I say this every end of the year, but I am always in awe of the quality of films that I see each and every year. Perhaps because I am a movie lover and I see Oscar-worthy films right at the tail end each year. So I am still high on quality films when I compile my yearly best of.
This year, a blockbuster film is also highly-praised. An increasingly rare feat nowadays. We’re, of course, talking about Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie.” And yes, the film is one of my faves. So what other films made it to my Top 10 list? Take a look:
THE TOP 10 BEST MOVIES OF 2023:
HONORABLE MENTIONS (in no particular order):
Blackberry: The rise and fall of the Blackberry is a dark comedy of epic proportions. Great ensemble cast!
The Burial: Tommy Lee Jones and Jamie Foxx make a perfect pair in this old fashioned true life legal dramedy.
The Color Purple: I love the music, the vibe, the feels! Plus the cast is great. My one minor complaint – this did not succeed in erasing the 1985 versions. I walked out of the theater still thinking of Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey.
Anatomy of a Fall: Sandra Hüller is fantastic in this procedural crime drama that’s about an implosion of a marriage. Hüller deserves an Oscar nod for this and “The Zone of Interest.”
Kokomo City: Insightful and affecting, this documentary about four Black trans sex workers will stay with you for a while.
Priscilla: Sofia Coppola created an affecting true-life drama about Elvis Presley’s marriage as seen through the eyes of his wife, Priscilla. Jacob Elordi is great as the King of Rock and Roll and Cailee Spaeny in the title role is a revelation.
Godzilla Minus One: Takes us back to why we love “Godzilla” in the first place – affecting story line with an undiscerning monster at its heart.
Theater Camp: Charming and delightful with a side of cringe. You’ll enjoy this mockumentary about theater camp.
All of Us Strangers: Thought-provoking and tender, this LGBTQ+ entry is simply mesmerizing.
John Wick: Chapter 4: A great ending to a fantastic action series.
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One: This Tom Cruise-starrer finds new ways to entertain us, to make each action scene reverberate. I can’t wait for Part Two.
Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.: The film version does justice to Judy Blume’s beloved novel. It’s refreshingly frank about puberty and also highly relatable even though it’s set in the 70s. Rachel McAdams rocks and Abby Ryder Fortson is a star.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse: The sequel to the Oscar-winning animated film is as visually vibrant and exciting.
Air: The dynamo known as Ben Affleck produces, acts, and directs this entertaining flick about the creation of Air Jordan. The sharp dialogue and the mood of the film harken back to the glory days of 1970s Hollywood.
They Cloned Tyrone!: Science fiction and blaxpoitation explode into a hilarious and smart socially-conscious mystery caper.
The Deepest Breath: This documentary is like a thriller mixed with a real-life tragedy that aims for your heart.
The Iron Claw: Zac Efron transformed into wrestler Kevin Von Erich in this illuminating film by Sean Durkin about family and sports.
NYAD: Jodie Foster and Annette Bening shine in this against all odds sports drama. Simply inspiring.
Cassandro: Gael Garcia Bernal is perfect as the Mexican gay wrestler, Saúl Armendáriz who rose to Lucha fame as the “Liberace of Lucha Libre.”
A Million Miles Away: Another inspiring film about a farmworker who dreamt to be an astronaut and succeeded. Michael Pena is fantastic as Jose Hernandez.
Red, White, and Royal Blue: Just because it’s simply charming! This LGBTQ+ romcom will swept you off your feet.
Radical: Eugenio Derbez gave a memorable performance as Sergio, the teacher who dared fight the Mexican education system and won!
THE WORST (in no particular order):
Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey: Whoever thought of turning A.A. Milne’s 1926 book into a slasher torture-porn crapola deserves to be slobbered by Pooh and Piglet. I’m looking at you Rhys Frake Waterfield! Totally unimaginative! Sadly, there’s a sequel coming up in February! Yikes!
The Marvels and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom: Both films, one from Marvel and the other from DC, proved that the superhero genre is dead. Hurray!
Insidious: The Red Door and The Nun II: Like both Marvel and DC cinematic universes, the sprawling but unnecessary horror universes. You know, cinematic universe is just a fancy way of saying sequels or Hollywood has no original ideas.
Ghosted: Ana de Armas and Chris Evans are hot but this espionage romcom is overstuffed and doesn’t know what it is.
Knights of the Zodiac: A failed attempt to ignite our love for the manga/anime franchise of “Saint Seiya.” Bad acting and CGI. I was bored.
Expend4bles: No matter how you spell it, this fourth one is forgettable and nonsensical.
Pet Sematary: Bloodlines: Avoid this meandering sequel! Lifeless and fails to do justice to the original Stephen King work.
Children of the Corn (2023): An unnecessary remake with lazy script and direction.