even better than I was the last time baby
what’s up everyone. my goal of writing on here once a month hasn’t happened this year like I wanted it to, obviously, as i’ve been wildly busy writing at work—one full cover package, three lead stories, a 4000 word investigative piece, you get the picture—and when I get home the last thing I ever want to do is write more. but! every day I sit down and i’m like “damn i like telling people about the things I like, I need to get back to that…”
so here we are. consider this your first-quarter update into what i’ve enjoyed in 2023. music, movies, and all sorts of other raw thoughts: a stream of consciousness look at everything I have enjoyed this year. this is going to be really long. hope you find something new out of it!
John Wick 4 is good as fuck man. holy shit. it’s been three weeks since I saw it and I’m still thinking about it every single day. I don’t think there should be a Wick 5 but I also didn’t think there should’ve been a 2 or a 4 and yet—hot take—the series has gotten better with each new entry, so maybe I do want a 5? seriously, the last hour of 4 is better than the first 3 combined. kinda wish there was a way for Scott Adkins’ character to come back. you know John Wick 4 has the juice cause they do a Paint It Black needle drop at the climax and it doesn’t feel corny. best American action movie in… this decade? this century? (yes, it’s better than fury road, and I miiiight like it more than MI: Fallout? maybe?)
on the topic of movies, i’ve resolved to not watch any ‘bad’ movies this year for as long as I can, or at least will try not to watch stuff I know I won’t like. it’s why I haven’t seen cocaine bear, tetris, the winnie the pooh horror movie, or any other movie i’ve been asked about by my coworkers. ditto for Netflix originals: they’re never as good as anyone says (with few exceptions, of course) and by the end I feel like I just wasted 8-12 hours. I actually straight up cancelled Netflix a few weeks back—as fun as it is, I can live without too hot to handle. this is also why I won’t be seeing beau is afraid, renfield, the Mario movie, or anything that I just know off rip that I have a strong chance of disliking. there’s so many other movies and tv shows I *haven’t* seen that I *know* I will love—why waste time on something bad just because it’s all anyone is talking about? who cares? i’m past worrying about that kind of stuff, and honestly feel all the better for it.
the only genuinely great movie I’ve seen from this year that isn’t John Wick 4 is Knock at the Cabin. M3GAN was fun, scream 6 was fine but disappointing, infinity Pool ditto, can’t even recall anything else. was honestly surprised at how good KOTC was? feels like the culmination of M. Night’s eight billion attempts to do a twilight zone. a little mad that I teared up a couple times at a Shyamalan movie
some amazing older movies i’ve watched for the first time this year are: master and commander (5/5, dudes rock), california split (4.5/5, Altman the god), 3 women (5/5, Altman the GAWD), shaolin soccer (4/5, as close to live action anime as we’ll get), walker (4/5, ed harris 81 point game), from beyond (4.5/5, Lovecraft but gross and horny), showgirls (4.5/5, people really think this sucks??), the straight story (4.5/5, Lynch the god), wild at heart (5/5, Lynch the GAWD), big trouble in little china (4/5, killer score), tinker tailor soldier spy (5/5, HOW THE FUCK HAD I NOT SEEN THIS?)
there’s been a lot of rewatches for me this year too (Dominik’s jesse james, perfect movie, mulholland dr, same, ocean’s eleven, most rewatchable movie ever) but the most interesting one for me was spring breakers. having seen it once in my younger years I thought it was merely “fun,” but my friend Paul recently wrote about its 10th anniversary and how it’s the defining movie of the 2010’s. honestly, after rewatch… I’m not sure i’m fully there yet, but I can kind of agree! could not believe how much better it was than I remembered, and it’s a crazy good time capsule. maybe there wasn’t enough distance between that time yet or maybe I wasn’t mature enough (or gay enough) yet to appreciate Vanessa Hudgens committing several armed robberies while britney spears’ “Everytime” plays back then, but I sure loved it now. or maybe I’m just a sucker for this kind of thing—a negative review I read online said it was anti-American modernist bullshit for David Lynch fans to slurp down and enjoy, and well, that is me
despite what i said about only having seen a few really great movies this year… it kinda feels like the movies are back. REALLY, actually back. and i’m sooooo thankful. there are so many movies to look forward to in the coming months. and plenty more that i probably won’t like but i’ll see in theaters with my friends anyway and enjoy because… i love the movies!!!
(THIS IS A LOGAN ROY FUCK OFF COMPILATION IF YOU CAN’T SEE PAST THE AGE-RESTRICTION^^)
maybe i’m just getting old but I can count on one hand the number of good tv shows I’ve seen this year: poker face, abbott elementary, party down, and now succession. YOU’s second half of the season was dogshit and was way too implausible for that show, which is saying a lot. the last of us is worse than the game, which I already did not like. i’m sure as hell not watching Star Trek: Picard no matter how many times everyone says “this season is actually good”—i don’t believe you! as I said above, i’m not touching any more Netflix originals, and don’t even fucking mention ted lasso around me or any of that other nicecore bullshit. is tv bad now? am I just looking in the wrong places? or are we truly past the golden age of television? someone fill me in. (I have not seen yellowjackets. soon come, though)
you know what’s good though? old tv. my friend Kevin came down from chicago recently and we drank bourbon and watched some Mary Tyler Moore. it was hilarious. (maybe i really am getting old fr?)
i’m so ready for barry to end, dude. obviously i like the show but season 3 already felt like treading water in a few ways. fingers crossed for at least a decent final season
saw this dogshit list of best tv episodes of our lifetime on twitter this week, so you’ve got to see it too, sorry in advance, discussion to follow:
ignoring how incredibly stupid and bad this list is—the only cool/interesting pick here is The Constant, but plenty of sites already recognize that as the best TV episode ever so no points for originality—what this list shows me is that streaming almost completely drives the “best of” conversation these days. if a show isn’t ON a popular streaming service and isn’t CONSTANTLY PROMOTED, it’s like it doesn’t fucking exist! we’re talking best episodes of the past few decades, but it feels like no one has ever seen, say, The Americans anymore? Or Justified? What about The Leftovers? I May Destroy You? 30 Rock? Northern Exposure? Boardwalk Empire? True Blood? Gemstones? TWIN PEAKS??? it fucking sucks! I hate Netflix! I hate the algorithm!! I hate streaming!!!!!!!!
also: when are we, as a society, going to stop overrating breaking bad?
MUSIC (just rap this time)
here are some rap songs i have liked this year. you should be playing all these songs on speakers.
Ron Artest - Babyface Ray & 42 Dugg // this is my most played song of the year because of the absolutely immaculate beat. if there was a song i wanted playing after i won an NBA ring, it would be this. i messaged my friend Josh about this song when it dropped and he said “beat more important than air”. truer words never spoken
Sexy - Rae Sremmurd // song of the summer just dropped this week, in case you haven’t heard it. first time i hear this out in public when the weather is right i might lose my mind
Kurt Rambis - papo2oo4 // i’m a sucker for any song with horns and/or sports references, what can i say. papo and producer subjxct 5 have been making a ton of great music in the last year… anyone who says “real rap” is dead just show them this song
Fish & Chips - Young Nudy // any day i can hear new young nudy music in my ears is a blessing. helps that this is probably his best project since before the pandemic. i can’t stop playing this whole thing
Pardon My Playa - CEO Trayle // quietly one of the best and most original rappers alive. probably the best out of atlanta right now. nearly everything he drops is a gem
cRaNk iT Up (BoNuS) .mP3 - Tisakorean // rap’s silliest MC dropped a whole tape of ringtone rap on us. don’t think too hard about it. the question is “can i crank it up?” and the answer is always yes
Blow The Fye - Certified Trapper // if you haven’t yet dove into the world of Milwaukee rap—and if so, how? it’s all over my for you page—certified trapper is one of the names to know. he makes everything himself, beats, videos, the whole thing, which gives it all a real indie/DIY feel. (one video is him literally standing in front of a green screen dancing while google images pops up. this one is him literally just standing in a room dancing and flashing a gun.) the first time i heard his music, i thought it was ass. nowadays? i can’t stop playing it.
The Ankle Lock - Lil 2 Dow feat. A$AP Ant & A$AP Twelvy // if you haven’t been paying attention, a$ap ant has come a long way since the internet skewered him for his verse on ‘bath salts’. taking after his namesake (Rihanna’s husband) he’s got his own rap/fashion collective now. it’s called Marino Infantry, and lil 2 dow is a member. my friend Vivian is kind of obsessed with the group and i’m not sure if it’s ironic or serious. but if the music keeps being this good… i won’t ask any questions
April Fools - Billy Shiest & Lil Kobe // something about seeing Ohio rappers wear grizzlies jerseys while they rap about “what would ja do?” is bizarre. kind of absurd how much “influence” he has even all the way out here
In Ha Mood - Ice Spice // ok, yeah, obviously everyone in the world has heard this song or at least heard OF ice spice. what’s crazy to me is that people STILL think she’s bad at rapping or is coasting off her looks. point me to another rapper making hooks this catchy—i played her EP on repeat for days! the Official Kane Opinion is that ice spice is really good at music and i’m sick of people pretending otherwise!!
Me Myself and I - De La Soul // thank god de la soul is on streaming now. my good friend Matt wrote something excellent on their music existing in a “mythical space” for years since it’s regarded as some of the best music ever but it’s never been available to just pull up online like, yknow, most music. much like matt and probably every single other fan on the cusp of millennial/gen-Z, i was introduced to their music through older sports games like NCAA Football and NBA Street before later digging into their full catalog. (one time in high school i played a De La song at a friend’s house during a kickback; her dad came downstairs, then commandeered the aux cord and put on some DAS EFX while doing a “what do you youngins know about this” speech. it ruined the vibe.) but, mannnnn, the wave of childhood nostalgia that washed over me when i heard this song for the first time in over a decade? i would’ve paid thousands for that.
is yeat over? it feels like yeat is starting to be over. maybe i’m just imagining this but it doesn’t feel like his latest album made the seismic impact on tiktok et al that 4L/Up 2 Me did. it could be because the music is worse, but that also doesn’t really mean much these days, so who knows
i still listen to every single nba youngboy project that drops. some people call me crazy for that, given how much filler he drops, but every so often he’ll drop a song that’s the best thing i’ve heard in several years so i might as well keep listening, right? it’s worth it.
don’t know why but i refuse to watch the rapcaviar hulu show on principle. that playlist has done so much evil in the world. you know how much bullshit i’ve had to hear at parties because of rapcaviar? and that’s not to mention all the shady shit that they do involving the playlist outside of the music. idk. i’m sure it’s good. or maybe it’s just vapid and aimless with pockets of occasional brilliance like the playlist it’s based off of. guess i’ll never know.
can’t believe everyone lied about that dogshit Strokes And Tame Impala Karaoke album that yachty put out. i’m STILL mad that everyone was trying to push that on me for a few weeks. at least he’s back to making good music again
the most interesting new game i’ve played this year is Meet Your Maker. it’s like quake/doom + mario maker, and it’s from the dead by daylight guys. you have to speed through player-made stages full of awful traps and powerful enemies without taking a single point of damage—and then you save up enough currency to build your own levels, and get to watch other players attempt them. the other day i spent 20 minutes watching a twitch streamer and his co-op buddy get stuck on the same trap over and over as i cried laughing. there’s not a whole lot of content in the game yet but it’s honestly worth the price of admission just for that. if anyone else is playing it, send me any of your dungeon codes so you can watch me fail…
remember last year when i said “destiny 2 sucks right now but it would be good again soon”? well it’s good again. and i’m hooked again. people have been shitting on this new expansion because the campaign sucks, and i’m sitting over here like… you guys were playing destiny for the campaign?? plus, who cares if the story sucks, they added a fucking grappling hook. a grappling hook makes any FPS better.
i started reading blue lock after the last season ended and damn it’s so much better it’s crazy. i mean, just look at the art style (below). i don’t know if i can go back to the tv version lol
my skin has been looking rough lately so i asked for skincare recs on my instagram story and everyone told me i need to get some shit from The Ordinary, which has the most annoying science-y product names of all time. just tell me what it does i don’t care what’s in it! anyways, i just ordered a ton of product from there so if it’s ass i’m gonna be really mad. does anyone else have any recommendations for a guy who is 26 and still has breakouts. please let me know i’m trying to look cute before summer starts. yes i know i’m talking about skincare products like i didnt just spend three paragraphs up there talking about some of the nerdiest shit alive. mind your business
speaking of summer, i don’t know why but this winter felt particularly brutal on my body and my brain. i can’t wait for warm weather. i’m looking forward to simple shit—like walking around downtown in some short shorts and paying too much for a cocktail that i can drink outdoors again, or not having a heating bill that’s over $300.
it finally happened: i’ve become a Uniqlo U t-shirt guy. i already have a ton of their mainline tees but jeez these are so much better and comfier. tyler the creator actually knew what he was talking about with this one. i should’ve made the switch forever ago.
did you actually read this all the way to the end? that’s crazy. dm me one song you think i haven’t heard that you’ve liked this year if you made it this far. thanks for reading… i’ll try to do this again soon !