Dec 30, 2023 | Favorites

I get in this weird headspace sometimes about watching movies. I have a list of movies that I really want to see and then I’ll get overwhelmed by the scope of it. When you couple that with not being able to figure out what I’m in the mood for half the time, you get indecision. Indecision typically leads to me just watching more episodes of Stargate SG-1 because it’s safe to assume that I’m always in the mood for that.

 All of this is to say I didn’t watch many movies this year, but I did track them all on Letterboxd. We also got our movie club rebooted late in the year, so I included a little highlight of what we have watched so far. Just like with every year, books and music included, I don’t care what year these movies were released. 2023 is just the year in which I finally watched them.


10. Barbie

.I loved how Barbie couldn’t stop thinking about death, and how Ken lost interest in patriarchy when he realized it didn’t involve horses. There were so many great little details in this. The cast was great, and the comedy was solid, and I love that it made the incels angry. That being said, it was hard not to see it for the corporate monstrosity that it also was. No amount of self-deprecating humor could ever truly remove the shadows cast by that. This of course begs the question, are all of the other major-franchise blockbusters any different?


9. Red, White, & Royal Blue

It was a by-the-numbers romantic comedy, but it warmed my cold gay heart. The solid acting and dynamic characters helped significantly. There weren’t any surprises, but sometimes you just want a movie that will make you feel good and this one did the job.


8. A Quiet Place

It took me long enough but I finally got around to watching this several years after it was all the rage. It was good! I love a solid horror rooted in strong characters. I’m also a ducker for effective uses of silence in movies. My only complaint was how predictable the ending was.



7. M3GAN

This is the sort of self-aware camp I love. I did not expect to laugh out loud as much as I did. I can see why the gays love this because I am one of them. The movie’s biggest flaw was predictability, but I found a lot of it forgivable because it never took itself too seriously.


6. Bottoms

While the movie wasn’t perfect, I couldn’t help but love it for how unapologetically weird it was. The two lead actors were hilarious and had great chemistry, and I love the basic concept. I also can’t help but appreciate a movie that isn’t afraid to get downright bizarre.


5. Casablanca

The movie is 80 years old, but this was my first time seeing it. It’s worthy of its praise and status as a classic. I had near-perfect story construction and the cinematography was gorgeous. I have to acknowledge the dated gender roles at play, but it’s no more egregious than other movies of its era. I would even argue it’s less so because even the minor characters had plenty of complexity.


4. Reality

It’s hard to say that Reality was a movie that I loved.  It would be more accurate to compare it to a car wreck I couldn’t pry my eyes away from. I’m fascinated by how they wrote it. The superb acting is largely what carried it. I couldn’t get the movie out of my head afterward.


3. Theater Camp

I cackled from start to finish with this movie. It was an all-around fantastic ensemble cast. Anyone who has ever spent time in cliquey theater spaces will find plenty to relate to. If you’re looking for a good comedy about weirdos and fuckups, this might be worth your time.


2. Nimona

There is a core theme in this movie that challenges its all-ages audience to question what they have been raised to believe. I really appreciated the way that the story channeled this by focusing on the perceived villain and societal outcast, Nimona. The queer love story, by contrast, was never presented as anything less than normal. This was a powerful little story and a whole lot of fun.


1. Talk to Me

RL Stine is right about how cell phones have ruined a lot of good horror plots. That is why I applaud Talk to Me for giving us a new horror story for the Internet Age. It was unsettling and bleak, and it packed a punch that reverberated long after the movie was finished. It was violent without being gratuitous (for my taste, I’m sure there are others with different boundaries that would not agree). Regardless, this was one of the most engaging horror movies I’ve seen in a while.


Honorable Mentions:

Of course, there are a few that almost made the main list. All of them were solid in their own right, but ultimately left off due to some arbitrary measure I decided on. My rating system is highly inconsistent. Beau is Afraid, for instance, is on here because I was utterly fascinated by it but have no idea how to rate it whatsoever. That fact alone felt significant. 


The Woman King
They Clone Tyrone
The Boy and the Heron
Beau is Afraid


Movie Club:

We rebooted our move club towards the end of this year. We scaled down from our monthly 2-3 movies to just a single movie each month. We treat it like a book club. Members are encouraged to choose movies that will be good for discussion, not necessarily for acclaim. Below is what we have watched so far.


Sleepaway Camp
Castle in the Sky


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