New from Kevin Wozniak on Kevflix: The Best Movies of 2022

It’s that time of the year again. Time to look at the very best movies of 2022. I’ve broken down what I think are the best movies from each genre, the best technical achievements, and the best actors and directors of the year, and now it’s time to look at what I think were the best movies of 2022.

Overall, 2022 was a strong year for movies and it also felt like a normal movie year, especially the back half of the year. In a post-pandemic world, going to the movie theater this year felt like going in a pre-pandemic world. Thanks to some notable blockbusters, theaters were busy, screenings were sold out, and I had a great time seeing this happen.

I saw 168 movies in 2022 from all parts of the world and different budgets and different genres. When looking at my list of the best movies of 2022, there are a few notable themes. One of them was spectacle. There are several movies on my list that feature big budgets and big action and big actors. This might be a post-pandemic thing, as I yearned for a normal big-screen experience again and loved seeing big movies on the big screen. Another is legacy and looking at what means and how important it is. And finally, family relationships and friendships and their importance. There are a few movies that look at the relationships characters have with their parents or children and the importance of their bond and the effect these bonds have had on their lives. 

This list will include ten Honorable Mention films, ones that I really liked, but just missed the cut, followed by my top ten movies of 2022.

Here are my picks for the best movies of 2022.

 

Fire of Love (National Geographic/Neon)
Fire of Love (National Geographic/Neon)

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Ambulance (Michael Bay)

  • Michael Bay returned to the big screen with this high-octane action thriller.

Avatar: The Way of Water (James Cameron)

  • James Cameron took us back to Pandora in the biggest and most stunning way imaginable.

Devotion (JD Dillard)

  • Jonathan Majors gives an excellent performance about a true American hero everyone should know about.

Emily the Criminal (John Patton Ford)

  • John Patton Ford’s directorial debut is a taut, Michael Mann-Esque crime-thriller featuring the best performance of Aubrey Plaza’s career.

Fire of Love (Sara Dosa)

  • A heartfelt documentary about a married couple and their love for volcanoes and each other.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Rian Johnson)

  • Rian Johnson’s newest Benoit Blanc murder mystery is one of the most entertaining movies of 2022.

Jackass Forever (Jeff Tremaine)

  • Johnny Knoxville and the gang came back for an uproarious and sweet movie about our heroes getting old.

TÁR (Todd Field)

  • Todd Field’s first film in sixteen years is a complicated orchestra about a flawed and arrogant composer.

The Woman King (Gina Prince-Bythewood)

  • Gina Prince-Bythewood’s gorgeous and exciting look at the all-woman Agojie warriors in 1800s Africa.

Women Talking (Sarah Paulson)

  • One of the best screenplays of the year belongs to Sarah Polley and her work on this complicated and powerful drama.

 

And now, the ten best movies of 2022.

 

10. Sr. (Chris Smith)

Robert Downey Sr. (left) and Robert Downey Jr. (right) in Sr. (Netflix)
Robert Downey Sr. (left) and Robert Downey Jr. (right) in Sr. (Netflix)

2022 featured some great documentaries and my favorite of the bunch was Chris Smith’s Sr., a look at the life and career of underground New York director Robert Downey Sr. Through archival footage and interviews with Downey Sr. and his son Robert Downey Jr. we learn about Downey Sr.’s career and his importance in the independent film scene in New York in the 1960s and 70s. We also see his relationship with Downey Jr., which is the emotional center of the film, especially towards the end of the film where we witness Downey Sr.’s health decline and watch Downey Jr.’s growing acceptance of his father’s death. Sr. is a touching tribute to the father-son relationship and a legendary filmmaker.

 

9. The Batman (Matt Reeves)

Robert Pattinson in The Batman (Warner Bros.)
Robert Pattinson in The Batman (Warner Bros.)

Matt Reeves is the latest director to take over the Batman franchise, with Robert Pattinson donning the cape and cowl and it is completely different from every iteration of Batman we had seen before. We’ve never seen Batman at this point in his career as a crime fighter (he’s only in year 2). We’ve never had Batman be this much of a detective. And we’ve never seen a Gotham that looks and feels this way. Reeves not only introduces us to a new Batman but introduces us to a new Gotham, one that has layers upon layers of history and corruption and is as much of a character as Batman is. Reeves didn’t just make a Batman movie; he made a Batman universe.

 

8. Nope (Jordan Peele)

Daniel Kaluuya in Nope (Universal)
Daniel Kaluuya in Nope (Universal)

If you had any doubt about Jordan Peele as a filmmaker, Nope should have washed that all away. Through only three films, Peele has established himself as one of the most exciting filmmakers working in Hollywood today. Every movie is bigger, both in story and scale, and he pushes himself with every film.

Nope finds Peele tackling the thrill of spectacle and how people cope with trauma. Like all of Peele’s films, it’s a movie that gets better with rewatches. You notice more details, dive more into the themes and symbolism, and appreciate the uniformly great performances from the talented ensemble. Nope is a layered, thrilling alien horror movie and Peele’s most ambitious film to date.

 

7. The Outfit (Graham Moore)

Mark Rylance in The Outfit (Focus Features)
Mark Rylance in The Outfit (Focus Features)

The most underrated movie of 2022 belongs to Graham Moore’s slick and stylish crime-thriller, The Outfit. This single-location gangster film finds a quiet suit shop owner (Mark Rylance, his best performance since his Oscar-winning turn in Bridge of Spies) who gets entangled in a battle between two Chicago crime families when his shop becomes a hideout after a shootout. As the night goes on, tensions rise and loyalties are tested and Moore’s smart, tricky script is loaded with suspense and twists that keep you on the edge of your seat the whole film.

 

6. RRR (S.S. Rajamouli)

N.T. Rama Rao Jr. in RRR (DVV Entertainment)
N.T. Rama Rao Jr. in RRR (DVV Entertainment)

Seeing RRR in a theater was one of the best theatrical experiences I had in 2022 and maybe one of the best I’ve ever had. The theater was enthusiastic and joyously cheering and clapping during the entire film. It is a big, bold, epic adventure that features action, romance, drama, comedy, history, and musical numbers no Hollywood movie would dare to try. Every scene and moment of the movie is extravagant and seems to one-up the one before it. For three hours, I had a cheek-to-cheek smile on my face. I was in complete awe and glee at what I was watching. RRR was one of the great stories of 2022 and you will not see another movie like it.

 

5. Broker (Hirokazu Kore-eda)

Dong-won Gang, Ji-eun Lee, and Song Kang-ho in Broker (Neon)
Dong-won Gang, Ji-eun Lee, and Song Kang-ho in Broker (Neon)

Broker is a heartfelt, beautiful story about the birth of an unexpected family. Director Hirokazu Kore-eda made a sensitive, tender movie about a group of people who have been deserted by society and by other loved ones but grow closer together and become their own special family. Song Kang-ho gives one of the year’s best performances as a broker who sells abandoned children to wealthy couples who cannot have children. Kore-eda asks tough questions about the ethics and motives of our characters and forces us to confront these questions rather than give us answers. It’s impressive work from one of the best directors working today.

 

4. Everything Everywhere All at Once (Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan)

Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24)
Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24)

I’m not sure what exactly I was expecting from Everything Everywhere All at Once, considering its directors, Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan’s last movie featured Daniel Radcliffe as a farting corpse on a deserted island, but I did not expect what I saw.

Everything Everywhere All at Once is a completely original multiverse movie about acceptance, family, and the mother-daughter relationship while featuring hot dog fingers, bagels, and swift, well-choreographed fight scenes. Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Kwan give awards-caliber performances and Stephanie Hsu gives one of the breakout performances of the year. Scheinert and Kwan’s vision is unmatched in the biggest surprise of 2022.

 

3. Top Gun: Maverick (Joseph Kosinski)

Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount)
Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount)

Top Gun: Maverick is a sequel that is superior to its predecessor in every way possible. The action is more exciting, the story is stronger, the characters are better written, and the film is more emotional. It features a Tom Cruise performance that defines what it means to be a movie star. In a time where movie stars are few and far between, Cruise proves that they are still needed in today’s Hollywood and that they can still bring people to the theater, much like how the Navy realizes that they need Maverick despite him being older and a different breed from the pilots they are looking for.

Top Gun: Maverick will go down with one of the most important movies in the post-pandemic cinematic world. It was a film that demanded to be seen on the big screen and people went multiple times. Top Gun: Maverick is why the big screen was made.

 

2. The Fabelmans (Steven Spielberg)

Gabrielle LaBelle in The Fabelmans (Universal)
Gabriel LaBelle in The Fabelmans (Universal)

Steven Spielberg has been making movies for fifty years, yet he continues to reinvent himself. Having taken us on globe-trotting adventures, in the ocean with a ravenous shark, and to the future, The Fabelmans finds Spielberg in a world he has never taken us before: his life as a child. This isn’t a typical biopic about how Spielberg became the most successful filmmaker in the history of cinema. The Fabelmans is a movie about how young Spielberg (named Sammy Fabelman in the film) used making movies to handle his trauma, from his mother’s affair with a family friend to being bullied in high school. It’s Spielberg’s most personal and emotional film to date, while also being immaculately made and constructed, as we have come to expect from a Spielberg film.

 

1. The Banshees of Inisherin (Martin McDonagh)

Colin Ferrell and Brendan Gleeson in The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight Pictures)
Colin Ferrell and Brendan Gleeson in The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight Pictures)

Looking at my best movies of 2022, it is full of BIG movies. Movies with big budgets, big set pieces, or big actors that were made for the big screen. And yet my favorite movie of the year is a quiet movie about a broken friendship on a small island off the coast of Ireland.

The Banshees of Inisherin has been constantly lingering in my brain since I first saw it. What stuck with me most is how the film doesn’t have a good guy or a bad guy and how writer/director Martin McDonagh crafted interesting and complex characters, each with their own reasons and rationalizations for their actions. Some days I empathize with Colin Farrell’s Pádriac and his simplistic idea of being happy and loving life for what it is. On other days I find myself thinking like Brendan Gleeson’s Colm, wanting to leave a legacy that will live on for years beyond his death.

Led by career-best performances by Farrell and Gleeson, McDonagh’s sublime screenplay and an adorable donkey named Jenny, The Banshees of Inisherin is a quiet, humorous, tragic look at the importance of what it means to be happy and the sacrifices we make for it. The Banshees of Inisherin is the best movie of 2022.

 

 

 

So long, 2022. It’s been real.

 

 

 

 

 

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