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Best and Worst Movies of 2022

Despite 2022 officially being in the rear view, there are still so many movies I've yet to see from last year: EO, All That Breathes, The Tale of King Crab, etc. That being said, no 'best/worst of' list can be comprehensive. All I can do is give my favorites and least favorites, and that's what this post will do.

Worst Films of 2022

What constitutes a good or bad film is always very subjective, and I don’t think anyone can say these films are ‘bad’ or ‘good’ with any authority. That being said, I hated these movies. Each has its own problems, but, to me, all are examples of irresponsible filmmaking in one way or another. Lazy writing, horrible lighting, overacting and more. Here are the worst films of last year:

5. Blonde

- It’s almost funny that Andrew Dominick’s adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ novel is on here, because it really is a beautiful looking movie. My main issue is with the writing and direction. Its nonstop melodrama becomes mind-numbing after the first ten minutes of a bloated three-hour runtime. Ana de Armas did her best, but her accent was distracting in some moments, and I think she overacted in more than a few scenes. In almost every shot, you can feel Dominick’s sheer hatred for Marilyn Monroe. He uses her more as a symbol, a way of navigating his own issues, which is a problem for many reasons.

4. Tár

-- We’ve seen better attempts at exploring this type of character and these themes. Throughout the movie, there’s a forced nuance that I found frustrating. We can’t tell where the director lands in terms of the events onscreen, which isn’t a good thing when dealing with topics like the abuse of power and sexual assault. Ambivalence for its own sake isn’t compelling, it’s just boring, and does nothing to challenge anything. I’m tired of mediocre screenplays hiding behind this notion of so-called ambiguity. The costuming was superb, Cate Blanchett’s acting was fine, and the cinematography was alright, a bit sterile and rigid; but it was mainly Todd Field’s lazy writing that made this movie intolerable.

3. Men

- I wasn’t harsh enough in my review of this movie. The script is lazy, the acting was a bit over the top, and there’s something to be said about how it treats its nonwhite characters. I thought Alex Garland was going to give us an interesting exploration of gender, class and the environment; instead, he gave us one of the worst things I’ve ever watched.

2. Wakanda Forever

- Speaking of the worst things I’ve ever watched, what a mess this was. On top of all the issues I had with the way its Latino characters were treated, there are so many technical errors with this movie. The underwater scenes are so poorly-lit they verge on pitch-black, and there are moments that look like watching a 3-D movie without the glasses. I almost listed this as the worst film of the year, but there’s one other movie I disliked even more.

1. Top Gun: Maverick

- My original post on this film sums up my feelings about its content. In terms of its technical aspects, I thought it was a fairly below average movie. The music does my least favorite thing and tells you how to feel, becoming soft in emotional scenes etc. The acting is atrocious, almost offensive in its oblivious use of cliché. None of the shots are going to blow your mind, other than some very fun action sequences (if you can get over the propagandistic element to said sequences). It really doesn’t have anything to offer. Avoid this film like the plague.

Best Films of 2022

Despite the films I just mentioned, last year was a very special one for cinema. We got some real gems from all over the world, dealing with serious and important topics. Some of these technically premiered at festivals last year, or even earlier, but didn't become widely available until recently. Here are the 22 best films of 2022:

Honorable Mentions

- Strawberry Mansion

- Wet Sand

- Nope

- Saloum

- Farha

- Bantú Mama

- Mariner of the Mountains

- Everything Everywhere All at Once

- The Eternal Daughter

- Babylon

22. Fire of Love

- The only documentary to make my list, this portrait of volcanologist couple Katia and Maurice Krafft’s last day alive is thought-provoking and uses some amazing archival footage. Now streaming on Disney+! Trailer

21. Great Freedom

- I remember watching this film and being on the edge of my seat from its sheer beauty; it’s a real testament to the importance of lighting your movie properly. When you also consider how it tackles often-overlooked histories of LGBTQ+ oppression in West Germany, it goes without saying why this amazing film made the list. Now on Mubi! Full review

20. A Chiara

- A young woman finds out her father's a drug dealer for the mafia and deals with the fallout. This stunning family drama from Jonas Carpignano is a great exploration of crime, family and identity. Watch it on Hulu while you can! Trailer

19. Crimes of the Future

- Now streaming on Hulu, the newest film from body horror legend David Cronenberg is an outstanding addition to his oeuvre. Starring Viggo Mortensen, Kristen Stewart and Léa Seydoux, it's a must watch. Smart, timely and so off putting—in the best of ways! Spoiler-free review

18. Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths

- A journalist experiences a surreal odyssey that will have audiences meditating on the very nature of identity/nation/family/and so much more. Filming in his native Mexico for the first time in over two decades, Alejandro G. Iñárritu provides a spectacular black comedy drama that’s as visually stunning as it is thoughtful. Now streaming on Netflix! Trailer

17. Triangle of Sadness

- Ruben Östlund’s Palm d’Or-winning film is a great exploration of class and gender as viewers follow the passengers of a shipwrecked cruise ship. Full review

16. Emily the Criminal

- Now streaming on Netflix, Aubrey Plaza is at her badass best starring as a young woman who’s need for money forces her into a criminal underworld where things get worse before they get better. Full review

15. Pearl

- When this was first announced, I actually rolled my eyes, thinking ‘X does not need a prequel.’ Until it received praise from Scorsese, I almost didn’t catch this movie in theaters—what a mistake that would’ve been! Timely, entertaining, and smartly written, it’s a must-watch! Pearl’s desperation to escape farm life makes for one of the most unique and phenomenal horror films in the last decade. Trailer

14. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

- Maintaining all the warmth and charm of the shorts that made this character famous, Dean Fleischer-Camp’s feature-length debut is maybe one of the most heartwarming watches of the year, and is incredibly smart in how it engages with its themes. Full review

13. Aftersun

- One of the more pleasant surprises from New York Film Festival, this phenomenal debut from Charlotte Wells has rightfully earned its place in my top-15 for the year. A delicate portrait of a woman reminiscing on a childhood trip with her father, it’s an astounding movie. Full review

12. Decision to Leave

- Park Chan-wook’s latest offering is almost Hitchcockian in the way it twists and turns as a detective falls in love with his suspect—but she’s no ordinary femme fatale. Stream this on Mubi, you won’t regret it! Trailer

11. Bones and All

- Before watching this cannibal-romance-coming of age story at the New York Film Festival, I was incredibly skeptical. Now, I couldn’t be more of a believer. What Luca Guadagnino does here is nothing short of phenomenal, and the actors also deserve a ton of credit. Full review

10. The Banshees of Inisherin

- When Pádraic’s best friend, Colm, stops talking to him, madness ensues. Smartly written with a keen awareness of politics, masculinity and class. Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell, and Martin McDonagh are becoming a favorite trio of mine as far as movies are concerned. You MUST stream this on HBO Max! Full review

9. Lost Illusions

- Xavier Giannoli’s adaptation of the renowned Balzac novel is a scathing critique of media and class society. Centered around a young peasant making a name for himself in Paris’ burgeoning newspaper culture, this film has it all: amazing performances from all actors, stunning cinematography, and it’s incredibly engaged with themes of gender, social status and corruption. Now streaming on Mubi, and available to rent on Prime Video! Trailer

8. Huda’s Salon

- This Palestinian thriller is centered around a woman who’s coerced into working for the occupation’s secret police. Wildly entertaining with plenty of thought-provoking insights into the oppression of Palestinians, there’s no reason you shouldn’t stream this on Prime Video! Trailer

7. Los Conductos

- While this gem of Columbian cinema may have released in 2021, it didn’t become watchable for most people until this year when it was widely released on Mubi. As a man comes to terms with his past after leaving a cult, Camilo Restrepo dives into themes of identity, psychology and society that are almost reminiscent of Jordorowsky in their surrealism. Stream this while you can! Trailer

6. Lingui The Sacred Bonds

- A searing critique and heartbreaking look at the plight of women in Chad, viewers will instantly connect with Amina helping her daughter get an illegal abortion. Mahamat Saleh Haroun’s latest offering is one to look out for, streaming now on Mubi! Trailer

5. A Love Song

- This movie’s both an aching portrait of what could have been, while still assuring viewers that there’s no such thing as too late. After decades apart, two widowed friends meet for one night at a campsite. Phenomenal acting, astounding cinematography and great music/sound design. Max Walker-Silverman gives us cinema at its most delicate. Trailer

4. After Yang

- Kogonada’s first foray into the Sci-fi genre is still as intimate as his realist work. When a family’s android companion dies, they must heal fissures they didn’t even know were there. Beautifully shot, lovingly written and fantastically acted, this is one of the year’s best movies. Now streaming on Paramount+, Showtime, Hulu Premium and Prime Video! Trailer

3. In Front of Your Face

- This tender, intimate portrait of a dying actress returning to her hometown is such a beautiful exploration of mortality and human connection. Hong Sang-soo’s done it again. Full review

2. Argentina, 1985

- Following a group of young lawyers prosecuting Argentina’s ex-dictatorship, this film is as thrilling as it is compelling. Blending history with social commentary, Santiago Mitre gives us one of his best offerings yet. Stream it on Prime Video! Full Review

1. Pinocchio

- Now streaming on Netflix, Guillermo del Toro’s retelling of a classic is stunning on so many levels. From the stop-motion animation to the setting of this narrative in Mussolini’s Italy, it’s a jaw-dropping combination of heartwarming and heartbreaking. To hell with 2022; this is one of the best movies I've ever seen PERIOD. Full review


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