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The Linfield Review

The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

A Look Back: Five Favorite Films of 2023

A+Look+Back%3A+Five+Favorite+Films+of+2023
Annemarie Mullet

Stacked from top to bottom with memorable, 2023 was an exciting year at the movies. For the first time since before the pandemic, there was an embarrassment of riches when it came to film; each month saw multiple releases of blockbusters and small films. Who could forget the legendary Barbenheimer phenomenon? Or with Aquaman’s last adventure being the final nail in the coffin for the DC extended universe. 2023 will remain in my memory as a fantastic year at the movies. That then leaves the question: what were my favorites this year?

5. Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3
With the multiple box office disappointments from Marvel and DC this year, there is a growing sentiment of superhero fatigue. Guardians proves that people are tired of superhero movies without substance, without interesting characters or stories. Yes, the dressing of this film is a superhero one, but it is ultimately about family and loss. Guardians balances its humor and genuinely heartfelt moments perfectly, not sacrificing a sincere moment with a joke. The action was exciting and it felt good as a send-off to this iteration of the team. “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3” proves you can still find success as a superhero film. The trick is being more than just a superhero film.

4. John Wick Chapter 4
Franchises big and small often struggle to conclude in a meaningful way. John Wick does just that while losing none of the operatic, ‘guntastic’ action that the films have been known for. The creativity of the violence and the action in this film are unmatched by any other this year creating a visceral experience for the audience. You are invested in the pain and the struggle of John killing his way to the top. If you came for the legendary Keanu Reeves executing hundreds of goons in his pursuit of freedom, then let “John Wick Chapter 4 ” bless your eyes. Easily, this film was the best action film of the year.

3. Oppenheimer
One half of the Barbenheimer craze that swept over the summer, “Oppenheimer” stands on a tense origin to a man’s far-flung ambition and the weapon that has humanity at gunpoint. Through Oppenhiemer’s perspective, we are shown the consequences of ego, the effect war takes on morals and how fear of the other can drive us to create incomprehensible technological terrors. The beginning of the film takes time to get going, but by the end, you are engrossed in the screen, and captivated by both the immensely impressive performances, visuals and score. I don’t think without the Barbenheimer craze, I would have watched this film.

2. Saltburn
There’s nothing I love more than a story with a small cast of characters. From top to bottom, there were outstanding performances and character moments that left my jaw on the floor. The main character Oliver is fascinating and unexpected in the best way possible. As soon as you think you know what Oliver is up to, the story shifts, and you are left bewildered. The film also conveys the decadence and envy of living in opulence like the residents of Saltburn do, and the lengths to which someone will go to obtain what isn’t theirs. The best way I would describe “Saltburn” is expected.

…AND MY FAV FILM OF THE YEAR IS…

Godzillas Minus One
Full disclosure, I am a lifelong Godzilla fan, yet even so, this is truly a big-screen experience that like “Oppenheimer” is thought provoking in its themes and character struggles. Godzilla in this film is the very shadow of World War II, the anger, the loss and shame of defeat are all consequences of the war. Godzilla too is a walking reminder of how meddling with powers beyond our control can manifest into deep and pervasive destruction. With a limited cast, as an audience member, I was able to get invested in the plights and struggles of their lives. Because I cared about the cast, Godzilla’s presence felt more imposing and more dangerous than if I had not cared about the cast.
For a more complete set of thoughts on the film, see my review.
The Movie of 2023: Godzilla Minus One Review

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About the Contributors
Julian Ortiz, Staff Writer
Julian Ortiz is a staff writer with a particular focus on writing movie reviews. He is a JAMS major, creative writing minor. Coming out of Keizer Oregon, Julian loves to write, and to create. In his free-time he enjoys watching video essays on Youtube, going to the movies, writing, and talking way too much about storytelling.
Annemarie Mullet, Managing Editor

Annemarie Mullet is a senior from Kirkland, Wash. She is a digital arts major and creative writing minor. Annemarie also works at the Writing Center and in the digital art lab. When not working or doing school, Annemarie can be found doing art, crocheting, sewing, reading, or spending time with her ESA bunny, Mocha.

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