From road trip comedies to inter dimensional adventures, these intriguing movies helped reinforce the importance of under-represented human artists.

Recommended 2023 Movies From Asian Entertainers
Entertainment this year will remain defined mainly by screenwriters and actors of multiple races and classes picketing for such causes as larger streaming residuals, and security against the rising prominence of AI. Throughout the year, some commendable works from Asian-descended performers, directors, and/or writers continued to reinforce the importance of under-represented human artists.  My New Year’s Eve listicle this time focuses on movies partially to compensate for this year’s lack of a film-based essay, and partially because my attempt at a new Recommended TV Shows list consisted mainly of continuations or conclusions of programs I endorsed before. Contrary to the truncated headline, I’ll still give shout-outs to some Hispanic/Latin American creatives and cast members as well as Asians.

Commendable Co-Stars

The below movies boasted Caucasian directors, writers, and lead actors, but still provided praiseworthy co-starring roles for Asian or Hispanic actors.

  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3: The most captivating performances that Dave Bautista and Pom Klementieff ever delivered in a Marvel movie enrich this capper to the only MCU series that I deemed lovable from beginning to end.
  • Barbie: America Ferrera’s sympathetic portrayal as both the unintentional instigator of existential discourse in Barbieland, and the denizens’ inspirational savior, helped elevate this satire into the live-action big-screen highlight of a year in which the number of new female-directed movies I saw theatrically grew higher than usual.

Recommended Asian-Led Movies

Each of these titles has an Asian director and/or at least one Asian writer as well.

  • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse: This ambitious and profound continuation of Miles Morales’ and Gwen Stacy’s animated adventures merits at least one viewing from all Spider-Man fans, even though I decided to hold off a physical purchase until Sony releases a trilogy boxset.
    • Starring Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman and Shameik Moore as Miles Morales
    • Co-Starring Oscar Isaac as Miguel O’Hara/Spider-Man 2099, Karan Soni as Pavitir Prabhakar/Spider-Man India, and Lauren Vélez as Rio Morales
    • Supporting cast includes Josh Keaton as Earth-26496’s Peter Parker/The Spectacular Spider-Man and Jharrel Jerome as Earth-42’s Miles Morales/The Prowler
    • Directed by Joaquin dos Santos, among others
    • Written by Phil Lord and Dave Callaham, among others
  • Past Lives: Celine Song’s romantically-bittersweet directorial debut proved one of the most mundane A24 movies I’ve seen, but still deserves at least a rental from those intrigued by its acclaim.
    • Starring Greta Lee as Nora and Teo Yoo as Hae Sung
    • Co-Starring some other Korean performers
    • Directed and written by Celine Song
  • Joy Ride: If you can stomach the crass Family Guy influence on this road trip buddy comedy, you could find delight from the believable gal-pals’ contrasting personalities and self-introspective situations.
    • Starring Ashley Park as Audrey Sullivan, Sherry Cola as Lolo Chen, Stephanie Hsu as Kat Huang, and Sabrina Wu as Deadeye
    • Co-Starring several other Asian or Asian-American performers
    • Directed by Adele Lim
    • Written by Cherry Chevapravatdumrong and Teresa Hsiao
  • Quiz Lady: The atypically effective casting of the two lead actresses anchors this comical and uniquely heartfelt exploration of non-romantic dilemmas concerning unwed middle age and biological sisterhood.
    • Starring Awkwafina as Anne Yum and Sandra Oh as Jenny Yum
    • Co-Starring Jon “Dumbfoundead” Park as Ken
    • Directed by Jessica Yu
  • The Boy and the Heron (Japanese): Expectedly, Hayao Miyazaki’s latest mesmerizing fantasy became, subjectively, my favorite animated movie from this year – likely even counting ones I’ll watch later.
    • Starring Soma Santoki as Mahito Maki
    • Co-Starring Masaki Suda as the Grey Heron and several other Japanese actors
    • Directed and written by Hayao Miyazaki


Violence towards Asian-Americans persists at alarming levels.  I would like my readers to donate to The AAPI Community Fund, even if I personally take no share of the funds.

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1 thought on “Recommended 2023 Movies From Asian Entertainers

  1. Your description of Joy Ride has me wondering when the Family Guy/Rick and Morty style of extra crude humor will finally diminish in popularity in the entertainment industry. Still, thanks for bringing it and other lesser-known titles to light. I wasn’t aware of Past Lives or Quiz Lady, but the latter one definitely seems worth checking out, even if I’m not the biggest fan of Akwafina

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