Film Review: “Pig” (2021) *Favorite movie of 2021*

“You have no value.”

This anti-John Wick in ratty clothing is my favorite movie of 2021. It’s a film noir that exudes empathy. A journey into the Portland restaurant underground to find some semblance of hope for humanity (and a pig) that actually finds some and shares it with the audience. I am a better person than I was before I saw Pig back in July. Somehow, Nic Cage and company improved me.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “I think my second favorite movie of the year is Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, which wrung similar emotions from me. I don’t know how else to connect Pig and Demon Slayer, but I’ll ponder it.”

Film Review: “Nightmare Alley” (2021)

“People are desperate to tell you who they are.”

A dark parable that casts viewers as adjudicator and soothsayer, signalling the ending and waiting for the main character to catch up to his destiny. The supernatural elements Del Toro is most famous for are relegated here to set dressing and production value, building the world and genre encroaching upon the troubled soul we follow, from carnival trappings to brutalist art deco noir and back again.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Why is the call of the carnival still so strong even though they’re barely a thing anymore? Every time I’m overwhelmed, I hear Willem Dafoe’s voice ushering me towards a field somewhere. That’s normal, right?”