Wednesday 12 January 2022

Movie Night Roundup 2021 - Retrospective

At the beginning of the year, my wife and I decided that we'd like to watch more movies. There are 52 weeks in a year, 2 of us, and 26 letters in the alphabet. What better way to choose some movies than to go alphabetically?

In the end, I watched 42 new movies using this system. What went well? What didn't go well? What would I do differently? Let's find out! Letters are here:


What Went Well

I watched a lot of really fun movies as a result of this list. You can see a full list over on Letterboxd where my username is robwadevision. Superhero movies, big kaiju smashfests, more artsy films, some classics. There were plenty of really diverse films in terms of subject matter and style, and even time periods. The 80s did well, but then it does in my collection generally.

In some respects, as well, it felt nice to have a little fun project on the go. Having shelved my various creative outlets at different points in 2019/2020 before the pandemic emphatically kept them shelved, I have found myself missing something fun to rebalance work/fun, and keep something a bit more disciplined in the "Hobby" column. That said, the writeups weren't always easy to find time to get done, particularly when the work/fun ratio wasn't well balanced.

It was also nice to just sit down with my wife and watch a film. We started with a "no phones" policy, and kept that pretty strict throughout a large portion of the 2021 movie night roundup period, and it was just nice to sit together and take in new movies.

What Didn't Go Well

A couple of things happened here, one of which I expected and one which surprised me a bit. The first, that is to be expected, was that over the course of the year the world started to open up in part which meant that social calendars became a little bit more congested. Finding a night where my wife and I could sit down and watch something together.

The other, less expected, event was that my wife lost interest in the overall challenge. You can probably plot where that started happening, as it's when the movies started being more frequently just a single one and the sci-fi stuff started popping in a bit more.

The movie night roundup also doesn't really capture just how many new movies I watched (new to me) last year. As a letter, M did well, with 4 movies outside the challenge for a total of 6. Moneyball was a surprisingly enjoyable one for a person who knows absolutely jack about baseball (this chap). In total, I watched 75 new movies last year, of which this new 42 formed just over half.

What I Would Change If I Did It Again

I think that the main thing I would tweak for a future movie challenge is to have fewer concurrent restrictions in place. "Watch something from each letter of the alphabet in sequence"? Fine. "Watch a new movie every week"? Very much more doable. "Watch a new movie that neither of us have seen"? Doable, although my wife insists sometimes that she watched a movie with me despite my having never seen it. While there's something to be said for having a challenge that's not too easy to achieve, I wonder if maybe I set the bar too high as a first attempt.

Also, while I liked breaking out the writing chops again and putting the writeups in the format we've all enjoyed, one thing I noticed in 2021 was how very easy (and neat) it can be to upload podcasts to Spotify interspersed with music. As a movie writeup, maybe there would be a way to incorporate an audiovisual component and make the writeup available in audio format as an alternative/addition. Food for thought, though perhaps not for me.

Top 5 2021 Movie Night Roundup Movies (in no particular order)

My thing at E14 has always been Top 5s, so why mess with a winning formula?

  • About Time
    This was the first movie on our viewing order and proved to be one of my favourites. Poignant, smart and entertaining. Wonderful stuff.
  • The Quick And The Dead
    This one was just a really entertaining romp, and what an absolutely stellar cast!
  • Tron
    One of those "Really glad I finally got to it" movies from the challenge. A little dated in places but the visual style still looks great!
  • Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
    Lots of fun, and looks bloody gorgeous.
  • Godzilla Vs Kong
    This one was the only one on the list we paid to rent at full price, and it felt worth it. Fun, another great-looking film and we loved it!
A poster for the movie About Time A poster for the movie The Quick And The Dead A poster for the movie Tron A poster for the movie Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse A poster for the movie Godzilla vs Kong

Least Favourite 2021 Movie Night Roundup Movie

For me, this one has to go to a movie that left me feeling nothing on the other side of it, and out of the 42 movies that ended up part of this experience there were only two that fit that bill (not a bad success rate really, but I digress). The least favourite (because even then it wasn't without its charms) was Riverworld. It was close between this one and Killers Anonymous but the latter had the advantage of at least being nicer to look at. I have been told the books on which Riverworld are based are cracking, so maybe that's an avenue to explore in the future.

To conclude, because it should end on a positive note, I wish to thank anyone who has taken the time to read any of these movie writeups, and thanks to those who have messaged privately to discuss some of the writeups. With so many entertainment options out there, I appreciate you taking the time to read something I've written.

Rob Wade

Rob Wade blogs about stuff he likes. Whether it's video games or geek media for Emotionally14 or writing about speculative theories for future films on Talk Star Wars, the focus has always been on the stuff that brings the most pleasure to his life within media.

Rob is the editor of Emotionally14, and showrunner of the E14 podcasts "The Crazy Train", "The E14 Gamecast" and "Talk Star Wars", as well as the host and guest of a number of pieces on E14's Youtube channel over the years.

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