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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Check Out The Top Movies of 2023 with JC and Jen Nanek


by James Coulter

If last year could be described in a movie quote, it would be the one from Forrest Gump: “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.”

There’s no denying that 2023 was a mixed bag–or rather, mixed box–for cinema. Sometimes, you had films like Godzilla Minus Godzilla or Oppenheimer that were like rich caramel nougats, but then you had films like The Flash or Quantumania that were like coconut-filled chocolates…that were left under the couch with hair and dust!

If you’ve been following my work here on the Daily Ridge, you know that I have been sharing my thoughts on the latest movies through my column J.C. Reviews (formerly Welcome, World Travelers!). Recently, I sat down with Jennifer Nanek, the movie critic of Lake Wales News, to discuss our picks for the best and worst movies of last year.

You can hear our thoughts on the latest episode of the Chattin on the Ridge podcast. But here’s a sneak peek at some of our picks:

Best Live-Action Movie

J.C.’s Pick: The Barbie Movie

“I know that’s kind of surprising coming from a straight guy like myself, but I found it was an interesting movie…I really enjoyed how it was both a love letter to the Barbie brand as well as a deconstruction of what it means to be a woman. It was very philosophical.”

Jen’s Pick: Dungeons and Dragons

“It was so much fun. There were a lot of good special effects and action sequences. Chris Pine and Hugh Grant were very funny and did a good job…All the games in the arena and the cool monsters. I just thought it was great fun and I enjoyed the whole thing, and I’m sure there will be a sequel.”

Best Animated Movie

J.C.’s Pick: Nimona

“It definitely proved to be a surprise hit. A very funny buddy cop-style movie set in this imaginative, fantastical setting that combines medieval fantasy with futuristic, almost-cyberpunk sci-fi. I love sci-fi. I love fantasy. The fact that it combines both of these together really makes for a good blend. I also love the main character who is a shapeshifter and a real spunky ball of energy.”

Jen’s Pick: Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse

“[I loved] the whole thing with different Spider-Men from different parallel universes…[especially] the whole question at the end [with the main character] about whether he can save his father without saving his timeline. I thought that was fabulous. It was really compelling.”

Best Superhero Movie

J.C.’s Pick: Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse

“I felt it was a very good follow-up to the original film. I really enjoyed its stylized art style that combines 2D to 3D animation. It really does look and feel like a comic book come to life. And I really enjoyed how the movie built upon the premise of the last one with all these different Spider-Men from across the Spider-Verse. I loved many of the new characters like Spider-Punk and the Indian character Pav.”

Jen’s Pick: Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3

“It was very funny. It was a good backstory about Rocket Racoon…The whole backstory about him and the animals that were mistreated, it’s sort of a commentary on how we treat animals in society today with some of the experiments we sometimes do on them. I was in tears when he lost his one friend…I loved it immensely and I am sorry there is not going to be another [movie].”

Worst Movie

J.C.’s Pick: Trolls: Band Together

“Originally, I was going to choose the Paw Patrol movie, but my great-nephew is a fan of that show, so I want to be nice about that. What I am going to make the worst is this movie…The worst I can say about this film is that it rehashes the whole ‘bringing the band back together’ storyline. There isn’t anything new or original here.”

Jen’s Pick: 65

“There’s no reason why this should have been a bad movie. It involved Adam Driver in space and dinosaurs. But it was absolutely awful. The special effects were bad…and there was no emotional bond between the two main characters. This was horrible. Don’t watch it.”

Listen to the full podcast episode on Spotify: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/chattinontheridge/episodes/Ep–20-Top-Movies-of-2023-wJennifer-Nanek-e2epsd4

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