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The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

tjTODAY

The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

tjTODAY

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Top 13 of 2023: Movies (Alternate Ranking)

Top+13+of+2023%3A+Movies+%28Alternate+Ranking%29
Toho Co., Ltd.

The past year was a unique one in movie history, with Hollywood experiencing commercial success and highly anticipated releases while the industry was put on hold due to the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) strikes.

Although the film industry is constantly changing, the impact of a well-told story will always have the ability to leave a lasting impression on an audience.

From critically acclaimed blockbusters to mediocre flops, here’s an in-depth alternative ranking exploring the top movies from 2023.

13. “Asteroid City”
Image courtesy of Focus Features

Some critics claim “Asteroid City” was boring and confusing, and I would have to agree. Still, I believe that Wes Anderson delivered in his latest retrofuturistic movie centered around a desert attraction that was once the site of an asteroid landing. “Asteroid City” is a whimsical visual experience characterized by Anderson’s signature camera work and artistic structure that transports viewers back to the 1950s. Asteroid City brings together characters that experience heartfelt and comedic interactions, touching on themes of human connection, loneliness, and self-discovery. This nonsensical film is full of imagination and humanity, with the core message of embracing the uncertainty in our lives.

12. “Barbie” 
Image courtesy of Warner Bros., Pictures

A list of the best movies from 2023 would not be complete without the iconic “Barbie” movie, but I’d personally put it below other film releases. A perfect blend of comedy and realism, “Barbie” delivers a reimagined adaptation of the beloved doll. The film adds contemporary themes of empowerment and identity with amusing characters and dialogue while capturing the original essence of Barbie. The Barbie World stood out from the start, with stunning visuals, cinematography, and a contemporary pop soundtrack that perfectly sets the tone of what is to be expected of an upbeat Barbie movie. “Barbie” is a delightful experience for people of all backgrounds.

11. “Anatomy of a Fall” 
Image courtesy of Le Pacte

An unconventional murder mystery, “Anatomy of a Fall” is a French film that portrays the story of Sandra, a writer who is accused of her husband’s death.  Depictions of Sanda’s messy marriage and past leaves viewers wondering if they will ever know if she’s telling the truth. The courtroom scenes are gripping, with twists and nuances that keeps the audience guessing from the  lack of closure. “Anatomy of a Fall” transcends the murder mystery genre to be a psychological thriller that makes viewers question whether we can fully comprehend anyone but ourselves.

10. “The Holdovers” 
Image courtesy of Miramax

Alexander Payne returns to filmmaking with a feel-good comedy following a history teacher forced to babysit a handful of students during Christmas break in the 1970s. “The Holdovers” delivers a sarcastic cast that perfectly blends comedy with bittersweet moments of hardship. Alexander Payne masterfully captures the nostalgic look and feel of 1970s films with shots embracing frame stains and realistic-looking grain. “The Holdovers” delivers touching messages representative of the Christmas season.

9. “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One” 
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures

The seventh installment to the “Mission: Impossible” franchise, “Dead Reckoning” follows Ethan Hunt and his team’s mission to stop a mysterious artificial intelligence threatening humanity. The movie is an explosive cinematic experience with unforgettable action sequences that keeps viewers engaged until the very end. From Norwegian mountains to Venice, the film’s breathtaking cinematography compliments its high-stakes storyline. “Dead Reckoning” is a triumph that makes a mark among the “Mission: Impossible” films.

8. “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Image courtesy of Apple TV+

“Killers of the Flower Moon” depicts the story of Osage woman Mollie Burkhart, whose family was murdered after the discovery of oil on Osage tribal land in the 1920s. This film is haunting, blending suspense and emotions while exploring the Osage people and their tragic murders. Scorsese remains historically accurate in  Osage Nation, shedding light on one of the worst genocides committed against Native Americans. Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro’s authentic chemistry perfectly embodies the sinister dynamic between Ernest Burkhart and his uncle, as well as their deceptive ties to the Osage Nation. “Killers of the Flower Moon” explores human greed and exploitation with an enthralling mystery.

7. “The Boy and the Heron” 
Image courtesy of Studio Ghibli

Following a 10-year hiatus, Hayao Miyazaki came out of retirement to create another beloved Studio Ghibli movie for his final farewell to filmmaking. “The Boy and the Heron” depicts Mahito’s coming of age as he confronts his grief from his mother’s death while entering a magical parallel world. Miyazaki’s artistic choices express themes of goodbyes and imperfect existences that provoke contemplation among audiences. “The Boy and the Heron” is a refreshing animation experience for both Miyazaki fans and new Studio Ghibli viewers.

6. “Air” 
Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Based on the true story of the Air Jordan shoes, “Air” portrays the journey of the then-rookie Michael Jordan and Nike’s partnership. The film is a fun, feel-good story about grit, risk, and triumph. Matt Damon and Viola Davis deliver authentic performances with funny moments that showcase how human connection can transcend to greatness. Although Air Jordans are one of the best-known sneakers of today, “Air” manages to capture the inspirational beginnings of making hoops and dreams.

5. “John Wick: Chapter 4” 
Image courtesy of Lionsgate Films

A film about an ex-hitman’s journey to revenge, “John Wick: Chapter 4” is a visually spectacular installment to the franchise. Dialogue is kept to a minimum, with a simple story driven by some of the best gun fights and martial arts scenes in cinema. The film is a three-hour-long adrenaline rush that incorporates a story shrouded in mystery with a satisfying ending. “John Wick: Chapter 4” delivers a distinguished addition to the iconic action series.

4. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” 
Image courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing

A sequel to “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (2018), “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” is an exhilarating film with a uniquely mesmerizing animation style. The storyline and characters are just as captivating, with a meticulous plot enhanced by the emotional depth of each character. The character’s relationships are especially heartwarming, providing many refreshing comedic moments and interactions. The relatable sequel also touches on self identity, change, and friendship. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” is a thrilling experience for all ages.

3. “Oppenheimer” 
Image courtesy of Universal Pictures

A frontrunner at every major film award this year, garnering five Golden Globe wins and eight Critics Choice Awards, “Oppenheimer” deserves all of its praise for pushing the conventional boundaries of filmmaking. This compelling historical biopic is simple yet powerful, with dialogue and thought-provoking themes driving the narrative with emotion and tension in every frame. Nolan’s direction, combined with brilliant cinematography, made the film artistically unique and even more intriguing. A powerful reflection on humanity and self-destruction, “Oppenheimer” is a must-watch that stands out among the rest of Hollywood.

2. “Past Lives” 
Image courtesy of A24

What would you do if you could control your fate? This was the question I continuously asked myself when watching “Past Lives.” An expressive film about reconnections and regret, “Past Lives” illustrates lost ties, new identities, and regret. “Past Lives” follows Nora and Hae Sung, a pair of childhood friends who live in South Korea but are separated when Nora’s family immigrates to the United States. The movie spans across multiple reunions and separations.  The touching scenes and powerful storytelling of “Past Lives” lingers, leaving the audience wondering, “What if?”

1. “Godzilla Minus One” 
Image courtesy of Toho Co., Ltd.

“Godzilla Minus One” captures the timeless essence of the original Godzilla (1954) while evolving the franchise with fresh ideas and modern storytelling. Action and narrative perfectly intertwine to deliver a moving story of post-war Japan immediately following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The movie explores themes of redemption, guilt, and destruction, spotlighted further by the compelling cast of humans and a truly terrifying Godzilla. “Godzilla Minus One” leaves viewers craving more of the horrifying monster.

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