For the last few years, I report here the number of movies I watched the previous year. In the years 2019 and 2020, I had watched about a hundred movies each year. When 2021 started, I set up a challenge for myself to watch a hundred movies in the first hundred days of the year and I accomplished it. Unhappily, I couldn’t keep up the same rate through the next nine months of the year. In total during the year 2021, I had watched 162 movies, my all-time record.
Top 20 of 2021
Below are the top twenty movies of 2021 (based on their OTT release date) that I enjoyed the most. Note, these are movies from different regions and genres that impressed me the most in the year – they need not be the best films that came in the year – in fact, other than one the others have got only the ripe rating on my Mangoidiots scale.
- Jai Bhim (2021) – Once in a blue moon, Kollywood produces a cinema that transcends the usual cliché
- Maanaadu (2021) – Made the not-easy-to-understand idea of time loops entertaining
- Sivaranjiniyum Innum Sila Pengalum (2019) – An anthology of three strong women from different time periods
- King Richard (2021) – A biography of tennis star Venus Williams’ father
- Nomadland (2020) – Winner of the 78th Golden Globe Awards for the Best Motion Picture
- Vinodhaya Sitham (2021) – An entertaining movie from a simple story with no frills
- The Courier (2020) – How a British salesman played a key role during the cold war
- Shershaah (2021) – About the Kargil war that happened in 1999,
- #Home (2021) – A film possible only in Malayalam about a father bonding with his son and understanding technology
- Sarpatta Parambarai (2021) – About a young boxer in the North Madras of the 1970s
- Chernobyl 1986 (2021) – Covering the incidents that happen over the few days before and after the explosion
- Joji (2021) – Fahadh Faasil has brought to the life the character of a son who is constantly berated by his father
- Anbirkiniyal (2021) – A loving father searching for his daughter made from a Malayalam original
- Pagglait (2021) – About how a young widow processes the death of her husband
- Naandhi (2021) – About an undertrial prisoner in India fighting to prove his innocence
- Double Dad (2021) – A humorous film from Brazil
- I Care a Lot (2020) – About a greedy, dishonest person exploiting the old for her benefit; sure to make you feel helpless
- Palm Springs (2020) – A fine time loop film
- The Great Indian Kitchen (2021) – A mirror to many of the Indian households
- The Dig (2021) – Account of the unearthing of Sutton Hoo Royal Burial Ground treasures in England in 1939
The following are movies that didn’t make the cut to the above list, but I still liked them for different reasons. – my runners-up lineup of the films I watched in the year (not necessarily those that got released in the year).
- Oh Manapenne! (2021) – Two youngsters discovering true love in their lives
- Anchorman (2004) – A satire that follows the life of a fictional TV news anchor
- Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (1976) – A Portuguese film that happens in the 1940s, in a small town in Brazil
- 5 Flights Up (2014) – Watch it just for Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton
- Namaste Wahala (2021) – A love story of a mixed-race (African and Indian) couple in Nigeria
- So My Grandma’s a Lesbian! (2019) – A Spanish film featuring postcard visuals
- The Vast of Night (2019) – A gripping science-fiction film that is set not in the future but past.
- Jallikattu (2019) – Worth a watch just for the climax scene involving a mop crowd and a raging bull
- Chintu Ka Birthday (2020) – From the view of a little Indian boy stuck in Iraq during a deadliest civil conflict
- Tribhanga (2021) – A familiar story made extraordinary by the excellent acting of Kajol.
- Rose Island (2020) – What happens when you build your own island and declare it as a nation
- Tehran Taboo (2017) – A brilliant animation film that captures the life of Tehran
- Bell Bottom (2019) – A Kannada comedy that is set in the 1980s about a police constable
- Sir (2018) – A Marathi film about social inequality and love
- The Girl with a Bracelet (2019) – A courtroom drama about a teenage girl on trial for killing her best friend
- Alice (2019) – When life gives you lemons, can you make (controversial) lemonades?
- Ninnila Ninnila (2021) – A feel-good movie that happens inside the kitchen of a popular restaurant in London
Below are five old movies, classics, that I watched only in 2021, that were fantastic and never to be missed.
- It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – No one can watch this film and still feel depressed
- Notorious (1946) – From the master filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, a spy drama
- Dr Strangelove (1964) – Stanley Kubrick issues a warning on how a nuclear war can start unknowingly
- Office Romance (1977) – Russian film, available for free on YouTube
- Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979) – The story of a “Brian” who is born next door to Lord Jesus Christ
Below are a few useless statistics on the type of films I watched in 2021.