Best of 2023!

Bill IBill C
Best Movies
1. Killers of the Flower Moon
2. Poor Things
3. Oppenheimer
4. The Holdovers
5. Dumb Money
6. The Equalizer 3
7. American Fiction
8. Mission Impossible: 9. Dead Reckoning
10. Bottoms
11. Maestro
12. The Iron Claw
13. John Wick: Chapter 4
14. A Thousand and One
15. Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant
16. Dream Scenario
17. Napoleon
18. Air
19. A Haunting in Venice
1. Poor Things
2. Air
3. American Fiction
4. Oppenheimer
5. The Holdovers
6. Joy Ride
7. Past Lives
8. Close
9. John Wick: Chapter 4
10. Barbie
11. Theater Camp
12. Concrete Utopia
13. Bottoms
14. The Iron Claw
15. Saltburn
16. Elemental
17. Mission Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One
18. Anatomy of a Fall
19. Maestro
20. RRR *
Best Documentaries
1. Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie
2. First We Bombed New Mexico
3. Born to Fly
4. The Lady Bird Diaries
5. Let the Canary Sing
6. Little Richard: I Am Everything
7. Joan Baez I Am A Noise
8. Close to Vermeer
9. Turn Every Page: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb
10. Hung Up On a Dream: The Zombies Documentary
1. Fargo
2. The Bear
3. Justified
4. Suits (seasons 1& 2)
5. New Amsterdam (seasons 1 & 2)
6. Lincoln Lawyer
7. Abbot Elementary
8. Mayor of Kingstown
9. Lucky Hank
10. Only Murders in the Building
11. Beef
12. And Just Like That
13. Harlem
14. Modern Love
1. Reservation Dogs
2. How To With John Wilson
3. The Bear
4. Ted Lasso
5. Barry
6. The Last of Us
7. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
8. Beef
9. The Afterparty
10. The Diplomat
11. Succession
12. Justified: City Primeval
13. Peacemaker
14. Only Murders in The Building
15. Letterkenny
16. Bobba Fett
17. The Mandalorian
Best Actors/Actresses
Best Actor in a Movie

1. Jeffrey Wright, American Fiction
2. Bradley Cooper, Maestro
3. Leo Decaprio, Flowers of the Killer Moon
4. Willem Defoe, Poor Things
5. Paul Giamatti, The Holdovers
6. Cilian Murphy, Oppenheimer
7. Denzel Washington, Equalizer 3
8. Jake Gyllenhaal, Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant
9. Barry Keoghan, Saltburn
10. David Strathairn, A Little Prayer
11. Tom Hanks, A Man Called Otto
12. Zac Effron, The Iron Claw
13. Joaquin Phoenix, Napoleon

Best Actress in a Movie

1. Emma Stone, Poor Things
2. Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon
3. Carey Mulligan, Maestro
4. Teyana Taylor, A Thousand and One
5. Margo Robbie, Barbie
6. Jennifer Lawrence, No Hard Feelings
7. Anamaria Marinca, Housekeeping for Beginners

Best Supporting Actor

1. Robert Downey Jr, Oppenheimer
2. Sterling K. Brown, American Fiction
3. Simon Pegg, Mission Impossible – Dead Reckoning’
4. Mark Ruffalo, Poor Things
5. Robert Deniro, Flowers of the Killer Moon
6. Jacob Elordi, Saltburn
7. Richard E. Grant, Saltburn
8. Holt McCallany, The Iron Claw
9. Samson Salim, Housekeeping for Beginners

Best Supporting Actress

1. Myra Lucretia Taylor, American Fiction
2. Gaia Scodellaro, Equalizer 3
3. Rosamund Pike, Saltburn
4. Maura Tierney, The Iron Claw
5. Vanessa Kirby, Napoleon
  • * RRR becomes the first movie I have (knowingly) included on the Best of list twice. In 2022 I watched it on Netflix. It’s a crazy, over the top Hindi action movie. This year I saw it in a packed, large theater. It was one of my most fun movie experiences ever as the crowd would go wild in support of the action, the heroes, etc. if you ever have the chance to see this in a theater – GO!!

Best of SXSW 2023

Last year I (Bill C) participated in SXSW online and this year I was back to live attendance from 3/10 until 3/18 (and the Softball tournament and BBQ on Sunday the 19th!). Overall SXSW is still recovering from the pandemic. with a smaller footprint. For the film festival this was most evident in the downtown Austin area as there were 4 fewer screens. The 2 Alamo Ritz screens were gone as the Alamo gave up those theaters during their pandemic caused bankruptcy reoragnaization (the space has now been taken over by a Joe Rogan owned comedy club). SXSW also didn’t use the Hideout space and for some reason they didn’t set up a theater in the Convention Center. But, despite this, they still had 12 screens at its peak (although some were not very convenient) and a strong lineup of films with most having film makers in attendance with Q&As. Music was definitely smaller than previous years with fewer bands/venues and a continued trend fewer well known bands.

Best Narratives

These are not in any particular order.

John Wick 4 – This was the world premier and the director and Keanu Reeves were in attendance. The movie is too long at 2:47 but for fans of the franchise it its very entertaining (but this is best seen in a crowded theater where the audience is hooting and hollering at he action). I asked a question during the Q+A but the director didn’t know how many people were killed in the movie (my guess is in the hundreds!).

Joy Ride – Very funny. Think of Bridesmaids with all Asian/American women cast/writers/director. This comes out in July and will be a big hit

Theater Camp – A very funny mockumentary about a summer theater camp in the Adirondacks. Molly Gordon (Booksmart) and Ben Platt (Pitch Perfect) were two of the writers and it was inspired by their days as theater camper’s.

Flamin’ Hot – Eva Longoria’s successful directorial debut is a biographical drama with some good comedic moments about a Frito Lays maintenance worker who helped invent the flaming hot line of products that successfully appealed to the Latina market. Frito `Lay disputes elements of the story (although the subject of the story did go on to a successful 40 year career as executive at Frito Lay).

Self Reliance – Another movie with a successful directorial debut by actor Jake Johnson, Jake and Anna Kendrick star in this dark comedy about a person trying to win a million dollars in a dark web reality show.

The Long Game – A very good drama set in the 1950s in Del Valle, Texas about a Latina high school golf team trying to break racial barriers. A very uplifting movie.


The Lady Bird Diaries – This doc is based on hours of audiotapes made by Lady Bird Johnson that were not made publicly available until after her death. The doc makers did a great job of matching the audio with historical video footage. One of Lady Bird’s daughters was at the screening and was very emotional and clearly loved the job the doc makers did.

Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie – A moving documentary about Michael J. Fox, his career and his battle with Parkinson’s. Fox was at a Q&A and is inspirational in his determination to live his life and help others. The director did a great job of using clips from Fox’s career that coincided with events at different stages of his life.

The Luckiest Guy in the World – This was the first 2 episodes of an upcoming 4 episode entry to the ESPN 30 by 30 series. This was directed by award winning director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) about UCLA/NBA star Bill Walton. James and Walton were there for a Q&A. Walton was enjoying all the attention at the Q&A and was answering questions even if directed to James! If you’re a Walton (or hoops history) fan you’ll enjoy this series when it comes out in June.

You Can Call Me Bill – William Shatner of Star Trek fame. This touches on his career and his musings on life. He just turned 92 and was there for a Q&A (and was a featured speaker earlier in the week). I didn’t really love this doc but included it because I am impressed with how much energy he has!! He was all over the stage during the Q&A and his earlier session and is definitely still all there!

Music Focused Documentaries

Joan Baez I Am A Noise – Centered on Baez’s final concerts as a performer this doc explores her career and personal life (which included a lot of challenges). Pretty good!

Hung Up On a Dream – The story of The Zombies! They’ve been performing together since 1961! This was good but about 10 minutes too long. Later in the week we saw them in concert and they were great!

Love to Love You, Donna Summer – Another entertaining (but too long doc)! The Disco Queen in retrospect was super successful for a pretty short time and had an interesting life.

Keanu Reeves at John Wick 4 premier

Best of 2022!

These are our best movies/TV/etc. of 2022. We each could have listed more but needed to cutoff somewhere. There were lots of additional movies/shows we wanted to see but due to this being another strange year and changing viewing habits caused by the pandemic we didn’t get to see them all. There are so many things to potentially stream!!! Please give us your feedback. We’d love to know what you liked.

Bill IBill C
Best Movies
1. Top Gun: Maverick
2. The Banshees of Inisherin
3. When Men Were Men
4. Nope
5. The Woman King
6. Dog
7. The Fabelmans
8. She Said
9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
10 Parallel Mothers
11 Close
12 Licorice Pizza
13 Vengeance
14 Elvis
15 The Menu
1 Everything Everywhere All at Once
3 The Menu
4 Decision to Leave
5 The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
6 Marcel the Shell with Shoes on
7 Cha Cha Real Smooth
8 Aftersun
9 Triangle of Sadness
10 Final Cut
11 The Banshees of Inisherin
12 The Worst Person In The World
13 Top Gun: Maverick
14 The Fabelmans
15 Hunt
Best Documentaries
1. The US and the Holocaust
2. George Carlin’s American Dream
3. Is That Black Enough For You
4. Watergate: Blueprint for a Scandal
1. The U.S. and the Holocaust
2. George Carlins American Dream
3 Lucy and Desi
4. Facing Nolan
5. I Get Knocked Down
6. Sheryl
7. Master of Light
8. The Baby Daddy
9. The Other Fellow
10 2nd Chance
TV Series – Limited
1. White Lotus
2. The Bear
3. Barry
4. Winning Time, The Rise of the Lakers
5. Yellowstone
6. Fleishman is in Trouble
7. Only Murders in the Building
8. Wednesday
9. Life & Beth

TV Series – Regular
1. Better Call Saul
2. Curb Your Enthusiasm
3. Insecure
4. Atlanta
5. Pose
6. The Last O.G.
7. Euphoria
8. Grown-ish
9. Blackish
10 Saturday Night Live

Reality Shows
1. Bachelor in Paradise
2. The Bachelor/Bachelorette
3. Stanley Tucci – Searching for Italy
1. Better Call Saul
2. The Bear
3. Atlanta
4. Derry Girls
5. Letterkenny
6. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
7. The Boys
8. Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers
9. Barry
10 Curb Your Enthusiasm
11 Severance
12 Dark
13 Only Murders in the Building
14 Peaky Blinders
15 1899
16 Shoresy
17 The Expanse
1. The Sarah Silverman Podcast
2. Fly on the Wall with Dana Carvey and David Spade
3. You Better You Bet
4. The Shuli Show
1. WTF with Marc Maron
News/Talk Shows
1. Howard Stern Show
2. 60 Minutes
3. CBS Sunday Morning
4. The Michael Kay Show
5. United Shades of America
6. Get Up
7. Morning Joe
8. First Take

Best of 2021

These are our best moviesTV/Books/Music of 2021. We each could have listed more but needed to cutoff somewhere. There were lots of additional movies we wanted to see but due to this being another strange year we didn’t get to see them all. Please give us your feedback. We’d love to know what you liked in this very strange year.

Bill IBill C
Best Movies
1 Belfast
2 The Harder They Fall
3 Life of Crime - 1984 - 2020
4 Nobody
5 Passing
6 No Time to Die
7 Bad Trip
8 King Richard
9 Adam
10 Judas & the Black Messiah
11 Respect
12 Last Night in Soho
13 Wife of a Spy
1 Coda
2 C’mon C’mon
3 Shiva Baby
4 Promising Young Woman
5 Sound of Metal
6 Red Rocket
7 Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
8 Language Lessons
9 Judas and the Black Messiah
10 The Power of the Dog
11 Another Round
12 Nomadland
13 Panghrun
14 Nobody
15 Passing
Best Documentaries
1 Muhammad Ali
2 Summer of Soul
1 Lily Topples The World
2 When Claude Got Shot
3 Not Going Quietly
4 Tiger
5 Inside (Bo Burnham)
6 Buried: The 1982 Alpine Meadows Avalanche
7 New Jack
8 Introducing Selma Blair
9 Holy Frit
10 Rita Moreno: Just a Girl who Decided to Go for It
11 Derek Delgado In and Of Itself
1 The Beatles: Get Back
2 Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not be Televised)
3 Tom Petty Somewhere You Feel Free
4 Under the Volcano
5 The Sparks Brothers
6 Without Getting Caught or Killed
TV - Limited Series 1 season
1 Lupin
2 Bridgeton
3 Yellowstone
4 Hit and Run
5 Big Sky
6 True Story
7 Mare of Eastwood
8 Money Fest
9 Sex/Life
10 Gravesend

TV Series Regular
1 Curb Your Enthusiasm
2 Insecure
3 Pose
4 The Last O.G.
5 Grown-ish
6 Harlem
7 Blackish
8 Emily in Paris
9 Saturday Night Live

TV Series Reality Shows
1 Bachelor in Paradise
2 The Bachelor/Bachelorette
3 Stanley Tucci - Searching for Italy
1 Ted Lasso
2 The Boys
3 Curb Your Enthusiasm
4 Letterkenny
5 Only Murders in the Building
6 The Expanse
7 The Mandalorian
8 Mare Easttown
1 Razorblade Tears, by S.A. Crosby
2 Blacktop Wasteland, by S.A. Crosby
3 Seven Days in June, by Tia Williams
4 The Accidental Diva, by Tia Williams
5 The Therapist, by B.A. Paris
6 The Breakdown, by B.A. Paris
7 Bring Me Back, by B.A. Paris
8 Murder by Proxy, by Joe B. Parr
9 Unseen Carnage, by Joe B. Parr
10 Hatchett Man, by Elie Honig
11 Never Split the Difference, by Chris Voss
12 The Storyteller, by Dave Grohl
13 You Can't Make This Up, by Al Michaels
14 Whore of New York, by Liara Roux
15 Rock Me on the Water, by Ronald Brownstein
16 Transcription, by Kate Atkinson
1 White Rage - Carol Anderson
2 Just Like You - Nick Hornby
3 The Spy and the Traitor - Ben Macintyre
4 Squeeze Me - Carl Hiaasen
5 Agent Sonya - Ben Macintyre
6 Deacon King Kong - James McBride
7 Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - Quentin Tarantino
8 The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Mark Manson
9 Black Wasteland - S. A. Cosby
10 Troubled Blood - Robert Galbraith
1 Hypotheticals, by Lake Street Dive
2 Kiss Me More, Doja Cat and SZA
3 Peaches, by Justin Bieber, Daniel Ceasar and Giveon
4 Good Days, by SZA
5 Leave the Door Open, by Silk Sonic
6 Transparent Soul, by Willow
7 Best Friend, by Saweetie and Doja Cat
8 Can't Be, by Renni Rucci
9 Already Gone, by Brett Dennen
10 Slide, by Coi Leray and Gunna
11 Sad Girlz Luv Money Remix, by Amaarae, Kali Uchis, and Moliy
12 Smokin Out the Window, by Silk Sonic
13 I Don't Live Here Anymore, by The War on Drugs and Lucius
13 How Much Can a Heart Take, by Lucky Daye and Yebba
14 Pick Up Your Feelings, by Jazmine Sullivan
1 Overlord by Dirty Projectors
2 My Way by Aloe Blacc
3 Headphones Baby by The Vaccines
4 What a Life by Scarlet Pleasure
5 Victims of the Night by Lee DeWyze
6 Back in Love City by The Vaccines
7 Heavy Covenant by The Hold Steady

Best of SXSW Online 2021

After being the first major event cancelled last year, SXSW returned as a shorter, toned down, online event. Interactive and music were significantly smaller. Film was smaller too – missing the big name films that usually show at the Paramount but they still had a good selection of smaller independent narrative and documentary films. While I missed the vibrancy, breadth of choices, live Q&A’s, meeting people while waiting on line non-stop action of downtown there’s a lot to be said for being able to watch the films in the comfort of your own home. I was able to watch things at a much more leisurely pace, didn’t have to worry about figuring out if I could get from one theater to another, etc. I was also able to pick out more shorts to watch, abandon movies I didn’t particularly like (I would have liked that several years ago with my all time worst SXSW movie – Trash Humpers) and just do more of my non SXSW activities while still having time for SXSW stuff. So overall I enjoyed it although I’m looking forward to a live SXSW next year.

Here are some of my favorites from this year:

  • Favorite Narrative Features
    • The Fallout – Narrative Feature Competition Winner about impact of school shooting on one of the students and her friends
    • Language Lessons – Sweet movie about relationship of teacher (Natalie Morales) and student (Mark Duplass) taking Spanish lessons via Zoom
    • Potato Dreams – quirky autobiographical film about a gay Russian kid who emigrates to the U.S. with his mother in mid 80s
  • Favorite Documentaries (General)
    • Lily Topples The World – Documentary winner about world’s best domino toppler, Lily Hevesh
    • When Claude Got Shot – This doc follows impact to Claude, another victim and the kid who shot Claude as they go through the health and legal systems.
    • Alien on Stage – A real life Waiting for Guffman
    • Fruits of Labor – This doc follows a struggling, low income family with an undocumented mother and her citizen kids during the Trump administration.
  • Favorite Documentaries (Music Related)
    • Under The Volcano – The story of the rise and fall of the music studio on the island of Montserrat built by Beatles producer George Martin
    • Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free – The creative process of Tom Petty and crew during creation of Wallflowers album.
    • The Sparks Brothers – Interesting doc by Edgar Wright about 50 year (and counting)! career of the Sparks. I had never heard of them but some of the music in doc was pretty good. Only complaint was the film could have been a bit shorter.
    • Without Getting Killed or Caught – Doc about musician Guy Clarke.
  • Favorite Documentaries (Tearjerkers)
    • Not Going Quietly – Story of Ady Barkan, activist (known for confrontation about health care with Ben Sasse) and ALS sufferer. If you like this also watch Gleason about former New Orleans Saint who also suffers from ALS (although I’d suggest a break between the two to replenish your tear supply).
    • Introducing Selma Blair – Intimate portrait of actress and MS sufferer Selma Blair
  • Favorite Music Video
    • The Dirty Projectors – Overlord – I love this song!
  • Favorite Shorts (Documentaries)
    • The Last Cruise – doc about passengers and crew of Diamond Princess that were stranded on ship due to Covid-19 outbreak during beginning of pandemic. I think it’s already on HBO!
    • Red Taxi – documentarian talks to taxi drivers in both mainland China and Hong Kong during last years Honk Kong protests.

Best Movies/TV/Books/Music of 2020

These are our best moviesTV/Books/Music of 2020. We each could have listed more but needed to cutoff somewhere. Bill I. ranked all of his picks. Bill C. just did relative rankings since he felt the year was so disjointed. Bill C. also spent too much time listening to old music or to new music while distracted while juggling so didn’t put together a list in that category. Please give us your feedback. We’d love to know what you liked in this very strange year.

Bill IBill C
Best Movies
1 Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
2 The Gentlemen
3 The Invisible Man
4 The Old Guard
5 The Photograph
6 Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
7 Da 5 Bloods
8 Portrait of a Lady on Fire
9 The Wrong Missy
10 Just Mercy
- Soul
- Ma Rainey’s Back Bottom
- Just Mercy
- Da 5 Bloods
- 1917
- Beanpole
- Portrait of a Lady on Fire
- Death of a Telemarketer
- Time for Love
- Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
- Any movie mocked by Master Pancake Theater (they are free on Twitch most Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings)
- Bombshell
- The Way Back
- The Get Together
- The Eagles Nest
- The Old Guard
- The Badger
- The 40 Year Old Version
- Birds of Prey:And the Fantabulous Emanicipation of one Harley Quinn
- The Gentlemen
Best Documentaries
1 The Last Dance
2 The Bee Gees - How Can you Mend a Broken Heart
2 Western Stars (Springsteen)
3 Tiger King
- The Way I See it
- Time
- American Factory
- 76 Days
- A Thousand Cuts
- Boys State
- Dick Johnson is Dead
- Class Action Park
- Re-Inventing the Wheel
- Queens of Pain
- The Book Keepers

- Hamilton
- David Byrne’s American Utopia (also watch Stop Making Sense!)
- The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
- Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band (also watch The Last Waltz!)
- Bruce Springsteen’s Letter to You
- Miss Americana
- Western Stars
TV - Limited Series 1 season
1 I May Destroy You
2 The Queen's Gambit
3 The Undoing
5 Unorthodox
6 Big Sky

TV - Regular Series Drama (multiple seasons)
1 Fargo
2 Homeland
3 Yellowstone
4 The Crown
5 Euphoria
6 Ozark
7 Pose

TV - Series Comedy
1 Insecure
2 The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
3 The Good Fight
4 She's Gotta Have It
5 Pose
6 The Last OG
7 Blackish
8 Grownish
9 The Boys
- Watchmen
- Homeland
- Normal People
- Killing Eve
- Brockmire
- Fleabag
- Letterkenny
- The Umbrella Academy
- The Mandalorian
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

TV Docs
- Tiger King
- The Last Dance
1 The Chain, by Adrian McKlinty
2 Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan
3 Bluebird, Bluebird, by Attica Locke
4 An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
5 The Eight Girl, by Maxine Mei-Fung Chung
5 The Death and Life of Bobby Z, by Don Winslow
6 Raw Dog, by Phil Knight
7 Greenlights, by Matthew McConaughhey
8 Fantasyland - How America Went Haywire, by Kurt Anderson
9 Evil Geniuses - The Unmaking of America, by Kurt Anderson
9 Around the Way Girl, by Taraji P. Henson
10 A Very Punchable Face: A Memoir, by Colin Jost
11 The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson
12 Tools and Weapons, by Brad Smith
13 Is This Anything, by Jerry Seinfeld
- The Great Influenza - John Barry
- The institute - Stephen King
- The Nickel Boys - Colton Whitehead
- Nomadland - Jessica Bruner
- Evicted - Matthew Desmond
- Midnight in Chernobyl - Adam Higginbotham
- The Complete Juggler - Dave Finnigan
- The Library Book - Susan Orlean
- Lethal White - Robert Galbraith
- The Fifth Risk - Michael Lewis
1 Doja Cat: Say So; Like That; and Juicy
2 Dua Lipa: Levitating; Break My Heart; Don't Start Now; Physical
3 Bakar: Hell N Back
4 Coldplay: Orphans; Arabesque; and Champions of the World by Coldplay
5 Tame Impala: Lost in Yesterday; and Breathe Deeper
6 White Reaper: Might be Right
7 Megan Thee Stallion: Savage; Hit my Phone; WAP
8 Alaina Castillo: Papacito
9 Lizzo: Juice
10 Bruce Springsteen: Ghosts; Letter to You
11 Taylor Swift and Bon Iver: Exile
12 The Killers: My Own Soul's Warning
13 Claire Rosinkranz: Backyard Boy
14 Dana Williams: Answers; Umbrella
15 SZA, The Neptunes, Ty Dollar $ign: Hit Different
16 Ella Mai: Not Another Love Song
17 Jhene Aiko, Summer 2020; P*$$y Fairy (OTW); B.S.

Best Movies of 2019

These are our best movies of 2019 (with comments below). We each could have listed more but needed to cutoff somewhere. Please give us your feedback.

Bill IBill C
Best Movies1 Gully Boy
2 Joker
3 Never Look Away
4 Queen and Slim
5 Blinded by the Light
6 Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
7 Motherless Brooklyn
8 The Irishman
9 Uncut Gems
10 Booksmart
11 Badla
12 Yesterday
13 The Farewell
14 Richard Jewell
15 John Wick Chapter 3 - Parabellum
16 Knives Out
17 The Peanut Butter Falcon
18 Dark Waters
19 A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
20 Brittany Runs a Marathon
21 The Good Liar
1 Parasite
2 Jojo Rabbit
3 Booksmart
4 Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
5 Uncut Gems
6 Pain and Glory
7 Good Boys
8 A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
9 One Cut of the Dead
10 Toy Story 4
11 Dark Waters
12 Queen & Slim
13 John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
14 The Irishman
15 Gully Boy
16 The Peanut Butter Falcon
17 Honey Boy
18 Waves
19 Avengers: Endgame
20 The Last Black Man in San Francisco
21 The Farewell
Best Documentaries1 Echo in the Canyon (2018)
2 Western Stars
3 The Apollo
4 They Shall Not Grow Old
5 Amazing Grace
6 Maiden
1 They Shall Not Grow Old
2 For Sama
3 The River and the Wall
4 Apollo 11
5 Amazing Grace
6 Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of my Voice
7 Maiden

Bill I’s Comments:

Gully Boy – Who knew there’s a rapping scene in India? Poor teenager dreams of winning a rapping contest and making it big

Joker –  How does a young man turn into the maniacal joker? This shows how, fantastic from beginning to brutal end

Never Look Away – Epic story, great, based on a real life painter, starting as a young boy in Poland during WWII

Queen and Slim – Combination thriller, love story, social commentary; beautifully filmed, great use of music, and terrific acting

Blinded by the Light – Best use of music in film I can remember, thanks to Springsteen; based on real-life Bruce super fan growing up in a strict Pakstani immigrant family in dead-end middle class English town

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Tarrantino takes his time, Brad Pitt and Decaprio do their thing; based on Manson family but Quentin makes up his own fantasy ending

Motherless Brooklyn – Ed Norton tour de force as a PI in the 50’s NY, trying to track down who killed his long-time mentor (Bruce Willis)

The Irishman – Scorceses directs DeNiro, Pesci, Keitel, Pacino; how could it miss…it doesn’t

Uncut Gems – Adam Sandler as gambling addict jewelry hustler, Kevin Garnett terrific as himself

Booksmart – Terrific girl buddy story, last day of high school the nerds decide to cut loose

Badla- India, legal murder thriller

Yesterday – Beatles songs to a forgetting public

The Farewell – Don’t tell Grandma she’s dying, she’s doing fine

Richard Jewell – Great acting by the lead; Clint Eastwood directing

John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum – Non-Stop fun gunning, knifing, swording, karate, kung fun, judo…

Knives Out – whodunit, lots of fun

The Peanut Butter Falcon – Autistic young man buddies up to drifter

Dark Waters – Mark Ruffalo, as lawyer suing DuPont

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – Tom Hanks does his thing; emotional story, well done

Brittany Runs a Marathon – Inspiring comedy

The Good Liar – Scammer gets scammed

Echo in the Canyon (2018) – Laurel Canyon music scene in the 60s

Western Stars – Bruce performs in a barn, tells his stories

The Apollo – Great documentary, combines history, social commentary, music and commentary from the artists

They Shall Not Grow Old – Actual footage from WWI

Amazing Grace – Aretha live, Stones in the audience

Maiden – All female crew races around the world

Bill C’s Comments:

Parasite – Class warfare told by a master (with subtitles)

Jojo Rabbit – Great Dramedy showing the need to push past stereotypes. While set during WWII this is very relevant today

Booksmart – Olivia Wilde scores in her directorial debut, coming of age comedy 

Once Upon a Time In Hollywood – Another winner from Tarrantino.  Good throughout but really comes alive in final act

Uncut Gems – Intense, gritty film from Safdie Brothers (watch Good Time also).  Sandler is excellent in non-comedy role

Pain and Glory – Another excellent film by Pedro Almodovar. Semi autobiographical as he deals with aging and writer’s block.

Good Boys – Rude and crude comedy – a pre teen Superbad.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – Mister Rodgers, but an equal focus on the magazine writer telling Mr. Rodgers story and need for forgiveness. Very touching.

One Cut of the Dead – Hilarious Japanese comedy about film crew filming a zombie movie.  The comedy really picks up in the second half.  Find this on Shudder

Toy Story 4 – Another winner from Pixar

Dark Waters – Corporate Lawyer realizes error of his ways as he represents small time farmer against Dupont

Queen & Slim – Bill says it all above

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – Fun action thriller.  Watch out for the dogs! I’m ready for #4

The Irishman – Great film from Scorsese reunited with some of his favorite actors

Gully Boy – Entertaining movie from India on the Indian hiphop scene

The Peanut Butter Falcon – Down Syndrome young man on the run to realize his dream of being a wrestler

Honey Boy – Who’d have thought there’d be two Shia Lebeouf movies on my list (see Peanut Butter Falcon above)!  He wrote this autobiographical film of his life growing up as an actor (and plays his father).  Noah Jupe is a revelation as the young actor (and he’s also good in Ford vs. Ferarri)

Waves – This movie is tough to watch (especially the 1st half) but is excellent about family going through trauma. I think this is what Scorsese means when he talks about ‘cinema’

Avengers: Endgame – For all those Marvel fans out there

The Last Black Man in San Francisco – Deals with impact of gentrification on minorities in San Francisco

The Farewell – Awkwafina is excellent in touching comedy about generational and cultural issues of Chinese family.

They Shall Not Grow Old – Great WWI doc using actual footage that is visually/audibly enhanced with current technology

For Sama – Impact of war in Syria on young family through family footage.

The River and the Wall – Five friends travel from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico along Rio Grande on horses, bike, feet, etc.  The movie shows the beauty of the different areas and explores the effects on people and habitats if a wall is built

Apollo 11 – Great movie using archival footage of Apollo 11 mission

Amazing Grace – Never before seen footage of intimate Aretha Franklin gospel concert at the peak of her skills

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of my Voice – Rondstadt;’s career and personal life is explored.  Currently on CNN

Maiden – First all female crew overcomes challenges as they enter round the world sailing race

Best of SXSW 2019

Below are some of my favorite movies and music from SXSW 2019. Overall it was an excellent year for movies. While there was still a ton of good music, SXSW has definitely gone back to its roots and has deemphasized appearances by really big names.


Good Boys – If you liked Superbad you’ll probably like this. Instead of kids in high school this is a rude and crude comedy focused on a trio of 6th graders. This is really funny but it will probably offend some. It is produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. This doesn’t open until August.

Long Shot – A romantic comedy starring Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron. He is very Set Rogen-y (clearly I like Seth Rogen).

Booksmart – Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut about 2 graduating high school friends realizing they spent too much time studying and not enough time partying. They try to make up for lost time, partying and havoc ensues and lessons are learned. Funny and touching.

Sword of Trust – Marc Maron in an improvisational comedy. Maybe I partially liked it because I’ve been listening to his podcast for years.

The Art of Self Defense – A very dark comedy starring Jesse Eisenberg. He enrolls in Karate school to learn how to stand up for and defend himself

Villains – A couple of thieves run out of gas and stop by the wrong house looking for a ride. This is a well written comedy/thriller with lots of good plot twists.


The River and The Wall – This movies shows half a dozen people going 1200 miles along the U.S./Mexico border from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico. Due to varying terrains they at various times ride bikes, horses and canoes. The scenery is amazing and this is a movie worth watching on a big screen in a movie theater. The movie show’s how various animal habitats/environments will be destroyed if a wall is built and that for much of the border a wall is unnecessary as the border at those place is uncrossable

For Sama – An amazing documentary showing life in Aleppo, Syria as the Syrian civil war dragged on. The film covers five years as a woman struggles to live, love and raise a baby in a war torn environment through film that she shot. This is at times very tough to watch.

Running With Beto – A close up and personal look at the Senate campaign by Beto O’Rourke

Knock Down The House – An in depth look at he 2018 campaigns of 4 insurgent democrat women (including Ocasio-Cortez)

Amazing Grace – A concert film of Aretha Franklin recording a 1972 gospel album. Here is link to an article of why this doc took so long to see the light of day:

Best Music (many of which you’ll never have heard of)

  • Sweet Crude
  • Madison Cunningham
  • Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians
  • Small Glories
  • Seratones
  • Steve Earl and the Dukes
  • Boyz II Men (they sang a couple of songs at the Q&A after the movie Long Shot)
  • Gina Chavez
  • Gaelyn Lea
  • Broken Social Scene
  • Quiet Company

Best Movies of 2018

Here’s our picks for the best of 2018.

Bill IBill C
Best Movies1 Black Panther
2 The Hate U Give
3 A Star is Born
4 BlackkKlansman
5 The Post
6 Upgrade
7 Hearts Beat Loud
8 Searching
9 Creed II
10 Free Solo
11 Green Book
12 Shoplifters
13 Eigth Grade
1 BlackkKlansman
2 Shoplifters
3 Green Book
4 Blinspotting
5 Isle of Dogs
6 Hearts Beat Loud
7 The Hate U Give
8 Black Panther
9 Eighth Grade
10 Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse
11 If Beale Street Could Talk
12 The Insult
13 The Post
14 Incredibles 2
Best Documentaries1 The Dawn Wall
3 Won't you be my Neighbor
4 The Great Buster
5 Free Solo
6 Minding the Gap
7 Three Identical Strangers
8 The Interpreters

Best of SXSW 2018

SXSW ended a couple of weeks ago so some of the movies are already available (I’m slow – sorry).  Others may take more than a year (if ever to see the light of day).  Here are the movies I enjoyed the most.  I thought the lineup, especially the documentaries (as can be seen by the number of docs in my favorite movies) was very strong this year .

The World Before Your Feet

This is an entertaining documentary about a guy who is walking every street in New York City.  He’s been on his quest for a few years, has walked almost 7000 miles already and may just continue walking even when he’s done.  He has an interesting backstory and interactions with the people he meets along the way.


A timely documentary that follows several transgender service men/women as they help to protect our country.

Ruben Blades is Not My Name

A doucmentary about the acclaimed salsa singer,  actor, Harvard graduate, lawyer, one time candidate for Panamanian president and more.


In the vein of Hoop Dreams a really good documentary about an inner city Chicago basketball star.  The filmmakers followed him for several years through high school (including all the challenges of living in a poor section of Chicago), college and his quest (still ongoing) to make it in the NBA.


One of my favorite movies at the festival.  A drama/comedy about two friends (one black/one white) trying to navigate their way through the final days of probation for one in a gentrifying Oakland neighborhood.    The two friends in the movie were at the Q+A and are friends in real life.  They had been working on this film for eight years!

Ready Player One

If you’re into gaming, virtual reality, sci-fi, action movies,   a movie with tons of references to 80s movies/games and/or Stevn Spielberg movies you will enjoy this movie.  I liked it a lot but that may have also been influence by a very enthusiastic 1100+person crowd  with Steven Spielberg and members of the cast participation in the Q&A.

The Director and the Jedi

This is a documentary about the making of the latest Star Wars movie.  A good look at the artistic process of making the movie as well as some of the controversy with Mark Hamill disagreeing with the direction his character took in the movie.  There was a very interesting Q&A that included Mark Hamill and the director, Rian Johnson.  Hamill is a character.

The Last O.G.

The first two episodes of this TBS show.   Tracy Morgan, in his first series work since his accident, plays a character trying to resume his life after 15 years in prison in a gentrified Brooklyn. I found it pretty funny (as was the Q&A with Morgan and Tiffany Haddish).  Jordan Peele is one of the creators.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor

A moving documentary about the life and career of PBS  children show icon Fred Rogers.  I don’t know how anyone can be so nice.

Science Fair

I love documentaries about competitions.  Spellbound, about the national spelling bee is one of the best.   Science Fair is in the same vein – several high school students from around the world are followed as they try to qualify, prepare and then compete in a major competition.   The first 90 seconds or so of this youtube clip starts the movie showing the winner of an earlier competition.

The Dawn Wall

A gorgeous to look at documentary of the first successful scaling of the Dawn Wall of El Capitan.  The climb got a lot of TV coverage when the climb was made in 2015.  This was a ‘free ascent’ meaning this type of climbing is done just using their hands and feet (with picks and rope just used to prevent falling to their death).  The climb took 19 days and they would sleep in tents hanging off the side of the wall at night!  As amazing as the climb was the back story was just as fascinating.  Definitely try to see this movie!

Hearts Beat Loud

A sweet little film about the bonding of a father and daughter before she heads off to college.  It stars Nick Offerman

Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes

Muhammed Ali appeared on the Dick Cavett show numerous times.  This is an insightful documentary about Ali through some of his good and bad times as well as the relationship between Caveat and Ali.

First Match

A gritty movie about an inner city girl who becomes the only girl on her high school wrestling team only to be led astray by her ex-con father.

Isle of Dogs

While this was the closing night film I must confess I  saw it after.  I am a big fan of Wes Anderson and I really enjoyed this film.  It was made using stop motion animation (like Fantastic Mr. Fox).  The  movie is set in Japan 20 years in the future and  tells the story of a boy searching for his dog.  An incredible cast provides the voices (in both Japanese and English).  It’s not his funniest movie but I liked the story and it’s a joy to look at.  If you can see it at an Alamo Drafthouse do so and get there early to see the pre-show which provides lots of insight into Anderson’s style and elements of the movie.