The Best Movies of 2021

This list is highly subjective, of course. Not only didn’t I see every movie released in 2021, but “Bests” are always a matter of personal taste (superior though my taste may be ;>). However, because I’m a filmmaker and a big-time film buff, my blogger friends seem to appreciate the suggestions. So here, IMHBCO (In My Humble But Correct Opinion), are the best movies of 2021!

  • The Power of the Dog – This isn’t what you think it is (a “western”), and it doesn’t go where you think it’s going. Which is what’s so intriguing about it. Forgive the slow-paced first half hour (it’s intentionally deceptive); the remainder is riveting.
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home – This movie is exactly what you think it is. But it’s also an unexpectedly adorable character collision between three very different Spideys!
  • Free Guy – My favorite comedy of 2021, with a spot-on cast, great comedic action and effects, and a surprisingly meaningful message.
  • King Richard – Will Smith gives his finest performance surrounded by an equally marvelous supporting cast. An inspiring (if not completely accurate) story of family love and conflict.
  • Tick, tick…BOOM! – Brilliantly conceived (Lin-Manuel Miranda’s film directing debut) and acted (Andrew Garfield is phenomenal), this surprisingly moving mini-musical is about the self-effacing creator of Broadway’s Rent.
  • CODA – A touching ensemble dramedy that’s familiar, yet different. The difference is in the acronym: Child of Deaf Adults. No one clashes better than people who love each other, deaf or otherwise.
  • West Side Story – Which of the two movie versions do I love best? Half of one and half of the other. Spielberg’s is superbly cinematic, and the libretto needfully explains and updates some weak points in the original. But there are moments in the original–“Officer Krupke,” dance at the gym, the ending–that still shine brighter.
  • Belfast – An intimate family drama inspired by writer-director Kenneth Branagh’s own childhood. Lovingly conceived and wonderfully acted.
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – Almost as long as its title, this comic book actioner never flags. My second favorite action movie of 2021.
  • Dune – It has its flaws (it’s underlit, somewhat miscast, and self-consciously “meaningful”). Still, it’s a faithful adaption of an “unadaptable” sci-fi masterwork, so I’ll be there for Part Two!
  • The Green Knight – One of the most misunderstood movies of 2021, this is a psychological meditation (not an action flick) with a powerful spiritual/moral conclusion (or confusion, for those who missed its meaning).
  • In the Heights – Movie musicals aren’t dead, after all–and I couldn’t be happier! Not perfect, but still highly engaging, this is the catchy Caribbean hip-hop fest that first introduced us to Lin-M M!

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
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48 Responses to The Best Movies of 2021

  1. Would you believe, the only movie I’ve seen in the last couple of years was your compelling “Healing River”?

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Yes – “The Power of the Dog,” and Jane Campion. You are exactly right – it is not going where you think it is going. Hang in there for amazing results and exceptional writing. Thank you, Mitch ❤️.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I loved Belfast and Dune–in that order. Need to see some of the others.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. beth says:

    Great choices

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Belfast” sounds like one I would enjoy. Thanks for the recommendation!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. rwfrohlich says:

    I don’t go to the theater anymore, so until a movie hits Netflix or Amazon Prime, I cannot see it. Enjoyed the reviews anyway, and will keep your recommendations in mind for when the movies might become available for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ejstoo says:

    Cool. I’m still working on the 80’s 90’s and 2000’s 😉 Another 20 years and I should be able to catch the newer ones on Roku 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Thanks for the reviews, I’m looking forward to seeing Belfast

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nice list. I consider myself a film fanatic and am also a film reviewer (well used to be), but I have to confess I don’t understand present day cinema anymore. I wonder if I changed or the world. The Power of the Dog was the only good film in the English language for me this year (I want and have not seen yet Belfast, though).

    Liked by 1 person

  10. pastorpete51 says:

    We aren’t big movie goers (once a year!) This years film American Underdog was one we both enjoyed and would watch again. I might go for King Richard as we both like Will Smith

    Liked by 1 person

  11. No movies other than American and British (Irish) movies rated. Guess Directors and screen writers in the whole of the rest of the world aren’t up to that high standard?

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Good point, Therese. International films are mostly released in the U.S. after the Academy Awards, because the attention from nominations provides needed publicity. As a result, I usually see a bunch of international films in the spring.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. murisopsis says:

    Now I’m adding the ones I haven’t seen to the list of must watch! (I really liked Dune, Free Guy, and Spiderman No Way Home.)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oops..Jane is there, of course. Even an international effort. Included the USA though. I mean movies wholly created and made elsewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Understood. She’s my choice for best director this year, btw.

      Like

      • Add Japan’s Drive my Car at the very least 😎

        Liked by 1 person

      • As you mentioned, a lot of films are now on streaming sites such as Netflix. For me, it has certainly opened up the world of cinema and quality television programmes. As an Aussie, I’ve always known what a struggle it is for countries to have their innovative and excellent work recognised by Americans. I recall my shock when I went to the USA in the 80’s to see some of our best actors dubbed because Americans didn’t understand our accents. 😲Did you know Australian actors have put on American accents since the beginning of ‘talkies’ so they could be accepted? Did you know we had women film directors in the era of the silent movies? There is such wonderful talent in film making around the world, and such a pity that it comes down to power and money to get recognised. Yes, Parasite got a look in. But look at the amazing body of work Boon Joon-ho, his actors and other Koreans involved in the film had already achieved prior to this film, and you realise what you’ve been missing. The pandemic has given us the opportunity to look beyond the English speaking world in film and television because of what’s being offered on streaming sites .. and wow, what innovation and talent is out there.

        Liked by 1 person

      • mitchteemley says:

        Actually, a LOT of my favorite actors (and filmmakers) are Aussies–with or without their accents. Of Boon Joon-ho’s work, so far I’ve only seen ‘Snowpiercer’ (flawed but fascinating) and ‘Parasite’ (brilliant). We’ll be streaming ‘Drive My Car’ this weekend; it seems to be the only Best International Film nominee available to us right now, but others will be release after the Oscars. And, yes, streaming has definitely opened up new possibilities. My own films ‘Healing River’ and ‘Notzilla’ found a home on Amazon Prime when theatres were closed.

        Like

  14. Good selection! I only saw one movie in 2021 — I hope “PIG” made your short list (Michael Sarnoski). I’d read a great review and then, boom, it was an offering on an airplane flight. I’m pretty fussy, but it was everything I didn’t know to hope for.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Shang-Chi was awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Tick Tick Boom! Touching movie…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. 20ilyApril says:

    I loved tick tick boom❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  18. K.L. Hale says:

    The Power of the Dog and CODA (My favorite!) are two recent movies for me. Love them! I will watch the others as they’re on my “list”. Thank you, Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Jennie says:

    I’m rooting for CODA.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Sometimes my wife and I will give a movie 15 minutes, and change to some other flic if the story seems slow. However, we roughed “…the Dog”, only to be blown away in the final 15 minutes of what was actually transpiring. It definitely deserved to be Oscar-nominated.
    Art

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Dawn Marie says:

    Looking forward to watching several of these! Hugs to you Mitch for sharing your HBCO!!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Thanks for the recommendations! My daughter loved Shang-Chi; my wife and I liked it. I read Dune as a teen and am looking forward to this movie, which sounds so much better than the 1984 version. The newest Spider-Man is definitely on my radar, along with CODA (Best Picture!) and The Power of the Dog. BTW, A Quiet Place: Part II was an excellent sequel, and Minari was a somewhat under-the-radar movie that we liked.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      I had great hopes for the 1984 version. But the studio destroyed it, cutting out half the footage shot for the film. I enjoyed, Quiet Place 2, as well, Keith, and Minari, as well (it was a nominee in 2020).

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Pingback: The Best Movies of 2021 – Nelsapy

  24. Oh, you’re right; Minari came out in December 2020 in limited release, and Youn Yuh-jung won best supporting actress. I guess I didn’t follow the Oscars that carefully last year!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Yes ! These will be amazing

    Liked by 1 person

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