The Big Movie House's Favorite Films of 2021

2021 was not a great year for film. You would have figured that with movie theaters opening back up and the streaming services upping their output, that we would have had a pretty decent year. I mean, there were some great movies (see list below), but it was a year with a ton of misfires and just bad films. I have already covered the crap from 2021 (read here), so here is the list of the ten films I loved in 2021.

A note before we begin: I am not including ZACK SNYDER'S JUSTICE LEAGUE on this list. It is not a 2021, but a different version of the film that came out in 2017. The film was nothing more than a director's cut and we never count director's cut for the year it was released, so we aren't counting ZSJL. Now, a film that was shot years prior, but not released until much later DOES count for the year it was released. Example: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND was a film that was shot in the early 70's, but never completed. It was completed and released in 2018, so that counts as a 2018 despite it technically being an early 70's film. Same thing with NEW YORK NINJA. The film was shot in 1984, but wasn't completed and released until 2021, so it counts as a 2021 film.

Now, onto the list.

10. Halloween Kills (Universal) The 2018 HALLOWEEN was a nice return to form after not only the lackluster HALLOWEEN H20/HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION combo AND the one-two punch of the Rob Zombie films. The film was taken seriously (for the most part) with some really great scenes of stalking and terrorizing from elderly Michael Myers. HALLOWEEN KILLS picks up right after the events of the 2018 film and it works. There are some really awesome scenes showing us what happened after the original HALLOWEEN, now that there is no HALLOWEEN II (1981). I really appreciated the scenes even more when you find out that there is a certain character who shows up and it was done with practical effects rather than CGI. I also liked that they gave Haddonfield a personality, something the last few films couldn't even do. Sure, there are some questionable scenes and character motivations, but the film is a really fun watch with some brilliant brutality along the way.

9. Matrix: Resurrections (Warner Brothers) The first 45 minutes to an hour of the new MATRIX film is even more brilliant than the whole of the original. The film goes full GREMLINS 2 on us and brings us into the world as one of the original creators sees it. I won't say anything about it other than I wish they had kept going in that direction.  The rest of the film is good, but that first section of the film is so brilliant that we are wondering when it is going to go back to that way of thinking. The rest of the film is more or less what we expected from this film, but it is still pretty damn good. I had a ball watching MATRIX: RESURRECTIONS.

8. Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Brothers) I didn't really know anything about this story before watching JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH, but it wasn't any less interesting. In fact, I felt I connected more to the film because I had no expectations about anything other than the filmmaking. I felt that the story was told very well with clear-cut motives and well-drawn characters. The acting is top notch and the filmmaking is really well defined. The scenes of violence are well shot and edited and that last scene is a doozy. I had no idea that was coming and it blew my away with how powerful it was. Daniel Kaluuya deserved his Oscar, but it was for the wrong category as this is clearly a leading role. Still, a great film with powerful performances.

7. Who Is Bill Rebane (Arrow Video) Bill Rebane has had an interesting life and career and it is covered very well in this Arrow Video documentary. The doc goes through each film and gives us the context of when and how it was made with some really great stories from crew members. Just greatness all of this doc. A must watch.

6. Allen v Farrow (HBO Films) Fuck Woody Allen. Fuck him with a spikey dildo. 

5. Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal, and Greed (Netflix) I love Bob Ross. I remember me and my friend were sitting in his living room, channel surfing, when we landed on THE JOY OF PAINTING. There was this man with a big afro, painting "happy little trees" and landscapes. He was so calm with his voice soothing over all of us. He never got mad or raised his voice. He just wanted to bring some joy to people's life through painting. We became obsessed and would watch the show any time it came on. We would grab the TV Guide from the end table (every house had one) and we would find when he was on and watch him. We did this for a while (probably six months) before we gave up. Watching this doc, I feel bad for the guy. He trusted the wrong people and signed over too much of his life away to people he trusted. After watching this doc, I will never buy any officially endorsed Bob Ross product ever again because it goes to really evil people. 

4. Malignant (New Line Cinema) There is always that one film that comes out of nowhere. We had never heard of the film or knew it as something else, but they are out there. When MALIGNANT came around, I thought it was going to be a more stylized Giallo (I know, "More Stylized" giallo?), but that's what it looked like. Then director James Wan talked about how he was inspired by giallo and the works of Dario Argento that I began to wonder what it was going to be. Malignant never stays on any one thing for two long, with some shocking happening every ten minutes or so, and it is better for it. Had it stayed in any one style for too long, it would have killed the momentum that Wan had been building thus far. There were at least three times when I held my hand over my mouth in shock, while saying "What the fuck?" It is one of the bravest horror films to come out in a really long time. 

3. The Suicide Squad (Warner Brothers) I have been following James Gunn ever since I watched TROMEO & JULIET on VHS in high school. That film is one of Troma's weaker films but it was also a really smart film. I liked how they used the original Shakespear words as opposed to moderizing it and they did it so much better than that Baz Lurman film that came out in the mid 90s. I would watch anything that James Gunn did and it was mostly good stuff. This also means that I was very excited for THE SUICIDE SQUAD. Gunn does what he does best. He subverts our expectations by giving us exactly what we wanted but also what we needed. The film is very funny with some really clever scenes. The action is also very well done, something that is not true of most action films nowadays. It was nice to see Viola Davis let her hair done a bit and get a little crude. She is always so proper so kudos to her for going the distance to entertain me. This is the best comic book film of the year, by far.

2. Godzilla vs Kong (Warner Brothers) I have been a Godzilla fan since my mother rented me GODZILLA 1985 when it hit VHS and I have also been an apologist for the series. I will push away valid complaints about a GODZILLA film just because we should be happy we got as many as we have. I really liked the 2014 remake and liked GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS despite not being happy with it. I knew that GODZILLA VS KONG was going to be good. I felt it. The film does the one thing that KING OF THE MONSTERS did do and it made Godzilla fun again. That was the one thing missing from the two previous films. Godzilla isn't really meant to be taken seriously, at least not as seriously as the original film. Not anymore. Back in the day? Sure, but not now. Godzilla was really meant to be fighting other monsters and we get some really great ones, including one that I didn't see coming but had it ruined for me by when they posted a scene featuring this character on their YouTube channel a few days before the film was released. Thanks, guys! This is a big, bright monster bash that never takes itself too seriously and gives us some really kickass monster battles.

1. Psycho Goreman (RLJ Entertainment) This is the one I was looking forward to the most. I have been a big Astron-6 fan for the longest time, and despite the fact that they aren't a group anymore, PSYCHO GOREMAN feels every inch like an Astron-6 film. The film was written and directed by Steven Kostanski while members Adam Brooks, Conor Sweeney, and Matthew Kennedy all have roles in. The only member who isn't a part of this film is Jeremy Gillespie. The film is a love letter to the 80's without really showing it down your throats like some films do and has some of the most absurd jokes and scenes that I have ever seen. It also features my favorite character of the last fifteen years, Bio-Cop. It made me so happy when he showed up and I was not disappointed by any of his scenes. I had so much fun with PSYCHO GOREMAN that I bought it digitally, something I never do, because I knew I wanted to watch it again and it only cost the amount of two rentals, so it made sense. I love everything about this film and would recommend it to just about anyone.

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