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The 21 Best Films of 2021

Will movie theaters ever back to what they once were? The ongoing (and seemingly never-ending) pandemic tore a hole into the fabric of theatrical exhibition. I streamed more movies this year than any other. A lot of people did. The one constant is this: Whether you watch them on the big screen or on your phone, good films rise to the top. Here go my picks for the best films of 2021. (And some other notes too.)

Biggest Disappointments:

The Matrix Resurrections

Candyman (2021)

Don't Look Up

Special Citation:

Kanye with Special Guest Drake: Free Larry Hoover Benefit Concert
Seanne Farmer (director) // Niklas Bildstein Zaar (creative director)

Best Needle Drop:

"Light House" by Future Islands in Titane

Best Supporting Actress: Olga Merediz, In The Heights

Best Supporting Actor: Simon Helberg, Annette

Best Actress: Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza

Best Actor: Alessandro Nivola, The Many Saints of Newark

Before we get to 21 Best Films of 2021, here go some other films I enjoyed (in no particular order):

A Glitch in the Matrix, The Father, No Time To Die, The Power of the Dog, Being The Ricardos, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Coda, Zola, One Night in Miami, Belfast, Encounter, Parallel Mothers, The French Dispatch, Passing, The Velvet Underground, King Richard, Justice League: The Snyder Cut, Spencer, Summer of Soul, Pig, House of Gucci, 17 Blocks, Annette, Woodstock 99: Peace, Love and Rage, Locked Down, Sing 2, News of the World, In The Heights, Queenpins, The Mauritanian, C’mon, C’mon, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Shiva Baby, The Dig, The Tender Bar, Bad Trip, Cry Macho, tick, tick…BOOM! and Titane.

Now onto the main show:

21. Pieces of a Woman
20. Palmer
19. The Lost Daughter
18. No Sudden Move
17. Dune
16. Judas and the Black Messiah
15. The Card Counter
14. The Many Saints of Newark
13. The Hand of God
12. The Last Duel
11. West Side Story
10. Stillwater
9. Nomadland
8. The Green Knight
7. Minari
6. Old
5. Nightmare Alley
4. Drive My Car
3. Red Rocket
2. Quo Vadis, Aida?
1. Licorice Pizza