(Pop) Cultural Marxism, Episode 9: Things of the Year 2023

In the final episode for 2023, Isi, Ajay, and Joseph address the vexing nature of End-of-Year lists—and then go through the vexing process of assembling our own! Isi leads us through our year in cinema; Ajay, the year in games; and Joseph, the year in television, culminating in three top picks (and some honorable mentions) for the year in each category. Discussions range from the surprising success of cinematic restorations to films which shape, subvert, and show the optical unconscious; games of visceral pleasure, systemic fascination, and astonishing simplicity; and the politics (and possibilities) in contemporary anime and the anxious and wonderfully character-driven year in television. Proceeding in part through negative examples (Oppenheimer and Final Fantasy XVI receive perhaps the harshest treatments), the cast ultimately records in the world of film: 1. Stop Making Sense (2023, remaster); 2. Killers of the Flower Moon (2023); and 3. May December (2023), with honorable mentions for How to Blow Up a Pipeline (2023) and The Boy and the Heron (2023). In the world of games: 1. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (2023); 2. Armored Core 6 (2023); 3. Super Mario Brothers Wonder (2023) / Pikmin 4 (2023), with honorable mentions for Star Ocean: The Second Story R and a whole slate of tiny games for Panic’s “Playdate” lo-fi handheld: Questy Chess, Omaze, Zipper, Casual Birder, among others. In the world of television: 1. Rap Shit (2023); 2. Beef (2023); 3. Attack on Titan (2013-2023), with honorable mentions for the live-action adaptation of One Piece (2023) and our collective 2022 hangover shows: Peaky Blinders (2013-2022) and Ozark (2017-2022). Stay tuned in for talk of the unbearable “Barbenheimer” phenomenon, what makes old action movies so good, unsustainable labor practices in the world of commercial game production, and making a “Breaking Bad” that is actually good. Wishing you all a critically reflective holiday season from PCM!

You can download the episode by right-clicking here and selecting “save as.” Or, look us up on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

(Pop) Cultural Marxism is produced by Elliot Yokum. If you like what you’ve heard, consider subscribing to Brooklyn Institute’s Patreon page, where you can enjoy access to all past and future episodes of this podcast, as well as Practical Criticism and other streams belonging to the Podcast for Social Research.

(Pop) Cultural Marxism, Episode 9: Things of the Year 2023
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