Best/Worst Films 2022
Updated: Jan 22
By Derek May:
It's been a while, I know, since we presented our annual wrap-up grading the entertainment quality of the year—but we're back now!
I felt a particular compulsion to post my thoughts against given the widely varied selections I'm seeing across the net. I'm not so much posting in contradiction of anything but more to give our readers a more eclectic curation of what is out there. Tastes naturally vary, and certainly I've made an attempt to see as much as I could. But what I present here, as from my admittedly subjective opinion, is what I hope sparks you to either give something a chance you might not have considered OR to save you some precious time on those not worth it.
Please check out the lists below and see if one of your favorites to love or hate made the cut.
And be sure to also check out the Best and Worst in Television 2022.
#1 - Everything Everywhere All at Once
Not just the best movie of the year but one of the best ever made. That’s right. The title isn’t hyperbole; this film isn’t just an everything bagel, it’s also baked to delicious perfection. An absurd, comical, tragic, beautifully heart-wrenching fairy tale about relationships, understanding, and the complexity of human connection told with a masterful assemblage of delicate interwoven storylines. It’s science-fiction at its best and the definitive multiverse story to date (looking at you, Doctor Strange).
#2 - The Woman King
It would be reductive to simply equate this with the likes of Gladiator and Braveheart, though the shared attributes and accolades are well-deserved. But this is truly its own story, told in its own way. From the impressive balance between hardcore warriorship and supportive sisterhood to the uniquely African obstacles that still translate universally, this film is a powerhouse of dramatic narrative wrapped in an endlessly engaging cloak of badassery and compelling characters. A true epic spearheaded by multiple Oscar-worthy performances, this is a film that should stand strong for the ages.
#3 - The Banshees of Inisherin
This dark comedy is an intriguing analogy of civil war, brilliantly portraying how such small and seemingly arbitrary choices can sow divides that may never heal. Colin Farrell proves yet again his ability to disappear into a character, while Brendan Gleeson masterfully balances humor, sympathy, and resolve for another of their stellar pairings. Watching their friendship dissolve into bloody animosity is as compelling as it is relevant.
#4 - Avatar: The Way of Water
James Cameron certainly took full advantage of the luxury of time to get his long-awaited sequel right. While certainly building on the back of its predecessor, The Way of Water carves its own path, keeping everything that worked originally and expanding it into new and interesting territories, literally and figuratively. Responding to some of the criticisms of the original, we spend more time developing both old and new characters and exploring themes with a subtler touch. The visuals are truly breathtaking (especially in 3D), but it’s the humanity explored with nary a human to be found that makes this a true beauty.
#5 - The Batman
After more than 80 years and countless incarnations, Matt Reeves manages to give us a depiction of the Dark Knight we’d yet to see fully realized in live-action. The noir thriller delivers a slow-burn throughout its achingly moody investigation, allowing audiences to see the World’s Greatest Detective actually detect, pitted against a worthy and relatable foe surrounded by some of the best versions of the Rogue’s Gallery thus far (minus that Joker cameo). As grounded as it’s ever been, you feel the grit in the characters as tangibly as any Gotham soot.
#6 - RRR
The saturation of praise for this Indian epic drew me to it, and while the three-hour runtime required choppy viewing, this lavish spectacle did not disappoint. A curious mix of superhuman action, historical commentary, tragic drama, and lighthearted farce (with a few Bollywood numbers thrown in), RRR somehow manages to keep the focus on the ever-complicated friendship between Ram and Bheem, two of the manliest, most unstoppable badasses ever to fall in brotherly love. And really, it’s their unabashed affection (something you’d never see as blatant in the West) mixed with their dogged determination to accomplish their missions with god-like prowess that makes this a challenge to audiences about the meaning of manhood. As grand as any Marvel movie and intimate as any corset drama, this may do for Indian cinema what Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon did for the Chinese.
#7 - Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio
There are no less than three different adaptations of Pinocchio this year, but Guillermo Del Toro’s stop-motion masterpiece is the one with something new to say. Taking liberties with the original story whil