Why do we try to make these lists? There are so many options and so many different kinds of movies for different seasons and moods. You may want the quiet contemplation of a Marcel the Shell with Shoes On or After Yang. It might be the right night to come of age with Turning Red. Right now Netflix can offer you several choices that could help you expand your tastes like the new Tollywood classic RRR, the incredible true story of The Swimmers, or the gripping American documentary Descendant. Over on Prime Video, you could be inspired by Thirteen Lives or challenged by Emergency. Even Apple+ has something to offer like festival favorite Cha Cha Real Smooth.
The options are endless. So in a year filled with a lot of fun movies, let those serve as some honorable mentions and what follows to be my top ten favorite films of 2022 and where to find them!
10. Bodies Bodies Bodies
There were a lot of really fun and interesting horror movies this year. While entries like the newest Scream and Barbarian threatened to make my list, I just couldn’t escape the truly hilarious Bodies Bodies Bodies. “B” cubed follows a group of young adults stranded in a mansion during a hurricane and, when members of the party start dying off, an IRL version of the spooky group game begins. Already, Bodies is being celebrated as a Gen Z classic. Like any young generation, Z has received a lot of flack whether it is fair or not and I’m sure we’re only getting started with exaggerated depictions of it’s population. So did Halina Reijn totally nail this current generation? I don’t know, but she did craft a fun, interesting slasher that was absolutely giving thrills. No cap.
Bodies Bodies Bodies is rated R for violence, bloody images, drug use, sexual references and pervasive language and is currently available on demand.
9. She Said
The violence had been there. The survivors had been there. What was different this time, then? How did the stories that ignited the #MeToo movement finally break through? Belief and hard work. Jodi Kantor, one of the reporters depicted in the film, said on the tour for the book that the film is based, that she wanted to show that “facts really can have social impact when they are carefully gathered.” That careful gathering is the story of She Said and is more proof that there must be space for women to tell their own stories. Maria Schrader and Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s adaptation of Kantor and Twohey’s book is heartbreaking, real, and suspenseful. Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan are great as Twohey and Kantor, but the film also boasts emotional, show-stopping performances from Ashley Judd playing herself and Jennifer Ehle and Samantha Morton as key sources to the story. We all know by now that the story needed to be told, but it is good, with this film, to also know what was needed to that it could be.
She Said is rated R for language and descriptions of sexual assault and is currently available on demand.
8. Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers
Disney has been headed in some concerning directions in the last decade. The studio that used to be one of the centers of creativity in the world have been moving towards captalizing on existing properties and squeezing every last drop of good will out of long-time fans. I can’t imagine, then, that anyone was really excited for a live-action version of their long-dormant gumshoes Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers. Cut to Andy Samberg as Dale sitting at a convention booth across from Ugly Sonic the Hedgehog and we are in business. Chip N’ Dale just might be the funniest movie of the year. It was just the right amounts of absurd and meta and, more than Doctor Strange, also had me convinced Disney is ready to bring Reed Richards to the big screen for real. I’m happy to eat crow on this one, but not whale…I promise. I’d never do that.
Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers is rated PG for mild action and rude/suggestive humor and is currently streaming on Disney+.
The Predator was dead. He was finally defeated, not by a mud-covered Arnold Schwarzenegger in the jungle or Danny Glover in the midst of a dystopian 1997 Los Angeles but, by a very strange box office and critical flop. While I didn’t think Shane Black’s The Predator was as bad as many, it was obvious the world needed a break from the galaxy’s greatest hunter. Or so we thought! Enter director Dan Trachtenberg and his unique vision of bringing the Predator back in time to a barely settled America to tussle with the Comanche Nation. There was a sincerity and quality to Prey that has surprised experts who had, just a few years earlier, called for the Predator to be retired. Trachtenberg breathed life into this franchise just as he had with Cloverfield and created the next great action heroine in Amber Midthunder’s Naru. Now we wait to see where and when the Predator might pop up next. The hunt is definitely back on!
Prey is rated R for strong bloody violence and is currently streaming on Hulu.
6. Everything Everywhere All at Once
The promise of a glimpse of a multiverse has kept a very troubled The Flash movie on the release schedule and propelled the Doctor Strange sequel to $1 billion dollar gross. Little did these studios and audiences know that the best depiction of alternate universes was going to come from the writing/directing team known as The Daniels, indie film juggernaut A24, and a once-in-a-career role for the legend Michelle Yeoh. The only thing that kept this potential Best Picture winner lower on my list are times when I felt the film was working against itself, but when it is at its best, EEAAO has some of the best storytelling of the year. Of course, after so many things in our world have felt like they’ve gone wrong or gotten worse in the last few years, we’d like to imagine a world where at least one or two things could be different. The Daniels delivered that concept in such a touching, weird, and thoughtful way while giving their cast a chance to shine like never before. It was everything.
Everything Everywhere All at Once is rated R for some violence, sexual material, and language and is currently available on demand.
When the trailers dropped for Jordan Peele’s newest sci-fi horror film, Nope, it featured lots of scary teases of aliens and abductions. There was a promise that we would see and be terrifed of extraterrestrials. That is what I was expecting, Peele’s take on aliens. By far the scariest moments in Nope, however, have absolutely nothing to do with the horses and aliens we saw in the trailers. The Get Out and Us director has delivered again. He expertly unsettles and entertains while exposing elements of our society worth exploring. In Nope, that is our obsession with spectacle and the exploitation that often follows such a pre-occupation. If you’d like more of an explainer, all I would say is…nope. This is something you should experience and unpack for yourself!
Nope is rated R for language throughout and some violence/bloody images and is currently streaming on Peacock.
Tár has a not so secret weapon. This movie is an over two and half hour, slow burn character piece exploring power dynamics in the business of classical music conducting. Sounds thrilling, right? Well it is if you have Cate Blanchett in your pocket! In Tár, Blanchett turns in perhaps the single best acting performance of the year, a performance so good many believed her fincitional maestra Lydia Tár to be a real person. She’s not, but Blanchett is very much the real deal. She crafts a character you are immediately entranced by, you get why the music world bows to her baton, and then bit by bit you get why those in her sphere would despise her. The power Tár exercises in the early acts of the film becomes more and more of an illusion as the story marches on. Power is a topic that manages to be both timely and timeless, and Blanchett’s performance does the same.
Tár is rated R for some language and brief nudity and is currently available on demand.
3. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Who doesn’t love a “Whodunnit”? In a world filled with true crime and living room slueths, one filmmaker has breathed incredible new life into the genre. Dubbed by some disgruntled Star Wars fans as “Ruin” Johnson, the only thing writer/director Rian Johnson has managed to ruin is my enjoyment of most other mysteries of the last few years. Try as he may, Kenneth Branagh’s Poirot could never compete with Chris Evans in a cable knit. Glass Onion, is, of course, the sequel to Johnson’s surprise hit Knives Out and continues the legacy of Daniel Craig’s southern detective Benoit Blanc. This time around Johnson takes on the trendy world of marketplace disruptors and influencers. Glass Onion is clever, suspenseful, and filled with well-placed cameos that are deployed in a way that adds to the film rather than distracts. Johnson has created quite the playground for Blanc to peel back the layers of this mystery and, much like it’s bloomin’ counterparts, had me wanting to go back for more and more.
Glass Onion is rated PG-13 for strong language, some violence, sexual material and drug content and is currently streaming on Netflix.
2. The Batman
Before this year, I would have said we really do not need another Batman. DC Studios have saturated the market with Gothams, Titans, bat people, birds of prey, and Jokers. However, many people may have said the same thing about the Planet of the Apes films. Now I am convinced that Matt Reeves’s full-time job should be following Tim Burton through franchises and fixing them. Yes, we’ve had a lot of Batmen and this movie is probably too long, but Reeves’s grungy, young detective bats, Zodiac killer Riddler, and hammy Penguin had me hooked for the entire bat-ride. I really hope as DC restructures under James Gunn, the studio continues to let Reeves do whatever he wants in this new Bat-iverse. His take on Condiment King could change the hierarchy of power in the DC cinematic universe.
The Batman is rated PG-13 for strong violent and disturbing content, drug content, strong language, and some suggestive material and is currently streaming on HBO Max.
There were so many massive movies this year. From big ensemble casts to bloated runtimes to climbing budgets, we even spent time this year reflecting on the massive talent of the larger-than-life, Nicholas Cage. Several entries this year left me saying, “Wow, that movie was a lot.” This is probably why my favorite movie of the year is one of the smallest. Charlotte Wells’s debut feature is a focused film that digs deep into her relationship with her father and includes two of my favorite performances of the year from young scene-stealer Frankie Corio and up-and-coming Irish shy boy Paul Mescal. Wells invites the audience into a vulnerable moment in her life that we all go through when our guardians, seemingly overnight, transition from myth into reality and our personal identity begins to form. Wells’s authenticity and openness pay off as Aftersun packs more of a wallop than many others did with three hours and $100 million.
Aftersun is rated R for some language and brief sexual material and is currently available on demand.