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Movies I Loved in 2021

TL;DR: I watched 93 movies in 2021, and I’m here to tell you about some of the best ones.

I’ve rated every movie I’ve watched since I first got a Netflix account (back when it was still a DVD mailing service). I find this record invaluable, since I watch a lot of movies but have a terrible memory, so a movie would come up and I wasn’t sure if I’d watched it or not. So I figured it was time to start recording some of my favorite movies each year. In 2021, I watched 93 movies, and these were some of the best.

  • #Alive

    As a grisly virus rampages a city, a lone man stays locked inside his apartment, digitally cut off from seeking help and desperate to find a way out.

    Although the script was technically written before the pandemic, this came out in late 2020 and feels like a response to lockdown. The main character is a gamer who only becomes aware of a zombie outbreak when his game is disrupted. From that point, we see him watching the news, watching zombie attacks through his apartment window, and struggling to find supplies. As a zombie movie, it’s fairly predictable, but it does a lot with what it’s given, and I really enjoyed it.

  • F9

    Dominic Toretto and his crew battle the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they've ever encountered: his forsaken brother.

    Listen, it is no secret around here that I unironically adore the Fast and the Furious franchise, especially from the fifth movie onward, when they became heist movies with cars. They’re an absolute blast, not least because each movie has a tendency to invite the villain from the previous film into the family, so they have to find a bigger, badder threat to deal with. Constant escalation results in the ridiculous and incredible point in this movie where they drive cars into space. Chef’s kiss, no notes.

  • Get Duked!

    An anarchic, hip-hop inspired comedy that follows four city boys on a wilderness trek as they try to escape a mysterious huntsman.

    This is a thoroughly ridiculous movie that I became aware of when Run the Jewels released a song for the soundtrack. It follows a group of problem students who are required to participate in a lengthy hike as a punishment. The boys get high, get lost, and are then hunted by a group of rich people. It’s stupid and hilarious, and great fun. You should watch it.

  • Gunpowder Milkshake

    Three generations of women fight back against those who could take everything from them.

    When I watched the trailer, I said “I love that John Wick is a genre now.” Karen Gillan is an assassin who saves the life of an eight-year-old girl, which triggers a gang war, and brings her back into the circle of her mentors, Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett, Carla Gugino, and her mom, Lena Headey. If you like John Wick-style gun-fu films, you’ll enjoy this.

  • The Harder They Fall

    Gunning for revenge, outlaw Nat Love saddles up with his gang to take down Rufus Buck, a ruthless crime boss who just got sprung from prison.

    The title card for this film reads “While the events of this story are fictional… These. People. Existed.” We then are introduced to every famous black character from the American west, played by some of the best actors of our generation. This was a genuine joy to watch.

  • The History of Time Travel

    A fictional documentary about the creation of the world's first time machine, the men who created it, and the unintended ramifications it has on world events.

    This starts out a bit slow and dry but picks up pace quickly when you realize the conceit: every time the timeline is altered, the history shared in the documentary changes. Maps on the set change, characters change, and a tangled storyline is introduced about how time travel was invented and what impact it had.

  • The Mitchells vs. The Machines

    A quirky, dysfunctional family's road trip is upended when they find themselves in the middle of the robot apocalypse and suddenly become humanity's unlikeliest last hope.

    Fantastic animation, great cast, and a great sense of humor. I’ve watched this several times with my entire family and everyone loves it. It’s got queer and autistic representation, a goofy and clumsy dad, a fiercely protective and equally goofy mom, a cross-eyed dog, and killer robots. Watch this with your kids, you’ll enjoy it.

  • Murder on the Orient Express

    When a murder occurs on the train on which he's travelling, celebrated detective Hercule Poirot is recruited to solve the case.

    The first film in Kenneth Branagh’s new Hercule Poirot series is a total banger with a great cast. Despite the cringe-worthy inclusion of Johnny Depp, this adaptation absolutely sings. Branagh’s Poirot is fussy and particular loads of fun to watch. The ensemble includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Judi Dench, so every scene is bursting with character, and you can tell everyone had a blast making this. Between this new Poirot series and Knives Out, it’s a good time to be a mystery fan.

  • Space Sweepers

    When the crew of a space junk collector ship discovers a humanoid robot that’s known to be a weapon of mass destruction, they get involved in a risky business deal which puts their lives at stake.

    I’d love to write about this, but the perfect review was already written by maëlle.

    A family can be a hot space pirate captain whiskey mom, a hot tattooed convict softie dad, a hot troubled rebel pilot dad, a hot badass transgender robot mom, and their tiny genetically-modified adopted daughter, teaming up to fight eco-fascist Elon Musk and save the galaxy.