The world finally, carefully – eventually, somewhat – opened back up in 2021. Maybe you didn’t go to the theater as much as you hoped; maybe a few large gatherings were still canceled. And maybe you didn’t buy enough crypto or go to space with a billionaire or get to host Jeopardy! But you surely got to see a few great films, right? The SAGindie staff was lucky enough to do just that – either on those still-too-rare theatrical outings or a comfy binge-watch at home. So that means the continued tradition of year-end lists must commence! Here are SAGindie’s FAVORITE FILMS OF 2021.
In no particular order:
- Summer of Soul
- I Care A Lot
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
- The Harder They Fall
I suspect this list would be different if I had already seen the following, which I expect to love:
- About Endlessness
- All Light, Everywhere
- Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
- The Sparks Brothers
- This is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection
- Wojnarowicz: F*** You, You F***** F***er
New to Me:
- A Man Like EVA
- Cotton Comes to Harlem
- Fish Kill Flea
- Mothra vs. Godzilla
- Pressure Point
- Thomasine & Bushrod
- US Go Home
- Women in Revolt
Favorite films of 2021:
- Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar – #1! Make comedies stupid again!
- Shiva Baby – So stressful! Yet fun?
- I Carry You With Me / Flee – Queer immigrant stories melding narrative and doc storytelling
- The Green Knight – Medieval trippiness
- The Power of the Dog – This one will stick with you
- Blue Bayou – Moving character study
- Mass – A+ acting showcase
- The French Dispatch – Look at Wes with his charming little vignettes
- CODA – Wholesome crowd-pleaser
- I Blame Society / The Beta Test – Hollywood satires that get dark
Favorite classic films I finally saw in 2021:
Here are my top 10 for 2021!
- Tick Tick Boom
- Summer of Soul
- Judas and the Black Messiah
- King Richard
- In the Heights
- How It Ends
- Favorite Non-2021/Classic Movie: Already a Julia Roberts fan, I saw My Best Friend’s Wedding for the first time and its ending is now ranked in my top favorite rom-com/screwball endings.
Favorite Movies of 2021 So Far:
- Benedetta – Lesbian nuns in heat. Oozing stigmata. Swashbuckling Jesus. The Black Death. High end sexploitation fun for the whole family!
- Licorice Pizza – Inexplicably energized, wonderfully overlong, achingly youthful. Thank god for PTA. (Also, Tom Waits!!!)
- Passing – Ravishing and sensual yet claustrophobic and tense. Feels like something old and new at the same time.
- The Power of the Dog – An anti-Western Western rooted in the battle between history versus mythology. Brilliantly made and surprising as hell.
- Summer of Soul – Mind blowing performances woven through with deeply meaningful socio-political context. What a gem.
- Titane – Torturously brilliant and extremely smart. Ballard/Cronenberg’s Crash meets American Psycho meets Rosemary’s Baby in a New French Extremity body horror psychosexual mashup.
- Wojnarowicz – As a longtime Wojnarowicz fan I may be biased, but this is a damn good doc.
- Zola – A harrowing, hysterical, well-crafted gonzo dark comedy with shades of Tangerine, Spring Breakers, Uncut Gems, and After Hours.
Favorite TV Shows of 2021 So Far:
- Dave – I wasn’t sure about this second season at first but it pans out to be pretty damn great if you stick with it.
- Exterminate All the Brutes – Connects all the xenophobic dots with a riveting experimental style. Should be required viewing.
- Small Axe – Soulful filmmaking by a brilliant filmmaker. Regretfully overlooked.
- Succession – Hilarious and harrowing, brilliant on every level. Top 5 favorite shows of all time and it just keeps getting better.
- The Underground Railroad – Harrowing filmmaking by a brilliant filmmaker based on a great book. Regretfully overlooked. Thuso Mbedu should win every acting award.
- The White Lotus – Sharp dark comedy fun.
Older Movies & TV Shows I Saw For the First Time and Loved in 2021:
- Images (Robert Altman)
- I’m Not There (Todd Haynes)
- The Larry Sanders Show (Garry Shandling)
- Lonely Are the Brave (David Miller)
- Ma (Celia Rowlson-Hall)
- Mauvais Sang (Leos Carax)
- My Brother’s Wedding (Charles Burnett)
- Paper Moon (Peter Bogdanovich)
- Songs My Brothers Taught Me (Chloé Zhao)
- Sun Don’t Shine (Amy Seimetz)
WHAT WERE YOUR FAVORITE MOVIES OF 2021?
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