Top 10 movies of 2022

In my opinion, 2022 was a pretty great year for movies. I was able to see 77 movies released this year, and overall, I had a great time. From the highs of movies like Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water to the confounding choices made in Morbius and Disney’s live-action Pinocchio, it certainly wasn’t boring, and there were more than a dozen movies I truly loved. 

So without further ado, here are my top 10 movies of 2022: 

  1. Glass Onion
Credit: Netflix

One of my favorite movies of all time is 2019’s Knives Out, so I had high expectations for this sequel. And I’m delighted to report that it lived up to those expectations. Glass Onion is bigger and bolder than Knives Out, with outlandish characters and even more twists and turns. And somehow it’s even more of an indictment of the uber rich than the first film was. I laughed out loud and was glued to the screen for the entire runtime. Daniel Craig is living his best life returning as Benoit Blanc, but Janelle Monae absolutely steals the show. 

Rian Johnson sure knows how to make a good movie and he has plans for at least one more mystery story, but I would watch 1,000 more Benoit Blanc movies. Glass Onion is an absolute blast from beginning to end. 

  1. Nope
Credit: Universal Pictures

Jordan Peele has become the premier director for high concept psychological thrillers, and Nope is certainly his most ambitious movie yet. He finds the perfect balance between not quite a horror movie but capturing the ability to keep you at the edge of your seat. 

It’s easy to see the connections to early thrillers and sci-fi stories like Spielberg’s Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but Nope updates the framework while finding time to investigate how society deals with trauma and our obsession with documenting every moment of our lives in a social media world. It’s truly a movie for our time and one you don’t want to miss.

  1. Aftersun
Credit: BBC Film/PASTEL

As I’ve gotten older, stories about the relationships between families, especially parents and kids, have started to hit me harder – and I’m just an uncle. Aftersun is told as the memory of a young girl going on vacation with her father. The movie doesn’t spell out too many specific details about the main characters, but it gives the audience enough glimpses to piece together the dynamics and history between them. 

The movie will certainly feel slow to many viewers, but once you reach the final 10-15 minutes and some of the major breadcrumbs finally fall into place, the full emotional weight just washes over you – and I walked out of the theater unable to think about anything besides this movie for hours afterward. 

  1. The Banshees of Inisherin
Credit: Searchlight Pictures/Film4 Productions

What do you do when a friendship has run its course and you’re no longer on the same page? The Banshees of Inisherin takes that question and shows how it can affect both sides of a broken relationship. At times hilarious, and at other times heartbreaking, Banshees transports you to 1920s Ireland and asks you to weigh the impacts of being nice for the sake of not hurting anyone’s feelings or bluntly breaking something that doesn’t work anymore. And on top of that, it asks you what is worth sacrificing in the name of legacy. It’s an interpersonal conflict that takes over a whole community, taking the story to a shocking place, but one worth taking. 

  1. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
Credit: A24

After becoming a viral YouTube sensation in the 2010s, Marcel the Shell’s feature film debut is 90 minutes of pure, wholesome joy. Marcel takes you on a journey where you learn to  overcome your fears, find where you belong, and be comfortable with who you are. Presented as a mockumentary, it’s literally impossible not to fall in love with Marcel and have a deep emotional investment in his search for his family. This tiny shell begs us to ask what is important to us, appreciate what we have in our lives, and give into the laughter and tears that life brings us all. Hilarious and heartfelt, you don’t want to miss this. 

  1. Tár 
Credit: Focus Features

In a lot of ways, Tár is the opposite of Marcel the Shell. Tár is a complex examination of power and its corruptive tendencies. At the top of the classical orchestra world, the morally gray Lydia Tár is confronted with accusations of misconduct that threaten to bring her world crashing down. It’s much more thoughtful and complicated character study than a straightforward #MeToo story could be, especially as it’s told from a female’s perspective. 

Cate Blanchett is truly sensational in the central role, making you root for and against her at different times throughout the story. She’ll almost certainly win Best Actress at the upcoming Oscars. Tár will certainly leave you thinking about it and how you process its events for hours after it ends. 

  1. RRR
Credit: Lyca Productions/DVV Entertainment

There’s still no movie like RRR that I’ve seen in a very long time. In its three-hour runtime, this historical fiction centered around two Indian revolutionaries during British rule in the early 1900s is an action epic, a musical, a buddy comedy, an inspirational revolution saga, and a myth-building masterpiece. 

It’ll pump you full of adrenaline and leave you emotionally and physically exhausted by the end of this marathon. The visuals are stunning, the action is unmatched, and the story transfixes you from beginning to end. 

  1. Top Gun: Maverick
Credit: Paramount Pictures/Skydance Media

Still the best movie theater experience of 2022, and probably the best since 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, Maverick is truly the winner of 2022 and the savior of the theatrical movie experience this year. Tom Cruise made us believe in the power of movies again and Maverick truly is a thrill ride burstin with outstanding action, enjoyable characters and a surprisingly strong emotional core. 

This is the movie I’ve rewatched more than any other this year, and every time I have to remind myself to release the tension in my neck and shoulders during every action sequence. And Maverick finally perfected the legacy sequel formula that expertly balanced nostalgia with a fresh story all on its own. And that main Top Gun theme still rips 30 years later. 

  1. The Fabelmans
Credit: Amblin Entertainment

It shouldn’t be shocking for me to have a Spielberg movie on my top 10 list, but I absolutely adored The Fabelmans with all my heart. It’s a slightly fictionalized retelling of Spielberg’s own childhood, how he fell in love with movies, and the story of his parents’ divorce. For someone as integral to the last half century of movies, it’s certainly a story worth telling.

The movie is so sincere and sentimental, but in a way that doesn’t feel sappy or like it’s beating you over the head. It shows us the power of film, how it can reveal truths we can’t see on our own, and how we can love our families even through the complicated relationships we have with them. John Williams delivers another emotional banger of a score in a film that feels so specifically personal to Spielberg yet with an ability to connect with anyone who loves movies.

  1. Everything Everywhere All at Once
Credit: A24

Still the best movie of the year. The most interesting, the most creative, the most visually stunning, and the most emotionally cathartic. 

Our world is an overwhelming place where we’re all trying our best to survive, so how chaotic and stressful must the multiverse be? And at what point does so much matter that nothing ends up mattering? At the end of the day, we have to be grateful for what we have and who we have in our lives and do what we can to make our piece of the multiverse a better place. These are the themes at the core of EEAAO, but told in a way that is accessible, thought-provoking, and reflective for everyone.

Honorable mentions:

  • Babylon
  • Avatar: The Way of Water
  • Cha Cha Real Smooth
  • Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
  • The Northman
  • Turning Red
  • The Batman
  • See How They Run

What were your favorite movies of 2022? Let me know what you think!

Top 6 movies of 2022 so far

It’s insane that we’re already halfway through 2022, yet here we are. It finally feels like movie theaters are climbing their way out of the pandemic hole and there are plenty of incredible movies to display. From franchise hits to original surprises, here are my top 6 movies of 2022 so far:

  1. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Move over, Doctor Strange, you’re not the only multiverse in town this year. Everything Everywhere All at Once follows Evelyn, a Chinese American laundromat owner and her family as they are swept away into an adventure to save the multiverse. Along the way, they discover the importance of family, love, acceptance, and a universe where everyone has hot dogs for fingers.

One of the most surprising movies in my recent memory, EEAAO really leans into the endless opportunities a multiversal story provides. The cast of this movie is spectacular, but Michelle Yeoh is a powerhouse, perfectly balancing the wackiness with the emotional core.

  1. RRR

A three-hour marathon of historical fiction centered around two Indian revolutionaries during British rule in the early 1900s, RRR (Rise, Roar, Revolt) is an action epic, a musical, a buddy comedy, an inspirational saga, and a mythologic masterpiece.

It’s difficult to put into words what it’s like to watch this movie. I was transfixed. Movies like RRR make you fall in love with cinema all over again. The visuals are breathtaking, and it has so much adrenaline and emotion throughout – in some ways it’s exhausting, but it also revs you up and makes you want to fight a tiger after it’s over.

  1. Top Gun: Maverick

Leave it to Tom Cruise to save movie theaters and perfect the legacy sequel. I like the original Top Gun well enough, but Maverick is astonishingly good. It fully embodies the spirit of the original while catching up with the original cast, introducing likable new characters you can emotionally invest in, and telling a simple, self-contained story. And with more than a billion dollars at the box office already, it’s clearly the most crowd-pleasing movie of the year.

The advancements in camera technology easily elevate the action sequences in Maverick over the original film – well, that and Tom Cruise’s unquenchable thirst to find ways to potentially kill himself filming practical stunts and effects. The aerial sequences are stunning, and I had to consciously remind myself to relax and release the tension throughout my body because they were so gripping. The need for speed is alive!

  1. The Batman

I’ve already written at length about how this movie finally made me understand and love Batman and how he finally felt like the main character of his own movie. I love the vibe and tone of The Batman, and Robert Pattinson’s emo-style Bruce Wayne realistically feels like a guy who would put on a bat suit and fight crime at night. Zoe Kravitz’s captivating Catwoman and Paul Dano’s truly terrifying Riddler perfectly complement Pattinson’s energy and lend believability to the residents of Matt Reeves’s Gotham.

  1. The Northman

The first half of 2022 has delivered some fantastic new action movies, and The Northman is one of the best. The entire movie vibrates with a primal brutality through a story that feels elemental and mythic.

Based on the same Scandinavian legend that inspired Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Northman is a story of revenge. Stunning visuals accompany our hero on his journey through love, horror, victory, and defeat. The action is loud, ruthless, and propulsive. It’s a visual feast and the core revenge plot is full of twists and surprises that makes for a thrilling watch.

  1. Cha Cha Real Smooth

Growing up is hard, and your 20s are an especially weird time. Writer, director, and star Cooper Raiff   perfectly portrays that awkwardness and what it’s like to learn some harsh truths about the real world in Cha Cha Real Smooth. Raiff plays Andrew, a recent college graduate who moves back home and navigates his way through friendships, family, and hopeless romance.

Normally I’d only do a top 5 list, but I loved this movie so much so I couldn’t leave it off. Andrew is clearly a dumb, often selfish, and undriven 22-year-old, but he has a compassionate heart for the people he grows to care about. Dakota Johnson is mysterious and captivating, but the real breakout is Vanessa Burghardt, who plays Johnson’s daughter with autism. The cast combined with Cooper Raiff’s style of dry humor that sits right in my sweet spot makes this an instant favorite.