I thoroughly enjoyed returning to the movie theatres this year, seeing what’s new on the big screen. However, I feel like the most impactful movie-related moments I had were the times I returned to an older film. You can check out what I thought of 2021’s new releases on our reviews page, but in this article, you will find my personal list documenting viewing experiences that meant a lot to me in 2021 and capture a year full of memories.
5. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
I think an important part of the viewing experience is where you go. For this one, I went to the Utah Theatre in Logan. It is such a neat location that is supported by locals, and it is a great location for viewing classics and live performances. For this movie, specifically, I loved being there with a crowd who was anticipating their favorite moments from this incredible classic. The response and the energy was so contagious and memorable. It goes to show how “Raiders” is the perfect movie for new and old fans alike.
4. Cinderella Man (2005)
I mean, who’s going to watch this movie and not be touched, right? As we were gathered for our Sunday family movie night a couple months ago, “Cinderella Man” hit me hard. Financially, 2021 was really challenging for us. My husband suddenly lost his job in May, so I began writing reviews hoping that I could potentially find some way to get paid. Employment struggles have been a rampant issue for so many people during the pandemic, and we were no strangers to that. It is still a struggle for us, but this movie made me feel a wide range of emotions from desperation to hope that was very needed and extremely cathartic at the time.
3. First Blood (1982)
I believe this was the first movie I watched in 2021. It had been on my mind, and watching it again, I realized why. It is very interesting to revisit considering the current social and political climate regarding law enforcement, veterans, mental health, etc. It is also an interesting era to dive into, which is why “Kong Skull Island” was another great rewatch for me this year. “First Blood” is such a captivating, visual story that features, in my opinion, Stallone’s best performance (no disrespect to the masterpiece that “Rocky” is). The biggest take away for me this time was the conflict escalation and the importance of seeing another’s point of view. I highly recommend this one, mostly for the potential conversations we should have about it today.
2. Beyond the Sea (2004)
I had not seen this movie before and I was blown away by the showcase of talent. It may be a little controversial to talk about with all we know about Kevin Spacey now, but a good movie is a good movie. It is a little unconventional in the way it tells the story of Bobby Darin; although purposefully staged and whimsical, it still pulls you in with its strong, emotional beats. I didn’t realize how many Bobby Darin songs I knew until I started singing along, which also enhanced the immersion for me. This movie further put me in the right headspace for my top pick that has a similar style and quality that I watched during the final days of the year.
1. tick, tick… BOOM! (2021)
Yes, I’m cheating since this did come out in 2021, but I didn’t watch it when it first came out because I didn’t have any interest initially. I am so glad I was talked into watching it. Also unconventional, it combines a staged performance and the real world in a way that would make original writer, Jon Larson, proud. It’s artistic, emotional, gripping, and entertaining. Andrew Garfield killed it in this role, as did the rest of the cast. It also really struck me personally because it touches on a sort of feeling that can’t be expressed in words. It’s this anxiety over a need to create something that you haven’t discovered yet. I feel that way all the time but hadn’t really articulate it like I did when watching this film. This movie encapsulates the core of who I am: the joys, the obsessions, the stresses, and the goals. I never had a viewing experience speak to my soul in this way and I may never experience anything quite like it again.
This basically sums up my 2021. I hope it puts good new/old films on your radar! Comment below if you had any meaningful viewing experiences that tied to your year. Here’s to a new start with new movie experiences! Happy viewings!