Best & Worst of 2021

As the world slowly loosened its restrictions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, movies were coming in hot with more releases and most importantly, cinemas opening up for the public to go watch their favourite flicks on the big screen. For Malaysia, it was somewhere in March when we got to go back to cinemas again and boy, do I miss it.

That being said, 2021 had some great movies and bad ones still. Last year, I only made a top three list but I’m feeling generous this year. I’ll give you five and some honourable mentions and the worst one of all. Let’s start with honourable mentions first.

Honourable Mentions:

  • “The Suicide Squad”

It was just fascinating to see how a remake of a previous cinematic failure could be so much better in the hands of the right director.

  • “The Last Duel”

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon reunites on screen and behind the scenes in the perfect #MeToo movie.

  • “Bo Burnham: Inside”

If you want to know how a creative genius handles being alone in quarantine at home, this Netflix special is your answer.

Just trim out the third act and you’ll get a great origin movie for a lesser-known comic book character

  • “West Side Story”

Steven Spielberg should direct more musicals. Rachel Zegler and Mike Faist are stars in their own right.

5. “Spencer”

When it was first announced that Kristen Stewart is going to play Princess Diana, a lot of people doubted it. Until “Spencer” came out and she unexpectedly wowed audiences including myself as the titular character. She became one with this real-life persona and demonstrated a haunting, shocking, sympathetic version of the late princess which demanded your attention into telling this story. Give her that damn Oscar already!

4. “CODA”

We all have seen the teenager breaking free from her estranged family trope but not like “CODA”. “CODA” shined a light on the deaf community with a heart-warming, family-oriented, coming-of age story that is strong yet easy to root for the fate of these vibrant characters. Actress Emilia Jones is someone to look out for in the future.

3. “Spider-Man: No Way Home

A lot of sequels this year rely on heavy nostalgia to bait its old fans but not “Spider-Man: No Way Home”. It used what it has built from years ago to form a very satisfying payoff for fans that have stuck with Marvel from day one. Even if you are not a fan, it is pretty impossible to not understand how much of a big deal this movie was for us, because the roars and cheers in my cinema hall definitely proved so.

2. “Dune

If there is one word to describe “Dune”, it is epic. Epic in scale, epic in storytelling, epic in design; everything here felt big grounded by a charismatic Timothée Chalamet who will rule Hollywood in the future. I cannot wait what director Denis Villeneuve has up his sleeves for part two, but I trust his direction to give us an epic conclusion to a gripping sci-fi tale.

1. “Raya And The Last Dragon

This movie from Disney is perfect. It is a story about trust, unity, courage, and everything that should be moulded into young children of today. The inspiring protagonist is someone that you can look up to and its complex antagonist is someone you can understand and sympathise. It has a strong message that we can all reflect on to better ourselves too; and all of that came from a cartoon! With a respectful representation of Southeast Asian culture, “Raya And The Last Dragon” is the clear standout of 2021 in my opinion.

Worst movie: “The Kissing Booth 3

I’m a sucker for teen romcoms as much as the next person but fuck this movie! I reluctantly sat through the entire trilogy since 2018 hoping it’d get better but it only got worse. Characters acted like children, the plot was recycled, the whole kissing booth mechanic was forgotten, and that ending, just throw it away. Fine, I wasn’t exactly looking for Best Picture quality here but at least respect your audience and conclude it properly!

And there you have it, my best and worst of 2021. Here’s hoping 2022 can top that. What were yours? Share yours at the comments section!

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