This was a hard year to choose my top movies since I really loved many films this year. There were some that I was certain would make my top 10 but as I really looked at the list I had to make some hard cuts. I tried to go for some variety (even though 3 Marvel movies made the list) but one thing that was true about all of these films was they had great characters that you can connect with. As with every top 10 list, other than maybe the top 5, it could change from day to day based on my mood. Over all I am happy with what I’ve chosen. Okay… Here we go!
We started out the year right with this horror/soft dark comedy. In this story a young girl whose parents died in a car accident moved in with her aunt who doesn’t know how to deal with kids. Interestingly enough her aunt is a robotics expert who makes toys for kids. Instead of paying attention to her niece she has a new robot girl, Megan, she created spend time with her. Of course all hell breaks loose when the robot becomes deadly as she becomes possessive over the niece that she bonded with. There is a lot of not so subtle commentary on how we use electronics to distract our kids. This story has a great balance of horror, humor, and gives us an opportunity to look at how we use our toys to distract ourselves when we should be spending time developing relationships with the ones we love.
9. The Wrath of Becky
I surprise myself when this made the list! I saw the trailer and it looked like a lot of fun. This is a sequel to a 2020 film that before this I had never heard of called Becky. I decided to watch both back to back. In the first move from 2020 Becky is a young teen who goes to a cabin with her dad, her dad’s new girlfriend, and her girlfiend’s son. There is a lot of family drama interrupted by a home invasion gone bad. It is a dark story mixed with comedy as this 13 year old girl Becky takes out the bad guys. The 2023 story pins Becky, now 16, against white supremists who are plotting to kill a Senator. It is so much fun to watch! Both movies are very short so you can easily watch these together over a couple of nights.
8. Are Your There God? It’s Me, Margret
This is a coming of age story where Margret is dealing with life changes in her 6th grade year. She moved to a new city and is dealing with things like making friends, understanding puberty, and trying to understand what and who God is. Even though I am not an 11 year old girl dealing with puberty I can relate to dealing with life changes and the struggles her parents are going though. It is a very real story with a lot of heart and depending where you are in life, this is a multi-generational story that we can all find something to connect with.
7. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3
This is the conclusion of the Guardians of the Galaxy crew. Between the 3 Guardians movies, Avengers Infinity War and Endgame, and the Christmas special on Disney Plus, these characters are ridiculous and the plots are over the top insane but it has so much heart that you really care for the characters and what they are going through. This story focus on Rocket Raccoon who is dying and the team must go on a mission to save him. The Guardians are THE BEST of the Marvel Cinematic Universe which is why this movie was one of the biggest money makers of the year. If you make good characters, regardless of the story, people will support it.
6. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
This movie combines 2 things that I love… the Multiverse and animated Spider-Man. Right now the Multiverse has been overdone in popular media but when it does it right it really works. What they do right with this story is focus on the characters and they have a really good very real connection even if the story is out there. What works here is the 2 leads Miles and Gwen. Their connection and their very real story with each other and their parents. This is another good example that you can have a very out there plot as long as you don’t forget to include heart.
5. Killers of the Flower Moon
I didn’t expect to like this movie and I almost didn’t see it since it was over 3 hours long. The basic plot is this is true story that takes place about a hundred years ago where a group of people took advantage of the Osage Nation to steal their oil money. They would marry into the Osage Nation and slowly kill family members to inherit their money. The main focus of the story was on Mollie Burkhart and her husband Ernest Burkhart. It is a very tragic story. Shining a light on our dark history can help prevent us making the same mistakes. Once this is available on streaming you may want to watch this over 3 or 4 nights.
4. A Good Person
This is a great human story where Florence Pugh plays Allison who at the beginning of the story is in a car accident not fully caused by her but if she wouldn’t have been looking at her phone maps app she could have reacted quicker. Because of the accident 2 of her friends died in the car. The story is about her dealing with her grief and making an unlikely friendship with Morgan Freeman’s character Daniel who plays the father of her friend. What I like about this story is dealing with trying to move forward after tragedy. Life can change in a moment and we have to find a way to continue living… somehow… someway.
3. The Marvels
If you want to watch a fun movie with a lot of heart PLEASE give this a try. The reason why I was excited about this was I LOVE the Disney Plus show Ms Marvel. The show follows Kamala Khan who develops super powers after receiving a family bracelet that somehow unlocks her powers. Kamala is a Pakistani teen who has a wonderful relationship with her family. The best part of the show (which carries over to the movie) is the actress Iman Vellani grew up as a fan of the comic version of Ms Marvel because the character was so similar to her. Even though she wasn’t a screen actor she was the number one choice because of her love of the character and, really, she IS Ms Marvel. To me this is a movie version of the show that just happens to have Captain Marvel. It was fun to see the 3 leads on screen. They work so well together. Elements of the plot were weak but the characters are so much fun to watch. AGAIN… if you have great characters that always leads the story.
2. The Color Purple
It had been years since I had seen the 80s movie and I barely remembered it. This is a wonderful musical that follows the tragic story Celie who is separated from her sister Nettie and forced to marry the abusive Mister. It is really dark and being a musical they really show the emotion through song. Past the half way mark the story begins to turn as Celie’s story starts to shift. It is a beautiful story of surviving despite tragedy and it earns it’s high moments at the end of the film. I have cried during many movies over the years (I’m looking at you Pixar) but I have never cried so much EVER as I did during this movie. I KID YOU NOT… my eyes were so dehydrated that when I got home I went straight for the liquid tears eye drops to relieve my dried out eyes.
I was primary looking forward to this because I have loved EVERY Greta Gerwig movie she has ever made. Her last 2 movies have made the top of my movies of the year lists (Little Woman #2 in 2019; Lady Bird made my #1 spot in 2017). You would think that I am not the target market for this movie since I didn’t grow up playing with Barbie dolls. I think most people know the general plot of this so I don’t need to explain it but what this meant to me relates to deal with life changes (which is a theme of a few of my choices this year). Sometimes life throws you a curveball. It is a continual death and rebirth. One day you think life is one way but then you are presented with a new information that changes everything. You can try to continue like nothing has changed but sometimes you have to let your old ways of thinking die as you find a new path… a new way of seeing the world. Though the main focus was on Barbie, Ken has his own journey that is just as important to the story. This movie moved me so much I saw it 3 times in the theater and purchased it on streaming. Based on the fact that this was by far the biggest grossing movie of the year, I was not the only one.