(This article is part of our Best of 2022 series.)
Oh, boy! 2022 was a rough year for movies, especially when you have the viewing habits of a six-year-old, like me! I watched everything I wanted to watch this year and a few that I had no interest in but decided to step outside my comfort zone and let me tell you; I wish I hadn’t. I wouldn’t say that these are my favorite films of the year. Not exactly. But they are five films that I have something to say about. So there is that, at least.
Minions: Rise of Gru
I am a sucker for the Despicable Me Franchise. I don’t know what it is, but these characters are an absolute joy to grace my screen every couple of years. The first Minions movie was a bit of a misstep but Rise of Gru picked it back up. This movie is called “The Rise of” for some reason, almost as if Gru was somewhat going to be a good guy in the beginning but something swayed him into becoming a villain, but — nope! His heart was always set on being a villain from the get-go. As much as I enjoy the Minions, they don’t work without Gru, and choosing to bring him back in this movie made that oh-so-apparent. Who knew an 80-minute movie in this day and age could still be enjoyable?
Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers
This movie is a great idea with terrible execution. Some of the ideas were good but a lot of those ideas were bad, and a lot of what made it into this movie should have been left on the cutting room floor. This takes place years after the Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers cartoon show was canceled all the way back in the 90’s. They have lost contact with each other and this is a story of how they reconnect and bring the old gang back together again… Kind of.
This movie has a great premise but I didn’t really like it. So why is it included in my Top 5? Maybe it’s because my love for these characters far outshines the disaster that movie turned out to be. If there was one franchise that I wish Disney had chosen to give a complete hard reboot to, it would be this one. Oh well. Maybe one day…
Dante and Randall return in the much-delayed Clerks 3 and it tells the story of Kevin Smith’s heart attack in 2018 and how he survived it, coupled with his own “origin” story of wanting to make a movie about when he was a clerk at the Quickstop in the 1990s and it actually turned out very sweet and a lot better than it had any right to be.
Say what you will about Kevin Smith, (and so will I), but I will always check out his flicks. Yes they have dipped in quality over the years and I haven’t enjoyed everything that he has done but here’s the thing: I would rather have a bad Kevin Smith movie than to have had him die of a heart attack and taken from us too soon. (’nuff said!)
Special Mention: Clerk (Documentary) released at the tail end of 2021. It features Kevin Smith, who talks about his career, as well as many of the people that he has worked with over the years. It’s very heartwarming and very much worth the watch for any die hard Kevin Smith fan
Jackass Forever (& Jackass 4.5)
I wanted another Jackass for years. Until we got it. This was a fun movie and I enjoyed seeing the gang back together after all of these years. But therein lies the only problem with Jackass Forever; just how much time had passed. After watching this, I couldn’t help but feel unfulfilled, I wanted more. Something was missing, and that is because there was. A big part of what made Jackass work back in the early 2000s was the CKY Crew. I didn’t realize just how much Bam Margera and Ryan Dunn brought to the previous entries of the Jackass series and their absence was more than noticeable. (R.I.P. Dunn)
Jackass 4.5 was released on Netflix a few months later which kind of made up for the lack of content in Forever, but not by much. The new additions were good but nobody really stood out as much as I was hoping. I enjoyed the extra material that 4.5 was able to offer but in the end and after all these years, it still didn’t quite capture the same magic.
South Park: Streaming Wars (Parts 1 & 2)
This has to be one of the best things that Matt Stone and Trey Parker have done with South Park in a loooong time. The title is a brilliant play on words because it’s not referring to “streaming” as in streaming services (which is ironic seeing as this debuted on Paramount+), but “streaming” as in the water crisis in Colorado.
After years of Randy Marsh being a pot farmer (which has run so stagnant over many recent seasons), South Park seemingly decided to make him once again become a scientist, which was his profession when the show first started. He was tasked with solving the current water crisis. It was a great return to form for Randy. Unfortunately, it would all get undone by the end of Part 2, but it was still nice seeing him be his old self again, if only for a moment.
Another major element that made Streaming Wars so enjoyable was the format. It gave the creators more time to flesh out a longer story which is what the show needs and has been lacking in the 22-minute episodes. Oh, and ManBearPig made a triumphant return in what seemed like a gigantic apology to Al Gore after all these years.
As I said, 2022 was a rough year. I did watch other things such as Weird: The Al Yankovic Story and Glass Onion, which I enjoyed. Also Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is the best thing Dreamworks has put out in a long time, (but I didn’t see it until after putting this list together). Anyways, hopefully 2023 yields better results.