Movies in 2023 - Recap

Well, 2023 was an active year for movie watching: 89 movies and 13 TV series/seasons under my belt. 

OK, well, let's call it for what it is: I sat on my butt WAY too much and watched WAY too many movies and exercised WAY too little. Still, movies are my comfort food, and I have been well-comforted in 2023. Unlike past years, I have run out of time to give too much of a summary, if any, of these, but I will try. Here are my: 

FAVORITE MOVIES of 2023 (Not necessarily FROM 2023, mind you):

Now, if I had to pick my Top 10 Films, based on quality and - let's be real, here - how much pleasure it gave me watching, I would list, in no particular order:

GODZILLA MINUS ONE (2023) - so much passion in a Gaiju film and a really, good story. And a very scary Godzilla.

THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940) - classic film that stands up and made me laugh a lot. Fun, goofy flick with the best dialogue. Glad I saw this.

THE FLASH (2023) - I watched this twice and it was as good the second time. Ezra Miller as Barry Allen was perfect. Hopefully he deals with his issues because I would love to see him in this role again. Great cast, story and very, VERY funny in many parts.

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY (1966) - I watched this thinking, Tarantino must have been inspired by this film and sure enough he was. Before there was Tarantino, there was Leone, and cowboys. Low budget, filmmaking genius.

ASTEROID CITY (2023) - one of Wes Andersen's best, even with the completely non-sensical ending. Fantastic cast who, as usual, seemed to be having a ball.

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (2013) - quiet, beautifully-acted vampire piece. Has been on my to-watch list forever, and it paid off. So, so, so good.

KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON (2023) - as good as I hoped, not preachy, just real, and even with the length. The acting, cinematography, directing, everything was superb. 

ONE CUT OF THE DEAD (2017) - stay with this parody of a zombie parody being filmed as a straight zombie movie through the first half. You'll scratch your head at times then go, What! This is genius. And it is. I laughed so hard the second half. Watch this movie.

THE WHALE (2022) - Beautiful, sad film. Don't listen to people complaining about the name without seeing the film. Watch the film. Stunning, and Brendan Frasier earned that Oscar hands down.

NO TIME TO DIE (2021) - this finale of the Daniel Craig series of Bond films is probably the best James Bond film to come around in a long, long time. Looking forward to seeing what they do and whom they do it with in the future.

As well, I also really enjoyed these Honorable Mentions:

THE JESUS REVOULTION (2023), REVOLVING DOORS (1998), GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 3 (2023), DEVOTION (2022), VIVARIUM (2019), OPPENHEIMER (2023), A HAUNTING IN VENICE (2023), MEN (2022), RRR (2022), AIR (2023), THE HOLDOVERS (2023), KNOCK AT THE CABIN (2023), CREED II (2018), CHAMPIONS (2023), THE MACHINIST (2004), THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING (2022), MICHAEL COLLINS (1996), THE NORTHMAN (2022), A FUTILE AND STUPID GESTURE (2018), VESPER (2022), PUSS IN BOOTS: THE LAST WISH (2023), SUPERMARIO BROTHERS MOVIE (2023), THE DEER HUNTER (1978) and ALL THAT JAZZ(1979) which surprisingly I'd never seen before, and which is only available to watch by buying the DVD.

There were also quite a few movies that were good, just not quite at the level of the above films, but still well worth watching, including: 

White Noise (2022), 1922 (2017), Bubble (2022), Jurassic World: Dominion (2022), Hitman: Agent 47 (2015), Black Crab (2022), Hereditary (2018), The Menu (2022), A Man Called Otto (2022), The Vast of Night (2020), Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), Black Adam (2022), Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023), Stardust (2020), Triangle of Sadness (2022),  Moonage Daydream (2023), John Mullaney, Baby J (2023), Tar (2022), Secret World of Arrietty (2010),  Spider-Man Across the Spiderverse (2023), Shazam 2 (2023), Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1 (2023), Being Mary Tyler Moore (2023), Level 16 (2018), Spectre (2015), The Meg 2 (2023), Angel-A (2005), Slumberland (2022), Cocaine Bear (2023), The Pope's Exorcist (2023), Don't Worry Darling (2022), Beginners Guide to Happiness (2023), Revolutionary Road (2008), Elemental (2023),  No One Will Save You (2023), Paw Patrol, the Mighty Movie (2023), Kinky Boots (2005), Predestination (2014), Blue Beetle (2023), Blade (1998), You People (2023), Family Switch (2023), The Creator (2023), Dungeons and Dragons (2023)

On the Documentary front, three fantastic films:

KURT VONNEGUT: UNSTUCK IN TIME (2021) - I give this documentary such kudos for taking a legendary, literary icon and making him real. Even if one has only read his most famous Slaughterhouse Five, you'll find his normal, sometimes messed up life very interesting. 

GET BACK (2021) - this 8 -our, three-part documentary on The Beatles last sessions is so amazing, so in their face honest, and well-shot (I think some of the footage was "repaired" by computers, but I hadn't known that watching) it's like being there. You see Paul McCartney as they somewhat Asperger perfectionist, Lennon's twitchy eccentricities and finger wiggling craving for drugs, George's creative frustration and Ringo's solid foundation for everyone to hold on to. You also see, when they're on, Lennon and McCartney so hyper-focused on each other as they put such famous songs together from nothing. Towards the end you fall in love with the young Billy Preston who literally saves the album from never being finished with his energy and sheer talent. 

CLASSIC ALBUMS: PHILL COLLINS FACE VALUE (2002) - this is a great series of small documentary films where the band walks you through the creative process, track by track, of some of the biggest records in music history. This one is no exception.

On a side note, there were a few old favorites that I watched again:

The Sting (1973) - it's been decades since I've seen this movie, and it was as good now as I remembered back then. No flashy effects, just great acting and story
Alien (1979) - my favorite movie of all time, still just as fantastic and terrifying the 30th time watching.
A Ghost Story (2017) - this has become one of my top 10 movies, slow-paced as it is but beautifully artistic, still holding up with the fourth viewing. 
La La Land (2015) - started watching on a whim, enjoyed it more the second time, actually. Fun movie, great music.
Exodus: God's and Kings (2014) - when I first saw this Ridley Scott rendition of the Moses story I wasn't too keen on it, but on rewatching, it was really pretty fantastic. Plays around with the story, but answers some what-if questions you didn't even think to ask. 
Annihilation (2018) - Got Linda to watch this, and I didn't think she'd like it, but she was riveted. Fifth time watching this for me, I believe. So good. 
The Wolfman (1941) - Granted, there were so many versions / sequels of The Wolfman through my childhood on Creature Double Feature, this full, unexpergated verson of the original was very different than I remember. Even so, it help up and kept the attention of my attention deficit 9 year old. 
Dune Part One (2021) - this version is, literally, perfect. Can't wait for Part Two. 
Signs (2002) - if Alien is my #1 favorite movie, Signs is a close second. Got Elias to watch it, and though I had to explain a lot, he loved it too. Whoo hoo! He finally liked one of my suggestions. 
Blade runner 2049 (2017) - I might as well blaspheme right off the bat: 2049 is a superior film to the original in every way. I like the original, but this version is just so, so awesome, and pays glorious homage not only to the 80's film, but it's Vangelis soundtrack as well. 
Spirited (2022) - now my favorite CHristmas movie, and that's after having to watch it almost 50 times because it is definitely my wife's favorite. 
Nope (2022) - first time I saw this, though, I don't know about this, maybe it's great, maybe it's a train wreck, but could never get it out of my head. Watching again, finally, it's great. No doubt. Silly fun, so extra credit for the insane imagination it took to make this movie. 
Edge of Tomorrow (2014), the most fund science fiction / alien invasion movie ever. Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, 'nuff said. 

Finally, there were a handful of movies I just didn't finish, or I did but was kind of 'meh about them...:

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022) (didn't finish, and this is surprising because I love Cage and Pascal); Triangle (2009) (Just didn't work for me, hard as it tried); Eraserhead (1977) (I have been trying to watch this for 40 years, finally committed to, 3/4 way in, I decided it was just too pretentious, trying to hard to be weird); John Wick 3 (2019) (Loved, loved parts 1 and 2, but halfway thru 3 I said enough... just... too much); Play Misty For Me (1971) (Didn't finish, the plot's been rehashed so many times since, and done better, unfortunately); Future Crimes (2023) (yep, no, like Eraserhead, trying way too hard to be avante guard); Migration (2023) (This wasn't bad, not really, the kids liked it, well they liked the movie theater experience, but it's pretty blah overall); No Hard Feelings (2023) (awkwardly uncomfortable, more so than I expected, even with one of my faves Ms Lawrence, though the second half, I will admit, got much better); The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) (This French film is celebrated, but - except for the set design and cinematography which is amazing, especially the colors - it's really dull). 

Out of Room, let's finish with TV series in another post


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