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Popverse's best movies of 2023

There were some great movies out this year. Here are what we think are the best.

It’s the end of 2023, if you can believe it, and what a year it’s been. We over here at Popverse have been diving deep into all the biggest movies, TV, and comics out there, and as the calendar inches closer to 2024, it has finally come time to put together our Best Of lists for the year.

Here’s where I go into my own little disclaimer: best of lists are wildly personal. These are our Best of lists (you could even call them favorites). You may have a differing opinion. So if you do, vote on our Popverse audience best movies of 2023 survey and/or please leave your own thoughts and opinions (kindly please) in the comments.

Scream VI

Scream VI
Image credit: Paramount Pictures

Scream to me is one of the best horror franchises of all time, and I’m always excited for a new installment. Despite being the first movie without some major characters, Scream V did a great job of passing the torch and setting up our new final girls in Sam and Tara, so by the time this movie came along, I was all in on these new characters. It was nice seeing some returning characters who previously escaped Ghostface, the tie-in to Scream II (IYKYK) was fun, and this film contained one of the coolest scenes, throwing it back to every Scream movie ever made, which made the film pretty iconic. -Veronica Valencia

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
Image credit: Paramount Pictures

This is where “best” is entirely subjective. Have there been objectively “better” movies this year than Dungeons & Dragons? Sure! Plenty! But I confess that I’ve rewatched this a number of times, and remain as utterly charmed and amused as I was that first time. Sometimes, all I want is a fun movie that does what it does with a smile and some haste; this most definitely accomplished that. -Graeme McMillan

Asteroid City

Still image from Asteroid City
Image credit: Universal

Some people say that Wes Anderson is getting less good with each movie. I am not one of those people. In fact, I don’t think I was ever really emotionally moved by one of his movies until The French Dispatch, which I liked. Asteroid City I loved. Sure there’s no single unifying plot, but does a movie need a unifying plot when it has little bits of life threaded together with moments of loneliness and connection that will bring a tear to your eye (no really, I cried). The performances are stellar, anchored by Anderson regulars Scarlett Johansson and Jason Schwartzman, and supported by quiet brilliance from Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Maya Hawke, and Moonrise Kingdom’s Jake Ryan. -Tiffany Babb

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
Image credit: Nickelodeon

In terms of quality of film Oppenheimer is probably going to run away with 2023. This year, personally, I haven’t been enchanted by very many cinematic offerings. I’ve been out to the cinema less this year than any other year save perhaps, 2020 and 2021 (for obvious, outlying circumstances). The only movie this year that’s really delighted me has been the latest addition to a franchise I’m only a passing fan of and that is: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. It gave me more similar feels to 2018’s Into the Spider-Verse than this year’s Across the Spider-Verse did. Whenever a lauded piece of genre is able to reinvent itself for a new generation I’m deeply impressed. My beloved Donatello gave me all the feels I want. Mutant Mayhem follows in the proud footsteps of the TMNT: Saturday Morning Adventures comic book – highlighting what OG nerds fell in love with while presenting an up-to-date take which makes it an ideal jumping on point. The real genius, besides the obvious aesthetic evolution from what Into the Spider-Verse laid down, is having teenagers portray teenagers. Revolutionary! Plus, special kudos to Ayo Edebiri’s performance as April who kicked butt all around town! - Ashley V. Robinson

Rye Lane

Still image from Rye Lane
Image credit: Searchlight

A pox on all the lesser rom-coms out there; this laid back, understated romance from the UK is a reminder of how good it is when scales are small, jokes are funny, and your two leads — David Johnson and Vivian Oparah, both of whom are amazing — are very easy to feel for and root for at the same time. More people should hunt this one down. -Graeme McMillan

Past Lives

Still image from Past Lives
Image credit: A24

I’m a sucker for movies about how relationships, especially fractured ones, exist over long periods of time, so it’s probably no surprise that Past Lives is one of my favorite movies of the year. Past Lives follows Nora (Greta Lee) and Hae Sung (Teo Yoo) as their lives are pulled apart when Nora emigrates from South Korea to Canada. Years later, they reconnect over the internet. Then years after that, they reconnect in person once again. This already heartwrenching premise is supported by absolutely stellar, understated performances from Greta Lee, Teo Yoo, and John Magaro, who plays Nora’s husband. Past Lives is a great movie about what ifs, and the fact that it is only the first film from writer/director Celine Song, bodes well for what’s to come. -Tiffany Babb


Image credit: Warner Bros. Studios

Can the biggest movie of the year also be the best? Greta Gerwig’s Barbie embraces movies as the phenomena they can be – and uses fantastical devices to tell an all-too-human story. Yes its farcical, yes it’s commercial, and yes it’s plastic (pun intended), but it’s not in any way less real. Barbie shows that by embracing the most artificial moments it can give you the distance to tell even more telling stories. -Chris Arrant

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Still promotional image from Across the Spider-Verse
Image credit: Sony

I just remember walking out of the theater and being stunned with the phenomenal animation. The use of a variety of animation techniques, the colors, everything was so beautifully done. I enjoyed Gwen’s story and growth, and I loved seeing all the variations of Spider-Man. I wasn’t as familiar with all the versions of Spider-Man, so seeing characters like Peter Parkedcar gave me a chuckle. This movie was well-crafted art! -Veronica Valencia

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Tiffany Babb avatar
Tiffany Babb: Tiffany Babb is a professional lurker (aka critic) who once served as Popverse’s deputy editor and resident Sondheim enthusiast.
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