Matt's 20 Favorite Films of 2022
We have finally reached the end of the year 2022 and it was a great one for movies in general, but also for cinema. After the pandemic, we needed a successful year at the box-office to keep the cinemas alive. In order to have a good year at the box-office, you need good movies. Thanks to the likes of Top Gun: Maverick, Avatar: The Way Of Water and the usual superhero movies, it was the best year at the box-office since 2019. But I also think it was the best year in terms of QUALITY since 2019. I've decided to narrow my list down to my 20 favorite films of the year and a few honourable mentions. This is my personal favorite films, I'm not saying they are the best films and that you're going to love them all.
With such a packed year I haven't seen every single Oscar contender and indie films so far in 2022. For example I have yet to see RRR, Decision To Leave, Till, She Said, Triangle Of Sadness and a couple more. Before I jumped into my Top 20, I want to give some love to the following films: The Fabelmans, Marcel The Shell With Shoes On, Nope, The Northman, Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Adventure, Crimes Of The Future, The Woman King and Ti West's X & Pearl. I could keep going on naming movies I loved this year but let's get into my favorites.
#20 - Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
In a time where the art of parody movies is dying, who better than Weird Al Yankovic to bring back the spark with a totally insane "biopic" based on his life... or is it? Daniel Radcliffe plays the iconic singer Weird Al Yankovic which is known for his popular parody songs like "White & Nerdy", "Another One Rides The Bus" and much more. The catch here is that it's not a conventional biopic, just like Weird Al's music, it's a completely insane and hilarious parody of his life. Grab a beer and enjoy the ride because this is one of the funniest films of the year.
#19 - Aftersun
I saw it for the first time a few days ago and I'm still thinking about it. Aftersun is an authentic & human movie about the bond between father & daughter, an intimate piece of filmmaking right from the camera movements and the structure it moves at its own pace and sets its own rules. It's one of those films where the "actors" feel like actual human beings and all the interactions are so natural & realistic, the child actor Frankie Corio was excellent. I have a feeling it's going to connect a lot with parents.
#18 - Barbarian
Barbarian, also known as "Airbnb: The Movie". I had such a great time with the different twists and reveals, if you haven't seen it by now don't read anything about it and enjoy the ride. It starts as a Airbnb nightmare in Detroit and evolves into something bigger, I was yelling at my screen the whole time and the different turns kept me on the edge of my seat. It takes some wild swings and because of that towards the end not everything is landing, but I think it's a big win for original horror movies and they really got some big reactions out of me, not a perfect script but crazy good & nerve-wracking from start to finish.
#17 - Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
The main reason this is on my list is the genius behind Ludwig Goransson's score and the insanely addictive music he wrote for the film, it has stuck with me since I saw the film and on my second viewing I liked the movie even more. Ryan Coogler had the impossible task of making a sequel to Black Panther without Chadwick Boseman and I think he delivered an emotional blockbuster with a lot of heart and passion. It's my favorite MCU film of Phase 4, yes I liked it better than Spider-Man: No Way Home, at least it doesn't rely on nostalgia and the past, the movie is all about moving on and it does that beautifully.
#16 - Bones And All
Bones And All is quite the bloody experience and not for the faint of heart, it features dedicated performances from everyone and Luca Guadagnino's vision is the main driver with the actors, terrific editing, solid music and atmosphere, I was mesmerized for 2 hours. Timothée Chalamet is as charming as ever even though he's playing a cannibal, but scene-stealing Mark Rylance is the one who stole the show for me. The movie really shines because of its early 1980's setting in small American towns with two lovers on the road visiting different states and different people. It's something I know I'm going to watch again.
#15 - The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent
For someone who has stuck with Nicolas Cage through the highs and the lows of his career, this was an extremely satisfying and funny homage to Nic Cage (and actors in general). It's an hilarious & heartfelt buddy comedy with Pedro Pascal who was the perfect match to his craziness, I didn't expect to love the film as much as that. At some point during the 2010's, I thought his career was doomed because he was only doing bad movies to pay his bills. It was so refreshing to see this on the big screen, I laughed a lot, it goes above and beyond the "shtick" of being a film where Nicolas Cage plays himself.
#14 - Kimi
We're all tired of the pandemic so needless to say we don't have to address it in every movie... That being said Steven Soderbergh's Kimi integrates it in the story in a smart way with the paranoia and the isolation, it served a purpose in what Soderbergh was trying to say and it surprised the hell out of me. It's a timely paranoid techno-thriller with well-crafted sound design, an eerie score & a captivating performance from Zoe Kravitz. Part Rear Window, part Blow Out I thought it was terrific. It came out in February so I feel like a lot of people forgot about this one.
#13 - See How They Run
This is probably not going to be on anyone's list this year but it was exactly my cup of tea. See How They Run is a brilliant & meta whodunit with an electrifying sense of humor and a lot of wits. Saoirse Ronan is a firecracker and she is so loveable, a real standout in this stacked ensemble that features Adrien Brody, Sam Rockwell and many more. This feels like it was tailor made for my personal taste, it plays out like a parody of an Agatha Christie murder-mystery perfectly.
#12 - Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
GLASS ONION was absolutely marvelous: a sharp intrigue, colorful characters played by a delectable cast with a clever & entertaining screenplay. The location, the mystery and the twists all worked a lot for me, I can't get enough of Benoit Blanc adventures. Without revealing too much about her character, Janelle Monáe was a huge highlight for me and she showed a lot of range. This film has so much style and a great sense of rhythm, I can't wait for the next chapter!
#11 - Hustle
I fucking loved Hustle with Adam Sandler, it was exactly in my ballpark and well-executed, they nailed the tone and the beats you'd expect from an underdog sports story. Adam Sandler is at his best when he's playing serious roles. This movie has a lot of personality even though it follows a classic formula, they make a lot of winks at Rocky since it's being shot in Philly and that's also a lot of fun. Highly entertaining training montages & some key music moments packaged in a well-acted story. It was a home run for me! Wait, wrong sport.
#10 - Prey
Who knew that pitting the Predator against Comanches was exactly what the franchise needed? Apparently director Dan Tratchenberg did because he directed this film with a high level of confidence. I didn't expect to see Comanches fighting French-Canadians in the same movie where a Predator is fighting a bear, this was such an interesting approach to the material. They take the right amount of time setting up Naru's ambition to become a hunter and it really paid off in the second half of the film. A big win in my book.
#9 - The Outfit
The thing about The Outfit that makes it so special for me is its simplicity. The film is set in one location but it's filled with talented character actors, stressful moments and carried by a sharp screenplay from Graham Moore (The Imitation Game). It's an intelligent crime drama with a few tricks up its sleeves. The reason it ends up being this high on my list is because it's one of the films I've seen the most this year, I ended up being very attached to this film. The music by Alexandre Desplat and Mark Rylance's presence on screen could explain my strange addiction to this film but at the end of the day it's simple and effective.
#8 - TÁR
We're starting to get into the really really good stuff with this one. Cate Blanchett's accute & passionate performance and the rich penmanship of Todd Field makes TÀR a captivating experience, a stimulating & haunting trip into the world of high elite music and into the mind of an artist. The more I was watching the more I was loving it. I don't know what happened to Todd Field since his last film in 2006 (Little Children) to write this one, but I don't remember the last time I saw a movie that felt like it had THIS much to say, by the third act I didn't want it to end because it has such a strong voice.
#7 - The Banshees Of Inisherin
What a gem of a film, The Banshees of Inisherin is another deep study of the human condition by Martin McDonagh which is simply a natural with this type of material. A brillant tragicomedy with a touch of irish folklore, I laughed a lot and it's also a masterclass in acting. Equally hilarious & depressing, it's my favorite ensemble of the year with Colin Farrell giving his 3rd fantastic performance of 2022 (The Batman, After Yang and this film). If this doesn't win one single Oscar, I'm going to be absolutely shocked.
#6 - All Quiet On The Western Front
I've just seen this film today so I have trouble sliding it in my Top 5 immediately but it was a very close call. All Quiet On The Western Front is a beautiful nightmare & realistic depiction of the brutality of war, it's existential cinema with incredibly poetic action sequences. A really powerful & thrilling descent into hell elevated by the direction, stellar music & acting. This is essential viewing if you're a fan of war movies and it takes place during the final moments of World War One. The action was truly unique and explosive, one of this year's best films.
#5 - Everything Everywhere All At Once
What a trip... I saw this film 3 times in theaters and I appreciated every single second of it. Everything Everywhere All At Once left me speechless, it's such a beautiful rollercoaster of emotions executed with a singular vision and a level of craft that's astonishing for fans of moviemaking. It's a miracle this was made for $25M and the visual effects team deserves all the credit. It's a true celebration of weirdness, life & cinema, all at once. Michelle Yeoh is a national treasure but she's complemented with an emotional performance from Ke Huy Quan that gives some heart to all the craziness going on. Truly one of a kind.
#4 - Elvis
I was incredibly nervous about this one but I ended up adoring every ounce of it. Elvis is a sensational tribute and love letter to the man & the icon that is Elvis Presley. Baz Luhrmann's flamboyant style fits the story of Elvis like a glove and Austin Butler is a new star because he knocked this one out of the park. It's one of my favorite performances of the year and it's another film I've seen A LOT of times this year. My father loved it, my brother loved it, my friends loved it, my cat probably loved it too and it brought back Elvis' music into the world. I remember seeing the trailer in May on the big screen for the first time and I got the chills, I'm so glad the movie delivered on that experience. A magnificient spectacle!
#3 - The Batman
This was easily my most anticipated film of the year and it did not disappoint as a longtime fan of Batman. Director Matt Reeves is in full control of his vision and he completely understands the essence of the character: a perfect hybrid of the Arkham games & the animated series that I grew up loving. It's masterful on a technical level & creates the engaging detective story Batman deserves. The chemistry between Gordon & The Batman is one of my favorite aspect of the movie and it's immensely rewatchable because of that.
Michael Giacchino's score fucking rips, just as much as Batman's brutal hand-to-hand combat here. Robert Pattinson becomes the night and the city of Gotham comes to life with the immersive cinematography and the attention to detail, it's riveting from start to finish. It might not be the best Batman movie ever made but everything they built with this first film is incredibly promising for the future of the caped crusader and it got better for me everytime I saw it.
#2 - Top Gun: Maverick
What is there to say about Top Gun: Maverick except the fact that Tom Cruise saved cinemas and he felt so confident about it, the movie opens with a message from Tom Cruise himself thanking you for witnessing history. I have no words to describe the action in Top Gun: Maverick, I could feel it through every bone of my body. One of the most exhilarating cinematic experience ever and it does justice to Tony Scott's original Top Gun in every way possible. This could easily be one of the best action movies ever made.
Similar to modern action classics like Mad Max: Fury Road, it takes a simple premise and executes it with brio, making all the stakes crystal clear and carefully planning every action set-pieces to deliver a dynamite third act. It's a movie that brought dads and sons back together in cinemas. We can thank the excellent direction of Joseph Kosinski and Tom Cruise passion for movies for that.
#1 - Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio
To me this is a masterpiece and the best film of the decade so far. It's absolutely beautiful and transcendent in every way possible, it just broke me emotionally when I saw it, I was a wreck after the powerful ending. Guillermo Del Toro's love for the story of Pinocchio is felt in every frame, the music is magical, the stop-motion animation is nothing short of miraculous and the voice-acting was perfect. The anti-fascism message is just as strong as the rest of the movie, that's why I think it's the most important adaptation of Pinocchio ever made.
It's the second film in my Top 10 that is scored by Alexandre Desplat and some of the original music in the film has stuck with me all month, "Ciao Papa" being the best original song of the year in my opinion. There's a bit of everything in this film: for every laugh you will have, there might be a tear that follows not too far away. It's nothing short of a miracle and it moved me so much I immediately knew it was my favorite film of the year. Guillermo Del Toro takes the win for me.
What is your favorite film of the year?
Don't hesitate to share your favorite films of the year as well and it's very possible that it doesn't look like mine at all. This is the beauty of cinema, it's a subjective art form that impacts us all in different ways. I still have some movies released in 2022 to catch up with but with over 100 new releases seen in the past year I felt comfortable with this list as the year is closing. Thanks for sticking until the end!
See you again in 2023.