2023: The Year in Review

It's that time of year again when we take a look at what's been happening on the site over the last 12 months. This time around it will be a brief rundown, because not much has been happening and no one's reading these anymore anyway.

"Just one more screening of Carry On Camping ..."

Theme Change

The website finally changed its appearance this year, something that was mooted on and off for well over a year. 

I liked the old theme (better than the new one, in fact) but it was difficult to work with. The eccentric way it cropped images when they appear on the home page made it especially awkward and time consuming to use. I was also never that happy with the massive infodump at the end of the film posts and wanted to arrange this better, but it wasn't possible with the old theme. 

Beyond the Canon

I was invited to take part in a project called Beyond the Canon, which aims to create an "alternative canon", consisting of titles that have never been nominated in the Sight and Sound polls. The email invitation explained that they are soliciting votes from "leaders from across the film community". This implies that I am just such a leader - a claim that's as gratifying as it is unlikely.

They helpfully provided a list of all the films that have been nominated for the Sight and Sound poll over the years and there's all sorts of rubbish on there. Just looking at the top of the alphabetical list, you find the likes of the Blake Edwards comedy 10, Charlie Chaplin's dire A Countess from Hong Kong, Indian comedy 3 Idiots, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Robert Aldrich's final effort All the Marbles and the clunky Ron Howard film A Beautiful Mind. Evidently, there are professional critics out there who regard these as among the ten best films ever made. And the more you look at the list, the worse it gets. 

Surprisingly, though, none of the esteemed critics voted for Thief of Baghdad, Lost HorizonIn Which We Serve, Scrooge, Room at the Top, Dr. No, LA Confidential or Downfall. There are also TV series on there, like Ken Burns' The Vietnam War, which would be fine if this was a list of TV series.

The Most Popular Posts this Year

These are the most popular posts on the site this year, based on the number of page views and regardless of when they were actually published. These are in reverse order, just to make it a slightly more exciting countdown:

10. The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

9. Sweeney! (1976)

8. Who Dares Wins (1982)

7. The Amicus Horror Anthologies

6. 633 Squadron (1964)

5. The 39 Steps (1959)

4. Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

3. Classic TV: All Creatures Great and Small

2. Film and TV Inspired by the Great Train Robbery

1. Movie Quiz: On the Beat

Yep, the spambots still love the "On the Beat" quiz.

Favourite Viewings

I watched around 178 films this year, which sounds a lot, but probably isn't compared to many.

Favourite first time viewings included Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, John Schlesinger's overlooked drama The Day of the Locust, 12 Years a Slave (it took me years to watch this for some reason, but it's one of the better recent Oscar winners), Parasite, Aussie survival horror Long Weekend, The Swimmer, Michael Radford's 1980s version of 1984, Richard Brooks's In Cold Blood, forgotten 1960s satire Live Now - Pay Later and Thorold Dickinson's weird and wonderful The Queen of Spades

Favourite repeat viewings included The Company of Wolves, Goodfellas, Dead Ringers, The Long Good Friday, Shallow GraveRear Window, The Crying GameAsk a PolicemanThe Godfather trilogy, Mountains of the Moon, Capricorn OneJudgment at Nuremberg, The Living Daylights, and the original Planet of the Apes.

The Last Word

Thanks for reading, following or commenting over the past year. I'm off for a winter break on the picturesque Scottish island of Summerisle. Apparently, it has some very colourful local customs. I'll be back next year but, until then, I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


  1. Happy New Year Jay, as an esteemed leader in film I hope you challenged them to the core.. which Lost Horizon were you meaning? The 1970s version is the only one I've seen..

    1. Hey Gill, happy new year! The Lost Horizon I was thinking of was the 30s Frank Capra film. I've never seen the remake ...


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