Media Consumed in 2021

This wasn’t a perfect year for reaching my goals, I’m afraid. Everything fell off the wheels in the fall, and instead of getting to 52 books for the year, I only made it to 45. That said, it’s still 45 books, and being able to keep that up even during a pandemic is something I’m still proud of. As usual, I’m here today to let you know the best (and worst) of what I watched and read. I’ll anonymize the bad books, so as not to point any fingers (out of professional courtesy). Ready?

Best Movies/TV

I watched 129 movies or complete TV seasons, so . . . clearly I had some time to relax somewhere over last year. My average rating was a 7.71, which probably shows that I’m generally easy to please. Most movies get around that, and it has to be significantly good (or bad) to move one way or the other. Here are the films I gave a 10/10 to:

  • Groundhog Day (duh)
  • The History of Future Folk (Hondo! Such a great movie.)
  • The Purple Rose of Cairo (Yes, Woody Allen. I wouldn’t have him babysit my kids, but the guy can make a great film. This is a favorite of mine)
  • Ted Lasso Season 1 (Just fantastic. So positive.)
  • In the Heights (Great music, great movie)
  • The Goes Wrong Show Season 1 (The worst thing about this is that I haven’t found a way to watch season 2 yet)
  • Mare of Easttown (Kate Winslet is phenomenal in this.)
  • Unforgiven (Fantastic modern Western)
  • Back to the Future (I really think it’s one of the best movies out there. Peak 80s, and practically perfect in every way)

Here are the 9.5s:

  • Mississippi Burning (Depressing to see how much of this still feels relevant today)
  • The Matrix (Though as I said, I was surprised to see how much more disturbing the violence was)

And then here are the 9s:

  • Master and Commander (Great stuff)
  • Bowfinger (So quotable, and some really funny scenes. Keep. It. Together.)
  • Ocean’s Eleven (the remake. Super heist film)
  • The Right Stuff (I’m a sucker for space movies)
  • Broadchurch Season 1 (The other seasons weren’t as good, but still a great show.)
  • Gaslight (The movie that spawned a word)
  • The Fugitive (Surprised to see how well this stood up)
  • You’ve Got Mail (Ditto for this)
  • Ted Lasso Season 2 (Not quite Season 1, but what is?)
  • Squid Game Season 1 (When you write pop fiction, you have to know what everyone’s watching. It’s a good show, but brutal.)
  • Great British Baking Show Season 10 (It started out iffy, but became one of my favorite seasons.)
  • Hunt for Red October (Still great)
  • Sleepless in Seattle (It’s a tragedy Hanks and Ryan didn’t make more movies together)
  • Encanto (I loved this, and I think I might love it even more when I watch it again)

How about the worst ones? Here’s what I’ve got that I rated 5 or lower:

  • Bridgerton Season 1 (See my comment about Squid Game. In this case, however, it stunk. 4/10)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (I will never (ever) do another Harry Potter movie marathon. Most are middling, a few are decent, and then there are some stinker 4/10)
  • Caravan of Courage (Ewoks, old school. Bad, but funny bad at least. 4/10)
  • Dune (the first one. No no no. 5/10)
  • The Tunnel Season 3 (Liked the first two. Hated the third)
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (Yup. Still disliked it. 3/10)

That’s quite a number, isn’t it? How did I do with reading? My average rating for books was a 7.7 (at least I’m consistent). Here are the 10’s:

  • Way of Kings (Still excellent, even the third time through)
  • Boy’s Life (Absolutely phenomenal. Unknown to me, and I loved it)

Just two. Wow. 9.5s?

  • My Best Friend’s Exorcism (Grady Hendrix was a fantastic discovery for me this year. It’s a vein of horror that reads like candy. Love this stuff.)

Man. Just one. How about 9s?

  • Animal Farm (Classic)
  • The Inheritance Games (Daniela brought this one to my attention)
  • Jaws (Impressively good)
  • Oathbringer
  • Dawnshard
  • Rhythm of War (All Brandon, all great)
  • Project Hail Mary (Really liked the latest Andy Weir)
  • Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires (More Hendrix)
  • Salem’s Lot (My first time reading. Love Stephen King as always. And the ending was even decent!)

And that’s it for the best. When it comes to worst I had some 6s and a few 6.5s. Only two books lower than a 5:

  • The third book in a series where I loved the first two entries. They were fast moving, really fun RPG fantasies. So disappointed in the third. 3/10
  • The first book in a sci-fi dystopian series. Thousands of great reviews on Goodreads. I really disliked it. Found it predictable and tiring. Had to slog my way to the finish.

Both books are very well liked on Goodreads. I’m glad there are people with such a wide variety of tastes.

Anyway–that’s it for this year. We’ll see how I handle the year to come. What did you see or read this year that you’d like to recommend (or recommend to avoid)?


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