John Waters Reveals His Top 10 Films of 2021 - Baby Annette Rules

December 1, 2021
Source: Artforum

John Waters - Annette Top 10

"Often wrongheaded but sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, [this film] has been rejected by film distributors worldwide. All I can say is that the movie sure as hell delivers." Ohh John Waters! It's always a delight to discover his Top 10 list every year. One of our favorite "best of the year" lists that kicks off this time of the year is from filmmaker John Waters - his Top 10 favorite films released this year. For 2021, Waters has chosen yet another (expected) eclectic mix of films, led by the extravagant Sparks Brothers + Leos Carax musical Annette (watch the trailer). He goes on to highlight other underseen gems and indie film favorites, including Quentin Dupieux's Mandibules and Sean Baker's Red Rocket. I'm honestly more excited to find out what's on his list than almost anyone else, just because he always chooses some of the most unexpected yet worthy films. No one else has a Top 10 like Waters'. And that's why I dig his Top 10 picks year after year.

Waters includes a short one/two-sentence explanation with each pick, so head to ArtForum to read all of his thoughts on his Top 10 of 2021. I've included a few of his comments in quotes below for some of the films where he said some interesting things. Without further ado, here are John Waters' Top 10 Films of 2021:

1. Annette (dir. Leos Carax) "The best movie of the year is an insane, over-the-top, and thankfully self-indulgent Sparks Brothers musical about an angry macho performance artist, his opera-diva girlfriend, and their daughter, who is somehow born a puppet. See it by yourself so no one you know can possibly ruin this nutcase masterpiece."
2. Summer of Soul (dir. Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson)
3. Vortex (dir. Gaspar Noé) "The director's most humane and unironic yet scarily claustrophobic feel-bad drama about death is filmed in split-screen Duo-Vision, so be prepared for twice the disturbing power of his other cinematic shockers."
4. France (dir. Bruno Dumont)
5. The Most Beautiful Boy in the World (dirs. Kristina Lindström & Kristian Petri)
6. Mandibles (dir. Quentin Dupieux) "The stupidest art film of the year, directed by a Gallic auteur who specializes in one-joke dumbbell comedies, about a giant fly and two French stooges, is also one of the funniest and most charming."
7. Red Rocket (dir. Sean Baker) "Shocking? Refreshing? The male gaze comes out of today's PC closet in an incredibly well-cast tale of a washed-up hetero male porn star who goes back to his meth-head ex-wife and mother-in-law in Texas to start a new dysfunctional life. Finally, fuckin', fightin', and frontal nudity are back on the art-house screen, where they belong."
8. The Tragedy of Macbeth (dir. Joel Coen) "If Ingmar Bergman came back from beyond the grave today to direct Shakespeare on film, this is what it would look like. Kathryn Hunter as all three of the witches has to be seen to be believed."
9. Saint-Narcisse (dir. Bruce LaBruce)
10. The Onania Club (dir. Tom Six)

What do you make of Waters' Top 10 list for this year? Have you seen all of the films he lists this year? As always, his picks are so exciting and unexpected! But that's what makes his Top 10 so refreshing every single year. I'm glad he included The Most Beautiful Boy in the World (watch the trailer) on here - this fantastic documentary is an eye-opening look at how obsession with fame & beauty can be extremely damaging, and how this ruined the life of one Swedish man. Who, even 50 years later after starring in Luchino Visconti's Death in Venice, is still struggling to put make sense of his life and his own identity. I've seen many of the films he's listed this year, and I absolutely love most of them, too. I even talked about Mandibles last year - as Waters' listed Quentin Dupieux's Deerskin on his Top 10 of 2020, and I mentioned that "his new film this year is awesome". There is always something wacky and weird to watch. As usual, it is good to pick at least one of these you haven't seen yet, then watch if it impresses/intrigues you as much as it did him. Thoughts?

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