Whether or not 2023 was a good year for the film industry, it was still an interesting time, to say the least. Many big-budget blockbusters and indie art films didn’t receive the critical or commercial turnout to match the hype leading up to their release.
Thankfully, digital platforms like Paramount+ have given these pictures a second life on streaming, opening the door for some re-evaluations from subscribers. There are many terrific and underrated movies for audiences to enjoy, but these three films from 2023 should be at the top of viewers’ bucket lists this year.
Beau is Afraid (2023)
This surreal adventure was also one of the studio’s most expensive projects, which failed to recoup its $30 million budget after receiving a mere $11.5 million in theaters. This three-hour odyssey certainly isn’t for everyone, and the story may drag on longer than it has to. However, Beau is Afraid is still an engrossing and shocking comedy that explores mental illness and parental abuse in its study of Beau’s dynamic with his overbearing mother. Or, at the very least, it shows audiences why they shouldn’t leave their luggage out in the hallway.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023)
Along with the release of the hit video game Baldur’s Gate 3, Honor Among Thieves made 2023 the biggest year for Dungeons & Dragons fans. This film follows former Harper Edgin Darvis (Chris Pine), who, after being imprisoned for a heist gone wrong, assembles a merry little gang of bandits to rescue his daughter (Chloe Coleman) and the realm from the evil Forge (Hugh Grant) and the Red Wizard Sofina (Daisy Head).
From the frozen lands of Revel’s End to the forbidden depths of the Underdark, this fantasy blockbuster immersed audiences into the Forgotten Realms in a whole new way. The film also defied expectations by presenting a heartfelt, humorous, and high-octane adventure that, for decades, DnD fans could only dream of seeing on the big screen. Though the movie failed to break even at the box office last year, its glowing reviews and devoted following prove this epic adventure won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
Milli Vanilli (2023)
Chronicling one of the biggest scams in music history, Milli Vanilli follows the rise and fall of the titular pop singing duo who, after unknowingly signing a crooked contract with producer Frank Farian, lip-synched their way to the top and became an unprecedented hit around the world. But once the truth comes to light, their success crumbles as quickly as it appeared, costing them a Grammy and even a life.
A tragic tale of a lie gone too far, this poignant documentary explores the deceptive and exploitative nature of the music industry that chewed up and spat out Milli Vanilli and the powerful allure of the superstardom that ensnared them. As Rob and Fab go along with a hoax they didn’t even conceive, the fact they were forced to suffer the most makes their story all the more heartbreaking. At the same time, the film displays the empathy and understanding the duo never got after the truth was revealed, which should help the public see them and their music in a whole new light.