“Movies are movies, not life”. They are indeed, however, they help us escape from the boredom and stagnate nature of our own lives. Every year movies come and go, remakes, sequels, reboots, reboot sequels, and of course original pictures. Movies inspire us, disgust us, scare us, humor us, and move us. There is no other art form that combines all art forms to create a symphony for the senses so to speak.
Every year there are those movies that stand out and those that don’t. With the conclusion of 2022 nearly a week and a half ago, I ponder which movies moved me the most this past year. These are my top ten movies of 2022. This is of course my opinion. Keep in mind I have not seen every movie that was released in 2022, but of the ones I saw, these are the ones that stand out. Below each movie, I’ll include a brief plot summary and also a summary of my overall thoughts and opinions of the movie. Also, this list will contain zero spoilers for these movies. With that being said, let us begin.
10. The Batman
Plot Summary: Gotham City is a crime-ridden, depressing, and dark city glooming with doubts and fears. A mysterious hero who calls himself “vengeance” (Robert Pattinson)has emerged and must stop serial killer Edward Nigma (Paul Dano) from exploding Gotham City with madness and chaos. He investigates with the help of Selena Kyle (Zoe Kravitz)to find the madman behind the riddles.
Why it’s here: The Batman offered a balanced and intense look inside the world of Gotham City. It was by far the best translation we have seen of Gotham City on the big screen. The movie keeps you engaged the entire runtime. Pattinson, Kravitz, Dano, Turturro, and Farrell are all electric in their roles. Specifically, John Turturro gives one of his best performances in years. Pattinson is also the best Batman here since Bale. The cinematography is also extremely impressive; the score is original and sticks with you when exiting the movie. Overall, very fun superhero movie and a must-see of this past year.
9. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Plot Summary: After the tragic passing of King T’Challa, numerous world powers threaten to push Wakanda around. They specifically want Vibranium. As an underwater nation threatens to gain this from Wakanda, King T’Challa’s sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) must step up and protect her people with the help of family and friends.
Why It’s Here: You’re probably thinking, oh I see this guy likes superhero movies, especially since they’re the first two on his list. Well, I used to love superhero movies but over the years the obnoxious humor from the majority of Marvel movies has changed my mind. Also, the fact that Marvel typically relies on you watching all of their products to understand every movie is also irritating to me. That’s not the case here. The only Marvel movie you need to see before Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is the first Black Panther. This was refreshing to me since this is how I remember superhero movies of my past time.
Aside from my childish nostalgia. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a very fun, action-packed, and emotional ride. The characters feel very real and relatable. The villain in the movie was also quite creepy and interesting to see on the big screen. The scope of the movie was also impressive and exciting to see. The movie also did a great job both paying respects to Chadwick Bosman and also allowing the current cast to shine and own their roles. Letitia Wright nails it in this movie as well as the supporting cast. Making this one of the most memorable superhero movies since “Avengers: Endgame”.
8. White Noise
Plot Summary: It’s 1980s America, and a professor named Jack (Adam Driver), his wife (Greta Gerwig), and their family must face the unknown. As a bizarre emergency occurs which changes this family’s way of life and how they view mortality.
Why It’s Here: This movie was by far the biggest surprise of the year for me. The story is timeless and fascinating to think about. Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig crush it in their roles. This type of story is a slight departure for director Noah Baumbach. It is very different from his previous films, especially in the style of storytelling. The movie keeps you engaged and curious the entire time. It is a movie that gets better upon rewatch and one I feel will age very well. It’s a movie when analyzed that many will ponder and think about for years to come. The theater experience was chilling, making this one of the best movies of 2022.
7. Top Gun: Maverick
Plot Summary: It has been 37 years since Maverick (Tom Cruise) attended Top Gun. After causing major violations with the US air force, Maverick has two options. He can either lose everything he’s earned or he can return to Top Gun as an instructor. When returning to Top Gun he stumbles upon Roosters (Miles Teller) the son of Maverick’s friend and former classmate Goose. Rooster has a troubled past with Maverick. Despite their past, they must work together to complete their training at Top Gun.
Why It’s Here: Usually, most 30-plus-year-old sequels are unnecessary and awful. Examples of these include; Independence Day: Resurgence, Bad Santa 2, Jurassic World: Dominion, Texas Chainsaw 3D, etc. However, with Top Gun: Maverick this is not the case. The story never feels like a cash grab or a nostalgia/fan service fest. Now clearly there is lots of nostalgia to be had, however, it works because the story feels fresh. It is a balanced blend of classic 80s romance with a modern-day feel in dialogue and action. The action sequences alone are overwhelming in a great way. You feel like you’re in the cock pit with Cruise and you equally feel the emotion of the moment. Characters, both new and old, were introduced and blended very well also. Overall, an awesome theater experience is a given to be on anyone’s top ten of 2022.
6. Scream 5
Plot Summary: It has been 11 years since the last Ghostface killings occurred. Now after years away from Woodsboro, Ghostface is back and attacking the Carpenters and friends. After Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega) is attacked, older sister Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera) must return to Woodsboro with her boyfriend Ricky (Jack Quaid) in pursuit of stopping Ghostface.
Why It’s Here: In all honesty, I was not expecting to enjoy this movie as much as I did. For one, the previous two Scream movies have been silly and underwhelming at best. This Scream movie is by far the best one since Scream 2. Similar to Top Gun: Maverick new and old characters are balanced very well. This movie gave Deputy Dewey Riley (David Arquette) real depth as a character. It also delivered all the things you expect a Scream film to deliver. Great dialogue, humor, great movie references, and of course fan service that serves the plot to its benefit. It’s a fun and wild ride of a movie. It also pays tribute to director Wes Craven who was at the helm of the previous 4 movies and who tragically passed in 2015. One of the most exciting movies of the year, making it a movie I’ll remember 2022 for.
5. The Menu
Plot Summary: Couple Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) and Margot (Anya-Taylor Joy) embark with a group of strangers to an island that contains the best food on earth with the best chef at the helm (Ralph Fiennes). The course of meals begins and things slowly begin to not be what you would expect from a fine dining experience.
Why It’s Here: This movie was another great surprise in 2022. It combines inspiration from Get Out and American Psycho. It leans more towards American Psycho with it being a very digestible dark comedy. The characters are interesting and also funny from start to finish. The chemistry between Anya-Taylor Joy and Fiennes is electric. The paranoia concept we see in a lot of modern-day horror films such as Get Out and Midsommar is used here, however, it is not as scary or nearly as unsettling. This movie is an original work of art that contributes both great dark comedy and also subtle commentary on the two groups of people in society. The consumers and the creators, but express it in a way that is not overly obnoxious or forced. This movie is a great movie night experience and one that makes the argument of 2022 being a great year for movies a relevant one.
Plot Summary: A writer from New York City (BJ Novak) gets a call that his “girlfriend” was killed. Novak’s Ben is confused because the call is regarding a random girl he hooked up with a few months ago. Anyhow, he goes to her funeral in a small town in Texas and meets her family. When he’s about to leave her brother (Boyd Holbrook) claims he thinks she was murdered and he wants to avenge her death. Ben does not want to kill anyone, so he decides to start a true crime podcast and investigates the town trying to find the cause of her death.
Why It’s Here: This movie is intense and also very honest. Novak’s writing here bleeds right off of the screen and into our minds as audience members. The movie is political while not forcing the audience to feel or think a certain way. The movie honestly depicts different groups of people through a comedic and satirical lens. A standout is Ashton Kutcher’s character Quentin Sellers who has one of the best character introductions in a movie I’ve seen in a while. If you enjoy shows like The Office or Seinfeld this type of humor is up your alley. One of the most slept-on movies of 2022, Vengeance deserves a watch and also will probably be reflected on by future audiences when looking back on the way things were in America at this present time.
3. Everything Everywhere All At Once
Plot Summary: A struggling Asian mother (Michelle Yeoh), is chosen by the multiverse to save humanity as we know it. This is of course with the help of her husband (Ke Huy Quan). All to prevent the destruction of her relationship with her daughter (Stephanie Hsu).
Why It’s Here: Now yes the plot summary of this film is difficult to do because this movie has so much going on it’s insane. You’ll either walk out of this appreciating the ambition and the emotional range of the story and characters or perhaps you’ll think they tried throwing 15 things at the screen to see what would stick.
For me, this movie is the most original and mind-blowing film we’ve seen in years! The acting is terrific, the directing is terrific, the score sticks with you, and the story makes you ponder the meaning of life. The movie is a wild and unique ride that keeps you curious from start to finish. A movie that may seem daunting at times to follow, however, it executes and ties the story together in a logical way. As noted earlier the performances from Yeoh and Quan are the standouts. Jamie Lee Curtis is also notably good in the movie as well as Stephanie Hsu. The movie is a thrilling film, that will be revisited by film fans in the years to come, making it one of my top ten movies of 2022.
2. Avatar: The Way of Water
Plot Summary: After defeating the sky people many years ago. Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) now has been happily married and has a family of his own on Pandora. However, after several years of peace, the sky people have returned and are in pursuit of Sully and his family specifically. Now Sully must take his family to the water sector of Pandora, and they all must learn the ways of water if they want to survive.
Why It’s Here: Director James Cameron had a big order to fill when being tasked with following up his 2009 classic Avatar and I feel he hit the mark well with the sequel. The visuals alone are breathtaking. The story is also an intriguing and classical Hollywood story about family and survival. Cameron weaves classical storytelling into a major visual scale making the movie feel wholesome and alive. The sequel never feels like a cash grab by any means. It feels like a story that needs to be told and that works well in the world of Pandora. The performances are also memorable in the movie. The underwater shoots alone are beyond impressive. The action sequences are also very memorable, making the movie an epic watch. The Way of Water is not just a movie it’s an experience that one must see in theaters to fully appreciate and grasp. That makes it a must for the top ten movies of 2022.
1. Cha Cha Real Smooth
Plot Summary: Recent college graduate Andrew (Cooper Raiff) moves back home with zero sense of direction or clue of what to do next. He stumbles upon an opportunity to become a party starter (yes this is a job) for local celebrations in the community. At one of these celebrations, he meets a young autistic girl named Lola (Vanessa Burghardt) who’s in high school, and her single mother Domino (Dakota Johnson). He befriends the family and starts babysitting Lola and begins growing closer to Domino before realizing things are more complicated than they appear.
Why It’s Here: Yes, this is my number 1 movie of the year. The reason is, it is the most feel-good movie I’ve seen in a long time. Cooper Raiff’s writing, directing, and acting are so natural and beautifully done. It allows you to fall in love with the characters and the situations they are in. The movie address real problems subtly and honestly. It is full of humor and memorable dialogue throughout. Johnson is also a standout here, her chemistry with Raiff is extremely believable. The way the movie captures relationships, both romantic, family, and friend relationships is quite profound and heartwarming. It is not a movie that tries to be dark or political. It is a movie that offers kindness and honesty as a solution to our everyday issues and stressors in our modern times. This was a great movie, one that I love to rewatch and one that makes 2022 one of my favorite years for movies. The movie is warm and even though it is on a small scale it is still a great second movie for young Cooper Raiff. Making this my number-one film of 2022.
These are my personal top ten movies of 2022. What did you think of my list? What are your top ten films of 2022? We can start a conversation, follow my podcast which is everything movies on Instagram @CallaghansCorner. Thank you so much for reading and have a terrific 2023!