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best and worst


The best and worst movies of 2022

Poor Ana de Armas.

And just like that, another year is over. The past twelve months have been unlike any other for cinema. After two years in which theaters were ravaged by the pandemic, this was the year things were going to return to normal. Things did not get off to a hot start, but a sequel to a decades old movie got everything moving. Streaming also continued to provide some of the best and worst viewing options of the year. Here is our look at the best and worst movies of 2022.

Collier Jennings

Best: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

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Animation has come under fire this year. From projects being outright canceled at HBO Max to Disney’s awkward scheduling releases for Lightyear and Strange World, it’s not a good look for the medium. But if there’s one film that shows why animation is a medium that deserves every bit as much respect as live action, it’s Guillermo del Toro’s take on Pinocchio. Utilizing gorgeous stop-motion puppetry, del Toro and co-director Mark Gustafon deliver what will probably be the definitive take on the wooden puppet’s story. Thanks to a stellar voice cast including Ewan McGregor as Sebastian J. Cricket, and a setting that uses Italy’s Great War to explore themes of death and loss, this isn’t just the best animated film of 2022 – it’s one of the best films of the year, period. You owe it to yourself to watch it, whether you’re a fan of del Toro’s films or you’re looking to shake up your holiday viewing.

Worst: Morbius

The rise of the comic book film has seen plenty of characters get their time in the limelight. We’ve seen plenty of takes on Batman, Superman and Spider-Man. Lesser known characters like the Suicide Squad and the Guardians of the Galaxy are now household names thanks to James Gunn. So when a film like Morbius comes out, it’s a reminder of how these films can fail when the wrong mindset is applied to them. Nearly every plot point in this film feels ripped from better superhero/horror movies – which is especially damning as the screenwriters previously wrote another vampire-themed dud, Dracula Untold. And Jared Leto’s mugging webmail wear down even the most patient of souls. At least Matt Smith looks like he’s having a good time?

Jules Cabot

Best: Resurrection

While I loved The Batman probably more than I have any right to, Resurrection is the film that I can’t believe more people aren’t talking about. Seeing this absolutely floored me in a way that very few films have accomplished. Rebecca Hall is Margaret, a woman whose life is entirely upended when she sees a man from her past. Her unresolved trauma creates cracks in her perfectly curated life, until it all comes crashing down. 

Resurrection is a feverish nightmare, full of tension and dread. Rebecca Hall’s performance is incredible. It’s a perfectly crafted psychological horror film, in the vein of Possession and Jacob’s Ladder. Films this good, this chilling and unpredictable, don’t come around as often as they should. 

Worst: Bones and All

Maybe this year I’ve been a bit more discerning in what I’ve watched. I skipped Firestarter, Morbius, Blonde, and plenty of other big releases that flopped. While I’m not sure that anything I saw is the worst movie of the year, I did catch a few films that really did not live up to the hype surrounding them. Bones and All is the one I found the most disappointing. While it’s generally reviewed well, I found it to be hollow and poorly written.

While a cannibal love story sounds super interesting, the cannibalism in Bones and All works as a lazy allegory for addiction, or mental illness, or maybe queerness (while I’ve seen this suggested, I really hope that was not the film’s intention – it feels offensively ill-conceived). Writer David Kajganich’s script could have had a lot to say about the loneliness of being othered, and at times, it felt like he was about to. Instead, this meandering road trip film relies on (admittedly great) cinematography to back up entirely unconvincing performances. In an attempt to be interesting by being “shocking”, Bones and All barely manages to be unsettling. It’s mostly just boring and depressing. 

Michael Rosch

Best: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

The first Knives Out was among my best of 2019, but Rian Johnson’s follow-up continues the adventures of world’s greatest detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), taking this whodonit franchise in the direction of an allegory that seems to capture the essence of 2022. Some critics wondered how the film seemed to predict ideas suddenly in the zeitgeist right as the film released, but Johnson was just paying attention. It’s too simple to conclude tech billionaire Miles Bron is simply standing in for Elon Musk. Edward Norton’s Miles just kinda represents all Silicon Valley bigshots celebrated as the next great scientific genius while making a lot of enemies along the way who wouldn’t mind seeing them dead.

The performances are often broad but by design. This is a comedy as much as it is a detective story. This film speaks to the current moment, follows its predecessor in finding clever ways to subvert the genre, and is just a hell of a lot of fun. Glass Onion is the perfect send-up of a year filled with narcissistic tech CEOs, daft social media influencers, and media headlines heralding the arrival of green energy innovation.

Worst: Blonde

Blonde was among the films I was most looking forward to this year, so it stings extra hard how bafflingly it fails. Much has been written about how reductive, and even misogynistic, Blonde is in its portrayal of Marilyn Monroe. And certainly Director Andrew Dominik has not done himself any favors to assuage those allegations in interviews. But Blonde is not without any merit. Some of the cinematography here is gorgeous, and Ana de Armas’ performance as Monroe is quite strong. But Dominik buries all the good will the film might have earned for those technical achievements with awful choices.

I’m usually a sucker for more formalist filmmaking when a director like, say, Wes Anderson takes big swings by playing with aspect ratios, or uses split screens, or flouts convention with other showy, stylized techniques, but Dominik does so recklessly. When the film switches aspect ratios or jumps from color to black and white, it seems to come with no rhyme or reason other than he thought it looked cool. And granted, sometimes it does look cool.

I’m also a sucker for good black and white cinematography. But it should serve a purpose. If Dominik just made the whole film black and white, I’d have found it a more respectable choice. But even beyond the debatable misogyny, or the one-noteness of Dominik’s Marilyn that belies de Armis’s undeniable talent, or the lazy, unjustified, formalist tricks – I could almost forgive all of it if not for the film being tragically boring. 

Nathaniel Muir

Best: The Menu

The Menu is based around one of horror’s most popular and fun tropes – rich people acting poorly. Using foodie culture as a springboard, writers Seth Reiss and Will Tracy have put together the funniest and most enthralling movie of the year. The comedy ranges from witty back and forths to straightforward comments about a Sunday off that was ruined. Even in the film’s darkest moments – and there are plenty of them – the jokes keep flying.

Bringing it all together is a fantastic cast. Ralph Fiennes gives the most intense performance of his career while Anya-Taylor Joy is resourceful and funny. John Leguizamo and Aimee Carerro have some of the best exchanges of The Menu – some of which were apparently improvised. This is one of the strongest ensembles in years.

A strong undercurrent of tension hangs over the excellent acting and humorous script. As funny as things can get, The Menu never lets the audience think it is just another black comedy. From the opening moments, there is a mystery about the whole night. The revelations and character development work in tandem leading to fiendish fun.

Worst: Win a Trip to Browntown

Win a Trip to Browntown sounds like a fun premise that would fit alongside the raunchy comedies of the early 2000’s had anyone been willing to tackle the subject matter. Frank Tsigas (writer-director George A. Tramountanas in what is already a bad sign) is overweight and makes a bet with his wife after she makes a joke. If he can lost fifty pounds in three months she will agree to a particular sexual act.

Yes, it is juvenile and stupid, but it is not like Stepbrothers is the height of cultivated tastes, and it is hilarious. Win a Trip to Browntown is creepy, misogynistic, and grating, however. Frank’s wife never really wanted to do the bet and is shamed into it. For his part, Frank tells his co-workers about the deal and how he has dreamed of having anal sex with with his wife. By the end of the movie, Frank’s wife is into butt sex because Frank has make her realize what a sexual prude she is, a couple gets married after making a similar deal because coercion is funny, and Frank has learned nothing because audiences like their protagonists to be whiny creeps.

Rory Wilding

Best: Everything Everywhere All at Once

In recent years, A24 has been on a winning streak, producing some of the most original movies to be released in Western cinemas, and in 2022, you will not find a more original and better film to come out than Everything Everywhere All at Once, written and directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.  Like every idea the Wachowskis had and put them into The Matrix, it is a similar case here. the movie uses the multiverse concept to spring about any idea they had and surprisingly make it work, while balancing a micro-macro narrative about an Asian-American family, and an odyssey through the multiverse.

Similar to how Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse pushes the boundaries of animation through its exploration of the multiverse concept, the live-action Everything Everywhere All at Once – which was made on a small budget – does something more adventurous than any of the major blockbusters dabbling into the multiverse. Considering the surreal set-pieces can be hilarious, the film is emotionally anchored by its central family, brilliantly played by the likes of Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and James Hong. 

Worst: Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Not the masterful Tobe Hooper-directed original, nor the terrible Marcus Nispel-directed remake. The Netflix-produced reboot, directed by David Blue Garcia, is an absolute terror, but for all the wrong reasons. As a franchise that has always continued the law of diminishing returns, this latest instalment is also a case of a different group of filmmakers maintaining control of the I.P. and really not knowing what to do with it.

There may be some gruesome deaths, but you don’t feel any engagement with the victims, as well as the central two sisters, one of which is played by the great Elsie Fisher. The film is also a failed attempt to recreate similar ideas from 2018’s Halloween, from the original’s final girl now grown up to exact gun-wielding revenge, to Leatherface practically being superhuman, which misses the point of the slasher figure. It may be only 81 minutes, but Texas Chainsaw Massacre is so dull with its horror that I would be surprised if any felt scared from watching this. 

Shane Martin

Best: Top Gun: Maverick 

There is a reason why this Tom Cruise blockbuster is the highest grossing movie of the year, and it’s simply because it’s that good. Top Gun: Maverick is a fun ride from start to finish. It has action, humor, lovable characters, drama, and the right amount of nostalgia that checks all the boxes. 

With all the streaming services out there now, some movies are fine to watch at home. But, if you haven’t seen Top Gun in theaters and you have the opportunity to see it in December for its theatrical re-release, I highly suggest that you do. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed. 

Worst: Halloween Ends 

This was by far the worst movie I’ve seen this year. Hands down. The new Halloween trilogy started with such promise only to end in the most disappointing of ways. If I would have paid money to see this in theaters vs. at home steaming on Peacock, I would have demanded a refund. I managed to save money, but Halloween Ends took something far more important from me-  my time and love for the slasher flick genre. 

Virginia Pittman

Best: The Northman 

There were several contenders this year for my favorite film of 2022. There are two runners up: Barbarian and Bodies Bodies Bodies. Those two horror films really blew me away and I considered picking one of them but ultimately The Northman was my most mesmerizing and captivating experience at the cinema in 2022. The acting is absolutely phenomenal, the cinematography and visuals are near perfect, and the script is very interesting and engaging. If you have not seen this gem, check it out! I was particularly blown away by Nicole Kidman, especially since I don’t believe I’ve ever seen her in a role of this nature. 

Worst: Deep Water

I could’ve picked the abysmal Texas Chainsaw Massacre or the joyless Ticket to Paradise, but Deep Water was such a profound disappointment because of what it promised to be. I love the genre of erotic thriller and director Adrian Lyne should have known better given his experience making films like this. Lyne being at the helm is part of what made me excited for this. Unfaithful, Fatal Attraction, 9 ½ Weeks, and Lolita are some of my all time favorite films. This promises to be an exciting sexy thriller but it’s completely empty. The script is devoid of thrills and is much more likely to lull you to sleep rather than engage you. The characters aren’t interesting, the chemistry is weak, and the story is paper thin. This deserves some Razzies for sure! 

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