When you can’t find it on Google.

Movies watched in 2021

These are my 20 favorite films this year. More than any other year that I can think of, the release schedule of films were really thrown off due once again to another year of COVID. Nomadland and A Quiet Place II, for example, are technically 2020 films, but they didn’t get a wide release until 2021.

Previous years: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012.

I gotta say, Disney has released an impressive array of moving pictures over the past two years. For me, it started with The Mandalorian series (premiered with the Disney+ launch in 2019). Side note: I list miniseries on my annual lists, but not shows – sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. In less than 6 months, Disney released three feature films that I love: Soul, Raya and the Last Dragon, and Luca. They’re a small step in the right direction of displaying more diversity on-screen with brand new stories.

2021 was quite a year for Chloé Zhao. Nomadland is one of those films that was technically released in 2020, but didn’t hit theaters until 2021. I didn’t realize until now that it was initially on IMAX screens (but not from IMAX cameras) – I can see how the vistas of the American West would work well on a big screen, though. I watched in on Hulu. Zhao also released Marvel’s Eternals in November, which became the 10th highest-grossing film of 2021.

That’s enough commentary. Here are the details:

Part of my Letterboxd 2021 page

Here’s a list of films from 2021 I didn’t get a chance to see yet: The Beatles: Get Back, Bo Burnham: Inside, CODA, Encanto, Eternals, Finding ‘Ohana, The Green Knight, In the Heights, King Richard, Lamb, The Last Duel, Nine Perfect Strangers, Passing, Pig, Respect, Shang-Chi, Spencer, Spider-Man, Sweet Tooth, Together Together, Val [Kilmer], WandaVision

And last but not least, a list of my favorite films I watched in 2021 for the first time (sorted by release date):

  • Soul (2020 Disney)
  • Promising Young Woman (2020)
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020 Netflix)
  • If Anything Happens I Love You (2020 Netflix)
  • Do Not Split (2020 YouTube)
  • Lingua Franca (2020 Netflix)
  • Radioactive (2020 Prime)
  • Coming Out (2020 YouTube)
  • Loop (2020 Disney)
  • 1917 (2019)
  • Get Duked! (2019 Prime)
  • Timelapse of the Future (2019 YouTube)
  • Flamekeeper – The Michael Cleveland Story (2019 YouTube)
  • Once in a Hundred Years: The Life & Legacy of Marian Anderson (2019)
  • Rafiki (2018)
  • Paddington 2 (2017)
  • It Comes at Night (2017)
  • Saving Brinton (2017)
  • Queen of Katwe (2016 Disney)
  • Personal Shopper (2016)
  • The Beaches of Agnes (2008)
  • Neil Young: Heart of Gold (2006)
  • Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)
  • Singles (1992)
  • The Prince of Tides (1991)
  • The Grey Fox (1982)
  • Possession (1981)
  • Salut les Cubains (1964)
  • Tamango (1958)
  • The Cranes Are Flying (1957)*
  • The Bitter Stems (1956)
  • La Pointe Courte (1955)
  • The Bigamist (1953)*
  • Olivia (1951)
  • Fireworks (1947)
  • The Enchanted Square (1947)
  • Aniki Bóbó (1942)
  • Tulips Shall Grow (1942)
  • It’s a Bird (1930)
  • Piccadilly (1929)
  • A Fool and His Money (1912 LoC)

You may have noticed a couple of Agnès Varda films above. I’m still loving the Criterion box that came out in 2020, and I posted “A more complete Varda filmography” on the blog. For example, the 2008 short The Little Story of Gwen from French Brittany is not in the set – it premiered on YouTube in 2020:

* 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die – I’ve now seen 490 of them.