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John Waters' Best of 2023...

Haven't seen them all...but, as usual, a bizarre selection!

1. Beau Is Afraid (Ari Aster)

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Photo: A24

A superlong, super-crazy, super-funny movie about one man’s mental breakdown with a cast better than Around the World in 80 Days’: Joaquin Phoenix, Patti LuPone, Parker Posey, Nathan Lane, and Amy Ryan. It’s a laugh riot from hell you’ll never forget, even if you want to.

2. A Prince (Pierre Creton)

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Photo: Directors’ Fortnight/Directors’ Fortnight

You’ve never heard of this one, but I’d never heard of Super Mario Bros. when it came out either, so there. A most unlikely gay movie about a gerontophilic hot male farmer and his two old-man lovers who drop dead for no apparent reason other than being “embarrassed by youth and beauty.” It’s dirty in a soil-like way. Dicks turn into mythic creatures; men howl like dogs. Slow, spooky, and poetically fucked up. In other words, perfect.

3. Master Gardener (Paul Schrader)

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Photo: Curmudgeon Films

Another erotic movie featuring gardening, this time an S&M one with stud-muffin-Nazi overtones and Sigourney Weaver in the best performance of the year as a sugar mama with a heart for vengeance. Dig it. Dig it deep, sir.

4. Full Time (Éric Gravel)

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Photo: Music Box Films

An exhausting thriller, as exciting as The French Connection, about a normal single-mother hotel worker and whether she’ll get to work on time in Paris during a transit strike. Trust me—it’s brilliant.

5. Last Summer (Catherine Breillat)

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Photo: SBS Productions

A devastatingly pernicious tale of a French lawyer for abused minors who falls in lust with her own fawnish but nasty underage stepson, played by Samuel Kircher, who gives the lead kid in Death in Venice a run for his money. Not since Paul Morrissey and Joe Dallesandro has there been a director-star connection this hot and unconsummated. She gets it. He gets it raw.

6. Sparta (Ulrich Seidl)

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Photo: Damned Films

Are Romanian children better off with a closeted male pedophile who never acts overtly but shows them love or their real nasty hetero adult fathers who force them to act “mean” and “tough”? No wonder controversy rages about the making of the film. All I know is two things: The movie’s fantastic, and I’m glad I’m not a chicken queen.

7. Fallen Leaves (Aki Kaurismäki)

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Photo: Mubi/

Another deadpan Finnish kitchen-sink melodrama from one of the world’s greatest auteurs. An alcoholic factory worker and a lonely supermarket clerk meet by chance and struggle to fall in love. It’s drab, it’s short, it’s beautiful, and it lacks nothing. Just call it Unmagnificent Obsession. Shut up and love it.

8. Strange Way of Life (Pedro Almodóvar)

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Photo: Sony Pictures Classics

A refreshingly unironic new look at gay-cowboy memory, lust, family, and guilt that proves blood is thicker than semen.

9. Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan)

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Photo: Universal Pictures

Deserves the Oscar for being a big-budget, star-studded, intelligent action movie about talking.

10. Do Not Expect Too Much of the End of the World (Radu Jude)

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Photo: 4 Proof Film

A maddeningly radical, tedious, shockingly repetitious, brilliant two-hour-and-43-minute Godard–meets–Harmony Korine Romanian masterpiece in which we spend way too much time locked in the car of a confident, trashy, gum-chewing workaholic PA for a movie company as she does her chores. When I finished watching the movie, I was pretty sure I didn’t like it, but when I woke up the next morning, I realized I loved it. Suffer for cinema! Sometimes it’s worth it!