Category: Articles

Worst Films of 2021

(dis)HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Here are the other films this year I gave a 0 out of 4 to, in no particular order: A Week Away, Dave Chappelle: The Closer, F9, Rumble, Sensation, Taking A Shot At Love, The Boss Baby: Family Business, The Ice Road, The Never List, The Retreat, The Unholy, and Zeroes and Ones.

15) Secret Magic Control Agency

Why is it on the list? With so many terrible movies, why does this animated movie make the list instead of a new Boss Baby? Well, for one, this movie is lazy. It makes Hansel and Gretel the main characters. Why does every Grimm brothers story adaptation need to have them as the lead? Are they even trying? This one started to do something different, by having them being adults and having some angst in their past. Cool. Grown ups. Then nope, convoluted plot later, they also are now going to be kids to solve this boring ass mystery. The animation is poor, the story is extremely poor, and at no point was enjoyment derived.

Worst moment? The logic that a great trained spy needs to work with a criminal to save the day.

Any Worst Awards? Worst use of Grimm brothers material in 2021. (This was hard to come up with).

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14) The Addams Family 2

Why is it on the list? I certainly didn’t like the first film, The Addams Family, but it had a couple of nice moments. Some clever stuff. The animation style threw me off, and it didn’t feel like they tried too much. The sequel is worse. It goes through a classically boring plot line of “what if one of them isn’t actually a family member,” when we all know they are. It is a plot line that has no pay off, and oh what is that, a road trip movie as well? Fan-fucking-tastic.

Worst moment? I am pretty sure this is a movie with a science fair with a volcano again, so I am picking that by default.

Any Worst Awards? Worst animated sequel film of 2021.

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13) Caged

Why is it on the list? Even if you have never heard of them before, low budget shit movies are still shit movies. Caged is a story about a guy in jail, for murder, and then specifically about solitary confinement. He gets harassed by guards, we have flashbacks to exactly one scene on a boar between him and his wife, and then he starts to hallucinate and freak out. But honestly, this is one of the situations where the ideas behind this movie aren’t terrible, but the execution is a barely a whisper. The lighting, the visuals, the sounds, it just draws to a horrible experience for the viewer. No, it is not putting us in his situation, it is just putting me in a situation where I have to strain to tell what is going on and I have determined nothing worth my time.

Worst moment? The very slow flashback on the boat, that kept returning.

Any Worst Awards? Worst prison sentence of 2021.

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12) Narco Sub

Why is it on the list? There is a good chance you haven’t heard of Narco Sub, and there is a better chance some biases affected this pick. The director at this point had only been known for doing mostly music based films, with dancing and weird graphics, or short films. None of which I would say made a whole lot of sense. This is the first example of making a longer film, but it is also an action film with explosions and drugs, hooray!  Unfortunately, or, as expected, the plot of this film makes very little sense. The characters actions are questionable, the fact that they even feel the need to do this strong war on drugs at this point is questionable. The payoff by the end is not worth any reason to keep watching it.

Worst moment? I tried to block it all out of my mind, but I remember some mansion scene at the end with the finals deaths, so definitely that one.

Any Worst Awards? Worst drug busting of 2021.

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11) Tom & Jerry

Why is it on the list? I am never someone who got behind the idea of Tom & Jerry as an amusing idea. Jerry is a pompous dick. He is a mouse in some person’s house, who doesn’t want a mouse stealing the food and damaging the interior, and the cat is supposed to help get rid of it, but when Jerry succeeds it is awesome? Damn, Jerry, go to a different house. In the movie it is more of the same. For some reason they have animosity, and once again, Tom has to get the mouse out of the house. But this time it is a fancy hotel, with guests, and standards, that don’t include damn mice in the kitchen. Arguably even worse standards. But what makes this film actually terrible is to take cartoon physics and violence and put it in the real world, with almost no consequences. Sure, they show the damage that a giant fight dust cloud makes, but it seems in a world where these cartoon animals just exist and are okay with each other’s existence, somehow these two cause giant danger messes. Honestly, the wanton violence and destruction was so odd in this film, and it even turned my kids off from watching. I am also annoyed I can’t call this the worst film that had animated and real life people together.

Worst moment? Jerry destroying tom’s piano. He was using that to make money. He was a cat who could play piano!

Any Worst Awards? Second worst animated/live action film. Worst animated film based off of Hanna-Barbara.

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10) Vanquish

Why is it on the list? Vanquish is a film that apparently actually went to theaters last year in April. It very quickly went to VOD on after that, and then everyone promptly forgot it existed. Honestly, I think if we didn’t have the weird theater situation last year, this one would have gone straight to VOD because no one would care to see it in theaters. Morgan Freeman in a film is a sure sign that things aren’t going to be great, and Ruby Rose seems to do a lot of roles to show that she can’t act. So why not combine the two into a dumb plot where her daughter is kidnapped and in danger unless she goes and takes out all these people in one night. Sigh. None of this film feels original, it is just the same old shit.

Worst moment? The ending twists, that everyone can see miles away.

Any Worst Awards? Worst action-drama film of 2021.

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9) Karen

Why is it on the list? Because of course it is on the list. Karen is a BET channel exclusive, that wanted to make a Jordan Peele movie with no subtext, no good acting, and everything is entirely on the nose, including constant metaphorical winks. Having a white woman named Karen be racist and call the cops on people doing no wrong? Great, works well. But damn the hyper level overacting, like a soap opera on steroids, turns what could be a great thriller idea into a mess where everyone will just laugh at it and mock it relentless as it scrolls across the screen. Maybe that sounds like a good time, sure, but it is still a bad film. And why does she look like a Wayan’s brother is wearing her face as a mask?

Worst moment? The party crash scene was particularly cringe, but so was the calling of the cops.

Any Worst Awards? Worst white bitch of 2021.

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8) The Hitman’s Wife Bodyguard

Why is it on the list? Coming from someone who didn’t love The Hitman’s Bodyguard, for a myriad of reasons, I am honestly shocked they could make a sequel that somehow felt a lot worse. I am not saying that shifting the focus to Salma Hayek‘s character and increasing her screen time is bad. They just did everything somehow worse. One of the only personality traits Ryan Reynolds had was his strict focus on safety, and after one movie of keeping it, they threw it out the window in this one. Once again, we have a terrible plot for our characters, and everything is a loose explanation between bad comedy scenes and average action scenes. And for some reason, Morgan Freeman shows up again, which as I already stated is a bad sign. They really kept his appearance under wraps, its because people know it would lessen the film.

Worst moment? The adoption scene.

Any Worst Awards? The worst action film, the worst action-comedy film, and the worst Morgan Freeman of 2021.

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7) Music

Why is it on the list? Hey look, Sia directed a movie. Oh no, Sia really directed a movie and made a lot of decisions. For whatever reason, in this movie, she decided she needed the main character to be quite Autistic, nicknamed Music, and listening to songs all day. And then we get a normie family member who has to take care of her, and so we have a film about a person struggling to deal with someone with Autism, and less about Autism in general. Maddie Ziegler, who Sia puts in everything she can, plays Music, and goes into some very uncomfortable territory with what feel incredibly offensive. When this was all pointed out to Sia, and that they could have actually hired someone with Autism, she instead attacked her fans and made a movie she wanted. It had a lot of fun colorful song/music videos, which seems to be the real point of the film, stuff that we see in Music’s head. And it decided to offend everyone in the process.

Worst moment? Learning how to properly tackle and take down Music if she needs it?

Any Worst Awards? Worst musical, worst film about disabilities, and worst director backlash of 2021.

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6) The Kissing Booth 3

Why is it on the list? Honestly, I am more surprised at how I thought five films were somewhat worse. Let me change the order real quick….no it is fine. The Kissing Booth 2 ended up with my worst film of 2020, for all the reasons anything is a bad move, and I wouldn’t really describe 3 as a better film though. The only reason it isn’t “as bad” is because this one objectively has an ending which notably the second one lacks an ending. The same cast of characters, making more confusing stories and moments where our lead absolutely has no boundaries with those she finds to be friends and lovers. And we have people practically stalking her to win her over? That shit ain’t cool. Get this child written nonsense out of here.

Worst moment? Mario Kart, a new list approaches, and the fact that this movie doesn’t end with all the characters in an orgy, since it seems to be going that direction this whole trilogy.

Any Worst Awards? Worst romcom, worst romance, worst “third film” in a franchise of 2021.

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5) Space Jam: A New Legacy

Why is it on the list? Is the original Space Jam movie good? Probably not. But it certainly has some level of heart. It keeps things relatively focused on the Looney Tunes characters, and their attributes. It had, mostly low stakes, and only affected Michael Jordan and the Tunes. So what does the sequel do? Well, it first has an extremely similar plot, but HIGHER STAKES. (It also has characters both acknowledge with some jokes of the similar plot, while also not really acknowledging that the events in Space Jam happened, just to keep us confused).

Now, millions of people might die. Now we have all of these WB properties as cameos. At the same time, we have a game that doesn’t matter or has to happen. It just takes Lebron talking to his kid and being honest about what the App is trying to do, and they wouldn’t play the game, everyone could go home and they can be good. But no, we get a shitty sports game where LITERALLY the points are all made up. And at that point, there is nothing to root for. We don’t have any traditional rules to follow. It is just something that resembles basketball, with no real way to tell what one side has to do to win. That isn’t fun. That is confusing.

Worst moment? To be specific, it is when WB made a movie that wanted to have a humor and plot to appeal to kids, and stick it full of references to films before the year 2000 that a lot of them haven’t seen, to appeal to adults, who will hate this movie. And the background members of the audience.

Any Worst Awards? Worst movie with a mix of live action and cartoon characters, worst sports movie, worst sports cameos, worst film cameos, and worst movie dad of 2021.

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4) God’s Not Dead: We The People

Why is it on the list? I am pretty sure every film in this franchise has made my worst of the year list, but surprisingly, never been the worst film. They all have similar problems, so it feels repetitive to write about it at this point, but still important. This is a franchise that wants to make big political statements with religious characters, to show that religious values are being attacked in the USA and the law is out to get them. The war on Christianity is real. They usually have real law cases in question in the credits that relate to the events in the film. And finally I checked them for this one. None of them match what is going on in this film. All of these law suits are generally about families who are suing school districts for teaching their kids they don’t want them to learn, or for being accepting of gays and trans kids. They let that moment out of the bag near the end of the movie with a big rant too, about evolution and gender. Is this what this about? Really? These films just make straw man arguments, make anyone not religious as a bad guy, and basically cartoon character villains who just want to oppress the fuck out of everyone.

Worst moment? Ending rant and the Muslim girl subplot finally returning from the first film.

Any Worst Awards? Worst fourth film in a franchise of 2021. And every other award I could give to this movie, instead will go to the number 3 film.

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3) Roe v Wade

Why is it on the list? Oh? A movie about the supreme court case of Roe v. Wade that went to the Supreme Court and made sure that everyone in the United States needed to legally have access to abortions as a medical procedure. Surely nothing can go wrong with this.

Ohhh. Well. Sure. If they make a movie that is just highly propaganda for the Henry Wade side of Roe v. Wade. Henry Wade was a district attorney in Dallas, because Texas outlawed abortions and made it a criminal case for doctors. This went to the Supreme Court, and the rest is history. A history that is slowly but surely being ticked away and made more and more bare so that eventually it will be overturned, and then one group of people can celebrate the oppression of women in the United States. Where depending on where you live, you might have more rights than another state, in a country people call full of freedom.

Honestly, this movie was just disgusting. They made the lawyers look gross on the Roe side, the client look inept, doctors who did abortions as greedy/evil and also Jewish. This film that was made before 2018 actually, had a lot of names signed on who walked out, including the director, realizing this was a biased trash film that existed purely to attack women making a hard decision, and adding more unnecessary public pressure to not allow women choice. It feels like a follow up to Unplanned, but it turns out those were different people involved.

Worst moment? The behind the scene dialogues from the supreme court that no one would know, and the abortion jingle.

Any Worst Awards? Worst religious film, worst drama, worst political film, worst use of washed up celebrities, and worst piece of propaganda of 2021.

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2) Earwig and the Witch

Why is it on the list? I remember seeing Earwig and the Witch relatively early in the year. It is the first CGI film from Studio Ghibli and it was a big deal. At the same time, it should be considered a big deal for how BAD it was. It is a film with a orphan who is probably a witch, getting adopted by a witch purely to be a cleaning hand in their house. This girl is absolutely the worst, getting in trouble on purpose wherever she goes, complaining, and whining. And you know what? She doesn’t change the whole movie. She wins what she want and is a brat the whole time. When her missing mom finally shows up, the film unexpectedly ends. The whole movie sounds like it was meant to be 25 minutes long and an introduction to a more interesting movie. Instead, it is drawn out, has bad morals, has a trailer that absolutely makes it look like a very different focused film with a musical element, and definitely the worst ending of a movie the whole year. I knew when I watched it that it had to be near the top worst endings ever, and it kept its pedestal the whole time.

Worst moment? The ending.

Any Worst Awards? Worst magic, worst bratty child, worst pet, worst trailer, worst ending, and worst animated film of 2021.

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1) The Terrible Adventure

Why is it on the list? I think I developed actual pains watching The Terrible Adventure. You go in expecting it to be about a bad trip, not realizing that the bad trip was actually the decision to watch this film. It was clearly made on a shoestring budget. The audio is off throughout the film. I feel like most, if not all characters had to redo their dialogue after the fact, so it the sounds/words said don’t always match the mouth movements. The director cast his own kids in this film, that is hardly about environmentalism, and more about nepotism.

The kids are meant to be smart, so that they can solve these puzzles to win a hidden prize. However, they don’t come across smart in their actions and the puzzles are either so obvious, or so out there that of course only the “smart” characters can get it, when in reality it is just gibberish. The contest itself makes little to no sense. We have the dad character being abused by his ex wife, as she yells at him and physically throws objects at him, with the daughter just laughing to the side like this is normal. The ice cream bad guys are worse than cartoon characters. They are just nonsensical plot clouds that float around, sound strange, and interact with the characters when the writer decided them to, whether or not it made sense. There was one guy who I think imitated being Hispanic, which they all probably thought was hilarious for him to put on an accent, ignoring their own shitty racist decisions.

I can’t believe how bad this film was, nor could I believe the high ratings. This is what happens when you make a movie that no one sees, except your friends and family, and all the friends and family love it because they know the people involved.

Worst moment? (Gestures around wildly at the whole thing).

Any Worst Awards? Worst casting, worst comedy, worst villains, worst riddles, worst plot, worst casting again, and worst film of 2021.

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Thanks for reading! If you disagree with part of this list, let me know. If there is something I missed, let me know (but I probably saw it and reviewed it on this very site!

And as always, I accept hate mail via the post office, email, or tweets.

Best Films of 2021

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

These honorable mentions are all 4 out of 4 films from my site this last year, who didn’t make my top cut of 15. We have Malcolm & Marie, Raya and the Last Dragon, Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided to Go For It, The Guilty, Encounter, The Novice, and Flee.

Also these films, that for Oscar awards counted as 2020, but as far as I can tell are 2021 movies and things got really weird for them for regular best of lists and I didn’t know what to do: Judas and the Black Messiah, Our Friend, and The Father.

15) Together Together

Why is it on the list? Together Together is a baby surrogacy movie, but not a standard one. It is actually outside of the norm because it does NOT involve the main leads falling in love. It is perfect in that regard. A rich guy wants to be a dad, he hires someone much younger to have it, and she is going to use that money for college, and that is it. Sure it still talks about the weirdness of their “relationship” and the struggles over that time, and their boundaries. But it feels real and, I cannot state this enough, it has them NOT decide to date or marry as a result, which is super healthy for this type of movie to do.

Favorite moment? The ew moment and why Anna says ew.

Any Best Awards: Best pregnancy of 2021.

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14) King Richard

Why is it on the list? Because Will Goddamn Smith surprised me. Look, when I first saw the trailer, I thought it was messed up. A Williams sister movie that…is more about the dad and his relationship with his daughters, and less about the sisters themselves? That seems pretty messed up. But a few notes: One, Will Smith nailed it and was clearly acting and not being Will Smith. Two, it was very emotional. And three, the Williams sisters agreed to back this story and love their father’s contributions to their careers and are behind it, so who am I to judge on the vehicle for the first movie about their lives.

Favorite moment? The constant focus on education and childhood over purely sports success.

Any Best Awards? Best sports movie of 2021.

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13) Shiva Baby

Why is it on the list? Shiva Baby makes me feel so uncomfortable! It was almost the levels of uncomfortableness as Uncut Gems, despite being way shorter and much smaller stakes. It really draws you in and makes you feel claustrophobic, with pretty swell acting as well. And let me be clear, it is funny with its awkwardness, and this is just a film I have decided to not go back and check out, because, yuck, not ready for it still.

Favorite moment? Probably one of the earliest reveals in terms of why things are uncomfortable at the Shiva, because then it just continues to spiral.

Any Best Awards? Best young life crisis of 2021.

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12) Being the Ricardos

Why is it on the list? Because Aaron Sorkin written movies often make my lists. And his directed ones make it two-thirds of the time, apparently. I love, love, love, love, love the dialogue. I do, it is true. I think the stars Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem are especially strong and extremely charismatic together. The weird beginning introduction interview, that is barely used after it is unnecessary for this story, but it doesn’t overall detract from the wonderful screen presence that this movie gave me. Hell, it made me slightly care from

Favorite moment? J. Edgar Hoover and the writer’s room banter.

Any Best Awards? Best behind the scenes of 2021.

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11) tick, tick…BOOM!

Why is it on the list? This was one of my most anticipated films of the year, because, well, every musical was anticipated basically. But this one was directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The first one he has ever directed. Based on a famous musical creator who died tragically early. And also based on a musical he made. There are a lot of layers and different time lines in this story. And it is all swept together nicely through Andrew Garfield‘s wonderful acting and singing. God damn, this was a unique experience and it is so hard to describe at the same time.

Favorite moment? 30/90, Boho Days, and Therapy.

Any Best AwardsBest theater cameos of 2021.

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10) Encanto

Why is it on the list? That is a silly question. Have you seen it? Disney had two great animated hits this year, and I also loved Raya (it was in the honorable mentions) and it was hard to find out where it would land with Encanto. I did put Encanto on the top, partially because yes it is a musical (oh hey, Lin-Manuel Miranda reference again). But the story was wonderful in that it had a less obvious villain. The movie wasn’t solved by the main character suddenly getting powers, like a lot of stories of those who lack. And damn, it is one that can make me cry.

Favorite moment? Surface Pressure. Yes, better than We Don’t Talk About Bruno.

Any Best AwardsBest house of 2021.

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9) Spider-Man: No Way Home

Why is it on the list? FOUR movies were added to the MCU this year, with only one being a Sony movie. And that one made the list. This was my most diverse year for MCU ratings (2, 3, 1, 4 were the ratings of those released in the order they came out), which is also a first. But what did Spider-Man: No Way Home do? It gave us an emotional arc that now seems like it was 21 years in the making. Obviously some of the things it did weren’t planned 21 years ago. But it gave closure to things we never thought we would get. It gave us hope that the ever churning big media machine that cancels projects that under perform at the Box Office can eventually surprise us with something new. It was an ambitious event, it could alienate tons of audience members, and yet it proved that despite that, people wanted to see it and love it nonetheless. And it made me cry.

Favorite moment? The MJ save and the Green Goblin turn.

Any Best AwardsBest Superhero film, best Fantasy film, and best nostalgia of 2021.

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8) Annette

Why is it on the list? This was definitely a hard one to rank. It took me three sittings to watch the first time because of how uncomfortable and strange things got. I knew it deserved my highest honors, and that I would likely never see it again. But then? I did see it again, all in one sitting, months later. Annette is a visual and musical and strange-ical trip. Nothing normal about this film. Adam Driver puts his whole body into the role. Despite strange on the outside, you can tell everyone takes it very seriously, which adds to the eerie music and tunes throughout. The final scene in the visiting room? That one is so goddamn rough, but one of the best scenes of the year.

Favorite moment? The prison visit and the boat trip.

Any Best Awards? Best fourth wall breaking, best use of puppets in 2021. Also best use of really putting your whole goddamn body and focus into one strange role of 2021 for Adam Driver.

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7) The Mitchells vs. The Machines

Why is it on the list? The last few years have had a lot of animated duds, so surprise surprise when two of them make my list and a third was really close. I probably would not have even noticed The Mitchells vs. The Machines coming out when it did, back in March, but I am glad word of mouth happened, because I was not ready for this (road) trip. The humor is constant, the visuals are unique, we get a lgbtq main character whose sexuality is irrelevant to the plot, and the voice acting is also extremely strong. I have seen this one a few times from last year, and it still feels refresh, and doesn’t feel like it will be that dated in the future either. Congrats, you beat the Disney/Pixar machine for me.

Favorite moment? Furby.

Any Best Awards? Best animated film and best traditional comedy of 2021.

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6) In The Heights

Why is it on the list? In a year with so many musicals, one of the first I saw this year ended up as my favorite. And I mean that as a traditional musical, even though the music and sounds are anything but. Technically, two other films after this are also kind of musicals, but not in the same sense that this one or other traditional ones are. The songs from this musical were stuck in my head for months. I ended up watching this movie the most out of any movie last year, four times, twice in theaters and one of them in IMAX. But the soundtrack alone would bring my numbers up more. It was even hard to pick a favorite moment. And, of course, our third Lin-Manuel Miranda note of this list.

Favorite moment? Honestly, most songs. In The Heights, 96,000, It Won’t Be Long Now, Benny’s Dispatch, Piragua, Champagne.

Any Best Awards? Best Lin-Manuel Miranda cameo, best intro, and best “real musical” of 2021.

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5) Riders of Justice

Why is it on the list? Riders of Justice is a film that was never on my radar, until once again, it came out and had a lot of word of mouth praise. I was extremely surprised by the direction and plot of this film. Is it a standard mystery revenge plot action film? Sure, parts of it. But it also has extreme amounts of humor, heart, and based in a world that is trying to change from the macho “ah shoot those who wronged you!” cinema of the past. I was surprised throughout at how touching it was, and how on point and accurate it was dealing with these social changes and people who were unwilling to think about those change. You can go in expecting a lot, and still find yourself surprised by this one.

Favorite moment? Threats in the car and dinner scenes.

Any Best Awards? Best action film, best twists, and best “woke” film of 2021.

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4) The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain

Why is it on the list? Speaking of movies that one wouldn’t have noticed. I didn’t even notice The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain despite it being nominated for two spirit awards. And I would have been so distraught with myself if I didn’t watch this one for this list, because it is intense, sad, and anger inducing in such a short time period. It is a true story, it is real time, and the dialogue is based on the real events as well since the whole thing was recorded on his side of the door. One of the best movies out there to really drive that ACAB motto home, even if one of them tried to stop it, he didn’t try too much.

Favorite moment? As a tragic film, this is hard, but I guess the window cop scene.

Any Best Awards? Best drama and best true story of 2021 and worst police of 2011

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3) Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes

Why is it on the list? (Third time in a row). Oh hey, a movie that I would have never seen except…well, it was actually sent to me as a screener, as a festival movie last year. It is coming out wider this year, and Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes was the most creative movie I have seen this year. Seeing a screen that is yourself two minutes from the future, and then not too long later, two minutes in the past, doesn’t seem like a big window. But the technical skill to pull this off, to prerecord these videos, to set up the timing, it is an ambitious project for a group of unknown people, and it is the type of film that I hope is studied for its brilliance in the future.

Favorite moment? The long look into the future.

Any Best Awards? Best science fiction, best drama, best use of technology, most creative, and best foreign film of 2021.

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2) CODA

Why is it on the list? When I saw CODA, I assumed it would actually finish number one on my list. I didn’t know what else was coming after, if anything would knock it down (and it ended up losing to something that came before it, go figure). But CODA is one of those perfect feel good movies. It has lights amount of romance. It has struggle. It has a feel good ending. It has some singing, and it is kind of like a musical but only somewhat. It involves a part of the world a lot of us normies don’t have any clue about. It does clever things with its filming technique. And it makes me cry every time. CODA should be seen by everyone, even with some of its R rated content, I wouldn’t worry too much about showing my own kids. It is sad, heart felt, and just goddamn wonderful.

Favorite moment? Hands down, (or maybe hands up?), Both Sides Now.

Any Best Awards? Best feel good story, best title pun, best “sort of musical”, and best Comedy-Drama of 2021.

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1) Bo Burnham: Inside

Why is it on the list? I loved Inside from the moment I saw it the first time on my home screen. I was anticipated for the teaser trailer. And honestly, it was far better than I even expected it to be. It grew on me over time, from an already high standing.

Let me be clear: I think Bo did something here that has honestly never been done before. Sure, stand up specials usually have only one writer/main actor. And sure, movies have been made before by one person doing the whole thing. But this is still different. It is a chronicle of his and a lot of other people’s year, in a year unlike many others. It shows growth and change over that time, from the music and lyric choices. Its slow descent into more and more madness and apathy, starting with funny haha clever jokes to more extreme pieces of music. Bo has done a great job in the past of opening up, but he has never felt more open. I hope it is all sincere, and I feel like we as a society are better for those who have seen it and also opened up their own feelings. Inside is raw. Inside shows Bo’s inside. Nothing sexual. Just feelings.

And if anyone does anything like this in the future, it will always be compared to Bo’s. I can’t see anything similar topping this either, without standing on the shoulders of this project as a comparison.

Favorite moment? Welcome to the Internet and All Eyes on Me.

Any Best Awards? Best stand-up special, best “documentary”, best soundtrack, best “documentary musical”, best song, best “comedy film”,  and best FILM of 2021.

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Thanks for reading! If you disagree with part of this list, let me know. If there is something I missed, let me know (but I probably saw it and reviewed it on this very site!

And as always, I accept hate mail via the post office, email, or tweets.

Dr. Seuss Experience


The Dr. Seuss experience is currently in Houston, Texas until August 15, and tickets and information can be found here.

Seuss, Seuss, everyone loves Dr. Seuss. Some people love it enough to use it as a political pawn for some reason. Here is a clip of Ted Cruz reading from Green Eggs and Ham so you can have a little bit of annoyance in your life.

When I found out that there was something called a Dr. Seuss Experience coming to Houston, I was curious. I had been getting ads for this for months, and when I looked it up, I still really didn’t understand what the hell it actually was. Weird buzz words like the next big Instagram trend. And some pictures. But also…what is it really? I don’t want to keep asking. I want answers. So I went with my kids.

First of all, it is much smaller than I expected. It is meant to have rooms and themes from nine famous Dr. Seuss books. The beginning large section that connects the rest of them is a large “balloon” maze, with words hidden on them, to help complete a phrase from Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, which is optional like everything else. You don’t have to use the maze to get to any other room, but it is still the central hub, and presumably the place where the costumed individuals will hang out.

For the rest of the rooms, I will separate them into The Good, the Okay, and the Bad.

shop
This cat in the hat stands on a throne of lies, not games!

The Good:

The Lorax Rooms: The Lorax room had three parts to it, one with a Onecler wanting to tell you a tale and giving you a path, to see the desolation of the forests, or just go to the beautiful not destroyed trees. The desolation section doesn’t really have much going on in in it, nor did the entrance, but the room with the Truffula trees is gorgeous. They have a few of them, there are swings, and the color scheme of the lights makes you feel like you are in a dream.

The Grinch Room: This room is medium sized, with a darker hue with Christmas lights and stars lighting it all up. This room is actually a game, with a large central piece representing presents The Grinch had stolen. It has an ever moving wheel around it with about 20 or so boxes. The goal is to use basic fish hooks to hook presents from the center ring, to bring back to your teams side. This thing is automated, in that it is a 60second game, with a timer for you to see, and after it finishes with a small delay, it will continue regardless of anyone being there at all.

The fishing was hard, the time limit was stupid, and it was dumb to be automated since they had people in there anyways, but it still was fun to get to try and do something. We had more fun when we ignored it and just tried the fishing aspect of the present hunting, which depending on how full it is, could be hard to do.

presents
The true meaning of Christmas is always presents.

The Okay:

If I Ran A Circus Room: This one can stay okay, despite being a bit disappointing. There are two components to it. The large component is a swing carousel, that mostly fits the young only. Not that you’d want to ride it, because it goes incredibly slow around. You can easily walk faster at a regular pace than this thing ended up spinning.

There is also a wheel to spin! It has no prizes. Just pictures from the books, with a guide to act a certain way if something comes up. Really basic, but you can tell there was some level of effort in this one, even if the individual items themselves are bit disappointing.

Wocket in Pocket Room: The point of this room, which is a fully decked out living room from the book, is to listen to the narrator describe funny things around the room. Strangely enough, we don’t get any actual wockets in pockets. There is a Nink in the Sink, and things like that. Kids can run around to try to find what is being described, and some of the items are interactive, like the books on the bookshelf or various cabinet drawers. Not a whole lot to do here, but the aesthetic is nice, and a sofa you can sit on with a Bofa, so that is fun.

Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are Room: This is a room that is likely the most interactive. There are three-four elements that one can interactive. A random device on the wall that you can put balls through that will split them back out. A device that makes some balls float. A wall with gears on it that you can take off and rearrange and still gear them. And some big car thing, that is supposed to do something, but didn’t do anything in when we were there. When they told our kids they can remove the gears, my youngest picked up a decoration gear on another wall, and thought it was okay. They definitely panicked about that.

Although there is multiple interactions in this room, this book itself is such a weird one to pick given other famous Seuss books that were ignored. I haven’t read this in awhile, so I don’t remember how the objects in this one actually related to the book. Hopefully they did. But thematically, this one screamed out the weakest theme .

circus
I’ve seen people riot over getting a chance to spin a wheel.

The Bad:

Cat in the Hat Room: That’s right. The Cat in the Hat room is bad. It has decorations all around it on the side, books and stools and tables on top of each other and placed in a way to be clearly a decoration. We have a Cat in the Hat in the corner, as a decoration, and an animated fish in a bowl who talks occasionally. The attendant told us to make a mess, it is okay, and all that meant is to take some colorful handkerchiefs and throw them around. There were two large boxes in the middle that would shoot up air when the attendant hit a button, so you could throw them up on it, and…that was it.

Like, there is nothing else to do. A room with a border that didn’t have interactions, and talking fish cartoon, and place to throw around handkerchiefs. I can see photos on their site of that room with people moving around stools/books/etc but that was definitely not something happening in my experience. What a waste.

Horton Hears a Who Room:  The room here looks great, and can be fun to crawl around in. It has these plant/bushes all around so they could crawl through them. The point of the room is to listen for the Who, and find them, a whisper or a faint sound.

I have no idea if that room even worked. We looked for awhile, as did another family, and got nothing. The attendant said that the voice changes where its coming from every once in awhile as well, so she didn’t know where it would be. But after five or so minutes, this is a lot of effort for zero payout. (If we heard the whisper, it would have not felt worth it either).

Sneeches Room: The biggest let down by far. We were excited for Sneeches. And what we got was a room with, maybe up to 20 Sneeches? Probably less. But with nothing to do in those rooms. When you enter, you can go in a 6 ft by 6 ft square roughly, one of those plastic barriers, with the Sneeches around you. And then they just have mirrors on all the walls and behind you. So it looks like there is a lot of Sneeches. If you arms are long, and take bad pictures because of the mirrors, and then you will be disappointed and leave.

swing
Why did the Onceler have to mess this place up?

Overall, the only thing to point out is that this exhibit should have Dr. Seuss characters show up in costumes to interact with the youth and families. I could tell from the pictures it should be at least Cat in the Hat and Thing 1/2, but they also said Grinch and Lorax!

My family was there for almost two hours, and in the first 30 minutes we got to see The Lorax, and after that, nothing else. That is extremely disappointing. How long would one have to wait for these guys for pictures? The site says it should only take about an hour to experience it all, but to take your time. You’d expect this to be part of the experience. How long do you have to wait to get to see a Grinch for pictures? It was another aspect that left us disappointed.

Also the gift shop was very odd, as nothing had prices on it, which is a pretty scummy tactic, making us go back to ask for specific item prices and let our kids know that things are marked up so high.

This was an overall okay experience. But I got to go into it for free, and have my parking paid for. If I had to pay for it, I would likely be furious by this whole thing. More than $30 for an adult ticket is ridiculous, with a kids ticket being somewhere in the $20s. It’s not ridiculously expensive, but it is more expensive than the value gained from the experience. Don’t even bother with a VIP experience ticket. All of my experiences with this had limited number of people in each rooms, so I am not sure how much more limited it would allow, since they are keeping people allowed in low for COVID reasons right now.

2 out of 4.

sneetch
Disappointed!” – Hercules

Worst Films of 2020

(dis)HONORABLE MENTIONS:

This was a bit of a harder list to make, because honestly, I didn’t put a lot of effort into my worst of the year list after I knew I had a solid 15. The one that really should have made this list is definitely Brahms: The Boy II, if anything by title alone.

15) Max Cloud

Why is it on the list? I went in hoping that Max Cloud would become an indie hidden gem, a simple plot about being sucked into a video game, but it never delivered. As a comedy, I never laughed. As a fan of video games, it never really felt like one either. As a fan of campy 90’s superhero things, it fell flat on that as well. There might be worse movies out there in 2020, but I like to make sure on my lists I include films that weren’t popular as well, because there are quite a few like this out there.
Least favorite moment? The scenes where we see the bad guys talking and planning.
Any Worst Awards? Worst Sci-Fi film of 2020.

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14) The War with Grandpa

Why is it on the list? It is very clear that Robert De Niro gave up worrying about his acting legacy a decade ago, and agrees to random garbage because it is easy to collect fat paychecks. Some people probably see movies because they liked him in the gangster films, so let’s see him kill a kid. Oh, they don’t kill a kid in this movie? Fineeeee. Instead, this is just another film where coincidences and accidents move the plot when convenient, and where violence and shenanigans are glorified for absolutely pointless reasons.
Least favorite moment? The Christmas themed birthday party.
Any Worst Awards? Worst war of 2020.

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13) John Henry

Why is it on the list? Honestly, I wanted this to be amazing. I didn’t go in hoping for crap! I love Terry Crews, and I want Terry Crews to be John Henry, why not, he has the look. But this movie was made with plot on the backburner. They wanted a modern story where a guy took a sledgehammer and stopped something or beat something with it. In this case, some drug car. And the journey was not worth the ending. 
Least favorite moment? 
Look, any moment he is not doing some sledgehammer stuff (99.99% of the movie) is the worst. 
Any Worst Awards?
Worst use of a folk hero in a modern setting of 2020.

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12) Dolittle

Why is it on the list? Do I have to explain this one? As soon as the first poster dropped and was shown to be coming out in January, we all collectively knew it would be bad. RDJ was going to get a fat cash of money for starring in this zany kids movie that would suck. I avoided it for as long as I could, but my dedication to my craft meant I had to watch it and by golly, is this just a slow nonsense piece of poo. 
Least favorite moment?
 The initial secluded compound really set the tone early for how shitty this movie would plateau at. 
Any Worst Awards?
Worst remake that no one asked for of 2020.

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11) Fantasy Island

Why is it on the list? I took forever to watch this one and remember people absolutely ragging on it in February. This movie had no pandemic problems. When I watched it first, I thought it was bad, but not the worst. Then it got a little bit better. Then it got a whole lot worse by the end. It very much is a film that goes crashing down for trying to do too many twists and turns. Gotta keep it simple, especially if you want to franchise. 
Least favorite moment? 
The last twists and the dark eyed zombies. 
Any Worst Awards?
Worst television show revival turned horror movie of 2020.

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10) Buddy Games

Why is it on the list? With a cast like this, there were a lot of people I enjoy in things (and then there was Nick Swardson who I no longer really enjoy in things) so I thought this would be a fun romp if anything. Unfortunately, the plot is shit, the acting is shit, and honestly, the rules about their competition never really end up making sense. If there are rounds, we should be able to tell who is winning and who will be in the finals, but it felt really random. Extreme amounts of basic jokes later with physical humor, and you get this movie from the early 2000’s. 
Least favorite moment?
I’ll keep it simple and go with the final three competition.
Any Worst Awards? 
Worst “sports” movie of 2020.

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9) The Turning

Why is it on the list? Look, in a pandemic year, horror shouldn’t have a lot of bad titles. They are cheaper to make, they can be done with a few people, and you know, horror. But because of all of this, it is also low hanging fruit, so there are a lot of duds. While watching this one, I really couldn’t tell you the main plot. Tutor gets spooked by kids? I guess? It just has a forgettable a dull plot, there is no reason to even think of revisiting it to figure out the point. 
Least favorite moment?
Most scenes with Finn Wolfhard.
Any Worst Awards? 
Worst horror movie of 2020!

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8) Infamous

Why is it on the list? Has social media gone so far? Yes. Our main character wants to be internet famous so much that she is willing to do anything to get that notoriety. Well, not make an OnlyFans, anything but that (also real life reference). So they do crimes and post it online in masks to get famous? Oh goodness no. I don’t want to watch a film about that, pretend to idolize that, or even care if the characters learn a lesson about that (they don’t). Get that weak stuff out of here.
Least favorite moment? When our main character decided showing their face on her social media was totally worth it. 
Any Worst Awards? 
Worst use of social media on screen in 2020.

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7) Superintelligence

Why is it on the list? If you want to make a movie about modern technology and AI’s becoming advanced enough to affect anything it wants in the world around it tech wise? Sure, I am fine with that. But this film decides to go the AI and do nothing worthwhile. It wants to study a human and makes her life better and challenges her to do things, then we get some big threats, and then the movie ends. They forgot to add an exciting plot, however. 
Least favorite moment? 
When it goes from incredibly low stakes to high stakes to low stakes. 
Any Worst Awards? 
Worst James Corden and worst maybe evil AI of 2020.

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6) The Last Days of American Crime

Why is it on the list? Slogging in at 149 minutes, The Last Days of American Crime presents a not too distant future where crime will be eradicated thanks to some mind control chips. It is so bloated and features twists, but really, this is the type of film that would benefit from a quick clean crisp story. I lost interest so fast, it is like the inverse of a credit card for college students.
Least favorite moment? The general plot line of this movie honestly feels very insulting in terms of “dystopian futures” to be honest. 
Any Worst Awards?
Worst crime, worst based on a graphic novel, and worst “long film” of 2020.

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5) Guest House

Why is it on the list? Pauly Shore hasn’t acted in something as a character for a long time, and this is his triumphant return. It is more R rated and lewd and even worse than the films that made him famous. At least those other films had funny moments or interesting characters. This one is just debauchery for the sake of it, with a piss poor plot to boot. This will not be a triumphant return to cinema, and it wont be COVID’s fault.
Least favorite moment? The party scene in the backyard that led to an arrest felt particularly egregious.
Any Worst Awards? Worst resurgence of a 90’s star and worst comedy of 2020.

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4) Artemis Fowl

Why is it on the list? I won’t go into how this movie is so different than the books, because I never read the books. That is indifferent to me. It is, however, and objectively bad movie. The characters, the plot, the graphics, the action, all mold together into a big ball of who gives a fuck. I don’t care about the lore if the lore and story are bad. If the lore is also unoriginal, it is hard to care later. But with a lead that has the charisma of cold spoon, there’s nothing for me in this fantasy spy picture.
Least favorite moment? Colin Farrell is in this one. Why though?
Any Worst Awards? Worst graphics, worst spy, and worst fantasy of 2020.

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3) The Last Thing He Wanted

Why is it on the list? This movie is probably the lowest (highest?) rated of the bunch that you probably missed. I know I never noticed it until I looked for bad movies. This one was on Netflix. It is going for a cool journalism “all the government is corrupt” angle that a lot of movies go for. Except this one lacked any excitement. Or real stakes. Or great acting. Some big names, but oof, what a stinker and a sleeper. 
Least favorite moment?
The dreadful ending that got us through the final twist. 
Any Worst Awards?
Worst stacked cast, worst thriller, and worst journalism of 2020.

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2) Trump Card

Why is it on the list? I hope you didn’t expect this movie to not be on the list. Every movie Dinesh D’Souza will ever make will likely make these lists. It is too easy at this point. A documentary full of lies and gaslighting? A documentary trying to say obvious falsehoods like Trump isn’t a racist or sexist? During an ELECTION year? Get out of here with your bullshit. Begone
Least favorite moment?
He used the city I live in as a backdrop to pretend that Trump cares for LGBTQ+ rights. 
Any Worst Awards? 
Worst movie to heavily feature the director, worst propaganda piece, and worst documentary of 2020.

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1) The Kissing Booth 2
Why is it on the list? Ah, Joey King, one of my newest and strongest films. Bringing down films one at a time. This isn’t a film that is bad because of Joey King though, it is bad for every single minute the film it is on, and Joey King is also bad in it. This is a sequel that shouldn’t be happening to one of the worst films of 2018. And they didn’t even give a full movie this time, forcing me to watch another installment in 2021. Well, I will save a space for that one on my next list as well. 
Least favorite moment?
Only one? Well, I didn’t get to do a review of this one (I still could I guess) so here are a few. The cheating, the cliffhanger, the ridiculous way the lead treats the people around her, the subplots, the forced attempt at making this film have anything really to do with kissing booths. 
Any Worst Awards? 
Worst romance, worst film based on a book, worst sequel, worst Netflix release, and worst film of 2020!

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Thanks for reading! If you disagree with part of this list, let me know. If there is something I missed, let me know (but I probably saw it and reviewed it on this very site!

And as always, I accept hate mail via the post office, email, or tweets.

Best Films of 2020

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Here are not only the films that made 4 out of 4 on my website from 2020 movies, but also ones that I struggled to see if I could include on the list. Surprisingly, three of these are documentaries (with two documentaries also making the top 15).

The Prom, Feels Good Man, Words on Bathroom Walls, The Fight, and Boys State.

15) The Wolf of Snow Hallow
Why is it on the list? The second film from Jim Cummings, it reflects and carries on many of the themes from his first film, Thunder Road. It is doing it in a different genre this time, but it feels like the same character, experiencing some amount of growth, with still a big set of issues. If you want to experience a long panic attack along with the main character, this film really makes you feel antsy.

Favorite moment? The townspeople interrogations and the many breakdowns.

Any Best Awards? Best film starring the guy who wrote and directed it also of 2020. [Surprisingly not the best “werewolf” movie of 2020?]

15

14)
Over the Moon
Why is it on the list? Despite being a film I thought I would just brush off, it took me away with its passion and heart that it presented in the beginning of the movie. The loss and the longing felt by the lead was so strong, I was captivated the rest of the film. It goes into basic animation territory in the middle, and I don’t love the graphics on the moon too much, but it also nails the emotional payoff of the ending, and the reason for the entire journey.

Favorite moment? The Rocket to the Moon scene and montage.

Any Best Awards? Best film-I-thought-would-be-terrible-but-I-actually-loved-and-cried-during-multiple-times and best film featuring a song about ping pong of 2020.

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13) Collective
Why is it on the list? I love documentaries. I am less likely to say I love foreign movies, but I do like watching foreign movies in theaters. I didn’t get to see this one in theaters. But it still captivated me from beginning to end. A sports magazine did some reports on a tragic event, and this hero journalist for them kept up with it, finding layers of governmental corruption? Holy shit. Is this made up? This is their watergate scandal. Good job Romania. Well, bad job for the corruption, good job for the journalism.

Favorite moment? Every new reveal and escalation as things grew more corrupt.

Any Best Awards? Best foreign film and best foreign documentary film of 2020.

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12) Palm Springs
Why is it on the list? Palm Springs, to me, was a breath of fresh air. It took a couple of months during quarantine for movies to still start to come out slowly on streaming services, and I know that Palm Springs came out in a pretty busy weekend. I expected nothing and would have never known of its existence without others letting me know, and what it did to the genre was very unique and worth the set up to discover. Our leads were wonderful together, and it also hyped up science, so what is not to love?

Favorite moment? The initial reveal with what the hell was going on, the physics montage, and the J.K. Simmons home visit.

Any Best Awards? Best science fiction film of 2020.

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11) Promising Young Woman
Why is it on the list? This is an interesting movie for me, because honestly, I went back and fourth which how much I liked it. Part of me was upset about a few aspects, part of me loved everything. And that is really why it dropped out of the top 10. I love the performance from Carey Mulligan, I love how the story goes against expectations of the plot line and really keeps the viewers guessing. The ending is completely unbelievable as well.

Favorite moment? The daughter abduction.

Any Best Awards? Best film surprise third act of 2020.

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10) Sound of Metal
Why is it on the list? If I didn’t first hear about this film from other critics, I would have assumed not much going into this film, and probably skilled it. I loved Riz Ahmed as the lead, and his journey from sound to lack of sound. The meanings of the title, how they incorporated hearing loss, and the use of sign language make this a film

Favorite moment? The audio tricks and the real deaf actors.

Any Best Awards? Best film featuring sign language and best film featuring metal in 2020.

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9) Minari
Why is it on the list? Minari comes in quiet, and stays relatively quietly throughout the picture, but feels like an old friend you haven’t seen in a long time. It is familiar, but it has a unique air to its story. It is well acted, without having to be showy about how well acted it is. It tells a story about hope, success, failures, and relationships and growing up in a specific place, in a specific time. Most of us can probably say we don’t have the same experiences as the main character in this film, and it gives a unique look into a unique story of history.

Favorite moment? The fire and the crop successes/failures.

Any Best Awards? Best film that uses subtitles occasionally, and best film set in Arkansas of 2020.

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8) Spontaneous
Why is it on the list? Spontaneous is certainly not a movie I expected to be on my top list when I started it, nor did I know about it going into it. I saw a single post about its existence, months after its release date and just decided to give it a whirl. And what a whirl it was. I’ve only seen Katherine Langford in other projects, never as the lead, and she absolutely blows this movie up with her performance. And it was nice to see Charlie Plummer as well, in his second movie based on a YA romance novel released this year. Damn, he made me cry in both films as well.

Favorite moment? The entire romance and the dwindling class size.

Any Best Awards? Best YA novel adaptation and best romance of 2020.

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7) One Night in Miami
Why is it on the list? Although about a fictions conversation, the men in equation where all real and presumably pretty accurate towards their thoughts and feelings on various topics discussed in the film. I wouldn’t have ever dreamed about bringing together these four names for a night of conversation and camaraderie, but that is one of the many reasons I am not a playwright or screenwriter. The discussions they had in the film resonate with today, and it becomes a wonderful learning and emotional experience.

Favorite moment? When the power went out at the show.

Any Best Awards? Best first time director and best discourse of 2020.

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6) The Trial of the Chicago 7
Why is it on the list? At this point, it’d probably be really hard for me to not absolutely love an Aaron Sorkin movie. He is directing more so that does add some potential problems, like Molly’s Game wasn’t his best work. But this is some of his best work for sure, carried by the strength of the actors and the dialogue. Like Molly’s Game, some of the problems lie with the director choices, and he should hopefully get better.

Related, and cheating this onto the list, this film pairs really well with Mangrove, also available on streaming, and something you should see as well.

Favorite moment? The mistrial scene and the grammar epiphany scene.

Any Best Awards? Best ensemble cast and best Aaron Sorkin of 2020.

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5) Wolfwalkers
Why is it on the list? First of all, have you seen their previous work? The Breadwinner and Song of the Sea? Both amazing, with wonderful animation. This one takes the cake and is their best work. From the cinematography to the story it is so full of wonder and magic. The main characters are both strong and unique in their own rights, but lets go back to the ANIMATION oh my goodness, gorgeous. Like stained glass windows some times. Fuck, Wolfwalkers blows out all of the animated competition this year, by far.

Favorite moment? The split scene cinematography and the art style in general.

Any Best Awards? Best animated film, best foreign film (Irish), and best fantasy film of 2020.

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4) Totally Under Control
Why is it on the list? This one is pretty easy to talk about and explain. Hey look, a documentary about the 2020 pandemic, and the lack of leadership from the American government. It has first hand accounts from people involved in teams that were supposed to work and repeatedly got hindered for reasons. This only deals with a few months of the response too, and can’t wait (unfortunately) for the sequels that give us the informed part two and or three of these chucklefucks in charge who have no regard for human life.

Favorite moment? The dirt on the white house planning team volunteers who were told to stop the virus.

Any Best Awards? Best political documentary (there were quite a few this year…) and best documentary of 2020.

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3) Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Why is it on the list? Strong strong strong. This film is led by Viola Davis who transformed herself to play the lead, and Chadwick Boseman, who shined brightly as the smooth talking upstart looking to advance his own career. Based on an August Wilson play, quite obviously, the many cast members work together to tell a quick story but one with passion and justice in mind. I don’t know who will be nominated for best actor, but if Boseman is, I have a good chance of supporting it, despite his unfortunate early passing.

Favorite moment? The stutter success and fail and the conclusion.

Any Best Awards? Best play to film, best non-live musical performance, and best dialogue of 2020!

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2) Hamilton
Why is it on the list? This is definitely a film I didn’t expect to be on this list early in 2020, because damn it, this was supposed to come out in 2021. But thanks to other delays, they decided to release this one really early, and, It. Is. Perfection. I saw this the most out of movies released last year, and I’d watch it again in almost any moment (assuming I had the time for it). Something that can always pick me up, and the result of years of hard work, it deserves everything and more.

Favorite moment? One Last Time, The Ending, and Farmer Refuted (so much better visually).

Any Best Awards? Best soundtrack, best musical, best taping of a live show (sorry David Byrne), and best Lafayette of 2020.

2

1) Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Why is it on the list? For sure, this one was a hard choice, and yet, an easy choice. I saw this movie in February of 2020 and it absolutely blew me away. It was my number one pick halfway through the year, and it maintained that status despite a good onslaught (eventually) of other films. It did that by telling a realistic and heartfelt story, a powerful story about a struggle many women have or attempt to go through.

The crying questionnaire scene hit me SO HARD and the whole thing wrapped together and made so much more sense. And it did it without having to directly tell you what happened prior to the film, but the pieces are there.

And sure, if anything, this serves as a good antithesis to my 2019 worst film of the year.

Favorite moment? The questionnaire scene where the title comes from.

Any Best Awards? Best drama of 2020, best realistic fiction of 2020, best woman power film of 2020, and best film of 2020.

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Thanks for reading! If you disagree with part of this list, let me know. If there is something I missed, let me know (but I probably saw it and reviewed it on this very site!

And as always, I accept hate mail via the post office, email, or tweets.

Interview with Steve Byrne – Director of “The Opening Act”

[Editor’s note: This was meant to be a video interview and going great, until about the last two minutes. Then my computer froze. Much embarrassment. It was finished on a phone where I had to write down answers on notes. Most of the interview the phrasing is accurate as the audio recording saved, magically.]

Review of The Opening Act can be seen here!

radio

Gorgon Reviews: Thanks for stopping by Steve.

Steve Byrne: Thank you for having me, I appreciate it!

GR: First question, what is the first movie you remember seeing in theaters growing up?

SB: Superman! Directed by Richard Donner, starring Christopher Reeve, that’s the first film I remember seeing.

GR: You are the first person I’ve interviewed who had that answer just ready to go, usually people are caught off guard and have to think for awhile.

SB: (laughs) Well its my favorite movie of all time, I remember seeing it, yeah.

GR: Do you remember how old you were?

SB: Well, I must have been 3 or 4 at the time, I just remember a second of it. I remember seeing it. And then I remember seeing it on TV when I was a little kid too, and just being enamored by it. And to this day it is probably one of my favorite films.

GR: Steve, what movie made you cry the most?

SB: (Cringes) Okay this is going to be embarrassing, and I am sure you heard this before from other people. I’ve only seen my father cry once before in my life, and it was when his father died, and my daughter has seen me cry during episodes of Shark Tank, okay?

laugh

GR: I let loose pretty easily. I would say I’ve seen Up quite a bit, and and that first 8 minutes of Up has gotten to me every single time. EVERY single time I watch that. And it is on quite a bit in our household, I just get misty eyed.

GR: I am surprised I got such a real answer there, because that question was in your stand up special almost a decade and a half ago. (Steve laughs again). So you had an episode of Comedy Central Presents in the mid-2000s and at the beginning of your movie, you featured a lot of clips from that series. How much did that show mean to you and help advance your own career?

SB: Comedy Central Presents was the first thing I had, at the time it was like, all the young comics in New York City, and across the country, it was their first real kind of break. And for sure that was my first break. Absolutely, without a doubt.

That and BET’s ComicView. (Laughs a lot). I did ComicView twice for some reason, I don’t know how I ended up there, but I got a standing ovation the first time I did it. So that has probably something to do with it. And I got a lot of college work out of it. But Comedy Central Presents was the cool one. I was like, “Yeah, alright, I made it. I’m on my way!”

GR: I watched a lot of those myself during that time so when they all started flashing across the beginning of the movie, I realized I’ve seen all those specials, and that is when it clicked that I knew your name before from your special there.

GR: Stand up and acting have a lot of similarities, but what made you want to transition to directing instead?

SB: Well, I, wrote this script, as an exercise, just to see if I could write a screenplay, if I’d have the discipline to do it. And I thought, well, if I am going to invest my time in writing something, why not write about something that I want to see, and I’ve never seen something from A-Z a film about stand up comedy.

So I just wanted to write about that, and then when it was actually being made, Vince Vaughn [Producer] asked me “Do you want to be in it? It’s being made, what do you want to do?” and I knew I was too old to be the MC of the feature and I am too young to be the headliner. So I thought, “To hell with it, I’m just glad it is being made!” So he said, “Why don’t you direct it?” and I had never directed anything before but he said, “Well you never wrote anything before either, but now you did it, and it’s your story, so direct it!” So I said okay. Never contemplating how overwhelming it was, but I am glad I did it, I am glad I was the purveyor of this story, and I’m really proud of it.

GR: Ah, never had any intentions of being a director until it happened.

SB: Exactly, I knew if it ever got made I’d be too old to play a kid in his 20’s, going on the road for the first time, but I wanted to write a film about a kid driving to Las Vegas for his very first time in his 20’s. Not a man driving home from Vegas in his 50’s. Which uhh, could have been me.

laugh

GR: How much of this was based on your own life?

SB: Oh the minute Will hits the road in the film, everything that has happened in the movie has happened to me. That’s why you can’t make this stuff up. All the comics that are in it, they’ve said the same three things to me after they screened it. 1) I loved it, 2) It was so authentic, and 3) And you just retriggered horrible memories from the first few years of my comedy career, now I need to go see my therapist again. So I was really happy to hear that.

GR: How did you pick Jimmy Yang for the lead of this film?

SB: (Sighs), Well, I didn’t pick Jimmy Yang, he held me up at gun point, after a missed connection on Craig’s List, he met me in Wal-Mart,

GR: And he said “Gimme Dat Dick!”

SB: That’s right, yeah, “Gimme Dat Diiiick!”. Good call back by the way. [Editor’s note: That is a quote from the movie.]

SB: When you’re casting this, because it was semi-autobiographical, I thought I might as well cast somebody that kind of looks like me, and I didn’t do it for diversity sake, I hate when people do that, I hate when people make it an agenda, it is certainly not that. But there are very few stand up comedians that are Asian, and there are very few stand up comic Asians that are also working actors, so Jimmy was the first one we went to, Jimmy took it and I didn’t have to talk to anyone else after that.

GR: Was there any celebrity that was the inspiration behind Billy G?

SB: Ah yes, there was an inspiration behind Billy G. His name is Billy G, because he was named after Billy Gardell. And most people know Billy Gardell from the show Mike and Molly, I’ve had a lot of mentor’s along the way, and I’ve had a lot of people give me sage advice, and I toured with Billy Gardell, along with brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

[Editor’s Note: This is when my computer froze. I know, in the middle of a probably touching answer. Once my compute restarted, it also decided to do an update and I realized it was a lost cause, but Steve waited for me to get back on Zoom on my phone, and we finished the interview there.]

GR: Okay, one of the things I really appreciate is the is that all of the side characters in this film have personality and a reason for existing, without still taking away from Will’s story. The DJ is mysterious and crazy, but it never gets fully explained. Chad is an interesting comic, the girlfriend is actually supportive the whole time…and then there is Chip. What is up with Chip?

SB: (Laughs) Well, Chip is like the gatekeeper to Will’s dreams. He is the one who ultimately is giving Will a shot by letting him MC at the club, and there are a lot of managers like that who have to book for multiple clubs across the country, so if Will can succeed, it leads to a lot more opportunity. And uhh, he is based on two managers in particular, ones who pushed a lot of boundaries.

GR: You mentioned earlier that all of these things happened to you. So you had the radio interview gone wrong, the hecklers and all of that?

SB: YES! In Raleigh, NC was the story about going to the trailer park with the girl who had a, well, Marine boyfriend. The Radio interview was from LA, and the hecklers was in Dallas.
[Editor’s Note: I hope I got the cities right for that. Damn chicken scratch notes.]

GR: Thank you so much for stopping by to talk Steve, sorry about the tech issues there. The Opening Act opens this weekend at least in The Alamo Drafthouse if not more places.

SB: Thanks for taking time watch and review and give the film some buzz. I appreciate it.

Best of the Decade – Part 5 (10-1)

10) The Grand Budapest Hotel 2014

Why? Wes Anderson is a director that took me a long time to appreciate. I didn’t really know much about him and his earlier work, but wasn’t a fan when I was younger. After Fantastic Mr. Fox, I was a fan, and it took a couple more to bring me to this one which made me fall in love with its insides.

After seeing it for the first time I have seen other films he did, still not all of them, and this is just the most spectacular to me. A larger cast, full of oddballs, love, and life lessons. And hell, the main character is not a great man, but Ralph Fiennes goes completely into this hotel madman and leaves nothing behind.

It is a film that is visually stunning and funny enough that it is easy to revisit over and over again with similar tummy bellows.

Favorite moment? The punch outs.

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9) La La Land 2016

Why? Musicals are hard to make and hard to make well. Slap some songs in a movie and we don’t always fall in love. Have choreography? Who cares, so do music videos. I need a good story, I need acting, and I need songs to move the story forward and not feel awkward.

La La Land feels like an attempt to make a more low key realistic musical, while still having the same show stopping type numbers. The first couple of songs in it are full on flash and color, but after that, we get our slower song for both leads to dance, and then it slows the hell down. It lets them breath, we get our main theme with reprises and add-ons, and it lets the story work.

I feel like I get the best of the both worlds, along with an ending I can hate while still respecting at the same time. Gosling and Stone, you are beautiful people who keep coupling in our movies. Thank you for that. This is my favorite musical of the decade. 

Favorite moment? Another Day of Sun.

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8) The Social Network 2010

Why? Here is a film a lot of people have called the best of the decade, and it is a wonder that it came out at the start of the decade. It is a film many say should have won Best Picture and are still annoyed by that fact today. And I get it, I love it too.

We combine David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin, so of course we get some amazing creation they can call their own. Add in a great score, actors who were sort of just coming into the game, and some boy band experience, and it is a hard film to top.

It still feels timely, and likely will be for quite a long while given how little our online interactions have actually changed. It is the type of film that I feel I will always be down to watch, and was peak Eisenberg (but thankfully not peak Garfield or Hammer).

Favorite moment? The ousting of Eduardo.

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7) Scott Pilgrim vs. The World 2010

Why? A lot of this list could be seen as “What films does this guy think are better than The Social Network from the 2010s?” And I will do you one better. What film from 2010 itself do I think is better? Scott Pilgrim, that’s what!

I will say this is a film where I had read all of the source material before the film, and it completely delivered six books in one film. You know, the type of thing books try to avoid since then. They wanna stretch it out. Edgar Wright instead filled it with action, game references, and totally captured the nature of the graphic novel. Sure, a lot is missing, and that is okay.

This is a stone soup of younger actors and actresses to piece together this strange story that is really just a complicated metaphor that tells us that people have baggage. Relationships are hard. And it can be difficult to let things go that have helped define us up to that point. And its funny. This is my favorite comedy AND comic book movie of the decade. 

Favorite moment? CASUAL SEX! Okay, that’s the book. The Chris Evans and Vegan fights.

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6) Warrior 2011

Why? And now onto more serious things. I didn’t hear about Warrior until it was coming out on DVD as a recommendation from my brother. I wasn’t expecting anything, just another “boxing movie” but instead I got an extremely heartfelt story about two brothers, no longer in each other’s lives, both overcoming their own hardships and difficulties in life to do what they do best. Fight.

I will admit I don’t really like Nick Nolte in most films the last 20 years, but him being a hard to decipher mess of a human actually works for this movie. One of my favorite aspects of this film is that this basically introduced me to Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy in movies, and they have continued to show why they are both highly sought after actors.

UFC is new to the sports world still, and it found a way to take what would normally be just a boxing story and change things up, with different styles mirroring their lives and attitudes. And of course, when I see the ending, I cry every time. This is my favorite sports movie of the decade. 

Favorite moment? The four second fight, the final fight, the Marines song.

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5) Nightcrawler 2014

Why? Another film I never got to see in theaters, and I blame poor advertising on that. I blame the advertising on its lack of awards as well, because Jake Gyllenhaal should have been nominated and won those acting awards for his scary portrayal.

This film takes morals and completely throws them out of the window. Gyllenhaal rarely blinks and talks in a charismatic rapey way like he was born to be that person. But hell, Gyllenhaal has been one of the most consistent actors this decade, so it makes sense.

Nightcrawler is unsettling and questions our fascination with the news and what people want to see and hear. If anything, it predicted what people have started to do with features like YouTube/Facebook Live when it comes to unthinkable crimes, and hopefully if enough people see it and take its messages to heart, we can put to end to this nonsense. So, probably never. This is my favorite Thriller of the decade. 

Favorite moment? The home invasion and fallout.

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4) The Perks of Being A Wallflower 2012

Why? When I saw this film in theaters, I remember just sitting there in the theater, watching regular credits with music blasting, and finding myself unable to get up and leave. I had to deal with the emotions and thoughts running through my head. I had to wipe away tears and make sure I wasn’t a wreck of a man walking into the lobby. I noticed the few people in the theater were also not getting up right away. It seemed like a universal feeling.

What starts out as a story about a loner who wants to be accepted but is too introverted and shy to get out there turns into something bigger. Coming out of your shell is risky, and so is accepting others into your life. But even if we bring others in, there is still a lot hiding under the surface that they can never know about, to know what you are going through and subconsciously dealing with at all times..

The reveal about our protagonist and his past comes along shockingly, but when rewatching the film the hints are right there. Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller are great leads, and Emma Watson in this film helps break out of her Harry Potter sphere. It is so well acted with a kicking soundtrack, it should be a staple of its genre for hopefully decades to come dealing with timeless problems. This is my favorite coming of age story of the decade. 

Favorite moment? Truth or dare.

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3) Colossal 2017

Why? Colossal is a hard film to fit into any genre. It is a film that has plot holes and doesn’t try to explain all of its quirks. And that can rub people the wrong way.

But when taken as a larger metaphor for emotional abuse and substance abuse, and trying to overcome these issues with your body and past, it is a shining example of how someone can feel. Full of depression and anger in their own lives, it sometimes feels like there is a monster inside of them that is destroying others. And that can be literal if the monster completely consumes the individual.

Thankfully, this movie also offers hope. And I love that the answer isn’t just another man or a relationship. It is about fixing yourself and not relying on others to handle your problems for you.

Anne Hathaway I enjoy in most films, and she feels very vulnerable in this film Jason Sudeikis I also love, but plays the bad guy in a creepily realistic way. The twists and turns are wonderful. This is my favorite…uhh…fantasy film (?) of the year. Maybe romance? I don’t know. 

Favorite moment? The introduction of the Robot.

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2) Arrival 2016

Why? In 2016, this movie was the third on my list, right a different Amy Adams movie and a musical, and in those years since I have realized that Arrival is the better film. At this point I was more familiar with Denis Villeneuve and still blown away with the story put together in this film. Sure, it is based on a story, but the visual work and cinematography, and the alien design and the ORDER this story gives is mind blowing. It is a mind blowing film.

Amy Adams is probably the best actress of the decade. Just look at the number of nominations, the quality of films she has been in year after year, even the more silly and family friendly roles are above the curve. And I don’t think she has ever been better.

This film is a major gut punch when the whole story gets revealed and told and deals with a complicated timeline, but not shying away from complicated stories is a good thing. When we get original stories that don’t feed you through a straw the plot, we need to reward them and celebrate them. This is my favorite science fiction film of the decade. 

Favorite moment? The death of the alien.

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1) Steve Jobs 2015

Why? And finally, the shocking moment, the one that will make people say huh. But probably not people who know me. When I made my top of 2015 list it made 4th, with the two above it not making my top of the decade, and the other one being The Big Short, further down this list. So HOW could a film like this move all the way up to my number one spot?

First of all, repeatability. Since I bought the film I have seen it probably twice a year always on a whim. I get a feeling, I want to see Steve Jobs again, so I do it. It being a film in three acts that mirror each other and grow is a rewarding watch, to see the connections, to connect it to history, to see how people grow.

Secondly, I can still tear up usually near the end each and every time. Having it be about a very mean and modern myth filled man, but actually a story about learning to accept your responsibilities as a father? That is a twist, and movies that deal with father/daughter relationships always get me now.

Thirdly, Aaron Goddamn Sorkin. I love the hell out of his dialogue, and the words come out at a pace with such passion that it is like an action movie…with words.

Strangely enough, I am in no way an Apple fan boy. I have had an iPhone for one year before they got rid of the Aux, so I went back to Android. I had an iPod way after they were cool and that is about it. I just can acknowledge that Steve Jobs was an interesting individual and did a lot of good with a lot of bad.

Fassbender should have won best actor over DiCaprio that year. Rogen was great. Winslet completely became a different person. Daniels molded his suave from the Newsroom into something similar, but different. And the other people involved are equally fascinating.

If it wasn’t for the several F-bombs, it is a film I would show my gifted students every year, so they could understand that being smart doesn’t mean one has to be a dick. A play that never was a play, Steve Jobs is my favorite drama, favorite “biopic”, and favorite movie of the decade. 

Favorite moment? It’s not binary.

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Thanks for reading! Hopefully you check out the other parts and can tell me in the top 50 why I am stupid and missed your favorite film, or why you think Steve Jobs isn’t a great film. I might not listen, but I will still “listen.”

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Best of the Decade – Part 4 (20-11)

20) Margin Call 2011

Why? Earlier in the list I already had The Big Short, which talked about the 2008 Crisis in a much different way than Margin Call. Margin Call did it dramatically, with a fake company, to showcase the ineptitude of those at the top, and how they could still screw over other people on the way to trying to save themselves.

I rated this higher featuring some good performances from various actors involved, and just in generally it is really thrilling for such a bland sounding topic.

Favorite moment? The day after.

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19) 1917 2019

Why? You try to pretend your movie is done in one take, and I am going to enjoy it. Flex away your cinematographic and directorial skills to put that together. The story is a simple one, and through it we get to see the realities of the trench, just how much they worked like any movie before.

We see a lot of the biggest aspects of WW1, including the fear, the excessive death, and how hard it was to find an eventual resolution. This is my favorite war movie of the decade. 

Favorite moment? The night time escape.

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18) Baby Driver 2017

Why? Another movie with Kevin Spacey in the same article, ack! This was really hard to place in its original top list, due to scandals, but honestly, I still love this movie very much. Edgar Wright pieced together a high energy film, with a unique soundtrack that made me want to speed down the highway myself. Okay, that’s bad.

But a heist movie where things go bad, the bad guys are various level of bad, and a journey for redemption? What a hero arc.

Favorite moment? Hocus Pocus Focus escape.

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17) Parasite 2019

Why? Come on, of course right? I mean, come on. Many are saying Parasite could be one of the best films of the decade, and there is a lot of reason for that. I often worry about getting caught up in “current year hype” and knowing how well 2019 films compare to the previous 9 is really hard. But I think Parasite is one of those keeper films. This movie will likely be fast tracked to some sort of American remake and it won’t be as good.

Thankfully, this version is so good, without going into too much detail, about Korean class warfare, that it feels universal regardless of where you are from.

Favorite moment? What’s in the basement?

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16) Waves 2019

Why? See above. I don’t know if Waves should be this high, but it was my number one in 2019. I haven’t been able to rewatch it, and don’t know if it has staying power. But like Parasite, it told a classic tale of a rise and fall, but also included the potential rise again after the fact. After tragedy, we need to cope and move on, and Waves makes sure to focus equal attention on that aspect as well.

Beautifully shot and acted, it brought me to tears several times.

Favorite moment? The party aftermath.

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15) Swiss Army Man 2016

Why? This film is one of the greatest and most original films I have seen in my life time. It is bananas to the wall, hell, to the ceiling, complete and utter madness. Paul Dano can practically do no wrongs when it comes to films in his career, and although Daniel Radcliffe is more hit and miss, this one is certainly a high hit for anyone who decides to accept its weird and give it a chance.

If it takes a lot of fart and masturbation jokes to discover what it means to be human, then sign me up for this evolved life.

Favorite moment? The soundtrack.

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14) Les Miserables 2012

Why? No! Not the french remake that isn’t actually based on the book that came out in 2019, the goddamn musical! I had never seen the stage musical before seeing this film and was only slightly familiar with one of the songs, so I wasn’t sure what to expect on that Christmas morning in 2012. This film made me cry four times my first time in theaters, and from that I went on to watch it at least three more times in theaters. It was a day one buy when it hit Blu-Ray and has been seen several times over.

The songs have complexity, and it just hits you over the head over and over about how shitty this time in France was. Time machine? No thank you. And by having the actors sing live for the movie added such a personal touch that can only be recreated in real life.

Favorite moment? One Day More and Javert’s suicide.

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13) Goon 2011

Why? It took a little bit for Goon to leak its way out of Canada into an American release, and I was excited to give it a shot. Little did I know it would become something I needed to see again after watching it by myself. I remember showing it to my dad later the same day due to how ridiculous it was, and funny, and strangely heart felt.

Seann William Scott made his career out of being a lovable idiot, and this role is another iteration of that, which he executes perfectly. An extremely quotable movie at points, it takes some extremes in the sport of hockey without breaking out into a musical.

Favorite moment? The Ross Rhea showdown.

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12) About Time 2013

Why? About Time felt like it would easily fall into “Creepy movie territory” real quick. A romance where the guy can go back and time and just try again until he makes it perfect? No! Rapey! ack! And then despite starting with those elements, they make our hero the perfect gentlemen, going back to help everyone he can, even if it means setting himself back.

And by the end, with the implications of his travels, it is hard to not cry over the relationship he has with his father and the family he has created. It is an incredibly smart film given the stipulations it put into its time travel and how one should try and approach life no matter their circumstances.

Favorite moment? Ping pong.

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11) Blindspotting 2018

Why? My top film of 2018 wasn’t able to make my top ten of the decade, despite being still a great film about an important subject matter. Gentrification is not an easy subject to make a comedy/drama about. So why not two people who have experienced it themselves growing up in radically different ways due to the color of their skin?

Daveed Diggs (who blew up thanks to Hamilton) and real life friend Rafael Casal give an emotionally charged performance in wake up police brutality, harsh sentences, and how felons are treated in our society. 2018 had a lot of social justice films that were top of the line, and this one was just on top of the pile overall.

Favorite moment? Post party arguments.

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Best of the Decade – Part 3 (30-21)

30) The Favourite 2018

Why? While not my favorite movie of the decade, this is my favorite of Yorgos Lanthimos, whom was doing really good in the last few years of the decade. A women centric cast, that is a bit absurd, while having some historical truth, it led to a lot of comedic gold moments that could only happen with a great script and great actresses to carry it all out.

Also, the camera work in this film was atypical, and a bit inspiring.

Favorite moment? Don’t look at me.

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29) Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2018

Why? This is my “half” sequel on the list. Technically standalone, but also one of the realities is totally the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films, so it takes place after them. Spider-Verse is on this list as my third (and not yet highest) rated animated film because of how blown away I was with the art style.

It offered something unlike any other animated film of that year or recent years, keeping it still feeling like a comic movie, and with stunning fight scenes and humor throughout.

Favorite moment? Alright, let’s start at the beginning.

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28) Sing Street 2016

Why? This is a film I expected almost nothing out of, and should have realized it was something special. The third music centered film by John Carney feels very personal and ends up being more than a strange pre-teen romance film.

It also deals with a strong relationship with brothers and how those older can pave the way for their siblings, taking on more burdens that the younger ones would never realize. And hey, the music is fun too.

Favorite moment? Basically every scene with Jack Reynor.

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27) 12 Years A Slave 2013

Why? 2013 called, it wants its number one movie back. 12 Years A Slave is a hard movie to get through. Torture, near death, and obviously enslavement does not equate to a movie you want to see over and over. Hell, I knew it would take me awhile to rewatch it after I saw it in theaters, and only rewatched it for this list finally, never really getting in that mood again.

Well acted, a terrifying real story, but one that is something I will rarely ever see again in my life.

Favorite moment? Favorite is a bad word here, but the “hanging” scene is the most powerful and shocking.

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26) Hereditary 2018

Why? I do believe Toni Collette was robbed for he performance in this film, and not given anywhere close to enough credit as she deserved. I knew she was a great actress, and this film really cemented it in my mind. A demented film overall, one that builds the fears inside of you overtime and masterfully at that.

Very few “jump” scares but instead an overall sense of dread and wondering how could things get worse or scarier. This is my favorite horror film of the decade. 

Favorite moment? Dinner time.

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25) Whiplash 2014

Why? I don’t know if I need a long paragraph for this one? J. K. Fucking Simmons. There. That’s why.

Favorite moment? Tempo changes.

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24) Kubo and the Two Strings 2016

Why? Kubo is an animated film that tried to give me something I hadn’t seen before. Laika has been pushing the boundaries of their stop-motion films a lot over this decade, and I don’t think anything came out as fresh and stunning as Kubo. Combining characters both big and small, we got a fresh lead with an interesting story, and hell, some scary villains to boot.

It still felt like a good film for the family, despite its darker elements. Honestly, the only thing I hated were the names of the sidekicks. This is my favorite animated film of the decade. 

Favorite moment? The magic origami.

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23) Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) 2014

Why? Another top film of its year that is getting surpassed by others, I will still attest that Birdman is a wonderful film, start to finish, really no faults. I love everything about it, from the meta casting choices, to the long takes and monologues, to the play within a play. The catchy drum beat that wraps up most of the film keeps it moving and on the edge.

It is a great movie and will be celebrated for a long time.

Favorite moment? Edward Norton.

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22) Gone Girl 2014

Why? Gone Girl is a thriller where the twist is revealed much earlier on than most thrillers. Hell, the twist turns it into almost a completely different movie, and makes it go places that would be very hard to predict. Affleck is wonderful as the distant husband, but Pike really gives a haunting performance, which elevated far past anything I’ve seen her do before. Mostly TV shows, notably.

Because the twist is so early on, it is still a movie worth watching over and over.

Favorite moment? What happened to Amy.

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21) Mad Max: Fury Road 2015

Why? Ah! Many people picked this their top of that year and top of the decade, and I will admit, this is an over the top film unlike almost anything else. The stunt work, the practical effects, the gruesome moments. It is definitely a story that doesn’t hold a lot of equals. And I can acknowledge all of it, and still want more from the actors and plot.

This is the only other sequel on the whole list, which is interesting as this one works very well as a standalone and just uses 1 character.

Favorite moment? The race back.

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Best of the Decade – Part 2 (40-31)

 

40) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 2015

 

Why? Besides being a solid A+ on the naming department, the title gives you everything you need to know about it. A movie dealing with teens dealing with death, the awkwardness of friendship and love in general, and how one can face the inevitable.

The Nick Offerman and love of movies in it doesn’t hurt it either.

Favorite moment? The movie reenactments.

 

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39) Aftershock 2010

 

Why? Partially picked because of how few people know about this film, Aftershock is one of the first lesser known films I watched that had a great emotional impact on me, and that was when I was still only 21 or so! The hard choice a mother faces can be seen as an allegory to the One-Child policy that China already had.

And the fact that we get to see so much of the events after the earthquake (you know, the Aftershocks) and how it affected so many lives is just heartbreaking.

Favorite moment? Hard to beat the initial earthquake scene.

 

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38) Life of Pi 2012

 

Why? Life of Pi, like The Martian, ends up being one of my go-to movies to show the youth of the world as a teacher when we have time, except I try to say it relates to math because of Pi. Life of Pi changed the way CGI worked in films forever, winning plenty of awards along the way because of how aesthetically beautiful it was.

It deals with a lot of hard topics in a way that those young and old can relate to.

Favorite moment? The “real story” being told.

 

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37) Uncut Gems 2019

 

Why? My first film from this year on the list (which was very hard to place in the decade, mind you) feels like a reminder that Sandler knows what the hell he is doing with the acting game, he just chooses to phone it in for easy paychecks. This film is an uncomfortable two hours, of people making bad and risky decisions for a payoff that may or may not be worth it.

It is excruciating in all the right ways, and a tense experience that is really hard to create.

Favorite moment? The final bet.

 

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36) Inside Out 2015

 

Why? My second animated film on this list, Inside Out hit me like a bag of trucks. First of all, it was led with Lava, which as a short made me cry by itself. But the journey of “emotions having emotions” through the guise of a pre-teen girl was its own a tear-filled experience, at least twice in theaters, and usually again when I watch it on my own or with my family.

It is a wonderfully weird concept, that sure, doesn’t make a lot of sense with scrutiny (see: many Pixar films), but a ride worth taking nonetheless.

Favorite moment? Bing bong bing bong.

 

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35) The Big Short 2015

 

Why? What’s this? My number 1 film of 2015 already on the list? That is okay. The Big Short is still wonderful, done in an exciting and informative way, and made me generally smarter about things I didn’t understand well. Hell, it still has good rewatchability. Just maybe that we are farther from the crisis in general, and there are other movies on the subject I like more (spoilers for this list), this felt like a good spot to land.

Adam McKay‘s heel-turn into Oscar nominated films was a shocker and a welcome one at that.

Favorite moment? The celebrity cameos to explain terminology.

 

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34) Get Out 2018

 

Why? After working on a whole lot of skits, Jordan Peele realized he knew what was missing in the world, and he gave us Get Out. With Us being good (and not as good), he has cemented himself fully as someone to watch. A lot of films in the late 2010’s deal with racial tensions in America, but almost none as creatively do it as with Get Out, in the guise of a regular horror and creepy film.

It fuses the truth, with horror and comedy to get people in the doors and more importantly, get people talking.

Favorite moment? The hypnotism.

 

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33) Before Midnight 2013

 

Why? Before Midnight is the first sequel on this list, and after examining the whole thing, there are only 2, maybe 2 and a half films that are sequels. So this is definitely the only end of a trilogy! The raw emotions that Linklater let these two do, just to talk, about love, and fear, and sadness, and hope. It is inspiring on its own. Add to the difficulty of creating the trilogy in sort of real time with 9 year gaps lets us come back to a couple we adore and want to succeed and cheer for.

There is a chance of a forth film in 2022, but as for now Linklater hasn’t told us anything.

Favorite moment? The argument.

 

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32) Prisoners 2013

 

Why? Prisoners is a movie I went in with no expectations, only a trailer, as I didn’t know who Denis Villeneuve was. Turns out, he is a director I love and is featured many times on this list. This is one of those films that really showed me for the first time how good of an actor Gyllenhaal and Dano really are. Already had my assumptions about Jackman.

A long, mystery, dealing with moral ambiguity and a terrifying conclusion. Prisoners changed the way I saw cinema for the next few years.

Favorite moment? Jackman losing it.

 

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31) Marriage Story 2019

 

Why? Marriage Story deals with a topic we don’t talk a lot about in films. Divorce! Getting married is easy, keeping it and ending it is harder. Two PHENOMENAL performances from Johansson and Driver, this is done in such a way that there are not too many overall scenes, but it is overall very awkward and sad.

I haven’t reseen the movie, but I have gone out of my way to rewatch various parts and I am able to with ease already knowing the full context. This will be a hard movie for me to rewatch and sit through beginning to end, but definitely one that warrants it at some point in the future.

Favorite moment? The court scene.

 

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