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:
- Glass Onion
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.
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.
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.
- The Banshees of Inisherin
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.
- Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
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.
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.
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.
- Top Gun: Maverick
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.
- The Fabelmans
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.
- Everything Everywhere All at Once
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.
- 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!