Best and worst new-to-me movies of 2021! Links to reviews in the title where available.
WHY did at least three movies I watched this year have evil albino villains?! Also, as you will see, not a landmark year for Indian cinema. The Velvet Underground is disqualified because it’s a documentary or it would be on the best list.
1. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (USA, 1988)
A perfect movie. Great to see a lead character who is actually like me for once.
2. Barb & Star Go to Vista del Mar (USA, 2021)
An actually good and funny comedy, in this economy? Points deducted for the borderline evil albino.
3. The Final Programme (UK, 1973)
Basically unwatchable even to hardened movie nerds, but I can have little a experimental glam rock cinema, as a treat.
4. Scars of Dracula (UK, 1970)
It’s not good but it’s great! Easily my favourite movie of the year even though literally nobody agrees with me. Deeply hilarious and gay but also genuinely creepy sometimes.
5. Nartakee (India, 1963)
A lovely movie about lovely people being lovely. I love Nanda so much. Dusted Off has a great review.
Feast your eyes upon this list and consider that all of these are somehow worse than Starship Invasions which I also watched this year. However, to do justice to the many other bad movies I watched, I kept the Christopher Lee films to two (Serial, Jocks, and Sfida al Diavolo would have completed a worst top five of those).
1. Aan (India, 1952)
Why? Not only are the politics and morals abhorrent but basically everything else is also wrong with it. It takes commitment to make a movie even I cannot make sense of for large swaths of it. Of course, Nadira is a goddess and genius but given NOTHING.
2. Sandeep aur Pinky Faraar (India, 2021)
Breathtakingly casual and vicious about violence against women. It’s 2021. I’m not watching that no matter how much like a sexy chunk of beef Arjun Kapoor looks.
3. The Magic Christian (UK, 1969)
The only thing worse than an unfunny comedy is an unfunny comedy made by the establishment with establishment values that thinks it’s edgy and subversive.
4. Whispering Death/Night of the Askari/Albino (West Germany, 1976)
Historically interesting, but unless you’re a scholar in a thematically relevant field or you are desperate to see Christopher Lee in shorts you should avoid this for the racism, pro-colonial propaganda, rape, and demonization of albinos.
5. Ek aur Ek Gyarah (India, 1981)
The worst. One of the female characters mopes around wanting her abusive boyfriend back after he goes to jail (after either beating her or trying to kill her I can’t remember), and it’s presented as good. Shashi’s character does that harass-a-woman-into-loving-you thing in a super aggressive and real way that makes him seem actually scary, which takes some doing.