In 2023, the year was characterized by conflict, upheaval, and the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these challenges, I have compiled a list of my best and favorite things from this year as a way to shift focus. While I typically indulge in watching numerous movies, the circumstances of this year prevented me from viewing several significant films that I had hoped to experience.
What I thought was going to be a childish movie for kids, actually appealed to some of my comedic senses. Out of all the movies I watched in 2023, it was the most memorable and one I rated the highest. I hope to see more films this winter and have a better pick for next year. This live-action film managed to blend humor, adventure, and valuable life lessons seamlessly. The cinematography was visually stunning, and the acting was top-notch, making it an enjoyable experience for viewers of all ages. The story was heartwarming and had a strong message about the power of friendship and believing in oneself, which left a lasting impact. Barbie exceeded my expectations and proved to be a delightful surprise.
Runners-up: Asteroid City; Knock at the Cabin
Best TV Show
The Bear, available on Hulu, has truly captured the hearts of many viewers, and with the second season released this year, the excitement has only grown. This captivating restaurant drama/comedy effortlessly blends elements of anxiety, emotion, and heartwarming moments, making it a truly binge-worthy experience. Whether you’re a fan of the culinary world or simply enjoy immersive storytelling, The Bear is a must-watch. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to dive into the series and witness the enthralling narrative unfold, leaving you eagerly anticipating each new episode.
Runners-up: Succession (MAX); Beef (Netflix)
Best Music Album
The Elovators – Endless Summer
The Elovators’ album “Endless Summer” has become an integral part of my music collection. Their unique blend of reggae and rock creates a captivating sound that has resonated with me. From the moment I discovered the band, I found myself eagerly anticipating the release of this album, and it did not disappoint. The tracks quickly became the soundtrack of my summer, and even now, I find myself turning to these songs on a daily basis. Their music has a way of transporting me to a laid-back state of mind, filled with sunny vibes and carefree moments. I was fortunate enough to attend their live performance in November, and it was an experience to remember. The energy and passion they bring to the stage is just as powerful and captivating as their studio recordings. It’s evident that The Elovators pour their hearts into their music, and this authenticity shines through in every note. The atmosphere at the concert was electric, with fans swaying to the rhythm and singing along to every word. It was a testament to the band’s ability to connect with their audience and create an unforgettable music experience.
Runners-up: Morgan Wallen – One Thing at a Time; mansionz – mansionz 2
Morgan Wallen – Everything I love
When it comes to music, the beauty lies in its ability to transcend boundaries and connect with people from all walks of life. Morgan Wallen’s “Everything I Love” achieves just that with its soulful blend of throwback country and Americana influences. This captivating song is not only a breath of fresh air for the genre but also a testament to Wallen’s versatility as an artist. As the world embraced the allure of Americana music, Wallen’s interpretation of this genre brought a new dimension to his artistry, earning accolades from fans and critics alike. His ability to infuse classic country elements with modern sensibilities resonated deeply, making “Everything I Love” a standout in his discography.
Runners-up: Passafire – Offer; Rome & Duddy – Coast of Mexico
Best Video Game
While I’m not a huge Harry Potter fan, I do like the Wizarding World crafted around the stories of the character. I was hesitant at first about an open-world game set in this universe, but after seeing some reviews upon the launch, I felt I needed to experience it. A well-crafted RPG game, Hogwarts Legacy excels with the story and chance encounters in the world. I was deeply immersed in this game, having spent well over 40 hours completing the story and side missions. The attention to detail in bringing the magical world to life, the intricate storyline, and the freedom to explore Hogwarts and its surroundings truly captivated me. The game mechanics, spell-casting, and the variety of magical creatures added a layer of complexity that kept me engaged throughout. Not many games can capture my attention and dedication these days like Hogwarts Legacy, and I eagerly look forward to any future expansions or sequels that further delve into the enchanting universe of Harry Potter.
Runners-up: Starfield (Xbox); Super Mario Bros. Wonder (Switch)
Best Mobile Game
For some reason, this year I started getting into crossword puzzles, and I thought, what better way to test my ability than to do the New York Times crosswords. I soon discovered that the NYT had an iOS app that included their crosswords, Wordle, and other word and letter games. I quickly subscribed to their service and have been playing daily for about 6 months. It’s been such a rewarding experience diving into these puzzles and word games. The New York Times crosswords are known for their clever, engaging clues and diverse range of themes, which always keep me on my toes. I’ve found that solving these puzzles not only sharpens my vocabulary and problem-solving skills but also provides a great mental workout. The Wordle game, in particular, has become a favorite quick challenge for me to tackle each day. The feeling of satisfaction when I fill in the final word is truly unparalleled. Overall, my journey with the NYT Games has been an enriching and enjoyable one, and I look forward to many more months of fun and mental stimulation.
Runners-up: Knotwords; finity.
Best iOS App
If you’re a cinephile or simply enjoy keeping track of your favorite movies and TV shows, look no further than Callsheet, the standout iOS app of the year. Created with the intention of replacing the cumbersome IMDB app, Callsheet provides a seamless experience for accessing movie and TV show details without the clutter of ads and promotions. Its sleek design, user-friendly interface, and superior features make it a refreshing addition to the app world. One of the most noteworthy aspects of Callsheet is its innovative feature that allows you to view the age of the actors during the filming of the specific movie or TV show you’re exploring. Gone are the days of wondering, “How old was she in this?” as Callsheet empowers you to effortlessly obtain this information within a matter of seconds, directly from your phone. This thoughtful addition enhances the viewing experience, bringing a new level of insight and appreciation to your favorite entertainment.
Runners-up: Threads; Sports Alerts
Accidental Tech Podcast
As the year unfolds, the Accidental Tech Podcast (ATP) continues to hold the top spot as my favorite podcast. Despite not being a new addition to the podcast world, ATP has managed to maintain its relevance and captivate audiences with its compelling content. The trio of hosts delves into an array of technology topics, spanning from discussions on Apple’s latest innovations to the complexities of AI and the ever-evolving landscape of gaming. Not only does ATP cater to tech enthusiasts, but it also incorporates lively discussions on automotive technology, stemming from the hosts’ roots in a car-oriented podcast known as Neutral. This unique blend injects an appealing dynamic into the podcast, ensuring that every episode is a delightful fusion of tech insights and entertaining car talk. For me, tuning in to ATP each week has become a ritual, a source of not only staying updated with the latest tech developments but also immersing myself in the amiable banter and camaraderie shared among the three seasoned hosts. Their chemistry and camaraderie create a warm and welcoming atmosphere that keeps me eagerly anticipating each new episode.
Runners-up: Reconcilable Differences; The Backmarkers
Best New Tech Product
Sony PS VR2
As my first foray into virtual reality (VR), the PS VR2 certainly wowed me with all of its immersive features and technology. While the games to support the hardware have been a little lackluster, I hope it gets better as time goes one. Ready my full review of this cool new tech product here.
Runners-up: TP-Link Deco; Nest Cam Spotlight
Best New Apple Product
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max
The latest flagship iPhone is proving to be the best yet with the additions of USB-C and a titanium build. Read my full review of this amazing product here.
Runners-up: Apple Watch Ultra 2; MacBook Pro M3
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