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The Top 23 Movies of 2023 — and #1 Is Still Looking for Distribution

Plus, the latest MCU news, and when will the Academy make a ruling regarding the 'Barbie' script?

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In tonight’s edition, which is exclusive to paid subscribers, you’ll get my list of the Top 23 Movies of 2023, plus the latest MCU news and a brief tribute to Tom Wilkinson. Subscribers can keep reading for more…

The Top 23 Movies of 2023 — and #1 Is Still Looking for Distribution (Wink, Wink, Nudge Nudge)

It was a good year for movies… but these were some of the great ones.

It is the beginning of January, and with that, the clock has run out on 2023. Sure, I can keep watching the films I wasn’t able to finish, like Pacifiction and Priscilla, but every writer has a deadline, and mine has come this evening, so neither is eligible for any year-end recognition.

Speaking of eligibility, I’m going to establish some weird rules this year.

For starters, I’m making Netflix’s Toronto acquisitions ineligible, as Anna Kendrick’s Woman of the Hour and Richard Linklater’s Hit Man are all but guaranteed to be released in 2024. As such, they will appear on my 2024 list.

And yet, at the same time, I’m making my #1 movie eligible even though it premiered at Sundance and still hasn’t been acquired, as far as I know. And because it doesn’t have distribution at the moment, I’m not confident it’ll be released at all in 2024. Thus, to try and bring it some attention so it can get the recognition — and the audience — that it deserves, I’m making that film eligible for this year’s list, which recaps my year at the movies… not yours.

Overall, I’d say it was a pretty strong year for cinema. I keep track of what I watch every year over at my InSneider Blogspot (spare me your jokes), and it’s always funny to see how my viewing diary shakes out. This year I deemed 18 movies great and another 51 movies “good,” while identifying 69 “disappointments,” which is a dead-even split. There were also 40 guilty pleasures, 33 movies I thought were good… but probably should’ve been a bit better, and 14 movies I thought were just plain “bad.” That’s a pretty typical balance if you were to comb back through my archives. Keep in mind that all of my star ratings are out of four stars, as I live in America, and since Roger Ebert didn’t believe in the five-star system favored by British critics, neither do I.

Without further ado, here are my Top 23 Movies of 2023:

I wonder what made the Killer’s year-end list on Spotify… think The Smiths were on it?

23. David Fincher’s The Killer

Yes, I’m a Fincher fanboy, but I couldn’t stand Mank, so with The Killer, I was just hoping for a return to form for the director and I feel like he delivered on that front. I saw a bunch of new movies twice this year but I saw The Killer (and another Netflix movie) three times, as I had no problem revisiting this film given how quickly it moves. Yes, the first 20 minutes are a little slow, and the ending is a little anticlimactic, but once this razor-sharp film gets going, it doesn’t stop, and I happened to like its episodic structure. Michael Fassbender delivers a precise, exacting performance as a mysterious hitman whose mask of perfection is starting to slip. And the supporting cast is fantastic, from Arliss Howard’s bumbling billionaire to all of the Killer’s victims — Gabriel Polanco, Charles Parnell, Kerry O’Malley, Sala Baker, and especially Tilda “Q-Tip” Swinton.

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