Site Update

2023 Annual Recap

Pictured: The movie that felt like it was most made for me personally in 2023, Prom Pact.

2023 at the Movies

In my second year keeping up with watching and reviewing as many new releases as I can get my eyes on, I once again declined to declare any film a masterpiece (though we’ll see how I feel about Asteroid City once I get around to watching it a third time).

There were some triumphs, for sure, but more oddities. The most unusual pattern might be a string of at least four biopics wherein the subject is a business rather than a person. (I have labeled these “bizpics.”) They include Tetris, Air, Flamin’ Hot, Dumb Money, and, the best of the bunch, BlackBerry.

Another curiosity was the rising tide of “postmodern fabulistic maximalism” (my made-up term) in the wake of Everything Everywhere All at Once‘s historic Best Picture win: Barbie and Beau is Afraid racked in the dollars and the divisive reviews, respectively. I personally love it when studios let auteurs set money on fire, and would love to see these movies continue to get serious box office consideration — though I’d be alright if they weren’t based on toy brands.

Speaking of Barbie, the cinematic event of the year was of course Barbenheimer, also including Best Picture winner Oppenheimer. They were two of the year’s biggest money makers in a year where a lot of movies lost a lot of money. And I’m part of the problem; I only saw a few of the bombs. Indiana Jones 5 didn’t deserve the dollars I contributed to it. On the flip side, I didn’t see Dungeons and Dragons in theaters, but I really wish I had. It’s one of the few times that I will make this clamor: Give us a sequel!

At the end of 2022, I remarked how light the superhero zeitgeist seemed to be that year; and 2023 only surpassed that; or, rather, lagged behind it. I think it’s safe to say that the superhero bubble has burst — whether it was the fictional calamities of Endgame or the real-life ones of COVID to blame, I’m not sure. Perhaps the most reasonable explanation is that superheroes are a fad similar to those Hollywood has seen dozens of times in its century-long history. Like most fads, we’ll still see some outings, but they’ll be fewer and smaller, and that’s probably fine. The only superhero movie of 2023 I saw and liked (though I missed several) was the new Spider-Verse.

My main takeaway from 2023, though, is one of introspection: As much as I think I’ve changed, I stay the same. Nearly all of my favorite films of the year had at least some connective tissue to that favored genre of mine that I outwardly profess to have grown out of: coming-of-age. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is an obvious example, as is The Holdovers. May December and Asteroid City are oblique examples of the genre. Falcon Lake, which is a 2022 picture by my categorization but was eligible for 2023 awards by most bodies, is an atmospheric standout. Prom Pact (pictured) was my guilty pleasure of the year, were I to apply the term “guilty pleasure” to any of my movie viewing. (I’m a guilt-free enjoyer.)

One of these days I’ll grow up, but the movies keep me feeling forever young.

2023 on the Site

My big achievement as a film critic this past year was being selected for the Online Film Critic Society, which has been a goal since I started getting serious about reviewing films in 2020, and especially since I launched this site in 2022. I was surprised and hugely honored to be selected during my first year of eligibility.

My selection of films to review, beyond the obvious 2023 heavy hitters, was a bit scattershot. Perhaps my most rewarding experiences were diving deep on the works of a few creators: I finished my Damien Chazelle retrospective in honor of Babylon, filled in my Wes Anderson gaps in honor of Asteroid City, and completed a Zemeck-trospective in honor spite of Pinocchio. In 2024, I’ve tried to corral my viewing around specific directors since I enjoyed that so much last year.

I also tried my hand at countdown lists and rankings. Didn’t get too many written, but it was a fun start.

The final big news for the site was the first contributions from another writer. I was delighted to start publishing Andrew Milne’s terrific work: his Martial Arts Movies Primer and Gareth Evans Retrospective.

2023 on the Podcast

The Goods: A Film Podcast keeps on trucking! We’re nearly four years and more than 170 episodes into the projects as of this writing, with well over 250 films rated in that span (as we sometimes hit multiple per episode). In 2023, we did a couple of interviews for the first time — though I prefer the term “conversations.” They included the star of After Last Season and a Christmas Carol super-fan. Come give us a listen!

2023 Films in Review
Masterpieces Reviewed
Rankings, Lists, and Review Projects
Site Milestones
Some Numbers
  • The Goods published 139 film reviews in 2023 (plus 7 by other authors)
  • The average “Is It Good?” rating for those reviews was a 4.89 (or a low “Good”)
  • The Goods had 4,153 readers in 2023. Thanks for stopping by!
  • And those readers left 207 comments (including my own)
  • The Goods: A Film Podcast released 51 episodes
  • The Goods: A Film Podcast had its episodes downloaded 3,956 times
  • According to my Letterboxd, I watched 315 feature-length films, 32 short films, and 2 mini-series in 2023.
A Few Memorable Reviews
  • Snow Day (2022)
    • “Typically when I spend most of the runtime wondering ‘Who was this movie made for?’ I mean that as a negative. Not this time. In this case, there is a second half to that sentence: ‘Who was this movie made for… besides me?'”
  • Z-O-M-B-I-E-S (2018)
    • “Frankly, I could dedicate this entire review to discussing its colors alone. They tell a story. This is the greenest and pinkest film you have ever seen. (Maybe not the greenest; maybe not the pinkest… but definitely the greenest AND pinkest.)”
  • Titanic (1997)
    • “When I think of the things I want to experience when I go to a movie theater, they’re pretty much all raised to their apotheosis form in Titanic. Heartbreak and romance and thrills. I crave humanity plastered across a giant silver screen. I want ‘king of the world’ images and ‘never let go’ drama.”
  • Brief Encounter (1945)
    • “First loves have a certain purity and intensity, of course, but there’s something so moving about people who have seen a lot of shit in their life still allowing their hearts to open.”
Looking Back
Looking Ahead


Follow Dan on Letterboxd or Twitter. Join the Discord for updates and discussion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *