Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The best movies and shows of 2023

And the Collegian Staff Golden Globe for best movies and TV shows goes to…
Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Succession (Season 4)

Isaac Brickman, Head Graphics

The final season of “Succession,” nominated for 27 Emmys, does not disappoint. The show follows the ultra-rich Roy family, whose demanding patriarch, Logan Roy, is the CEO of a multibillion-dollar corporation. With his health in decline, the inevitable question of his successor proves to be a not-so-secret competition among his kids, who also vie for his approval. The tumultuous season dissects themes such as power, love and family, under the backdrop of wealth that is out of this stratosphere.

Daisy Jones and the Six

Mary DeCarlo, Collegian Correspondent

“Daisy Jones and the Six,” starring Riley Keough and Sam Claflin, was nominated for nine Emmys, including Outstanding Limited or Anthology series. Based on the New York Times bestselling novel written by Taylor Jenkins Reid, the story follows the rise and fall of a fictional ‘70s band, Daisy Jones and the Six. The show includes original music, with some of the producers of the album being indie star Phoebe Bridgers and folk front man Marcus Mumford. The miniseries weaves in documentary-style interviews throughout, portraying two characters’ reckless personalities and the impact it has on their band and the people around them, which ends in destruction. Many of the actors had never played an instrument nor performed before being casted in the show but were able to come together and transform into a band that encapsulates ‘70s rock n’ roll.


Luke Halpern, Head Op/Ed Editor

Christopher Nolan did it again. “Oppenheimer,” stars Cillian Murphy as the titular scientist-turned-American icon becoming tortured by the consequences of his discoveries. Emily Blunt deserves an Oscar for her performance as Kitty Oppenheimer. Matt Damon and Robert Downey Jr. are also spectacular, with RDJ standing out in particular. The score of this movie is one of my favorites that I’ve heard from Nolan — “Can You Hear the Music” especially — while the visual effects truly immerse you in the minds of historical figures that can appear so shrouded in mystery. Some people may criticize the film for its length or over-reliance on backdoor meetings and long congressional hearings in Washington D.C., but for me, that just added to the stakes of the final events of the movie. This movie deserves to be watched for the Oscar-worthy performances alone, and on the biggest screen if possible.

Julia (Season 2)

Nathan Legare, Assistant Social Media Editor

Creating one of America’s first cooking shows was not a piece of cake. In this HBO Max original drama series, we follow Smith College alumna Julia Child (Sarah Lancashire), fresh off the release of her cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” as she rises to international stardom with her television series at Boston’s WGBH. In season two, Julia finds herself writing a second cookbook, navigating workplace drama and grappling with the downsides of fame. Lancashire’s performance is more than just an imitation. The second she gets into character, she becomes Julia Child, from her larger-than-life persona to her iconic, high-pitched voice. It’s a delightful watch and will surely inspire you to get into the kitchen. Bon appétit!

May December

Thomas Machacz, Assistant Arts Editor

Every scene in “May December” must be seen to be believed. The latest film from iconic auteur Todd Haynes tells the story of an actress (Natalie Portman) shadowing a woman (Julianne Moore) who entered a relationship with a 13-year-old boy when she was in her thirties. With jail time behind her, the woman has started a family with the same boy, now in his late thirties (Charles Melton). As we see the actress study this strange relationship, she becomes drawn into the allure of both manipulator and the manipulated. Its achingly human characterization allows for both devastating emotional drama as well as hilariously awkward interactions. Samy Burch’s dialogue revels in the tabloid-esque nature of its subject, while also interrogating the inherently vulnerable nature of romance itself.


Past Lives

Aalianna Marietta, Collegian Staff

Director, playwright and screenwriter Celine Song stuns in her debut, “Past Lives,” a romance following childhood friends Nora Moon (Greta Lee) and Hae Sung (Teo Yoo) after their lives split into two different directions. At about 10 years old, Nora leaves Hae Sung behind in South Korea when she immigrates with her family to the U.S. About 20 years pass before the two reconnect and a romance grows in the thousands of miles between them.

“Past Lives” twists the traditional love story as Nora and Hae Sung grapple with the loss of their life together, a fate locked in Nora’s past life. The film further spins romance on its head through the pair’s quiet chemistry, a breath of fresh air from the mile-a-minute banter of most movie couples. In the pauses of their conversations, powerful lines have the space to hit and bruise you, like Hae Sung’s question to Nora, “What if this is a past life as well, and we are already something else to each other in our next life? Who do you think we are then?”


The Holdovers

Shannon Moore, Assistant Arts Editor

“The Holdovers,” a 1970s period piece directed by Alexander Payne, is sure to become a Christmas classic. The film follows grumpy, bug-eyed professor Paul Hunham (Paul Giamatti) as he is forced to chaperone the kids who are not going home for Christmas break — also known as “holding over” — at Barton Boys School. Dominic Sessa makes his cinematic debut as the main kid character, Angus, and the relationship between Sessa and Giamatti on screen is beautiful. “The Holdovers” also features Da’Vine Joy Randolph as kitchen cook Mary Lamb, who is also holding over after her son lost his life in Vietnam. Giamatti and Randolph are both nominated for Golden Globes for their performances in the film, generating strong Oscar nomination buzz. Upon watching the film, it’s easy to see why. All three characters tug at the heartstrings, leaving you crying, laughing and admiring the wonders of human connection.



Allie Powers, Collegian Correspondent

GQ’s 2023 “Man of The Year,” Jacob Elordi stars in a disturbing masterpiece with fellow co-star Barry Keoghan. The film teeters the line between love and obsession as Oliver Quick (Keoghan), an intelligent Oxford castaway, becomes infatuated with the wealthy life of the charming Felix Catton (Elordi). The differences between the two quickly bring them together to form a complicated friendship. Oliver soon moves in at the Catton family’s Saltburn Estate where the unsettling chaos arises. The love-hate relationship takes a turn for the worse as Oliver’s cunning plans set in motion. The R-rated film floods social media with disturbing scenes that feel unimaginably wrong to watch. The fascination of this film comes from its mix of themes between power and money to love and obsession, intertwined with sex and violence.

Killers of the Flower Moon

Samourra Rene, Assistant Arts Editor

“Killers of the Flower Moon,” directed by Martin Scorsese, unfurls a gripping narrative in 1920s Oklahoma where the discovery of oil on Osage Native American land leads to a series of murders. Lily Gladstone’s portrayal of the intelligent and intuitive Osage woman Molly Burkhart and her dim-witted, morally bankrupt white husband, Ernest (Leonardo DiCaprio) anchor the story as a couple in strife and secrecy.

The film’s technical brilliance, from cinematography to production design, authentically captures the Western-style rural landscape and atmosphere. As the plot unfolds, the film delves into the corrupting influence of greed and racism with Robert DeNiro’s unsettling performance as William Hale, who uses systemic corruption to damage the Osage community for his own gain. The film stands as a chilling exploration of a dark chapter in American history.



Jack Underhill, Head News Editor

“Beef,” directed by Lee Sung Jin, debuted last April on Netflix. Starring Steven Yeun as Danny Cho and Ali Wong as Amy Lau, the 10 fast-paced and rage-filled, yet thoughtful, episodes follow Cho and Lau’s relationship that begins with a destructive road rage incident. The small feud cascades into a series of twists and turns as their minds spiral with not only hatred, but finding meaning in a life that is consumed by the tediousness of work. The hilariously dark show rips into most Americans’ deepest fear: “I am working, but what am I working for? Am I happy?”

The juxtaposition of Cho’s working-class life and Lau’s extravagant wealth makes for a dynamic relationship that will keep you clicking “Watch Next Episode.” What really brings this show together is the outstanding performances of Wong and Yeun that makes you feel and understand their very humanizing emotions. If you’re looking to question where you draw value in life, but in a philosophical, disturbingly hilarious way, give this miniseries a watch.

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