Since I am bad at math, I didn’t think factor in that one begins one’s 41st year of life when one reaches age 40, so… whoops. So this is the final, 41st installment of the 40 Movies About series. I don’t have much in the way of parting thoughts. I enjoyed the project, especially the earliest years, but am glad for it to be completed. Maybe I’ll do it again when I hit 80 years old.


2021 in Movies

I log my movie watches on, a very handy tool if, like me, you happen to watch 400+ movies per year. I had a little more free time in 2021 than I did in years past, but I don’t think that I watched more movies than in the past so much as I watched almost no television shows. This was an improvement for me, but I think that I’ll be scaling it back in the new year. I have a mountain of books to read.


Favorite new movies

  • Copshop: I already talked about CopShop when it released, but I’ll just reiterate that it’s a fairly short action film with a clever premise, an arch sense of humor, and a high body count. Truly an excellent theatrical experience and almost assuredly a fun watch at home.
  • The Harder They Fall : The Harder They Fall is far more langorously paced at 2 hours and 19 minutes, but it is beautifully shot and opts for very beautiful people saying very silly things as they gunfight over the fate of an Old West town.

I think that more genre films should prioritize aesthetics.


Favorite new-to-me movies

    • Chungking Express
    • Happy Together
    • In The Mood For Love
    • Fallen Angels
    • Days of Being Wild
    • As Tears Go By
    • The Grandmaster
    • My Blueberry Nights
    • 2046
    • Ashes of Time

I watched every Wong Kar Wai (WKW) film in 2021, and the experience was amazing. His films are full of charismatic people (Tony Leung, Maggie Cheong, Zhang Zhiyi) shot in incredible ways by the cinematographer Christopher Doyle, and most of the films focus on the ways that humans connect and fail to connect, and how it is possible to feel completely alone even in a city of 20 million people. And, like with Jonathan Demme, WKW is a master of the needle drop.


Favorite rewatches

    • Wet Hot American Summer: This movie never gets old. This many comedy legends stuffed into one absurd summer camp means that one can find new gags and reaction shots even on the 12th rewatch. This time around, I focused on AD Miles and Zak Orth, who provide some great reaction shots, especially in the wedding scene and during Coop’s training montage. Also, here is my perennial complaint that Christopher Meloni is absurdly funny but wasted 20 years chasing pedos and kidnappers on TWO-HUNDRED AND EIGHTY episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. At least he went full ham in Happy! and the Wet Hot movie and TV series.
    • Ong Bak: Muy Thai Warrior: Tony Jaa did not become the crossover star that he should have been, but we’ll always have his unbelievable stuntwork and martial arts in Ong Bak. The movie is a pretty breezy actioner and the comic relief is effective, but you’ll remember this one for when Jaa jumps over cars and does sideways splits through coils of barbed wire.
    • Grosse Pointe Blank: A top-25ish film for me, and the only thing that was a tad rueful this time around was that the characters are attending their 10-year high school reunion and everyone seemed to find a career after 10 years (be it classic rock DJ, realtor, hitman), yet here I am still searching for purpose two decades out of high school.