Movies 2021 Review

Last post we discussed all the television we watched this year, so it only felt right to follow up with our movies of 2021.  Unsurprisingly, our movie list is pretty long too.  Between the two of us, we watched 69 movies.  Nice.  

In our relationship, Chaos is the bigger movie-lover.  Due to our inability to visit theaters too often (Covid-19 and baby reasons), there are many movies he felt he missed out on seeing lately.  Hopefully, future releases will work better for him and streaming services will help him catch up on what he missed.  Chaos is always down to check out a movie and is usually pretty open for whatever.

Confetti loves television shows, but often isn’t into movies unless it’s something she really wants to see. Confetti also prefers to watch movies at home and always checks to avoid movies with animal deaths. She is a chronic fast-forwarder, wanting to avoid anything uncomfortable or awkward… Chaos is not a huge fan of this habit. 

Before we jump into our top picks, let’s look at all the eligible movies we watched this year:

Watched together:

  • Flora and Ulysses (2021)
  • The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)
  • Prom (2020)
  • Tangled: Before Ever After (2017)
  • Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal (2021)
  • Mighty Ducks (1992)
  • The Mitchells vs. The Machines (2021)
  • All the Bright Places (2020)
  • In the Heights (2021)
  • Get a Job (2016)
  • Black Widow (2021)
  • Space Jam: New Legacy (2021)
  • Raya and The Last Dragon (2021)
  • This is 40 (2012)
  • Luca (2021)
  • The King of Staten Island (2020)
  • Man Up (2015)
  • Cinderella (2021)
  • The Edge of Seventeen (2016)
  • Come From Away (2021)
  • The Muppets Haunted Mansion (2021)
  • Eternals (2021)
  • Moxie (2021)
  • Jungle Cruise (2021)
  • Love Hard (2021)
  • Home Sweet Home Alone (2021)
  • The Fight Before Christmas (2021)
  • Tick, Tick… Boom! (2021)
  • Spider-Man (2002)
  • Spider-Man 2 (2004)
  • A Castle for Christmas (2021)
  • 8-Bit Christmas (2021)
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
  • Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas (2021)

Chaos’ Movies:

  • Stowaway (2021)
  • Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)
  • Mortal Kombat (2021)
  • Psych 2: Lassie Come Home (2020) 
  • Army of the Dead (2021)
  • The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)
  • New Mutants (2020)
  • Fear Street Part One: 1994 (2021)
  • Fear Street Part Two: 1978 (2021)
  • The Hunt (2020)
  • Bolt (2008)
  • Fear Street: 1666 (2021)
  • Freaky (2020)
  • Within (2016)
  • Cloverfield Paradox (2018)
  • I am Mother (2019)
  • The Suicide Squad (2021)
  • Free Guy (2021)
  • Vacation Friends (2021)
  • Malignant (2021)
  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)
  • Dune (2021)

Confetti’s Movies:

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part I (2010)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)
  • Noelle (2019)
  • The Princess Switch (2018) 
  • The Princess Switch: Switched Again (202)
  • Twilight (2008)
  • Upside-Down Magic (2020)

We now present to you each of our top three movies of the year and a few lightning round picks as well.  Enjoy!

*Warning there may be some spoilers below, but we’ll try to keep them contained to our breakdown of specific movies.

Confetti #3: Flora and Ulysses

But really, why has Marvel not made a Squirrel Girl movie?

I went into Flora and Ulysses a little skeptical because it’s a movie about a girl and her squirrell, but it’s not Squirrel Girl. Why is Disney not just making a Squirrel Girl movie? Despite my hesitation, Flora and Ulysses is an adorable movie that stands on its own merit. It also doesn’t hurt that almost all the Ducktales voice actors are in the movie and it’s like a mini-Ducktales reunion. They’re all amazingly talented and it’s crazy that Disney got so many big names for a straight-to-Disney+ movie. 

The story itself is based on a book and the author makes a cameo in the movie. Flora loves comic books and uses them as an escape while in real life her parents are approaching divorce. Ulysses comes on the scene to just time and hijinks ensue! The plot is predictable and heartwarming, just the way I like my movies.

Chaos #3: Tick, Tick… Boom!

Confession: At one point during this movie-musical, they started singing a song that got me excited because it was both good and something I recognized.  I couldn’t quite place where I knew the song from though.  A quick trip to Google reminded me that I knew it from the musical Tick, Tick… Boom!  D’oh.  Turns out I’ve been listening to music from the show piece meal and out of context for a while on Spotify whenever I throw on my show tunes/musical playlist.  I even had a few of the songs favorited already.  Whoops.

As for the actual movie itself, it’s fantastic.  It’s based on Jonathon Larson’s semi-autobiographical musical by the same name.  The story follows a young, in the 90s Jon as he struggles with his pursuit of success in the performing arts, all the time hearing his youth tick away as he approaches 30.  Yes, this movie did make me feel old and unaccomplished myself.  That’s on me though, not the movie.

The story itself is relatable.  Chasing passions vs. settling for a more secure and simple lifestyle.  Dedication vs. obsession.  Finding the right life balances.  Love, both romantic and friend-based.  What really enhances this movie though is Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of Jon.  I’ve only seen Garfield in so many things (Spider-Man, The Social Network, this movie), but he really is a fantastic actor who plays the awkward, slightly manic character so well.  He knows how to make his characters likable.

And of course, the music is solid too.  I wouldn’t rank any of the songs as my top musical numbers, but they are enjoyable and pleasing while they’re on.

If you’re looking for a strong, moving story with some music helping guide the narrative, you can’t go wrong with Tick, Tick… Boom!  

Confetti #2: Spider-Man: No Way Home

If you’d told me 10 years ago I’d dress up as Ghost Spider and let my baby be Spider-Ham, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Before I met Chaos, I had 0 knowledge or interest in Spider-man. I don’t like spiders and thus found the idea of a Spider-man incredibly off putting. I spent my whole first Avengers movie wondering when the “good” heroes (i.e. Batman) would show up. It’s crazy to think back on how little Marvel knowledge I had compared to what I know today.

Tom Holland was my first experience with Spider-man and I quickly became invested in his story, mostly because Chaos is so obsessed. I think it would be impossible to be married to him and not take an interest. So, I was hyped to see No Way Home and it did not disappoint.

We saw the movie on opening night and there is something about opening night crowds that make a movie feel extra special. So much cheering. So much laughter. Tears of redemption! I don’t really know how to talk about this movie without spoiling it, but if you haven’t seen it – it’s worth seeing… and that comes from someone who has been pretty “meh” about Spider-man.

Chaos #2: The Mitchells vs. The Machines

Dysfunctional family road trip + Robot apocalypse = Hilariously heartwarming movie

Even though we watched The Mitchells vs. The Machines pretty early into the year, I immediately knew it would hold its place as one of my top movies of 2021.  The basic premise of a dad and daughter who love each other but are struggling to connect and are now on a road trip together with entirely different desires (similar to another great film: A Goofy Movie) acts as a strong emotional and narrative base for the movie.  Then you throw in a few more memorable family members, a lot of humor, and a betrayed cellphone and you have a classic I’ve recommended to people all year.  Now I just wish more people would take my advice.

This movie hit me from both sides.  I completely understood Katie’s perspective: her desire to express her creativity, be understood, find herself.  Who hasn’t needed space from their parents,  wanted to figure out where they belong, and gone through the growing pains of leaving some of childhood behind?  On the other hand, I really felt for Rick Mitchell as well.  As a father-to-be at the time I felt his desire to be a good dad, giving his child what they needed while also fearing that it might be him anymore.  I also connected on the level of old-man who isn’t hip with the kids and struggles with tech at times.  I’d be lying if I said this movie didn’t make me tear up at times (keep that between us though).

The movie isn’t a downer though.  It’s a smart film with great humor.  The dialogue is hilarious and while the visual style might not be for everyone, it adds so much.  

I can’t recommend The MItchells vs. The Machines strongly enough.  Finish reading our blog first, but then go check it out.

Confetti #1: The Mitchells vs. The Machines

Chaos threw on the Mitchells vs. The Machines one night after dinner and it immediately captured my attention. I love animated movies and the main character, Katie, made me laugh with her angsty teen antics. I was also pregnant with our son at the time, so the idea of the entire family taking a trip to drop their child off at college made me feel especially emotional. 

The Mitchells are the opposite of a perfect social media family – they are weird, messy, and never take the perfect picture. I think everyone can find something to relate to about them (unless you are the perfect social media family in all aspects of your life, in which case – apologies, this might not be the movie for you). It is the kind of movie that you think about often once it is over and there are lots of fun callbacks to it in everyday life. Out of all the movies I’ve seen this year, this is the one I’m likely to recommend the most often and that is how it sealed the number one spot.

Chaos #1: Spider-Man: No Way Home

The movie that I held the highest hopes for this year, not only met my expectations but completely blew them away as well.  Anyone who knows me personally will not be surprised that I ranked No Way Home as my top movie (they’ll probably be more surprised that all three of my choices aren’t a Spider-Man movie).  However, I feel that even beyond being a Spider-Man movie, No Way Home is one of Marvel’s best movies so far.

After watching No Way Home, it’s only natural to want to talk about all the goodies they crammed into it without feeling bloated.  The movie acted as a capstone to twenty years of Spider-Man movies.  Marvel brought back characters from the previous two live-action Spider-Man franchises and then used them to tell an amazing story, while also giving us some fan service: delivering classic lines, playing into memes, and understanding how Spider-Man has been portrayed over the years.  The movie offered a lot of “They said the thing,” and “they did the thing” over and over without feeling awkward or undeserved.

Willem Dafoe and Alfred Molina reprised roles they nailed long ago and got to show that they’re still spectacular actors today.  We received an improved Electro with better dialogue and looks.  Sandman and Lizard were a little more just there, but they never felt out of place or like they took up necessary screen time.  What I appreciated about the villains were that (other than maybe Electro) they did feel true to their original depictions.

MAJOR SPOILER Territory: You know a movie delivers big when I walk out of the theater pumped about who showed up and then have to be reminded that Daredevil dropped by too.  Obviously, the biggest talking point about No Way Home is getting three versions of Spider-Man.  As a huge Spider-Man fan who has seen each of his movies more times than I care to count, I was thrilled to see Mcguire and Garfield back.  Even better, my prediction that they would mostly only appear for quick cameos or for the final fight scene was wrong.  Instead, we got them for a large chunk of the movie and the chemistry between the three Peters stole the show.  Holland, Mcguire, and Garfield each played Peter Parker in a way that felt unique and true to their individual cinematic universes while also feeling like they were still drawing from the same base Peter Parker.  The way the Peters played off one another provided a lot of humor but also a lot of heart.  

I appreciated that the extra Peter Parkers got their own moments to shine and character beats that enhanced their stories continuing from their movies.  Something I’ve said again and again over the years is that while the Amazing Spider-Man movies aren’t great, the actors in them, especially Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield were truly sensational.  Andrew Garfield getting to show off his Peter Parker again was a treat and I am glad he’s getting some of the praise he’s always deserved.  His big moment brought me closest to tears and provided a pay off I didn’t know I need all this years.  I would not mind more Amazing Spider-Man somewhere down the line.

Okay.  I know my thoughts on No Way Home are getting a little long, so let me just close by saying that even though a lot of the focus will be on all the guest stars and treats pumped into the film, the core casts and story for the story delivered as well.  

This still felt like Tom Holland’s Peter Parker’s movie.  His character arc emphasized the importance of friends and family to him and showed off what it means to be a hero: fighting for ideals and others even when it’s not the easiest, and being willing to sacrifice for what’s right.  Turns out when Marvel said it was unnecessary to retread over Spider-Man’s origins with a movie, they meant we needed an origin trilogy that would build to the Spider-Man I’ve cared about for decades now.  I can’t wait to see where the MCU goes with their Spider-Man and I hope we get to see a more mature hero who gets to participate in the Marvel fun while also standing out as his own hero with his own classic adventures.  

I still have a lot to say about No Way Home, but I’ll stop there.  Reach out to me if you want to discuss it further.  I’m always game to talk Spider-Man.

Chaos’ favorite scene from No Way Home 😉

Lightning Round:

Movie that needs a sequel pronto:

  • Chaos: Spider-Man: No Way Home (Always more Spider-Man) or Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas (I liked the tv show, so I would love to see it continued further in some form) 
  • Confetti: Spider-Man: No Way Home

Movie that surprised me with how much I liked it:

  • Chaos: The Fight Before Christmas (Real life lawsuit led by a man who is a bit unhinged.  Hard to look away.  Lots of interesting points to discuss)
  • Confetti: Tick, Tick… Boom! 

Movie I wanted to like more than I did:

  • Chaos: Home Sweet Home Alone (The main protagonist who is a jerk of a little boy who learns no real lesson.  The “bad guys” are just struggling parents wanting to provide for their family.  Seeing them hurt and beaten down by boobytraps is depressing, not funny). 
  • Confetti: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I and II (always disappointing to end Harry Potter on the worst movies and books)

Actor that really shined:

  • Chaos: Andrew Garfield (Amazing in Tick, Tick… Boom!  Provided a lot of humor, heart, and fun in SPOILER).
  • Confetti: Andrew Garfield

Movie I’ll be happy to watch again and again:

  • Chaos: Spider-Man 2 (It’s a simpler movie, especially by today’s standards, but it’s so well done and the story and acting stands the test of time).
  • Confetti: Noelle (it is the best Christmas movie ever and I will fight about it)

Movie people should definitely avoid:

  • Chaos: Within or Malignant (Both bad horror movies with even worst twist: Man in the walls/mind-control head baby!)
  • Confetti: Prom

Best movie to watch alone:

  • Chaos: Space Jam: A New Legacy (That way you can mostly zone out and only pay attention when you want to see what characters they crammed into the movie without worrying about actually watching the movie with people).
  • Confetti: Harry Potters

Best movie to watch with other people:

  • Chaos: Any of the Marvel movies (fun to watch, joke about, and discuss together.  I especially enjoyed getting to watch No Way Home with the opening night crowd)
  • Confetti: All Spider-Men movies

Best Animal Representation:

  • Chaos: Um… does Godzilla vs. King Kong count?  (There’s also that fish everyone makes out with in Come From Away).
  • Confetti: Dog from the Mitchells vs. the Machines

Best date movie:

  • Chaos: This is 40 (Romantic at times, good conversation starter, makes your relationship look golden compared to what you see on screen)
  • Confetti: Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas

The Wrap Up:

I’m sure we’ll end up squeezing a few more movies in before the true end of the year, but that’s it for now.  Feel free to send us some of your recommendations or to give us your thoughts on what we did watch.  We’d be happy to discuss a movie we didn’t go into here if you ask about it specifically.  

For now, take care and happy viewings!

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