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Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

Most Memorable Movies

Owen Rainey

2023 was jam packed with some of the biggest movies in the last decade. Today we’re going over some of the best from this year.

Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse

Across the Spider-Verse is one of the best animated movies within the last 20 years. The movie itself looks beautiful, and it blends multiple styles of animation together. Every single frame has so much detail and thought put into it, that if you want to truly see everything you have to watch the movie multiple times. But not only does it look beautiful, but the story of the movie is also very mature and fun to watch. The voice acting is spot on, and each character is deep and layered in their own way. The villains are a standout improvement compared to the first one, with two incredibly threatening antagonists. Spider-Verse has always been about breaking out of your comfort zone, and the main character Miles really breaks into his own and becomes Spider-Man. 


Barbie has had a few movies in the past, but they were all direct to DVD movies that weren’t very long. But this year Greta Gerwig brought Barbie to the big screen in live action, with what is honestly a very heartfelt and genuine story. Margot Robbie is the perfect choice to play Barbie and she gives an amazing performance as someone who isn’t sure who they are anymore. Ryan Gosling is also an amazing choice for Ken and lands every joke he’s involved in. Most jokes in Barbie do land pretty well. The comedy is really good and I genuinely chuckled a couple times throughout the runtime. The serious moments are also done very well, and they never clash with the overall tone of the movie. While personally, I don’t relate to the movie as much, it tells a very compelling story about being a woman in today’s society and how difficult it can be to navigate through. 

Guardians of the Galaxy: vol. 3

Marvel’s general output has been underwhelming at best for the last few years. We’ve had a decent movie or show every once in a while but nothing has come even close to Guardians 3. James Gunn once again brings these characters to life, in a very fun but dark story. The actors bring so much emotion to every scene. It feels like I’m watching real people try to figure out how to solve the problems they’re facing. Gunn also delivers incredible humor with some very funny moments. The best parts of the story are the characters. The arc’s each character goes through are interesting and I was invested in how every single character would turn out. None of them are perfect people, but they truly try to be better and improve themselves, and that makes the movie feel real. 

The Super Mario Bros Movie

One of the other big animated movies of this year was the mario movie. While not nearly as good as Spider-Verse, it is still a pretty fun movie. Chris Pratt once again stars in the movie as Mario and gives a pretty decent performance. But the real star is Jack Black as Bowser. He gives it his all, and eats up every scene he’s in. At one point in the movie he sings a song about his love for Peaches, and it is unironically a very well made song. Jack truly gives this role his all, and we can feel every bit of passion in every scene he’s in. The story itself is pretty basic, but the wacky shenanigans the characters get into keeps it entertaining throughout the movie. 


Christopher Nolan is known for making high quality movies, with realistic effects. Oppenheimer has the potential to be one of his best movies ever. A lot of three hour movies feel like they waste some scenes and don’t use their time properly. But Oppenheimer takes full advantage of the three hour runtime. Each hour is dedicated to a specific time in Oppenheimer’s life. The first is about how he became involved with nuclear research, the second is how they actually built the atomic bomb, and the third is the trial of Oppenheimer. The movie is a very slow burn but takes its time to build up the characters and their motivations. Cillian Murphy truly captures how Oppenheimer would have been like in real life. Robert Downy Jr also plays an essential role in the movie, giving a performance perhaps better than his role as Ironman. 

Five Nights at Freddy’s

Five Nights at Freddy’s has been a long running franchise, with 13 games and 3 books. Naturally with how successful it’s become a movie was spawned, and that movie came out this year. Josh Hutcherson stars as the main character, Mike Shmidt. He does a really good job at portraying how broken Mike is from his past. The other main character is Elizabeth Lail as Vanessa Monroe. While not much character development is dedicated to Vanessa she serves as a good co lead, as she helps Mike unravel the mystery as to what’s going on. The main antagonist of the story is Micheal Afton, is played by Mathew Lilard. While he doesn’t have much screen time, he is absolutely the best part of the movie. He is really good at playing a deranged maniac who’s also kind of funny. Every scene with him is gold and I wish there was more of it. The Animatronics also look really good. They’re kind of goofy but also incredibly menacing, which is exactly how they should be. The movie isn’t very scary, but makes up for that with some very comedic moments, unintentional or not.  

Hunger Games The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The Hunger Games is one of the more popular adult novel series. So when the last book came out in 2010, people were craving more. So in 2020 the author wrote a prequel book following the origins of the main antagonist, president snow. Now, in 2023, the movie based on the events in the book has been released and it has the potential to be the best hunger games yet. Tom Blyth plays a younger president Snow and truly captures how much of a sociopath Snow is. Throughout the movie he has every chance to do the right thing and be good but actively chooses his own self interest and want for power. It makes for a very interesting character. The other standout role is Rachel Zeagler as Lucy Grey. Rachel puts her absolute heart and soul into the performance. She sings several songs and every single one is amazing to listen to. She’s the perfect foil to Snow, and she is the final reason he ends up completely giving into his obsession with power and control.


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About the Contributor
Owen Rainey
Owen Rainey, Multimedia Staff
My name is Owen Rainey, and I am a senior member of the Smoke Signals staff. I play soccer for GRC and am involved in Beta Club and National Honor Society. I love being active and staying in shape, but I don’t necessarily like lifting weights. I’m more of a calisthenics kind of guy. I believe pineapple on pizza should be classified as a federal crime. I’m an only child and, but somehow the dog is my parent’s favorite. My proudest accomplishment is being the “voice” of a child with Cerebral Palsy, Lane Hartzel. My greatest claim to fame is having my shirt in a commercial. There are a lot of different things that make me who I am, and this is just a small part of that. Also, shoutout to Ryan Jackson.

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