Our Best And Worst Reviewed Movies Of 2023 

The year that was 2023 is almost over, and it was a good year for movies. By extension, it was also a good year to write about movies. We here at /Film strive to bring you reviews of every major release, and then some — but what is the role of a movie review? Some folks think a movie review exists merely to tell the reader if a film is good or bad, and nothing more. It's a guide to whether or not you should plop down your hard-earned cash at the box office. But that shouldn't be a movie review's primary goal. 

A movie review should also engage with the work; to examine it, study it, and try to figure out what makes it tick. And in the end, the final choice should be yours. Often, when I file a negative review of a film, it will be met with a reply from someone stating, "I don't care if you gave this a negative review, I'm still going to see it!" And to that, I say: good! You should! And as the legendary Roger Ebert once said, "If you play fair with your reader, you can give a movie a bad review and they'll still be able to read that review and know that they would still like to go see that movie." 

With all that in mind, I've rounded up some of our best and worst-reviewed movies of the year. To be clear: this is just a small sampling of what we do here, and I urge you to peruse our review section for yourself. You never know — you might just find your next favorite movie waiting for you.

The best

Let's start things out with a bang. In his 9 out of 10 review of "John Wick: Chapter 4," Jacob Hall wrote: "The final hour of the film is essentially one large action scene, and one staged with such bravura skill and visual wit that it exposes the vast majority of American action direction as the lazy sham it is." Earlier in the year, Josh Spiegel declared "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" to be "The First Great Film Of 2023," and stated: "In a desert littered with intellectual-property revivals, prequels, sequels, and other failed attempts at blockbuster fare, 'Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret' is an oasis. Though this adaptation of the beloved Judy Blume novel cannot claim to be wholly original, itself a take on one of the most well-known YA novels ever published, it represents a remarkable and welcome balm from the current state of the modern movie." 

Most of us didn't get a chance to see Martin Scorsese's "Killers of the Flower Moon" until it opened in theaters in October, but Lex Briscuso filed a review for us out of Sundance back in May, and wrote: "'Killers of the Flower Moon' is a fast, fierce, and unapologetic gut punch that centers the horrific abuse suffered by the Osage nation at the hands of those who were entitled to nothing and thought themselves worthy of everything. White supremacy — and the idea that the individuals after the almighty dollar are more worthy than the ones who are rightfully owed it — tends to settle itself firmly within that spectrum, and the only way to fight it is by arming ourselves with the knowledge of how it spreads and poisons as much purity as possible. Thanks to Scorsese's version of these harrowing and true events in history, we have another brilliant film aching to teach us something meaningful about all the desperate ways we engage with one another, for better or for worse."

In my review of the criminally underseen "Reality," I wrote: "'Reality' is an immensely never-wracking film that grips you from the get-go and never lets up. Like Reality Winner, we're all stuck in that dirty, empty room, wondering when we'll get out, and worrying about what will happen next." Reviewing the mega-hit "Barbie," BJ Colangelo stated: "Greta Gerwig did the impossible with 'Barbie,' marrying both the confetti-bright sensibilities of the plastic toy that has been a vital friend to many for over half a century and a sharp screenplay that inspires existential ruminations on gender politics and self-love." And of course, along with "Barbie" came "Oppenheimer," about which I said: "Christopher Nolan's 'Oppenheimer' is nothing short of extraordinary. In what might be his magnum opus, Nolan has meticulously crafted a biopic that feels like a thriller. He's also managed to find a way to make 3 hours of people sitting in rooms talking at each other downright exciting." 

The worst

Winnie-The-Pooh entered the public domain, which resulted in the horror film "Winnie-The-Pooh: Blood And Honey," and in our review for the flick, Witney Seibold wrote: "The filmmakers have waited decades for Winnie-the-Pooh to be in the public domain, and this facile, rote, cheap, humorless bloodbath is all they could come up with. 'Blood and Honey' will disappoint fans of Pooh, fans of irony, and fans of horror. Don't bother." 

Does anyone remember "Heart of Stone"? I assure you it's a Netflix action movie starring Gal Gadot, and it came out this year. But if it slipped your mind that's no surprise, because, as Josh Spiegel wrote: "This movie isn't even worth glancing at when you scroll through your Netflix profile." Taika Waititi was once on top of the world, but he appears to have fallen from grace with his latest effort, "Next Goal Wins." In /Film's review, Barry Levitt stated: "'Next Goal Wins' proves that Waititi probably needs a break — to put it gently, this is an awful movie." 

Reviewing "Expend4bles," the fourth entry in the increasingly dire "Expendables" series, Witney Seibold pulled no punches, writing: "It's staggeringly stupid." As a big fan of all-things "Pet Sematary," I had high hopes for the prequel "Pet Sematary: Bloodlines," but the end result was a big misfire, leading me to write: "Maybe it's time to let this horror series stay in its grave." Speaking of horror sequels, there was also "The Exorcist: Believer," a film our own Witney Seibold called "the least interesting 'Exorcist' film to date." Ouch. 

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