As more vaccinations roll in, I dish on the hits and misses of the year by far.
It’s June 2021, which means it’s time for me the share with you the best and worst of the first half of the year, so far. This is what I like to call: the Midway Point. With most people getting vaccinated, the movie theaters are back in business with more attendance and new/delayed flicks, such as “A Quiet Place: Part II” or “Raya and the Last Dragon.” Warner Bros. is simultaneously releasing their entries in theaters and on HBO Max this year, while some Netflixters are able to find some hits and misses.
The Best Movies So Far
Bob Odenkirk gets the leading movie role he deserves as a family man, who turns out to be an ass-kicker. You’re in for a smashing good time, especially its execution.
9.) “Coming 2 America”
Eddie Murphy is back in the role he created back in 1988, and the movie itself is hilarious and nostalgic as it survives the 2020s without being so tedious or lame. Arsenio Hall and James Earl Jones are also back, and we also have Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, and Wesley Snipes joining the kingdom.
8.) “Together Together”
This is not a romcom, but rather a platonic relationship between would-be father Ed Helms and his surrogate Patti Harrison. This comedy features a wise character study as well as some valuable chemistry between the two leads.
7.) “Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street”
If you love “Sesame Street,” and if you love the important messages that show provides, then you need to see how the making of it pays off. This is one of the most important documentaries of the year.
6.) “Raya and the Last Dragon”
This is the first Disney Princess film since “Brave” to cut back on the singing and romance tradition, and turn the main heroine Raya (voiced by Kelly Marie Tran) into an action hero. With a whimsical comic relief character like the dragon Sisu (voiced by Awkwafina), East Asian culture, and some excellent visuals, this truly is an adventure film.
5.) “The Mitchells vs. The Machines”
This animated feature made the wise choice of changing the title from “Connected,” because it’s makes more sense and provides a sense of nostalgia. Produced by the brilliant Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, it’s quite essential for kids and adults-one familiar and unfamiliar with social media and technology. LOL and OMG!
4.) “Judas and the Black Messiah”
Daniel Kaluuya plays Fred Hampton, the head of the Black Panther Party in Chicago, while Lakeith Stanfield plays the FBI informant who betrayed him. This is a dangerous and profoundly ambitious project about what went down in the 60s, and how young Hampton was when he was murdered. See it for yourself.
Another animated film on my list, Disney and Pixar’s latest is a tribute to the best independent films of the American and Italian cinema. Splicing some of the qualities of “The Little Mermaid” with “Call Me By Your Name,” and cutting back on the romance, we meet two young sea creatures (voiced by Jacob Tremblay and Jack Dylan Grazer), who learn about the true qualities of being human.
2.) “A Quiet Place: Part II”
The sequel to one of the best horror films of 2018, directed by and co-starring John Krasinski, still provides the thrills and emotional weight. The story on how these survivors (Emily Blunt, Millicient Simmonds, and Cillian Murphy, etc.) can battle these aliens delivers and provides more noise than the last film did. They’re about to win this war.
1.) “In The Heights”
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical makes it on the big and small screens, and is so far the year’s best movie and the year’s best musical. I still have 6 months left to find out what the overall best is, but in the meantime, this is throughly entertaining with its musical numbers, performances, and themes.
The Worst Movies So Far
Morgan Freeman has a worse film on my list, but this action thriller was just as cheesy and poorly conceived. Time to fire his agent.
9.) “Bad Trip”
I love Eric Andre, Lil Rel Howery, and Tiffany Haddish, but their first hidden camera comedy didn’t win me the way most Netflixsters did. It was too mean and embarrassing for me to praise.
8.) “Cosmic Sin”
Bruce Willis and Frank Grillo obviously lost some bet and needed the money by making this Sci-Fi bomb. Skip this mess, ask questions later.
7.) “Blithe Spirit”
The second film version of the classic play is a complete waste of time from beginning to end. Dan Stevens makes mean faces as the writer, while Leslie Mann is completely miscast as his ghostly wife. And obviously Isla Fisher and Judi Dench must have lost some bet and made this bomb to pay for.
This unnecessary “Fast & Furious” sequel is already making big bucks, but I still think they’re running out of gas. And I was right they do go into space. At least Tyrese and Ludacris do.
5.) “Thunder Force”
Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer fail to take the superhero genre in a different direction, and end up leaving Netflixsters with lame and gross-out gags.
4.) “Chaos Walking”
Hearing all the thoughts from Tom Holland and all the men is the same thing as a child annoying you when you’re talking on the phone. You can’t think straight, and you end up being nauseated by all this confusion.
Sia’s directorial debut brought up much controversy, because of how she guided a non-Autistic actress like Maddie Ziegler. All the music videos are colorful, but they’re badly dressed, badly choreographed, and pointlessly aimed. Not even Kate Hudson or Leslie Odom, Jr. could liven things up. I’m Autistic and I was offended by “Music.”
2.) “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard”
The sequel to one of the surprise action comedy hits of 2017 is a mean-spirited piece of crapola with Ryan Reynolds having to deal with the irritable and noisy yammering from both Samuel L. Jackson and Salma Hayek. Their characters all deserve each other.
1.) “The Woman in the Window”
Amy Adams stars in this sad “Rear Window” ripoff from director Joe Wright, who based this on a book that got better reviews than this bomb did. You couldn’t ask for dumber dialogue and a more predictable story. My sister loved the book and didn’t even go near this one.
The Best Conversations I’ve Had With Celebrities So Far
- Tate Donovan and Susan Egan
- Cary Elwes
- Richard Kind
- Maurice LaMarche
- Virginia Madsen
- Jon Bernthal
- Scott Weinger
- Dolph Lundgren
- Jon Lovitz
- Anthony Michael Hall
Now remember: these choices are not my final options, because December is when you find out the real winners and losers, and choices are subject to change.