PRODUCTIVITY & POSITIVITY
My 2021 End of Year Lists
Talking Movies, Series, Books, and Music
What you thought would happen during a pandemic has indeed happened — more entertainment was consumed! And for the first time this year, I’m also covering books because, well, I actually listened to some this year.
Here we go!
Top 5 Movies
- Dune (HBO) — It’s all about the experience. Even watching this from my home 50" tv screen, I could feel the gravity and immersiveness of this movie. Incredible designs, moody sets, and fantastic acting. Thankful that Part 2 for greenlit!
- Zach Snyder’s Justice League (HBO) — Again, what an experience! Obviously, I just lost 90% of you who are reading this. “This guy is whack if he put Justice League at #2 on his list!” But you know what, it was a rough pandemic year and I watched this in the middle of the day, shades pulled down, and indulged in snacks. It was glorious.
- Eternals (Marvel) — If I didn’t lose you with Justice League above, then I’ve definitely lost you now with Marvel’s Eternal. For some reason, this movie hit me emotionally exactly where I needed it to that day. A tad slow and contemplative in it’s approach, I enjoyed all characters albeit they under-utilized Gemma Chan (again!).
Movies I Found Most Pleasantly Surprised
- Greenland — Fantastic Gerald Butler and Morena Baccarin movie about an extinction level asteroid hitting the Earth, and what it takes to get to the safe bunker to ride it out. Realistic, emotional, and well-paced. Not our typical Gerald, not that I would’ve minded.
- Kate (Netflix) — It got critiqued for stereotyping Japanese culture and I did find it quite predictable, and yet, it delivers on the adrenaline. It did something right.
- DC Animated Movies — They really rocked it this year, with the Long Halloween Part 1 & 2, Hush and Red Son. Adapted from the graphic novel, the animated versions brought something fresh with them.
Movies You Need to Watch and Will Actually Like
- The Little Things (HBO) — Can’t go wrong with Denzel. First time watching Rami Malik act, which was great. And Leto plays creep expertly.
- Chaos Walking — Not sure why this movie didn’t make more noise (pun intended) because the premise was unique, acting top notch, and blended Western and sci-fi. Starring Spider-Man and Rey Skywalker.
- Luca (Pixar) — “Silenzio bruno!” And that soccer scene with the mom trying to see if one of the kids was Luca is hilarious!
Movies I’d Have Been Better Off Not Seeing
- Nomadland — I don’t get the hype. I’m sure it’s making a very sharp social commentary but it’s totally lost on me. Seemed like an anti-vanlife ad to me.
- Infinite (Paramount+) — Ouch, this one hurt. Great premise, horrible plot. Wasted effort by Mark Walberg.
- Tomorrow War (Amazon Prime) — Chris Pratt’s star is fading for me. I’m finding it harder to separate his movie character from his real-life character of coming across as arrogant.
Change Your Life Movies
- Swan Song (Apple+) — Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris and Awkwafina deliver a beautiful, deeply insightful conversation around what death means to us and to those in our life.
- The Rescue (National Geographic) — Shoutout to my role model, Jimmy Chin, who made this movie/documentary with wife, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi. Funny tweet I saw said something like, “I can’t believe they put those kids back in the cave just to make this movie.”
- White Tiger (Netflix) — A lighter version of Parasite, but unique in its own right. The main actor Gouvard is fantastic, as well as the supporting cast. Ultimately, the takeaway here simply isn’t agreeable with me. But I can still appreciate the artistry, the relevance, and the moral commentary.
- Oscar Isacc — From Dune to Operation Finale, when he’s on screen, I get hypnotized. Looking forward to his turn at Marvel in Moon Knight.
- Michael B. Jordan — He brought the physicality in Without Remorse, gotta appreciate that. Looking forward to the intensity of Creed III.
- Jonathan Majors — Speaking of Creed, my man here will be playing the villain. Liked him in Lovecraft Country (despite the ending), he makes an awesome Kang in Loki, and proved he can be a movie leading man with The Harder They Fall.
- Alice in Borderlands (Netflix) — Never read the manga, so I came in cold. Just one episode is all it took to hook me with this bizarre premise of being transported to a mirror reality where you’re forced to compete in “games” in order to keep living. Love the mind games and how it evolves.
- Arcane (Netflix) — One of the best animations I’ve seen in a really, really long time. Although Powder seemed a bit too much of a knockoff of Harley Quinn, the look and feel of the animation is overwhelming.
- Ted Lasso — Perhaps the best antidote to the negative feelings during the pandemic, Ted continues to bring a smile to my family’s face.
- Star Trek Discovery (CBS) — Please, just cancel the show and devote the precious latinum to fund other Trek shows!
- Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Marvel) — I came in wanting the fun banter between the two but didn’t get enough. Instead, got some villain that I still don’t know what the motivation was.
- Jupiter’s Legacy (Netflix) — So much promise, but oh what a failure. Good cast, good budget and special effects, but the script was horrible. Had all the right ingredients, but the recipe no good.
- White Lotus (HBO) — What an interesting ride, between the social commentary, the funny characters, and that music and wallpaper I can’t get out of mu head!
- Queen’s Gambit (Netflix) — Yep, this show made chess look exciting, which is a feat in itself. Plus I love comparing doing complex things with playing imaginary chess on the ceiling.
- The Foundation (Apple TV) — I wanted to love, love this show but the best I could walk away with is that Empire was awesome. Too bad all the other main characters were kinda boring or bad writing.
I just want to highlight two songs that have defined 2021 for me. First up is Nick Jonas album and specifically the title track, Spaceman. When it first released, I was questioning it, but it soon creeped into my mojo and I’ve been vibing to it ever since. That song comes on and I’m automatically swaying. Similarly but without the sway, is Coffee and Contemplation by Nic Howell. I love me some chill music and the way the song starts off with, “mornings are meant for coffee and meditation” has be hooked.
- Soul (Pixar)
- King of Staten Island
- Lock Down (HBO)
- Rhythm Section
- White Tiger (Netflix)
- Outside the Wire (Netflix)
- Batman Hush (DC Animated)
- 24 Hours to Live
- The Little Things (HBO)
- Suicide Squad (DC Animated)
- Death of Robin (DC Animated)
- Wolfwalker (Apple+)
- Red Son (DC Animated)
- Judas and the Messiah (HBO)
- Raya and the Last Dragon (Disney)
- Zach Snyder’s Justice League (HBO)
- Godzilla vs. King Kong (HBO)
- Robert the Bruce (Hulu)
- Space Sweepers (Netflix)
- Stowaway (Netflix)
- Mortal Kombat (HBO)
- Synchronic (Netflix)
- Sea of Trees
- Vanished (Netflix)
- Without Remorse (Amazon Prime)
- The Informant
- WeWork (Hulu Documentary)
- Army of the Dead (Netflix)
- Those Who Wish Me Dead (HBO)
- Operation Finale
- Oxygen (Netflix)
- Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (HBO Max)
- Infinite (Paramount+)
- In The Heights (HBO Max)
- Ice Road (Netflix)
- Luca (Pixar)
- Be With You (Korean)
- Fatherhood (Netflix)
- Tomorrow War (Amazon Prime)
- How I Became a Superhero (Netflix French)
- The Personal Biography of David Copperfield
- The Hunt
- Black Widow
- The Quiet Place 2
- Jolt (Amazon Prime)
- The Courier
- A Rainy Day in New York
- Gunpowder Milkshake (Netflix)
- The Suicide Squad (HBO)
- In the Same Breath (HBO Documentary)
- Reminisce (HBO)
- Snake Eyes
- Chaos Walking
- Paper Dragons
- He’s All That (Netflix)
- Kingdom: Ashin of the North (Netflix)
- Worth (Netflix)
- Kate (Netflix)
- Love and Monsters
- Sandcastle (Netflix 2017)
- Promising Young Woman
- Long Halloween Part 1 and 2
- The Guilty (Netflix)
- News of the World
- Night Hunter
- Dune (HBO)
- Friday the 13th (2009 version)
- Love Hard (Netflix)
- No Time to Die
- The Harder They Fall (Netflix)
- Red Notice (Netflix)
- 14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible (Netflix)
- King Richard (HBO)
- Power of the Dog (Netflix)
- Bruised (Netflix)
- The Rescue (National Geographic)
- Swan Song (Apple+)
- Joe Bell
- Don’t Look Up (Netflix)
- Jungle Cruise (Disney)
- Matrix Resurrection
- Spider-Man: No Way Home
- Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
- The Expanse (Amazon)
- Star Trek Discovery (CBS) — Pretty bad, this series needs to be canceled.
- The Undoing (HBO)
- Alice in Borderlands (Netflix)
- Wandavision (Marvel)
- Mortgage or Marriage (Netflix)
- Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Marvel)
- Discovery of Witches (AMC)
- Vincenzo (Netflix k-drama)
- Invincible (Amazon)
- Jupiter’s Legacy (Netflix)
- Dota: Dragon’s Blood (Netflix anime)
- Solo (Amazon)
- Shadow and Bones (Netflix)
- Ted Lasso (Season 1, 2, 3)
- Vikings (Season 1, 2, 3)
- White Lotus (HBO)
- 100 Days My Prince (Netflix k-drama)
- What If… (Disney)
- The Foundation (Apple TV)
- Ocktober Faction (Netflix)
- Squid Game (Netflix)
- Arcane (Netflix) — One of the best animations I’ve seen in a really long time.
- Cowboy Bebop (Netflix) — First episode, then heard it got canceled.
- Only Murder in the Apartment (Hulu)
- The Great (Hulu)
- Deep Work by Cal Newport
- Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
- Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip & Dan Heath
- Midnight Library by Matt Haig
- Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant
- Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Vicktor E. Frankl
- How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- Exhalations by Ted Chiang
- How to Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven
- Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari
- The Promised Land by Barack Obama
- The Spy Masters by Chris Whipple
- The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek
- Limits of the Known by David Roberts (not finished)
- Start with Why by Simon Sinek
- The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
- Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
- What We Lost In the Water by Eric Nguyen
- David & Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
- Spaceman by Nick Jonas
- WITHOUT YOU by The Kid LAROI
- Coffee and Meditation by Nic Howell
- long txts by Lubalin
- Butter by BTS
- Love Shit by Lu Kala
- Dinner Plate by Terror Jr
- Feels by WATTS and Khalid
- Hold On by Justin Beiber
- 34+35 by Arianna Grande