My Least Favourite Films of 2021

Contrary to some belief, no filmmaker sets out to make a bad film. It's all the more unfortunate when we don't enjoy what we watch, and the final product isn't reflective of the best intentions which went into it.

Let's quickly go through my least favourite films of that same year. It's worth mentioning that this is just an opinion piece from me, and it's wonderful if you got more enjoyment out of these films than I did. Nevertheless, here's my list.

10. Tyger Tyger

In the midst of a pandemic, an armed gang rob a pharmacy with the intent of distributing life-saving medication to those who need it. While playing Robin Hood in a western setting, they cross paths with a drug-addict who joins them on a road trip. Such life is put into the sun-drenched terrain and one wishes that effort could be transferred to the plot, which feels aimless as half-baked characters spout dime-store philosophy until the insulting ending.

Available on Amazon Prime, and to rent

9. Occupation: Rainfall

A sequel to Occupation, Australia's attempt at a sci-fi epic where humanity fights alien invaders, the desperate battle continues as human survivors ally themselves with renegade aliens. It feels inspired by Michael Bay's work in how it offers much spectacle and explosions, yet misses the visual flair which keeps viewers returning for more Bayhem. In its place are tiresome military politics, frustrating arcs which feel rushed, and a screenplay stretched too far. One that may struggle to occupy the thoughts.

Available to rent

8. Chaos Walking

Set in the future, Tom Holland's character lives on a planet where women have vanished and men's thoughts are seen and heard by all. When a mysterious girl played by Daisy Ridley crash-lands on the planet, the pair embark on an adventure. Prior to this films release, a troubled production history saw it filmed in 2017, reshot in 2019, and released two years later after rewrites from seven different screenwriters. The result makes sense when so many ideas are clashing for screen-time, the central gimmick outstays its welcome, a talented cast feel wasted in their roles, and most criminally, it's very boring.

Available to rent

7. The Little Things

Working from a script he wrote back in 1993, John Lee Hancock directs this thriller about two detectives investigating a serial killer when their suspicions lead to a strange loner. The pieces are there for a compelling and atmospheric tale about an obsession to stop a serial killer, as David Fincher managed twice, yet there's an uncertainty here of how to utilise them. It wishes to be a '90s throwback, although this seems to be an excuse for the most prominent women to be victims and the corpses of sex workers. Between the tiresome tropes and the uninteresting overacting (hello, Jared Leto), this feels like a wasted opportunity.

Available on Now and to rent

6. Don't Breathe 2

Following on from 2016's Don't Breathe, the sequel shifts focus to the antagonistic Blind Man who fights back against home invaders again, this time to save a young girl he's raising. From Taken to Nobody, there's interesting avenues for a father-figure tapping into their buried past of violence to protect their loved ones. Connecting it to an established property feels misguided here, as the film disregards moral ambiguity for cheap tugs at heartstrings, while seemingly trying to redeem a rapist who previously wielded a turkey baster full of his semen.

Available on Now and to rent

5. Puppet Killer

A group of high-school friends celebrate Christmas at the old house of their friend Jamie (Aleks Paunovic). Isolated in the woods, the friends find themselves stalked by a horror-movie obsessed killer who happens to be Jamie's old puppet. In a move that's perfect for parody films, these teenagers are played by a cast aged between 30 and 50, which makes the straight-faced proceedings rather confusing. What's left is the most obvious game of "spot the undercover cop" which feels embarrassed by the horror genre it's a part of.

Available to rent

4. The Simpsons in Plusaversary

After the two Simpsons shorts which parodied Star Wars and Marvel, it seemed Disney were only interested in using this yellow family to advertise other franchises they own. This short proves that statement is not true, as they're also a marketing tool to sell the Disney+ service (bizarrely released only on that very same streaming service). There's no ideas on-hand here, just a corporate jerk-off session.

Available on Disney+ (what a surprise!)

3. Space Jam: A New Legacy

25-years after Space Jam was a smash-hit, and many ideas for a follow-up fizzled out, a sequel arrives starring LeBron James as a fictionalised version of himself who struggles to connect with his video-game loving son. When they're trapped in a digital space by a rogue A.I played by Don Cheadle, they seek to settle things with a basketball game. The plot is ultimately secondary to Warner Bros showing off what IPs they own in the guise of forced references, as Looney Tunes characters are superimposed into the likes of Mad Max: Fury Road and Austin Powers. What's left is a feature-length orgy of cynical advertising.

Available on Now and to rent

2. Music

Trying to keep out of prison and pay back a gangster, recovering addict Zu (Kate Hudson) finds herself the sole guardian of Music (Maddie Ziegler), her teenage half-sister who has autism. For a film named after a neurodivergent character, it's telling she never feels important in her own story, instead used as a prop to better her sisters life or dance to heavy-handed songs. The directorial debut of Sia brings alive a tired caricature for crass and lazy Oscar bait, existing only to trick neurotypical audiences into feeling good about themselves via lazy shortcuts.

Available on Now and to rent

1. Me, You, Madness

Of all the features I watched from 2021, none have sunk lower than this vanity project from co-writer/director/producer/star Louise Linton. That may seem like a demeaning term to throw an artists way, particularly when many men similarly spread themselves across the board, yet I struggle to find another film which paused the action so a character could declare to camera how amazing the screenwriter was. Following a ruthlessly ambitious businesswoman who's also a serial killer, it's a befuddling film which declares itself as a girl-boss version of American Psycho while also lamenting about Hollywood's lack of originality due to the number of Texas Chainsaw Massacre films existing. The scathing satire and dark humour of Mary Harron's masterpiece are replaced with the makings of the most insufferable Letterboxd account combined with numerous twists, each making less sense than the last. The biggest one is saved for last, as the final message is "be kind to others" in the same film which defended male sexual-harassment as being funny.

Available on Now and to rent

Disagree/Agree with my choices? Do let me know your thoughts below.