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The Top 20 of 2021

From The Little Things to The Tragedy of Macbeth (Denzel bookends), I rounded out my amount of movies seen at seventy.

Even with that amount of movies, there was a fair amount of films I did not get to in time (especially, sadly, Foreign Language films). These include The Last Duel, The Green Knight, The Card Counter, Drive my Car, The Worst Person in the World, Stillwater, and The Tender Bar.

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The Cream of the Crap: Top 10 Worst movies of 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic is approaching two long agonizing years of existence. I am fortunate to say that, while some in my family have caught the disease, none has passed away. I am aware others have not been so fortunate.

That said, a last minute COVID diagnosis has cancelled my family holiday plans for the second year in a row, so I am rather upset. Therefore, I am transferring my anger in a healthy way to my current separate anger at the worst movies of 2021.

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My Predictions for the 93rd Academy Awards (expect some history to go down)

When Parasite won the Oscar for Best Picture last year, it was truly one of the only great moments of 2020 (the lockdown was only a couple weeks away). Now, nearly 14 months later, the next Academy Awards is occurring (and, more importantly, the hopeful end of this horrible pandemic).

I will try my best in my predictions to answer all the questions that are on the table before Hollywood’s big night: As always, you need to guess in every one of the 23 categories (they meshed sound mixing and sound editing) if you have a pool you are participating in, so here are my predictions.

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The Top 20 of 2020

Top 20 films of 2020

Escapism was essential for everyone in 2020, which would explain why I saw over 50 releases from the past year (not to mention catching up on older flicks I had yet to see).

Regardless of whether I saw them in theaters or on streaming services (like most others did), it was nice to have certain hours of my life to keep me away from the outside world. Of course, the better films made me look at the world in a different way. That sounds like a lesson from Film School 101, but it is true.

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The Disappointments of 2020

In the past years of movie going (when it was safe to actually go to the movies), I would sometimes actually manage to see so many that I would be able to make up a list of the year’s ten worst films. During the pandemic, I (like many) spent some time watching past movies I have missed out on while trying to watch the new releases. Still, there were some films that stood out to me not as the worst per say so much as they were, in some way shape or form, just did not live up to expectations (though a few were so bad I had little expectations to begin with.)

Here are the six most disappointing films of 2020

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May I have the (pushed) envelope, please? My response to the Academy’s new change for future contenders

“Well, I could be wrong, but I believe diversity is an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era.”

– Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell)

This Anchorman quote would be followed by Ron’s boss Ed (the late great Fred Willard) making sure Ron knew what the word actually meant, that times are changing. This indeed was the message sent to the world by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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The 100 Best Films of the 2010s

The planning of making a top 100 movies of the 2010s started around a year ago, though the thought that it was a good idea to do so faded away more as time went on.

It almost began to cross the border into frivolity. A self made gordian knot.

Even though my top ten does seem to be set in stone now and for the future, the other ninety keep switching over time. You would think that my favorite movies of a certain year would be higher than those I thought second or third of the same year, but that is not always the case. Like all humans, my mind changes over time.

What I like most about this list is how personal it is to me. It does not have to align with other critics or movie buffs (which no “best of” list should, when you think about it).

That said, films such as Get Out, Black Panther, Knives out, The Farewell, Baby Driver, Eighth Grade, Blade Runner 2049, Joker, and even Frozen were films I had to Let Go of (pun intended).

Well, here it goes…

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Top 20 Films of 2019

Toward the end of 2019, only when looking back did I realize how truly strong of a year this was for movies. As I progress in life as a movie goer, finding the good movies becomes easier. I always equate it to picking raspberries when I was a kid: the better ones are not always out in front. As has been the case of the past few years, I have decided to do a top 20 instead of a top 10. Even with 20, movies shown above such as The Two Popes, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Pain and Glory, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker did not make the cut.

So without further ado…

Cinephiles!…ASSEMBLE!

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50 Worst movies of the 2010s

“The point is not to avoid all Stupid Movies, but to avoid being a Stupid Moviegoer.” – Roger Ebert

I imagine many occupations are ones where you can say you “learn on the job”. As a (potential) movie critic, I can say that you never stop learning.

Still, I am not immune to making mistakes, and the following are the fifty movies of the 2010s that left that taste in your mouth that you are grateful to get rid of, but cannot forget the experience.

In short, I would rather watch the Sharknado films.

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The Top 20 Movies of 2018

2018 best
The honorable mentions…

Another great year of movies is in the books.
Toward the end of 2018, I realized I actually was able to see nearly all of the movies I wanted to in time (though there are a few I admit I am still on the look out for).
As was the case for the 2017 list, I decided to make a top 20 list , because numbers 11-20 were too good to ignore. If you really want to cut the list in half, gather all six infinity stones, put them in the infinity gauntlet, and…SNAP! (Too soon?)
 
As the title character in the next film would say, “Off we go!”…
 
20.
mpr
The minds at Disney are no strangers to taking risks, and doing a sequel to the 1964 classic Mary Poppins is one of their biggest risks yet. Still, even 54 years later, Mary Poppins Returns is a success due to new original music, fine performances, two amazing cameos, and the practically perfect Emily Blunt.
 
19.
tf
There is no doubt that The Favourite will not appeal to everyone, as it has a very dark sense of humor. In time, you will be able to see the film for its witty script and impeccable acting.
 
18.
bp
As 2018’s highest grossing film, Black Panther was also one of the best critical successes in the history of superhero films. Cultural relevance, sublime action, and wonderful acting were sure helpful, as it may become the first superhero flick to be nominated for Best Picture.
 
17.
fr
Deep, thoughtful, and chilling are some of the best ways one can describe First Reformed. As many great movies do, it provides more questions than answers. Not to mention Ethan Hawke’s uncanny performance.
 
16.
cra
 
In one of the biggest surprises of the year, Crazy Rich Asians told us the story of characters that are relatable and worthy to cheer for. Based off of a book, there are more films to come, of which I am looking forward to with a big smile.
 
15.
 
mid90s
 
In his directorial debut, Jonah Hill’s Mid90s explores the lives of kids growing up in the search of someone to look up to. The result is one of the years most authentic films.
 
14.
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Lee Israel was an author who made money by forging fake letters from popular authors, and the portrayal by Melissa McCarthy of her in Can you ever forgive me? is a revelation (Richard E. Grant is great as well). She has had strikeouts in her film career, yet this is a home run that clears the stadium.
 
13.
widows
 
The heat is on blast in Steve Mcqueen’s Widows, with an all-star cast on the top of their game (led by the always wonderful Viola Davis). Just because it is being somewhat overlooked does not take away from its brilliance.
 
12.
ibsct
 
One of the most human love stories in the last couple years of cinema, If Beale Street could talk is one that may not have the outcomes most are wishing for. They are the outcomes that are the right ones.
 
11.
 
8g
 
Newcomer (and Golden Globe nominee) Elsie Fisher shines through all of Eighth Grade, another coming of age story that oozes with real authentic material. Gucci, indeed.
 
10.
 
gb
 
Your heart may have been rock solid if it wasn’t feeling warm after witnessing Green Book. Both Ali and Mortensen give Oscar caliber performances, giving us the ultimate bromance of 2018.
 
9.
 
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As of this writing, I have yet to meet anyone I have mentioned Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse to come back to me saying it was a bad movie. Believe the hype, for this is the best Spidey cinema has produced, the best animated film of 2018, and easily a post credit scene better than anything the MCU has offered.
 
8.
aiw
 
Sorry if the above image brings back bad memories, but that is how big of a movie Avengers: Infinity War was. Even before the “snap heard round the world”, the film was unlike any superhero film we have seen before. Endgame cannot come soon enough.
 
7.
hereditary
 
A Quiet place had a nice premise, as did the currently popular (but not entirely great) Bird Box, but no film this year left me with such dread as Hereditary did. This movie will leave a unique bitter taste in your mouth for sometime after the credits, and I mean that as a compliment.
 
6.
blackkklansmen
 
In no way would BlacKKKlansmen have been as wonderful as it was if it weren’t directed by Spike Lee. Only he could do justice to a true story about an African America undercover cop (an awesome debut by John David Washington, son of Denzel)  who joins the KKK. Yes, it gets political, but it is super intriguing.
 
5.
asib
 
Having a good directorial debut is one thing, but there is another level that Bradley Cooper is on in A Star is Born. He gives one of his best performances, does the fourth remake of a movie, and lets Lady Gaga show she has more than singing talent. Yeah, expect this to be mentioned more than once come Oscar night.
 
4.
wybmn
You can name any superhero you want, but none could hold a candle to the bravery of Fred Rogers, even if he is not completely well-known to kids today. Thankfully, the ever charming Won’t you be my Neighbor? is a chance to remind us not just of the man, but (more importantly) his ideals. A lovely day indeed.
 
3.
fm
 
Not since 2013’s Gravity has flying seem so realistic. Damien Chazelle’s First Man, the story of Neil Armstrong (an understated Ryan Gosling) walking on the moon, brings tension and grit to the highest of levels. Months later, the sound effects are still giving me the chills of space.
 
2.
roma
 
I have mentioned how Netflix’s original films are not always great, and while I have not seen all of them, I doubt many can come close to Roma. Director Alfonso Cuaron (director of the previously mentioned Gravity) delivers a passion project that is nothing short of sublime. It may be on Netflix, but the film deserves to be seen on the biggest screen you can see it on. Hands down 2018 most gorgeous film (even the cleaning of dog crap looked beautiful).
 
1.
LNT.jpg
 
Throughout 2018, I wrestled up and down between my favorite film of the year, and then I came across a hidden treasure, Leave No Trace. The first film in eight years from director Debra Granik (her last film was the masterful 2010 film Winter’s Bone with Jennifer Lawrence), the simple story of a father (Ben Foster) and his daughter (amazing new comer Thomasin McKenzie) who try to avoid civilization is both heartbreaking and beautiful. It hit me in the feels more than any other film last year. You may not have heard of it, but it is out on DVD, and is more than worth looking for. Scratch that, it is worth buying.