I like what I like, so I often don't pay much attention to television or movie reviews.
Sometimes, I rely on recommendations from my son, Campbell, because he's usually spot-on. Other times, I happen to be in the room when someone is watching a show and can't help but stop to watch. That's what happened with Bohemian Rhapsody and how Queen became my favorite band at the ripe age of forty-seven.
Television shows that were discovered similarly include Schitt's Creek, Succession, and Welcome to Wrexham (Season 1).
Ten Days with Dad was originally written as a means to express my anger, disbelief and sorrow over my dad’s Alzheimer’s. It quickly became something much larger. Although the book is described as a memoir, it goes beyond the traditional boundaries of the genre–which, if you know me, makes perfect sense.
Boundaries have never been my thing. I know they are necessary at times; sometimes crucial. But still, I prefer to find my way via gut instinct or by experimenting with lots of options before settling on a preference, routine, product, habit, or even show.
Streaming time is ticking, so let's get after it.
One of the best movies ever made was released in July: Oppenheimer. Thank you, Campbell, for insisting I go see this epic Chris Nolan-directed movie. It does not disappoint. I've heard complaints that the movie is too long. Spoiler alert: it's a long movie. But so worth it. I'm linking the trailer here. Cillian Murphy and Nolan are unbeatable this year.
Can I stop here with my list of "best" movies in 2023?
Okay, fine. Honorable mentions to Maestro, Barbie, The Holdovers, AIR, and The Royal Hotel. I have not seen American Fiction, Blackberry, or The Color Purple but will circle back when I do.
I often hear people say there's nothing good on TV these days. I disagree. The main issue is that there is a lot of bad content, including television shows. But I've got a few that make up for the losers.
#1 is Ted Lasso (season finale). Nothing makes me laugh and cry (in the same episode) as consistently as Ted Lasso. Ignore the haters: the final season was its best (after the original, of course). The rest of my list says way more about me than popular opinion. #2 is Succession (season finale). #3 The Bear (season 2).
Honorable mentions include Slow Horses, The Morning Show, Welcome to Wrexham (Season 2), Good Omens (Season 2), The Diplomat, and The Boyz. Shows that last ran in 2022 but are still deemed worthy of my list: Severance and The Handmade's Tail. Please help me find another man who has watched every season of THT? One season? A full episode? Get back to me on that if you find someone.
Last but not least, books.
There's only one surprise: The Greatest Burden The Greatest Blessing: caregiving stories of hope, humility, and love.
I'm kidding, of course. Many great books were published in 2023. I couldn't help but read Matthew Perry's autobiography Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir. It was sad, terribly sad, but I wanted to learn more about his addiction. Although it was Matthew's story, there were references to his caregivers and their roles.
I started Hal Elrod's The Miracle Morning (Updated and Expanded Version) and love his approach. There's a tremendous amount of valuable information and a proven method for being more productive and successful. Who doesn't want that?
Over a year, I'll read 6-8 nonfiction books and about 12-15 fiction books, primarily thrillers involving spies or assassins. Authors like Brad Thor, Kyle Mills, Daniel Silva, Marc Cameron, Mark Greaney, and Saul Herzog fill my shelves, as do books written by friends and colleagues, especially first-time authors.
What were your top TV, movies, and books in 2023? I'd love to hear from you. Please send me a note by email: email@example.com.