Here at VGU, we love our movies just as much as we love our video games. And our music. And our anime. We’re really good at being entertainment buffs, okay? Anyway, we wanted to make a little roundtable to shine a spotlight on our favorite films of the last year! Considering we put games first and foremost, we aren’t doing big lists for movies, as well. So, I asked some of the writers here to choose one of their favorite films of 2021 to sing the praises of! We hope you agree with our picks, and if you haven’t seen them yourself, well, you’re missing out! Go give these movies some love!

Graydon Webb – The Contrarian American/Broadway Baby

In the Heights

Credit: Plugged In

Movie musicals can be really hit or miss, these days. To be honest, it’s always been kind of a rocky road for film adaptations of stage shows. Sometimes a director can ruin the original spirit of a show by trying something “new and inventive” – for example, look at anything Tom Hooper has made. Other times, the hype of a movie musical can kill it before it even comes to life, like Dear Evan Hansen‘s overwhelming popularity, which ushered in its reputation as a box-office bomb.

Fortunately, In the Heights improves upon the hit stage show and helps it soar to new heights… pun intended. Directed by Jon M. Chu of Crazy Rich Asians fame, the Lin-Manuel Miranda-penned musical gets fleshed out across a real-life barrio background, bringing viewers into the world of Washington Heights.

Credit: Warner Bros. UK & Ireland

I never was a big fan of the musical before this film, mainly because of the original Broadway cast. I felt like while the songs told a beautiful story, the people portraying this colorful cast of characters just didn’t do it justice from the start. Thankfully, newcomers like Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins, and Leslie Grace brighten up this soundtrack with their own unique talents, and they left me stunned by how much I loved this film.

I truly did love In the Heights. I think it’s creative, fun, emotional, and just a delightful romp through the streets of New York, all the while tugging at your heartstrings. You really feel like you’re one of the citizens in the titular Heights and being able to successfully convey that theatergoing experience through a television screen is something deserving of the highest praise. Don’t miss out on this instant classic.

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