Top 10 Best Movies of 2022

The Oscar nominations are finally out! Every year, I love to wake up early and celebrate the Oscar nominations as they are announced, and every year, there are always surprises and films being recognized that I haven’t yet gotten the chance to watch. For example, Netflix’s All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) and The Whale (2022) are both films that received some nominations today (All Quiet in second for most nominations) that I simply haven’t been able to watch yet. Other films that I have been told would be in my top films that I haven’t seen as of writing this are most of the foreign language films, Belle (2022), Marcel the Shell With Shoes On (2022) and Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (2022), so this list is subject to change after I watch these films. So, in tandem with this year’s nominations, here are my top 10 films of the year.

Honorable Mentions: The Black Phone (2022), Bones and All (2022), Nope (2022), Three Thousand Years of Longing (2022), and Elvis (2022)

10. Pearl

Mia Goth in Pearl (2022). A24

Ti West’s new trilogy of horror started off with a bang last year (pun intended) with X (2022), and surprised everyone when the second film, Pearl (2022), released only a few months later. Among the eighty-six 2022 films I watched last year, X ranked 25th of the year, so a fast turn around sequel brought initial skepticism to this prequel. Pearl, however, took everything that made X great and elevated it. Where as X is a very niche horror film whose premise would alienate a lot of audiences while it reused a lot of tropes, Pearl is horror take on a character study. The best description I’ve heard for this movie is Wizard of Oz meets Psycho, and I couldn’t agree more. With it’s dark Dorothy-like character, Mia Goth’s performance, and the script, Pearl is an extremely overlooked film that deserves much more praise for its character work and unnerving ingenuity to the genre.

9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022). Via Netflix

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Rian Johnson would receive a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for his incredible work with Glass Onion. This took everything from the original Knives Out that worked well and made them better. More laughs, twists, and turns led to this fantastic whodunnit. Since my initial review, I have rewatched the film multiple times and each time I discover something new that makes me appreciate it all the more. After Knives Out and now Glass Onion, I am salivating for whatever Rian Johnson’s third Benoit Blanc mystery might be.

8. The Menu

The Menu (2022). Via Searchlight Pictures

Speaking of salivating, I am shocked that The Menu hasn’t been receiving any award buzz for any of the major awards. If you read my review, you know that I think The Menu is filled with incredible performances, editing, and production design that director Mark Mylod orchestrates beautifully. It’s script and execution are top notch, and I find that everything that Triangle of Sadness (2022; nominated for Best Director and Best Picture) sets out to do, The Menu does better. Between Ralph Fiennes and Anya Taylor joy, the talent in front of the camera excels, and I think this may be Fiennes best performance of his career. I am baffled that this film isn’t being more widely lauded.

7. Avatar: The Way of Water

Britain Dalton in Avatar: The Way of Water (2022). Via 20th Century Studios

Thirteen years in the making, Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) delivers everything that James Cameron promised it would. This film easily has the best visuals I have seen, both on the screen and in real life, and I still cannot wrap my mind around how they were able to create these environments and characters and make them feel tangible. That said, The Way of Water is not just visuals. The story of this film is leagues better in terms of emotional depth and relatability than the first film. Everything about the moon of Pandora is captivating and I can’t stop going back to the theater to see this film over and over again. This film is a generation defining spectacle event that everyone needs to experience (in 3D) for themselves. My full in-depth review here.

6. The Batman

Robert Pattinson in The Batman (2022). Via Warner Bros.

Comic book properties had a very hit and miss year in 2022. On one hand, there is the mediocre Black Adam (2022, #66 in my overall 2022 rankings) and the crime against humanity, Morbius (2022, Top 10 Worst film of 2022), and on the other hand, we had a film like The Batman (2022). Batman is a character that has been a huge pillar in the pop-culture zeitgeist for many generations, and over the many years of Batman, we have received many adaptations of the character. After a year of deliberating, I think I can now confidently say that Matt Reeves’ latest adaptation of the character is the best Batman movie I have ever seen. The Batman‘s beautiful cinematography, score, and production/sound design capture intensity, mystery, and an extremely unique feel that sets this film apart from all of the other Batman properties.

5. The Northman

Alexander Skarsgård in The Northman (2022). Via Focus Features

For well over half of 2022, Robert Eggers’ newest film, The Northman, held the spot for my second favorite film of the year, and I honestly believe that the only reason this isn’t getting more award consideration is how early it released into the year—the incredible performances of  Alexander Skarsgård, Anya Taylor Joy, Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, and Claes Bang were all award worthy. On top of the performances, the production design, hair and make up departments, and the score by Robin Carolan and Sebastian Gainsborough all fully immerse you into this brutal world of the Vikings. The Northman is a must watch Viking revenge-epic that will leave you transfixed and unnerved.

4. The Fablemans

Gabriel LaBelle in The Fabelmans (2022). Via Universal and Amblin Entertainment

I don’t think there is any debate that Steven Spielberg is the greatest filmmaker of all-time. I felt that his West Side Story (2021) was completely robbed at the Academy Awards last year, as I thought it was easily one of the top three movies of that year. Following that incredible film is perhaps Spielberg’s most personal film to date, The Fabelmans (2022). This movie masterfully tells a story about following your passion and how that relates to your familial expectations. Like all the films on this list, the performances on display are wonderful (Paul Dano was definitely snubbed from a Best Supporting Actor nomination). In typical Spielberg fashion, his direction of this semi-autobiographical story is artfully compelling and brilliantly conveys his love for movies. At the end of the day, The Fabelmans is a joyful film about falling in love with the movies, and it may be Spielberg’s best film to date. Full review here.

3. Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio

Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio (2022). Via Netflix

I adore the animated medium. Among the different styles of animation, perhaps the most impressive to me is the stop-motion style. Combine stop motion with a beloved, classic story and Guillermo Del Toro, you know before you even start watching that it’s going to be special. I was not prepared for how much I was going to love this movie. Easily the most beautiful stop-motion film, Del Toro’s Pinocchio gives us an original take of the classic tale that builds in more stakes, emotion, and heart than you may be prepared for. The beginning of this film is on par to the opening of Pixar’s Up (2009), and much like that film, the emotion and lovability of these characters persist throughout the entire film. While the name Pinocchio may lead you to think “for kids,” this movie is anything but. I honestly thought this movie deserved a nomination not only for Best Animated Film, but also Best Picture (and Best Original Song for “Ciao Papa”).

2. The Banshees of Inisherin

Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin (2022). Via Searchlight Pictures

The Banshees of Inisherin (2022) is one of those movies that I knew nothing about until word started coming out of film festivals. As soon as I heard critics raising, this film immediately shot up on my “must see” list, and it does not disappoint. This dark-comedy/drama is everything because of its phenomenal script and its cast. Banshees is a film that I have zero critiques of—I truly believe this is a flawless piece of art that will go down in history as one of the greatest films ever made. While it’s not my favorite movie of 2022, I would not complain if it completely sweeps the Academy Awards this year. Full review here.

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022). Via A24

I have been singing the praises of Everything Everywhere All at Once ever since I went to the early IMAX fan screening of the film. This movie is one of those films that elicits every human emotion while simultaneously being jaw-droppingly entertaining. I remember walking out of this movie for the first time, looking at my parents and my first words were, “I think that was the most fun I have ever had in a movie theater.” To this day, I am still contemplating were EEAAO lands on my all time favorite list, with it being in serious contention for top 20. The performances are spectacular, the story is wild yet earnest, and the cinema that the small technical teams were able to pull off is astounding. All year long, every time some asked me what my favorite film of the year is, this is the art I pointed them towards. I go more in detail with my praises in my full review from earlier this year.

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