the best and the less best of 2023
firstly i wanna say: ranking's for turbo losers! there was no best or worst media of 2023. that's all up to you!!!
however i do wanna talk about the stuff i liked the most, the stuff that had the most impact, the stuff i disliked and the stuff that i didn't even talk about yet. 2023 was a ridiculously massive year for me, both in real life and also in the silly computer world; i'd like to thank the ACTION BUTTON GOBLIN BUNKER for encouraging me to watch more movies and listen to more music, and COOLT for encouraging me to diversify my tastes in media in general. fun fact, the neocities thread in COOLT is what convinced me to make this website to begin with! i was inspired by princess luna's game blog in particular, so i'd like to thank her for indirectly being responsible for this entire website's existence.
now, i'd like to make it clear that my MEDIA THREAD this year was sorta messy and not ideal. my criteria for list entries were that i had to FINISH something, so there are tons of movies and very few games or TV shows. i was also really weirdly selective about music entries - i promise you i listened to way more albums than the ones present in the earlier months' lists, but for some reason i felt like those specific albums just HAD to be added. so as a result of this, there are loads of games and albums missing, and i'd like to give honorable mentions to some of them, starting with:
THE GAMES I DIDN'T BEAT
the struggle of being a fan of games is that i wanna play way too many of them, and so i've amassed a stupidly huge backlog of games each dozens of hours long that i just struggle to beat. while my media list included some shorter titles like PIKMIN and WE LOVE KATAMARI, i was playing them while in the middle of giant games like TEARS OF THE KINGDOM and PERSONA 5 ROYAL. the worst part is my tendency to start loads of games but (as of writing) not getting far, like what happened with RED DEAD REDEMPTION, BOKU NO NATSUYASUMI 2, FINAL FANTASY X and DRAGON QUEST XI.
there's an expectation that, since i study videogames and make videos about them, that i must beat loads of them all the time, but i find it hard to actually dedicate myself to one at a time. i was intent on beating several KINGDOM HEARTS games for the sake of an ongoing video project, and the motive of that project gave me much stronger justification to spend my time on those games. it's also why i beat SHENMUE and started playing DEADLY PREMONITION, though that was for a different video that i'm releasing very very soon. basically, despite loving videogames, i need a REASON to play them, i need to be able to talk about them to an audience and share my experience rather than just experiencing one in isolation. streaming is like a half-solution to this, but i think i play games differently when it's a live broadcast like that. for this reason i think i wanna make more blog posts this year about individual games, regardless of if i beat them, because i think i'd be strongly motivated by that sort of thing.
even if it was only a couple hours for some, i played a boatload of games this year. maybe more than i've ever played in any previous year, just for the fact that i started making videos on them and need a lot of footage for that. combined with the influences of my friends and their suggestions, i've gotten to see so much good stuff and further understand the diversity of games. i played PEPSIMAN, man!!!
i still feel like i should've played more games, especially from this year - i think the only 2023 games i've played are TEARS OF THE KINGDOM, MOSA LINA and (technically) WORLD OF HORROR. i would have loved to play square enix's PARANORMASIGHT, but i only just bought that game and have yet to play it - it looks good! overall though i'm more than content with the sights i've gotten to see, and i look forward to writing more about this beautiful medium.
THE MUSIC I LISTENED TO
from the start of the year i wanted to listen to even more music and diversify my tastes. in 2022 i went on a huge japanese pop bender, discovering artists i now hold dear to my heart such as PSY-S, KYOKO KOIZUMI, YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA and EIICHI OHTAKI, and this really bled into 2023 too. much of the year was spent listening to stuff tangential from what i was already familiar with, or just random new artists i'd never heard, or artists i wanted to hear more of after watching anime like KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF EIZOUKEN and FLCL. i talk a bit about this in my video on PSY-S, but since that video's release i've just been listening to a lot of the same stuff on shuffle. i know what i like, and i like it good, so i sadly didn't expand on my interests the way i had hoped.
the most notable MUSICAL DISCOVERY for me this year was the work of TALKING HEADS. i won't stop bringing them up, but just read my article about them to get why i love them. it strays pretty far from my whole j-pop fixation so if you check out my spotify wrapped playlist it's mostly a weird blend of japanese stuff with david byrne sprinkled in. listen, if you have recommendations for what i should listen to, my emails are always open at email@example.com.
i love listening to music, and i only hope i can find more to love in 2024. i also hope i keep listening to the stuff i like. i really like it.
THE GOOD MOVIES?
unlike games and music, i think i kept pretty up-to-date on movies this year. finally, something currently relevant!
it was an unprecedented moviegoing year for me - i went to the theaters to watch all sortsa stuff, way more than literally any other year of my life, and for this reason i'd say 2023 is the year i really "GOT" "INTO" movies as a medium. of the NEW movies that released this year, i'm split between picking BARBIE and THE BOY AND THE HERON for my favourite. BLACKBERRY was one i feel not enough people will have seen, and while it's not my FAVOURITE it's definitely the one i'd recommend the most - the sleeper hit of the year, i suppose. THE MARIO MOVIE was the ideal mario adaptation if we disregard chris pratt, SHIN KAMEN RIDER was an excellent sampling of tokusatsu and ACROSS THE SPIDERVERSE was obviously artistically stunning. i didn't watch OPPENHEIMER, go ask your dad about that one.
along with the NEW was also the OLD - i saw the remaster of STOP MAKING SENSE in a theater, which ruled, but the majority of my viewing was on my [LEGAL HOME MEDIA DEVICE]. i got to really dip my fingies into a lot of endearing japanese cinema like SUPERMARKET WOMAN & THE MAGIC HOUR, and pre-2023 hits including terry gilliam's BRAZIL and, uh, all of wes anderson's filmography. i don't remember what convinced me i should watch every single one of his movies, i liked THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL a lot and the rest of his work was really lovely. i especially loved THE LIFE AQUATIC, if i had to recommend any it would be that one.
the most important movie (from before 2023, at least) that i saw was EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, one of the first of the year and now an all-time favorite of mine up with david byrne's TRUE STORIES. if i listed off the rest of the movies i saw this year that i adored it would get really boring to read, but i will tell you that two movies in particular were absolutely great for all the wrong reasons. 2023 was the first year i saw a NEIL BREEN movie, specifically FATEFUL FINDINGS, which is as great as everyone says. it was also the first year in which i saw the similarly bewildering THE ROOM, an experience i'll never forget because i managed to catch an anniversary screening where i got a copy of the blu-ray signed by GREG SESTERO. it has so much cultural significance that i kind of felt alienated being a first-time viewer in a sea of longtime fans celebrating the anniversary by attending this screening and doing absurd things like throwing spoons at the screen and quoting every god damn scene. i'm not sure what was sillier, the movie or the audience i was with, but it made for perhaps the most impactful watching experience of any movie i've seen in my lifetime.
two of my favorite movies i saw this year were ones generally considered low-quality - the "so bad it's good" variety - but if i enjoyed them, are they truly BAD movies? while i'll enjoy most of what i see, there were some particularly unenjoyable movies i saw that, while i wouldn't explicitly say are bad, were ones i definitely didn't like as much.
THE MOVIES I DON'T WANT YOU TO WATCH
they can't all be winners. i'm sorry to all the MEET DAVE fans out there, i know it's controversial but it really kinda got boring in the second half.
this year i saw stuff i really didn't like that wasn't meant for me. i watched THE GREAT GATSBY (2013), which was ok i guess but i don't think i ever wanna watch anything with leonardo dicaprio ever. that gif, you know the one, with that smug grin and that glass - that one shot ruined the movie for me. it was also just really boring, and the distinct style of baz luhrmann made me uncomfortable.
the one movie that i was most disappointed by was TETRIS, the biopic that made me hesitant of any brand-approved biopic and just made me appreciate BLACKBERRY even more. it's about the localization of the game of the same name, a story which you can easily find a documentary of on youtube, done in the cheesiest hollywoodiest way you could imagine. except it's also not even good in that sense?!? the most baffling thing about TETRIS is the use of gamegrumps footage, in a sequence full of other period-inaccurate and weird-looking game footage. i seriously don't know what happened here, and as someone who categorically does this kinda thing as a job it really upset me on a deep and personal level. it's a trashy movie, and i was let down by it!!!
in the contest of 2023's most disappointing movie, TETRIS was only beaten out by ANT-MAN AND THE WASP. my marvel-loving family dragged me along to see it, and i was just sat there in the theater absorbing visuals and audio without retaining any of it. i used to kinda see the appeal of superhero movies, i thought AVENGERS: ENDGAME was a lot of fun, but as time goes on i've started to have more and more very real reasons to genuinely hate superhero movies. i won't get into it too much here, but i was astonished by how unremarkable this ANT-MAN movie was. sorry to be such a downer but it stank real real bad.
on a lighter note, i got to watch the ROBERT THE DOLL saga with my flatmates, and while the movies are still boring and badly made they're boring and badly made in a way that's really funny if you're able to riff on it with friends. it blurs the line between what i consider "good" and "bad", but it doesn't quite reach the killer status of THE ROOM - ROBERT is still dull to get through if you're not with the right folks. this series does do some UNHINGED stuff though, it's really shocking in a way i wasn't expecting, and yet still manages to make it boring too? man, i'm not even sure. such an anomaly.
THE END OF THE YEAR
this article could go on forever. i didn't even mention the TV shows i saw, so i'll just quickly tell you that i loved GOOD OMENS 2, EIZOUKEN, FIONNA & CAKE, BOCCHI THE ROCK and LAIN and i should've watched more DARIA.
it's messed up to think that this year really is over. it's been so many different things for me, not just regarding media consumption but also my real actual life. i started making scripted videos! i made a website! i moved out to live as a student! it was pivotal in all sorts of ways, and i hope it was a great year for those reading too. the odds that 2024 will be AS major for me are quite low, but that's only because 2023 was so good. if you're actually still reading i want to thank you, genuinely seriously, because i love being able to share my thoughts & feelings like this. it's cool! the power of the 'net is crazy. i'll see you with more media posts and articles and videos and potentially artwork in 2024* :)
*as of writing & publishing it is already 2024