Ah! Another year at the movies. Just kidding. I had an old boss who would say “what a semester!” at the end of every work day. What a semester, as we say!

A few housekeeping notes:

  1. We’re not doing a top ten list this year. By “we,” I mean “I.” Everything is jumbled up together. Assume that if it’s here––minus some of the NYFF stuff––it’s accessible via one of the gajillion streaming sites we have access to. Or it will be accessible very soon!
  2. Martin Eden is technically a 2020 release but I saw it last year, hence its exclusion…


photo of me!

Ah, another year at the movies! Who can believe it? I set zero movie-related goals for this year, and therefore, I have nothing significant to report on, statistics-wise. It was certainly another year––as they all ought to be––of me seeing more non-2019 movies than 2019 movies, but this was the least number of new releases I’ve seen in a couple of years. Probably since I graduated from college? It doesn’t matter. Anyway, to me, 2019 was a stronger movie year than 2018, but neither lives up to the joy of 2017. Oh well. …


25 movies seemed like a good number

the list is ranked, but only in the loosest, broadest sense. my top ten feel the most solid to me, in part because I wrote them and submitted them to BW/DR and now I cannot undo that. everything that happens after that is… who can say? it was not so simple as culling down my top ten list from every year. there are movies I’ve forgotten about, movies I’m not sure about, movies I might need another decade to sit with.

here’s what felt timely and wonderful and moving and interesting to me. it was a great decade for movies…


thank you to Karen for making me such a perfect banner

I have been writing about all of the movies I watch every year for the past few years, and I always find it a fun and low stakes wind-down activity. I made it a New Years resolution to watch 100 movies in 2017. And I did that! Plus one more. Everyone loved it and was proud of me for doing literally one thing I said I was going to do.

In lieu of making a similar resolution this year, I decided to watch a fuck-ton of movies. I ended up watching 148 movies that were new to me. Why not…


One of my New Years resolutions last year was to watch 100 movies in 2017. Ideally I wanted to do 50 older movies and 50 theatrical releases. I’m not sure my numbers are exactly as accurate as I want to be — oddly I think I saw more 2017 releases than old movies which makes… no sense? — but I did a pretty good job nonetheless! It’s a fun resolution, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to watch more movies. Or do nothing, I don’t care.

Here is everything I have to say about those movies.

The 2016 leftovers

Neruda (Jackie…


Classical Music Hour with Fran

Image: Nick Vidal-Hall

My entire last week was derailed by Charli XCX’s new music video for her song “Boys.” The “Boys” video is fun about a few different levels because you can ask yourself:

  • Which boy do I self-identify as?
  • Which boy is my idealized self?
  • Who would be in my own personal “Boys” video and what would they be doing?

Approximately three and a half questions. Nice. Amidst the brainstorming of my own “Boys” video (Steven Yeun eating an iced donut, Peter Capaldi buttoning up a cardigan, etc.), I was vaguely reminded of my high school crush who definitely would have…


Classical Music Hour with Fran

Image: Max Stotsky

I realized with horror midway through kneading my very first focaccia this past weekend that I had yet to cover an Italian composer for this column. (The focaccia, for what it’s worth, turned out fine.) The reason for this is twofold. First, it’s essential to know that much of my favorite Italian classical music is, in fact, opera, and while I love listening to it, I’ve yet to approach it in an academic or historical context. It wouldn’t be right for me to write on it — not yet, that is. And at least I know it’s more than just…


Classical Music Hour with Fran

Image: Jason Hickey

Week after week, I share my preferred recordings of the pieces I write about, and more often than not, they’re recordings by the New York Philharmonic and Leonard Bernstein from the 1960s. But rarely do I go into Bernstein himself, the seminal composer, conductor, pianist, lecturer, etc. (this is a BIG et cetera, not a LAZY one — he really did do just about everything), who died a mere six months before I was born.

But who was Bernstein, really? Beyond the “Lenny” that seemingly every account of him refers to him as. Bernstein was born to a middle-class family…


Classical Music Hour with Fran

Liszt at the Piano (1840) by Josef Danhauser. Image: Wikimedia Commons

I never got the opportunity to play Franz Liszt in my years as a musician. My introduction to him came through literature — through one of my favorite books when I was in high school, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens. The book details a relationship between a slightly well-intentioned demon and a mischievous angel during what might be the apocalypse. The two are very into music, and early in the novel, they have the following exchange:

“We’ll win of course,” [Aziraphale, the angel] said.
“You don’t want that,” said the demon.
“Why not, pray?”
“Listen,” said [the demon] Crowley desperately. “How…


He does!

Are you watching this season of “Great British Bake Off” that’s airing on PBS right now? (Or, as it’s known in America, “Great British Baking Show.” Why PBS thinks we can’t deal with the word “off,” I’ll never know.) Anyway, you really should be watching. Here’s a good reason to: this guy named Tom.

I got this from PBS dot com

Doesn’t he look nice? The deal with Tom is: he’s a normal guy with a normal job and a wife. That’s always the deal with a lot of the men on “Great British Bake Off.” They’re nice and affable. I mean, they’re men who are home…

Fran Hoepfner

writer & idiot

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