My December 2023 Media Diet

This year was the first in nearly 10 years that I could not finish my reading goal. I ended the year with 18 books; just shy of my goal of 20. I am a bit bummed that I couldn’t meet the goal but ultimately I think that the blame for it lies in a lack of reading momentum due to not connecting with many of the books I did read. I’ll get over it. On to next year’s goal…

Here’s what I’ve been up to the past month:

📺 Loki: Season 2. I’m not entirely sure I understood exactly what was going on the entire time, but the stakes were clear enough. Tom Hiddleston is a treasure and I hope we haven’t seen the last of this character.

🕹️ Super Mario Bros. Wonder. I have one more level to go in this game but it’s safe to say that it’s nothing less than a masterpiece. Decades of Mario games has culminated in a game that is approachable by everyone, new in fantastic ways, and comfortingly old in all the ways that matter. (👍🏼)

📺 Love Has Won: The Cult of Mother God. What the hell did I just witness? Documentary series are not typically my cup of tea as I think they’re usually overstay their welcome. This was a tight three episodes and the conclusion is too wild for me to spoil. People are crazy and it’s a bit depressing. (👍🏼)

🍿 The Mummy (2017). This movie was mediocre at best but surprising in that the movie studios canned the “Dark Universe” shared universe concept before it even got off the ground. It’s probably for the best that it didn’t happen but it leaves me wondering, what if?

🍿 Godzilla: Minus One. There is a lot of Godzilla content going around right now and I think this new Japanese entry is the best of them all. Bringing the story back to the days following WW2 was a great choice. The effects were nicely done on the small budget it had too. The power behind Godzilla’s laser blast was on another level. Very impactful and (intentionally) reminiscent of a nuclear bomb blast. (👍🏼)

🍿 The Boy and the Heron. It’s everything you want in a Miyazaki movie. Beautiful animation, wild and sometimes grotesque characters, a plot where you don’t know exactly what will come next, and a touching story at the heart of it all.

🍿 Merry Little Batman. This was pretty cute. A Batman story that doesn’t take itself too seriously is always fun. I’m not typically a fan of holiday specials (bah humbug!?) but Merry Little Batman was entertaining.

🕹️ Jusant. Video games with climbing sequences and puzzles are my jam. So when I saw that Jusant was a game about climbing, I was in. This is a beautiful and brief game and i enjoyed every minute of it. (👍🏼)

🍿 Wonka. When the trailer was released my first impression was that this movie was going to be trash. Fortunately, that was not the case! The director previously made the Paddington movies and a lot of the charm from those shine through in this.

🍿 The Creator. The story, settings, and sets felt very grounded in reality. The young girl who played Alphie did a great job and the relationship that develops between the main character and her was very sweet. Unfortunately, I read somewhere that this felt like a poor man’s Christopher Nolan movie and I can’t get that out of my head.

📖 Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher. The 2023 Hugo Award winner for best novel lives up to that reputation. This was the last book I read this year and I couldn’t have asked for a better novel. Nettle & Bone masterfully weaves fresh fantasy concepts nested within old fairy tail tropes. I particularly loved the puppet who controlled the innkeeper. (👍🏼)

📖 Witch King by Martha Wells. The underlying story was novel and the world was richly developed, however, I really struggled getting through this book. I can’t quite put my finger on it but it ultimately just did not grip me in the way that other novels this year did.

Tim Bueno @timbueno