BILL VAUGHAN’S TASTY CLIPS: Faves of 2023 span films, television and more 

By Bill Vaughan

Entertainment Writer

What a year 2023 has been. Though the long actors and writers strikes halted and delayed several anticipated projects, there was still enough to satiate entertainment appetites. Submitted for your interest with the hope that you will check some of them out, are the TASTY CLIPS FAVES of 2023! 

MOVIES: “The Color Purple” certainly lived up to the hype as a solid piece of storytelling, song, and razzle dazzle from visionary director Blitz Bazawule. Danielle Brooks’ Sofia, Colman Domingo’s Mister were standouts as well as Taraji P. Henson’s Shug Avery. In fact, if Taraji’s acting “math ain’t mathing,” she should consider a recording career. Her voice was a revelation, keeping up with the likes of powerhouse Fantasia Barrino, who reprises her Broadway musical leading role of Celie. 

“Killers of the Flower Moon” and “Oppenheimer” are masterworks in depicting the evil men have done in America. Great movies, but it would be hard to sit down and watch them again anytime soon.

“The Holdovers,” making its streaming debut Dec. 29 on Peacock, is a classic piece of retro filmmaking from Alexander Payne (“Sideways,” “Election”). If the always reliable Paul Giamatti and Da’Vine Joy Randolph are not in the running for all acting awards, an investigation will be necessary. 

Marvel Studios came up with a couple of winners in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3” and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (though that cliff-hanger ending was a buzzkill).  

Both “Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One” and “Avatar: The Way of Water” are achievements in modern moviedom. Kudos to all involved in these years-in-the-making productions. It showed on the screen.

“Cocaine Bear” and Netflix’ “We Have a Ghost” were unexpectedly funny amidst all the mayhem. 

Among our guiltiest pleasures were “Air” (with Viola Davis ruling), “Leave the World Behind,” the audacity of “The Flash” (bringing back Michael Keaton as Batman in some terrific action sequences), “The Burial” (with Jamie Foxx, Tommy Lee Jones, and Jurnee Smollett), and “The Wrath of Becky.” 

TV: “Snowfall” (FX on Hulu) and “Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+) showed how to end a series on top (and the latter’s Juno Temple showed how to jump off in FX’s terrific “Fargo”). 

BET+ finally has a winner with “Average Joe,” starring Deon Cole (who would’ve been a proper Bass Reeves with that steely stare of his).  

“Dave” (FXX on Hulu), “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” (Paramount+), “The Last of Us” (HBO/Max), “One Piece” (Netflix), and Peacock’s “Bupkis” and “Poker Face” had some of the best episodes of the season. 

“From” (MGM+) is the most frightening series streaming, but that second season finale may be a signal of it fading. 

Most satisfying binges were Netflix’ big pharma drama “Painkiller,” and Prime’s absurd “I’m A Virgo” (from Boots Riley) and “Swarm,” starring Dominique Fishback as a fangirl serial killer. 

CONCERTS: Beyoncé (if you don’t believe, catch the silver-studded film “Renaissance”), Buddy Guy’s Farewell Tour (a masterful show and blues tutorial in one), and mesmerizing vocalist Danielle Ponder.  Also enjoyed seeing Tony! Toni! Toné! back together again, Toto, Macy Gray and Fred Wesley bringing the funk at the ColaJazz Fest.  

THEATER: Previewed “MJ The Musical” at Charlotte, North Carolina’s Blumenthal Performing Arts Center prior to its current run at the Pantages and was wowed like everyone else. Shout out to Atlanta’s Theatrical Outfit for its staging of “Passing Strange.” Fell in love with Spike Lee’s filming of the Broadway production, but never saw it live before this masterful iteration. 

DINING: Best bites of the year came courtesy of Kwame Onwuachi’s Tatiana and Eric McCree’s Filé Gumbo Bar (both of New York City); national chains Nobu, Pink Taco and Culinary Dropout; Asheville, North Carolina’s Curate and Mamacitas Mexican Grill; and Charleston, South Carolina’s Pakistani restaurant Ma’am Saab. 

HAPPS: Katt Williams – The Dark Matter Tour comes Dec. 29 to Toyota Arena, as acapella group Straight No Chaser sing at the Cerritos Center, and Jerry Harrison & Adrian Belew: Remain In Light takes the stage of Anaheim’s City National Grove. Also, Poncho Sanchez’ Latin Jazz Band begins a three-night stand at Catalina Bar & Grill  

The Roots close their Holiday Run Dec. 30 at The Wiltern  

Walt Disney Concert Hall presents New Year’s Eve with Pink Martini, while Los Lobos is at The Coach House, and Rochelle Jordan performs at Echoplex.  

TASTY QUIP: “One of the worst lies that’s been told to young people is that there’s a thing called ‘overnight success.’ That’s done a lot of damage to people. It’s not like you’re just out there, and the hand of God is going to come down from the heavens and say, ‘You are the next one.’ That is BS.” – SPIKE LEE 

TC ON TV: Dec. 30 – “50 Years of The AFI Lifetime Achievement Award” (TCM): A star-studded retrospective celebrating the golden age of Hollywood to the present, featuring music, laughter and unforgettable movie memories from Sidney Poitier, Alfred Hitchcock, Audrey Hepburn, Denzel Washington, Jennifer Hudson and more. “First-Time Buyer’s Club” (OWN): In this new 10-episode, half-hour unscripted series, teacher-turned-realtor Amina Stevens aims to educate and inspire clients who are intimidated by the overwhelming housing market. Each and every sale also furthers her ultimate mission and passion with her work — the building of wealth and the reduction of housing disparity in the Black community. 

Dec. 31 – “Dave Chappelle: The Dreamer” (Netflix): The Emmy and Grammy-winning icon returns to the Lincoln Theatre in his hometown of Washington, D.C. to let loose on the slap heard round the world and more in this unfiltered stand-up comedy special. “Off Script with The Hollywood Reporter” (Sundance): Yvonne Orji (“Insecure”) hosts this series with creatives filmed at the famed Santa Monica hangout The Georgian Hotel. The first episodes this night focuses on ensembles of songwriters (including Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Olivia Rodrigo and Jon Batiste) and actresses (including Emily Blunt and America Ferrera). “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2024” (ABC): Rita Ora co-hosts from Times Square, while Jeannie Mai and Dayanara Torres do the same from L.A. and Puerto Rico, respectively. Musical guests include Janelle Monáe, Ludacris, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Megan Thee Stallion, Jelly Roll, Paul Russell, Reneé Rapp with Coco Jones, Green Day, Tyla and Post Malone. “New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash” (CBS): With Kane Brown, Trombone Shorty, Blake Shelton, and others. “New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper & Andy Cohen” (CNN): Darius Rucker, Enrique Iglesias, Maroon 5, Jonas Brothers, Flo Rida, Miranda Lambert and Rod Stewart to perform with guest appearances by Patti LaBelle, Bowen Yang, David Blaine and more. “Next At The Kennedy Center” (PBS): “Cynthia Erivo & Friends: A New Year’s Eve Celebration” features Broadway stars Ben Platt and Joaquina Kalukango under the direction of Emmy Award-winning music director and producer Rickey Minor.

Jan. 1 – “The Rose Parade” (ABC/NBC/Peacock): Michelle Williams (of Destiny’s Child), “The Voice” winner Cassadee Pope and “American Idol” champ Jordin Sparks are among the performers. “2023 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony” (ABC): With LL Cool J, Common, Ice-T, Queen Latifah, Miguel, Sia, Stevie Nicks, Adam Levine and more. “M*A*S*H: The Comedy That Changed Television” (Fox): A two-hour definitive look at the 14-time Emmy-winning television classic featuring new interviews with original cast members Alan Alda, Gary Burghoff, William Christopher, Jamie Farr, Mike Farrell, Wayne Rogers and Loretta Swit.  

Jan. 2 – “Finding Your Roots” (PBS): Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. returns to lead a 10th season of deep familial explorations opening with singers Ciara and Alanis Morissette. “Raid The Cage” (CBS): Actor and comedian Damon Wayans Jr. hosts and executive produces this action-packed new game show.

Jan. 3 – “I Can See Your Voice” (Fox): Hosted by Ken Jeong, a rotating panel of guest celebrity detectives must help one contestant tell the difference between good and bad singers, without ever hearing them sing a note. “We Are Family” (Fox): Anthony Anderson and his Mama Doris host this music-centric guessing game show executive produced by Jamie Foxx. The premise showcases non-famous relatives of celebrities performing amazing solo performances and duets with their hidden famous family member. 

Jan. 4 – “The Brothers Sun” (Netflix): Michelle Yeoh stars as a strong-willed matriarch whose family is targeted by a mysterious enemy in this new series. 

END QUOTE: “If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else.” – MARVIN GAYE

As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment columns in the nation, serving nearly one million weekly readers. Bill Vaughan may be reached at, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.