Bob’s Five Favorite Films of 2022

(This article is part of our Best of 2022 series.)

I still need to see a ton of movies from 2022 (Nope, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, The Banshees of Inisherin to name but three), but I still saw more than I did for either 2020 or 2021. I even got to the theater once, though that was for a re-release of John Carpenter’s The Thing. Hopefully this bodes well for 2023, and I’ll get to see a ton of films! While I enjoyed most of what I saw, these were the films that stood out, in no particular order.


The Northman

Much like The Lighthouse, I find that I appreciate Robert Egger’s viking epic more and more that further I get from my expectations for it. It’s Egger’s most ambitious film – a violent and intense take on the same legend that inspired Hamlet – and it contains all the gorgeous imagery and fantastic performances you’d expect from Eggars. So why was I disappointed on that first viewing? I’m not even sure what I thought I was going to see, something more idiosyncratic I guess, something less straightforward. My initial impression was that it was a pretty, but empty, revenge film with a great cast and excellent cinematography. It’s lingered in my mind since then, however. Faces and images and emotions seeming to grow in power every time I think of them – Alexander Skarsgård and Nicole Kidman standing out in particular. I feel like it will reward multiple viewings, and I’m looking forward to watching it again.


Top Gun: Maverick

What can I say? While I didn’t find it the “savior of cinema” that some of the more breathless reviews made the film out to be, I did think it was a welcome throwback to a simpler kind of blockbuster. While the action sequences were the best parts – damn that ‘Star Wars trench run’ is cool – I did appreciate an aging Maverick dealing with what happens to aging broncos that never got busted. There’s no heat between Tom Cruz and a criminally under-used Jennifer Connelly, but the scene between Maverick and Val Kilmer’s ‘Iceman’ Kazansky provided the biggest emotional payoff. The last third, with epic dogfights and downed planes and stolen jets, was top tier action cinema.


Death on the Nile

While some may choose Glass Onion for their “whodunit” murder mystery from 2022, I’m a sucker for the classics. I didn’t expect much from Kenneth Branagh’s second Agatha Christie outing (after 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express), but I actually liked Death as much as that film, if not a little more. That may be due to my indifference to the 1978 version of Death on the Nile and my love for Sidney Lumet’s 1974 version of Murder on the Orient Express. Whatever the reason, I had a good time with this film, and still enjoy Branagh’s slightly more expressive version of the great Poirot.


X

If I’m honest, my appreciation for Ti West is still coasting on how much I enjoyed The House of the Devil. I stumbled across that film by accident and mistook it for an early 80’s ‘satanic panic’ film that I’d somehow missed. While nothing else of his quite captured me in the same way, X came mighty close. I didn’t see it until recently, and so rode out the wave of over-enthusiastic early reviews and later negative backlash. It was much better than I expected and while the slasher classic references get a bit much after a while, I enjoyed them just the same. X takes its inspiration from classic 70’s horror films – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in particular – but keeps it interesting and scary, with a different kind of antagonist and a slow pacing that actually works here. While I still think he rushes the scary bits too much, there’s plenty of grue and ickyness to enjoy. You know, if that’s your thing. I understand there’s a spinoff/prequel called Pearl – time to check that out as well!


Everything Everywhere All at Once

How can such a gross, funny, maudlin and crazy movie be so affecting? About halfway through the film (hot dog fingers) I found myself thinking it was just too weird for anything emotional to really land. And then twenty or so minutes later I started tearing up and I couldn’t for the life of me tell you what really changed. It was still weird and gross and melodramatic, but somehow Michelle Yeoh, Key Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu anchor all the absurdity. I believed in a love that would give up everything (everywhere) for those small moments of beauty and joy that pepper any given lifetime – for the seasoning that makes everything else worthwhile. When it ended my wife turned to me and said “why am I crying?” I was crying myself, so I couldn’t answer. So good.


Those are my five favorite films of 2022. At least at this moment – I could have put Prey on here, and I DID like (most of) Glass Onion, and Deadstream was funnier than it should have been. And I need to watch more movies.


What are your thoughts on the movies that made my top five? Share them down below!

Author: Bob Cram

Would like to be mysterious but is instead, at best, slightly ambiguous.