Everything I watched in 2023
Yes, here’s everything I watched in 2023 up until today, Dec. 28. (I’ll probably squeeze a movie or two more in by Monday.) I was maintaining this list throughout the year, so my thoughts below I are how I felt immediately after watching something. There were a lot of ups and downs this year, but overall it was a good year full of talented showrunners and directors delivering on the hype — and a lot of genuine surprises as well. Linked titles go to full reviews. Have a great New Year everyone!
Slow Horses s2 - Weaker than season one but nevertheless engaging.
The Menu ⭐ - Deliciously creative twist on the horror/thriller genre. Perfect mouthfeel.
Kaleidoscope - Interesting experiment in serial storytelling, hampered by clichés and a few underwhelming performances.
Strange World - Brilliant premise and visuals, story felt a bit rushed and under baked.
Welcome to Chippendales - Competently done tragedy with a strong ensemble.
The Pale Blue Eye - Dark mystery with more on its mind. 30 minutes too long.
Copenhagen Cowboy ep 1 - Pretty but glacially paced and narratively aimless.
The White Lotus s2 ⭐ - A rich, funny, and tense exploration of power and sex. Strong characters and trope subversions.
Bad Sisters eps 1,2 - Admired the writing and character work, but couldn't get into it.
Paul T. Goldman ep 1 - Quirky docuseries that I wish had more laughs.
The Banshees of Inisherin - Hilarious, surprising, and considered slice of life.
Stutz - A thoughtful and enlightening documentary that bites off a bit more than it can chew.
Black Bird⭐ - Stunning Paul Walter Hauser performance in an elegant elevation of the true crime genre.
The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House ep 1 - Chill vibes and beautiful music, but too slow for my tastes.
Mythic Quest s3 - Same as it ever was.
The Sea Beast - Strong premise and world building, competently crafted if derivative narrative, uneven animation.
Elvis - Appreciated some of the postmodern montaging and sound design. Austin Butler was great, Tom Hanks was bizarre. Screenplay was a mess with scenes parodied a decade ago in Walk Hard.
I Hate Suzie Too - An in-your-face follow up, featuring a brava unflinching performance from Billie Piper.
The Last of Us s1⭐ - Gives video game adaptations a good name. Like Walking Dead but way, way better.
Los Espookys s2 ep 1 - As silly and weird as ever, but I'm good.
The Larry Sanders Show eps 1-5 - I understand why it's revered, but it’s showing its age 30 years out.
Cunk on Earth ⭐⭐ - Hilarious mockumentary featuring a stone cold committed lead performance. Funniest thing I’ve seen in a while.
Lockwood & Co. ep 1 - Another Netflix genre show that's basically glossy CW. Joe Cornish couldn’t direct his way out of this one.
Spirited Away - Way darker and weirder than I thought it would be. Reminded me of Wizard of Oz and Labyrinth.
Harley Quinn Valentine's Day Special - Still the best relationship drama wrapped in an animated sitcom wrapped in a superhero show.
Triangle of Sadness - An abundance of provocative ideas, WTF set pieces, and twists, but unnecessarily long. And the ending is downright frustrating.
My Neighbor Totoro - Appreciated the smaller but still magical story. Iconic characters and designs.
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania - Enjoyed the world building and creature designs and that’s about it.
Howl's Moving Castle - Its pieces, while charming, didn't come together for me.
White Noise - Satirical and off kilter portrait of existential dread in postmodern America
Ponyo - This was my favorite Miyazaki yet. Just the right balance of sweetness, magic, clarity of the world, design, and storytelling.
Cocaine Bear - Exactly what you'd expect. Funny and violent, but its higher aspirations were muddled.
Princess Mononoke - Absolutely epic. Love this more serious, more adult high fantasy mode from Miyazaki. The environmental messaging isn't subtle though.
Creed III ⭐- A real achievement as far as threequels go. Michael B Jordan is going to have quite the directing career.
Atlanta s4 - Uncompromising and unflinchingly original until the very end.
The Whale - Incredible performances (except Sadie Sink) but the movie itself was boxed in by its staginess and therefore artificiality.
Marc Maron: From Bleak to Dark - Another solid special from Marc. But I liked his last one more.
All Quiet on the Western Front - War is bad mmkay. Incredible technical filmmaking, but somehow the movie was both under wrought and over wrought?
Poker Face s1 - Remember episodes? Lyonne and Johnson are bringing sexy back to classic TV.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods - Goofy action and plot, with mere remnants of the humor and heart that defined the original.
The Crown s5 - Despite some highlights this was the show's weakest season so far.
80 for Brady - Surprisingly funny and sweet, yet inconsequential.
History of the World Part 2 - Plenty of laughs and true to the style of Mel Brooks (with a healthy dose of Kroll Show thrown in). Nice to have a broad comedy such as this and all the cameos are fun. Some misses among the hits though.
Swarm⭐⭐ - A stunning piece of work with more on its mind in every minute than most shows have in entire seasons. Dominique Fishback is a generational talent, and we learned Billie Eilish can act her face off as well.
The Night Agent ep 1 - Competently executed but nothing special. If you loved 24 or network TV thrillers in general this is for you. Slow Horses is a much better version of this show.
Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves ⭐ - Surprisingly great! Perfect pop filmmaking, funny, unique action.
Shadow and Bone s2 eps 1-3 - Got tired of the wheel spinning.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie - Fast and fun. Lovingly rendered.
Shrinking⭐ s1 - Confident, kind, funny, heartwarming. Immediately great.
Tetris - Passable behind the scenes thriller buoyed by Taron Egerton. A bit goofy and cartoonish around the edges, loved the use of the Tetris music though.
The Mandalorian s3 - A few highlights but easily the worst season. Putting two chapters in Boba Fett was a fatal mistake.
Mrs. Davis ⭐ - Bold, unique mix of high brow and low brow. Chewy and provocative.
Jury Duty ⭐⭐⭐ - A true surprise. Absolutely delightful beginning to end.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 - A fitting emotional epic that reinforced the themes of the entire franchise. Never forgot the humor or action.
The Diplomat eps 1-2 - A slightly elevated late 2010s NBC drama. Kerri Russell is good but not enough to hook me.
Air - Snappy, witty dialogue and great performances but the way Affleck hid MJ was distracting.
The Flight Attendant s2 - Not as cohesive as the first season, horrible ending. but some pulpy fun still and a great showcase for Kaley Cuoco’s many talents.
Beef - Great leading performances. Its overly flashy plot mechanics are at times at odds with a believable reality, but its build to the two-episode climax is expertly done. On the other hand, maybe it should have been a feature?
Succession s4⭐⭐⭐- Welcome to the pantheon of greatest final seasons and finales. Just perfect and transcendent on every level.
Barry s4 - Season 4 had some highlights but the ending left me cold and longing for when the show was funnier.
The Little Mermaid - Halle Bailey established herself as a movie star in this sweeping retelling that's about 30 minutes too long.
Ted Lasso s3 - Never lost its heart or humor, but definitely reached the end of its creative rope.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse⭐⭐⭐- The best superhero movie since No Way Home. Another visual gamechanger. A feast for the eyes and soul. 15/10 no notes.
The Idol ep 1 - Satirical and sharp at times thanks to the supporting cast, but the rest of the show is dreadful. It tries to pass off leering as deep character exploration. Watch I Hate Suzie instead.
Primo eps 1-3 - Adequately funny and heartfelt, but a bit basic. paced like a 2010s network sitcom, if that's your jam.
American Born Chinese - Too ambitious for its own good, mired in complicated lore and weighed down by a passive hero. But you gotta admire its compelling big swings and one great monologue from Ke Huy Quan.
Top Chef s20 - A genre-definer at the top of the mountain. Just wondering where they go from here.
I Think You Should Leave s3 - Funnier than ever. The only problem is that there isn't more of it.
Elemental ⭐⭐- Beautiful inside and out
The Blackening⭐ - Funny, scary, thought provoking
John Mulaney Baby J - Honest and discomforting. A comedian at the peak of his powers.
The Bear s2 ⭐⭐⭐ - They let it rip.
Asteroid City ⭐ - Funny, impeccably designed, but a bit beguiling. Loved the dual reality.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny - A cool final act twist but the rest was joyless and never fully committed to its themes.
I'm a Virgo - I cannot believe Amazon put this on the air. Creative visionary absurdist comedy satire that exposes the superhero complex as well as it does capitalism and the subjugation of people of color.
Joy Ride ⭐ - Outrageously funny, also thoughtful.
Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One - Best in class action, second to none. 30 min too long.
Daisy Jones & The Six ⭐ — Engaging, studied, and emotionally effective musical drama. Same ending as HIMYM?
Barbie ⭐ - Managed to be reverent and irreverent at the same time.
Oppenheimer ⭐⭐ - Epic, visionary.
100 Foot Wave eps1-3 - Fascinating but too slow.
Hijack - Taut, thorough. A breath of fresh air
Secret Invasion - Drab and mediocre.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel s5 ⭐ - Pitch perfect to the very end. Will miss it dearly.
Up Here - Tropey but great songs
The Haunted Mansion - Good ideas within, and loving nods to the ride, but forgettable
Theater Camp ⭐⭐- Made with love for theater kids old and new
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutant Mayhem⭐ - Exactly what the turtles should be. Loved the design
Nimona - Excellent world building, design, memorable characters.
Righteous Gemstones s3 - As hilarious and shocking as ever
Strays ⭐ - Super raunchy, silly, and kind? As advertised.
The Other Two s3 - A surprisingly emotional cap to a very funny show.
Gran Turismo - David Harbour barely saved it from collapsing under a parade of sports movie cliches
Past Lives ⭐ - Beautifully told and carefully rendered subversion of cliches.
Bottoms - Very funny, stylized throwback high school comedy. A great satire of the genre as well.
Ahsoka - Solid but wished the ending was more period than ellipsis.
Platonic ⭐ - Great hangout sitcom that feels like an early 2010s Apatow comedy
You're So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah ⭐ - Sweet, hilarious, relatable. Sandler's best comedy in years.
How to With John Wilson s3 ⭐⭐ - Gone too soon. What will he do next?
How to Blow Up a Pipeline ⭐ - Taut and provocative indie thriller. Why aren't there more movies like this?
One Piece ep 1 - Colorful and imaginative but a bit silly for my taste.
BlackBerry ⭐⭐ - Acerbic dark comedy about how ambition corrupts and blinds us. Great writing and acting. The best of the recent brand movies.
Cruella - Good script with a few great surprises, better than average performances, outstanding costumes and production design. CGI was rough.
No One Will Save You - Engrossing, suspenseful no-dialogue take on an alien invasion. Ending muddled the message.
The Creator - Visually resplendent but didn’t actually have much to say about AI, instead it was secretly about American wars of aggression, which is more straightforward but not as interesting.
Dumb Money - Fascinating in its disjointed construction. Felt a little bit like reading a very entertaining Wikipedia entry. Expertly cast. Pete Davidson was funny.
Justified: City Primeval - Good to have the character back. Great Boyd Holbrook performance. But nothing all that special in the end.
Flora and Son ⭐️⭐️⭐️ - Winning in every way. Funny, heartwarming, real. Beautiful music. Snappy script. Great lead performance from Eve Hewson
The Power ep1-2 - Fumbles its intriguing premise almost immediately with its leaden pace and abundant filler.
Wes Anderson’s Roald Dahl shorts⭐️ - A pure shot of WA and RD whimsy. It’s just so cool that he made these and how small scale but still wildly imaginative they are. As good as Asteroid City.
The Beanie Bubble - Overwrought but elevated by Sarah Snook and Zach Galifianakis
Killers of the Flower Moon ⭐️ - Harrowing and masterful.
Queer Eye s7 - Sweet and as inspiring as ever
Girls5eva s2 - Funnier per minute than any other show on TV
Anatomy of a Fall - ⭐⭐ Endlessly complex relationship and family drama disguised as a murder mystery. Demands you sit in the gray area. Sandra Huller is encroyable.
Pete Holmes I Am Not for Everyone - The cure for cynical times. Pete subverts with wholesomeness, joy, and awe.
Reservation Dogs s3 ⭐- More soulful than anything else on TV. Consistently funny too. Ended perfectly.
Quiz Lady - Charming and funny but inconsequential. Great showcase for Sandra Oh. Liked the way certain scenes subverted expectations.
The Marvels - Fun but rough plot. Iman Vellani ftw.
The Hunger Games The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes - The answer to formulaic blockbusters. Epic and intimate. Rachel Zegler crushed it.
Loki s2 - A beautiful end for the character, but an uneven time wimey season.
The Killer - Brutal, chilling, and subversive character study examining the reality of killing. The anti John Wick. Fassbender is fantastic. Incredible location shooting in 3 different countries.
Wish - Magical, warm, well animated and performed. Perfect balance of old and new.
Next Goal Wins - Funny but the dramatic storylines didn't always connect. Twist nearly ruined the movie.
Scavengers Reign ⭐⭐⭐ - The best sci-fi of the year, and one of the best shows of the year period. Wondrous creature and world design. Star Wars on a bad acid trip, Lost but weirder, the most brutal survival drama since early Walking Dead. Everything you could want in a science fiction show. To the monsters we're the monsters. Complex antagonists that are infused with the flaws of the protagonists.
The Holdovers⭐⭐⭐ - Funny, warm, heartbreaking. Lovely script, beautiful performances. Artful but not distracting filmmaking. The best kind of movie.
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off ⭐ - Fun and imaginative deepening of the lore. Loved the way it explored the theme of letting go of your past and worries about your future.
Doctor Who specials - Perfect throwback to the late aughts heyday.
The Boy and the Heron ⭐- Gorgeous and poetic. Admired its dream logic plot.
Wonka - Candy coated memba berries stuffed with colorful nonsense, twangy nostalgia, and surprisingly genuine emotion.
May December⭐ - Tragic and oddly funny. Tour de force stuff from Natalie Portman and Charles Melton. Loved how it subverted Hollywood bs.
Gen V ⭐ - The rare occasion where a spin off is better than its flagship.
The Curse - Admired its weirdness, uniqueness, and Emma Stone, but so far it’s not amounting to anything and it doesn’t have enough juice to fill an hour.
Poor Things ⭐⭐- A wickedly funny, wildly imaginative odyssey through a woman’s self actualization with breathtaking production design and a fearless Emma Stone performance.
Blue Eye Samurai ⭐⭐- Memorable characters, stunning animation. Absolutely riveting.
The Iron Claw - Well shot, edited, and performed, but had an inconsistent tone and the dad was two dimensional.
Doctor Who Xmas special - Story was a little goofy but love Ruby and Ncuti’s new Doctor.
Migration - Sweet and cute, but not funny, deep, or visually compelling enough to recommend to anyone other than families with young kids.