Viral “Barbenheimer” among this summer’s must-see films

Although the SAG-AFTRA strike has pushed back and limited the amount of films we were able to see, summer 2023 brought us some of the best movies of the year. With studios like A24 and directors such as Greta Gerwig and Christopher Nolan, this was the season of the theater.


Talk to Me


As an avid horror movie viewer, I was psyched for a new A24 film, especially during a movie drought. I thought the theme of grief throughout this was phenomenal, but I was not a big fan of the way it was executed. I felt like we were left with too many unanswered questions and plot holes, and it honestly could have been a lot scarier. I had high expectations after the A24 hits of “Midsommar” and “Hereditary,” but was let down in terms of fear. 


Haunted Mansion


2003’s “The Haunted Mansion” with Eddie Murphy was one of my favorite movies as a kid, so once again I went to the theater with high expectations. With a cast that consists of Jared Leto, Tiffany Haddish, Winona Ryder and Danny DeVito to name a few, I was getting ready to be just as enthralled by this version. Unfortunately, this movie tried way too hard to be funny and it did not work out. I found myself cringing at certain jokes and wishing Owen Wilson had taken any other role. The only reason this movie is not receiving just one star is because it was a lot more like the Disney ride than the original.




I wish I could give this film a higher rating. It deserves all of its hype. The cast, cinematography, plot and score were exceptional. Nolan’s commitment to staying true to IMAX film cameras grounds the film in its historical depth and significance. The performances were equally noteworthy, specifically those of Robert Downey Jr. and Benny Safdie. I am also now re-entering my Cillian Murphy phase. I hope to see this film gain even more recognition as we approach award season. 




Director Greta Gerwig hit record breaking numbers with this amazing film about a toy with underlying themes of womanhood and the real world. Similar to “Oppenheimer,” “Barbie” received a ton of hype that was undeniably worth it. Ryan Gosling played a hilariously accurate Ken and of course Margot Robbie was perfect for the role of Barbie. With cameos from other stars like Dua Lipa and John Cena, this movie was funny yet unexpectedly moving – and the soundtrack was immaculate. Its grip on the community was adorable too, with people of all ages dressing in their finest pink attire to attend the viewing. 


Insidious: The Red Door


James Wan is one of my favorite horror directors, but I think this franchise has lost its touch. The first film in the series, debuting in 2011, was in my opinion, one of the best. Not many movies can do astral projection as well as this one can, and its jumpscares were unpredictable. “The Red Door” is the fifth movie in the universe, and it feels like they are milking it and running out of ideas. It was not nearly as terrifying as the first. And while it was nice to see our first victim still dealing with his trauma all these years later, how long can this truly go on for?


Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny


As the owner of a dog named Indiana Jones, I had been looking forward to this movie since its announcement, and it did not disappoint. Before its opening, fans were worried about Harrison Ford’s performance given that he is now in his 80s, but he made it work flawlessly. His age was actually a large part of the film, which I appreciated. Action, adventure and sentiment were no strangers to this picture. This franchise knows how to create a fifth movie and make it work. 


Other movies like “The Little Mermaid” and “Elemental” were also good summer 2023 films, but got lost with the rise of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” or “Barbenheimer” as it became known. Hopefully the strike will come to an end soon so we can experience some more awesome movies before the year comes to a close.

Featured photo courtesy of @OppenheimerFilm, X