Friday, January 7, 2022

My Favourite Movies and Television of 2021

We're wrapping up 2021 and getting excited about 2022 this week on the blog! Yesterday I shared my favourite reads of  2021 and today I am sharing my favourite movies and television.

These are in no particular order (as that would be impossible). I also haven't seen a few movies that have come out this year yet (like King Richard for example) so those will be on next year's list if they make my personal list of favourites.

This is going to be a mix of newer releases and old as the only criteria I had for making this list was that it was a new watch for me this year.

Here is my favourite movies of 2021 list:

1. Promising Young Woman

I watched this in January of 2021 and immediately predicted that it would be my favourite movie of the year and that prediction mostly remained true. Carey Mulligan's performance is incredible and that ending seared itself into my brain. A hard movie to watch at times, but its message is one that I felt deeply. I cannot wait to see what Emerald Fennell writes next. 

2. tick, tick .... BOOM!

This was the year of the musical and Lin Manuel Miranda's directorial debut is high on my list of favourites from this year. Andrew Garfield's performance is transformative. He embodies Jonathan Larson so perfectly that is it mesmerizing. It's a love letter to artists and creativity along with a tribute to someone whose influence on theatre is still felt today.

3. West Side Story 

Another impressive adaptation of a Broadway musical that surpassed my expectations. It's music is infectious and it felt like watching an old Hollywood classic. It boasts two of my favourite supporting performances of the year in Ariana DeBose as Anita and Mike Faist as Riff. Both are mesmerizing on screen and impossible to look away from. It's the rare movie that I immediately wanted to watch again as soon as it was over. 

4. Rope

I dived into a lot of older movies during the pandemic and started to expand my Hitchcock education along the way. I have also discovered a love for Jimmy Stewart who is excellent in this movie. It is loosely based on the real life murder of Robert Franks. It's a taunt thriller that really impressed me. It's one of my favourite Hitchcock movies after Rear Window and Psycho.

5. Mass

A movie drive by it's four outstanding performance. Ann Dowd, Martha Plimpton, Jason Issacs, and Reed Birney all give breathtaking performances in this sometimes hard to watch movie about grief. Its synopsis is sparse - Two couples meet for a painful and raw conversation in the aftermath of a violent tragedy. - but succinctly details what it is about. A heart wrenching look at the aftermath and pain of a school shooting that has stayed with me long after I watched the film. 

6. Judas and the Black Messiah

This movie boasts an Oscar winning performance from Daniel Kaluuya but that is not the only reason to watch this movie. It has an excellent cast overall with Lakeith Stanfield and Jesse Plemmons giving just some of the strong performances in this film. Those not familiar with Fred Hampton's story are in for a thought provoking and captivating watch.

7. The Power of the Dog

Jane Campion's look at toxic masculinity is one of the year's best movies. Benedict Cumberbatch gives a compelling performance in this movie. He is missed cast and that is part of why I think his performance works because his character feels like he is wearing a mask which is a large part of this movie. Kodi Smith-McPhee gives another of my favourite supporting performances. It's ending is what made this one resonate with me and is also what made me want to immediately watch it again.

8. C'mon C'mon

This quite, but powerful, little movie boasts one of my favourite Joaquin Phoenix performances (it may be my favourite after Joker). It looks at the delights and frustrations of parenthood and introduces a new young talent in Woody Norman. This one is incredibly sweet, sometimes sad, but all together wonderful. 

9. 78/52

The only documentary to make my list this year. This is a deep dive into the shower scene from the film Psycho. It examines the impact this one scene had on Hollywood and deconstructs its layers to analyze why it has such an impact on audiences. I could listen to smart people talk about movies all day and this combined with it being about a scene from one of my favourite films made me love it even more.

10. Free Guy

Who doesn't love a good popcorn movie? Those big summer blockbusters that are best enjoyed in an air conditioned movie theatre with an absurd amount of popcorn. Free Guy is absolutely this, but it also has a lot of heart. I, personally, was charmed by the love story in this one and definitely cheered at some of the fun surprises it has in store. It made me list because it was entertaining, and touching.

My television list is going to be much shorter compared to my movie list. It's only going to consist of five shows. There is A LOT of TV that I have not watched so many if your faves may be missing. Please let me recommendations in the comments for ones I have to catch up on.

Here is my television shows of 2021 list:

1. Succession (season 3)

2. Mare of Easttown 

3. Only Murders in the Building

4. Yellowjackets

5. All of the Marvel television shows (WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, Hawkeye)

What movies and television make your Best of 2020 list? Let me know which ones I need to check out in the comments below.

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