There’s a scene in Oliver Stone’s overlooked 2010 sequel, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” where Shia LaBeouf asks Josh Brolin if he has an idea of how much wealth he’ll need to retire, and, rather than rattle off a specific dollar amount, he simply replies, “More.” The same concept applies to how our current woke establishment polices itself, because they’ll always want more regardless of the effect such insanity has on the overall appeal of what they’re selling.
For example, Lin-Manuel Miranda bent over backwards to appease the gods with both “Hamilton” and “In the Heights” only to have his efforts derailed by allegations that the casting fell short of what Twitter believes the diversity standards should be. Miranda apologized like he was supposed to, but the moment we start allowing social media to dictate artistic choices is the moment that we all have to question what we’re really doing here. Regardless of how you feel about what Dave Chappelle said during his latest Netflix special, he really hit on something when he said that Twitter isn’t real.
Jack Dorsey is the Big Tech equivalent of Alfred Nobel minus the apparent regret about the negative impact his creation has had on the culture at-large. He got rich and bailed when his seat became too hot to the touch, but the damage had already been done. Public discourse will never be the same again and it frustrates me to no end that something so frivolous carries so much weight in our daily lives.
I started out as a film critic in 2006 and never have I felt more discouraged about the medium’s ability to challenge the status quo than I do now. Sure, certain filmmakers will continue to rage against the partisan machine, but the sanctimonious campaign of Hollywood’s liberal elite to determine whose voice gets amplified must be stopped before it’s too late. I still believe that a film should be judged on its own merit without the agenda of the reviewer becoming a factor, but that’s just me.
What follows is a list of what stood out to me on screen in 2021, so, if you’re wondering what to watch at the beginning of the new year, consider this a good place to start.
Four people in a room having the most difficult conversation of their lives doesn’t sell itself the way Marvel does, but, if you give it a chance, you won’t be able to shake it off.
Marvel may have made him a ton of money, but I think even Benedict Cumberbatch would tell you that performances like this are why he became an actor.
Peter Jackson’s eight-hour passion project is everything it was built up to be and more.
Every frame of Hall’s directorial debut is beautiful to look at and the slow-burn narrative builds to a searing payoff.
Pure entertainment from start to finish and every character feels larger-than-life, which isn’t always the case with the Western genre.
Will Smith’s career has been up and down since his last Oscar nomination for 2006’s “The Pursuit of Happyness,” but he found his way back again. Credit also goes to Aunjunue Ellis for matching his intensity every step of the way.
Why it took more than 50 years for this footage to reach the public isn’t as important as the fact that it finally did.
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo go all in on absurdity and the result is the funniest film of the year.
Olivia Colman’s extraordinary performance here speaks for itself.
Emma Stone and Emma Thompson are a blast to watch, but the soundtrack sends it over the top.
Honorable Mentions – “Respect,” “Candyman,” and “Being the Ricardos”
Worst – “Halloween Kills,” “The Unforgivable,” and “The Matrix Resurrections”