The best 2023 movies:
Not strictly ranked – divided into three tiers, then alphabetized.

Asteroid City (Wes Anderson)
Fallen Leaves (Aki Kaurismäki)
Mission: Impossible 7: Dead Reckoning 1 (Christopher McQuarrie)

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (Laura Poitras)
Barbie (Greta Gerwig)
How to Blow Up a Pipeline (Daniel Goldhaber)
Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese)
The Last Movie Stars (Ethan Hawke)
Last Things (Deborah Stratman)
Mutzenbacher (Ruth Beckermann)
Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan)
Showing Up (Kelly Reichardt)
You Hurt My Feelings (Nicole Holofcener)

Aftersun (Charlotte Wells)
All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen)
Anatomy of a Fall (Justine Triet)
Beau Is Afraid (Ari Aster)
Enys Men (Mark Jenkin)
EO (Jerzy Skolimowski)
The Fabelmans (Steven Spielberg)
The Five Devils (Lea Mysius)
M3GAN (Gerard Johnstone)
A Man and a Camera (Guido Hendrikx)
One Fine Morning (Mia Hansen-Love)
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Dos Santos & Powers & Thompson)
Topology of Sirens (Jonathan Davies)

The best from the previous five years, watched this year:

1. Ex Libris: The New York Public Library (Frederick Wiseman)
2. Petite Maman (Celine Sciamma)
3. The Wild Goose Lake (Yi’nan Diao)
4. Hotel by the River and In Front of Your Face (Hong Sang-soo)
5. On the Count of Three (Jerrod Carmichael)
6. Saint Omer (Alice Diop)
7. An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo)
8. 2nd Chance (Ramin Bahrani)
9. After Yang (Kogonada)
10. This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection (Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese)

Favorite older movies watched this year:

1. Wim Wenders: Alice in the Cities / Wrong Move / Kings of the Road
2. Agnès Varda: Jane B. par Agnes V. / Kung-Fu Master
3. Hard-Boiled (1992, John Woo)
4. Love Torn In Dream (2000, Raoul Ruiz)
5. Total Balalaika Show (1994, Aki Kaurismäki)
6. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974, Rainer Fassbinder)
7. Mind Game (2004, Masaaki Yuasa)
8. The Falls (1980, Peter Greenaway)
9. The Silence Before Bach (2007, Pere Portabella)
10. You Can Count On Me (2000, Kenneth Lonergan)
11. The Devil-Doll (1936, Tod Browning)
12. Anticipation of the Night (1958, Stan Brakhage)
13. Wanda (1971, Barbara Loden)
14. History is Made at Night (1937, Frank Borzage)
15. Frailty (2001, Bill Paxton)
16. Story of a Three-Day Pass (1968, Melvin Van Peebles)
17. The White Balloon (1995, Jafar Panahi)
18. Sorcerer (1977, William Friedkin)
19. Bluebeard’s Castle (1963, Michael Powell)
20. Jimi Plays Monterey (1986, D.A. Pennebaker)
21. The River (1997, Tsai Ming-Liang)
22. Porco Rosso (1992, Hayao Miyazaki)
23. Mahanagar/The Big City (1963, Satyajit Ray)
24. The Conformist (1970, Bernardo Bertolucci)
25. The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (1965, Martin Ritt)
26. The Hitcher (1986, Robert Harmon)

Favorite rewatches of the year
(ranked by rewatch experience, not necessarily quality of film)

1. In the Mouth of Madness on 35mm at the Plaza
2. SHOCKtober rewatches by Tod Browning, George Romero, Paul WS Anderson, Rob Zombie, Robert Eggers, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, David Prior, David Cronenberg, and David Robert Mitchell.
3. Meet Me in St. Louis and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Mean Streets and City of Lost Children all looking better than ever on HD.
4. World of Tomorrow trilogy (Don Hertzfeldt) with Trevor
5. The Nice Guys (2016, Shane Black)
6. Manhunt (Lang) and Nazarín (Buñuel)
7. The Kingdom I & II (Lars Von Trier)
8. Johnny Mnemonic and Chopping Mall

Favorite shorts watched this year:

1. The Roald Dahl shorts (2023, Wes Anderson)

2. The Frogs Who Wanted a King and Little Bird Gazouilly (Wladyslaw Starewicz)

3. Mnemonics of Shape and Reason
and Cloudless Blue Egress of Summer
and Kicking the Clouds (Sky Hopinka)

4. No Archive Can Restore You
and We Need New Names (Onyeka Igwe)

5. World / Light / Meditation (Jordan Belson)

6. To Do (Saul Pankhurst)
and A Room with a Coconut View (Tulapop Saenjaroen)
and Laika (Deborah Stratman)

7. Kitty Kornered (Robert Clampett)

8. Production Stills
and Picture and Sound Rushes (Morgan Fisher)

9. Delicieuse Catastrophe
and Coeur de secours
and Le Pas (Piotr Kamler)

10. Emergence Collapse (Rainer Kohlberger)

Didn’t watch enough quality television to make a list of shows this year, especially since I already put The Kingdom on the rewatch list and counted The Last Movie Stars as cinema, but shout out to Poker Face and the second seasons of Atlanta and Painting With John.

Favorite shorts watched this year (chronological):

1. Rose Gold and Red Film (Sara Cwynar)
2. Les Escargots (1965, Rene Laloux)
3. The Human Voice (2020, Pedro Almodóvar)
4. By Pain and Rhyme and Arabesques of Foraging (2013, David Gatten)
5. Labor of Love (2020, Sylvia Schedelbauer)
6. Voyage d’une Main (1985, Raoul Ruiz)
7. On Memory (2021, Don Hertzfeldt)
8. O Black Hole! (2020, Renee Zhan)
9. Peter & the Wolf (2006, Suzie Templeton)
10. Kiev Frescos and Earthearthearth
11. True/False shorts In Flow of Words and Last Days of August
12. The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins (1970, Les Blank)
13. A La Mode and Science Friction (Stan Vanderbeek)
14. Owl (2019, Kelly Reichardt & Christopher Blauvelt)
15. Something to Remember (2019, Niki Lindroth Von Bahr)
16. Saturday and Strife of Love in a Dream and Grosse Fatigue (Camille Henrot)
17. Who Killed Cock Robin? and The Brave Little Tailor and The Band Concert
18. Wasteland series and Hoarders Without Borders (Jodie Mack)
19. Ride Like Lightning, Crash Like Thunder (2017, Fern Silva)
20. Messages 1-5 (2021, Pat O’Neill)
21. These Hammers Don’t Hurt Us and Polycephaly in D (Michael Robinson)
22. The Newest Olds (2022, Pablo Mazzolo)
23. Scaffold and Indefinite Pitch
24. Cilaos and La Bouche (Camilo Restrepo)
25. Notebook and Lights (Marie Menken)

Favorite TV watched this year:

The Rehearsal
How To with John Wilson season 2
Kids in the Hall season 6
Irma Vep
Cabinet of Curiosities (1) (2)
Travel Man season 1

Favorite older movies watched this year:

1. Sign ‘o’ the Times (1987, Prince)
2. The Concert for Bangladesh (1972, Saul Swimmer)
3. Jazz on a Summer’s Day (1960, Aram Avakian & Bert Stern)
4. Duel (1971, Steven Spielberg)
5. Miami Blues (1990, George Armitage)
6. Drifting Clouds (1996, Aki Kaurismaki)
7. Ginger Snaps (2000, John Fawcett)
8. Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971, Dario Argento)
9. La France (2007, Serge Bozon)
10. Le Trou (1960, Jacques Becker)
11. Morvern Callar (2002, Lynne Ramsay)
12. Arrebato (1980, Ivan Zulueta)
13. Dragon Inn (1966, King Hu)
14. Roadgames (1981, Richard Franklin)
15. Rouge (1987, Stanley Kwan)
16. The Mission (1999, Johnnie To)
17. The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (1972, Rainer Fassbinder)
18. Eating Raoul (1982, Paul Bartel)
19. Vanishing Point (1971, Richard C. Sarafian)
20. Lizard in a Woman’s Skin (1971, Lucio Fulci)

Favorite rewatches of the year
(ranked by rewatch-experience, not necessarily quality of film)

1. Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Tsai Ming-liang) at the multiplex
2. RoboCop (Paul Verhoeven) at the Plaza
3. The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola) at the Plaza
4. A History of Violence (David Cronenberg)
5. Youth of the Beast (Seijun Suzuki)
6. Trouble Every Day and High Life (Claire Denis)
7. SHOCKtober picks Prince of Darkness and The Fog and Bride of Chucky and Hellraiser III
8. Classic comedies A Night at the Opera and Steamboat Bill, Jr. and The Chaplin Revue
9. Blood Simple (Coens)
10. Svankmajer shorts

The best 2022 movies:

1. Crimes of the Future (David Cronenberg)
2. Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
3. The Girl and the Spider (Ramon & Silvan Zürcher)
4. Parallel Mothers (Pedro Almodóvar)
5. Three Thousand Years of Longing (George Miller)
6. Drive My Car (Ryûsuke Hamaguchi)
7. Athena (Romain Gavras)
8. Flux Gourmet (Peter Strickland)
9. After Blue (Dirty Paradise) (Bertrand Mandico)
10. Riotsville, U.S.A. (Sierra Pettengill)
11. The Worst Person in the World (Joachim Trier)
12. RRR (S.S. Rajamouli)
13. Neptune Frost (Saul Williams & Anisia Uzeyman)
14. Benediction (Terence Davies)
15. Glass Onion (Rian Johnson)
16. Nope (Jordan Peele)
17. Terra Femme (Courtney Stephens)
18. The Banshees of Inisherin (Martin McDonagh)
19. Nobody’s Hero (Alain Guiraudie)
20. Fabian: Going to the Dogs (Dominik Graf)

The best from the previous five years, watched this year:

1. The Beatles: Get Back (Peter Jackson)
2. Licorice Pizza (Paul Thomas Anderson)
3. Old (M. Night Shyamalan)
4. The Matrix Resurrections (Lana Wachowski)
5. The Timekeepers of Eternity (Aristotelis Maragkos)
6. Nightmare Alley (Guillermo del Toro)
7. Social Hygiene (Denis Côté)
8. Red Rocket (Sean Baker)
9. The Woman Who Ran (Hong Sang-soo)
10. The Tragedy of Macbeth (Joel Coen)
11. Procession (Robert Greene)
12. Madame Hyde (Serge Bozon)

The Beholder (1983, Chris Sullivan)

A restaurant scene and a street preacher, in constant states of absurd transformation, first-person camera flying through it all. Sound is field recordings, or a good approximation. Blobby watercolor, with inspired animation, comparable to Bill Plympton. Sullivan made a few shorts then got to work on his 2+ hour feature Consuming Spirits, which was recently on Criterion.

The Fall of the House of Usher (1984, John Schnall)

One problem with reading Poe aloud is that “acute illness” sounds like “a cute illness.” Usher House looks like an American suburban house from outside, but still has a butler. Ol’ Rodrick is worried about his sick sister, whom he maybe buried alive. The musician here can’t match the spoken phrase “the wild improvisations of his guitar.” Calm, soft candle-lit drawings with some good closeups. Schnall turned in the occasional short for the next couple decades, worked on Sesame Street, lives in New Jersey. These were both from the “Animation of the Apocalypse” video.

Hideous (2022, Yann Gonzalez)

Yann stages a talk-show transformation to four songs by The XX, or technically from their singer’s solo album. So it’s a music video EP. We need more stuff like this.

The Telephone Box (1972, Antonio Mercero)

I knew the general premise (man gets trapped in telephone box), but always imagined it as a cheap-looking b/w short, not this eye-popping Prisoner-era color. What seems like a stupid accident escalates when a procession of townsfolk can’t free him from the box, then apparently a phone-box truck arrives to fix the mistake, but nope, they pick up the box with man inside and cart it impersonally to a warehouse full of phone boxes with men trapped in them. Feels like a metaphor for oversized companies that set stupid procedures in place which keep merrily humming along even as they wreck people’s lives, but maybe this Comcast telephone hold music is influencing my thoughts.

Also watched an episode of Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared, and need to see the rest.

I feel like horror is underrepresented on the year-end lists, and deserves its own award show, so here are the 2022 SHOCKies nominations:

Best Writing:

Best Directing:

Best Acting:

Best Shocks:

The best 2021 movies:

1. Mad God (Phil Tippett)
2. The French Dispatch (Wes Anderson)

3. Summer of Soul & The Velvet Underground & Get Back

4. The American Sector (Stephens/Velez) & Notturno (Gianfranco Rosi)

5. The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion)

6. Monster Hunter (Paul W.S. Anderson) & Malignant (James Wan)

7. Gunda (Victor Kossakovsky) & Rock Bottom Riser (Fern Silva)

8. Siberia (Abel Ferrara) & Annette (Leos Carax)

9. Strawberry Mansion (Birney/Audley) & Faya Dayi (Jessica Beshir)

10. The Killing of Two Lovers (Robert Machoian)
11. The Green Knight (David Lowery)
12. Her Socialist Smile (John Gianvito)

The best from the previous five years, watched this year:

1. Wolfwalkers (2020, Tomm Moore & Ross Stewart)
2. The Empty Man (2020, David Prior)
3. Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds (2020, Werner Herzog & Clive Oppenheimer)
4. The 20th Century (2019, Matthew Rankin)
5. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016, Akiva Schaffer & Jorma Taccone)
6. Martin Eden (2019, Pietro Marcello)
7. MS Slavic 7 (2019, Sofia Bohdanowicz)
8. Vitalina Varela (2019, Pedro Costa)
9. Let Them All Talk (2020, Steven Soderbergh)
10. Valley of the Gods (2019, Lech Majewski)

Favorite older movies watched this year:

1. Sparrow (2008, Johnny To)
2. Big Time (1988, Chris Blum)
3. Come and See (1985, Elem Klimov)
4. Four Nights of a Dreamer (1971, Robert Bresson)
5. Three Lives and Only One Death (1996, Raoul Ruiz)
6. The White Meadows (2009, Mohammad Rasoulof)
7. Exotica (1994, Atom Egoyan)
8. Johnny To’s Vengeance & Drug War & Heroic Trio & PTU & Throw Down
9. Caravaggio (1986, Derek Jarman)
10. Francisca (1981, Manoel de Oliveira)
11. Baron Prasil (1961, Karel Zeman)
12. Yakuza Apocalypse (2015, Takashi Miike)
13. 1949 duo The Set-Up (Robert Wise) & Gun Crazy (Joseph H. Lewis)
14. Green Snake (1993, Tsui Hark)
15. A Town Called Panic (2009, Aubier & Patar)
16. SHOCKtober picks Devil’s Candy & Vampire’s Kiss & Office Killer & Detention
17. Storm Over Asia (1928, Vsevolod Pudovkin)
18. Jean Renoir le patron (1967, Jacques Rivette)
19. Barbarella (Roger Vadim) & Cotton Comes to Harlem (Ossie Davis)
20. El Bruto (1952, Luis Bunuel)
21. Criterions Laura & Macbeth & Fist of Fury & The Passenger & I Wanna Hold Your Hand
22. 2014 duo Buzzard (Joel Potrykus) & Blind (Eskil Vogt)

Favorite shorts watched this year:

1. Point and Line to Plane (2020, Sofia Bohdanowicz)
2. Perfect Fifths (2020, Courtney Stephens)
3. Maat Means Land (2020, Fox Maxy)
4. a bunch by Guy Maddin and Bertrand Mandico
5. a bunch by Stan Brakhage (2) (3) and Robert Breer
6. Metaphor or Sadness Inside Out (2014, Catarina Vasconcelos)
7. Tsai Ming-liang: No No Sleep & Sand / The Night
8. Train Again (2021, Peter Tscherkassky)
9. a bunch by Borowczyk & Lenica and Harry Smith
10. Onyeka Igwe’s A So-Called Archive & The Names Have Changed
11. Cityscape (2019, Michael Snow)
12. Olla (Ariane Labed) & Nimic (Yorgos Lanthimos)
13. Liberation of the Mannique Mechanique and other Vogel shorts
14. animations Chanson de Prevert & Brothers Bearhearts & The Tale of How

Favorite rewatches of the year
(ranked by rewatch-experience, not necessarily quality of film)

1. City of Lost Children (Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
2. Videodrome & Crash (David Cronenberg)
3. 2046 (Wong Kar-Wai)
4. Hudsucker Proxy & Barton Fink (Joel & Ethan Coen)
5. The Matrix (Wachowskis)
6. Paterson (Jim Jarmusch)
7. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson)
8. Before Sunset & Before Midnight (Richard Linklater)
9. Dracula (Francis Ford Coppola) & Ravenous (Antonia Bird)
10. The Saddest Music in the World (Guy Maddin)

And I don’t know where else to put this, but I’ve watched all the monthly movie shows by The Mads (ex-MST3K), which have been a highlight of the year.