Here's a new thing this year - now, we probably can't ever wholly drop doing a current year Best of List. But more and more that's just stupid. I don't live in a big city that gets every movie, nor do I have time to seek out every single thing that comes out each year. I just have like, a whole other life besides this blog. I know, it shouldn't be that way, but that's what it is, man!
I think it's fair to give ourselves a year to re-evaluate which movies sit with you, catch up on obscure ones, and get passed the initial hype which can sometimes be ephemeral. At the same time, I understand why sometimes what makes a movie great is how much it plays with the zeitgeist of its release. There are films that are great because their initial watch is so ground-breaking, while it loses impact upon subsequent watches. There are also films that reward repeated watches to bring out nuances and catch intricate things lost on the first go around. There are also films that come out that are just never going to be off a list. Like Pain & Gain (2013). I just love that movie.
So, for all of those reasons, we WILL do a proper 2022 list to see where we are this year and create that time capsule. But all lists are fluid and meaningless. I often have done a re-hash list (anyone want to join me in starting a regular ten-year out list, too? Why not, let's do all the lists!) as part of that, but let's get a little more in depth. For all to see, here are NMW's pic for Best Films of 2021!
#10: The Suicide Squad - the more people try to make movies like this movie the more I realize how special this one really was.
#9: Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar - This might win best comedy of the last five years, they literally don't make them like this anymore.
#8: The Tragedy of MacBeth - Joel Coen breathes life into this age old tale with some of the more breathtaking black and white shots of any film in the last five years
#7: Nightmare Alley - Guillermo del Toro's best film of the past five years, gothic, creepy, and wonderfully American
#6: West Side Story - I never thought I'd be a convert but Spielberg crushes this and give us a reason to enjoy this story again. Every aspect of filmmaking is such a high level. Don't let the haters in.
#5: The Last Duel - A strong amount of medieval films on this list, complex with every scene revealing something we didn't know that enhances the story and theme of the film.
#4: Zola - Gritter or glitter, compelling from start to finish. Inspired by Twitter - more movies need to come from backgrounds like this.
#3: Pig - Hey Nic! Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022) needed more truffle pig references. Gets points for being the most unlike-Nic Cage Nic Cage movie of all time.
#2: Red Rocket - authentic, brutal, and beautiful, Sean Baker is crushing it.
#1: The Green Knight - steeped in simultaneous metaphor and authenticity, the corrosion of a kingdom told through vanity and narcissism. Should be required viewing for every American.
First out included House of Gucci, The Harder They Fall, No Sudden Move, and Power of the Dog. Dog is funny, man, that got so much hype, didn't really win any awards, and didn't really stick with me like it should have. I still think Kristen Dunst is amazing in it and the ending is the best of any movie. But it's ultimately just not at the level of anything else here. I want No Sudden Move to get back on here. That's another film with an outstanding ending. It might also reward rewatches better.
I am endlessly interested in how my own brain likes and interprets movies, and what stays and what doesn't. Looking back at last year, six fell off the original list and only one out of my nine listed contenders cracked it open.
That's part of why I was compelled to make this re-list. I just knew that 2021 was sneaky, man. Part of that was still dealing with Theater shut-downs so I just straight up didn't see a lot of films in time. I dig that The Suicide Squad prevailed. I was nervous about including that last year to prove my cred, but man, that movie's good. I want to watch it again.
What will next year bring?! I'm not sure, I feel decently good with my 2022 list, I know there are a handful I won't see before the cut-off, but I am really going a broad route for '22. You'll have to stay tuned to see what that all looks like!