Top/Favorite Movies of 2023

Content by Tony Macklin. Originally published on January 16, 2024 @

Here are my selections for favorite/best films for 2023.


  1. Oppenheimer: A character study with depth and style. Director Christopher Nolan is at the top of his game. Cillian Murphy should get the Best Actor Oscar over Bradley Cooper's one-note performance in Maestro. The film is full of memorable performances. Nolan is defending the quality and integral stature of film.
  2. Air: Based on actual events, this is an intriguing tale of the evolution and promotion of Air Jordan shoes. Solid filmmaking by director Ben Affleck, and a strong performance by Matt Damon. Viola Davis is effective as Michael's mother.
  3. The Holdovers: Stellar reunion of Paul Giamatti and director Alexander Payne -- Sideways (2004). Payne captures the environment of a 1970s prep school. Slow starting, but becomes intriguing as it evolves. Writer David Hemingston's clever use of dualities gives added depth to what may seem asimple film on the surface.
  4. American Fiction: Irony is alive in 2023. Another well written film that substantially relies on language. It is an intelligent satire with a compelling performance by Jeffrey Wright, an underrated actor. It is the debut feature by director/co-writer Cord Jefferson.
  5. Barbie: Greata Gerwig's clever take on the iconic doll and its image. BTW, Gerwig and partner Noah Baumbach finally got married after a 12-year relationship. There's nothing like success.
  6. The Boy and the Heron: 82-year old Japanese writer/director Hayao Miyazaki showed he still is the master of animation.
  7. Poor Things: A bizarre tour de force. Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos makes another film about a maladjusted world as he did in the contrived The Lobster (2016), but this time he is vastly helped by Emma Stone, who plays a wild woman without restraint. She adds humanity and credibility to his weird concoction. Stone may wind up as favorite for the Best Actress Oscar. Some feminists have loved the film. Others have hated it, because of the male point of view.
  8. Godzilla Minus One: Many of the films of 2023 came from two genres -- sci-fi and horror. The best of both worlds may be this film. It adds humanity to the intriguing mix.
  9. Napoleon: Because of its special effects -- particularly the spectacular battle scenes -- this is a film that should be seen in a theater. But the viewer has to get on its wavelength. Many viewers have rejected Joaquin Phoenix's performance as the title character, because it is understated. Originally Stanley Kubrick intended to make a film about Napoleon starring Jack Nicholson. Of course, Jack would have been broad. Kubrick did serious research. But the project was rejected by the studio. Ridley Scott has resurrected it with his own stamp.
  10. It Ain't Over: This was originally released in 2022, but is now on Netflix, so it's more accessible. Director/writer Sean Mullin's documentary captures the dogged spirit of Yogi Berra. An informative, enjoyable film.

© 2000-2023 Tony Macklin