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Mr. Movie: Part 3 of 2023 sleepers

 Last year was a pretty good year for movies. This year probably will not be, considering the industry strike’s still going on. There’s little in the pipe. So, anyway, here is my last helping of 2023 movies that were good but didn’t get much notice.


Perhaps it’s a stretch to list an Academy Award nominee as a sleeper, but I would contend that Nyad is exactly that. It is the fictionalized but mostly accurate account of Dianne Nyad’s non-stop swim from Cuba to Miami. Why do this? Why not! Nobody had ever done it before. Annette Bening is the star, convincing as the swimmer battles age, fatigue, jelly fish, sharks and weather. It’s a stunning performance about a woman who just wouldn’t give up.


Sharper starts in a quiet bookstore and winds its way through multiple twists and scams. Julianne Moore is the big name, as Madeline, either a victim or participant in a devious plan. Sandy (Brianna Middleton) seems innocent enough, but turns out to be a parolee with quite a rap sheet. Nobody is quite who they seem to be in this one, but if you stick with it, all comes (sort of) clear.


The legendary Erroll Morris has never made a bad documentary, and his films are always fascinating. Add The Pigeon Tunnel to that list. This doc is about the life and career of John le Carre, author of The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and dozens more espionage thrillers. He created George Smiley, equivocal quasi-hero of the British spy system. The title comes from a rooftop pigeon coop in Monte Carlo, where pigeons are bred to fly though a long, dark tunnel only to be shot at for sport. A sly analogy to the espionage system.


Jules is an unusual animal, a sci-fi film with a moral and a heart. (Okay, yes, I remember ET.) Septuagenarian Milton (Ben Kingsley) has a flying saucer crash in his back yard, and a non-verbal alien emerges. Milton and his female friends call the new guy Jules, and the little guy tries to repair his space ship. He appears to have telepathic powers, rescuing Joyce (Jane Curtin) from a vicious attack by having the thug’s head explode. It turns out the only thing that can help Jules with his repair work is — dead cats! So his earthly friends set out to find enough to help him out.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus is Beth, a frustrated author trying to get her first novel published. She accidentally overhears her husband Don (Tobias Menzies) tell a male friend that he doesn’t like the book but doesn’t want to discourage Beth. Beth is finally convinced to hire a more optimistic agent, and this works wonders for the book and her marriage. You Hurt My Feeling is funnier, and better, than this synopsis sounds.


All of the movies in this article are out there somewhere. All are for adults.