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    Four Films and One Miniseries to See Before Year’s End

    By Jan Wahl–

    I wouldn’t steer you wrong. Four films, as well as one miniseries, are so good that they will have you caroling showbiz thanks. When I see a disappointing movie, which is constantly, I like to remember a few very satisfying, fun, innovative, and sometimes spectacular ones. Here are a few of those:

    Remember All the President’s Men, starring hunky Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as two Washington Post reporters busting open the Watergate scandal? Now it’s The New York Times in She Said. Two reporters—played by Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan—are determined to end the silence about sexual harassment and assault. The film, beautifully directed by Maria Schrader, shows every detail of journalistic life and the hard work of the characters as they dive deep into the world of Harvey Weinstein and his victims. Costarring an actress I follow in all of her films, Patricia Clarkson, this is a feature film that I hope will be up for Oscar gold. The two reporters changed the world, and this movie can, too.  

    Here’s a film that has been promoted for months and is actually worth the wait: The Fabelmans. In this semi-autographical coming of age story, we meet the young Steven Spielberg, in love with movies as soon as he sees his first. Armed with his camera, he begins the complicated process of becoming a filmmaker. I must love seeing the work process because this movie, like She Said, shows the painstaking physical details along the career journey. Produced and cowritten by Spielberg and remarkable Tony Kushner, this is one of those rare films that has a riveting plot and compelling characters who lead viewers to laugh and cheer as well as a possibly shed a tear. Michelle Williams as Spielberg’s incandescent mother will hopefully get an Oscar nod, along with Spielberg as the director telling his own heartfelt story. If he took some liberties, it doesn’t matter. You will be glad you saw the film.

    Now let’s get silly. Who here, like me, admits to enjoying Bad Santa and Blazing Saddles? In that vein is The Estate, which is rollicking fun with its movie madness and bad taste laughs. Two sisters—played by Toni Collette and Anna Faris, who are both totally committed to the insanity—portray sisters hoping to get into their aunt’s will. That aunt is played by a wild Kathleen Turner. Other relatives show up, including smarmy David Duchovny. The movie is over the top, but I laughed so much that it made the ride well worth it.

    Back to the real world with Ron Howard’s searing 13 Lives. We follow the rescue of Thai boys and their soccer coach from a treacherous cave. It is flooding and their time is running out. The film is based completely on a true story, and we might know the outcome from the news stories of the time, but you won’t mind. This is strong, exciting storytelling that shows the courage and intellect of the divers. It is remarkable to once more be transported by a great film.

    The Offer blew my mind. I read everything I could about the making of the iconic movie The Godfather, from the mobsters to the filmmakers. This 10-episode TV series is Albert Ruddy’s (played by Miles Teller) story about his experience producing, going through mob quicksand, casting, and releasing 1972’s The Godfather. I was lucky enough to know the real Robert Evans, the head of Paramount who oversaw this dangerous production. Matthew Goode is perfect casting as the flamboyant Evans, with Burn Gorman also a scene stealer as the persnickety mogul of Gulf and Western, Charles Bluhdorn. Every frame works and it is a cinematic lesson on how one gets an impossible movie made.

    If these productions are any indication of showbiz in 2023, we will be blessed by the movie gods and goddesses. Happy new year one and all!

    Jan Wahl is a Hollywood historian, film critic on various broadcast outlets, and has her own YouTube channel series, “Jan Wahl Showbiz.” She has two Emmys and many awards for her longtime work on behalf of film buffs and the LGBTQ community. Contact her at

    Off the Wahl
    Published on December 15, 2022