Author: John

Top Ten Movies of 2021

While the movie-going status quo has changed significantly, 2021 welcomed us back to movie theaters and saw the return of blockbusters in a big way. Many of the larger films were holdovers unreleased in 2020, while indie films from the festival circuit continued to get major platforms on streaming services. Of the record 85 films I saw this year, I’d say around 2/3rds of them were from home, but most of my favorite experiences of the year were still in theaters. Here are my picks for favorite movies of 2021:

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Top “Everything but 2021 Movies” of 2021

I’m going to try something different with this post. Every year, I list my favorite movies of the year, but it pigeonholes the post into avoiding any of the other media I consumed throughout the year – books, TV-shows, video games, and even movies that came out years ago that I happened to come across in 2021.

2021, of course, was the second year dominated by COVID-19, so I spent a lot of time at home and discovered a number of new medias that were pretty incredible. Here are my top 5 of the year:

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Top Ten Movies of 2020

What a year. There are about a thousand things from 2020 that are more important to talk about than the state of movies, but that’s what I’m going to write about. I saw a record 81 movies from the 2020 season, thanks to a combination of accessibility, length of the Oscar season (it’s April….), and too much dang time spent at home. Of course, the downside from a movie-going perspective is that all of those movies were seen at home. Of the 13 movies in this article, I saw literally all of them from my couch. So what movies had an emotional impact on me from the comfort of my living room? Here is my [spoiler-free] take on 2020.

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‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ Justifies Its Own Existence

I can’t believe I’m writing this, but Zack Snyder’s Justice League justifies its own existence. Actually, I’ll go even further than that: I truly enjoyed the Snyder Cut, despite thoroughly disliking the 2017 theatrical cut. The new version is overly long for a theatrical film, but in an era when Marvel is turning out hour-after-hour of content as TV shows, this HBO Max feature finally makes some sense of what Zack Snyder was getting at in his otherwise largely incoherent DC movies. As an exercise in unadulterated auteur theory, it’s pretty good and thoroughly interesting, warts and all.

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‘Lucky’ (2021): Just a Part of Living in this World

Lucky is a new horror film on Shudder that comes out of SXSW 2020, and is a movie that I came away extremely impressed with. Honestly the film only grows in my esteem the more I think about it, and there’s a lot of substance in its brisk 83 minute runtime. I’ll give my initial [spoiler-free] thoughts before digging into the details of the ending.

A quick plot synopsis: May Ryer (played by Brea Grant, writer of the film) lives with her husband Ted in what seems to be a loving (if somewhat chilly) long-term relationship. One night, May awakens to a masked intruder breaking into her house. When she wakes up her husband, he informs her that “that’s the man that comes every night and tries to kill us.” Together they fight him off and “kill” him, only for the man to disappear, Michael Myers-style. I’ll leave the synopsis at that, suffice it to say that the questions and danger only begin there.

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WandaVision and the Creative Tether of the MCU

This weekend, like a lot of people, I finished the first (only?) season of Marvel’s WandaVision TV show. I didn’t expect to have strong opinions about the show – I’m someone who normally watches all of the MCU films as they come out, but doesn’t really give them a ton of thought afterwards. Sure, this show has a really interesting premise and style, but it will probably be more of the same… right? Well the show really surprised me and grabbed my interest, and I have a lot of thoughts about its finale. [Spoilers] are ahead.

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Top Ten Movies of 2019

2019 was one of the best years for film of the decade thanks to a late surge in quality towards the end of the year.  I saw a personal record of 78 movies this year, and had an incredibly difficult time putting together this list.  As always, this will be a [spoiler-free] take on the films in question.  Without further ado: (more…)

The Best Movie Stuff of 2019

There have been so many memorable movies of 2019!  Even outside of my top 10 of the year, there are tons of things, movie “stuff” if you will, that are worth talking about.  This post will be pretty much entirely [spoiler-free], so feel free to read on even if you haven’t seen the films.   Without further ado, here are some of my favorite movie elements.  (more…)

Top Ten Movies of 2018

2018 was an extremely rich year for very good movies, even while perhaps lacking in true masterpieces.  Somehow when making this list, I went from not having enough films to fill it in November to making extremely difficult cuts in February.  Out of the 61 movies I saw this year, it was very difficult to narrow the list to only 10 (plus four extras), and there are probably another dozen that could easily be swapped in.  Here are my favorites of the year.

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The Best Movie Stuff of 2018

2018 has been a hell of a year, and in many ways has felt like an eternity.  In that eternity, we’ve gotten a huge variety of great films.  Here are some of my favorite elements and moments from film in 2018.  This will be mostly [spoiler-free] unless otherwise noted. (more…)