Movies & TV / News

Stew’s Top 50 Movies Of 2023 (#30 – 21)

January 31, 2024 | Posted by Rob Stewart
Godzilla Minus One Image Credit: TOHO International

Okay, we are through #50-31, and it’s time to keep going with this countdown! It’s the middle of the list, and it’s here that we move out of “Very Good” (my 3.25 – 3.5 star territory) and into the start of the “Great” (3.75 – 4.00 star) 2023 movies.

I’ll let you know which movie signifies that change, don’t worry.

And if you’ve missed the beginning of the list, no worries! You can find #50-41 by clicking HERE, and you can follow that up with #40-31 by clicking HERE!

30. No Hard Feelings

Andrew Barth Feldman and Jennifer Lawrence really do shine in this raunchy rom-com, and their chemistry is really damn impressive. The story is predictable, and you know from almost the outset how the story will end, but everything here is surprisingly sweet, and the heart of the movie mostly outweighs the Rowdy Sex Comedy of it all, which I appreciated.

Which is fine because there’s a movie coming up next that does “Rowdy Sex Comedy” better anyway…

29. Joy Ride


Yeah, Joy Ride was a funnier effort than No Hard Feelings, but it was also, weirdly, just as sweet. What is up with our 2023 sex comedies having so much heart?

A really enjoyable story of friends and family and what it means to be both, this was quite the fun flick.

28. Renfield


Look, this movie was sold on the promise of Nic Cage playing a bombastic, charismatic, insatiable Dracula, and it delivered on all of that. I’m not going to lie and say it was amazing or anything–we’re definitely still just in Very Good territory at this point–but it was everything it promised to be and a bit more.

Nicholas Hoult is doing a good job evolving into a star before all of our eyes, and I’m eager to see his turn as Lex Luthor in James Gunn’ Superman film. Oh, and Awkwafina is back, giving her two appearances on the list so far.

27. M3GAN

FULL REVIEW HERE (+ a lot of theater experience bitching!).

Excellent effects, a decent little horror story, and a climax that has two robots fighting each other! What more could you want? (Well, I could have wanted a better experience watching it, I guess)

M3GAN is inspired enough to be the beginning of a new horror franchise and to soon be mentioned alongside other icons like Jason, Freddy, and Michael.

26. Wildflower

Kiernan Shipka fucking shines in this. She is a star who should be everything for the next few years. Luckily, this isn’t the last we will see of her inside my Top 26 movies. Stay tuned!

Parts of the flick are a bit saccharine, but it’s based on a real family, so I am sure it’s prettied up a bit by memory. So I can live with that. If you are writing your own life experiences, you are going to embellish it a bit. The payoff/reveal at the end isn’t that noteworthy either, but it didn’t quite need to be.

Overall, it’s a decently sweet character driven movie with a solid enough story centered around just a magnificent performance at its core. Let’s start casting Shipka in everything, please.

25. The Marvels

You finally give people an MCU movie with a palatable run time that doesn’t take your whole day away from you, and they STILL complain. Man. I get it, though. We’re into Phase 5, and everything feels like it is moving glacially. Honestly, it’s moving at no slower of a pace than Phases 1 and 2 were at this point, but after the end to the Infinity Saga, we want the next big thing, and we want it NOW.

To that end, The Marvels didn’t feel like it moved anything forward. So it did feel like a more skippable offering, but… what a shame to skip this one. A wild, frantic, funny ride that showed off Iman Vellani as the person who needs to be the centerpiece of the MCU for years to come. The chemistry between the leads was unimpeachable, and there were some true laugh out loud moments.

And that post credits scene!

24. Unwelcome


I wrote a full review on Unwelcome? I don’t recall that at all. I’ll be damned. But hey: it was worth it.

Unwelcome is one of those horror flicks that spends two acts being serious and uncomfortable all while setting up a tense mood… and then it goes bonkers crazypants in the third act! And I love that stuff. I can’t/won’t spoil too much here other than to say this won’t be for everyone, but I truly was all-in on it.

23. Godzilla Minus One

Okay, here it is. NOW we are into the realm of great movies.

I never ever ever would have believed you if you told me I’d see a Godzilla movie where I care more about the PEOPLE than seeing Godzilla wreck shit, but… here we are. The story of Koichi and Noriko and Akiko is so touching and heartfelt, and you can tell real care and craft went into these characters. It feels more like the movie was MEANT to be about them, whereas the human element in other kaiju movies feels like they are thrown in to save budget and pad runtime.

Not to say the Godzilla stuff isn’t excellent because it IS. It looks mostly great, though worse in the broad daylight than when we first see Godzilla strike on the island at night. That scene is tremendous by the way, where a smaller ‘Zilla still strikes us as a force to be reckoned with. Just a great effort all around on this one!

22. Past Lives


I do feel that Past Lives is a bit overrated by critics and a lot of folks I know who watched it. I enjoyed it, and I think it’s very well made, but… it was never in my Best Of The Year discussion like I see it getting thrown around for so many others.

But the tale is heartfelt and something anyone can relate to–it’s all about missed connections or opportunities, and how different our lives could be under circumstances that changed just slightly.

21. The Blackening


I mentioned earlier in the countdown how most slashers these days are blended genre horror flicks, usually mixing slasher with comedy or meta critiques instead of being straight slashers. Exhibit A: The Blackening. A mash-up slasher-comedy about several friends getting together to celebrate and finding themselves fighting off a killer… and tropes!

This was one of my favorite horror movies of the year, and unlike M3GAN, one of my best theatrical experiences.


We’re over halfway there, and we’ve obviously got a lot of heavy hitters left! Come back next time as we get into the TEENS, where we’re dealing with movies that are all at LEAST Great!

And remember, if you want to see my video reviews of the WORST twenty movies of 2023, then click HERE.