Sean’s Top 10 Movies of 2023

Early on in 2023, before a very necessary pair of strikes screwed everything up, it seemed like we had a really easy theme all set up for my annual wrap-up: unfinished business. Between the likes of Fast X, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, and Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One we had an absolute glut of (perhaps arrogantly conceived) half movies. And then there were all the franchise pay-offs on the other end of the spectrum, John Wick: Chapter 4, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, and plenty more were all slated to wrap-up some other long-running stories. Then things went off the rails and we all started to wonder if the recovery we all thought we were promised in 2022 would never actually come to pass.

Well, all that chaos aside, I’m sticking with that theme. Because I’ve got some real unfinished business. I thought I had a pretty good handle on 2023 until I started seeing my friends’ lists and award nominations and realized I actually still had a ton of homework to do. And then I went and had a really weird couple of weeks that sapped my motivation to pay attention to movies. So I created a living document here. And I’m gonna keep trying to work on 2023 as we continue on into the new year. You got a problem with that? Too bad!
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Colin’s Top 10 Movies of 2023

I didn’t really touch on this in my top ten albums or TV shows lists, but it didn’t feel like a particularly special year for either of those mediums. I would not say the same for movies, even if it was sometimes hard to tell where the state of film was heading, especially after actors and writers went on strike and we had that weirdly long gap of notable movies coming out in the wake of Barbenheimer. Though, once November rolled around, I felt like we got a bunch of really great, prestige-y movies, and it seems we’re still getting a bunch coming out in time for the Oscars.

This feels a bit like the way things used to be, and I could complain about this familiar feeling of having to cram in watching a bunch of movies in December and January in preparation for this list, but I won’t. Mainly because movies are in such a weird, uncertain state that I’m just glad talented filmmakers are able to get their work out at all, and if that comes with the price of seeing the best films of the year all at the same time, that’s the price I’m willing to pay. This is all a long-winded way of saying that I thought this turned out to be a pretty good year for movies, and hopefully one that saw Hollywood reflecting on how to reinvent itself instead of churning out the same old garbage. Continue reading

John’s Top 10 Movies of 2023

2023 was a year of extremes. We had the crushing lows with box-office bombs like Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny and The Marvels and glorious highs like the cinematic triumph that was Barbenheimer. We had big stretches of nothing in the summer and then a boss rush of awards darlings all crammed into December.

As usual there are more than a few movies I wish I’d made the time to see before making this list. This year’s collection of neglected hopefuls includes;

Past Lives
May December (ya know, a lot of Colin movies)

And some Sean movies like John Wick 4 and Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning.

Also, The Iron Claw, (which feels like a real John movie). Otherwise I’m happy with my list. Aw, here it goes….

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Colin’s Top 10 Shows of 2023

There was plenty of good TV to be watched in 2023, but compiling my list did not make me all that excited for the future of the medium. Mostly because basically all of the shows appearing on this list are shows that I’d already been watching, and in fact, a lot of them were shows airing their final seasons. Now, it’s certainly on me to find new shows to watch, but this year, it just didn’t seem like there were as many new buzzworthy shows that everyone was talking about.

That, of course, could be for a few reasons, the most obvious one being that there was a writer’s strike this year that kept shows both new and old from airing seasons before the year’s end. Also, it seems like a lot of streaming services in the last year or two have indicated an emphasis on profits and producing less scripted entertainment, which has foreshadowed the possible end of “peak TV”. Which, honestly, felt like it was going to end sometime soon anyway. The amount of daring, off-beat shows that we got the past decade or so just never quite seemed sustainable, even though it was fun while it lasted. Well, with that somewhat depressing preamble out of the way, here are the shows that made 2023 memorable while it lasted. Continue reading

John’s Top 10 Shows of 2023

What a wealth of quality shows last year! Though if you’ve been watching any of the recent awards shows, the only four shows that exist are; Succession, The Bear, Beef, and The Crown. Admittedly, those are tough ones to beat, even for coveted spots on this list by yours truly.

My two big regrets this year are that I didn’t budget enough time for Beef and Fargo. Two shows that I know I would have liked and would have landed on this list. Yet, I somehow managed to watch all of the The Idol. Oh man, let’s try to pretend that one was a bad dream. Anyways, here’s my list…

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Sean’s Top 10 Shows of 2023

Every year we do three weeks of top 10 posts: first albums, then TV shows, and finally movies. We do them in exactly that order because that roughly reflects how late into the year each of those three industries are putting out noteworthy new releases – it’s a survival strategy that gives us the most time possible to consume interesting media. But in 2023 we had a big strike that fucked things up, and it made it even harder to deny an uncomfortable truth. So this year I’m trying something: dropping the word “television” from this post’s title.

I think maybe we’ve outgrown the term “TV show,” since shows (and movies) are now made for online streaming platforms and definitely not over-the-air broadcast television. Maybe “series” would be better than “shows” on its own? “Series” maybe more evocatively hits on the most meaningful distinction between the stuff on this week’s list and next week’s: duration. Seasons have gotten shorter and binge releases are common, so how do we differentiate a season from an eight-hour film? This is a bit of a stretch, but are shows and movies really that much more different now than LPs and EPs are? Are there a generation of kids right now who don’t really differentiate between TikTok, YouTube, shows, and movies? It’s all just “content” we watch, right? Does Killers of the Flower Moon (now streaming on Apple TV+) not have an intermission because that would bring it too close to being a miniseries?

TV may be dead but at least I got to hear my friends complain about MILF Manor and The Idol.

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John’s Top Ten Albums of 2023

I once read a survey that said on average, most people stop looking for new music at the age of 30.5. I’m older than that so the fact that I find any new bands is a good feeling, but if I ever reach an age where I do stop looking, I’m okay with that.

2023 was the first year I didn’t stress about “discovering” new music. I am no longer concerned with trying to “out-cool” anyone by slotting “hip” new artists into my top ten. I check Pitchfork sometimes. I listen to KEXP when I can. Occasionally, I find cool new stuff on my Spotify “Discover Weekly” and occasionally, I don’t.

I’ve been spending a lot more time digging into artists from the past I’ve never given much time to. Just today, I finished listening to Cat Stevens’ last album he did before leaving music for 28 years. Did I really need to listen to 11 Cat Stevens’ albums instead of seeking out more 2023 albums? Probably not, but it made me happy, and at the end of the day, that’s why we do it, don’t we? So here is my stress-free list of 2023 albums I somehow listened to.

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