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  • Tyler Harlow

Tyler's Top 10 of 2023

Welcome to my top 10 from last year! Sorry I didn't put it out sooner, there was one movie I had been waiting for that just came to a theater near me this past weekend. I am glad I waited because it did end up making this list!


2023 was an interesting year, one that had many highs and many lows. I saw 149 films in the theater this year, which is the most I have seen in the few years. Like most years, there are films that are expected to be hits and actually live up to it and there are others that didn't. For a lot of these movies you won't find a review on my site. I took some time away from updating the site and I regret that decision. While the site may not be updated with reviews of every movie I see, you can check me out on Letterboxd at https://boxd.it/wbbz, where I try to mini review every film I see.


I simultaneously enjoy putting out lists like this and also dislike it. There are always a few movies that people wouldn't expect to land on my list and I think this year is no exception. Just a reminder to everyone that this is my personal list and there are probably a few movies on here you will disagree with it. That's ok! I look forward to chatting with anyone about the films on this list or about any more that I review honestly.


Before I dive into my top 10, I have five films (in no particular order) that just hit outside the top 10 for me.


Honorable Mention: Anatomy of a Fall, Polite Society, Bottoms, Killers of the Flower Moon, The Holdovers


10. John Wick Chapter 4

The thrilling and final (?) chapter in the John Wick Saga. As the series progressed, Keanu Reeves continued to remind action fans that he is a star, with bolder and bloodier action set pieces. There are many to choose from in this film and each one is as impressive as the next. By the end of the nearly three hour long run time you will be tired, but like John Wick himself, I didn't care. I was along for a ride and wanted to see it out to its bloody conclusion. I do wish they had added Donnie Yen to the series sooner though because he pretty much stole the spotlight from Reeves whenever he was on screen. If this is the end, what a way to go out!


9. No One Will Save You

There is a lot to say about this movie, even if the characters in the film don't say anything. Director Brian Duffield takes a huge swing in making an experimental sci-fi thriller with no dialogue save for some new announcements or radio chatter. This could have horribly backfired and instead becomes a very thought-provoking film anchored by a star-making turn by Kaitlyn Dever. Her sympathetic turn as Brynn showed she could lead a effortlessly carry a film and convey a well-rounded character with ease. The movie also features some heart-stopping action set pieces that had me on the edge of my seat. The experiment worked!


8. All of Us Strangers

This movie has been criminally overlooked this awards season. This emotional drama effortlessly tells the story of a writer named Adam, played by Andrew Scott, who is still trying to overcome the death of his parents when he was a young boy. Through a twist of magical realism, when he visits his childhood home he finds his parents very much alive. Getting a second chance to spend time with them, he tells them about how his life has progressed since their death and his current relationship with the charming and mysterious Harry played by Paul Mescal. This movie is heartbreaking and punches you in the gut in unexpected ways. Jamie Bell and Claire Foy are incredible as Adam's parents, especially in their final scene together. It's seriously a shame that Andrew Scott isn't getting the awards recognition he absolutely deserves. Keep some Kleenex nearby.


7. The Iron Claw

It's a testament to the power of the movie when you know what the outcome for the character's is going to be and it still is able to resonate with you emotionally. What this family has been through is a tragedy if I have ever seen one. There was even another brother in this cursed family but was cut out because his story also ended tragically. Zac Efron gives the performance of his career and I really hope he gets more chances to show off his dramatic chops. While it is easy to be wowed by character actor Holt McCallany as the boys' father, the chemistry between the boys is what drives the film towards its inevitable conclusion. Another movie that was overlooked by the many awards bodies and I don't understand why.


6. The Killer

Fincher returns to his dark and nihilistic roots with this existential thriller. Yes, there is lots of voiceover which details the personal philosophy of Fassbender's mysterious hitman over and over. But that only adds to where the story ultimately goes once it starts to unravel. The movie works in its quiet moments and in its explosively violent ones as well. Where John Wick's action was well-choreographed and brutal, this is the exact opposite. I mean, its still brutal with a jaw-dropping fight in Florida with one of the more painful injuries I've seen in a movie for a long time. You'll know it when you see it. Well done, Fincher.


5. Godzilla Minus One

This was just awesome. Hands down. Not only do we get a Godzilla movie with a serviceable human story that is admittedly more emotional than it should be, but we are also treated to some of the best Godzilla destruction to ever be put on screen. The destruction of Ginza is a sight to behold, especially once Zilla unleashes his heat ray. But it also works in the smaller action moments as well, such as a boat chase that sounds like it isn't exciting but had me on the edge of my seat.


4. Barbie

This is maybe the most fun that I have had with a movie this year. A movie based on a doll shouldn't work this well. It's a credit to Director Greta Gerwig and star Margot Robbie that they were able to write a movie this weird that is filled with heart, humor and has a genuine point to make. Even actors like Michael Cera, who has a smaller role, get a well-rounded character that is able to generate some genuine laughs. The production design is incredible and it should be a surprise to no one why this movie was as successful as it was.


3. The Creator

One of my favorite sci-fi films in years. As thought-provoking as it is exciting, Director Gareth Edwards has created an original world with stunning special effects. It's a shame this movie didn't do better than it did because it would have proved to studios they don't need to sink a ton of money into a movie for it to be successful. It would have seriously changed the game. It also would have given audiences an acting showcase form John David Washington, who gives the performances of his career. He has fantastic chemistry with Madeleine Yuna Voyles as Alphie. Audiences also get a chance to see Allison Janney play one of the best cinematic villains I've seen in a long time. Her character never falls into the traps most movie villains do and the film is all the better for it. She feels like a legitimate threat and keeps the stakes high.


2. Past Lives

An emotional rollercoaster. Greta Lee, Teo Yoo and John Magaro are all heartbreaking in this tale of love and destiny. The characters are achingly real and it all leads to the most painful and gut-wrenching silence to end the film. It's at least three minutes of characters leaving so much unsaid and yet so much is said at the same time. But that's the power of the movie, it draws you in and and weaves a tale of childhood love where you feel so connected to the characters that you would yell at them on the screen without even thinking. This was my top film of the year before the very late entry of the film that kicked it out.


1. The Zone of Interest

Wow. Just wow. This is one of the most harrowing films I have seen in a long time. It not only tells a story about the Holocaust from an unexpected angle, it does so without ever really acknowledging that it is happening. Instead we are following Rudolf Höss and his family as they live their mundane and very ordinary life next to Auschwitz. The horrors of what is happening next door is never explicitly acknowledged, with sound design filling in for the horrors that are occurring. Every once in a while we will get a plume of smoke of a train coming in, but it will be happening in the background. It creates such a vivid picture of what a monster Höss was and it all leads up to a haunting final shot. Director Jonathan Glazer put in ten years of research and filmed on location. Its a film experience I won't soon forget.


And that's my list!









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