2021: What Kind of Year Has It Been? Plus Plans for 2022

Believe it or not, but this is actually my new year post, regardless of the fact that it’s being posted partway into the second month of the year. Wait, the second month of the year? As in, this new year began OVER A MONTH AGO?!? Whilst my mind continues to recover from reeling over the ongoing and what should be by now highly anticipatory passing of time, let’s get into how last year, 2021, panned out for me. As usual, we’ll be doing this in terms of the aims I set out at the start of last year.

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2021 Movies Ranked

Here it is! My annual ranking of all the new releases from the previous year! As usual this list is comprised of films that were released in the UK in 2021, so there are some films that were released in other countries in early years. Also, as usual, I didn’t see every film I would have liked to, so here’s a list of films that would have been eligible but that I haven’t seen yet, and that I’m going to try and watch as soon as possible: Nobody, Coda, The Matrix Resurrections, House of Gucci, Minari, The French Dispatch, Pig, No Sudden Move, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Shiva Baby, West Side Story, The Green Knight, Petite Maman, Another Round, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Eternals. Of these, I’m most annoyed I didn’t see Ghostbusters: Afterlife and The French Dispatch in the cinema, they just came out during a particularly busy period for me and I had to choose between them, Last Night in Soho and Dune. I have no excuse for why I haven’t seen Coda, Minari, No Sudden Move, Another Round or The Green Knight, as they are all available for me to stream right goddamn now in my own goddamn home, but I still haven’t done so yet. Anyway, enough of the films I didn’t see, here’s my list of the films that I did:

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How’d it go? – September 2021

In September we took our now annual trip to Scotland, which was wonderful despite the best efforts of Stanley, my mother-in-law’s satanic spaniel who did his best to ruin every waking moment of the trip. Fortunately he failed, and we had a wonderful trip that I’d love to tell you more about but frankly there’s just no time! Instead, here’s the relatively few films I watched that month:

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How’d it go? – August 2021

I genuinely started writing this in August, and now it’s near the end of December and I’m five months behind! As such this post will just be short reviews of the films I saw in August, with my original post opening left in because I’ve already written it. The next few months – which I’m hoping to write before the end of the year but let’s not get our collective hopes up – will also just be film reviews, and I’ll tidy everything else up in an end-of-year wrap up post like usual. Apologies for the lack of activity here recently, it’s been a busy few months!

August is my birthday month, and saw me turn a frankly unbelievable 34. How I’ve made it this far is truly astonishing. For my birthday my wife and I went to London for the weekend under the ruse of going out for dinner, visiting some markets and having a general weekend away, but really so that we could buy a new sofa. I won’t go into it. Anyway, we had a mostly nice time (it’s easy to forget just how uncomfortably busy and crowded London can be, especially after over a year of mostly not going anywhere with anyone), and whilst in the queue for the Lego shop, in which my wife treated me to an R2D2 that’s currently presiding over the lounge, I spotted British comedian James Acaster a few spots ahead of me in the queue. If you don’t know James Acaster, get thee to Youtube and enjoy the next few days of content you’ll find, I can particularly recommend his cabbage-related escapades, check out his food-related podcast Off Menu and also cast your mind back to my Taskmaster contestant rankings, in which he achieved the silver medal just below Sally Phillips. Needless to say, I’m a fan, but he was clearly with family and so I didn’t bother him. Also I couldn’t foresee that conversation going very well, given that I was standing in the queue for the Lego store on my own 34th birthday, about to have my wife buy me what many believe to be a child’s toy of a robot from a child’s film. He also left the queue before going into the shop, so there was no chance of accidentally brushing past him and a faux “Oh, hey, you’re James Acaster! I love your podcast! Be my best friend etc.” Anyway, now I’ve been in or by the same shop as two contestants from season 7 of Taskmaster, after I spotted Rhod Gilbert in a second hand book shop in Hay-on-Wye. Kerri Godliman, Jessica Knappett and Phil Wang, I’m coming for you to complete the set!
As I’m monumentally behind on these posts there’ll be no updates on anything other than films this month, other than to say I still haven’t finished the Bill Bryson book, I very foolishly decided to fit a half marathon in at the end of July with Bournemouth Parkrun in the middle of it, which brought my shin splints back and put me out of running action once again, from which I’m still in recovery. I’ve been less grumpy this time, tried to eat more fruit, but also discovered (invented?) flights of cheese sandwiches. We had an abundance of cheese in our fridge (don’t ask) and I’ve been having four or five small cheese sandwiches, all different cheeses, some with chutneys, for lunch most days. Turns out I don’t hate all blue cheeses like I used to, and Sainsbury’s do a particularly creamy gorgonzola. You can all guess what that means health-wise, so let’s get into the films, shall we?

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How’d it go? – July 2021

Let’s not waste any time this month, shall we? The highlights of my July were receiving my second Pfizer vaccine shot (hooray!) with, once again, practically no side effects, and going to a Titanic-themed escape room with my family, followed by the first meal out at a restaurant I’ve had in literally longer than I can remember. The meal wasn’t great, but it was wonderful just eating somewhere different. The escape room (https://www.houdinisescape.co.uk/) was initially purchased as a Father’s Day gift for my Dad two years ago which we’d booked to do in early 2020, but had to reschedule it due to the whole pandemic and whatnot. It was a lot of fun, with some puzzle-types I hadn’t come across before, although the experience might have been improved if it hadn’t been the hottest day of the year and we didn’t have to wear thick life jackets over our clothes. The host for the show was incredible though, he really knew his stuff. We’d meant to watch Titanic the night before but alas ran out of time, but that’s fine, I’ve seen it so many times that I can just play it in my mind.

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Groundhog Day

Irascible, anti-social weather reporter Phil Connors (Bill Murray) heads to the small town of Punxutawney, Philadelphia with his cameraman Larry (Chris Elliott) and new producer Rita (Andi MacDowell) to cover the Groundhog Day festival ceremony, wherein a prominently dentured rodent allegedly predicts the weather. It’s an annual occurrence Phil despises, and one from which he cannot wait to get away, but unfortunately for him he’s stuck there, reliving the same day over and over again, potentially forever more.

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How’d it go? – June 2021

June felt like a very short month full of very long weeks. Whether this was due to the constant pressure of finishing the previous “How’d it go?” post (I literally didn’t start it until halfway through May, then scrambled to finish it before the end) or because the work weeks dragged and the weekends flew by I cannot say. The main breakthrough from this month was, despite last month’s misgivings, I went to the cinema! And then, I went to the cinema again, for a double-bill! We’ll get into the films soon, but I immediately take back my lack of enthusiasm for going back to the big screen; watching A Quiet Place Part II was far better in a big, dark, loud room than it could ever have been at home. I was more engaged, engrossed and emotionally invested knowing I couldn’t pause the film or do something else at the same time, and I’d taken that for granted in the year since I’d last been. Of course, when it came to the second visit I was, as per tradition, a little late to the first film (Fast & Furious 9) but that had about 30 minutes of ads and trailers, so nothing was missed. I’d allocated 20 minutes between films to grab a bite to eat, but the extra trailers from Fast 9 and a very busy entertainment complex meant my plans ran long and I was once again a little late to the second screening (In The Heights). I figured it would be fine given the trailer quantity of the first film, but it turned out for this screening they’d opted for practically no trailers whatsoever, and I’d missed the first 5 minutes. Fortunately the entire first musical number is on Youtube as a trailer, so I’ve caught up now but I was very frustrated with myself for the first half hour or so of the film.

Speaking of films, let’s get into them, shall we? Oh, and as this is the halfway point post for the year, I’ll be providing updates for where I am with everything resolution-wise. Spoiler alert, I’m not doing well!

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