2023 Preview (Part One) and a Personal Note

Hello, all! I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season!

This year, like the last several years, has been one of challenge and growth for me. A much-needed mental health break led to an extremely stressful job search in the summer and fall, and while I’m happy with how things have worked out, the process took a toll on my mental health – and on my productivity as a writer. Several occasions I wanted to observe – including Roald Dahl Day, Stephen King’s 75th birthday, and the 50th anniversary of the release of Free to Be… You and Me – came and went. I wanted to tell you all the reasons I loved Wednesday, to commemorate the wonderful Christine McVie’s life, and to discuss my favorite albums of 1982 and my favorite movies of 1997. I’d hoped to give you a Christmas movie-themed pop quiz. I have several pieces – the creepiest Criminal Minds unsubs, my favorite electronic film scores, and a new entry in my Gen-X series – in various stages of completion.

I want to thank all of you who are reading this. Whether you are a long-time reader or you just joined the party, I appreciate you taking time out of your day to read my words. My therapist asked me if I’m the sort of person who makes New Year’s resolutions. My response? “No, but my goal for this year is the same as every year: to do my best.” I want that to be your goal for 2023 as well. Just do your best. Don’t worry about whether it’s good enough; I am here to tell you that it is. Be kind to yourself. Experience joy where you can. Allow yourself to make mistakes and try to learn from them.

I do have one resolution, though: I resolve to continue bringing you the best content I possibly can. It’s what I’ve done so far and I couldn’t be more proud of where this journey has taken me. As I look ahead to 2023, I see a bright future for PBandJulie, and I am exceedingly grateful that you are along for the ride.

As always, a new year means new pop culture content, so here are some of the movies and series that I am most excited about in 2023. Look for part two of this post in the coming days.

  • Yellowjackets, season two

I haven’t been this excited for a second season since 2017 (Stranger Things, obvi). I just rewatched season one to prep and oh my god I fucking love this show! The casting news has kept fans on the edge of their seats: Lauren Ambrose will play adult Van! Elijah Wood will reunite with his The Ice Storm co-star Christina Ricci as a fellow member of Misty’s Citizen Detective club! Melanie Lynskey’s real-life husband, Jason Ritter, will appear in an undisclosed role! Showtime, in a wise move, has already renewed Yellowjackets for a third season; season two will premiere on March 24. I’ll post the trailer as soon as it’s available; so far all we’ve gotten is this tantalizingly tiny teaser.

  • Daisy Jones & the Six

Second only to season two of Yellowjackets on my “super pumped to see this” list, Daisy Jones & the Six is based on the splendid novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Starring Riley Keough and Sam Claflin, the ten-part limited series explores the rise and fall of a 1970s rock band and the fallout that ensues from the complicated relationship between its co-lead-singers (think Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham). The music promises to be a highlight; Reid wrote the lyrics to several songs for the novel and Tom Howe (Primetime Emmy nominee for Ted Lasso) composed the music. Presumably, the cast will sing their own songs; Claflin is a graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and Keough’s bona fides are hereditary (she’s the granddaughter of Elvis Presley).

Daisy Jones & the Six is scheduled to premiere on Amazon Prime on March 3.

  • The Last of Us

Three years into the COVID pandemic, I am still uncertain about committing to another post-apocalyptic story, but I can’t deny that HBO’s series – set to debut this coming Sunday – looks incredible. Based on the beloved, best-selling 2013 video game of the same name, The Last of Us follows a smuggler (Pedro Pascal) attempting to transport teenaged Ellie (Bella Ramsey) across a post-apocalyptic United States (a fungal infection has turned most humans into cannibalistic monsters and Ellie may hold the key to a vaccine). Original game developer Neil Druckmann co-created the show with Chernobyl showrunner – and two-time Emmy winner – Craig Mazin. The advance reviews have been rapturous. My guess is HBO will have a huge hit on their hands with this one.

  • Killers of the Flower Moon

Based on David Grann’s masterful true crime book of the same name, Killers of the Flower Moon will reunite director Martin Scorsese with both Robert DeNiro (their tenth collaboration!) and Leonardo DiCaprio (their sixth film together). The rest of the cast – including Jesse Plemons, Brendan Fraser, and John Lithgow – is outstanding. Frequent Scorsese collaborators, such as Oscar-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker and composer Robbie Robertson, will be on hand as well. In 2019, Scorsese met with the Osage Nation in Oklahoma to discuss their involvement in the film’s production, which will hopefully lend Killers of the Flower Moon an air of authenticity.

Killers of the Flower Moon will debut in theaters and on Apple TV sometime in 2023.

  • Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

The first Indiana Jones movie NOT directed by Steven Spielberg, Dial of Destiny will reteam Indy with John Rhys-Davies’ Sallah; supporting cast members include the magnificent Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Antonio Banderas, Toby Jones, and Mads Mikkelsen. James Mangold took the director’s chair, with Spielberg and George Lucas serving only as executive producers. The film is set in 1969 with a flashback to 1944 (because Nazis, duh); de-aging technology was used to match Harrison Ford’s appearance to the earlier Indy movies (Ford was said to be “spooked” by the results). Waller-Bridge should add a wonderful spark to the proceedings, and John Williams will be composing the music. After the disappointment of the last installment in the series (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), I’m cautiously optimistic about returning to the world of my favorite adventure series of all time.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny will open in theaters on June 30th.

  • White House Plumbers

THIS CAST! Woody Harrelson, Justin Theroux, Domhnall Gleeson, Lena Headey, Judy Greer, Kiernan Shipka, John Carroll Lynch, F. Murray Abraham, Kathleen Turner, and many more star in this limited series based on the Egil and Matthew Krogh book Integrity. Harrelson and Theroux portray E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, whom Nixon put in charge of stopping the leaks (hence, “plumbers”) coming out of the White House after the damaging release of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. David Mandel, who executive produced Veep, Curb Your Enthusiam, and Seinfeld, should bring a similarly sharp comedic tone to the festivities.

White House Plumbers is scheduled to premiere on HBO in March.

  • Oppenheimer

A new Christopher Nolan picture is always a cause for celebration, and this one promises to be a doozy. Starring Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer, the film will explore the creation of the atomic bomb at Los Alamos. The supporting cast – Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr, Florence Pugh, Rami Malek, and Kenneth Branagh, among others – is to die for. The music will be composed by Ludwig Göransson, who earned an Oscar for Black Panther and an Emmy for The Mandalorian.

Oppenheimer will open in theaters on July 21.

  • Renfield

Renfield, scheduled for release on April 14, looks like an absolute blast. Starring Nicholas Hoult in the titular role, Renfield explores what happens when Dracula’s loyal, long-suffering servant has second thoughts about his role in feeding his boss’s thirst. Dracula will be played by Nicolas Cage, whose over-the-top tendencies should be a perfect match for the material. I love a horror-comedy, and Renfield looks to be entertaining as hell.

Renfield is scheduled to open in theaters on April 14.

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