So here we are with the final 2021 movie-related list, except this one doesn’t feature any movies that came out in said year. I know I review new movies and occasionally some older ones on this blog, but in my off time, I spend a fair amount of time trying to discover new films, expand my knowledge of film, and redefine my tastes. Every week or so after dark I plonk myself on the couch to watch a movie, choosing either from the large library that’s available on streaming services or from my own physical collection, either way, I spend about 40 minutes trying to figure out what to watch. Watching a movie just before bed is great, as it’s often a nice relaxing way to finish off my day and it often doesn’t involve any continuous commitment, which is why I rarely ever review TV shows on this blog, let alone ever review a book.
In recent times as I get older, less mature and I’m required to remember more and more things, I’m afraid of forgetting important dates for things, one of which is not knowing exactly when I first watched something. Back in 2020, the pandemic inspired me to create a list of all the new movies I watched within that time frame, which I have now done again for 2021, except this time I felt like sharing what I’ve experienced on this blog. This post won’t be a top 10 or anything, but just more highlighting the particular standouts of each month, from the best to the worst and some of the more oddball films I found in 2021. I won’t go through every film I saw as there are over 100 of them and also it might encourage you to check out the list below and have a laugh at the lame jokes I’ve given for each movie. Hopefully, this proves to be a bit of a fun thing we can do every year, and maybe even some films in here you might want to check out and document yourself for 2022.
A recurring trend you may quickly pick up is there are a lot of 80’s movies on here, with a fair amount of them being rather action or horror-oriented. This is mainly due to my sense of comedy for 2021 was for the 80’s B-movie, dumb, but entertaining schlock. My first 80’s film of the year was Sheena: Queen of the Jungle. A girl Tarzan pretty much, but since she is in Africa, she has to ride on zebras instead of horses. Sheena can also telepathically command an army of animals to trash buildings and viciously murder people. For a while, I’ve had an interest in watching the more obscure comic book movies, and I ended up watching this one sooner, because of the unexpected passing of the film’s main star, Tanya Roberts. Sheena would be the most entertaining film I saw that somehow got away with a PG rating, with the surprising amount of times Sheena ditched her skimpy loincloth in favour of her birthday suit, plus as aforementioned violence, and the villains of the movie have some sort of political motive, about wanting to rule an African village, which is pretty similar to Black Panther’s villain plot.
Sheena was entertainingly silly, but it wasn’t Face/Off. A classic over-the-top action 90’s affair where John Travolta and Nicholas Cage play each other, by taking their faces, Off! It’s a film that just reaffirms my newfound appreciation and love for Nicholas Cage, since seeing his iconic performance in Vampire’s Kiss in 2020. Cage is truly hilarious while playing his villainous character, but when he has to play Travolta’s character he still manages to sneak in his Nic Cageisms that were present in a movie like Vampire’s Kiss. John Travolta was enjoyable too as trying to impersonate Nic Cage, but what ruined it was regardless of who he’s playing he was still pretty creepy around his wife and daughter. As for some of the great movies of January, my favourite was from an actual legit comedy, Spaceballs, the best of Mel Brooks comedies I’ve seen, mainly because I got pretty much all the Sci-Fi movies it was making fun of, which wasn’t the case when I watched Young Frankenstein the following day.
This month is mostly filled with more experimental films, from the weird romance of Natural Born Killers to cat resurrections in Catwoman and any sexual innuendos in Rocky Horror Picture Show. I watch a lot of things with my mother and she suggested we watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which I did enjoy, however, I’m still a little unsure about the whole thing. I like the songs and Tim Curry steals the whole movie as the Sweet Transvestite from Transylvania, but then Meatloaf shows up for a song, and pretty much the entire ending was where it lost me a bit. I enjoyed watching something like Catwoman more as that was just consistently terrible, rather than almost bordering it. I watched Catwoman only because of Halle Berry’s amazing Razzie acceptance speech. That sealed the deal for a movie of being resurrected by cats then given the powers of a cat, which isn’t the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Maybe except for the face cream that gives you super strength, but if you stop applying it, it will make you ugly and this leads to the most unintentionally hilarious death for a major villain in a superhero movie.
I watched some normal movies too, such as Kick-Ass 2, which is the disappointing follow-up to Kick-Ass. Monster is the story of Aileen Wuornos who ends up becoming a serial killer to support her girlfriend. It’s a nice story that builds to tragedy, mainly because of the monster that comes out of our main character as her actions become less and less justifiable by the end of the movie. My favourite film of this month would be Dirty Harry, as it was a solid crime thriller topped off with a badass performance from Clint Eastwood.
March was the month of Scorsese, with the only real competition being The Graduate, (Give me another watch and I’m adding it to the all-time favourite list.) This month had me watching Taxi Driver and The King of the Comedy, the two movies that everyone says Joker ripped off. Two great films, which both feature a fantastic performance from Robert De Niro, but his best-ever role was when he played Rupert Pupkin in The King of the Comedy. Rupert Pupkin is a great character, and much more rich I think compared to Travis Bickle. Rupert is an aspiring comedian, who admires the works of the famous talk show host, played by Jerry Lewis, but is also a delusional whack job, who can easily come off as funny, unsettling, and kind of sad all rolled up into a nice little package. This film did make it onto my favourite list, and I noticed it’s quite underrated, so all I can do is suggest you check this one out at some point.
Some other films I watched were the disappointing conclusion to the TV series Prison Break. I enjoy a good cheesy Arnold Schwarzenegger flick so I also watched Commando, which was pretty much what I expected, and it’s got some of the best one-liners in an Arnie movie, however, I do hold a soft spot for “I Carried a Watermelon.” from Dirty Dancing, another film I watched with my Mum because I wouldn’t have seen this movie otherwise.
The only new older movies I watched in April were family, thrillers, and Horror movies. On the family movie side I only really watched animated films that I was catching up on for the Oscars. My favourite from this bunch was Wolfwalkers a stunning Irish film, with the only downside being I won’t be able to ever watch this amazing film again unless I renew my Apple TV Plus subscription. The thrillers only consist of two movies, one of which was a Hitchcock flick, and the other features Glenn Close not getting an Oscar.
As for the horror catalogue, one of which is the best vampire movies/vampire romances ever made. Let The Right One In, is a bleak Swedish film, with the only bit of light it sheds is from the very innocent romance between this little boy and his new neighbour who feeds on human flesh like a rabid dog. I also returned to watching some dumb 80’s horror movies, the first one being The Slumber Party Massacre. It’s a movie about some hot girls sitting around with some booze talking about boys while being perved on by some boys and also some psychopath armed with the most deadly weapon of them all, your dad’s power drill. Chopping Mall was pretty fun, but despite what the title suggests it’s actually about some teens being blasted with laser beams from the new robot mall security force that has gone rogue thanks to a bolt of lightning, short-circuiting them to kill on sight. Then we end this month off with Sharknado, which is honestly just the worst. Yeah, I know the whole film is intentionally supposed to look like complete garbage, with horrible acting and CGI, but those are some of the reasons why I couldn’t stand it. Sharknado is boring, ugly and so cheap that it’s more annoying than something to laugh at. Ultimately this movie completely misses the mark of what I look for in so bad they’re good movies. (I have a good example coming up, for how to do this right.)
May was a continuation of my indulgence in horror movies, while also being the start of my Fast and the Furious marathon. The best for this month was a real surprise, as it was an 80’s horror movie that I was expecting to be dumb. This one was called Society, a movie about a young teen slowly unwrapping the mystery of his rich family’s hidden agendas. I guess this film is pretty similar to Rosemary’s Baby in a way, however, Society stands out, by having the most traumatising final acts I have ever seen. Jesus, it was hideous to look at, but I was still weirdly awed by it. An American Werewolf in London would be a close second only because of it’s jaw-dropping special effects on the werewolf, (It rivals The Thing, for best practical effects ever put to film.)
Probably the best non-horror movie from this month would be a Korean movie called Better Days, which is a movie I only saw in May because I just hadn’t gotten around to seeing it yet after the Oscars were over. Other than that all the non-horror movies were pretty disappointing. Even the first four Fast and the Furious movies, which were thankfully blown away by the latter four movies that I watched in June. Speaking of which…
Fast Five was the movie that made me a Fast and the Furious fan. I’ve gone over my appraisal for these movies before so I’ll keep it brief, but basically from the fifth movie onwards it was a fun time all the way to the glorious 8th movie, The Fate of the Furious. The other noteworthy movies would include a Chinese movie called Hero, which was an epic philosophical Jet Li Martial Art movie. Another favourite would be Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, which is a fantastic movie that slowly builds tension and paranoia. A sudden bird uprising sounds completely ridiculous on paper, but Hitchcock had a talent for grounding it and making it the most terrifying thing imaginable. The final sequence in this movie is probably the most heart-pounding moment I watched out of all the movies on here. The last one I want to mention for this month would be an Australian film called Walkabout, which I don’t like as much as the last two I just mentioned, but it was the most fascinating out of this month’s bunch. Walkabout is about these kids who get lost in the desert after escaping their deranged father. It’s a simple survival movie until it’s a brutal animal slaying documentary until it’s a weird underage romance story. It gets really strange, but it was a film that was never boring, and watching it with someone else, that being my dad, brewed some interesting discussions about the movie even days after seeing it.
My July log consists of great films and terrible films, but for this post, I’m only giving two examples. I’ll get the bad out of the way starting with Jackass: The Movie. A good friend of mine wanted me to watch this and I hated it from start to finish. Jackass mainly just clashed with my tastes in comedy, but also I’m probably the wrong age to get into it. Essentially the whole movie is about a couple of mates pulling off silly and dangerous pranks on each other and random people, probably sounds appealing to a young teenager, but watching it as an old fart it’s too immature and annoying. A bad movie I enjoyed much more was Netflix’s Death Note adaptation. Sure, it completely misses the entire point of what made the anime so addictive and entertaining, but it has the funniest scenes ever with our dumbass protagonist reacting to seeing the Shinigami, Ryuk for the first time. Plus the over-the-top kills in this made it a very appealing slapstick comedy.
For best movies, choosing which one I wanted to discuss here was difficult, but I went with Gone With the Wind as it was one I didn’t expect to like as much as I did and it’s one of two movies on here that has given me some newfound appreciation for longer movies. While some parts of Gone With the Wind are kind of hokey, it’s an impressive-looking film for its time with its almost blockbuster-like production design, the usage of colour, and what it chose to show when conveying its dark themes. Even the evolving evil of Scarlet O’Hara throughout the whole film was a fascinating thing to see unfold and Rhett Butler’s final insult to her is ever so satisfying. My favourite movie of this month is a Bong Joon-Ho film called Mother, which is about the devotion of a mother who would do anything to prove that her son’s innocent of murder. Just like Parasite, Bong Joon-Ho is a genius when it comes to creating original thrilling concepts out of thin air and almost like a modern-day Hitchcock. I wished I got around to seeing more of his films last year, as so far from what I’ve seen of his they have all been above extraordinary.
My August log in retrospect is a mess, as I couldn’t really draw any consistent pattern, but that’s what you get when drawing ideas from someone who was watching anything at the drop of a hat. The only film on here that involved some sort of planning to go and see was a film called The Kid as I went to see this at the cinema, in honour of the film’s 100th anniversary. This was Charlie Chaplin’s first-ever film, and funny enough my first movie of his I’ve seen, plus my first silent film for that matter. It’s pretty short as it’s just a simple story of an orphan child being abandoned, and only for a con artist to find it and raise it as his own. It was a very interesting experience for me and my friend. (The same friend who wanted me to watch Jackass.) This was both of our first times seeing a movie like this that used nothing more than visual comedy and storytelling to get its message across, and we both had a great time with this.
Another movie that I didn’t expect to like as much is another 80’s movie, Risky Business starring Tom Cruise. This is that movie that is famous for him dancing around in his underwear and having a big grin while wearing some goofy shades, it sparked his entire career. Boy, I wish I didn’t know any of that before seeing this as I was thrown off for how dark and mature it was, especially for an 80’s teen movie. I was expecting Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but I got Heathers, minus the dark satirical comedy and I love it! Next, I want to talk about a movie called Deathstalker, as it wins the award for the dumbest, trashiest 80’s film on this list. A fantasy film where the main hero doesn’t really care about stopping the evil villain from plaguing the land, but it’s only when he hears a hot princess is needing to be saved. Deathstalker is not ashamed of what it is, there are more topless women, than there are shirtless jacked-up men, people are getting violently murdered less than women being dominated by men. Deathstalker is a product of its time and there was enough campy stupid nonsense to make it my favourite of the trashy 80’s films I did see.
I only watched 6 new older films in September, as going through my Letterboxd diary, revealed as I was busy watching films, watching 2021 movies, or things I had already seen before, such as The Matrix trilogy. What this month did prove is I was over trashy 80’s movies thanks to the likes of Deathstalker and another film I watched in September called Reform School Girls. That being said I continued my Friday the 13th marathon, thanks to the new Blu-ray boxset. Friday the 13th: Part VI – Jason Lives, would be my favourite that I watched this year and probably my favourite of the franchise as it felt more like a comedy than an actual horror movie, as the series accepts the absurdity of this franchise and the entire character of Jason Voorhees. Plus they got Alice Cooper to make some pretty killer songs, while Jason is violently killing people, which is great!
We return to the Nic Cage movies, with Con Air, a movie where he’s unfortunately outshined by an entertaining villain performance from John Malkovich. Like Commando, Con Air also had some notable funny one-liners. The best film of this month would have to go to another film to star Robert De Niro, The Deer Hunter. A great movie that throws you off with how light and fun the first hour is, but then the second half happens when the main characters enter the Vietnam War and bring out nothing, but trauma and tragedy.
My October viewings compile mostly of the Halloween marathon I did for The Blog Complainer. The Halloween series was pretty disappointing with the only real highlights being the entertaining as hell Halloween II (The original Halloween II, not that Rob Zombie garbage.) and the so stupid, it’s funny Halloween: Resurrections. One day in October I was pretty sick and I ended up investing my time into some Neil Breen movies, the first of which proved to be the most magical experience of the year. Fateful Findings is the example I was referring to earlier of how to do a quality so bad it’s good movie because it doesn’t make any sense, the dialogue scenes are so stilted and lack any fore planning of how the scene is supposed to play out, that it becomes instant comedy. Neil Breen writes himself as a Jesus-like perfect character, who halfway through the movie randomly decides he wants to take down the government, using nothing more than those old laptops he’s always abusing. Fateful Findings is a true classic, that you should watch with your friends.
As for the legit great movies, that honour would go to another Clint Eastwood, movie, A Million Dollar Baby, mainly because of that depressing ending. One final one would be another silent film called The General, an engaging watch from beginning to end with its slapstick comedy that takes place primarily on a moving train, and the impressive stunt work from the film’s main star Buster Keaton makes this one really funny and also kind of scary.
Anime November is how I best describe this month, as it makes up half of the movies I watched. One was a Miyazaki film, the strange, but also wonderful Porco Rosso and the other was Evangelion rebuild movies. I enjoyed the rebuild series for the most part, but once the films stopped following the original anime, it started to lose me, kind of like the original show, now that I think about it. The best film of this month would go to be the classic comedy, Some Like it Hot. It’s a pretty fun concept where some musicians have to dress up as women to avoid being killed by the mob, but what mostly sells this one is the chemistry between Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. That’s about it as this is often the time of year where I slow down and catch up on 2021 movies that I have missed.
The final month of the year can be best described as me frantically trying to cross off some classics before the year closes because I now realise I have been watching too much rubbish. Since watching 12 Angry Men and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly last year, I had the goal of trying to finish off the top 10 movies in IMDb’s top 250. It took until the end of 2021 to tick off the only entry I hadn’t watched yet, which was Schindler’s List. Another long movie that takes its time building its characters and miserable setting so when you reach the end it feels like a truly satisfying experience. Also, Ralph Fiennes is in this playing the most detestable human being, you hate to believe was actually alive at some point. Ralph Fiennes also plays the most charismatic gentlemen I’ve seen all year, in The Grand Budapest Hotel. A movie I had only half watched when I was younger, but finished it all this time and had a splendid time with it. Schindler’s List was so saddening and depressing, that for the rest of December I watched nothing, but comedies. The best of which would include Dr. Strangelove and Hot Fuzz, as both movies hit at my love for absurdity, with the only difference being its subtlety.
If you have made it this far, congratulations on making it to end of this long, and overdue post. That’s it from me, so I’ve been The Blog Complainer, signing out.