My Top 10 Movies of 2021 (draft version)

For once, I’m early. Usually I’ve seen quite a limited number of movies from a specific year at this point.

Actually, there is quite a few movies I would like to see before making the final version of this list (not that there is an actual final list ever, because if you ask me about this next week, I will probably look at this quite differently). Some of the movies I haven’t seen yet, but would like to: Red Rocket, Liqourice Pizza, C’Mon C’Mon, Censor, Ich bin dein Mensch, Titane, The Power of the Dog, Swan Song, Jakob’s Wife and probably others I can’t remember right now and there’s bound to be a lot of European and Asian movies I haven’t even heard about at this point. I guess the problem is that at this point I’ve seen all the big tentpole movies and I haven’t seen all the indie gems, which skews this list quite a bit, but what can you do? (Obviously, see more movies, but I’ll get there.)

But on to the list. As usual, not really in order except that I’ll put these in two tiers.

The best two:

Pig

A hermit’s pig is stolen, so he has to return to society in order to get it back.

Nicolas Cage might be bit of a joke these days, but when his heart’s in it, the results are going to be great. He takes this one seriously and it shows. I can’t say he carries the film, because everyone around is good as well, but he works as this silent center of the film, who can make others open up.

It’s about passion, but becasue the main character is a chef, the way passions are presented is all about cooking. Our main character hasn’t been doing it in a while, but he seems to remember everything about everyone. Perhaps that’s the reason he had to leave the city. He just couldn’t handle remembering everything.

… and because of that, it’s also about grief.

The Mitchell’s vs. The Machines

This is just so much fun. I mean, it’s kind of stupid, but that doesn’t matter with the energy it has. I’m not going to explain this any further. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should, and if you don’t get why I put it here, that’s a you-problem.

The rest in no particular order (with a bit of cheat):

The Green Knight

I heard from a source that they had to stop watching this, because it got too weird. This was a great reason for me to see it. I was actually a bit disappointed because of this, because it isn’t that weird. On a second watch I was able to appreciate it a little more. Mostly I like the production design, the wardrobe and so forth. The adventure is pretty good too, but there is just a bit too much stuff, which doesn’t really feel like it’s important.

The Suicide Squad

James Gunn was able to fully embrace the absurdity of superhero genre of the comics. He said on some interview that if they can get Polka-Dot Man to work, they are onto something. And they definitely did get Polka-Dot Man to work. It’s so weird how DC has given more freedom to it’s filmmakers and have thus been able to make something great, while Marvel has kept more control over their directors and their movies have been becoming more and more rote.

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Well, this is technically a Sony movie, not a Marvel movie, even if it does take place in the same universe. I actually liked this less than The Suicide Squad, because there are elements in this movie, which feel like they are unneeded fan service, although much of it does work as well. I also couldn’t help but think that some of the creative decisions made in this movie were largely based on the complicated business relations between Disney and Sony, where certain characters are specifically owned by Sony and some by Disney, so they needed to get to a certain point with the character to go further with it.

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

Another very fun movie. Barb and Star are just very lovable characters and their arc is just so very different from what we are used to.

Hytti nro 6 aka Compartment Number 6

Wow, a Finnish movie. Juho Kuosmanen made The Happies Day in the Life of Olli Mäki a few years ago and that was great, so I was looking forward to him making another film. This isn’t quite as good, but still captures something unique. While it isn’t a romantic comedy, it pretty much follows that formula and makes it work. I don’t get to talk positively about Finnish movies very often, so I’m happy everytime I get to talk about one, but at the same time I’m not quite certain that people from outside of Finland will see this quite the same way, but I do recommend it.

Also, a sidenote: The main character is bi, but this did get funding from the Russian Culture Fun. Weird. At the same time Benedetta was recently banned for homosexual content.

In the Heights

I’m not the biggest fan of the music, which seems a bit forced at times, but the people are sympathetic and you can get into this world nicely.

Dune: Part One

Doesn’t quite work on it’s own, except that it’s gorgeous. It stops in a sort of awkward place, because it is somewhat anticlimactic. Still, this different take on sci-fi is nice.

Fear Street series

This is the cheat. It’s three movies pushed into one on this list. I’m not sure any of them could get into the list on their own merits, but as a complete experience it works. Sure, it stumbles in the beginning and elsewehere as well, but the last one is just so satisfying. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be that satisfying without the other two, so I feel I can’t put that into the list on it’s own either.

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