Happy New Year. It’s time for my annual countdown of the best films of 2021:
#10) CODA is a heartfelt comic drama about a hearing teenager whose deaf parents can’t understand why she wants to pursue a career in music.
#9) THE MITCHELLS VS THE MACHINES is a funny and surprisingly touching animated sci-fi comedy about a dysfunctional family facing a robot apocalypse.
#8) SPIDER-MAN NO WAY HOME is a huge box office hit for a reason. Filled with welcome surprises, it’s a super superhero entry.
#7) THE DIG stars Carrie Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes in a warm and moving true story about amateur archeologists who make a major discovery in 1939 England.
#6) LICORICE PIZZA is Paul Thomas Anderson’s most accessible film, a smart and nostalgic romantic comedy set in 1973 suburban LA.
#5) KING RICHARD tells the story of the rise of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, powered by a knockout performance by Will Smith as their assertive dad.
#4) BELFAST is Kenneth Branagh’s sentimental and wistful film about his childhood in strife-torn 1969 Northern Ireland.
#3) PIG is an offbeat existential tale about a hermit whose prized truffle-sniffing pig is stolen. Nicholas Cage gives a riveting performance.
#2) THE SUMMER OF SOUL is a wildly entertaining documentary about the legendary 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, featuring performances by a lineup of great African American musicians.
#1) WEST SIDE STORY is Steven Spielberg’s spin on the classic Broadway musical featuring a sly revised screenplay by Tony Kushner, great dancing, and first-rate music. “West Side Story” hits all the right notes.