Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

The 5 best and 5 worst films of the summer

Chloe Williams

This summer has felt like watching the death and rebirth of the blockbuster film. Alongside the avalanche of money-pit disasters that large distributors churn out by the bucketload, a few great films snuck through, and some were even successful. Let us look back on the roller coaster of quality that was the summer of 2023 in film, and see what we find are the best and the worst the season had to offer.

The five worst films of the summer

5. “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”




No franchise is safe from corporate reanimation, and “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” is concrete proof that most classic franchises need to be kept dormant. Not even Steven Spielberg himself could capture the magic of his original trilogy when he attempted a fourth film. Dull filmmaking accompanied by uncanny Disney+ “Star Wars”-esque de-aging assures that James Mangold would fail just as hard, if not harder.

4. “Gran Turismo”




Neil Blomkamp, director of the critically acclaimed sci-fi film “District 9,” returns after a string of critical failures to bring the biggest black hole of entertainment of the year. “Gran Turismo” may not be the worst film to pollute theater screens this year, but it may just be the dullest.

3. “The Little Mermaid”




Disney once again reappropriates your childhood into an ugly, uncanny nightmare of soulless CGI-centric filmmaking. If you want to see a film in which someone mimes interactions with dead-eyed realistic-looking fish underneath what looks like the Hudson River, then boy do I have the movie for you.

2. “The Flash”




While I do not agree with many who proclaim “The Flash” to be one of the worst films of all time, it very well may be the ugliest. The Flash had a production budget of $200 million dollars, and every single frame of the film will leave you screaming “Where on Earth did all the money go?” This movie is emblematic of the current studio problem of pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into every major release and expecting every film to make a billion dollars. It is no surprise that Warner Bros. is currently bleeding money.

1. “Sound of Freedom”




At best, “Sound of Freedom” is an exploitative white savior story, and at worst, a sinister QAnon propaganda piece that manipulates the real-life suffering of innumerable victims of human trafficking. “Sound of Freedom” is the worst of the worst in filmmaking. Do not watch this film, and definitely do not fall prey to its scam of buying extra tickets to inflate box office numbers.

The five best films of the summer

5. “Barbie”




“Barbie” is one of the few films that attempts to please every possible film-goer and succeeds, in no part thanks to the beautiful production design and sharp writing from writer and director Greta Gerwig and co-writer Noah Baumbach. It is simply the best possible outcome for studio filmmaking. “Barbie” pleases all and the filmmaker’s vision is perfectly realized.

4. “Guardians of the Galaxy 3”




This movie is the first and likely the last great Marvel film. “Guardians of the Galaxy 3” is a perfect blockbuster, taking the audience on a journey in which they will laugh, cry and hang off the edge of their seats in excitement. James Gunn has perfected his style, and I cannot wait to see what he does with his upcoming “Superman” film.

3. “Asteroid City”




I will admit to generally disliking most of Wes Anderson’s work, but “Asteroid City” blew me away. This self-loathing story within a story meta-narrative has several layers to unpack, and buried within is what may be Anderson’s most personal and devastating film yet. Come for the charming pastel landscapes and stay for the depressing lamentations of a man who can only feel through pictures.

2. “Past Lives”




“Past Lives” is a beautiful film. A towering achievement in consistently making the audience look back on their lives and ask, “What if?” Celine Song’s directorial debut is an emotional rollercoaster and a triumph in melancholy romance. In time, this film will be ranked with the likes of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “In the Mood For Love” as some of the greatest, most painful romance films.

1. “Oppenheimer”



From another filmmaker whom I was not previously a fan of, Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” stands tall as the best film of the summer, and maybe the best of the decade. “Oppenheimer” delivers soul-crushing intimacy and spectacle in equal measures. What the entire cast and crew have accomplished in this 180-minute monolith is a truly monumental achievement. “Oppenheimer” is a must-see. Chances are, you probably have and if that is the case, see it again.

Which was your favorite film of the summer?


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About the Contributor
Chloe Williams
Chloe Williams, Managing Editor
Chloe (she/her) is a senior majoring in Business Marketing with a minor in Adaptive Decision Business Models. On her off days you can find Chloe thrifting, being a self-proclaimed food critic or outside enjoying nature. This is her third year at The Paisano and she is excited to serve as Managing Editor.

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  • M

    Mason HickokSep 27, 2023 at 9:34 am

    This graphic is insane!

    • R

      Riley CarrollSep 28, 2023 at 12:29 pm

      HEY, MASON! Chloe ate it up.