The Best Films Of 2022

After about a month and a half, I finally have a semi-finalized list of my favorite films from 2022! I say semi-finalized because it is an ever-changing ranking. In fact, the only film solidified in its ranking is my number 1 pick! 2022 was just too good a year for movies! Creators gifted us with everything from healing families to killer clowns. As creative minds pushed themselves to create new and unique stories, long-awaited sequels and original universes were at the top of their game. My internal debate about my top 11 list continues even as I am writing this! I couldn’t even narrow it down to an even 10! Even so, I wanted a concrete list to refer back to when giving recommendations! A few of the films I am about to mention are ones I have previously written about, so I will be pulling quotes or even paragraphs from my other posts to help reinforce previously stated opinions. Of course, these opinions are my own, so not everyone’s favorite will be on the list! You are more than welcome to leave comments with your picks! Now, let’s get to the fun part!

11.  Bodies Bodies Bodies

Before diving into Bodies Bodies Bodies, we have to talk about the complete cultural reset that occurred when the original Scream came out in 1996. Up until its release, slashers had become mundane and predictable. Even Craven’s Nightmare On Elm Street franchise had become worn out. But Scream changed the game. Wes Cravens’s iconic slasher spawned a new and thrilling franchise using meta-commentary on common slasher tropes while also adhering to the same rules it claims to break. It is a terrifying, hilarious ode to the slasher sub-genre. In its aftermath, copy-cats tried to recapture the mystery, social commentary, and genre-bending ways with little to no effect, despite how well-known many of them have come to be (I’m looking at you I Know What You Did Last Summer). The genre became stale yet again. Enter Bodies Bodies Bodies.

A group of tight-knit and, notably, Gen Z friends hunker down in a mansion as a hurricane rages overhead. The group consists of every trope you could imagine used to great effect. Podcasters, wannabes, emotional supporters, and tough personas are just a few. Party favors, booze, gossip, and a simple game spark the party until a death ignites the rest. Speculation and suspicion swirl as the body count rises. Everyone is a suspect, and nowhere is a safe… space. The mix of comedy and kills makes it a fun party watch and the perfect movie for someone like me! The jokes made at the expense of my generation are on-point. So, who wants to play Bodies Bodies Bodies? 

10. TÁR

If you have been an avid reader of the blog, then you know how much I loved this movie. Here is part of my review from a few weeks ago. You can read the rest here. 

TÁR explores the idea of power and the dangers that come when abused. But more on that later. I want to dip into the film and the spoiler-free plot and discuss marketing and acting. The film is written and directed by Todd Field, who has returned to the entertainment scene after taking a break following his 2006 film Little Children. TÁR stars Cate Blanchett, Nina Hoss, Neómi Merlant, and Sophie Kauer. It takes place in an undisclosed year but after the COVID-19 lockdown. 

The film officially begins after an almost end-credit fashion. We find ourselves joining Lydia Tár as she is being interviewed in front of a large crowd. Lydia is a world-famous composer and conductor. As the conversation continues, we understand how remarkable Lydia’s career has been. Due to her immense talent and passion, her status has skyrocketed to an all-time high. Her next outing: a live recording of Mahler’s 5th Symphony. An apparent daunting task. One that will boost her own career to unprecedented levels. 

Lydia makes her way to a college-level class where she is a guest teacher. During her time, she expressed her love for music and the stories layered underneath each note, among other passion-filled topics. As Lydia resettles in Berlin, ego takes control. I would like to avoid spoilers for the rest of the film. 

9. The Batman

I despise Batman. You heard me. I DESPISE BATMAN! My reasoning? He is so cocky and desperately needs to be in therapy. I have only seen the film adaptations and have not yet read the comics, so I am making my judgments based solely on them. I had zero hope going into The Batman. After hearing rave reviews, I decided to take the teenager I work with to go see it. I came out of it 3 hours later, completely stunned. This is probably going to be the shortest review because I don’t want to spoil the story, as well as it being a Batman film. Generic yet brilliant at the same time. Fair warning: some moments are darker than expected. It is borderline horror in some moments. I had to make sure my friend was okay (he was fine and quite enjoyed it)! If that piques your interest, then the bat signal is shining!

8. The Banshees Of Inisherin

This film really came out of the left field. I had no intention of enjoying it as much as I did. The commentary on friendship and the lengths we go to for others is captivating in Martin McDonagh’s pitch-black comedy. Farrel steals the show as the loyal yet oblivious Pádraic. His Oscar nomination is well deserved. He is completely believable as a man slowly moving toward the brink of losing his cool. One moment he will have you laughing; the next you’ll be questioning his intentions. It was truly a great ride! 

Pádraic and Colm have been friends for years. That all ends when Colm decides he no longer enjoys Pádraic and his mundane persona. Pádraic is shocked by this and refuses to believe it is the truth. His not-so-patient waiting turns violent when Colm offers up a violent idea. Yet Pádraic refuses to give in. By the time the two come to a reasonable conclusion, irreparable damage to their livelihoods has taken its place. This is another re-review from my Oscars 2023 ranking! Here is a link to my full post!

7. The Menu

Anya Taylor-Joy. Raph Finnes. I don’t think I need to say anything else. But of course, I will. Who doesn’t love a scathing social satire? Add in some A-list stars and great comedic moments, and it’s a recipe for success. Consumerism and classism are seasoned over the main course. It isn’t often that such heavy-handed topics are distributed to the masses. Indie darlings like Triangle of Sadness and The Platform found success discussing similar topics but were nowhere near as popular as The Menu. Its ability to seamlessly weave together the themes while staying constantly interesting and mysterious is a feat on its own. 

Margot and Tyler are some of the few lucky patrons at Hawthorn, an exclusive restaurant experience helmed by Chef Slowik. Patrons of the restaurant are among the rich and elite. Tyler himself is a self-proclaimed foodie, having seen every episode of every cooking show to exist and followed every move Slowik has ever made with great detail. Margot, however, is the total opposite. When the courses are served, the guests discover that every dish is more about story than enjoyment, and the story being told may not let anyone live! It is one that everyone could really enjoy, so I must insist that you take a bite!

6. She Said

While I usually go into the film’s plot, I do not need to as it is a true story. I instead would like to talk about the world we live in and the fear that has been instilled. My takeaway from the film is that we, as a society, have pushed others to the brink of keeping them quiet. I don’t understand how people can find it in their hearts to push hatred into the world. The movie makes sure you, as the viewer, understand what could happen if these actors spoke out against a man in charge. While there was great hope at the end, I walked away, remembering what we had done to each other. 

I recommend watching the film for yourself. While it is a biography, it plays out almost like a thriller. The plot propels along quite quickly, and the tension built by the sound design keeps you on your toes. A specific restaurant scene had me holding my breath in the theater. Again, I would like to reiterate that the film discusses assault and may be upsetting to some viewers. However, it does leave a message of hope and empowerment in the end! Here is my full review.

5. After Yang

Many things make a family feel whole. The bonds that are shared between one another, and the never-ending love. But, as many people know, family members are not always around. So how does one move on from such tragedy? How do you cope with having to let go so suddenly? That is the core of the 2022 film After Yang. It is written and directed by Kongonada and adapted from the short story “Saying Goodbye To Yang” from the book “Children of the New World” by Alexander Weinstein. Collin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Malea Emma, and Justin H. Min make up the incredible leading cast. Their family dynamic is well-established, and acted with grace and poise. Each of the characters is fully fleshed out. The actors understand their characters and how to portray their intentions. It makes such a great family watch. 

The story revolves around Jake (Farrell), Kyra (Turner Smith), their daughter Mika (Emma), and their AI son Yang (Min). The family purchased Yang to help Mika connect better with her Asian heritage. Over the years, he becomes like a son to them. As time passed, Yang formed a deeper connection with Mika than her parents had with her. When Yang begins to malfunction and ultimately turn off, it is discovered there is a problem within his core. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to turn it back on. Jake is faced with deciding what to do next. Does he give him to a local museum to be studied, or does he try again to bring him back in some way? When he is given Yang’s memories, his decision is made easier. The event forever changes his family, and they ultimately grow stronger by the moment. Here is the link.

4. Everything Everywhere All At Once

Everything, Everywhere, All At Once premiered at SXSW on March 11th of 2022, before having both a limited and wide release when it saw success. It quickly became a critical commercial success, earning over $100 million worldwide. It is a personal favorite of mine, topping my chart from the best movie of the year, followed closely by TÁR and Marcel The Shell With Shoes On. It is directed and written by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (The Daniels). I am a fan of their other movie, Swiss Army Man, from 2016. Everything stars Michelle Yeoh, who delivers one of the year’s best performances. Stephanie Hsu matches in talent with a star-making turn. Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis round out the fantastic cast. But how can this be true for a dull, mundane, and ultimately uninteresting movie? Minor spoilers are ahead, but I promise nothing that will ruin the film!

Evelyn Wang (Yeah) is over Everything. She is stressed out by work; her husband is constantly pestering her; she can’t understand her adult daughter’s life; her father lives with her, and, the cherry on top, her family’s laundromat is being audited. She has made so many choices in pursuit of a good life. All of them have led her here. She, along with her husband Waymond (Quan) and father (James Hong), have come to the Auditor Of The Year award-winning officer Deirdre Beaubeuirdre (Curtis) for their audit meeting. But her world changes when Waymond begins acting strange in the elevator. Things get extra mundane when he explains that Evelyn is the only one who can save the multiverse *yawns in sarcasm*. With the fate of both the multiverse and her family lives at stake, she will have to confront every choice she has EVER made and the effects of her actions and words. Maybe her husband isn’t happy after all. Perhaps her relationship with her daughter is strained because of her. Everything she knows is thrown into question as she explores Everything her life could have been.

While traveling the multiverse, Evelyn can tap into their skill set and see things through their eyes. She could have been anything from a famous singer to a rock, and Everything in between and beyond. But, instead of returning to her life, she longs to stay in the universes where she has found success. Comparing it to her own life, she sees them as dreams. But she is dragged back again and again to the IRS building and put right onto the battlefield, both literally and metaphorically. When Jobu Tupaki, a version of her daughter Joy from a different universe, comes in with a sinister and self-imploding plan, Evelyn has to fight both her urge for a better life and the resentment she holds towards her chosen one. Link!

3. Nope

Jordan. Fucking. Peele. Again, no other words are needed. He has become a household name synonymous with modern horror. His Oscar-winning freshman triumph Get Out and sophomore feature Us have earned him a rightful place among the ranks of other legendary horror directors such as Tobey Hooper and Wes Craven. Nope only cements his status. Much like The Menu, horror, comedy, and social commentary merge to create a fully fleshed-out experience. Instead of focusing on the rich, Nope flips the table and makes the audience members the consumer. We become the viewers of spectacles, big and small, and we must accept the fate of doing so. 

Emerald and OJ Hayward have inherited their family’s business of assisting on movie sets when horses are involved. Their father dies after a quarter drops from the sky during a random shower of small metal objects. Their ranch is in danger financially, so OJ decides to sell their remaining horses to a nearby western-themed tourist attraction owned by a former child star. Strange happenings begin to happen around the ranches, aside from the previously mentioned shower of objects. The siblings decide to try and prove the existence of extraterrestrial life on earth. Emerald even convinces OJ to sell any possible footage to help their business. But their compulsive need to capture the “Oprah shot” comes with life-altering ripples. It gets a 10 out of 10 in my book.

2. The Fallout

Trigger warning: gun violence and a fictional school shooting will be discussed. Jenna Ortega gives a career-launching performance as a young woman in the aftermath of a school shooting. The film puts mental health and trauma  within adolescents at the forefront, centering the story around an all too real and avoidable tragedy. It uses its time to showcase the lasting pain of monumental events. We, as viewers, are forced to listen to and understand younger generations. Their pleas for change go unheard in reality. That must change.

Vada is the typical high schooler we all know. She and her friend live their lives day to day as normal teenagers until the day Vada finds herself trapped in a bathroom stall with two other students as another student opens fire in the hallways. It is a harrowing scene. In the days that follow, Vada tries to come to terms with everything happening around her. Friendships are tested as new connections are formed. Vada is faced with trying to grieve those who were lost while navigating her own mortality and feelings after being faced with death. It leaves viewers with a message of overcoming not normally discussed in mainstream media. Please make sure to view it in a positive headspace, as it can become a bit too much to bear. 

1. Marcel The Shell With Shoes On

As I mentioned earlier, this is the only movie on my list that truly belongs in its spot. The ability to take a film aimed at children and make it emotionally resonant with adults is still astounding to me. It earns the top spot because of this. I have watched it close to 10 times, and each beat still hits in just the right way. When I explain the concept to others of my age or older, I generally get sarcastic laughs or eye rolls in response, but then I show them the film. No more dry eyes. Only tears of joy. 

We find ourselves watching a mockumentary with both real-life and animation elements used to superb effect. For anyone who may not know, a mockumentary is a fictional documentary. Dean, the man behind the camera, has moved into a new Airbnb where some unexpected guests reside. Marcel and Nana Connie are two little beach shells that have found a way to live inside the house independently. Dean decides to film their daily antics. He soon learns the two shells used to have a great big family until, one day; they were taken away. Soon Marcel becomes an internet sensation and is forced to confront big emotions when experiencing more aspects of the world. 

Based on a short film of the same name, Dean Fleisher-Camp finds a way to extend his creation without ever feeling like a cash grab. The joyful beats even out with every sentimental moment taken. It is a true pleasure to watch a passion project brought to life. You can tell every line and shot is planned to perfection. Layers of chosen family and real communities are intertwined throughout the script, and the emotional score packs just the right amount of heft. In a final showcase of praise for the cast and crew, Jenny Slate is a master of voice acting. Her voice is so disguised that it brings the character more individuality as we have never heard it before. I promise a few tears of joy will come once Slate’s singing ability is on display.

The film also handles themes of abandonment and loss, but never in a way that felt it was abusing these feelings to drive the characters’ sole journey. Marcel is a character developed to the point the only other animated film that could compare is Disney Pixar’s Inside Out. It is incredibly refreshing to have such great work put into a children’s movie. Especially one with such a profound message that will be remembered for a long time. 

That is a solid portion of my previous review of the film. If you would like to read the entire article, the link is here

As previously stated, 2022 was chock-full of amazing films. These are just the ones that I can rewatch when I need entertainment and storytelling. I hope you had a great time reading and you can find something new to watch! Have a great night, and be a good person!

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