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My 2021 Year InReview | Column from the Critic

Another year has come and passed, and I look back at the movies that I’ve covered on the site and what’s ahead. And this was an interesting year. Movie theaters have become safer to go to, but it took me until September to go to them. I also had to balance work here with my day job in retail and invest more in my own writing. But this was a year I got a chance to do episodic reviews and got to see the site grow even more than last year.

But regardless, I’m here at the end of the year with a tier-ranking of the movies I’ve seen this year. As always, if you want to see my more complete thoughts, click the link to the full review.

D-Tier

Mortal Kombat (2021): Thinking back on this movie, I was reminded of the criticism people have had for remasters for old games being polished versions that strip away some of the quality. While the fight scenes are entertaining, the cast is average, and the story feels milquetoast. I hope the next movie is a little more interesting, but the 1995 film is worth more your time.

Dear Evan Hansen: I saw my first movie in the cinema back in September. And of all the choices I had, I picked the Ben Platt vanity project. This movie is like Taco Bell or any fast-food place; the more you think about it, you realize how dubious is. The story is messed up and Ben Platt is uncanny. The only saving grace is most of the soundtrack is good and there are some solid performances.

C-Tier

Mortal Kombat (1995): Talk about a nostalgia trip with this one. I watched this movie countless times in the summer of 2012 and loved it. The cast isn’t star-studded, and the action is goofy, but it’s all fun. Just a movie to shut your brain off and have fun.

Space Jam: With the sequel coming out, I decided to check out this 90s classic from my childhood. It was a fun trip, with the Looney Tunes and Michael Jordan complimenting each other perfect. And the gags made me chuckle and crack a smile at some of the jokes, I can see why a lot of my friends enjoyed this.

The Boss Baby: A movie where Alec Baldwin plays a baby in a suit that isn’t SNL? Not only that, but also a fun and creative movie. The world, while far from being Tolkien levels of fleshed out, is creative and shows there was some effort to it. Topped with solid performances from Baldwin and Tobey Maguire, and you have an enjoyable movie you check out on a lazy day with FX on in the background.

B-Tier

The Karate Kid (2010): This review had a personal connection to me. When I was in high school, this was my first movie “review” I wrote for a Creative Writing course. And when I had a chance to read it out loud, it felt like I was trying way too hard to channel angry critics like The Nostalgia Critic and Angry Video Game Nerd. But ten years later, I actually watched it and actively enjoyed it. Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan keep the spirit of Daniel and Mr. Miyagi while keeping fresh, the fight scenes are amazing, and the story highlights the culture behind kung-fu with respect and piety. It almost makes me wish there was a trilogy in this series.

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story: In a world where Seltzer and Friedberg dominated the spoof movie genre, it baffles me that this one didn’t rise above their crap. Beat for beat, the movie pokes fun of the musical biopic genre while keeping a solid heart at the end. John C. Reilly is a ball in this movie, and is a movie that music fans will love.

Looney Tunes: Back in Action: I’m so glad people are recognizing how amazing Brendan Fraser is, because it makes rewatching this movie feel fresher. Like a good road trip, you care more about the journey (gags and action sequences) than the destination (originality). And if you were someone who scoffed at it initially, I’d recommend giving this one a second glance and have fun.

A-Tier

Close Enough: I never watched Regular Show back in the day. But if it’s anything like this, I can’t wait to give it a try. The characters are grounded and three-dimensional and the stories in each episode balance the mundane with gonzo sci-fi. If more adult shows were like this, I’d probably like more of it.

Enola Holmes: After the fourth season of Sherlock disappointed fans, I didn’t expect Sherlock Holmes to have a resurface; but this one was enjoyable. Millie Bobby Brown shows the character for a new generation as Holmes’ sister and is sharp as a tack. And the movie has you thinking and gets the gears grinding. A sequel is in the works, and I can’t wait for more of this.

Tick, Tick…BOOM!: This movie was an emotional trip for me. The acting and music is immaculate; Andrew Garfield brings Jonathan Larson to life and surprises many (myself included) to his ability in musical theater. And with Lin-Manuel Miranda at the director’s helm, it’s feels less like a biopic and more a musical monument to an icon in Broadway theater.

8-Bit Christmas: This might be a little too early to call, but this movie feels like a holiday classic in the making. It takes the story of A Christmas Story and modernizes it with homages to 80s childhoods and reminds audiences of the lengths we’d go to for the hottest toy. And the ending is heartwarming; no joke, I sobbed near the end and told my dad we have to watch it.

And that’s a wrap. As I write this closing paragraph, I’m looking at the stats for the site and looking at the astronomical growth, and it’s a little surreal. Things feel a little more normal, though I’m cautious. But the fact that we reached 70k views on our content feels unreal. And we couldn’t be here without readers like you.

So on behalf of the team, let me say thank you.

Have a safe and Happy New Year and hope y’all stick with us for another amazing year.

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