Top Thirty 2022 New Release Movies, #10-1

This is definitely my top ten movies of 2022.

I say that because last time there was some consternation about one of my picks in my #20-11 range. Someone was displeased I included Werewolf By Night. It seems enough like a movie to me, but maybe not to others. So you could argue my last “ten” only had nine “movies”.

So I put it up to a vote!

That… is not very decisive. And the error margin is +/- literally all of the percents.

(And the new Elonified Twitter is really throttling my reach since I ain’t paying him $8, but that’s neither here nor there)

ANYWAY! I’m pretty sure these ten movies to finish up my Best Of 2022 are all actually movies.

I think.

Let me know if you disagree.

10. Wakanda Forever

Oh, back-to-back MCU entries on this list, what with Multiverse Of Madness closing out the last segment as my #11 movie on the year.

Can we just talk about Angel Bassett for a bit here? Because she was amazing in this. One of the very best performances in a comic book movie in history. I recently rewatched Black Panther for my podcast, and while she is good in it, she really levels EVERYTHING up in this movie where she is given so much more to do. She is a DYNAMO, and while I’m not saying she should win, she HAS to be nominated for an Academy Award for this, right? She’s that good.

Even moving away from her, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Wakanda Forever. It was always a difficult proposition, trying to move forward with this division of the MCU in the wake of Chadwick Boseman’s tragic passing. But Ryan Coogler made such a heartfelt, impassioned sequel that balanced out its tributes to its former star with a stand-alone story full of glorious action beats and character movement. He did an absolutely masterful job in the toughest of positions.

9. Nope

For me, Jordan Peele has yet to miss.

Get Out was impressive and powerful. Us was truly creepy and off-putting. His third effort, Nope, is probably his weakest overall, but damned if I didn’t still love it.

The juxtaposition of Daniel Kaluuya’s understated, head-down, hard-working OJ against Keke Palmer’s bombastic, hustling Em was inspired. Their performances told you everything you needed to know about this history: OJ is used to not getting a word in edgewise, so he grew into a quiet young man, while Em was never the devoted farmhand her brother was, so she struggled to prove herself with her other roles and jobs, trying to find a fit. Simply masterclass character work there.

Nope is so much fun, as Peele continues to tell these out-there stories about strange goings-on through the lens of imperfect characters. There are some “this happened because the movie wanted/needed it to happen” stuff in the third act, but I was still having too much of a blast to care.

8. Smile

My highest ranked horror movie of 2022, Smile is by no means an original premise. Have you seen The Ring? Congratulations, you basically know everything about Smile!

But that’s obviously not something I cared too much about, because the execution of Smile is spot-on. Very little horror actively creeps me out or spooks me. Sure some jump scares in things like The Conjuring will jolt me, but those always feel cheap. I’m talking the stuff that stays with me after I leave the cinema; the images or sounds I can’t get out of my head.

That’s what Smile had for me. It took a tired story and breathed new life into it thanks to a star-making turn from Sosie Bacon and deliberate direction by Parker Finn.

7. Banshees Of Inisherin

There is just… so little here. The story is about two men who were friends their whole lives until one of them just… decides they aren’t anymore. It’s about how each man, and the village around them, copes with that single, seemingly minor decision.

And yet, it is entirely engrossing from start to finish. Farrell and Gleason are even better together here than they were in In Bruges. It feels like both men made a pact to go out in front of the camera and put forth some of the best work of their careers.

The movie is a stellar black comedy (“That’s how me mum died” is one of the funniest lines of 2022) that takes some absurd turns I did not see coming. It’s also very realistic. Gleason’s reasoning for disavowing his kinship with Farrell makes sense, and both mean have such human, natural interactions the rest of the way. Well… maybe except for the absurd turns I discussed. But that’s why it’s a movie, people!

I think on a rewatch, this will rise into my Top 5 pretty easily, but even just once, I adored this.

6. Glass Onion

Rian Johnson’s Knives Out universe continues to impress, as he builds these Whodunnit stories and then intentionally screws with the audience’s expectations. Glass Onion is not the complete subversion Knives Out was, but it does mess with the viewer through deception and some plot points you have no way of predicting. And if that is not your thing, I fully understand that! But given how awful I am at mysteries, I like it when pretty much no one has a chance of knowing what is going on! Thank you, Ryan! Put me and the more deductive fans on a more level playing field!

I think Glass Onion did a better job with its ensemble cast than Knives Out did. Knives had Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, and Don Johnson just kind of… “there” while the main characters did the heavy lifting. In Glass Onion, pretty much every actor feels relevant beyond the aspect of “I know him/her!”. So when it comes to the Whodunnit aspect of things, the entire cast feels more plausible as the culprit.

In my limited experience, I’ve seen about a 50/50 split on whether folks liked Knives or Onion better. I think I lean towards Knives despite my affection for the cast being more relevant here. But it is close. Keep churning these out, Netflix and Rian Johnson!

5. The Lost City

What looked like the most forgettable and rudimentary blockbuster style flick of 2022 only turned out to be the most laugh-out-loud funny film of the year.

I was shocked by this one. I turned it on as a background flick I could pay 75% attention to while working on some website stuff, and it caught my full attention early on. The writing here is SHARP, and many of the jokes are anything but in-your-face. The Lost City doesn’t launch a joke at you like a grenade and wait for you to laugh; it has background jokes, subtle lines you have to reconsider to realize the humor in, and great delivery from some wonderful actors and actresses.

If you slept on this movie, I implore you to check it out. It became one of my go-to recommendations in 2022. Oh, and it has maybe the best mid-credits scene ever.

4. Top Gun Maverick

From a movie I think not enough folks paid attention to… to one that pretty much every man, woman, and child on Earth rightfully saw: Top Gun: Maverick!

I had next to zero expectations for this. I only saw it opening weekend because I had to for a guest spot on another podcast. I watched the original Top Gun in the lead up to this coming out, and honestly? That movie isn’t particularly good. So I went into the Dolby theater at my local AMC just hoping to not be bored. Maverick decided to give me what is probably a top twenty (ten?) action movie ever made.

Maverick has a vastly better story than its predecessor. It has better action sequences. Better characters. And god, it looked and sounded beautiful in the Dolby theater. It’s weird to call a movie with this budget and hype a “surprise”, but Maverick was the most pleasant surprise of 2022 for me.

3. Bullet Train

This movie seems to be at least somewhat divisive. Film Twitter allegedly hates it. It’s RT score is hanging around 50%. Some people like it, but others… much less so.

Obviously I was a big fan based on the placement on this list. This is just one of those ceaselessly fun movies. The action is frantic, the humor clicks, the music is great, the all-star cast of legends like Pitt and Bullock working with some of our best up-and-comers like Joey King and Brian Tyree Henry (to say nothing of a few great cameos) all just hit the target. And then you get to the story, and you really see how much Bullet Train pulled from other classics like Snatch (several disparate plot elements all coming together) and Big Trouble In Little China (the subversion of the “white savior” trope).

I think this one gets unfairly underrated. It clicked all of the boxes for me.

2. Good Luck To You Leo Grande

My #1 and #2 movies have swapped back and forth ever since I have seen them both, so let’s call them co-winners, and I’ll talk about them both in the next blurb!

1. Everything Everywhere All At Once

Everything Everywhere All At Once is the better movie of the two. It will gather all of the awards nominations. It was the more imaginative, impressive, all-around fantastical movie.

Good Luck To You Leo Grande was the one that just sat with me better. I watched GLtYLG and just had a dumb, goofy smile on my face virtually the entire movie. I CARED about these characters from the word “go”. Or maybe the word “Good” in this case.

And thus, I have spent all year fighting in my head over which is my true #1. I will say that, even in a great year for cinema, these two were leaps and bounds ahead of stuff I enjoyed the hell out of, like Bullet Train or Maverick. But I could very much see them not being for everyone. EEAAO is long and doesn’t mind dabbling in absurdity. GLtYLG is basically no-stakes and is just an inter-personal character drama. If you watched either and thought they weren’t special, I wouldn’t even blink.

But they were special to me!

And that’s that! The top 30 new releases of 2022, according to me! But I’m just me. What do YOU say? What are your top ten movies of 2022? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time… take care!

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