So the year that was known as 2022 has finally come to a close and what a year it was. I guess to commemorate such a year we’re doing another best movie of the year list. Unlike 2021’s Best Of list that was honestly quite difficult to put together, 2022 proved to be quite the opposite.. It was such a solid year for great movies that I felt like extending my list for the first time in four years from ranking 10 of the best movies of the year to 15. Mainly because there were a lot of good ones I felt pretty bad about only including them in the honourable mentions part. Speaking of which…
- Barbarian: The first of many horror movies to be mentioned in this post. I mainly liked this one for the subversive writing of the mystery house with the spooky basement and the things you learn about it from different character perspectives.
- Hustle: Sport movies aren’t often my thing, and it’s often very rare that one of these movies actually makes me interested in the sport that it’s about. Hustle is pretty much a Rocky clone, but with basketball, but it’s a really solid one and it has another great modern Adam Sandler performance.
- Good Luck to You Leo Grande: This one was a cute one with Emma Thompson wanting to get laid to her sex ‘therapist’ Mr. Leo Grande. A very simple movie that takes place in one room with two characters, which on it’s own is enough to appeal to me.
- The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent: A theatrical release of a Nic Cage movie, hell yeah, I’m seeing that! It’s a self-aware jab at his career while also being a fun buddy movie that is about this over the top Nicolas Cage and his number one fan having a fun spy adventure together. Couldn’t resist not mentioning it.
- Top Gun – Maverick: Just missed the list, which is unfortunate as it’s better than the cheesy first movie and is one of the better reboot sequels out there. An exciting movie with a great emotional story and a movie that really demands you see it at the cinema for the most satisfying experience.
Right onto the top 15.
For some this came out last year, but for me because this was nominated for a few Oscars, I only saw it about 10 months ago. This is a pretty unconventional Oscar nominated movie, but Paul Thomas Anderson made this so we can overlook that. Licorice Pizza is about the dysfunctional love of ideas man Gary and premature midlife crisis woman Alana. A coming of age movie set in the 70s with two interesting characters played by two exceptionally unknown actors. The charm of this movie comes their romance and the shenanigans they get involved with that either break them up or bring them back together.
Disney weren’t the only ones to redo Pinocchio this year, however, the difference here is this one is animated and it’s actually good. Guillermo del Toro’s take on the character is set in the midst of World War II where the lonely old man Geppetto is gifted with the curious boy puppet. The main appeal of this is del Toro’s talent of creating an interesting world full of morally grey characters with very distinct designs. Pinocchio himself for example is a curious brat, who eventually learns that’s not really the way to impress your father. A solid character arc for a main character and the kid they get to voice is very good, along with the rest of the cast such as David Bradley as Geppetto. Despite it being darker than a typical kid’s movie, it’s still very much one at heart as it’s pretty funny and the movie is even filled with musical numbers. (They’re quite catchy too.)
Hey, our first horror movie of the big list, while also being our first A24 movie too. X feels inspired by the Texas Chainsaw Massacre as it even takes place in the 70s where we have these people in a van that crash at a paddock who get harassed and ultimately dispatched by the creepy next door neighbours. I mainly enjoyed this one for the character interactions of this tightly woven porn film crew, especially whenever Britney Snow as the high demanding porn actress shows up as she carries just about every scene. It was also interesting comparing porn actors to the old geriatric neighbours who can’t stand what they do, because they’re too decrepit to do it. This all builds up to the ever so tense, but gory bloodbath, featuring one of the most satisfying kills of the year. This movie was successful enough to already have a prequel film out called Pearl, which I haven’t seen since as it’s still not available in Australia at the time this post was made. Even in the streaming era Australian film distribution sucks, so maybe that might appear on next year’s list.
Nope is the latest Jordan Peele horror venture and it’s a pretty solid one. Daniel Kaluuya is back and is doing his thing on his horse ranch, but things go sour when an alien thing that hides in the clouds starts messing things up. Another film with a very strong cast of likable characters, with Kaluuya and Keke Palmer keeping things light in-between the parts of the mysterious behemoth doing unspeakable things. It’s shot very well, with some solid sound design, while also being appropriately tense and twistedly dark. It’s Peele’s best movie since Get Out and brought me back some faith when Us was a bit of a letdown.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie
Here’s a sleeper hit for you, The Bob’s Burgers Movie. I’ve never seen the show, but this movie proved to be a pretty solid introduction to what I imagine the whole show is like. It’s made up of mostly dry witty comedy from deadpan characters hanging out with a few larger than life figures. That’s the main dynamic I got from the gloomy dad and the over encouraging wife. The film also has some action and a few musical numbers, that I imagine isn’t in the show, because this a cartoon show turned into a movie. The animation looks really impressive and the film was consistently fun and entertaining. Since I haven’t seen the show I’m not sure if it’s as good an adaptation as the South Park or SpongeBob movies are, but if I ever did watch the show and made a list about it, I’m sure this would be on there.
Bones and All
Next we have a teenage romance that is also a horror movie. Bones and All has us follow this young girl who we shockingly find out has the urge to bite people which ultimately ruins any chance of a normal life. She eventually meets a fellow cannibal, Timothee Chalamet, which is where the romance comes into play and which keeps things from getting too sour. It’s a dark film that explores the morality of eating others for your own survival and the main character really hopes for the second option that hasn’t really worked out for other cannibals. The film is littered with strong performances with a particular standout from Mark Rylance as a very disturbed creepy cannibal that really wants to befriend our main character. Bones and All was certainly an interesting one with the main draw being the quite hopeless premise.
Technically not a horror movie, but I would consider it to be one because it’s a movie about how unnecessarily terrible war is. A remake of the 1930 All Quiet on the Western Front (another great movie by the way), it’s about these young optimistic German boys tasked with going off to fight on the front lines against France in World War I. The horror comes from the brutality of war and the trauma it creates for the individual and how it’s more of a fight for survival than one for your country. That message is very clear when the main character, Paul, falls into a ditch with an enemy soldier who he is forced to kill, yet he realises the man was no different than him. The film is carried by its cinematography, message and the acting of the lead who doesn’t say much, but his face says everything you need to know.
It’s Elvis! It seems you either love it or you hate it, because that’s the magic of a Baz Luhrmann movie. A heavily stylised take on his life, but still gets across the important details of the impact the man created and the hinderance his manager, the Colonel, was to him. Creativity versus Sellout, this type of battle is what I live for in stories. Besides Luhrmann’s directing, the film is carried by Austin Butler’s pitch perfect portrayal of Elvis and I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets him an Oscar. A very solid film that I’m sure will make some of you cry.
I’m glad I watched this one again while working on this list, because it’s here now instead of in the honourable mentions. Glass Onion is another murder mystery written and directed by Rian Johnson, starring Daniel Craig as Benoît Blanc and a bunch of selfish rich people. The similarities to the first movie is why I would think Knives Out is better, but Glass Onion is still a very solid movie. The return of Craig’s ever so delightful Blanc is always appreciated along with other noteworthy performances from Janelle Monae, Kate Hudson, Edward Norton and some super-secret surprise celebrity cameos. Another twisty mystery with subtleties, clever foreshadowing and metaphors that seriously pay off on multiple rewatches. The film is also funny with clever dialogue and quirky characters.
Bodies Bodies Bodies
Another horror movie and slasher rolled into one. Bodies Bodies Bodies focuses on these teenagers having fun at this mansion until bodies start dropping. Most of the film’s tension is built up through the paranoia of which friend hates the other enough to start murdering each other, as the film gives pretty much everyone a reason to doubt one another. It’s another horror film that is built around great character interactions, solid acting and tension, but with the added edge of distrust, because teenagers are always pretending to be someone they aren’t. The ending to this film is probably my favourite of the year as it was something unexpected, but fits this movie as it does the type of characters we’re following.
2022 was a pretty rough year in the realm of superhero movies. Although, when DC aren’t trying to copy Marvel, they have proven that they can be a much needed alternative, just as I was losing hope in the genre. The Batman is a gritty murder mystery along the lines of Se7en, except kids can go and see this movie as it isn’t too violent, despite it being the darkest superhero movie of the year. The Batman is mostly a solid opener for Pattinson’s take on the character, his key relationships with supporting characters like Catwoman and the big undertaking of Gotham’s underbelly and it’s villains such as this more murderous preachy take on The Riddler. A stunning movie that is accompanied by an epic Giacchino score that is perfect for reminding me how awesome Batman can be.
Next is The Lighthouse director Robert Eggars newest film, The Northman, and it’s really damn good. Possibly inspired by Conan the Barbarian where it’s about a beast of a man who’s entire drive is revenge against one guy who ruined his childhood. A dark movie that shows the destruction of revenge and the empty void it creates on the individual. The main character’s motives are in question when options arise that would give a more hopeful purpose, but yet he’d rather indulge in his self-destructive path. A real anti-hero, which we’re going to get into some more examples of some real pretenders in the worst list. Not as psychedelic and strange as The Lighthouse, but certainly a solid blockbuster. It has a dark atmosphere that is beautifully shot, which is accompanied by a solid cast and a haunting score.
I’m glad I decided to see this before the year was out as this easily wins the award for being the most epic movie of the year or maybe more appropriately, of all of human history. RRR is an Indian movie set in the early 20th century where India was under British colonial rule. Although when a rebellion leader and a soldier meet and form the ultimate power bromance this could be the missing ingredient needed for India’s freedom. A 3 hour long epic that is also an over the top action movie, a comedy, a Shakespearean tragedy, a romance and surprisingly a musical too, all rolled into one for the most amazing experience of one’s life. RRR is just fun man and for someone who hasn’t seen that many Bollywood movies, I think this would be my favourite. The soldier Raju might be my favourite character of the year, mainly for his introduction scene where he one-man-armies a horde of Indian men in order to get this one guy who insulted his superiors. RRR is different and unique and another foreign darling that is now streaming on Netflix.
The Worst Person in the World
Alright, another a film that was nominated at the last Oscars and won nothing, because the Oscars have bad taste. The Worst Person in the World is a Norwegian film about a woman in her 20s who is a bit lost in her career and with the different men she hooks up with. She is a woman who goes through almost an existential crisis as she reaches 30, her party days are coming to an end and she is being asked to settle into a role that will ultimately become the rest of her life. Perhaps why I liked this so much is as a 20 something year old myself I can definitely relate to just about everything the main character is going through. A solid slice of life movie with flawed characters, great acting and writing, a movie I should get around to rewatching again to remind myself of those last 30 minutes.
Before RRR there was a movie called Everything, Everywhere, All at Once that gave me the best cinematic experience of the year. A film I would happily praise to no end for offering an entirely original experience that is as fun as it is surreal; as tense as it is emotional. A movie about a woman who has hit rock bottom, who is shown this special gift that can make her the most important and powerful person in our known universe. An action comedy at heart with each action scene offering a new creative opportunity so you’re never bored. These scenes are always accompanied by a bopping soundtrack and swift editing. There is also the multiverse angle that somehow aids in creating a strong family story even out of the most wacky scenarios. A film where every actor is giving it their all from Michelle Yeoh, a surprising return to acting from Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu and many more. EEAAO was the movie that reignited a spark for film that most modern movies seem to have forgotten. I don’t feel guilty about putting this as number 1 as it’s probably the most pleasing sight of the year.
That’s the top 15, hope it was pretty good. Like last year, if there are any late additions they’ll be down here below this paragraph. The worst list is tomorrow, which will be accompanied by the Letterboxd ranking list of every 2022 movie I saw. Blog Complainer, signing out.
*Updates to the list
08/01/2023 – Number 3: Puss in Boots – The Last Wish: I called The Bob’s Burgers Movie a sleeper hit, which is quite the understatement in comparison to the 10 years in the making sequel to Puss in Boots. If I had seen this movie sooner this would have being the biggest shock of the list as even I didn’t expect to love this as much as I did, even after hearing the insane praise it was getting. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish shares the same animation style as Into the Spider-Verse, which means it’s instantly the best looking thing of the year. Although the main appeal I found is its writing as it has a solid story of Puss in Boots literally being chased by death as he faces his mortally. The film is also really funny than you would expect and every character in the movie is very memorable and shows more depth than you would think. Essentially The Last Wish is a movie is an unexpected hit that carries over in it’s elements and is easily the best animated movie of 2022.