Hello, everyone! With the year of 2021 officially over, it’s time to exam the “best” and “worst” movies that of that year. Indeed, 2021 was not as terrible as 2020 was, but it wasn’t already the best, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to affect virtually everyone around the world and disrupting lives in some way, shape, or form. This also extended to the 2021 movie releases, which continued to see a great majority of studios shuffling and / or delaying their features through this crisis. In truth, 2021 saw a number of pretty “bad” films. Whether by a flat story, bad acting, weak writing, or poor execution, these movies were just plan horrible with little to no interest in purchasing a ticket to see it theaters or to buy / rent it for its home release a few months later.
Naturally, I have a “Best” movies of 2021, but let’s get the bad ones out of the way first. Here’s my personal top ten worst movies of 2021. But before I begin, here are some other “horrible” (I mean dishonorable) runner-ups that almost made it on my top ten worst move list of 2021.
(Click on the picture for full review)
“I am Tom Hewitt! I am Tom Hewitt! I am Tom Hewitt!”
THE TOMORROW WAR
“A derivate sci-fi blockbuster on borrowed time”
SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY
“Ready Player One?”
AND NOW MY TOP TEN!!!
10: Tom & Jerry
Rating: 2.4 Out of 5
Presenting a kid’s movie on an older franchise property is “double edge” sword, with project sometime having difficult on catering to who the targeted demographic is for…. the older generation who originally fell in love with it or the younger generation that is wanting to see what made this property interesting in a sort of revival. 2021’s Tom & Jerry is a prime example of this, with the iconic the classic cartoon property and brings it to the modern age; splicing the feature with CGI animation characters within a live-action setting. While the “cat and mouse” routine of Tom and Jerry’s rivalry has nostalgia, a great majority of the film feels like a half-baked movie, especially considering the film’s direction, a weak script, lacking a sense of urgency, confusing plot shifts, weaker characters, wasted acting talents, and sometimes pushing aside the film’s two chief characters for human ones. It’s just a shame that Tom and Jerry couldn’t make a splash in this endeavor and that’s disappointing. While the movie’s ending seems to allude towards a possible follow-up within more Tom and Jerry sequels, that idea seems pretty unlikely (at least to me that its). In the end, despite shenanigans nostalgia that come with the iconic cartoon characters, Tom & Jerry ends up being a colorful noise machine with a passable endeavor that never truly gets off the ground properly; missing on the opportunity to give the beloved cartoon cat and mouse duo their time back in the spotlight.
9: The Addams Family 2
Rating: 2.4 Out of 5
Sequels are a hard thing to manage, with these particular endeavors can either be too bloated in trying to surpass the original / first feature or just simply too underwhelming to what’s come before. In the case of The Addams Family 2, the sequel to the 2019 animated movie, it’s the latter portion with a disappointing premise right from the get-go. Despite having a slightly better animation improvements and the voice talents involved are still great, the film itself feels disjointed and wonky from the word “go”, especially with its aimless direction, generic road trip premise, hit or miss humor, lackluster story, and some flat characters. I was expecting something….. a bit more. Well, a lot more as this sequel is literally several steps backwards in this potential animated franchise. It just didn’t feel like an Addams Family movie….and that’s disappointing part to me. Kids might like this film, but there are far better endeavors out there for them to be distracted with. While the movie ending leaves the door for another sequel, I have suspicious feeling that a third Addams Family movie may not be in the cards. Frankly, I would love to see one, but it would have a more engaging and creative story at work. In the end, The Addams Family 2 is a sequel endeavor that doesn’t work quite as well as intended; losing the focus in its narrative, macabre hijinks, and the amusing reasons from this “creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky” family.
Musicals were a pretty big hit, with Encanto, West Side Story, In the Heights, and Tick, Tick…BOOM!, showcasing a prominent spotlight with critics and moviegoers alike. That being said, Dear Evan Hansen, the film adaptation of the critically acclaimed Broadway musical, scraps the bottom of the 2021 musical releases. Director Stephen Chbosky’s film tries to translate the theater stage production for a cinematic representation; channeling the youthful angst of a musical whimsy with songs and subjects tackling hard hitting issues in the guise of a “coming of age” story. Unfortunately, the movie itself is quite shallow in its representation; struggling to find a proper balance due to the feature’s structure, questionable decisions, a lackluster script, failure to address large meanings, and some awkward casting choices. and I’m conflicted about this project. Plus, the movie’s themes just don’t work and feels more like a shallow endeavor. Again, this is just a disappointing translation and I’m just walked away from the movie feeling confused and conflicted about what I just saw. In the end, however, Dear Evan Hansen, much like main character, has the honest attentions of trying to make something good out of a bad situation, but the result is a sour and unsatisfying taste; rendering the film as a disheartening “coming of age” teen musical.
7: Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard
Rating: 2.3 Out of 5
As mentioned above with The Addams Family 2, sequels are a mixed bag, and the results can be “hit or miss” on a wide variety of decisions, points, and criticisms. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, the sequel to the 2017 film The Hitman’s Bodyguard, is another prime example of this how an adequate action comedy film could get a sequel that is just as terrible as the first film. Director Patrick Hughes’s movie tries to find a rhythm medium within its various context, but the end result is something that feels tonal disappointing and messy from start to finish, especially considering the tiresome direction, the generic plot, terrible dialogue, unhumorous crass jokes, weak characters, and just bland innerworkings of the feature that feel utterly clunky and unappealing. Personally, I did not like this movie. I actually found it to be worse than the first film. The story was generic, the comedy was flat, the action was bland, and the characters were just over-the-top caricatures. I did like the chemistry that the three leads had (Reynolds, Jackson, and Hayek), but the material given is relatively weak and thinly sketched. Why did this sequel get greenlit? In the end, Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is just a shallow and misguided attempt at trying to give capitalize on what made the 2017 somewhat amusing. Unfortunately, nothing about this 2021 sequel is amusing and ends up being just a poor executed and dumb sequel movie at its absurd finest….and that’s not a good thing.
6: No Man’s Land
Rating: 2.3 Out of 5
The stories of US / Mexican border are often stranger than fiction; drawing inspiration from the real world of the border crossing, undocumented immigrants, drug cartels, or political tensions. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Hollywood’s directors and writers take an interesting look at this particular location; drumming up cinematic efforts for dramatic set-pieces and narrative cues on such an area. However, while the film titled No Man’s Land tries to convey such poignant mean, it falls flat on its face…. hard. Director Connor Allyn’s tries to present a timely topic with a feature that offers a twist as a “reversal immigrant” tale. Unfortunately, the movie itself is rendered poorly, which is due to the film’s direction, bland narrative structure, a formulaic story, sluggish pacing, a few mediocre acting, flat characters, and an unsatisfying ending. It’s best just to watch other films that tackle similar topics (you’ll get better milage out of them). In the end, No Man’s Land struggles to find middle ground in its own landscape; driving home good ideals to focus on, but lacking originality and entertainment by running out of steam and ideas in its age-old yarn of “walk-a-mile-in-their shoes”.
5: The Matrix Resurrections
Rating: 2.2 Out of 5
Regardless if you cared for the original 1999 film or even it’s two mixed opinions sequels, The Matrix trilogy has certainly made its mark on the movie industry, with the Wachowskis delving into a dystopian world of philosophical ideas and sci-fi action for a concoction that is rare to find in Hollywood. Many years later, Lana Wachowski returns to revisit her iconic trilogy for a brand new installment in The Matrix Resurrections. While the movie does some good ideas that are well-placed and the acting is mostly fine across the board, the film itself is riddled with glaring problematic areas, including a very convoluted script, lackluster action scenes, grating over usage of meta content references, mediocre visuals, wonky narrative / creative decisions, and poor execution all the way around. To me, this was one of the more disappointing movies of the long-awaited sequels because it had the potential to go far and rise above the criticisms of sequel entries, but squanders its chances and falls (for the most part) flat. Of course, the film’s ending is a bit ambiguous and kind of / sort of leaves the door open for a possible sequel, but, given the reception that this particular movie has received, that idea doesn’t seem to in the cards; making The Matrix Resurrections just a terrible cogent coda decision to reopen pandora’s box to mediocre fanfare.
4: The Reckoning
Rating: 2.2 Out of 5
Nepotism is a bad and disheartening trait to embrace; choosing a sense of favoritism over someone else (or thing) that is better suited and / or qualified. Director Neil Marshall doesn’t seem to get that by placing his girlfriend in the lead role of his new movie The Reckoning. To be fair, the production design and mood of the feature is decent enough; focusing on a period piece witch trial narrative of horror, sinful acts, revenge. Unfortunately, the film suffers from being dated and just monotonous from onset to conclusion, especially due to Marshall’s direction, a formulaic narrative, predictable plot points, redundant violence, sluggish pacing, and an unconvincing lead. The movie isn’t as bad as Marshall’s 2019 trainwreck remake of Hellboy, but (again) that’s not saying much between the two projects. Even though I know probably horror fans might want to check this feature out, I would advise against it and just watch something else (you’ll thank me for it). Overall, The Reckoning is a dismal feature feels dated and generic from the get-go; rendering the viewing experience to being a tiresome chore to endure through. Repent your sins and stay away from this movie!
Rating: 1.5 Out of 5
Depicting a certain type of mental handicap and / or disability in a movie has always been a very sensitive and touch subject to showcase, especially if the representation of said handicap / disability is handled the wrong way or poorly. 2021 saw the film Music try to present a story about a young girl with non-verbal autism, yet ultimately backfires in a dumpster fire way. Making her directorial debut with this project, musical artist Sia tries to present unique music filled drama that definitely speaks to her eccentric style of music video, while also trying to blend heartfelt poignancy of dealing with an autistic individual. However, the end result of the feature gets quite messy and tone deaf; finding Sia’s direction for the entire middling at best and disappointing at worst, especially with her inexperience at directing a feature film, a wonky script, pacing issues, a formulaic narrative, underutilized acting talents, and some very questionable decisions concerns autism depictions in the movie from its cast / depiction of its main lead to its several insensitive scenes of handling autism. In the end, Music is felt a flat-out bad movie that, while good intentions are promising, leaves its viewers in the utter bewilderment of how a project like this could get made and almost stands as a cautionary tale of sorts of how good intentions can get muddled and portrayed in such a poor light.
2: Senior Moment
Rating: 1.4 Out 5
With so many studios shuffling and delaying prominent films due to the COVID-19 pandemic, movie theaters had very little offerings of new theatrical releases during the earlier months of 2021. This made a perfect opportunity for smaller / indie movies to make their mark on various theaters chains for a theatrical release format. Senior Moment was one of those features, but for the wrong reasons. Director Giorgio Serafini’s latest film tries to frame a feature film around the wacky and loveable antics of senior citizens, yet the film never really goes anywhere; relying too heavily upon commonplace narrative tropes and cliches, especially in the movie’s direction, a tiresome / boring script, terribly unfunny comedy, wooden dialogue, predictable / formulaic plot, uninteresting caricatures characters, and a wasted opportunity for most of the cast involved (i.e. Shatner, Llyod, and Smart). It’s not really worth a a viewer’s time or attention is one of those features that will most likely fade into obscurity. And probably for good reason. All in all, Senior Moment has its intentions in the right place, but lacks basically everything in making a halfway decent movie; making the whole endeavor a truly unmemorable (and derivatively bland) time waster of a movie.
Rating: 1.1 Out of 5
So what could beat out an unfunny action comedy sequel, a poorly conceived movie of a autism girl, a disheartening teen musical, a flat “reversal immigrant” yarn, a harmless, yet cringeworthy film of elderly senior hijinks, and a fourth entry into the Matrix franchise as the worst movie of the year. One word…. Cinderella. No, I’m talking about Disney’s animated classic or their solid live-action reimagining, I’m talking about the poorly conceived and tonally wonky production that 2021 saw. If you didn’t see it….be happy that you didn’t.
A royal ball, a kind-hearted fairy godmother, a wicked stepmother, a glass slipper, and a girl named Cinderella. Yes, I’m talking about the iconic and popular fairytale of Cinderella, which has seeing its various forms and retelling throughout the ages. Director Kay Cannon’s latest film takes the iconic story of Cinderella; updating the material for a new generation, with glitzy, glamour, and musical charged numbers for new viewers to experience. Unfortunately, despite the intentions being made to speak to a modern generation and a solid production quality, the movie stumbles more often that finding its performance stride, especially considering Cannon’s direction, the off-putting pop song selections, odd pop-culture references, a bland script, cringeworthy dialogue, poor characters, and weak performances. Personally, I did not like this movie at all. Everything just felt too superfluous, too “on the nose”, too derivate, too bland, too corny, too heavy-handed, too cringeworthy, and just too painful to watch in almost every aspect. As I said many times in review for this…. how did this movie get greenlit?
In the end, 2021’s Cinderella never captures the same bold ideas like the 1997 TV movie Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, nor the sense of realism like Ever After: A Cinderella Story, nor the magical timeless feel of Disney’s 1950 animated Cinderella, nor whimsical charm of Ella Enchanted, or even fantasy enchantment of Disney’s 2015 live-action remake of Cinderella. In a simplistic sense…this movie is a disastrous “hot mess” of a fairytale retelling.