Yeah, we can hear you now: “But 2023 isn’t over yet! How can you give us a list of the best movies before the end of the year?” Well, you’re going to need something to watch while you’re waiting for the rest of the blockbusters lurking just around the corner, right? We don’t expect this list to be set in stone. Who knows what the rest of the year will bring? These are 2023’s very best films* — so far.
*To create our list, we combined ratings from IMDb, Metacritic, the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer, and the Rotten Tomatoes audience score for each film — multiplying the IMDb score by 10 to make the math work — and arrived at an average score for all of them. The movie with the highest average wins, with any ties broken by the IMDb score.
30. The Super Mario Bros. Movie
Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 58%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 95%
Metacritics Score: 46
Our Score: 66/100
Even if you don’t play video games, you probably have at least a passing familiarity with Nintendo's Italian plumber Mario and his trademark accent. Well, in the latest transition to the big screen — the 1993 movie is best forgotten — Mario, his brother Luigi and friends are thwarting arch-nemesis Bowser’s nefarious world-conquering schemes. Plumbing can be a tough job! An all-star cast of voice actors lend their vocal talents to bring the likes of Princess Peach and Donkey Kong to life.
Chris Pratt stars as Mario — sans the accent. What happened, Chris? Anya Taylor-Joy is Peach, Seth Rogan’s Donkey Kong and Charlie Day’s Luigi. But do they manage to break the curse of bad video-game movie adaptations? Well, that depends on who you ask! Critically, the Super Mario Bros. Movie has received middling reviews, but Joe and Jane public seem to love it. Sure, it could be down to the boundlessly energetic Jack Black voicing a giant fire-breathing dinosaur, but surely that alone is worth the price of admission?
29. Infinity Pool
Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 86%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 51%
Metacritics Score: 72
Our Score: 69/100
It seems like Alexander Skarsgård as James and Cleopatra Coleman’s character Em are having the perfect vacation. They have Sun, sand, and sea, so why wouldn’t they want to extend their experience by following the enigmatic Gabi — portrayed by Mia Goth — outside the resort’s confines and indulge in the local culture? Clearly these people have never seen a horror movie, especially not one starring Goth. Fans know the kind of thing to expect from her: surreal, psychedelic, and occasionally hot-blooded scenes, with an emphasis on the blood!
Things are not as predictable as you think, though. The movie has an original hook that allows the richest of society to cheat death in a unique way, and watch themselves die in the process! This twist and the obvious real-life parallels are where the film really shines. In 2023 The Jewish Chronicle’s Linda Marroc wrote, “Cronenberg incisively critiques global inequalities in a world where being rich can not only buy you anything, it can allow you to get away with murder over and over again.