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Sunday, January 2, 2022

My best movies of 2021

Now that we have finally put the finishing touches on the year that was 2021, I thought it was about time I posted my best of list. I keep a running list of what I think are the best movies that I've watched so some of them get bumped as the year goes along. I was also shocked by how many movies that I enjoyed that came out this year. But before we get rolling I need to say one additional thing. These are the best new to me movies that I watched. Some of them came out a year or two ago, but I’m just now checking them out. I know that annoys some folks but it’s my list so what can you do? So without further delay lets jump into what I think are the top ten flicks of 2021.

Number ten is a movie that I caught very late in the year. I’m Dreaming of a White Doomsday is an interesting flick. Basically, it is a Christmas movie set at the end of the world. There is a family hiding in a basement. We see the dad in flashbacks but by the time the main story takes place it is just mother and young son. Some awful things happen and then Santa shows up. I’m not going to say anything else other than you need to check this one out. Though be warned it is awfully bleak.

My number nine movie of the year was another independent flick called Force to Fear. This is a creative mashup of slasher and action movie. Normally I cringe at such things as they never seem to work well. But here the cast, director, and writer all do a wonderful job telling a familiar story with a fun twist. I also wanted to note that the action sequences might be the best I’ve ever seen from a low budget movie. Outstanding job!

Nic Cage has been hitting it out of the park in the last couple of years. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that he ended up on my best of list in the number eight spot with Prisoners of the Ghostland. This movie is completely bonkers and, in some ways, makes no sense. But seeing Bill Mosley dressed as a slim Boss Hogg with both Cowboys and Samurai henchmen is quite simply awesome. Plus, they blow one of Cage’s characters testicles off because he is attracted to our female lead. Bonus points for that.

Werewolves Within is at the seven spot. Werewolf movies always seem to be a mixed bag, never quite hitting the mark. When someone described this flick to me as a quirky character driven comedic werewolf movie I cringed. But this movie is a blast. I loved the characters, the story is fun, and when we finally see the werewolf, it is decent. Check this one out if you get the chance.

Time for my sixth best movie of last year. This is a movie that I was ready to dislike. I thought we were going to get another rehashed haunted house movie filled with repetitive jump scares. But The Deep House threw some twists at me that I didn’t see coming. First up the house is underwater, and our characters have scuba dived to it. This adds a claustrophobic twist that really set this one apart. Instead of jump scares we get tension and atmosphere. I dug this one a lot.

Halfway thru the list and I’m dipping back into the independent movies. My number five is an amazing follow-up to one of my favorite indy movies of the last ten years. I’m referring to Caroushell the 2nd. This little gem continues the story of the killer carousel unicorn as he now deals with his past as well as the son born of his activities of the first flick. Yeah, it is weirdly awesome that way. Toss in some Nazi’s and you have a fun flick.

Number four has a familiar face popping back up. Willy’s Wonderland has Nic Cage blowing into town, getting a flat tire, cleaning a Chuck-e-Cheese style family restaurant, doing battle with some demonic animatronic mascots, and playing some pinball. If what I just mentioned doesn’t make you want to watch the movie, I don’t know what to tell you. There are some fun kills, a neat twist, and a sharp looking car to boot. And if you thought this would be the weirdest movie on my list, please let me introduce you to my third favorite movie of the year.

Benny Loves You is your classic boy meets stuffed animal and keeps him into adulthood until the world beats him down and he tosses all his toys thus bringing Benny, the stuffed animal, to life to commit murder. It’s a family movie really. This movie is crazy in all the best ways and is a fantastic watch. The filmmakers do a wonderful job bringing the puppet to life on the screen and the kills/gore are done very well on a budget. You need to check this one out.

Number two surprised me. Nobody is a fantastic action movie starring Bob Odenkirk in a Death Wish style story. Well, I guess not since he is a retired killer and not a doctor getting revenge for his wife. Basically, he is trying to be a good guy when some people mess with his family and everyone thinks he is a coward because of how he reacted. This leads him back to his old ways and that is very bad for the criminals who crossed him and threatened his kids. Nobody reminded me a lot of the action movies of the ‘80s I grew up loving.

My number one favorite movie of the year is a bit of a cheat. The Fear Street movies on Netflix tell one giant story and feel like a long movie so I’m counting them as one. For those of you who haven’t seen it the story is set in the distant past with some Puritans, as well as a ‘70s summer camp, and today… if today was the ‘90s. There is a lot of nostalgia and they filmmakers do a wonderful job of capturing the setting. There are some brutal deaths, some character twists that I didn’t see coming, and in the end, they leave you wanting more. I certainly hope we get it.

There you have it. I’m sure that I missed some movies that you might like more than the above. This was a great year for movies, and I had a hard time bumping movies like Boss Level, Shadow in the Cloud, Mortal Kombat, and Boys of County Hell. But this wasn’t my top fourteen list and I had to make some tough choices. If you have movies on your list that I’ve not mentioned above drop me an email using the box to the right side of this post and let me know. I’m always looking for something new to watch and I might have just missed it. Now it is time for me to start building my list for this year. Catch everyone later.

-John

 

© Copyright 2022 John Shatzer

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