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Top Ten Films of 2022

Featuring Action, drama, cannibals, and hotdog fingers.

Like my 2021 list, I rounded out the number of films I saw in 2022 at about 70 films. Unlike 2021 (or the last few years, for that matter), this year is not a top 20.

I’ve always been vocal in saying there are no bad movie years, but 2022 was a tad dull when compared to the likes of 2021 (and certainly to the juggernaut that was the 2019 movie year). 

This also could factor into something that hasn’t happened to me in sometime: I did not get to rewatch any movies on my list (save one). That is more on me than the movies themselves (I did watch some more TV this past year than previously, and while not a movie, I can’t stop praising the amazing Andor.)

As always, I had my share of blindspots, so movies you won’t see on here include:

  • All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
  • Babylon
  • Barbarian
  • The Black Phone
  • Close
  • Devotion
  • EO
  • Living
  • A Man Called Otto
  • No Bears
  • Pearl
  • Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
  • X

Finally, the honorable mentions

Now for the top ten, which begins on the frontlines.

10. 

To say that remakes and sequels are a dime a dozen is an understatement. Yet, even with at least one remake I am aware of of the original Best Picture winner (one of the first), the newest version of All Quiet on the Western Front has the distinction of being released in a time where we are used to seeing the horrors of war. Even with that, director Edward Berger’s version of a young man (Felix Kammerer) and his friends experiencing war is not at all subtle in its depiction of all out battle. It is brutal, grisely, unfair blunt. Horrifying, unimaginable. This timely movie reminds us that war, at the end of the day (for lack of a better word) sucks. Shout out to my friend Russ who was the first to recommend this film.

9.

Very few current directors can draw a basic crowd with their name alone (Nolan comes to mind). It seems that Jordan Peele maybe closer than I think, thanks to his more recent hit Nope. Even in the monster/sci-fi genre, he brings his elements of unique horror to the table, as well as drawing out powerful performances from the subtle Daniel Kaluuya and (especially) the firecracker that is Keke Palmer. Very few modern day horror films look as beautiful as Peele’s do. The tagline on the film is “What’s a bad miracle?”, and I agree with the miracle part of it.

8.

Twenty dollars is a lot to rent any movie, period. Still, my friend Kenneth was stern in his recommendation that the price was worth renting Bones and All. He was right. Luca Guadagino’s film is a sort of coming of age youth romance set in the 1980s with Taylor Russell (from Waves, my favorite film of 2019) and Timothée Chalamet as young souls trying to find solace in each other while also running from past mistakes. Oh, and they are also cannibals. That may turn some off, but the scenes, while gory, show them as not bad people so much as people with a disease. A sickness that they have to live with. It hit my tastes rather well.

7.

Yet another shout out is in order to a friend (let alone leader at my church) for this film recommendation by the name of Michael. Even at three hours, RRR is some of the most over the top movie making I have seen in some time. The story of two extraordinary warriors of equal power, one can see how this movie could be mistaken as just another Bollywood style film (there are two dance sequences.) Yet it is more than just the dancing and the literal throwing of tigers and motorcycles. It is about (like another film coming up soon) unspoken respect and brotherhood. Oh, and archery with grenades on the arrows.

6.

I am having more and more admiration for Robert Eggers with each film he makes. While perhaps not as popular as Jordan Peele, Eggers’ vision is as singular as they come, which is on full display in The Northman. The story of one man named Amleth (an anagram of Hamlet) seeking revenge for the murder of his father, this film is almost going to 11 on the visceral scale (Alexander Skarsgård seems nearly possessed). I have not felt this much testosterone come from the screen since 300. 

5.

No character this year comes close to being as more adorable as the titular character of Marcel the Shell with Shoes on. He simply is looking for the rest of his family that was lost in an unfortunate sock drawer incident. I am not too familiar with the film shorts that inspired the film, but the main character is almost chaplin esq in how universally relatable he is. Even if I am not one who watches 60 minutes.

4.

Perhaps you have heard of this one? In a year of sequels, no other film came close to living up the its predecessor than Top Gun; Maverick. In fact, it is most likely a better movie than the original, something that has not happened since The Dark Knight in 2008. Covid postponed this movie (as well as many others) for some time, but the wait was worth it. I know a fair amount of people who (understandably) are not fans of Tom Cruise. I am still doing what I can to tell them this movie is good enough to make them forget their feelings toward him. That alone is saying something.

3.

The only movie I was able to revisit, The Banshees of Inisherin is one of the saddest comedies of recent years. Okay, that might not be the best of selling points, especially since it is still filled with a distinctive charming warmth only someone like writer/director Martin McDonaugh could provide. All the actors are sublime: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, and Barry Keoghan are all certain to be Oscar nominated in the next few weeks. So will McDonaugh for screenplay and director. Also, hopefully Ben Davis for the Cinematography. Personally, I am wanting some kind of trophy for Jenny the donkey.

2.

You remember in the first Harry Potter film, when he has to race on his broomstick and catch one key in a room full of other keys going at supersonic speed? That is the equivalent of me trying to find out my thoughts of Everything, Everywhere, all at Once. I hope that comes through as a compliment. This is one of those movies that may be straight up impossible to understand the first viewing due to its pure zaniness. It defies description what happens (when was the last time you saw an emotional scene involving hot dog fingers, or the villain fighting with sex toys?)  It was the first time in some time I remember hearing another audience member say they couldn’t breath due to laughing so hard (I am sure the mix up of Raccoons and Ratatouille helped.) The come back story of Ke Huy Quan has been beyond inspirational, and MIchelle Yeoh has her best shot at an Oscar after a very stellar career. If it weren’t only for one other performance…

1.

No film in 2022 has been on my mind more so than Todd Field’s Tár. His first film in over a decade (plus my only five star of the year), I’ve heard many a people have been thinking that the titular character is a real person. She is not, but that just proves what a force of nature Cate Blanchett is in the performance of 2022. A friend of mine, Tyler, said it best when he said she could be the long distant relative of the J.K. Simmons character from Whiplash (granted, she does not hurt anyone physically in the film.) I have been itching…ITCHING to see it a second time, because I know I have only scratched the surface. Toward the end of 2022, Sight & Sound did their ten year tradition of the 100 greatest movies of all time, and while Tár may not be in the same breath of those films, it is the one that has the most potential.

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