Saturday, January 14, 2023

Beta's Top Ten Favorite Movies of 2022

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. Let’s see if I remember how it goes.

Because I’m not going to the movies as much as I used to (partly due to new fatherhood and partly due to the pandemic that is still happening goddamnit) I wasn’t able to see a ton of movies in 2022, and a lot of the ones on this list I ended up catching on streaming or renting them. It’s all very deflating. So, there were loads of good movies I didn’t get to see that probably would have made the list if I had. No point in getting all mad at me.

Also note that that this is not a “Best of 2022” list but rather a “My Favorites of 2022” list, meaning it’s just one dude giving his opinion. Feel free to share your favorite movies in the comments.

Quick note: while they did not make the list, I’d still like to make special mention of Downton Abbey: A New Era, as of writing the final installment of the British TV/movie series that my wife and started watching at the beginning of 2022, and Do Revenge, which was a fun but flawed dark teen comedy. I think Maya Hawke has the tools to be a pretty big deal in Hollywood.

Full Top Ten after the jump.

#10: Matilda the Musical

I just hope the actor gets to be a happy kid sometimes

This movie just squeaked in at the last moment, and there may well be some recency bias here, but I dug this adaptation of an adaptation for its bright colors, downright insanity, and Emma Thompson’s unhinged performance as Miss Trunchbull. It was a fun movie, even though it seems like the producers may have taken a hatchet to the original musical to make this a viable flick. Still, it was a nice combination of childhood nostalgia and a musical with some undeniable bangers.  I wish I could have seen in in theaters. 

4 out of 5 Adorable Pandas

#9: Weird - The Al Yankovic Story

Significantly more gun fights than I assumes going in

Speaking of not being in theaters, Weird is a film that really needed to play to crowd. Even though it ended up being a Roku original (…the hell?) this fake-ass “Weird” Al biopic had me laughing out loud nearly its entire runtime. The increasingly bizarre rise of the parody artist is so off the wall that it is a disservice to describe it here (great ending though). If you like surrealistic comedies, I beg you to track it down and give it a go.

4 out of 5 Adorable Pandas

#8: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

I hope no on was expecting a team-up film...

I think I liked this movie a lot more than most people did. I thought this was a solid superhero film featuring a better realized version of the title character in a great looking and fun flick that was clearly setting up the forthcoming new phase of Marvel Studios. Also, Sam Raimi is back directing superhero films and it results in an interesting combination of comedy and light horror that works better that I expected. The biggest problem is probably with its connection to the miniseries WandaVision that left a lot of people annoyed with the Scarlett Witch’s characterization, but it was good to see Elizabeth Olsen getting to actually be in a proper starring role in a Marvel movie for a change.

4 out of 5 Adorable Pandas

#7: Nope

Nuh uh, no way, fuck you, I ain't about that

Seeing as I didn’t like this movie as much as I liked Us and I didn’t like that movie as much as I liked Get Out, it could be argued that there is a little bit of diminishing returns on Jordan Peele as a horror director, but the way I see it I generally don’t like watching scary movies at all and yet I keep coming back to this guy for more. Nope is more unnerving and tense than scary I would say, but if you like the idea of a cleverly put together mystery that is aiming to disturb and frighten then you can’t go wrong giving this a shot. Also, Keke Palmer is an extremely charismatic actor.

4 out of 5 Adorable Pandas

#6: Everything Everywhere 

All at Once

No jokes here; just try to watch this movie if you can

Due to circumstance s beyond my control, I was unable to watch Everything Everywhere All at Once in theaters, and therefore may have missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime moviegoing experience. That said, this movie, even on a small screen, is one of the most unique and frankly bonkers flicks I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to talk about it without spoiling anything, and this is absolutely a movie you should go in as cold as possible, but I will say that Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu all deliver amazing, must-see performances. The reason this doesn’t crack my top five is because surrealism outside of comedy (and even then it’s hit or miss) can be an issue with me, but I cannot deny this was one of the best movies of 2022.

4 out of 5 Adorable Pandas

#5: Emily the Criminal

Because "Emily the Underemployed" is less catchy

Emily the Criminal is a low stake, lo-fi crime drama that has some things to say about debt and low-income employment and it really didn’t have to be much more than that. This thriller was a big attention grabber with a lot of tension even though ultimately the crimes are just credit card fraud. The real reason to check this movie out is a fantastic performance by Aubrey Plaza, who knocks it out of the park in this one with a nuanced character who feels unburdened by typical tropes. Plus, I loved the ending. I’ve seen some love for this one people’s end of the year list but frankly, not enough. If you like crime thrillers or are just a Plaza fan, make sure to find this movie.

4 out of 5 Adorable Pandas

#4: The Menu

I liked the Chef's Table with the cereal cake lady, personally

As a thriller, The Menu is probably on the other end of the spectrum from Emily the Criminal as it is a black comedy with a message that is even less subtle than the crime drama (and Emily the Criminal was not one bit subtle). The end result is a movie that struck a chord with me better than most this year, and the performances all around, as well as the cleaver script, did a lot for me. This is a movie made for folks who have watched Chef's Table and thought things were a little too pretentious to be invested in the subject matter. As the movie’s plot is something of a mystery, I will say that if you liked Ready or Not and want something similar but not as over-the-top violent, this would be the one for you.

4 out of 5 Adorable Pandas

#3: Black Panther - 

Wakanda Forever

I'm not sure who decided we needed a Mayan Sub-Mariner
But God bless 'em for it!

It’s been said a million times before, but this movie really had a tremendous uphill battle to climb coming into this past fall. With the death of original star Chadwick Boseman and the film needing to be tied very heavily to Avengers: Endgame, the chances of this movie being good were low. While it doesn’t live up to its predecessor, Wakanda Forever was easily the best movie Marvel Studios put out this past year. Letitia Wright did a great job going from comedy supporting character to wounded protagonist and this movie which also does a strange thing in that it makes major changes to Namor the Sub-Mariner but somehow also made him one of the most closely adapted, pitch perfect comic book characters in superhero movie history. Hell, tiny wings on his feet alone would have likely gotten this flick on the list.  The emotional tension, the action, and the characters are what puts this film in my top three, and any other year it would have been an easy number one.

5 out of 5 Adorable Pandas

#2: Glass Onion

All those wasted years playing James Bond
When he could have been playing Beniot Blanc instead

The sequel to the surprise hit Knives Out, Glass Onion is interesting because it thematically feels like its predecessor while also being completely different from it. With Daniel Craig back as unlikely franchise star Benoit Blanc, this murder mystery really nails on most of what made the original work so well while doing its own thing, from the structure of the mystery to its more straight forward, but hilarious, third act. I’d say the cast is even better in this movie than the first since now everyone seems to have a firm grasp of the type of movie they’re in and they are all chewing enough scenery to invoke 1985’s Clue. The social commentary here against the wealthy is even less subtle than the first one, so take that what you will. Regardless, director Rian Johnson is really just showing off at this point. I hear he’s working on a script for a second sequel and, frankly, I will await its arrival with bated breath.

5 out of 5 Adorable Pandas

#1: The Batman

Don't mind me, I just need to eat all this crow

When this movie was announced, yet another new Batman film separate from the Batman films already being produced at Warner Bros, I was confused. When they announced it was going to be a dark, gritty Batman I was actively upset. As much as I enjoyed the Dark Knight Trilogy, I am pretty well tired of “let’s make a Batman that could in exist in our world” movies (especially since Batman can’t exist in our world, if for no other reason than no billionaire would ever be as self-sacrificing as Bruce Wayne). I want a Batman movie series where he fights Mister Freeze, Clayface, Killer Croc, and Poison Ivy with a bunch of monster plant men AND have it be serious and not a goofy 1966 Batman send up (looking at you Batman & Robin). 

So it is with great shame and anger that I must admit, despite having told myself that I wouldn’t even bother watching this movie when it came out, that not only did I enjoy The Batman, not only is it my favorite movie of 2022, but it also might be my favorite Batman film to date. I’m so embarrassed.

The Batman is not a perfect movie but unlike the version of Batman in the last few years, and even to some extent in Christopher Nolan’s films, this movie really got the distilled essence of what makes the Dark Knight work as character. The Bruce Wayne in this film has an arc, he learns lessons, and has to confront a lot of uncomfortable truths about himself, his family, and his methods while also trying to stop a serial killer. The tone works for what it is, there are tons of great performances, and in my opinion a great climax and ending. The music was great, there was a great fight choreography, and even though it’s insane and everyone should have gone to jail over it, that car chase scene was pretty exciting. I don’t want to write a whole review here (too late), but I will say that this movie stuck with me all year and it’s the first movie in years that I have a physical copy of. There were better movies this year but none that I had a better time watching.

If this guy had a green jumpsuit and a bowler hat, then we'd be in business

5 out of 5 Adorable Pandas

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...