28 December 2023

2023 at Eternium's Gate: Best of 2022!

I have gotten into this more lately - it really does take a whole year to catch up. And I didn't even watch all the ones I said I would here. But there's a lot that I've shifted around and some painful losses. Ultimately I chose Puss in Boots over Pinocchio because it does a better job of saying the same thing about death and immortality, even though I do have fondness in my heart for the latter. And it might one day get in here, but I just had to leave Ambulance out. You should definitely watch Ambulance, though.

#10: Prey still works and sticks in my head as one of the cleanest, purest action movies in recent memory. It's remarkably direct and simple and still one of the best Friday nights you can have.

#9: Weird: The Al Yankovic Story I just bought on DVD because I don't trust the ability to watch it on any platform, much less Roku. I was pleasantly reminded of just how funny this thing still is. It helps to be steeped in Weird Lore, but every line just slays me. I fully grasped the concept that Michael Jackson's "Beat It" is actually a parody of Weird Al's "Eat It."

#8: The Banshees of Inisherin I was thinking about Barry Keoghan in this while watching Saltburn (2023). I often reference cutting off my fingers to get away from friends I don't like as well. I'm actually not convinced of this film's 10-year staying power, but for now it's still pretty fresh with me.

#7: Babylon is for sure a bit of a mess, but it's so damn realized and the characters hit so hard. There are for sure unnecessary slurs but it secretly belongs amongst Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt's best work. No small feat. I really enjoyed thus. Definitely too long. I don't 

#6: TAR took me a bit to get into and it is almost certainly too long. We could have used quite a bit less lengthy inside conductor talk, but it does add to the whole story. Anyway, it's a continuously unexpected story of this woman's life falling apart, it being continually her fault, and her absolute refusal to acknowledge it. And the ending is spectacular. You can picture anyone else but Cate Blanchett in the role but also she totally loses herself. Just a great experience.

#5: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish has no right to be as good as it is. This sequel to a Shrek spin-off brilliantly finds a sublime challenge for its protagonist, intrinsic to his character while also being a treat to look at and very funny as well. Its playfulness matches its style and Antonio Banderas owns this role like few others. It's a lot of fun, has a lot of heart, and one of the best villains ever in that Wolf Death guy.

#4: RRR is still an unbelievable movie. We are getting into the probably never off this list section of this list and I don't see it ever dropping. It's the kind of movie I remember watching every second for the first time. And then I put it on again as soon as it ended. It's the ultimate action bromance and what every American action movie wishes it was.

#3: NOPE remains Jordan Peele's best film. I hate to be a hater, but I didn't think his other stuff is all THAT great, I mean, they're fine, but NOPE is really where he lands as both a supreme visual storyteller, but one who can bathe his films in metaphor, callbacks, multiple coherent themes firing at once, and legit scares and tension. It's great and deserves so much more praise.

#2: Everything Everywhere All at Once somehow someway became an Oscar darling which is a baffling thing to think about, but also we need to admit that the Academy Awards have become deeply deeply weird. But this is one that they got right. It's an epic, a movie for our times, who we all wish our situation may have turned out differently, but we need to learn to deal with the relationships in our reality. Also we're all living in different realities anyway. It's impeccably crafted and full of boffo action scenes as well. It'll be on list list forever.

#1: The Northman remains my favorite, even if it hit a little less hard on my second re-watch. It's just very very cool. And also I still believe it's about how masculinity is stupid. In my opinion. It has everything firing at once, the visuals, both CGI and just shooting great landscapes, acting ranging from Dafoe to Kidman, a compelling story of twists and familial betrayal, and a volcano fight. What else do you want?

2022 - what a year! I like this list a lot and although we'll keep watching and reevaluating, this is pretty solid. I would watch any of these any day. Let's get ready to reassess 2023 in a year!

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