DISCLAIMER: These are movies that i have seen in the calendar year 2021. These movies can be from ANY YEAR. The only criteria is that I saw them in the calendar year 2021. This list is as of 12/14/21, so I may change this if I see something else this year that really tickles my fancy.


Boys State (2020)

Director: Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss
Writers: Gen Urobuchi, Sadayuki Murai, Yusuke Kozaki
Staring: Mamoru Miyano, Takahiro Sakurai, Kana Hanazawa
Streaming: Apple TV+
Release Date: August 14, 2020

I will reiterate what I said in my review. How the hell was Boys State not nominated for an Oscar?

Boys State is both an uplifting and depressing movie. It shines an honest light on politics and how our opinions on it are often shaped at a young age. There are those who are inspired and there are those who are depraved. There are those who are compromising and there are those who are ruthless.

The political climate of brashness and over-the-top gestures to appease the masses is in the minds of the young politicians that took part in this camp. It starts early and festers. It is a popularity process. And none of that has changed.

FULL REVIEW


Brokeback Mountain (2005)

“Ennis and Jack are two shepherds who develop a sexual and emotional relationship. Their relationship becomes complicated when both of them get married to their respective girlfriends.”

Director: Ang Lee
Writers: Annie Proulx, Larry McCurtry, Dianna Ossana
Staring: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams
Streaming: Peacock
Release Date: January 13, 2006

Rip my heart out and serve it up to me on a silver platter. Brokeback Mountain sent me down a spiral of sadness and had me weeping on the train into work. This movie is one of the best love stories of all time.

The performances of Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal are both exquisite and the disappointment in Michelle Williams performance is also worth rewarding. They take a already sappy script and add even more heartbreak and feeling.

This is by far the best Ang Lee movie I have ever seen.

FULL RELEASE


Dune

“Feature adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel, about the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.”

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writers: Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, Eric Roth, Frank Herbert
Staring: Timothée Chalamet, Rebeccau Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, Stellan Skarsgård, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, David Dastmalchian
Where To Watch: Theaters & HBO Max
Release Date: October 21, 2021

When I first made this list I forgot to include Dune and that is a MAJOR mistake by me. How could I not include the movie that I was looking forward too for years and still managed to exceed expectations??

Dune is epic, and maybe my favorite part of it was getting to watch it with my girlfriend and getting to explain the fore, the after, the differences and the important stuff she needed to know. Dune is the movie I studied for like it was a massive final exam and I had all the fun in the world doing it.

I love Dune. I rewtached scenes after seeing it in theaters and plan on rewatching it when it is back fully on HBO Max. To not have this at first on my list was a MASSIVE mistake. In order to put this one i had to cut out Badlands (1973).

FULL REVIEW


The Fear Street Trilogy (2021)

Part One: 1994, Part Two: 1978, Part THree: 1666

“The Fear Street Trilogy is an American horror film series, with varying sub-genres of horror. Directed by Leigh Janiak from scripts and stories she co-wrote with other contributors, the films are based on R. L. Stine’s book series of the same name. The overall story revolves around teenagers who work to break the curse that has been over their town for hundreds of years.”

Director: Leigh Janiak
Writers: R.L. Stine, Kyle Killen, Phil Graziadei
Staring: Kiana Madeira, Benjamin Flores Jr., Oliva Scott Welch, Ashley Zukerman
Streaming: Netflix
Release Date: July 2021

I love a good time watching the movies and Fear Street was a wonderful time at the movies (or on my couch). Director Leigh Janiak took this project and made it a massive three-part story that was so much fun to consume.

Kiana Madeira is a breakout star from this trilogy, but the real enjoyment of these three movies is how they flow together and how there is not a true weak link amongst the three. People have different interpretations about which ones they like most. For me, it goes like this:

1. Fear Street Part 3
2. Fear Street Part 1
3. Fear Street Part 2


Free Solo (2018)

“Alex Honnold attempts to become the first person to ever free solo climb El Capitan.”

Director: JImmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
Release Date: December 13, 2018
Streaming: Disney+

I know, I know. I am late to the party on Free Solo. But I got there eventually, didn’t I?!

Free Solo is one of, if not the best documentaries I have ever seen. From a story-telling standpoint, to the visual filmmaking, nothing about this film is short of remarkable. Alex Honnold is one of the most interesting characters put to screen I watched in the calendar year 2021; he nonchalantness towards death and ultimate triumph is both inspiring and terrifying. The insight into his personal relationship with Sanni McCandless is heartbreaking, but brutally honest.

Free Solo gets a must-watch stamp from me. I am ashamed it took me so long, but I did get there eventually. Massive congrats to Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Casarhelyi for directing this tour-de-force. I know want to find his latest documentary The Rescue (2021), which is about the rescue of the young soccer team from a flooded cave in Northern Thailand in 2018.

FULL REVIEW


Into The Wild (2007)

“After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life.”

Director: Sean Penn
Writers: Sean Penn, Jon Krakauer
Staring: Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn, Catherine Keener
Streaming: Netflix
Release Date: October 19, 2007

I had NO IDEA Into The Wild was based off a true story. Absolutely no idea. With that being said, Into The Wild is a massive motivational feat. Credit to Emile Hirsch, who I only knew from The Girl Next Door (2007), for giving a performance that made me tear up and sniffle at my job.

FULL REVIEW


King Kong (1933)

“A film crew goes to a tropical island for an exotic location shoot and discovers a colossal ape who takes a shine to their female blonde star. He is then captured and brought back to New York City for public exhibition.”

Directors: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Shoedsack
Writers: James Ashmore Creelman, Ruth Rose, Merian C. Cooper
Staring: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot
Streaming: HBO Max
Release Date: 1933

Everything about this movie is pure delight. While we can watch it now and smile with appreciation and slight humor, one can only imagine the true terror that people felt in 1933. The scene where King Kong breaks into the town and begins killing the villagers by stomping them and eating them…I mean I watch that scene on YouTube on the regular just for fun.

FULL REVIEW


Last Night In Soho (2021)

An aspiring fashion designer is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters a dazzling wannabe singer. But the glamour is not all it appears to be and the dreams of the past start to crack and splinter into something darker.”

Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Edgar Wright, Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Staring: Thomasin McKenzie, Matt Smith, Anya Taylor-Joy, Diana Rigg
Where To Watch: Theaters
Release Date: October 29, 2021

I personally love a genre bending movie, and Last Night In Soho fit the bill for that perfectly. Edgar Wright steps away from the comedy genre and creates a story that is filled with thrills and great performances all around. Thomasin McKenzie, Matt Smith, and Anya Taylor-Joy are all fantastic. The filmmaking techniques that Wright incorporates to emphasis the mirrors and duplicity of the actors enhances the story to one of his best.

As a filler, everyone should listen to Wright’s interview on The Ringer’s The Big Picture podcast. He gave a ton of insight into the movie and detailed how it was over a decade in the making.

FULL REVIEW


Singin’ In The Rain (1952)

A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.

Director: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
Writers: Betty Comden, Adolph Green
Staring: Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen
Release Date: April 11, 1952

There is a reason Singin’ In The Rain is a classic. This is one of the best musicals I have ever seen, if not the best. Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds are all dynamite. The production design is absolutely nuts and the choreography is even more bonkers. Singin’ In The Rain is now in the “all-time classics” for me.

FULL REVIEW


Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

“A bitter middle-aged couple, her derisive of his lowly position at a New England college, ask a new colleague and his wife over for drinks, and use them to fuel anguish and emotional pain toward each other through a distressing night.”

Director: Mike Nichols
Writers: Ernest Lehman, Edward Albee
Staring: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, Sandy Dennis
Streaming: HBO MAX
Release Date: June 22, 1966

You want to see a couple rip each other’s souls out? Then watch Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?.

Elizabeth Taylor is magnetically manic in this movie and Richard Burton is like a blunt axe trying to hack his way into sanity. Scars are left on each others and the audiences psyche as verbal barbs are traded back and forth with reckless abandon. There is a young couple that is caught in the crossfire and they are dealt blows as well.

Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? is one of the crispest, meanest, and most engrossing screenplays I have ever seen.

FULL REVIEW


HONORABLE MENTIONS

M (1931)
King Kong (1933)
Badlands (1973)
Halloween (1978)*
The Blair Witch Project (1999)*
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)*
Midnight In Paris (2011)
Spotlight (2015)*
Burrow (2020)
The Broken Hearts Gallery (2020)
Let Him Go (2020)
The Empty Man (2020)
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020)
Mank (2020)
Pieces Of A Woman (2020)
Sound Of Metal (2020)
All To Well: The Short Film (2021)
Dune (2021)
No Time To Die (2021)
Power Of The Dog (2021)
The Suicide Squad (2021)
Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, And Rage (2021)
Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)

*Rewatch


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