My Favorite Movies of 2022
an incomplete list
Disclaimer: There are a lot of movies I wanted to see and haven’t had a chance to yet: Avatar: The Way of Water, The Batman, Emily the Criminal, Licorice Pizza, The Northman, RRR, Top Gun: Maverick top the list. Those movies didn’t make the list because…I haven’t seen them yet. But I did see a lot of movies and I picked some that I liked enough that if someone said, “Should I see that movie?” the answer would be “Yeah.” In alphabetical order, because I don’t want to pick a “best one”:
The Bad Guys: Love the animation style, love the characters. Fun heist movie.
Barbarian: Thoughtful horror is a delight, and Barbarian is thoughtful both in its subject matter and in the complexity of the plot. The cast is delightful and the suspense is fantastic.
Belle: Gorgeous movie, beautifully animated and voiced, and a good digital update of “Beauty and the Beast.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: Letitia Wright (who has “moved on” from the vaccine controversy) is great in this movie, which engages with grief in a way that I haven’t seen a superhero movie do before.
Everything Everywhere All At Once: There’s more to like about this movie than I could fit into a couple sentences, including Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ke Huy Quan, and Stephanie Hsu; an accomplished martial arts plot with an underlying philosophy of kindness; Raccacoonie; hot dog fingers; alternate dimensions; incredible visuals; and so much love.
Fire Island: It’s a gay rom-com that knows it’s a rom-com. There are flaws, but they don’t detract from the heartfelt performances and the unabashed love for gay culture.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery: Daniel Craig is a treasure and Rian Johnson should be allowed to continue making movies with him forever. Mystery, social commentary, gorgeous sets, just a delight from beginning to end. Plus: Janelle Monae <3.
Hustle: Adam Sandler (??) is really good (???) and Juancho Hernangomez is also good in this note-perfect sports movie. Underdog? Check and check. Arrogant rival? Check. There are no surprises, really, but it’s well executed.
Nope: By contrast, this movie is full of surprises. Terrific filmmaker (Jordan Peele) and cast (Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun), and some breathtaking visuals. Smartly written and thoughtful enough to keep you talking about it afterwards.
Prey: Only the second Predator movie I’ve seen, but clearly the best. Amber Midthunder is terrific and the scenery and tension trade off keeping your interest from beginning to end.
Spider-Man: No Way Home: Yeah, a lot of it was a mess (the premise: Dr. Strange can erase the memories of everyone in the universe but gets distracted by a kid talking to him while he’s spellcasting and then can’t reverse it), but it did two things I really appreciated: the focus on “maybe we can help villains instead of just punching them,” and the integration of the other two Spider-Man movie series. (yes, this was technically last year but I saw it this year and it’s to make up for the movies this year I haven’t seen :P)
Turning Red: My favorite Pixar movie since “Up” (I know what I said!). The expressiveness of the characters, the metaphor for puberty, the clash of cultures in an immigrant family, all of that is a delight. It’s impeccably plotted, beautifully acted and animated, and emotional in all the right ways. Plus: she TURNS INTO A RED PANDA.
Vengeance: Not many people have heard of B.J. Novak’s directorial debut, which he also wrote and starred in (because it’s only on Peacock until January), but they should. Funny and meaningful, maybe the most cleverly written movie on this list, it left me thinking about it for days afterwards, not only for the movie’s message, but for the clever ways it gets that message across.
What movies did you all like this year?
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