This year I saw almost 70 movies, and once again, I have taken it upon myself to attempt to rank every single one of them. A near impossible task that’s sure to change as time goes on, perhaps even right after I publish this. But for now, this is where all of my 2022 releases rank. If you’d like to see me cover my bottom and top 10s respectively, I have separate videos for each below you can check out. Be sure to let me know what you’re favorite/least favorite films of 2022 were!
Top 10 Worst Films of 2022
Top 10 Best Films of 2022
Despite horror having a fairly good year, there has been no lack of absolute garbage to be dumped into the genre as well. Out of all the remakes, rehashes, and uninspired schlock to be dropped on us, Dashcam is without a doubt not only the worst of the horror genre this year, but it may just be the absolute worst film I had the displeasure of viewing.
Captained by an obnoxious, juvenile, anti-vaxxer, headache of a main character, a good chunk of this film is borderline unwatchable. Just making your MC a outright insufferable asshole is not enough to make them a suitable “unlikable protagonist”. There is nothing entertaining or redeemable about this character in the slightest. There still has to be something that makes them worth following, and unless you like cringey, forced-edgy, terribly written caricatures, this isn’t it. Not a single line in this is funny, intentionally or not, and it was straight up aggravating to get through. The scares are your typical, run of the mill jump scares that offer little in the way of genuine horror outside of loud noises. Only reason it doesn’t get half a star is because there were SOME shot concepts I thought were smart.
Overall this was annoying, cliche, absolutely grating, and easily the worst movie of 2022.
#68. The Bubble
Here’s a little insight into the first half of my 2021. Before I was working behind a desk editing YouTube videos for a living (not my own, yet) I was working on film and television sets while COVID was still well underway. Needless to say it made the already strenuous 12-16 hour work days even more difficult. Daily COVID tests, doubling up on masks and shields, and having to remain 5 feet apart from our co-workers was anything but ideal. Good for safety, just not for productivity. You want to know what I WASN’T thinking during this time?
“Gee, someone should make a movie about this”!
The Bubble is perhaps one of the most aggravating, tone deaf films of the year, taking a time we all would like to forget and making it the backdrop for bad comedy and cheap jokes. Choosing to make this about actors, the people on set with the least amount of restrictions, and how hard making a movie in these conditions is for them leads to some of the laziest, uninspired comedy I’ve seen in a very long time. Even fan favorites like Pedro Pascal, Karen Gillan, and Keegan-Michael Keye are powerless to redeem this uninspired, idiotic drag of a film. Judd Apatow continues to walk the line as both the leading voice and a war criminal in the realm of comedy filmmaking.
Certainly the worst “superhero” film of the year (at least that’s how it marketed itself). This Stephen King adaption is slow, boring, underwritten and poorly acted. The characters are painfully unlikable, lifelessly moving through one scene to the next while failing to generate any sympathy or emotion from the viewer. The only real positive is John Carpenter’s score, but other than that, there’s not a single spark of creativity to be found here.
Somehow this film from 2002 made its way into 2022, become a viral internet meme for all the wrong reasons. An unapologetic cash grab banking on a niche section of the Marvel universe and Spider-Man teasing, Morbius is a sterile sleepwalk through the sins of super hero’s past that fails to substantially break the established mold. It’s characters are flat and uninteresting, it’s script is uninspired and messy, and its presentation fails to give the film it’s own unique identity. Top this off with potentially the worst post credit scene ever shot, and you’ve got a film that shouldn’t have been given a wide release, let alone two.
#65. Halloween Ends
There have been a few legacy horror sequels to come out this year, but there is perhaps none as misguided as Halloween Ends. Though it tries to recapture the style and atmosphere of the original film that Halloween Kills avoided, the film is still an underwhelming and nonsensical conclusion to the latest trilogy. Laurie Strode feels incredibly uncharacteristic, her granddaughter Alyson is thrown into a forced romantic side plot, and Michael Myers barely makes an impact in his short amount of screen time. It fails to bring the terror and tension the original is know for, finishing off an underwhelming trilogy with a disappointing thud.
#64. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Like I said earlier, it’s been quite a year for legacy horror sequels. Texas Chainsaw Massacre actually managed to impress with some gory, violent sequences, but its not enough to ignore that the rest of the film is aggravatingly dumb. It’s integration of millennial “ideals” and “culture” provides little substantial commentary and simply feels out of touch, while the script itself delves too far out of the realm of believability to be taken seriously. While the performances are fine for the most part, though they are written to be terribly one note and unlikable in a way that paints them as unrealistic compared to the characters from the original film. There’s even a forced “Laurie Strode” character that just shows the film is struggling to think of its own ideas.
I will say this: funniest end to a horror movie I’ve seen in a long time.
#63. Jurassic World Dominion
Horror isn’t the only genre getting it’s dumb, cash grab sequels. Jurassic Park’s newest trilogy, like Halloween, gets an unsatisfying and bland conclusion. Our newer characters are devoid of an magnetic personality, and the returning legacy characters are squandered in their underwhelming roles. A film about the wonder of dinosaurs will only carry you so far, and after several decades of films, the idea has grown stale. The film does nothing new or interesting with its concept, existing only to pull in lifelong fans with water downed returns of their favorite characters and lazy callbacks to much better films.
#62. Black Adam
Yet another giant, gaudy blockbuster riding off a trend that has obviously lost its steam. Black Adam employs some of the worst aspects of blockbuster filmmaking, riding off of the recognizability of its lead actor while sacrificing character depth and originality. Though it’s action sequences can be entertaining at times, its not enough padding to reinforce the unoriginal script and terrible writing. It’s hardly a game changer like it was advertised, adding more fuel to the dumpster fire that is the DCEU.
#61. The Gray Man
Living proof that even original IPs can still harbor some of the most aggravating parts of its genre. This film really tries hard to be whip crack smart in its dialogue, but it comes off as laughably cheesy and sometimes cringe inducing. The lead actors do a decent enough job with what they’re getting, its just a shame they’re pushed from one action set piece to the next that, while impressively crafted at times, fails to land any memorable moments while being clouded in artificial fog and annoying shaky cam. Netflix dropped some big money for this movie, but the characters could have been played by anyone thanks to how little they’re directed or fleshed out. And now we’re getting a sequel and spin-off. Cool. The search for a good Russo Brothers movie post-Marvel continues.
A nightmarish attempt a chronicling the struggles of a late icon, Blonde takes the memory of Marilyn Monroe and warps it into an unyielding whirlpool of pain and suffering. The idea itself isn’t exactly what makes it bad; it’s the characterization of Monroe that makes her story too nonsensically grim and shallow to take seriously. Ana de Armas struggles to breath any worthwhile life into the role, being mostly relegated to outbursts and emotional torture. It may look great with some genuinely dreamy and nightmarish visuals, but it does nothing for the memory of Monroe besides boiling it down to it’s darkest moments and painting fabricated events in an incredibly manipulative light.
#59. Orphan: First Kill
A mixed bag of interesting ideas and terrible execution. Although not an origin story as the title may suggest, we still don’t get much insight into the character of Ester and what brought her to the murderous tendencies she’s know for. The first half of the film is pretty weak and a bit too familiar, but things do get more interesting later on, if not convoluted. An interesting twist suffers from the script’s first draft-tier writing, but it does produce a bit of dumb fun thanks to the performances of Fuhrman and Stiles. There’s actually a respectable achievement in practical effects here when it comes to de-aging Fuhrman, it’s just a shame the rest of the film couldn’t live up to that quality.
#58. Falling for Christmas
An easy target for sure, but I have to get some bad Christmas movies in at least once a year. Mainly checked this out because of Lindsey Lohan, and its about what you’d expect. Extra cheesy story where a materialistic woman falls in love and discovers the true meaning of Christmas. You could end world hunger with the amount of cheese these stories produce. Sure, they’re meant for light watching, but it still takes the easy route and doesn’t try to be all that funny or original.
#57. Day Shift
Harmlessly fun if not painfully cliché, Day Shift delivers on some impressive moments of action, but stumbles with its characterizations and comedy. Surely there’s more to the world of vampires than Twilight references.
#56. A Christmas Story Christmas
Yeah, this is pretty cheesy, predictable, and loaded with at least 10 stock sound effects I was easily able to identify. Yet, I did catch myself smiling at times. I’m not really in the camp of the original being as terrible as some make it out to be, but this was a decent nostalgia watch that may not be as endearing as its predecessor, but its heart seems to be in the right place.
#55. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Maybe it was because of the absurdly long, prestige film-like title, but I was expecting this to be a much more insightful dive into the man and the myth of Nic Cage. Look, I didn’t need the Nic Cagiest Nic Cage movie to know Nic Cage is the man, but I would’ve liked it to be more than just a surface level portrait of the man that every tabloid has already covered. Cage and Pascal are a terrific duo, and it’s unfortunate more of the film couldn’t just be dedicated to their antics. It’s not incredibly introspective or critical of Cage as a person beyond the memes and headlines, and it fails to really commentate on Hollywood without falling into the unironic trappings it poked fun at earlier (similar to Scream from this year). It had some fun buddy moments and will probably satisfy a broad audience, but after defining his career with Pig, it’s a shame Cage can’t be given more than just a caricature of himself to play.
#54. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
I thought 2020’s Sonic the Hedgehog was better than most video game adaptions, yet still stumbled on becoming a truly memorable film. I feel more or less the same way about its sequel. As a childhood fan of the blue blur, I was happy to see the film adopt some of the zanier bits of the games’ lore, including its expanded cast of characters and glowing emeralds. At the end of the day it’s still a silly little kids movies with not much new to see, but it does a better job integrating more of the lore into the universe for fans like me. I did find the story to be more exciting this time around but thought the script wasn’t as off-the-wall funny as the first. That being said, Jim Carrey and Idris Elba are a lot of fun when the movie shifts to them, though the dynamic between Sonic and Tails isn’t as engaging as I would have hoped. I’m interested to see where the series goes from here, but I’m not as optimistic as I was as it seems they’ve found their comfort zone with these films and I’m not really expecting them to improve from here outside of injecting more fan service.
Are we as a society ever going to move past the notion that people with big grins are scary?
Truthfully this could have been a lot worse, but the film takes some notes from better horror movies and utilizes them in some fairly successful ways. I do think it borrows a bit too much from films like It Follows, Hereditary, The Ring, and Truth or Dare, to the point the film has no real unique identity. It does manage to be pretty scary at times with some smart visuals and genuinely good jump scares, but it unravels as it goes on. The scares get cheaper and the “theme” is fumbled.
Better than it could have been, but not great.
Painfully predictable but a passable watch. Can be far too preachy and corny, especially near the end, but Hemsworth’s goofball mastermind saved the film from being completely forgettable. It’s still forgettable, but it has a moment or two.
#51. Violent Night
Essentially an overextended SNL skit that has some genuine moments of fun. It makes decent use of its Christmas setting when it comes to its violent action sequences, as David Hader’s pissed of Santa performance is highly entertaining. The writing does get pretty cringe-worthy at times, at the film is padded by boring scenes of uninteresting character development. Nobody knew how to pace itself and stay interesting, but here it tries to combat its own nihilism with heavily artificial Christmas cheer. Still, that final kill is freaking nuts.
20 years from now there will be another Scream movie and I can guarantee you it will just be called Scream as well.
Fun with its meta commentary and callbacks, but lacks the self awareness to really make this seem like a fresh take for the franchise. While the original Scream was clever and subversive for the time, this feels way too late to the party. The commentary has been done before, and everything they make fun of ends up playing out in the film with not enough irony to justify it. It didn’t have much to say beyond the obvious, more than solidifying that this franchise doesn’t have many places left to go.
#49. Thor: Love and Thunder
Perhaps the biggest letdown of an MCU film I’ve seen thus far. I have no idea what happened to make this movie such a nosedive compared to Thor: Ragnarok, but I hate to see it. Cringe-inducing comedy, a wasted villain helmed by one of our finest actors, and aggravatingly bad special effects litter the film throughout. There are some decent moments of character development and action, but it lands so low for me because of the stark contrast to its predecessor and the fact that it had all of the right ingredients to begin with.
Even Chris Hemsworth is getting tired of this. I know I most certainly am.
#48. Terrifier 2
My god, what a gross ass movie. While the original film was occasionally shocking but most aimless, this film at least attempts to have a story and characters. Are any of those thing particularly well written or original. Nah, not really. Yet I can’t deny it has a certain classic silliness to it that reminded me a lot of Wes Craven‘s work. Art the Clown is certainly on his way to becoming a modern horror icon, and I’m here for it. That being said, this film is waaaaaay too long with such obvious and needless padding. Yet the film does have its moments of both horror and comedy.
The gore, man. You can really see where that crowdfunded money went. Absolutely disgusting (compliment).
#47. Death on the Nile
I’m a bit torn on this film. I like Branagh as a director and I do think he gives a pretty good performance as Detective Hercule Poirot, and a good chunk of the cast are fairly decent as well. The story is engaging of course because it is Agatha Christie, but there’s a good chunk holding this film back as well. Gal Gadot isn’t super suited for her role (not matter how much she “feels denial”) and the effects and green screen work can be pretty atrocious. The time spent before the actual murder can be hard to watch, but it does gradually get better as the film goes on.
“Really wonder why that is”, he said sarcastically.
#46. See How They Run
Despite an all-star cast, this film didn’t grip me nearly as much as I would have liked. The mystery isn’t incredibly interesting, and the way it unravels is incredibly slow while trying to be self-aware in a way that doesn’t really do much for the whodunnit formula or genre. It can definitely be humorous at time with its dry wit and lead performances, but I did find the film to be a bit frail and transparent.
Sort of like a glass onion.
Somewhat of a win for horror re-imaginings. Hellraiser (2022) does a pretty decent job at capturing some of the macabre nature of the original, even if it never really gets on the same gross and grimy level. The effects all around are pretty good, though a bit too sleek at times when the film utilizes digital over practical. The characters aren’t the best, being neither interesting or engaging, but the performances are at least decent enough. The ending was a pretty solid gut punch that made a lot of sense from a narrative point of view and how it tied into the themes of addiction.
Certainly one of the better attempts at an existing horror IP this year.
#44. The Black Phone
The Black Phone is at its best when it allows you to attach yourself to the main characters, acted pretty freaking well when it comes to child actors. Their performances really sell the anguish they experience, and it makes the film much better for it. Ethan Hawkes’ villainous outing is enticingly devious, even if the character itself isn’t fully realized. The plot juggles a lot of different ideas and plot points that don’t always get the same amount of attention, and a few plot holes grow more glaring the more you think about them. Yet, the atmosphere and performances help to forget some of these issues, crafting a genuinely chilling tale that captures the paranoia of childhood fears and superstitions.
Oh Baz Luhrmann, you beautiful maniac. He has once again graced us with a highly-stylized, frenetic, musical experience that walks the line of entertaining and headache inducing. Austin Butler’s turn as the King of Rock can’t be understated, as the man completely transforms himself into a believable, magnetic character. Tom Hanks on the other hand is quite silly, and I do question why they let this character be our guide on this journey. The film somehow manages to move incredibly fast while also moving incredibly slow, with chaotic editing choices you’d expect from Luhrmann and an overly stretched runtime you can also expect from Luhrmann. A lot is working in the film’s favor while quite a bit works against it, yet it still manages to be a good time even for those unfamiliar with Elvis’s work.
#42. Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
I love Al Yankovic as a performer, and after watching interviews with the man, he seems like a pretty swell guy. His newest film takes the Walk Hard: A Dewey Cox Story route, aiming for a satirical approach to not only his life, but the musical biopic genre as a whole. Daniel Radcliffe does a fine job in the comedic role, though I do wish they would have had him sing the songs (but I guess that’s just part of the biopic experience). It’s often funny, though a lot of the genre jokes are pretty low hanging fruit already covered in the aforementioned Walk Hard. Really, I found the movie to play out like an extended Funny or Die skit…wait a minute.
Michael Bay’s patented Bay-hem style isn’t for everyone, and rarely is it for me. Yet it often is the highlight of every one of his films, and when it hits, boy does it hit. Ambulance is one of those rare occurrences where I found the non-stop action suitably acceptable enough to drown out the rest of the film’s issues. The writing and dialogue in Bay‘s films is incredibly grating, and that’s no exception here. Despite this, Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II manage to make their characters entertaining to watch for the most part. The Bay-hem never seems to slow down too much for too long, and there are some incredible moments of practical action on display here.
Good job Michael, I didn’t hate it.
#40. Honk For Jesus: Save Your Soul
I love me a good satire of organized religion, and while I felt this film wasn’t as poignant as I wanted it to be, I still had a fun time with the stellar lead performances and the psuedo-mockumentary format.
An off balanced, socially relevant thriller with a strong start and a messy conclusion. It wears its pandemic era setting as more of a decoration than part of the story, which is fine I guess. Kravitz is great, while everyone around her mainly suffers from stilted dialogue that sounds like it was thought up on the spot. I liked the switch to the more guerilla style cinematography outside of the main setting, even if it felt a bit cheesy. Overall it’s a serviceable thriller that sets up a few themes that never come full circle, yet it’s short enough that it doesn’t over stay it’s welcome.
#38. Don’t Worry Darling
The future Jordan Peterson wants.
Aesthetically pleasing with some pretty decent performances (Harry Styles included) and solid presentation in its cinematography and set design. My main gripe is that it’s so familiar in its ideas without really presenting any interesting commentary to a genre like this. While the true nature of the world may come as a surprise, it’s motives do not.
Definitely not as bad as people and the drama make it out to be, but runs the risk of forgettability by being neither wholly original or laughably bad.
Gotta say, I’m very in the middle on this film. On one hand, it’s incredibly atmospheric and draws from such an untapped but familiar dread that absolutely resonated with me. The feeling of being young, waking at an unfamiliar time of night, unable to recognize your own home. There’s some scenes that are paced so well and absolutely torture you with silence and slow movements. There’s a lot of clever plays with darkness and film grain that give this film a uniquely ominous feel.
That being said, it gets very repetitive and the technicals absolutely make this a challenging watch at times. The sound design is used pretty effectively when it comes to being scary, but it also makes it hard to tell who is saying what and what exactly is happening. You’ll see a ton of the same shots over and over again with very little payoff to this. It’s unconventional narrative makes it hard to string together scenes and the passage of time, and it’s sure to confuse those who aren’t completely immersed.
Even though I wanted to love this film more than I did, I high suggest watching this in the absolute dark, maybe even with a friend. It’s uniqueness is certainly welcome, I just wish it all came together a bit more seamlessly.
#36. No Exit
A film where drugs save the day. What D.A.R.E is too cowardly to show you.
A fairly tight and suspenseful thriller that gets a bit silly at times, yet its engaging plot and solid performances make for a good, short watch.
#35. The Bob’s Burgers Movie
Move over Top Gun, this is the REAL summer blockbuster of 2022.
As a fan of the show, it’s about what I expected. Humor was quirky but not overtly. The dash of emotional moments were nice and didn’t feel too forced, and I enjoyed most of the music and animation.
It did feel like they could have utilized the idea of a big movie a little bit more, feeling very contained and while it didn’t challenge the status quo too much. Some scenes go on for way too long and I wish it would have fully leaned into being a true musical. Still, satisfied with what I saw. Can’t really say if this would win people over to the show. Just know the show is not this shadowy.
#34. Bullet Train
It reeks of Hollywood commercialism with its overstuffing of celebrities, gaudy special effects, and shaky hyper-violence.
But I still enjoyed it?
I was fully prepared for this to be a try-hard, disposable action flick with little to bring to the table, and for the first 15 or so minutes I was right. But the action does get more fun, the jokes tended to land more, and the story spins into a surprisingly tight, huge misunderstanding/whodunnit tale. The writing does get pretty cringey at times with Pitt’s “holy shit balls” and the constant Thomas the Tank Engine references, but the performances salvage it for the most part. Was expecting worse, so even fairly average is good enough.
33. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
I would have enjoyed it more if I could have seen Sam Raimi’s whole hand rather than just his finger prints
Visually interesting and owning one of the best original scores of any MCU film, Doctor Strange in Your MoM still suffers from the consistent plague afflicting their past 2 years of films; underwhelming acting, terrible writing, and a mixed bag of special effects. It never fully commits to the horror aesthetic you can tell Raimi desperately tries to inject here, missing out of being one of the most unique films in the MCU catalogue. Elizabeth Olsen does a fine job while the admittedly cool cameos were mostly hit or miss for me. Could have been much higher if they let the chains of the director, but there’s some elements I can be appreciative of as well.
#32. Turning Red
Turning Red may just be Pixar’s most risky movie to date, refusing to tiptoe around the pads and hormones that come with such a formative time in a child’s life. While never explicit, the film does create an easy to understand metaphor (or so I thought) that mixes fantastical elements with modernistic relatability, especially for women. While having such a narrow audience target may mean it won’t resonate with everyone who watches it, its energetic animation and stylistic narrative approach may still manage to win people over. It isn’t exactly a groundbreaking or bulletproof film, but it manages to remain mostly entertaining while tackling themes most kid films wouldn’t dare touch.
#31. Jackass 4.5
Look, the main reason I’m including this is because I didn’t get to catch/review Jackass 4 last year. There’s no greater meaning or deeper cultural significance to unpack here; just guys getting hit in the testicles in a variety of creative ways. Jackass has evolved beyond a guilty pleasure to something I laude unashamedly. The insane stunts are truly hilarious and breathtaking simultaneously, and the charm of these idiots is certainly infectious.
Cheers to another movie about genital destruction.
#30. The Outfit
A tight, single-room thriller that managed to integrate some tense pacing into an engaging mystery. While the destination wasn’t hard to guess a good ways in, I still have to commend the writing and performances for keeping this stage play of a film as gripping as it was.
#29. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Black Panther’s sequel seemed like an impossible feat all things considered, but what we get at least feels like a natural, respectful continuation that nails the big moments while slipping with some of the smaller moments.
The film handles grief, memory, and moving forward in a way that feels pretty mature by Marvel’s standards. It blurs the lines between the real life and storyline tragedy of Chadwick/T’Challa’s passing that doesn’t feel overly manipulative or baiting. The returning cast carries these themes solidly, while the newer characters (aside from Namor) struggle to bring relevancy to the plot. Riri Williams and Aneka are welcome additions, but their presence tends to detract from the main plot. The same can be said for the inclusion of Everett Ross, whose entire storyline could have been cut with little consequence to the main story. The film is way too bloated, and the pacing continually suffers from it.
Aside from some very apparent green screen, I found the special effects to be pretty solid this time around, particularly with Namor, his soldiers and his city. The fight scenes are well choreographed and have some solid weight to each hit, losing some of the floatyness commonly found in the MCU.
A solid sequel that comes out to be the best MCU film of the year (like that’s a hard line to break).
#28. Emily the Criminal
Another tense, well acted crime thriller about the slippery slope of desperate crime capitalism can drive people towards. Aubrey Plaza delivers an aggressively enticing performance, perhaps my favorite of hers so far. The in-your-face, energetic camera work is very reminiscent of a Safdie Brothers film, managing to keep you on the edge of your seat with simple, tight framing and hectic camera movements. I think it loses a bit of its themes by the end, but it still remains relatively enthralling from beginning to end.
#27. Three Thousand Years of Longing
A story about the importance of stories that unfortunately fumbles it’s pivotal narrative by disconnecting so hard from the stories of the first half that give the film the most charm and engagement. The first portion of this film is beautifully written and wonderfully fantastical, taking the familiar stories of a genie and 3 wishes and turning it into a tale of cruel fate and bittersweet desires.
Once the film departs from these stories of the past and remains in the present is where the film begins to flounder. I didn’t exactly find our main character and her genie’s romantic conundrum all that compelling, leading to an ending that didn’t seem to bring any of the interesting questions pondered in the beginning full circle. Not to mention that this film feels like it’s about to end at least 3 times before it finally does.
There’s certainly enough uniqueness here to make it a standout among the films of 2022, but it doesn’t exactly know what to do with the magic it’s captured.
#26. The Bad Guys
Energetic animation, solid voice performances, and a fun plot make this a standout in the field of animation for 2022. The story can be pretty predictable and I didn’t find it nearly as funny as I was expecting, but still a solid turnout for children’s animation that is willing to put some true stylistic work into it.
#25. Wendell & Wild
What a good year for stop-motion! Wish I could have caught Mad God, but we get some much needed stop-motion spookiness with the return of Henry Selick. Spellbinding visuals that do wonders for the medium, solid voice performances, and a gritty and goofy attitude made this a lot of fun to watch, although it does feel all over the place with its multiple moving parts that don’t exactly form the most seamless machine. Still, one thing is for certain:
Tim Burton did not direct The Nightmare Before Christmas.
The performances are all great (especially Rory), the cinematography is lovely, and the last 20 minutes are pretty gnarly. From an allegorical point of view, it’s perhaps Garland’s most approachable film, but potentially his most divisive based on what you take out of it. For me it’s not a matter of what he’s trying to say, it’s the sentiment he’s trying to achieve by saying it. Is it really going to spark meaningful conversation, or simply parrot general public opinions? I get what he’s saying, but why is he saying it?
Quite fucked, innit?
The right way to harness camp and cheese without being too self-aware but also not too overtly dumb. Certainly one of the most fun genre movies I’ve seen in a while. I was expecting a lot more from the narrative and was a little surprised to see how straightforward it ended up being, but that’s more just a bi product of A24’s horror track record. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the editing but the score was unique and fit nicely. While I had fun here, I got a bit more enjoyment out of the prequel (coming up very soon).
An average story elevated by smart directing that manages to be both patient yet eager to delve deeper into its madness. A lot funnier than I was anticipating, which I think worked better than a film like Malignant, as this film actually feels like it’s in on the silliness. It’s use of dumb horror movie logic actually isn’t as infuriating when attached to a character that 1. You can believe would make these stupid decisions and 2. You actually WANT to see them make those decisions because they’re awful people.
I will say the hype behind this movie can definitely affect expectations, because while there’s some fairly shocking moments here, it doesn’t get nearly as gnarly as I was expecting. I feel as if the envelope could have been pushed even further with the concept to make it even more batshit. Still, this is the right amount of camp I enjoy with films like this. Quick to the point and a tad tongue in cheek.
#21. Cha Cha Real Smooth
A cute and quirky coming of age(ish) film about that period in your life post college, where you’re living with your parents in your hometown again, trying to make sense of everything in front of you. Hilarious, honest and heartfelt, this is the kind of low budget magic I look for, one that not only entertains, but connects.
#20. Bodies Bodies Bodies
Often satirized but rarely captured, millennials and their culture are a prime source for films to poke fun at. Although I don’t think of seen one as hilariously correct as this film. Not only is it a crazy funny time as a group of young adults try to deduce who among them is a killer, but it’s also a surprisingly interesting look into how the younger generation uses and weaponizes language. The performances are goofy if not sincere, and while the mystery might not be as layered as anticipated, it does lead to a pretty hilarious ending that will do a lot for Pete Davidson lovers and haters.
Props to Ti West for one of the quickest turnarounds in film follow-ups I’ve ever seen, which just so happens to top its predecessor for me. While X took on the sheen of grimy slashers, Pearl chooses to envelope itself in the 40s and 50s when movies were become a source of magic and wonderment for the world. Mia Goth is absolutely electric as the titular murderer, embodying both cutesy charm and manic delusion, while the world around here feels alluringly vintage thanks to its pastel color palette and classic film transitions. The character studies of Pearl are a lot more clear this time around, being capped off with an impressive one shot monologue that shows just how good Mia Goth is. Where will its follow up, Maxxxine, fall in the rankings? I’m ecstatic to find out.
#18. The Menu
I don’t know much about fine dining, but The Menu certainly makes me glad I don’t. Brimming with satire on the world of elitist restaurants and leeches that inhabit it, The Menu is a silly good time that goes over the top with its food themed comedy that targets everyone from snobby chefs to pretentious critics to delusional foodies. While the visuals don’t lend much to identity, the performances are certainly the biggest draw with everyone on their A game, serving up a deliciously decadent comedy thriller.
Refreshing in its simplicity and anchored by a fantastic lead performance and arc, this is certainly the most I’ve been engaged in a Predator film in quite a while. It’s all about the hunt in this slow paced but action laced film where our main character uses her ingenuity and adaption to take on a threat bigger and meaner than her, with her climb towards becoming an ample contender being both believable and satisfying. My main gripe with the film is it’s less than convincing CGI, especially with animals outside of the solid dog actor. Some of the side characters are also a bit overly cartoonish, or maybe they’re just French, I’m not sure. Additionally, some of the fight scenes suffer from annoying shaky cam, but what we do get to make out is gory and great. The Predator itself is still an awesome force of nature that gets a lot of screen time, giving it not only a distinct personality but offering insight into how it thinks and it’s own rules to live by. The attention to detail with the Comanche representation and language dub is also a very nice and well deserved touch. I highly recommend that version to wholly emerse yourself.
A bombastic reflection on Hollywood’s past and all the glory and pain it brought. Intentionally excessive but engagingly directed, I found myself absolutely swept up in the impressive use of large-scale scenes utilizing dozens to hundreds of actors. The score is incredibly energetic, while the performances bring hilarity and humanity to the planet-sized egos persistent in the movie-making culture. I did find it to be a tad too juvenile and crass at times where I don’t think it was really needed, and the long runtime definitely has its dips. It’s a film about change, innovation and being left behind in the pursuit of immortality. Truthfully, we’ve been here before and I wish the film would have had a more unique take on the legacy of Hollywood, but I can’t deny I had a hell of a time.
#15. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
In a year of 3 different Pinocchio film’s, Guillermo del Toro’s darkly whimsical interpretation is the undisputed champion, and it’s not even close. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the art of stop motion utilized as extraordinary as it is here. Rarely nowadays am I asking “How did they do that?” when watching a movie, but seriously, “HOW DID THEY DO THAT?”. The motions of the characters and the camera are insanely fluid, while the environments are gorgeously detailed. The film also takes strides to distance itself from its predecessors by having its own unique take on the setting and themes. The story is undeniably del Toro in its themes of childhood innocence and wonder in the face of both magic and horror, making it one of the most visually and thematically interesting adaptations of the children’s story I’ve seen thus far.
#14. Bones and All
Follow your nooooose!
Even though I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I was hoping for and the cannibalism element feeling a tad tacked on, the film is anchored by stellar performances, smart directing, and beautiful cinematography that manages to capture the feelings of being a small, isolated singularity in the sprawling Midwest. Sometimes it feels a bit too young adult for my taste, but there is some genuinely touching emotions at work here, even if the writing doesn’t always translate it.
This was also much more gross than I was expecting, but what can you expect from the man behind “the peach scene”. Mark Rylance is eccentrically unsettling and was the standout for me. Moving and occasionally horrifying; two elements that could easily not meld together if not for the masterful hand of Luca Guadagnino.
#13. Marcel The Shell With Shoes On
One of those films that I could tell just from the trailers that the silly little titular character was going to make me emotional. A quiet, softly funny tale about a little shell with shoes dealing with longing to belong and even juggling internet fame. Shot in a mockumentary style format, the film addresses its themes in a way that may be a bit too complex for children, yet I believe the cutesy voices and imagery could manage to keep them engaged. For adults, I think the emotional moments hit fairly hard as I resonated with a lot of what the tiny protagonist endured. Incredibly sweet and comforting, this turned out to be one of the best feel good films of the year.
#12. Avatar: The Way of Water
This year actually had a few surprises when it came to films I wasn’t incredibly excited to see. So far removed from the original Avatar, I didn’t expect much beyond gorgeous visuals when it came to the sequel. But not only did it deliver on the visuals, but the story and characters received much needed improvement, making the sequel a step above the original in my eyes. James Cameron is an expert in crafting big budget spectacle, and he absolutely nails how to keep a 3 hour long film engaging throughout. While the writing itself remains the consistent weakest link, the story is much more engaging this time around, allowing the more interesting characters to dominate the story and engage in some interesting arcs. I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed this, and now I definitely invested in seeing where this elusive film series heads next.
#11. We’re All Going to the World’s Fair
#10. The Northman
My most anticipated film of 2022, which I’ll admit, I wish could have been placed higher. Yet don’t let that detract from the fact that one of my favorite working directors, Robert Eggers, has delivered another historical gut punch. The Northman is a historical epic about revenge and destiny, culminating in Egger’s most ambitious and straightforward film yet. Alexander Skarsgard is an absolute animal, becoming blinding rage incarnate, and Nicole Kidman also sneaks in an absolutely haunting performance that may just be the best monologue of the year. The visuals are absolutely stunning, with Egger’s commitment to historical accuracy and grandeur never swaying, alongside a booming score that gets the heart pumping and the skin tingling. The marketing for this film really screwed it over as this is much more of a methodical film than the action packed brawler the trailers would have you believe. Nonetheless, despite nagging studio meddling, Eggers is still 3 for 3 in my book. Hopefully the world of film will wise up and give him what he wants already; full frontal male nudity.
#9. Glass Onion
No one hates making millions of dollars more than Netflix, because if they didn’t, they would’ve let Glass Onion be in theaters longer than a week. Knives Out was one of my favorite films of 2019, and I was admittedly worried for a follow up. And while I think I still prefer the first the most, Glass Onion is still everything I was looking for. Incredibly funny, hilariously acted, and razor sharp in its writing, the film is one of the best murder mysteries you’ll see this year (but not THE best, more on that later). Rian Johnson shows such a great understanding for how much to give the audience and when to give it, while never directly spoon feeding them. There’s mysteries within mysteries at play here that manage to be so tightly interwoven without so much as a sight of a loose string. Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc is still incredible, and the new supporting cast are so easy to hate, yet so fun to love. Johnson has been on an absolute roll for his last few films. Yes, that includes The Last Jedi. And yes I will fight you on that.
You ever watch a film that just makes you think: “What the hell are we even doing?”? Why are we putting so much money into these big budget blockbusters that seem absolutely allergic to having fun? When was the last time a film actually blew you away with how mind-bendingingly nuts it was? Well, I hope you’ve got three hours in your day to spare, because RRR will do just that. I’ll admit I don’t have the biggest exposure to Bollywood films, but I am familiar with the calling cards. Steroid infused drama, over the top acting, and of course, the dance numbers. RRR is all of that and more, delivering on some of the most insane action scenes I’ve ever seen while still managing to make a soap-opera style buddy story into a compelling narrative. This film just never pulls back, throwing haymakers of unadulterated insanity at your eyes as the characters fight tigers, take on entire armies by themselves, and deliver the most kickass dance battle I’ve maybe ever seen. It’s goofy as hell and hard to take seriously at times, but who honestly cares when the craftsmanship is this good? It’s clear this film was built to give moviegoers a fun time, and good god did it deliver. So put on your big kid pants and get ready to read a few big scary subtitles, because you’re about to get your ass kicked in the most entertaining way possible.
This was all around a pretty decent year for horror. Yet, there was one movie that not only managed to unnerve me, but also captivate me in a way I didn’t think horror could anymore. Yep, it’s Nope. Jordan Peele is one of the smartest horror directors working today, and he managed to deliver a film akin to Spielberg’s forays in the genre with this out of this world slam dunk. Peele took the tried and true idea of a UFO invasion and turned it into a spooky and hilarious reflection of humanity’s gravitation towards the grand and otherworldly, which often runs the risk of upsetting the balance we share with the other inhabitants of Earth. The film manages to be incredibly tense and frightening despite a lack of visceral imagery, strengthened by intelligent camerawork and a creeping score. Yet with all the focus on the things creeping in the dead of night, the film still manages to capture wonder and spectacle in a way most akin to the golden age of blockbusters. The performances are all killer, and a special shout out has to be given to the special effects team for a gorgeous final act. Peele is absolutely continuing to kill it, bringing inventiveness and heart to an otherwise oversaturated and commercialized market.
#6. After Yang
After all that excitement from those last few films, lets slow down a bit, relax, grab a cup of tea, because we’re gonna get a little tender. After Yang is one of those films that took me completely by surprise this year; a short and sweet reflection on memory that brought new insight into the Artificial Intelligence discussion. The film has this cozy gorgeousness to it that comes from both its melding of modern, simplistic architecture with greenery and fauna in its set design, but also in its tender performances and story that really manages to nurse the heart. There’s a lot to take away from here, like how we process the memories of someone once they’re gone. It’s short and sweet, tender and loving, sad but also pretty funny. It’s a film that I think could absolutely fly under people’s radars, and what a crime that would be. I hope you’ll take a chance on this comforting, quiet film if you feel like you could just use a hug.
#5. Top Gun: Maverick
Genuinely, who could have even guessed Top Gun: Maverick would be as good as it was? Not me. I was fully prepared to skip it, and what a dumb mistake that would have been. Is it blatant military propaganda? Kind of. Is it a bit shallow in its narrative? Honestly, who cares when the action and thrills are this good. The time and effort was put forth so you would feel every shuttle loop and every barrel roll as you fly shotgun through heart pounding aerial shows that you just don’t get to experience in a theater nowadays. I made a crack about it being kind of shallow, and honestly I kind of retract it, because there is something a little deeper going on here. It’s a film fully aware of its “last of its kind” aura, reflective in not only the state of blockbusters, but movie stars like Tom Cruise. This guy has been around for decades and he’s still finding taller shit to jump off of. Cruise and films like these are a dying breed. If you look close enough, you can see this film is still running off that secret ingredient severely missing from most if not all modern action blockbusters that attempt to capture the same undeniable impact as the films in the genre’s heyday. Something that manages to be campy without losing charm. Something that manages to electrify through genuine human ingenuity. Something that may only come together when the stars align, the right minds come together, and passion for the craft is put above all else. Whatever that is, Top Gun: Maverick most certainly has it.
#4. The Batman
It has been quite a few years since a single superhero film has even come close to my top 10. But this year, that streak has been broken, because The Batman is just that damn good. Next to Spider-Man, Batman is one of my favorite superheroes ever, but even I get a little skeptical when a new film of his comes around. After getting the gothic wackiness of Burton and the grounded thrillers of Nolan, it almost feels like we’ve covered all the bases when it comes to the Caped Crusader on film. Yet The Batman still manages to find a way to have its own identity and be uniquely its own while still feeling faithful to the character’s legacy. Robert Pattinson more than carries the mantle of Bruce Wayne with his moody, Nirvana listening sulking and his vengeful, rage-induced beatdowns. Paul Dano harnesses his creepy inner incel as The Riddler, while Collin Ferral, Zoe Kravitz, Jeffery Wright and Andy Serkis all deliver solid lead performances. The film leans into the noir aspects giving it a distinct visual style and a fresh dissection of the idea of a billionaire beating people up dressed as a bat. The red and black color palette are perfect for reflecting Bruce Wayne’s inner anger, and the story takes him on an engaging journey as Batman transforms from a spirit of vengeance into a beacon of justice. It was definitely a bit long and the writing didn’t always land for me, but I may be a bit biased because of my love for da freaking bat. The fact that it managed to deliver so well despite decades of competition just made me happy. This one’s kind of my guilty pick, but it absolutely deserves to be on the list regardless.
#3. Everything, Everywhere, All at Once
This film feels like it’s been talked to death online already, and I’ve already seen the detractors and contrarians come out of the woodwork to tear it down. But don’t let it distract you from the fact that my favorite big screen experience this year was watching Everything, Everywhere, All at Once. A film that, when you think about it, shouldn’t work as well as it does. It takes the “Everything” in the title and absolutely runs with it, assaulting your vision with so much off the wall zaniness and insanity that you can’t help but smile. Directing pair The Daniels show just how talented they are by creating so much with so little. Seriously, looking at the set design, the choreography, the props, the editing. These guys are producing blockbuster pandemonium with half the budget, still managing to blow you away with this heartfelt, action packed story of generational trauma, unrealized potential and hot dog fingers. Michelle Yeoh gives a career best performance kicking ass and making us cry, while Ke Huy Quan makes the comeback of a lifetime in such a profoundly silly and moving kind of way. The film transcends genres and expectations, managing to reflect the issues in our lives with a kaleidoscope glass that’s just as poignantly touching as it is outlandish. It’s obviously made a connection with others, becoming A24’s highest grossing film of all time and earning a ton of well deserved praise. I don’t want the hype to hurt your expectations, but just let your mind, body and soul open up to this project born of passion, and hopefully you’ll see just what the hype is all about.
#2. Decision to Leave
Believe it or not, love stories don’t usually find their way this high up my lists. It’s really gotta put a spin on the whole concept of love and desire to even get me to watch it in the first place. But my number 2 film of the year is just that, managing to be one of the most alluring, sensual films I’ve seen this year, and the two lovers barely even touch. That film is Decision to Leave, a film with a very clear motto: Simpin ain’t easy. All jokes aside, my god, what a tantalizing film this is. The film follows a detective investigating the murder of a man by questioning his widowed wife. He starts to form feelings for her, and we’re off to the races in a story that becomes way more about their relationship and the forces working against it than the actual case. Park Chan-Wook, who you may know from Oldboy and The Handmaiden, is operating on a completely different level of directing prowess here. It feels like nobody is crafting scenes and interactions quite like him. Scenes move and shift through time and physics like an ever changing puzzle box, amplified by some stellar cinematography and staging. The story is so unique for a murder mystery because, like I said, it’s not so much about it. It’s about how the mystery affects and warps these two individuals, disguising their true intentions while also shifting their desires to the point they may not even know what they want anymore. Park Chan-Wook is so playful in his storytelling but won’t hesitate to absolutely shoot you through the heart and leave you for dead when the time comes. The symbolism is strong and smart, but don’t feel too bad if you don’t get it. I certainly didn’t at first. There’s still a lot to take away from this incredibly smart, electrifyingly romantic tale disguised as a police procedural.
#1. The Banshees of Inisherin
Not gonna lie, the top 3 of this list was the absolutely hardest to place. And who knows, maybe down the line I’ll be switching these placements back and forth. But for now, I feel pretty confident in which film did the most for me in terms of storytelling, excitement, emotion, and passion. He’s been at the top of my list before, and by God he’s done it again. My number one film of the year is Michael McDonagh, with The Banshees of Inisherin. There was perhaps no movie I laughed harder and viscerally reacted to as impactfully as this film, and damn does it deserve it. Its the story of two best friends, where one of them doesn’t want to be friends anymore. Sound simple? Well, that’s because it is, but McDonagh does so much with this simplicity to craft a story that is approachable while still managing to smartly dissect the the bleak realities of legacies, depression, unrealized potential, and whether or not you should let a donkey inside your house. Colin Farrell, appearing on this list three freaking times, and Brendan Gleeson play the hottest couple of the year, managing to make me laugh while also stomping on my heart. Barry Keoghan also delivers on his patent brand of little weird guy energy, while Kerry Condon brings a voice of reason that longs to shout it’s own story for a change. The film is darkly hilarious to hear while also being gorgeous to look at with its old Irish isle backdrop. McDonagh is a master at balancing the silly and the serious in his works, and there’s no better example of this than here. He takes you on such a whirlwind of emotions that all feel earned and rewarding to experience, and I can’t recommend this film enough. So stop what you’re feckin doing, que this bad boy up right this instance, and enjoy my number one film of 2022.