My Favourite Films of 2023.

I don’t usually post my list of the top movies of the year, which is odd considering my background as a filmmaker. So I decided to post my favourite new films that I saw in a theatre in 2023. Unlike my list of books I read and concerts I attended, this isn’t a list of all the films I saw, but a ranked list of my top favourites.

I give honourable mention to Stop Making Sense, simply because it’s probably the film I’ve seen the most times of any films ever, and the 40th anniversary IMAX restoration was fantastic, both as a film and a musical celebration.

In the end, Past Lives was likely the best film I saw last year. It’s an amazing accomplishment and a beautiful film.

  1. Past Lives, Celine Song
  2. Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan 
  3. Dream Scenario, Kristoffer Borgli 
  4. Poor Things, Yorgos Lanthimos 
  5. The Holdovers, Alexander Payne
  6. Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet
  7. Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse, Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers & Justin K. Thompson
  8. You Hurt My Feelings, Nicole Holofcener 
  9. Blackberry, Matt Johnson
  10. Maestro, Bradley Cooper
  11. Stop Making Sense, Jonathan Demme (honourable mention)

Books I read in 2023.

In 2023, I read so many great books. Here’s a list of all the books I read in 2023 in the order I read them (not the order I enjoyed them).

When I look back at this list, four books really stand out. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow (so good I read it twice—thanks Alison for the reco!), Black Cake (excellent, much better than the new Hulu series), Adrift by a great local author Lisa Brideau, and the spectacularly ambitious and immensely readable Babel by R. F. Kuang.

I also really enjoyed the Children of Time trilogy by Adrian Tchaikovsky and the two “Moon” books by Waubgeshig Rice. I’d also like to mention We Do This ’Til We Free Us by Mariame Kaba because it is the source of an amazing quote my friend Parker taught me earlier this year: Hope is a Discipline. I think of that quote frequently when the problems of the world seem so much bigger than our efforts of repair.

I appreciate my book club for introducing me to books I otherwise wouldn’t have read. Every year when I publish this list I always get into great conversations about our favourite books, so what books stood out to you in 2023?

  1. Girl, Woman, Other — Bernardino Evaristo
  2. Directed by James Burrows — James Burrows
  3. The Persuaders — Anand Giridharadas
  4. We Are All Made of Scars — Christopher Morris
  5. New York 2140 — Kim Stanley Robinson
  6. A Psalm for the Wild-Built — Becky Chambers
  7. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow — Gabrielle Zevin
  8. A Prayer for the Crown-Shy — Becky Chambers
  9. Chokepoint Capitalism — Rebecca Giblin & Cory Doctorow
  10. The Long Road Home — Debra Thompson
  11. The Creative Act — Rick Rubin
  12. The Myth of Normal — Gabor Maté
  13. The Theory of Crows — David A. Robertson
  14. The Power of Story — Harold Johnson
  15. Banking on a Human Scale — George Hofheimer
  16. Greenwood — Michael Christie
  17. Between the World and Me — Ta-Nehisi Coates
  18. Urban Magnets — Bruce Haden, Mark Holland & Bruce Irvine
  19. Care Of — Ivan Coyote
  20. Children of Time — Adrian Tchaikovsky
  21. Unbroken — Angela Sterritt
  22. God Human Animal Machine — Meghan O’Gieblyn
  23. Power, for All — Julie Battilana & Tiziana Casciaro
  24. Poverty, by America — Matthew Desmond
  25. all about love — bell hooks
  26. Black Cake — Charmaine Wilkerson
  27. The Making of Another Motion Picture Masterpiece — Tom Hanks
  28. A Visit from the Goon Squad — Jennifer Egan
  29. Truth Telling — Michelle Good
  30. How to Break Up With Your Phone — Catherine Price
  31. An American Marriage — Tayari Jones
  32. Junie — Chelene Knight
  33. Children of Ruin — Adrian Tchaikovsky
  34. We Do This ’Til We Free Us — Mariame Kaba
  35. The Book of Boundaries — Melissa Urban
  36. Children of Memory — Adrian Tchaikovsky
  37. Stamped From The Beginning: A Graphic History of Racist Ideas in America — Ibram X. Kendi & Joel Christian Gill
  38. The Country of the Blind — Andrew Leland
  39. Happy-Go-Lucky — David Sedaris
  40. All That She Carried — Tiya Miles
  41. Yellowface — R. F. Kuang
  42. Post Capitalist Philanthropy — Alnoor Ladha & Lynn Murphy
  43. Not Here — Rob Goodman
  44. Ducks — Kate Beaton
  45. American Prometheus — Kai Bird & Martin J. Sherwin
  46. Doppelganger — Naomi Klein
  47. Monsters — Claire Dederer
  48. The Righteous Mind — Jonathan Haidt
  49. Moon of the Crusted Snow — Waubgeshig Rice
  50. Adrift — Lisa Brideau
  51. Moon of the Turning Leaves — Waubgeshig Rice
  52. MCU: The Rise of Marvel Studios — Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales, & Gavin Edwards
  53. The Candy House: A Novel — Jennifer Egan
  54. Sure, I’ll Join Your Cult — Maria Bamford
  55. The Fire Next Time — James Baldwin
  56. Babel — R. F. Kuang
  57. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow — Gabrielle Zevin
  58. Young Jane Young  — Gabrielle Zevin

Happy 2024, all!

Concerts and shows in 2023.

Going to concerts is a major activity for my family. We’re lucky to get to see so many great live acts. We saw a bunch of comedians this year, which was great fun.

Musically, we started and ended the year seeing the great local singer-songwriter Dan Mangan. Seeing him is always a tremendous treat. We got to see The Cure, The National, and Elvis Costello all in a single week, which was fantastic. Seeing Crowded House was incredible as they were my son Ivan’s first favourite band when he was three years old and we love Neil Finn so much.

We already have tickets to five shows in 2024 so we’re looking forward to next year.

  • Jan 15 – Jim Gaffigan
  • Feb 3 – Dan Mangan
  • Feb 18 – Ryan Hamilton
  • Feb 25 – Patton Oswalt
  • Mar 4 – David Cross
  • May 2 – Crowded House
  • May 11 – Ivan Decker
  • May 18 – Yves Tumor
  • Jun 2 – The Cure
  • Jun 5 – The National
  • Jun 7 – Elvis Costello 
  • Jul 26 – Andrew Bird
  • Aug 3 – Big Thief & Lucinda Williams
  • Aug 12 – Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra
  • Aug 23 – Flaming Lips
  • Sep 2 – Tom Papa
  • Sep 23 – Arctic Monkeys
  • Oct 7 – Peter Gabriel
  • Nov 9 – Destroyer 
  • Nov 24 – Depeche Mode 
  • Dec 9 – Dan Mangan

What did you see this year that stood out for you?