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Ranking 64 New Movies I Saw In 2022

I watch a lot of stuff. Movies, TV, sports, CNN on election night. One thing I do with new films I see is keep a running list of my favorites of the year. This doesn’t include movies that I just saw for the first time this year, it’s strictly movies that were released in 2022. It’s a pretty even split between films released in theaters and streaming but I also want to disclose that this isn’t just my best movies of the year list, it’s strictly movies I’ve seen. So I haven’t seen everything yet that are going to pop up on other people’s lists. The Fabelmans just came out, Women Talking doesn’t get released until January, The Whale hasn’t been playing in any theaters near me (and if it has I just missed it), and I very rarely pay to rent movies. I acknowledge its weird I’d rather pay five times as much to see a movie in theaters rather than renting a new release on Amazon but here we are.

All things considered I saw 64 new releases this year and I’d say it was a good not great year for films. Only a handful of films really wowed me but on a binary scale the vast majority of films I saw I’d say I enjoyed. I’m also not the toughest critic as I think I have a good grasp of what I’m watching before I see it so by my nature I tend to just not watch things I think will be shitty. But enough chit chat: here are my 64 favorite films of 2022:

The Booty Tier

  • 64. Texas Chainsaw Massacre *fart noise*
  • 63. BlondeWildly bad movie made only worse by the fact that a good chunk of Marilyn Monroe’s life is complete fabrication.
  • 62. Hocus Pocus 2 Watched as part of a date night with the wife. Just not my kind of movie.
  • 61. Uncharted Classic “best parts are in the trailer” action movie that I had little expectation for.

The Bad But Has Redeeming Qualities Tier

  • 60. Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody I went to see this on Christmas Day because my plans got switched around thanks to COVID. Just a directionless biopic with bad acting and great music.
  • 59. Nanny There’s a good drama in here somewhere but how this movie was ever billed as a horror movie is the scariest part of this movie.
  • 58. Spiderhead The second best Miles Teller/Joseph Kasinski film of the year plays out like just about every sci-fi thriller you’ve ever seen.
  • 57. The Black Phone One of the more disappointing films of the year in my opinion. Ethan Hawke is solid but I have no idea how this got the reception that it did.
  • 56. Where The Crawdads Sing Daisy Edgar-Jones had a pretty solid year and I love a good mystery but this film equates to a below average Nicholas Sparks movie.
  • 55. Lightyear Pretty sure it took me three viewings to get through it as I kept falling asleep. The cat was kind of funny.
  • 54. Emancipation Will Smith is great and the production design is top tier but the black and white cinematography and the script do this film no favors.
  • 53. Christmas Bloody Christmas Potentially the beginning of a great slasher franchise but still clunky. The longest sub-90-minute movie of the year.

The Good But Has Shitty Qualities Tier

  • 52. Windfall Great concept and well-acted (Jason Segel, Lily Collins, Jesse Plemons) Hitchcockian thriller with just an absolutely awful ending.
  • 51. The Greatest Beer Run Ever Different from what we normally see from Zac Efron and most Vietnam movies but the writing in this one is just subpar.
  • 50. Father Stu One of Mark Wahlberg’s better dramatic performances in my opinion but this one just feels like blatant Oscar bait.
  • 49. Devotion Glen Powell’s second best “Naval pilot with something to prove” movie of the year. Jonathan Majors carries this movie and doesn’t receive a ton of help from anyone else.
  • 48. Jackass Forever I love Jackass and this was definitely funnier than I expected but I didn’t love how much they relied on the new guys. Plus the OG’s did their best but its just lacking the same energy as the original trilogy.
  • 47. Metal Lords Forgotten little coming of age comedy from earlier this year. Amusing story with relatable characters but watching modern teenagers talk about metal for so long gets old quickly.
  • 46. The Good NurseBonkers story for true crime fans that crawls for the vast majority of the film that’s saved by Eddie Redmayne saving the film with one scene.
  • 45. A Christmas Story Christmas One of the more surprising films of the year filled with both nostalgia and Christmas spirit but still filled with several cringeworthy family Christmas tropes.
  • 44. White Noise One of stranger film’s of the year. Noah Baumbach’s quirky and surrealist family dramedy about an airborne toxic event probably requires multiple viewings to properly digest but tat soudns exhausting. Best credit sequence of the year though.
  • 43. Tár This is a film where I just don’t understand the hype. Cate Blanchett: amazing. Everything else about it: so goddamn boring. The film takes 90 minutes for a story to begin to take place and by the time Lydia’s downfall begins it’s neither interesting nor satisfying to see an unlikeable character face penalties for their actions. But again, Cate Blanchett is amazing in this.
  • 42. Elvis Similar to Tár this film is carried by Austin Butler but has little else going for it. Tom Hanks has never been worse and the opening act of this film is a total mess but its best moments are watching Butler as the King in concert.
  • 41. Bodies Bodies Bodies A horror comedy that did almost too good a job parodying rich Gen-Z kids that had a great payoff. Shoutout to Rachel Sennott for one of the funnier performances of the year.
  • 40. Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness Sam Raimi’s return to the superhero genre was a solid MCU entry that laid groundwork for several future stories but I feel didn’t go far enough with how bananas multiverse travel should be. Ironically this film probably suffered from coming out around the same time as Everything Everywhere All At Once.
  • 39. Don’t Worry Darling Great cinematography, Florence Pugh is amazing, and production design nailed it. There’s a great movie somewhere in Olivia Wilde’s latest, even if it couldn’t escape the P.R. nightmare it faced leading up to its release but ultimately the film is just too predictable.
  • 38. Violent Night Very self-aware film that ironically could benefit from more violence and less Christmas spirit. David Harbour taking Santa’s jacket off to reveal is Viking tattoos is one of the most iconic images of the year.

The Actually Good Tier

  • 37. Emily The Criminal Different kind of movie for Aubrey Plaza and it’s a pretty interesting look at a criminal world we don’t often see. Theo Rossi hasn’t received nearly enough acclaim for his role as a credit card fraud specialist.
  • 36. Nope I feel like I wasn’t as high on this movie as everyone else was but this is certainly one of the better looking movies of the year. Kaluuya and Palmer were great and Jordan Peele definitely took a step outside of the previous two horror installments we previously saw from him.
  • 35. Vengeance A surprising crime story from writer/director/star B.J. Novak is a blend of fish out of water comedy and an intense look at grief. A great supporting cast carry the film, notably Boyd Holbrook and Ashton Kutcher, though it doesn’t quite stick the landing in the final act.
  • 34. Hustle By this point I feel like we’ve seen Adam Sandler put out enough solid performances like this that the whole “Adam Sandler is actually a good actor” narrative should be over and done with. He’s the best part of this glorified Nike commercial but NBA big man Juancho Hernangomez actually turns out a pretty good performance as a novice actor.
  • 33. The Gray Man This Netflix release from the Russo brothers was one of the better action flicks of the year. Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans are great in their respective role and as long as you don’t take the film too seriously I think this is an actually really fun popcorn movie with great action and cinematography.
  • 32. She Said A throwback journalism film carried by tight writing and great performances. Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan, Andre Braugher, and Samantha Morton are all incredible in this and make a tough subject matter go down easier.
  • 31. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio One of three Pinocchio films to come out this year, this film is an absolute spectacle. The stop-motion animation looks absolutely incredible and del Toro takes a number of leaps with the story, even if they don’t all land. The music is a little rough but it certainly fits the mood of the film properly.
  • 30. Marcel the Shell With Shoes On I remember the YouTube shorts from when they first came out but I was completely surprised by how touching this film was. Very few films this year were able to produce the kind of happy tears that Marcel gave us with his quips and insights on being kind and perserverance.
  • 29. Causeway A great reminder of how great Jennifer Lawrence can be in a quieter role. Her and Brian Tyree Henry have incredible chemistry and the film isn’t nearly as melodramatic as the trailer makes it seem. An easy 90-minute watch featuring two actors at the top of their game.
  • 28. Ambulance One of my biggest regrets of the year was only seeing this film on a 9″ screen on a trans-Atlantic flight. Michael Bay’s latest is a Michael Bay film on steroids and this is a great example of a film that you need to know what you’re getting into from the get go. This bananas action movie led by Jake Gyllenhaal never takes itself too seriously and should become a mainstay on basic cable in the next few years.
  • 27. The Outfit Ironically I saw this film on the same flight I watched Ambulance on. This film really came out of nowhere to deliver a stage-like crime drama featuring an incredible performance from Mark Rylance. As boring as this film may appear on the outside, the less you know going in the better but I can’t recommend it enough.
  • 26. Armageddon Time I loved the performances in this film. Jeremy Strong, Anne Hathaway, Anthony Hopkins lead this coming of age drama about a family dealing with every kind of ‘ism’ in 1980’s New York. While the story is a tad predictable it still presents some interesting ideas and its great to see these actors at the top of their game.

The Tier Between Good & Great

  • 25. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever While certainly not at the level of its predecessor this is a very different yet effective into the MCU. Great performances all around, especially Angela Basset and Tenoch Huerta. While not perfect by any means this laid some key groundwork for the future of the MCU.
  • 24. Babylon The first two hours of Damien Chazelle’s love letter to old Hollywood has a whole lot to enjoy but the finale of this is pretty all over the place and completely missed the landing. Margot Robbie and Diego Calva are amazing in this and I think the film will ultimately age well with repeated viewings a la Boogie Nights.
  • 23. Weird As far as pure comedies go this is probably my pick for funniest movie of the year. Daniel Radcliffe is having a blast as Weird Al Yankovic and this spoof of the musical biopic genre is just as weird as the man himself. Hilarious from top to bottom and should only get better with age.
  • 22. Barbarian One of the standout films in a great year for horror. This film takes the leftest left turn and ends up being a completely different movie than what the trailer suggests. Another film where I don’t love the ending but it’s so fucked up to not love it. Justin Long turns in a career-best performance.
  • 21. I Want You Back A throwback romcom with Charlie Day and Jenny Slate was one of more surprisngly funny movies of the year. Day and Slate have incredible chemistry in what feels like a standout in a predictable genre. Manny Jacinto, Gina Rodriguez, and Scott Eastwood round out a solid ensemble.
  • 20. Prey A film that seemingly came out of nowhere ultimately became one of the year’s best action movies. The Predator prequel dropped on Hulu and shocked everybody with a group of Native Americans fighting off predators made for some of the most unique spinoffs in recent memory.
  • 19. Bullet Train Brad Pitt is awesome in this action comedy featuring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Joey King, Zazie Beetz, and Bad Bunny among others. ATJ and Henry steal the show as a dysfunctional pair of assassins and its a great showcase for Pitt’s under-the-radar humor that we saw in Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.
  • 18. The Batman All the villains were perfectly cast in the latest version of the Caped Crusader and Pattinson was a fine choice as Bruce Wayne but I felt there was just too much goign on in this film. Paul Dano stole the show as The Riddler and Colin Farrell was a ton of fun as the penguin. Somehow even darker than the Christopher Nolan movies I also loved the direction they took with making Batman more of a detective than an ass-kicking machine.

The Great Movies Tier

  • 17. Cha Cha Real SmoothWriter/director Cooper Raiff stars alongside Dakota Johnson as a lost 20-something who befriends a young mother and her autistic daughter at a Bar Mitzvah. This uber-indie flick is equally entertaining and filled with young wisdom. Raiff crushes on all cylinders here and should be a filmmaker to watch moving forward.
  • 16. Thor: Love & Thunder Okay, just hear me out: 1. Christian Bale delivers one of the best performances in the history of the MCU. 2. Taika Waititi’s comedic fingerprints are all over this. 3. It’s one of the shorter films in the MCU. 4. Russell Crowe is hysterical in this. While not a perfect movie I found this more entertaining than most of the other MCU content put out this year.
  • 15. The Stranger Under-the-radar Australian crime drama starring Joel Edgarton and Sean Harris. As a fan of true crime stories this is a fascinating case elevated by Harris’ unforgettable performance. The film is both intriguing, disturbing, and occasionally will leave you squirming in your seat. Check it out on Netflix if you’re looking for a good crime story.
  • 14. RRR The action sequences in this Indian film are some of the craziest shit I’ve ever seen on film. From the one-man army, escaping a tiger, saving the little boy, and of course, Naatu Naatu, this film is certainly one of the most memorable of the year. It can drag out at certain points ut the music and the action makes the duller moments worth it.
  • 13. PearlThe X prequel features what is perhaps my favorite performance of the year with Mia Goth as the titular character. Part of what makes this film so great is exactly how different it is from its predecessor, using a light and cheery tone often seen in films from the early 20th century to create a disturbing look at the origins of a serial killer. While not as gripping as the original, Mia Goth’s performance alone, particularly a six-minute unbroken monologue, is one of the true highlights of the year.
  • 12. Emergency One of the more powerful films of the year shockingly came from a Superbad-esque college comedy following a trio of friends (RJ Cryler, Donald Elise Watkins, & Sebastian Chacon) whose plans to complete a frat party crawl are disrupted when they find an unknown passed out girl on their living room floor. Fearing what will happen to them if police found an unconscious white girl in an apartment with two black men they elect to take matters into their own hands. What ensues is an interesting and terrifying look at how some people of color can’t always trust the police, even when the seemingly right thing to do is to contact the authorities. Combine that messaging with a legitimately funny script, Emergency is one of the most unique films of the year.
  • 11. The Adam Project Ryan Reynolds’ time traveling action comedy has a Spielbergian feel to it as a legitimately exciting original blockbuster. It’s covered with Reynolds’ signature charm and humor but the highlight of the film is the younger version of his character played by Walker Scobell who gives a legitimately funny performance as Young Adam. The rest of the cast is on point too, featuring Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, and Catherine Keener. This won’t be an awards contender but it was simply a legitimately great movie to enjoy.
  • 10. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery Rian Johnson certainly hit the nail on the head with his follow up to the wildly successful Knives Out. Daniel Craig is back having a blast and the supporting cast is all at the top of their game. Kate Hudson, Edward Norton, and Janelle Monáe stood out to me but it was also great to see Dave Bautista in such a different role than the action anti-hero we’ve come to expect from him. The script is air-tight and legitimately funny with a very satisfying payoff. Plus, Daniel Craig may have single-handedly brought back the male romper.
  • 9. Avatar: The Way of Water I didn’t want to love this film as much as I did but here we are. James Cameron delivered another instant classic and deserves all the credit for expanding our immersion into the world of Pandora. Like the first one, the story is predictable but the nonetheless epic and filled with great action and breathtaking visuals. Easily the best use of 3D I’ve ever seen in a theater. What’s even more crazy is learning more about how the characters really had to learn how to free dive in motion capture suits to nail the underwater scenes. The final hour alone is comparable to any action sequence of the 21st century.

The Movies I Loved Tier

  • 8. The Woman King A truly epic story led by an incredible female cast. This unique film about the Kingdom of Dahomey is so unique in that it feels like such a familiar story yet looks completely original. Viola Davis literally slays in this role and the supporting cast of Thuso Mbedu, Sheila Atim, John Boyega, and especially Lashana Lynch are all incredible in this. In addition to the performances and story, the world building of Dahomey was truly admirable.
  • 7. Thirteen Lives Ron Howard’s telling of a Thai youth soccer team stuck in a cave that launched an international rescue mission is one of the most thrilling films in recent memory. Viggo Mortensen and Colin Farrell are at the top of their game as a pair of English rescue divers but its the massive supporting cast of unknowns that make this film what it is. The cave diving sequences will give you oodles of claustrophobia and you will certainly be headed on a deep dive after the film is over because this story is too insane to be true. Howard’s best work in nearly a decade.
  • 6. X A throwback slasher film from A24 and director Ti West that launched what has already become the best horror franchise in the game today. Mia Goth pulls double duty as a scream queen and as an old woman set out to murder the film crew that has arrived on her property to shoot a pornographic film. West nails the look and feel of those slashers from the 70’s and 80’s that defined the genre complete with off brand humor, unique deaths, and a wholly original villain. Brittany Snow, Kid Cudi, Jenna Ortega, and Martin Henderson fill out the rest of a remarkable cast.
  • 5. The Banshees of Inisherin The funniest plutonic break up movie of all time! Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson are reunited in Martin McDonagh’s hilarious tale of a man who decides he no longer likes his best friend. Farrell has never been better, Gleeson brings his signature grumpy charm, Kerry Condon steals every scene she’s in, and Barry Keoghan is heartbreakingly stupid. This could be one of the most nominated films at the Oscars and deservedly so. I liked it so much that the wife and I went and booked a trip to Ireland.

Instant Classics

  • 4. Top Gun: Maverick In a world full of spinoffs, sequels, and reboots there’s nothing on paper that suggests a sequel to Top Gun, one of the most parodied movies of all time, would have any business being the sensation that it became and yet, here we are. Tom Cruise put everything he has into this film and the return of Maverick was so much better than anybody could have imagined. While playing on many of the same story beats of the original the film found its own way to stand out, particularly the aerial sequences that give us flight combat footage the likes of which we’ve never seen before. Miles Teller, Glen Powell, Jon Hamm, and Jennifer Connolly come together to give us a film that audiences and critics flocked too, instantly becoming one of the most rewatchable films in years.
  • 3. The Northman I had this one circled as one of my most anticipated films of the year from the second it was annoucned. Robert Eggers (The Witch, The Lighthouse) directing Alexander Skarsgård, Anya Taylor Joy, Ethan Hawke, Nicole Kidman and Willem Dafoe in a Viking revenge story of a prince trying to avenge his father. Needless to say the film did not disappoint. Skarsgård gives a career best performance with his shear determination, ferocity, and physicality as Amleth. The film is an incredible blend of brutal battle sequences, mythological storytelling, and amazing world building. There are several jaw-dropping moments of pure brutality capped off by a naked sword fight in the mouth of a volcano. It’s one of the most metal movie of the year.
  • 2. All Quiet On The Western Front And I thought 1917 made World War I look like hell. Edward Berger directs this German adaptation of the classic novel and while it certainly takes its liberties its without a doubt one of the more harrowing war films in recent memory. Seeing the arc of young and hungry Paul Baumer (an incredible Felix Kammerer) turn into a battle ridden soldier stripped of his innocence thanks to the horrors of trench warfare. The combat itself is as good if not better than anything we’ve seen since Saving Private Ryan but its the performances of Kammerer and Albrecht Schuch, who plays the Paul’s mentor and best friend, Kat, really take this movie to the next level. There are several moments that will floor viewers and some may even struggle to make it through the film. If you can stomach a heavy war movie in German go check this one out on Netflix.
  • 1. Everything Everywhere All At Once It’s takes a lot in today’s era to put a film together that gives viewers something we’ve truly never seen before. No film in my rolodex has managed to master family drama, kung fu movies, mental health pressures, and laugh out loud comedy all while maintaining a look and feel of a blockbuster release on a shoestring budget WITH four legitimate Oscar worthy performances. Directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert captivated audiences with one of the more bizarre stories every told and did so with Short Round becoming a unanimous front runner for Best Supporting Actor. Michelle Yeoh has never been better and Stephanie Hsu and Jamie Lee Curtis are both at the top of their games. I saw this film in a small independent theater and I have never seen a crowd react to this movie the way mine did. People were laughing and cheering throughout and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room by the time the credits rolled. I remember getting out of my seat at the end and the two women behind me were literally sobbing in each others arms. The fact that a film featuring dildo fights, raccoon chefs, talking rocks, and hot dog fingers could do that to someone is a true testament to just how incredible movies can be. It was completely original, executed to perfection, and feels like one of those landmark movies that will ultimately inspire an entire generation of filmmakers the way Jaws or Blade Runner did.

So those are my favorite movies of the year in order. Wish I could have worked in more animation and foreign films but I’m fairly happy with this year in movies. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you all in 2023!

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