Best of 2021 Movies


Graphic by Maliah White

Tegan Ruhl, staff writer, lists her favorite movies released in 2021.

Tegan Ruhl, Staff Writer

I would almost consider 2021 to be the year movies made a comeback. With the widespread closure of movie theaters due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, it seems movies decided to come back strong this year with the reopening of theaters. 

Personally, I was excited to see theaters open again. The first movie I saw in theaters this year was in May 2021, and the last time I had been in a theater before that was February 2020. I missed the excitement you get when you sit in one of those leather recliners, eat all of your popcorn before the movie starts and watch the lights go dim as you anxiously wait for the movie to begin. 

“Cry Macho” was the first movie I reviewed by myself in theaters in late September of this year. I can honestly say when the movie began, I smiled and felt giddy because the experience of going to the movies just hit me all at once. Even though I didn’t like “Cry Macho,” that moment I had before the movie began made the entire experience worth it.

With that being said, here are a few of my favorite movies from 2021. 

1.“The French Dispatch”

I think I mentioned this several times in my review, “The French Dispatch:” A unique experience about a fictional newspaper, but I had been waiting for this movie for well over a year.  “The French Dispatch” follows the production of the final publication of the newspaper, The French Dispatch, after the death of the newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief. 

I have always admired Wes Anderson for his experimental style, and “The French Dispatch” was no exception. The film was gorgeously crafted with an interesting mix of colors, costumes, sets, characters and plot lines. Of course, Wes Anderson movies are not for everyone. People who are not into the more experimental and weird types of movies will probably not like “The French Dispatch.” Indie movie fans, however, will probably love this movie. 

2. “Worth”

“Worth” exceeded my expectations in many ways. The movie follows the aftermath of the attacks on 9/11 as a lawyer takes on the task of compensation for the families of the victims. I did not even consider the legal consequences of 9/11 before watching this movie. Normally, we think of the emotion, pain and loss tied to the attacks on 9/11. I think this movie does a good job of acknowledging what had to happen after that fateful day. 

After watching this movie, I was grateful for not only the first responders on the scene of the attacks, but I was also thankful for those who stepped up to the challenging task of compensation and making sure the victim’s families could survive financially. Even though I was born post 9/11,”Worth” took me on a very emotional journey I did not expect, and I now feel like I better understand the heaviness of that day.

3. “Cruella” 

I am not as big of a Disney fan as I used to be, but I did enjoy “Cruella.” The only reason I enjoyed it so much was probably because I love a good villain movie, but “Cruella” surprised me. I loved the soundtrack and the costumes, but my favorite part of the film was how the title character was portrayed. Everyone remembers Cruella as a puppy-killing maniac, but the movie explains the motives behind her actions, not to say that puppy killing is okay, of course. Overall, I thought “Cruella” was a fun movie for everyone as it emphasized the famous characterization of Cruella: “If she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will.” 

4. “Free Guy” 

I had my doubts about “Free Guy” because video game movies are always a hit or miss, but this movie was definitely a hit. I really like the concept of a video game movie told from the perspective of a non-playable character. I feel like this perspective gave “Free Guy” enough distance between your typical video game movie to make it the humorous movie it is. I also really like Ryan Reynolds, and his personality made this entire movie ten times better. 

5. “A Quiet Place Part II” 

“A Quiet Place Part II” was the first movie I watched in theaters this year since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although this movie did not live up to the first part, I still enjoyed watching it. Unlike the first movie, “A Quiet Place Part II” had a lot more talking, more background information and less scares. Part II focused on the events that happened directly after Part I, and the movie felt more like they were embarking on a quest rather than trying to stay in one place and survive.

Unfortunately, I did not think this movie was as suspenseful or exciting as the first one. Nevertheless, it is still one of those movies you can watch with your friends and make fun of, which was what made the experience worth it to me. 

What made movies exciting in 2021 was the return of movies in theaters after the COVID-19 pandemic. While I have my favorites, looking back most of the 2021 movies I watched weren’t very good. Nevertheless, the experience of the theater made 2021 the year of movie comebacks. I am excited to see what 2022 has to offer in theaters.