(In my rarely-if-ever humble opinion)

Inspired by former President Barack Obama’s “Best Of” lists to commemorate the year, I decided to make my own!

Unlike the 44th leader of the free world, however, I don’t keep my lists focused on entertainment exclusively released in 2021. (If I did, well…it would be a really small list).

SO, instead, I keep track of every great piece of entertainment that I consumed specifically in the calendar year, regardless of when it came out. Really, this article should be titled “Best of…things Eddie specifically first watched/read in 2021”. Not as catchy though, right? And hey, what other “Best of 2021” list will you find that features Malcolm in the Middle??

This year, like 2020, has been scary and tough. I’m so thankful for all of the incredible Art and Entertainment at our fingertips thanks to the power of the internet and streaming services. I just hope that when this is all truly over, people will remember what helped keep them sane throughout this nightmare of a pandemic. Since March 2020, we’ve only received more and more proof of the Arts’ necessity in society, and I hope post-pandemic funding for the Arts increases significantly as a result.

Alright, enough soap-boxing, let’s get on with the List!

Best Things Actually Released in 2021

Movies

Tick, Tick…Boom!

Andrew Garfield playing Jonathan Larson in “Tick, Tick…Boom!”
Andrew Garfield playing Jonathan Larson in “Tick, Tick…Boom!”

One of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. And the best part? It wasn’t getting to say hi to our old friend, Jonathan Larson. It wasn’t even Andrew Garfield’s stellar performance. Nope. The best part…was Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directing! Had it not been directed so perfectly, the material would’ve never worked on camera. Dare I say it, I may enjoy Lin-Man’s directorial work more than his writing!

Don’t Look Up

Four of the main ensemble in Don’t Look Up!
Four of the main ensemble in Don’t Look Up!

Didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at this one. A biting satire that shows Adam McKay, Leo, J-Law, Meryl, and Jonah Hill all on their A-game!

A Quiet Place Part II

The main cast of A Quiet Place Part II
The main cast of A Quiet Place Part II

Admittedly just more of the same from the original, and about 20 minutes too short. But if you enjoyed the first, you’ll enjoy the second. And while it’s 2020 release was pushed back a year because of the pandemic, it was actually very interesting to watch this end-of-the-world film during, well, what has certainly felt like it.

Television

Big Mouth (Season 5)

Some of the main characters in Big Mouth!
Some of the main characters in Big Mouth!

After faltering slightly in quality in Season 4, Big Mouth is back on track as the funniest show, animated or otherwise, currently on television. It’s this generation’s Family Guy. And you all know how I feel about Family Guy.

Standup Comedy Specials

Bo Burnham: Inside

Bo Burnham in his home for his special, “Inside”
Bo Burnham in his home for his special, “Inside”

I don’t know how this man did it. Writing the songs was probably 1% of the problem. To get all of the technical elements (lighting, sound, special effects, etc.) all perfect must have been excoriatingly difficult. So while this special doesn’t feature Burnham’s best material in my opinion, it is by far his most impressive feat yet.

Documentaries/Reality TV

Friends: The Reunion

The cast of Friends
The cast of Friends

A lovely, silly, fun reunion of one of the funniest ensembles of all time.

The Shop: Uninterrupted (Season 4)

One of the casts for season 4 of The Shop: Uninterrupted
One of the casts for season 4 of The Shop: Uninterrupted

Intriguing to listen to the stories of how successful people got to where they are today, and The Shop provides just the venue for this coming together of celebrity and athlete war stories.

CNN’s: The History of the Sitcom

A cartoon version of some of the most famous sitcom characters of all time.
A cartoon version of some of the most famous sitcom characters of all time.

I may disagree with CNN’s definition of a sitcom (I say if it doesn’t have a laugh track…it’s not a sitcom). But this fun look into the History of such a beloved genre is a must-watch for any aspiring comedic actors/writers!

See, I told you the list was small! Now, on to the not-actually-released-in-2021-but-I-first-watched-or-read-them-in-2021 bests (in not too particular of an order):

Television

  1. Key and Peele (Season 2)

2. Malcolm in the Middle (Season 4)

3. BoJack Horseman (Season 3)

4. Futurama (Seasons 3-4)

5. The Haunting of Hill House

6. Batman: The Animated Series (Seasons 1-2)

7. The Goes Wrong Show (Season 1)

8. Six Feet Under (Seasons 4-5)

9. The Big Bang Theory (Seasons 1-7)

10. American Dad! (Season 15)

Books/Authors

  1. Good Benito (Alan Lightman)
  2. Exodus (Leon Uris)
  3. Needful Things (Stephen King)
  4. Creativity, Inc. (Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace)
  5. The Girl Who Played with Fire (Stieg Larsson)
  6. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Suzanne Collins)

Movies

  1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  2. The Matrix
  3. Death Becomes Her
  4. The Producers (1967)
  5. Life is Beautiful
  6. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
  7. Between Two Ferns: The Movie
  8. The Campaign
  9. Superman: Red Son
  10. The Croods: A New Age
  11. Snowpiercer

Documentaries

  1. Batman: Behind the Scenes of The Dark Knight Trilogy
  2. CNN’s: The History of Comedy (Seasons 1-2)
  3. IGN’s Batman Beyond the Classic Nobody Wanted
  4. Starfish

Plays/Playwrights

  1. The School for Wives (Moliere)
  2. Critique of The School for Wives (Moliere)

Graphic Novels

  1. The Punisher The Complete Collection (Volume 1)
  2. Red Team (Volume 1)
  3. Batman: Going Sane
  4. Batman: Fool’s Errand
  5. Batman: Slayride

And as a bonus, here are my previous “Best Of” Lists!

2020

2019

2018

What are you thoughts? What did I miss? What did I get just right? Let me know! And if you liked my Best of 2021, check out all my Best of All Time lists!

And for more things Datz, check out eddiedatz.com!

Actor. Comedian. Writer. Director. For all things Datz, check out eddiedatz.com