Best and Worst of 2021


‘Don’t Look Up’ 7/10

Leonardo finally-dates-a woman-his-own-age-DiCaprio and Jennifer woman-in-STEM-Lawrence star as astronomers who spot a comet set to hit Earth in six months. Their efforts to alert the world are thwarted by the government and media’s indifference to this crisis. Despite the blatant contradiction of a film starring solely A-List celebrities while preaching the corruption of the elite, I genuinely enjoyed this film. The cast had great chemistry, the plot was exciting and it was simply a fun watch.

‘Dune’ 3/10

Movie posters with both Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya grabbed just about everyone’s attention. However, after watching the movie adaptation of Frank Herbert’s well-regarded science fiction novel, “Dune,” it became clear that the movie was a glamorized perfume commercial-esque prologue for the movie’s upcoming sequel that favored style over substance. The movie also lacked the amount of action audiences were expecting. Worst of all, Zendaya barely spoke and only in the last 15 minutes of the 2-hour and 35-minute movie (outside of a dreamscape).

‘He’s All That’ 1/10

Giving TikTokers acting roles is always a bad idea. Recreating a classic teen movie is always a bad idea. Addison Rae—always a bad idea. Also, it’s sad to admit, but getting a haircut will not suddenly make you attractive, as this movie might have you believe. This movie is the worst thing Netflix has ever produced and watching it felt like a fever dream, with its overly fast pace and vague plot. This movie goes to prove that just because someone is famous and attractive does not mean they can act.

‘Inside’ 10/10

Having watched Bo Burnham’s stand-up for many years, I feel I can truly appreciate “Inside” for the masterpiece of self-reflection that it is. Burnham’s crippling narcissism and irreverent humor are met with his self-loathing and feeling of loneliness. The special follows Burnham’s year in quarantined isolation: writing, reflecting and evolving before the viewers’ eyes. I strongly encourage anyone interested in watching this to watch his previous work first, so you can recognize the depth of this piece

‘I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson’ (Season 2) 10/10

Anyone who truly appreciates comedy will instantly fall in love with this show. Just like his first, the second season of Tim Robinson’s maniacally hilarious sketch show offers the most irreverent and eccentric comedy, completely unlike the consistent topical sketches and parodies of “Saturday Night Live”. No one commits to a comedy bit the way Robinson does: he frequently plays an outlandish character who escalates an awkward situation to an incredibly unhinged conclusion. Each sketch is executed to creative perfection with flawless  performances, absurd premises and valuable lessons like ‘never push lunch without asking’, ‘triples make it safe’ and ‘people can change.’

‘Loki’ (Season 1) 4/10

Mischief, mayhem and Tom Hiddleston should, in theory, add up to an incredible show, so it was quite shocking that “Loki” was a convoluted mess. Most episodes just felt like filler plot, leading up to the introduction of the multiverse and Loki’s character development fell flat. With a year’s worth of successful Marvel projects, it’s upsetting that “Loki” was such a train wreck.

‘Young Royals’ (9/10)

Netflix Sweden’s “Young Royals” is a gripping teenage love story offering a glance into the lives of the Scandinavian elite. The show also provides insight into issues prevalent for teenagers around the world, such as class divisions, sexuality and drug abuse. The quality of this show is also much higher than that of any American Netflix Original, and although the cast is incredibly attractive,  they actually look realistic to their age.

‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ (Season 11) 11/10

Larry David is a West LA Jewish icon; his top-secret shortcut to the valley and love of gefilte fish is sufficient evidence for this claim. Even 11 seasons deep, every episode is absolutely hilarious and highly relatable—though possibly niche outside of the Jewish West LA community. Almost every cast member can be recognized from a sitcom, and there are frequent guest star appearances where beloved actors play themselves, ensuring the whole family will enjoy the show.

‘Tiger King’ (Season 2) 1/10

Tiger King season one was just weird and addictive enough to capture America’s attention during the peak of the pandemic. However, now that the country isn’t locked up at home, season two flopped. Nothing in the second installment could recreate the original iconic Tiger King experience. The second season seemed to drag on and honestly, it takes away from the success of the previous season.

‘This Is What It Feels Like’- Gracie Abrams 10/10

Gracie Abram’s album “This Is What It Feels Like” is the perfect soundtrack for crying in the car while driving down Sunset Boulevard. The album is for anyone who has ever felt the complicated and conflicting emotions of wanting to enter adulthood as fast as possible but still feeling like childhood is passing them by too quickly.

‘Blue Banisters’- Lana del Rey (9/10)

Prior to releasing “Blue Banisters,” Lana del Rey went on social media to say the album tells her story in a uniquely personal way for listeners who are interested in hearing it. Like most of her music, the songs in “Blue Banisters” are melancholy and romantic, making the album one of the best of this year—for those who appreciate del Rey’s genre. Personally, I prefer del Rey’s earlier music, and I will always be excited about anything she releases. However, the “Blue Banisters” album cover hardly matches the beauty of del Rey’s lyrics, or the multitude of unique music videos she has created, some of them homemade. This topic was subject to quite a bit of public ridicule.

‘Louise’- Camille Jansen (9/10)

European singer-songwriter Camille Jansen’s songs have been a staple in each of my playlists for months, especially when it comes to the music I play during misty morning bus rides down Coldwater Canyon Avenue. Her music’s soulful nostalgia reminds me of Lana del Rey, but with a fresh twist.  “Je Ne Fais Que Rêver” is the best song in the album, and the music video for “Louise” is truly beautiful.

‘Ace of Spades’- Faridah Abíké-Iyímídé- 10/10

Combining elements that make up the perfect thriller, this book is filled with suspense and anticipation, keeping readers hooked. The story revolves around Devion and Chiamaka, characters that are well developed through distinct points of view, internal dialogue and personal struggles. The appropriately slow pacing allows the layers of deception to unfold. Overall, the book integrates exciting plot points with introspective social commentary related to race and sexuality.


‘Rule of Wolves’- Leigh Bardugo- 8/10

The final installment of Leigh Bardugo’s esteemed Grishaverse fantasy series, this book revolves around the dream of improving society, uniting a broken country, and healing personal wounds. The plot is a blend of fast-paced action and high stakes, with interesting plot twists that leave readers questioning everything they thought they knew about the characters. Although the storyline is somewhat overcomplicated due to excessive details and subplots, the book is a satisfying conclusion to the series.

‘Ash Princess’- Laura Sebastian- 5/10

Despite the anticipation from the young adult fantasy community, this book hardly contains unique elements and fails to distinguish itself from your typical everyday fantasy novel. The book includes the standard elements of a young adult novel, such as a love triangle, without adding anything new to the table. While the pacing and prose are well-executed and appropriate, the lack of uniqueness makes this book somewhat forgettable.


‘A Court of Silver Flames’- Sarah J. Maas- 3/10

As the final book of the popular “A Court of Thorns and Roses” series, this book was highly anticipated by young adult fantasy readers. While this series has had its good moments, the lack of a solid plot throughout this novel makes for a dissatisfying finale. Possibly the most disappointing aspect of this book was the lack of character development; much of the characters’ personalities relied on explicit statements by the author, and it is unclear how the obstacles shaped them at all. Overall, the plot reads like a list of young adult fantasy cliches, from the quirky but conventionally attractive main character to the brooding but bland love interest