My Year in Movies (a Best-Of List)

This is all based on the movies I watched in 2022. Most are actually movies released in that year. Of course, these are my oppinons and, as I didn’t see everything released this year, more a collection of my thoughts. I will be seeing more 2022 movies in the next couple of months to be sure and with that, lets start with the overlap from 2021…

Best From 2022 Oscars

I watch a lot of my Oscar pics the same year as the awards and not when they’re released. Of those movies in 2022 only three got 5 stars from me. King Richard I found a perfect crowd pleaser, far superior to the somewhat treacly CODA, but now marred by Will Smith’s infamous outburst. Drive My Car is pure excellence, but this three hour multi-lingual meditation on grief and Chekov from Japan almost demands the focus of a movie theatre for its enjoyment. Leaving the best and most recommendable picture from the 2022 Oscars being Summer of Soul, Quest Love’s powerful and enjoyable documentary about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival aka The Black Woodstock. Not only is it a deeply meaningful and historically important film, it also has an absolutely killer soundtrack.

Best Sound Editing

I normally don’t rank movies by the quality of their sound, in fact, if I notice the sound editing its usually a bad thing. But Moonage Daydream, the David Bowie documentary, was able to give the experience of full-on auditory hallucination, making full use of the surround sound available in theatres. This may mean that most home audiences get a wildly different experience, and certainly a poorer one, but the in theatre experience was undeniably a highlight of the year.

Best Comedy

Hands down this goes to Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. It takes a lot of smarts to pull of the type of stupid humour Weird Al does without loosing your edge. The wide variety of quality in the celebrity impersonations, which is very purposeful, highlights this. Some impersonations, like Evan Rachel Wood’s Madonna, are spot on, while others, like Conan O’Brian’s Andy Warhol, hilariously miss the mark to great effect. To have both share the screen and maintain a consistent tone is just one facet of this movie’s brilliance. And it’s the only comedy this year to understand the joke-per-minute concept, edging out the high-art, high-minded, likes of Triangle of Sadness.

Best Horror

Despite all the love given to NOPE and X, neither of these movies did much for me, and I’m a huge horror fan. The movie that really got me thinking for weeks after and one that I want more people to see so I can talk about it with them is Barbarian. This movie has a trojan horse type of intelligence with the themes it has buried in the plot, allowing you to just enjoy the thrills of a classic style horror that never once appears as if trying to be elevated. Yet it says a lot about gentrification, class, gender and the impact of our past on our present. Right now someone is writing their thesis on this movie and I can’t wait to meet that person.

Best Movie That I Should Have Seen Before 2022

Of the older movies I had a first viewing of this year both Close Encounters of The Third Kind and The Lighthouse are already recognized as masterpieces. The Lighthouse, rightfully, should have won my Best Horror slot, yet somehow its not going to win this one either. My favourite movie that I should have seen before 2022 is one that caught me totally off-guard. This could describe First Blood, the original Rambo movie which I also championed this year but is, in fact, Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some. Billed as a new generation’s Dazed and Confused this movie is much, much more; an immersive examination of the fleeting nature of youth and all the important conversations we have when we don’t realize we’re even having them. I wept.

Best Surprise

Since I’ve already mentioned First Blood and Everybody Wants Some, the field is clear for Turning Red, Pixar’s period piece set in early 2000’s Toronto. But this earns the award not just for how shockingly good it was, but how it builds the plot, ensuring each twist felt both surprising and inevitable, while constantly raising the stakes in an unforced manor. A masterclass in character based plotting, and a wild delight that will have you grinning from ear-to-ear. They even made and released an entire album from the fictional boy-band that are our young hero’s crushes: 4*Town, forever!

Best Comic Book Movie

With all eyes on the restructure of the DCU as the Snyder-verse comes crashing down, let’s not forgot how bad Marvel was this year. And while movies like Multiverse of Madness were insulting in their awfulness, audiences were also more critical of offerings that would have been passable a year or two earlier, both in film and related streaming shows. A sign that the market is oversaturated and we’re looking to focus on new genres. But we all thought we were over dark and gritty reboots and then The Batman turned out to be a fantastic film while being the Caped Crusader’s darkest and grittiest yet. It isn’t a masterpiece, but that’s where its aim is and it manages to deliver a lot of what it promises. I hope the manditory sequals and streaming fare grows the promise of this new Dark Knight, but won’t hold my breath.

Best Trend

What will define 2022 in film? The best trend in cinema this year, one that I was glad to see overshoot its comic book brethren, was the explosion of multi-lingual, post-colonial action movies with non-white-male leads. The Woman King, Prey, and RRR, all caught fire with audiences and grew due to impressive and well-deserved word of mouth, and the movie that started that trend this year and is one of my favourite movies of the year is Everything Everywhere All at Once. The highly original, instant marshal-arts classic, featuring a tremendous ensemble cast, each giving stellar performances worthy of awards nominations has dominated film conversations for the majority of the year. It will be shocking if this doesn’t go up for Best Picture at the Oscars, and was a lock as my favourite movie of the year until Dec 30th when I saw my newest favourite film…

Best Movie of 2022

The best kids movies, from Star Wars and The Lion King to The Princess Bride and The Muppet Movie, shape the culture for decades. The more disturbing ones, like Labyrinth or The Never Ending story, seem to imprint especially hard on our young creatives, endlessly influencing their work. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is very clearly both. A masterwork from start to finish, with a unique style devoid of a forced studio-aesthetic, this film will be the answer to “what movie f*cked you up when you were a kid?” for decades to come. It is for this reason that I end 2022 claiming Pinocchio as the movie of the year. Yes I had other favourites, but we’ve only begun to see this films impact, and its focus on death and the meaning of life, authoritarianism and the struggles of growing up (when should we obey our parents or not), are all deeply universal. This movie is already a lock for Best Animated Feature and should get a nod for Best Picture. More importantly, it should be watched by young and old alike and get the audeince it deserves.

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