25 Best, Worst, and Gems Val Saw In 2021

I had a lot of screenshots to choose from this year to use to open this post. There was Tab Hunter shooting a magic arrow from a flying carpet, someone in a dog suit trying to lick Elvis Presley, Betty Compson doing Cinemax shadow theatre in 1929, chandeliers made of women, and much, much more. I decided to go with the geeky choice. That’s Warren Beatty in Kaleidoscope (1966) demonstrating a supply chain attack.

He breaks into a factory that makes playing cards for the different casinos/clubs in the area. He marks the originals that will be used to print the cards. Then he sits back and waits for the marked cards to be printed and delivered securely, end-to-end, to the casinos/clubs. He can win as much as he wants because all the cards are pre-marked. Is he winning too much? No worries, cause even if the casino opens up a fresh deck, they’re marked too. Of course he eventually runs into a problem when the film realizes it doesn’t have a story beyond this neat idea.

As you might have guessed from my mention of Tab Hunter, Elvis Presley, Betty Compson, and a staple of pre-code films, I watched a lot of TCM last year. I don’t know what happened. I haven’t watched the channel this much in close to 15 years. But It was well worth it. It help me rediscover why I got into film back in the mid-2000s.

Unfortunately, unlike previous years, I only got through 761 films. On the other hand, this year I don’t have to stretch things to have 25 best films. The sheer tonnage of garbage I watched in 2020 made that a tough list to compile.

I do have to preface these lists with a little bit of information. Since I was watching TCM, it meant that I did several of their Stars Of The Month (John Garfield, Doris Day, and Elvis Presley). I watched a lot of films during the month where they only play Oscar nominated films. Finally, I also sat through almost every official IOC commissioned Olympic film. I try to have a variety of different films when I make these lists. It was just more difficult this time because of the large clumps of similar films.

The rules are the same as in previous years:

  1. There is no particular order to the films in these lists. They either made it, or they didn’t.
  2. These lists do not necessarily have films that came out in 2021. These are films that I saw for the first time in 2021. Unlike previous years, there is actually one from 2021. I wanted to include at least one this time.
  3. The gems list has films that don’t make the best list, but I want to put a spotlight on them.
  4. Disagree with any of my choices? Good! I want people to form their own opinions and think for themselves. But if you care to share those opinions, then be nice about it.
  5. I link to reviews of these movies if I can find any that have been written by one of our contributors here on Through the Shattered Lens.

One final thing of note is that The IX Olympiad In Amsterdam (1928) is the Italian cut. It’s not the slightly less awful version–The Olympic Games, Amsterdam 1928 (1928)–that was done in Germany by UFA to try and get Dutch theaters to stop boycotting the film. Perhaps they were boycotting the film because it is the worst Olympic movie ever made.

On With The Show! (1929, Alan Crosland)


The Breaking Point (1950, dir. Michael Curtiz)


  1. I Married A Witch (1942)
  2. Fantastic Planet (1973)
  3. The Breaking Point (1950)
  4. The Best Man (1964)
  5. The Big Chill (1984)
  6. On Borrowed Time (1939)
  7. An Enemy Of The People (1989)
  8. The Holy Man (1965)
  9. I’ll Cry Tomorrow (1955)
  10. The Life Of Emile Zola (1937)
  11. The Story Of Louis Pasteur (1936)
  12. 16 Days Of Glory (1985)
  13. Sapporo Winter Olympics (1972)
  14. The Olympics In Mexico (1969)
  15. White Rock (1977)
  16. Elvis: That’s The Way It Is (1970)
  17. Elvis On Tour (1972)
  18. Born Yesterday (1950)
  19. Dark Passage (1947)
  20. Babbitt (1934)
  21. Five Came Back (1939)
  22. Tarzan And His Mate (1934)
  23. Kind Lady (1935)
  24. Love Affair (1939)
  25. I Never Sang For My Father (1970)

Slappy And The Stinkers (1998, dir. Barnet Kellman)


  1. Adventure Girl (1934)
  2. Starlift (1951)
  3. Dulcy (1940)
  4. Stay Away, Joe (1968)
  5. The IX Olympiad In Amsterdam (1928)
  6. The Crowded Sky (1960)
  7. Solarbabies (1986)
  8. Catalina Caper (1967)
  9. Slappy And The Stinkers (1998)
  10. Little Orvie (1940)
  11. Kisses For Breakfast (1941)
  12. She Had To Say Yes (1933)
  13. Hold ‘Em Jail (1932)
  14. That’s Right – You’re Wrong (1939)
  15. The Tunnel Of Love (1958)
  16. Lower Learning (2008)
  17. Tickle Me (1965)
  18. Rings Of The World (2014)
  19. Forsaking All Others (1934)
  20. The Woman In The Window (2021)
  21. Show Of Shows (1929) (I recommend reading the NY Times review from 1929)
  22. Snows Of Grenoble (1968)
  23. Cats (2019)
  24. Dawning Of The Dead (2017)
  25. Keep Watching (2017)

Mrs. O’Malley And Mr. Malone (1950, dir. Norman Taurog)


  1. Four Daughters (1938)
  2. Daughters Courageous (1939)
  3. Mrs. O’Malley And Mr. Malone (1950)
  4. Cast A Dark Shadow (1955)
  5. It Happened Tomorrow (1944)
  6. Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)
  7. Downstairs (1932)
  8. Jewel Robbery (1932)
  9. Hell’s Angels (1930)
  10. Conquest (1983)
  11. The Sheepman (1958)
  12. Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943)
  13. Scissors (1991)
  14. Mandalay (1934)
  15. On With The Show! (1929)
  16. Black Panthers (1968)
  17. Flying High (1931)
  18. Inside Daisy Clover (1965)
  19. Kaleidoscope (1966)
  20. Abar, The First Black Superman (1977)
  21. Girlfriends (1978)
  22. The Golden Arrow (1962)
  23. Superman (1980)
  24. Lifeguard (1976)
  25. Crooks Anonymous (1962)

Abar, The First Black Superman (1977, dir. Frank Packard)

One response to “25 Best, Worst, and Gems Val Saw In 2021

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 1/10/22 — 1/16/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

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