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Val's Top Movies of 2021

Updated: Dec 23, 2021



2021 was a great year for movies, especially after the dark time of 2020. Most critics publish worst lists, but all I want to do is share all of my favorites. Enjoy!

Movies released 1.1.21 - 12.31.21

*I wrote this before I saw The Matrix Resurrections so the list may change.

**I saw The Matrix Resurrections, none of my lists have changed....


Top 20 Feel Good Movies 2021

These are movies that don't necessarily have a happy ending, but leave you feeling good, excited or wanting more!


1. Spider-Man No Way Home

2. CODA

3. Free Guy

4. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings

5. Ghost Busters: After Life

6. Luca

7. The Mitchells vs The Machines

8. Pig

9. West side Story

10. Jungle Cruise

11. Godzilla vs Kong

12. Encanto

13. Mortal Kombat

14. Black Widow

15. King Richard

16. The Tender Bar

17. Dune

18. No Time To Die

19. Eternals

20. In the Heights



Top 5 Animated Movies in 2021

1. Encanto

2. Flee

3. Michells vs the Machine

4. Luca

5. Raya and the Last Dragon




Top 10 Action Movies 2021

1. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings

2. Black Widow

3. Mortal Kombat

4. Spider-Man No Way Home

5. Godzilla Vs Kong

6. No time To Die

7. The Harder They Fall

8. The Paper Tigers

9. Wrath Of Man

10. The Suicide Squad



Top 5 movies that lived up to the hype

1. Spider-Man No Way Home

2. Dune

3. Ghostbusters: After Life

4. Black Widow

5. No Time To Die



Top 10 movies that surpassed expectations

1. Shang- Chi and The Legend of the 10 Rings

2. CODA

3. West Side Story

4. Lamb

5. Free Guy

6. Pig

7. Tick Tick Boom

8. The Green Knight

9. The Michells Vs The Machines

10. Jungle Cruise


Top Visually Stunning Movies of 2021

1. Dune

2. Belfast

3. Nightmare Alley

4. The Power Of The Dog

5. West Side Story

6. The Harder They Fall

7. The Tragedy Of McBeth

8. The Green Knight

9. The French Dispatch

10. No time To Die


Top 10 Kick Butt Female Action Characters

1. Scarlette Johansen: Black Widow

2. Florence Pugh: Black Widow

3. Jodi Comer: Free Guy

4. Meng'er Zhang: Shang-Chi and The Legend of the 10 Rings

5. Maggie Q: The Portege

6. Angelina Jolie: Eternals

7. Emily Blunt: Jungle Cruise

8. Halle Berry: Bruised

9. Gal Gadot: Red Notice

10. Angelina Jolie: Those Who wish Me Dead


2021 Movies I will watch again and again

1. Spider-Man No Way Home

2. Free Guy

3. West Side Story

4. Encanto

5. Luca

6. Pig

7. CODA

8. Black Widow

9. Shang- Chi

10. The Tender Bar





In 2021 I became a member of the Utah Film Critics Association. We come together in December of every year and vote on the "Best" movies. When you look at these lists, understand that I choses these on more than if I just like the movie. These are films that are outstanding in more than 5 of these categories: Directing, acting, writing, cinematography, score, editing, watchability, ingenuity, entertainment value and originality.

These are my submissions:


Best Picture 1 The Power of The dog

2 The Harder They Fall

3 Belfast

4 The Tender Bar

5 CODA

Best Achievement in Directing

1 Jane Campion - The Power of The Dog

2 Jeymes Samuel - The Harder They Fall

3 Steven Spielberg - West Side Story

4 Kenneth Branagh - Belfast

5 Paul Thomas Anderson - licorice Pizza


Best Lead Performance, Male

1 Benedict Cumberbatch - The Power of The Dog

2 Nicholas Cage - Pig

3 Mahershala Ali -Swan Song

4 Jonathan Majors - The Harder They Fall

5 Javier Bardem - Being The Ricardos

Best Lead Performance, Female

1 Alana Haim - Licorice Pizza

2 Nicole Kidman - Being The Ricardos

3 Jessica Chastain - The Eyes of Tammy Faye

4 Francis McDermott - The Tragedy of Macbeth

5 Emilia Jones - CODA

Best Supporting Performance, Female

1 Ariana DeBose, "West Side Story"

2 Caitriona Balfe - Belfast

3 Kirsten Dunst, "The Power of the Dog"

4 Ann Dowd – Mass

5 Marlee Matlin - CODA

Best Supporting Performance, Male

1 Kodi-Smit McPhee - The power Of the Dog

2 Ben Affleck - The Tender Bar

3 LaKeith Stanfeild - The Harder They Fall

4 Troy Katsur, - CODA

5 Mike Faist - West Side Story

Best Original Screenplay

1 The Harder they Fall

2 Licorice Pizza

3 Belfast

4 Mass

5 Don't Look Up

Best Adapted Screenplay

1 The Power of The Dog

2 The Tender Bar

3 CODA

4 Passing

5 Dune

Best Cinematography

1 The Power of The Dog

2 West Side Story

3 The Tragedy of Macbeth

4 Belfast

5 Dune

Best Original Score

1 The Harder They Fall

2 Encanto

3 Shang-Chi and The legend of the 10 Rings

4 The French Dispatch

5 The Harder They Fall

Best Film Editing

1 The Harder They Fall

2 West Side Story

3 Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings

4 Belfast

5 Spider-Man No Way Home

Best Documentary Feature

1 Flee

2 Val

3 Summer Of Soul

4 Found

5 The First Wave

Best Animated Feature

1 Encanto

2 Flee

3 Raya and the Last Dragon

4 The Mitchells vs. The Machines

5 luca

Best Non-English Language Feature

1 Flee

2 Drive My Car

3 A Hero

4 Lamb

5 The Hand Of God



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