of the individual victims who became casualties of Trump’s malfeasance. 76 Days, another excellent doc, makes for a good double feature, depicting the virus’ early days ravaging Wuhan, focusing entirely on scared, ailing patients and the doctors and nurses tirelessly treating them. Most Americans still haven’t reckoned with the massive amount of suffering and loss we’ve faced. That’s a lot to ask, but when they’re ready, these films will be here to speak truth to tragedy.
This is one film I have no qualms about spoiling — the bad guy gets away with it in the end.
24. RED, WHITE AND BLUE
Steve McQueen’s Small Axe collection is a marvel. Each individual film is good to great on its own, but they also build on each other to say more than any one film ever could. After the rousing courtroom drama of Mangrove and the fly-on-the-wall dance party of Lovers Rock, Red, White And Blue comes third and right in the middle of the five film series, and is probably the best representation of the scope of the collection as a whole. It brings the personal and political together into one true story about Leroy Logan, the scientist turned police officer who served as a pioneer for Black law enforcement in London — which was no picnic in the 1980s.
Small Axe is also unique in the way it gives major roles to incredible but little-known actors, as well as a couple who participated in some of the biggest blockbusters of all time. Star Wars’ John Boyega is the collection’s biggest star, and delivers arguably its most compelling lead performance. Boyega, who was a notable participant in Black Lives Matter protests over the summer, channels his fearless charisma into the role of the conflicted officer, who discovers that the quick transformation he envisioned for this racist institution is a fantasy. Change is slow. Change is hard. And change is not guaranteed.
Ultimately, though, Logan knows that nothing will change unless someone changes it, and white racist cops aren’t going to do it themselves. This isn’t a story of triumph against the system. It’s a story of standing up against it anyway, knowing that a kind of triumph may come… someday. Decades later, we’re still waiting.
23. BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS
You’ve probably seen a movie bad enough to make you wonder: “Was everybody drunk when they made this?” In Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets, the answer is yes — but that’s the point.
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets could easily be mistaken for a documentary about the night a dive bar in Las Vegas shutters its doors for good. But it’s actually a fiction film, shot in a bar in New Orleans that was still open when the film hit Sundance last winter. Many of the actors play versions of themselves, much of the drinking is real, and most of the story and dialogue are improvised. The film was shot the day after Donald Trump’s election, which led to many heated exchanges and heartfelt discussions. The election itself is barely mentioned, but the emotions he provoked in this largely nonprofessional cast remain to fuel the drama.
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets somewhat sneakily played as a doc at Sundance — yet another example of the hybridization between fact and fiction and different formats we’ve seen increasingly over the years. Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross’ unique narrative is a slice of all-walks-of-life Americana, perhaps best summed up in three words: “America gets drunk.” It contains all the rage, glee, tragedy, intoxicated wisdom, misplaced pride, and old lady tits you might expect from such a premise, and it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen. “I fuck well and I do shit!” is its mantra, and at this point, it may as well be our national anthem, too.
22. THE KILLING OF TWO LOVERS
Where do you draw the line between a toxic male and a regular one? The moment we meet Clayne Crawford’s Dave, we’re afraid of him. We know he’s capable of doing something very bad. We know he’s contemplated it. But if he never actually crosses that line, is he a bad man, or a good one?
Dave and his wife have separated. They live in separate homes in the same small Utah town, and they’ve agreed to see other people. But Dave is having trouble moving on. There’s clearly still some love left in this marriage, and the kids want their parents to stay together. Based on what we know about Dave, though, your mileage may vary in how much you want to see him restored as father, husband, and head of household.
Under The Killing of Two Lovers‘ aesthetic, a long shot of a family walking out of a hardware store is unbearably tense. The unnerving sound design lets us know doom is never far, even as we observe fairly mundane family activities — usually from a jarring remove, but occasionally too close for comfort. The film’s structure reverses our expectations of a tale of love on the rocks — beginning in a dark, climactic moment and then moving out toward the light (though the undercurrent of dread never leaves us). Robert Machoian neatly subverts expectations, reframing our assumptions about the kind of story we’ve been watching in a Sopranos finale sort of way. Violence is brutal, and often final — but its absence can leave a lingering question in the air that is, ultimately, even more unsettling.
21. ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI…
The setup is almost too good to be true. One night in Miami in February 1964, Muhammad Ali, Sam Cooke, Jim Brown, and Malcolm X met at a hotel. Kemp Powers, who wrote the 2013 play, takes liberties with what truly happened there, and of course what was said. In his eyes, One Night In Miami becomes a clash of the titans — a battle of philosophies and ideas between some of the most famous Black men of their day.
Malcolm X is rigid and disciplined in his beliefs, always putting the advancement of his people first. He believes that only radical, aggressive action can change America. Sam Cooke makes music that is soothing and digestible to white ears. He thinks change is more likely to come from the inside out. All these men had to make compromises to become household names in a severely racist country, which at this point still permitted discrimination and segregation ahead of the Civil Rights Act that passed later that year. One Night In Miami understands that neither of these men are wrong. It took both subtle and radical acts to change these laws. All four men had their place in history, not just as celebrities, but as agents of change, regardless of how much or how little they openly fought for it.
Regina King’s directorial debut announces her as a major talent behind the camera, long after she’s proved herself as one of our most dynamic performers in front. It’s unlikely that the conversations that took place on this February evening in 1964 actually went this way. One Night In Miami takes the opportunity of this history to delve into each man’s psychology — how it is alike and how it differs from the three other famous men in this hotel room — getting at the essence of who each of these legends is in the space of a couple of hours. It’s a fascinating examination of the intersection of sports, music, and politics and how they paved the way for change — the change that happened, and the change that’s yet to come.
20. SORRY WE MISSED YOU
Here’s a movie you aren’t ever likely to find streaming freely on Amazon Prime. Ken Loach’s quietly seething family drama follows Ricky (Kris Hitchen), a delivery driver who is increasingly screwed by the big, unidentified corporation he works for. (Hint: it’s definitely conjures up notions of Amazon in your mind.) Ricky is considered “self-employed” so he has no protections or benefits of a full-time position. He needs to use part of his earnings to rent his van from his own employer. But he’s still subject to all the same arbitrary abuses of a corporate gig — unpaid overtime, a micromanaging superior, and the inability to take time off work for family emergencies.
Kris and his wife Abbie (Debbie Honeywood), an equally frazzled home care nurse, work themselves to the bone just to make ends meet, without the time, energy, or resources to stop their troubled son from spiraling down a path that will lead him to the same economic limitations in adulthood. Sorry We Missed You suggests a pattern — working class parents are so exploited, they never have a chance to save their kids from the same fate. The final moments strike a perfectly unsatisfying note for a world in which there is no easy out for those living paycheck to paycheck. That ship never comes in. It never ends. Along with 2018’s similarly titled but very differently toned Sorry To Bother You, Sorry We Missed You is a humanist screed against capitalist abuses of the working class.
19. MISS JUNETEENTH
Miss Juneteenth pairs nicely with Sorry We Missed You, both representations of parents struggling to make ends meet to better their children’s lives. It tells a familiar story in its broadest beats — a mother, pushing her daughter to follow in her footsteps by competing in a pageant — like the most heartfelt episode of Dance Moms ever. But Channing Godfrey Peoples’ luminous drama adds so much context to what could be arch or frivolous, grounding this story in an honest and lived-in Black working class experience that raises the stakes. The Miss Juneteenth crown isn’t just an ego stroke for the young teen girl — it’s a way
Turquoise Jones (Nicole Beharie) was crowned Miss Juneteenth as a teen, receiving the scholarship award that came with that distinction. But she never used it — she had her daughter instead. Now, she wants to see Kai (Alexis Chikaeze) take the prize and broaden her own opportunities. Kai wants to make her mother proud, but it’s clear her heart isn’t in this staid, antiquated vision of a what a Black “lady” should be. Turquoise insists that Kai’s talent be a reading of a Maya Angelou poem. It’s a great poem, if a slightly predictable one. It’s clear to us — but not yet to Turquoise — that Kai won’t win by merely parroting her mother’s past success. She must find her own path.
Peoples gives equal weight to both the mother’s and daughter’s perspectives, and comes up with a heartfelt and fully satisfying conclusion — one of the best, most genuinely “feel good” endings of the year. Miss Juneteenth reinvigorates the often tired family drama genre the same way Support The Girls livened up the workplace comedy a couple years ago, with Channing Godfrey Peoples emerging as one of the year’s most promising new auteurs.
18. MARTIN EDEN
Socialism got a little more love in the movies this year than it usually does — though, of course, it was in stories about how it is thwarted instead of how it thrives. Mank showed how Hearst and Hollywood conspired to sink Upton Sinclair’s 1934 gubernatorial run, fooling the working class into turning against the candidate pledging to improve their lives the most. (Sound familiar?)
Martin Eden takes place in Italy, dealing with Italian political and class divides, but it was based on the novel by American Jack London, so its central battle between individual ambition and collective is good resonates just as well stateside. As the title character, Luca Marinelli is magnetic — and then, ultimately, repulsive — as an illiterate sailor determined to join the bourgeois. The beauty of the filmmaking almost couches his toxicity. We watch an idealistic, if naive, young man decay from the inside out as he chases fame, status, and glory — his personal relationships always coming in last. Martin Eden is driven to stand out. He can’t stand the thought of socialism, because he’d never admit that he has anything in common with the masses.
Pietro Marcello’s filmmaking is lush and hypnotic but also slippery, seeming to take place in multiple different decades at once. Improbably, Martin Eden also has the same final shot as Feels Good Man, uniting an adaptation of a 111 year old novel and a modern documentary about an alt right-appropriated cartoon frog, both of whom swim toward a sunset and an unknown future.
If you expected me to select only one European, black-and-white, human-free documentary for my “Best Of” picks this year, you were mistaken. I guess I’m feeling extra pretentious this year. Gunda is ever-so-slightly more accessible than Last And First Men, since it features cute farm animals instead of austere monuments and an extinction narrative.
But Gunda is no picnic, either. The Viktor Kossakovsky-helmed doc, produced by outspoken lifelong vegan Joaquin Phoenix, follows a family of pigs from birth to bacon, with barnyard cameos from cows and chickens thrown in for good measure. The conceit is somewhat manipulative, rigged to make audiences feel bad about consuming animal products. Given that, though, the film is rather restrained — I was expecting it to conclude in some Lars Von Trier-style misery and carnage, surprised to discover that the inherent drama in the lives of these animals was more than enough for the feature-length doc to have an arc. There are thousands of tragedies unfolding every day in the animal world — and we’re the villains. Many family films have reminded us of this, but it hits a little different in a documentary.
Do I feel like a hypocrite singing Gunda‘s praises, while still wanting to make a meal of its stars? Maybe! Gunda‘s visuals are impossibly gorgeous, the conclusion truly heartbreaking. It may not be enough to make you forego meat, but at least you’ll be better acquainted with your dinner.
What do you get when you cross keenly observed geopolitical commentary with Quentin Tarantino-style revenge-violence? Not The Hunt, Craig Zobel’s doomed horror comedy, which abandoned its September 2019 release date in the wake of two mass shootings, only to choose Friday, March 13, 2020 for its ill-fated debut — landing in theaters just as they began to shut down nationwide as the pandemic spread. The Hunt is engaging in fits and starts but sloppily told, going more for easy jabs at liberals than searing social critique about our deadly national divide.
Bacurau, on the other hand, unfolds with expert precision, slowly building up a mystery around the titular small town in rural Brazil, letting us come to know and care about its citizens, and ultimately showing how these resilient citizens fight back against literally being wiped off the map. Inherent in this is a critique of the first world, and the way it exploits or abuses developing nations for its own material pleasures — expounding on the themes that made last year’s Parasite resonate across the world.
Directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles, Bacurau is one of the most unique thrillers to come along in years. It does contain moments of shocking depravity and violence — that’s to be expected — but it’s the heart that makes it something special, something lacking in most brutal genre pics. I can’t remember the last time a bloody ending felt so triumphant.
Some films are so tangibly made with love, warmth practically radiates out of the screen. Lee Isaac Chung’s semi-autobiographical drama follows first generation Korean-American immigrants on a move from America’s West Coast to a farm in a rural Arkansas. The father, Jacob (Steven Yuen), is determined to make his vision of the American dream work, even though he doesn’t know all that much about farming. His wife, Monica (Han Ye-ri), has serious reservations about the sacrifices they’re making.
Monica’s mother Soon-ja (Young Yuh-jung) soon travels from Korea to join the Yi clan, instantly shaking up the family dynamic with her playful presence. The Yi kids aren’t necessarily too fond of this old woman who comes from another generation and, in their eyes, another world. But it’s just as important to hold onto the past as to move forward. Some of us want to abandon everything and rush toward an unknown future; others want everything to stay the same, too fearful to move ahead at all. Balance must be struck between change and tradition, the future and the past. Life will forge onward, but not without major assistance from the history that came before.
Minari is one of those films that, on the surface, isn’t about much, and turns out to be about everything, a subtle but powerful meditation on family, generations, immigration, class, and the forgotten heart of the American dream that privileged white Americans have long taken for granted. It builds to a quietly explosive finale that beautifully brings all of these themes back home.
14. BAD EDUCATION
One of the films at the forefront of the “is it TV, or is it a movie?” debate this year is Bad Education, which debuted at film festivals just like other films, but was released on HBO instead of Netflix or Amazon Prime, making Hugh Jackman eligible for an Emmy instead of an Oscar. But since there’s really no distinction this year, it’s a shame Jackman won’t get his due from the Academy for what is likely his strongest performance to date. In Bad Education, he’s Frank Tassone, beloved superintendent of a tony Long Island high school. He’s one of those administrators who forges meaningful relationships with both parents and students, knowing just how to deal with each and every concern that crosses his desk. He’s more politician than educator — but a damn good one. Except for the fact that he might also be embezzling millions from the place.
Frank’s crass but lovable sidekick Pam (Allison Janney) is the first to go down, carelessly skimming from funds meant to enrich the lives of the students, not the staff. (Janney is a hoot in villain mode, as always.) But Frank, who is covertly living with his male partner and also carrying on an affair with former student Kyle (Rafael Casal), is a slicker shark, with layers of repressed tragedy behind his sick, self-serving scheme. Deliciously, it’s Rachel (Geraldine Viswanathan), a shrewd reporter from the school paper, who plays detective and uncovers her superiors’ grossly overlooked crimes.
Bad Education is based on a real scandal but, naturally, also conjures memories of an even more sensational educational plot involving Laurie Loughlin and Felicity Huffman. It’s astounding that our education system has become subject to the same greed and corruption as our corporations — but then again, in America, it’s really not surprising.
13. COME TO DADDY
In my intro, I said nearly every one of these films had some sociological or political importance. And now I am proud to present… the exception.
Every year there’s one “just for fun” film I adore that nobody else seems to groove with. This year, that’s Come To Daddy. Elijah Wood plays Norval, a poser musician visiting his long lost father on the Oregon coast. The reunion is tense, to put it mildly. The “daddy” in question is a grizzled, violent old alcoholic harboring a dark secret; he’s played to perfection by Stephen McHattie. This is a man most of us would hesitate to spend five minutes alone in a room with, let alone share DNA with. Wood, too, is perfect as the wide-eyed and rather pathetic son, a privileged wannabe DJ who claims to be so tight with Elton John that he calls him “Reggie.” It turns out neither of these men is being entirely honest.
Ant Timpson’s violent horror comedy has twists upon twists upon twists, which I can’t speak of without spoiling the pleasure of watching the film. It swerves so often that by the end, you feel like you’ve seen four or five great macabre short films instead of one movie. It all comes together rather beautifully in the end, though, with a deranged outlook on exactly how far apples do fall from trees. Like father, like son, huh? Try as we might to defy nature and expectations, we all end up emulating our parents more than we’d like.
12. THE FATHER
“Who, exactly, am I?”
It was a pretty masculine year at the movies, judging by the titles. Three films in my Top Ten had the word “man” or “men” in the title, and two more have men’s names in them. Then there’s the twin patriarchal shout-outs in Come To Daddy and The Father, two very different approaches to strained parent-child relationships.
Florian Zeller’s adaptation of his play translates remarkably well to the screen, putting us in the mind of an elderly man contending with Alzheimer’s. The approach conveys his experience so expertly, The Father ends up being best described as a horror film about aging. A stirring performance from Anthony Hopkins anchors it all, revealing a more vulnerable side of the stately performer than we usually see. Olivia Colman is also superb as his loving but increasingly desperate daughter, caught between her responsibility to her father and her desire to carry on with her own adult life.
Everyone, at some point, watches loved ones contend with this sort of deterioration. The Father will be especially relatable to anyone who’s had firsthand experience with a parent or grandparent’s dementia. But in a year that was taxing on everyone’s mental health, there’s a little something extra (scary) to identify with in Zeller’s humanist drama. For many in 2020, the world around us became foreign and frightening. People we thought we knew became strangers. If you’re like me, you feel like you’ve aged a couple decades just this year. The Father is an expression of the dismaying decay we’ve all felt creeping up on us this year, while also doing more, perhaps, to empathize with the elderly than the movies have ever done.
We spent more time at home in 2020 than ever had, or would ever choose to. Maybe that’s why the idea of “home” resonated through many of the year’s strongest films in a variety of ways, from the menacing mansion of The Nest to the upper-crust claustrophobia of Swallow, from the house party that serves as sanctuary in Lovers Rock to a home found on America’s open road in Nomadland, from the hometown defense of Bacurau to the redefinition of the American dream on an Arkansas farm in Minari, from the worn and fracturing family in Sorry We Missed You to the displaced dad in The Killing Of Two Lovers, from the sci-fi horror twist on domestic abuse in The Invisible Man to the bizarre, brutal homecoming of Come To Daddy. The Father, in particular, struck me in its depiction of the home becoming a place of solace to a place of menace. Home is a place to return to, but when you never leave, it’s more like a prison. What happens when you lose that anchor? When the faces and places you turned to for comfort are no longer comforting? Through expert writing and staging, Zeller conveys the feeling of the familiar becoming alien, of real life becoming horror, of home turned upside-down.
11. AND THEN WE DANCED
“There is no room for weakness.”
The world of dance has always been a compelling backdrop for screen drama, from The Red Shoes to Showgirls and everything in between — including last year’s drugged up dance party in Climax, one of my favorite films of 2019. Dance is a way for characters to express strong emotions without saying word. Of course, these stories tend to be female-centric — with notable exceptions, like Footloose and Magic Mike, focused on heterosexual stories. And Then We Danced is the gay dance romance I didn’t know I needed until it was here — though it’s a good deal less sensational than you might think, from that description, focused not on ballet or modern dance or stripping, like those other films, but on a kind of dance few of us are familiar with.
Merab has spent his whole life training to be a part of the National Georgian Ensemble. He’s a dancer, but this is traditional dance rooted in Georgia’s conservative values, so he must still keep his sexuality hidden from the company, his hooligan brother, and his frustrated partner, the only person who seems to be waking up to the fact that he’s gay. Merab’s life is upended by the arrival of Irakli, who effortlessly embodies the more masculine affect Merab is constantly berated for lacking. This creates a Black Swan-like dynamic, with Merab both attracted to and jealous of the charismatic new dancer.
As Merab, Levan Gelbakhiani conveys this complicated attraction without a word, since these feelings are not to be spoken of in his world. Bachi Valishvili’s alluring, is-he-or-isn’t-he charisma makes Irakli a captivating, ever-so-slightly dangerous foil. Together, the will-they-or-won’t-they chemistry is off the charts. “There is no room for weakness,” Merab’s instructor admonishes, insinuating that Merab’s more fluid femininity is inherently weaker than Irakli’s masculinity. But that’s wrong, of course. It takes more strength for Merab to be himself than it does to adhere to societal norms and traditional values. These men are afraid. Merab, ultimately, is not.
And Then We Danced is a window into a corner of the world most of us know nothing about, with rousing Robyn and Abba pop numbers plus plenty of traditional Georgian dancing. It culminates at Merab’s audition, his final dance a joyous celebration of individuality and inner strength. Levan Akin’s moving drama explores the pain of living in a society that won’t accept you for who you are, and finding the courage to be that anyway — even if it’s not until you’re on your way out the door. In a year of being stuck at home, perhaps it’s fitting that a film that’s ultimately about leaving home resonated most. Merab must let go of the familiar, the traditional, if he is ever to truly express himself in a repressive culture. Maybe we’ll all get back to following his lead someday.
Here is every 2020 film I saw, ranked.
More on the Top Ten here.
- The Invisible Man
- The Nest
- Feels Good Man
- Lovers Rock
- The Hater
- Matthias & Maxime
- Last And First Men
- And Then We Danced
- The Father
- Come To Daddy
- Bad Education
- Martin Eden
- Miss Juneteenth
- Sorry We Missed You
- One Night In Miami
- The Killing Of Two Lovers
- Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets
- Red, White And Blue
- Totally Under Control
- Let Them All Talk
- Summer Of 85
- Boys State
- Never Rarely Sometimes Always
- Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
- 76 Days
- Da 5 Bloods
- Two Of Us
- Welcome To Chechnya
- Yes, God, Yes
- Corpus Christi
- Mogul Mowgli
- The King Of Staten Island
- My Prince Edward
- Another Round
- The 40-Year-Old Version
- She Dies Tomorrow
- My Donkey, My Lover & I
- Black Bear
- True History Of The Kelly Gang
- The Devil All The Time
- Night Of The Kings
- The Last Thing He Wanted
- Young Ahmed
- I’m Thinking Of Ending Things
- I Carry You With Me
- Crip Camp
- Alex Wheatle
- Moving On
- On The Rocks
- Pink Skies Ahead
- Lost Girls
- Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
- Happiest Season
- First Cow
- John Lewis: Good Trouble
- The Assistant
- Sound Of Metal
- Palm Springs
- Color Out Of Space
- Uncle Frank
- The Trial Of The Chicago 7
- The Hunt
- Nobody Knows I’m Here
- I’m No Longer Here
- Story Game
- System Crasher
- Voices In The Wind
- Last Ferry
- The Platform
- Hillbilly Elegy