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Top 10 Movies To Define 2023

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Tori Kemmerling
Picture of Regal Theater

2023 was a year to remember, especially for cinema. With many iconic movies being released, it’s difficult to determine which one was the best. We picked our top 10 movies of the year to narrow it down.

At number 10, we have Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One. This film follows the recurring character Ethan Hunt, played by Tom Cruise, and the Impossible Mission Force on another journey to stop a major threat. With a budget of $291 million, this movie is highlighted by its remarkable stunt scenes. The most prominent by far is the shot of Ethan (Tom Cruise) riding a motorbike off a cliff and parachuting down. This scene is so popular because it uses no CGI and no body doubles, with Tom Cruise performing the stunt himself. Pennridge High School film teacher Hannah Godshall says she was “constantly impressed with Tom Cruise putting his life at risk to perform stunts.”

Coming in at number nine is John Wick Chapter 4. Starring Keanu Reeves, this is the fourth film in the John Wick series. Following Wick on another journey of attempting to take down The High Table, the movie goes all over the globe as he fights new foes. Released in March 2023, the film managed to quadruple its budget at the box office. The film series is loved for its action, and John Wick Chapter 4 scored 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.

In eighth place is Priscilla, a movie detailing the life of Priscilla Beaulieu and her life with rockstar Elvis Presley. This biopic shows the darker side of the relationship, featuring Cailee Spaeny as Priscilla and Jacob Elordi as Elvis. It’s also heavily compared to the 2022 film Elvis, starring Austin Butler, which focused more on Presley’s career. Directed by the popular Sofia Coppola, the film received 84% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Placed in seventh, Godzilla Minus One is one of many Godzilla adaptations. This specific film depicts Japan shortly after World War Two. While attempting to recover from the nuclear bombs, the country is faced with the threat of the giant reptile. The movie is heavily praised for its visuals by Takashi Yamazaki and how it depicted life in Japan after World War Two. With a budget of $15 million, the film brought in nearly seven times the amount.

At number six is The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. Based on the book series written by Suzanne Collins, this film is a prequel to the previous movie trilogy that starred Jennifer Lawrence. The movie is led by Rachel Zegler, known for West Side Story and the upcoming live-action Snow White film. Despite only receiving 64% on Rotten Tomatoes, the film is loved by many Hunger Games fans. It’s also praised for its soundtrack featuring Zegler herself and popular artist Olivia Rodrigo.

Number five on the list is Killers of the Flower Moon. Starring Leonardo Dicaprio as Ernest Burkhart, this movie is based on the David Grann book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. The film is praised for its acting, specifically Dicaprio’s performance. His character goes through a conflicting character arc as he has to choose between his uncle and his wife. It also has other big names, such as Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Brendan Fraser, and Lily Gladstone.

In fourth place is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Following events of previous Marvel films, the Guardians are on another mission to protect the galaxy and their own. This movie is filled with action, comedy, and tear-jerking scenes. Director James Gunn has directed the three existing Guardians movies and has stated that this will be his final movie in the series. The film received 82% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Our third top movie of 2023 is Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse. A sequel to Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, this movie follows the main character, Miles Morales, as he is introduced to the whole new world of the Spider Society. The film is extremely popular for its detailed illustrations, remarkable soundtrack, and deep storylines. With new actors like Oscar Isaac introduced to the series, the film drew the attention of many.

The second top movie of 2023 is Oppenheimer, a historical drama following the creation of the atomic bomb by J. Robert Oppenheimer. With an outstanding performance from lead Cillian Murphy, the movie is also praised for its wonderful cinematography. Directed by Christopher Nolan, who also directed Interstellar, Dunkirk, and the Dark Knight trilogy, the movie received 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.

To top it off, our number one movie of 2023 is none other than Barbie. Directed by Greta Gerwig, the movie stars Margot Robbie, America Ferrera, Ryan Gosling, and more. It follows Barbie and Ken as they are sent into the human world and learn about life. The film is noted for its depictions of life as a woman, causing many viewers to feel an intense connection with the movie. Robert Cousineau, a Pennridge High School film and history teacher, said the film was culturally significant. He stated, “People are very passionate about it in both positive and negative ways.” Not only is it a good movie, but the iconic Barbenheimer event was created as both Barbie and Oppenheimer were released on the same day.

While we only featured ten films, many more 2023 releases were notable, such as Cocaine Bear, Scream 6, and Saltburn.

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About the Contributors
Arabella Maguire, Student Writer
Arabella Maguire, Grade 12.  Interests/hobbies include reading, baking, listening to music, photography, hiking, and hanging out with friends.  Arabella plans to attend Kutztown University to study psychology and later move on to achieve her master's degree.
Tori Kemmerling, Student Writer
Tori Kemmerling, Grade 12. Interests/hobbies include singing, writing, and hanging out with friends and family. Tori plans to attend Bucks County Community College and then Messiah University to study journalism and hopes to be the CEO of the New York Times.

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