Much was made from January through November of my quest to watch 300+ movies in the calendar year.
As I write this, it’s December 23rd, and I’ve seen 317 individual movies across the year, easily smashing the target I set for myself, so much so that I could take December “off” more-or-less and focus on my writing and getting stuff scheduled and ready at SWO Productions. I have a lot coming up for 2023! More comic reviews! TV reviews! Manga coverage! Fiction! It’s going to be a busy year, but that means I will be focusing less on cinema overall (but probably going quality over quantity and doing a full review of most everything I see rather than my monthly rundowns).
But out of my 317 so far on the year, I had a breakdown of:
-70+ New (2022) Releases
-120+ Pre-2022 movies I watched for the first time ever
-The rest: various rewatches of stuff I’ve seen before, either for my podcast, watches with friends, or just comfort food.
I feel like I’m having deja vu right now…
ANYWAY! I thought 2022 was a pretty fantastic year for new releases! So much so that when I was considering doing a Top Ten for the year, I saw what I’d be leaving out, and that just didn’t seem fair to some other really entertaining movies.
So I bumped it all of the way up to a top THIRTY!
These flicks all scored at least 3.5 out of 5 for me on Letterboxd, so it’s safe to say I recommend them all if you haven’t seen them. Let’s see what they are!
Honestly, I put the trailer here for each of these films, but I wouldn’t even advise watching this one here for Saloum. It gives too much away. Go in blind if you can and just enjoy the ride. But if you want to ignore my advice, by all means…
Saloum is very reminiscent to me of another movie in the turn that it takes partway through, but even referencing that movie would be a bit too much.
Oh man, I’m being so cryptic! It’s hard to discuss this one unless you already know what it does. So go watch it!
29. Clerks 3
Boy, a lot of folks seemed to hate this one in the comments when I wrote an at-length review on it recently. And I get it: as I noted in the article, the first two acts are nothing special whatsoever.
But the third act did feel like a punch to my soul-ar plexus, as it were. It just hit me really hard, and even though it was all a bit of emotional manipulation, the acting and writing were both strong enough that it worked on me. It doesn’t have the humor you want your View Askewniverse outings to have, but it doesn’t lack heart or emotion.
28. Scream 5
Scream 5 came out and leapfrogged every other sequel in the franchise to become my new #2 Scream flick. It was the start of Jenna Ortega’s dynamite year that just got stronger with every new project. And while it was one of the more predictable Screams (with this one and Scream 4 being the two where you know who the killers are a mile away), the road the movie took still worked for me.
I had very little hope for this one coming out. It’s entirely possible this was a case of lowered expectations leading me to being happier than I should have been. But whatever; I dig the new cast members and am excited to see where the franchise goes from here.
(to New York. The franchise is going to New York)
I was surprised so many people had such big feelings for Barbarian in its wake. To me, it was a movie that came out, did what it did, and that was that. But it ended 2022 as almost unquestionably the year’s most talked about horror offering.
Barbarian comes out of the gate like a race horse. Its first act is outstanding! Georgina Campbell and Bill Skarsgard build a brilliant and tense first half hour or so that makes you question everything. Even when the characters start making the most bone-headed choices humanly possible, I was still too into everything to care.
I will say that Barbarian kind of falls off a cliff after the first act. It gets progressively worse, sillier, and less interesting as it develops. But that first act is damn near a 10/10.
More Jenna Ortega!
X was fun, fun, fun. I didn’t always love the way it was shot; it felt like Ti West was doing some cinematic tricks just to do them rather that because they were thematic. In that regard, it was all a bit try-hard to me.
But ignoring that, you are left with a Texas Chainsaw Massacre inspired romp that blends horror, slasher, fun characters, and softcore porn. What’s not to love? It also gave us the single most uncomfortable sex scene of 2022, so… that was a thing!
25. Turning Red
Turning Red is just an adorable story that felt very much like an answer to last year’s Encanto. A girl is growing up and finding out who she is, but along the way, she has to confront her more traditional family and their expectations for her.
But while Encanto was more about its music and magic, Turning Red was unafraid to be loud and goofy. The story centers around a group of girls wanting to go see a boy band, but along the way, one of them finds out she can change into a human-sized red panda. Hilarity ensues.
Also, it has a very DBZ-styled fight sequence late in the movie, and who saw THAT coming?!
Easily the most bizarre movie of 2022 (and that’s saying something), Dual came out in theaters to little fanfare and then promptly vanished. I saw it upon release because I had somehow caught a trailer and thought it looked interesting, but I was not prepared for what the movie actually was.
Nothing here feels genuine or realistic, but… it’s not supposed to. It’s like the makers of Dual saw the intentionally bad acting of Malignant last year and said “You know what? We can top that!”. Karen Gillian and Aaron Paul give such… intentionally stunted performances. Forget clones; it feels like everyone in Dual’s world was secretly replaced by robots.
But none of this is an insult because the whole journey is FASCINATING. And the dialogue makes the wooden acting come alive. In no other movie should lines like “Thank you for the hip-hop dance lessons” or “I’m disappointed in your lack of killer instinct, but I am happy my dog is alive” work, but they do here.
23. Who Invited Them
A kind-of home invasion thriller about an incredibly obnoxious couple hosting a housewarming party only to have it taken over by neighbors who come by uninvited, Who Invited Them combines tension with humor seamlessly.
The twist is ridiculously easy to predict. The movie telegraphs it a mile away. But who cares? I just had such a good time with this one, that by the time it “revealed” what we all already knew, I was too caught up in my amusement to be disappointed.
22. Bodies Bodies Bodies
It can be hard for mystery movies to really stick the landing. You run the risk of either being too predictable, too unpredictable (to the point where the audience feels cheated over something they could not possibly piece together), or just disappointing.
Luckily, Bodies Bodies Bodies has one of my favorite endings to any murder mystery movie I’ve ever seen. It all just feels so perfect for the characters involved, and it makes all the sense in the world.
If you need likable characters and protagonists in your flicks, this may not be for you. Everyone here is pretty much despicable, untrustworthy, or both.
21. The Batman
I really enjoyed The Batman, but I also think I did so less than a lot of others. I still see this movie showing up in a lot of Top Tens on the year, and for me? Too many other movies surpassed “Very Good” and were in the “Great” realm this year.
The stuff that The Batman did well blew me well. The subtle storytelling nods and transformations of characters were genius. Zoe Kravitz and Colin Farrell were perfection. But what brought it down was the main plot! I just did not care for The Riddler story here at all. Dano’s version of the character starts off menacing and horrific, but by the third act, he is a complete buffoon. I wish this movie had cut The Riddler stuff and made a tight 1:45-2 hour movie about Selina and Falcone and Cobblepot instead of a 3 hour endurance test.
That said? I went to see it in theaters twice this year, which I can’t say for ANY other movie. So obviously I still liked it.
And that’s the first third of this list. Have you seen any of these flicks? What were YOUR thoughts on them?
Until next time… take care!