My Top 8 Favorite Movies of 2023

I watched 65 new-to-me movies in 2023, many at St. Louis’ new Alamo Drafthouse, and many others in the comfort of our home. Interestingly, 3 of my top 4 movies were in the theater, and 5 out of the top 8.

Here’s my list:

8. No Hard Feelings: There were a few raunchy comedies that missed the mark for me this year, but I really had fun with No Hard Feelings, a movie with a premise that feels dated even as I type it: A woman in her 30s is paid by an 18-year-old boy’s parents to seduce him. Yet it works due to the combination of comedy and heart.

7. Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: This prequel film has potentially the best first 2 hours of any movie this year…but then it continues for another 40 minutes. Despite that, I really enjoyed the move, and I think the music elevated it.

6. The Menu: This dark comedy about a very fancy restaurant has some of the most memorable moments of any film this year. The experienced was enhanced for us by going to a fancy restaurant soon afterwards (fortunately, the chef was nothing like the chef in the movie).

5. Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1: I really enjoyed the latest installment in this franchise, and for the most part I like that it takes its time. Every scene is beautifully filmed, not chopped up and truncated. My only wish is that the big motorcycle jump could have been shown multiple times from start to finish; for all the build up, the final version of that one scene felt a bit rushed. Fortunately, it was followed soon afterwards by a much longer, unexpected scene with some incredible stunts. I’m excited about part 2 of this duology.

4. Elemental: Pixar is back! I love that this is a pure rom com that just happens to take place a completely different world, one where elementals are people.

3. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse: My favorite Marvel movie of the year and Elemental are really close, but the animation style and really sharp writing give this move an edge. Though it also ends in a complete cliffhanger, which I could have done without, especially given that the follow-up won’t release for a while. Still, this is one that I’m eager to rewatch.

2. Barbie: Is it possible to separate the quality of Barbie with the experience of watching Barbie in a packed theater with a bunch of friends wearing pink, drinking pink drinks? It isn’t. But even without that experience, I thought the movie was excellent–funny, insightful, touching, and aesthetically distinct and beautiful. I hope it wins every award.

1. Dungeons & Dragons Honor Among Thieves: This is the only movie on the list that we watched twice in 2023, one in the theaters and one at home. It made me laugh the most of any movie this year, it had great action and worldbuilding (or at least a great visualization of the D&D world), and it has some of the most memorable scenes of 2023 (including several heists!). I have the faintest hope that we’ll get a sequel, but if not, I’ll gladly watch this again in the future.

What were some of your favorite movies that you watched for the first time in 2023? Which move do you think you’re most likely to rewatch first?

Last year’s list is here.

3 thoughts on “My Top 8 Favorite Movies of 2023”

  1. I don’t watch as many movies in the theatre as I used to, but in terms of movies that I saw for the first time at the theatre or at home, include:

    – Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves ~ as a 40+ D&D player, this was the BEST movie ever for both D&D and non-D&D players ever produced
    – Oppenheimer ~ as a History Major, this is an important work beyond the creation of the bomb, but the politics that surround so many aspects of life
    – The Big Lebowski ~ Heartfelt and absurd in equal measure; while this one dates back to a time when I served overseas, I only saw it for the first time this year
    – Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse ~ thoroughly enjoyable, beautifully-rendered, and as always, possesses a great message about family and friends


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