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Zach’s Top 10 Best Movies of 2022

2022 was a great year for movies with a great mix of smaller movies, streaming originals, and massive blockbusters in theaters.  I tried to see as many as I could over the past year and here are my picks for my top 10 best/favorite movies of the year.

  1. Top Gun: Maverick: Easily the best time I had in a theater this year, Top Gun: Maverick is everything great about blockbuster movies and the joy and visceral thrill of practical effects and stunts.  A fantastic sequel to the original Top Gun, the movie pays homage and references the original but builds and evolves things with the characters and world.  Tom Cruise is as charming as ever as Maverick and the new group of hot shot pilots under his tutelage are mostly fun, even if some of them outside of Hangman (Glen Powell) and Rooster (Miles Teller) kind of blend together.  Add in a radiant Jennifer Connelly and a heartbreakingly wonderful Val Kilmer and the cast is overall great.  The action is the true highlight though and the way that director Joseph Kosinski put actors up in real jets and the way it was shot makes it look and feel like nothing you’ve ever seen before and it adds to the excitement and sense of danger of every big action sequence.  Top Gun: Maverick was meant to be seen on the big screen but it deserves to be seen any way you can and it’s definitely one of the best sequels ever in movie history.
  2. The Batman: As big of a mess as DC and Warner Bros Discovery is right now, at least we got Matt Reeves’ incredible take on Batman this year in theaters.  Robert Pattinson shut down any doubt that he wouldn’t be a great Batman/Bruce Wayne pretty much right from the start and he’s definitely one of the most brutal and intimidating Batmen ever, where just the sound of his footsteps makes criminals quake.  The whole movie felt like the very best Batman graphic novel a la The Long Halloween and it was a true detective story that felt more at times like a serial killer movie like Se7en and less a comic book/superhero movie.  The supporting cast was excellent as well, including an unrecognizable Colin Farrell and a cooly threatening John Turturro along with a truly disturbing and creepy Paul Dano and a cool and confident Zoe Kravitz.  Add in some standout action sequences, like the incredible Batmobile chase, and The Batman is one of the best versions of The Dark Knight on screen and one of the best DC movies ever made.
  3. RRR: I’ve never really watched any films from India before but RRR opened my eyes and blew my mind with its over-the-top awesomeness.  Literally comprised of almost every genre, including the most badass action movie you’ve ever seen, an exuberant musical, a wacky romantic comedy, a sweeping historical epic, etc., RRR grabs your attention within the first few seconds and never lets go until over 3 hours later.  There is stuff in the movie I’ve never seen before that is some of the coolest action ideas and set pieces ever, driven by the pure charisma and joy of stars N. T. Rama Rao Jr. and Ram Charan, who form the most epic bromance in the history of cinema.  It’s also fun to see Western stars like Ray Stevenson and Alison Doody just devour scenery as the most mustache-twirling villains in recent memory.  There were multiple times that I literally jumped off my couch in excitement over what I was seeing, like the epic bridge rescue or the completely insane and awesome midway sequence involving an entire zoo full of animals, and I am definitely going to make it a mission going forward to check out more Indian cinema, especially if it’s directed by S.S. Rajamouli.
  4. Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers: When we heard there was going to be a movie reboot of Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers movie coming exclusively to Disney+, it seemed like a potentially terrible idea but, leave it to The Lonely Island team to turn it into something absolutely hilarious, weird and meta.  Basically a spiritual successor to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Rescue Rangers sees Chip (John Mulaney) and Dale (Andy Samberg) as washed-up 90s actors who are drawn into a mystery affecting their fellow cartoon actors around Los Angeles.  Although they aren’t the voices you expect, Mulaney and Samberg have incredible chemistry and you actually care about their relationship amidst all the insanity going on around them.  There are tons of cameos and references and it’s a brilliant lampooning of the animation industry and Hollywood in general and is also just constantly funny and wonderful.  Between the truly fantastic Ducktales reboot and now this, Disney is truly knocking it out of the park with their fresh takes on the 90s Disney Afternoon properties, can a hilarious new Gummy Bears or Goof Troop reboot be on the way?
  5. Everything Everywhere All at Once: Many properties explored the Multiverse this year but Everything Everywhere All at Once was easily the most creative and inventive.  With one of the best performances in her long career of brilliant performances, Michelle Yeoh carries the movie in the many forms of Evelyn Wang, who finds herself embroiled in a conflict where the entire multiverse is at stake.  Ke Huy Quan is a revelation as Waymond, Evelyn’s husband and it’s incredible to see him back after his 80s child acting roles and hopefully, he has a ton more work after this movie because he is truly everything here, badass, heartbreaking, and hilarious.  The visual style and creativity on display in Everything Everywhere All at Once is next level and it’s constantly topping itself with some new alternate universe or idea but there are also some truly awesome and creative action and fight scenes that feel like something from peak Jackie Chan that add to the entire brilliant package of Everything Everywhere All at Once.
  6. Prey: The Predator franchise hit a new low a few years ago with The Predator but director Dan Trachtenberg has brought it back with easily the best movie in the franchise since the original, Prey.  Featuring an awesome performance from Amber Midthunder, Prey is a stripped-down, badass action movie that delivers everything you would want in a Predator movie but with the freshness of a historical time period that raises the stakes for the humans up against the alien hunter.  Midthunder’s Naru doesn’t have machine guns or grenades to try and take down the Predator, so she has to rely on her skills and wits and it’s a much more thrilling and visceral movie that feels much more in line with the 80s original.  The new Predator also just has an awesome design and the idea that he also has “primitive” weapons compared to future Predators in the series adds cool detail to the mythology while also lending to some fantastic action, including a scene where the Predator just decimates a group of French fur trappers in a burned out forest.  This is the direction the Predator series should go in and hopefully, we’ll see more historical prequels, like a Predator in World War II, medieval times, or something else.
  7. Weird: The Al Yankovic Story: In true Weird Al fashion, his “biopic” was a ridiculous but brilliant parody of the traditional musical biopic that felt like the spiritual successor to Walk Hard.  Daniel Radcliffe fully commits to the absurdity of his version of Al, who dates Madonna, battles Pablo Escobar and who comes from a home that banned accordions.  There are so many great sequences and jokes in Weird, especially the ones that feature the origin of some of Al’s big early hits like “My Bologna” and “Another One Rides the Bus” and sequences that share a sense of absurdity with stuff like Al’s previous movie, the beloved cult classic UHF.  It also hilariously subverts Al’s real persona, which seems by all accounts to be one of the sweetest and nicest people on the planet, with hilarious biopic cliches as he abuses drugs and alcohol and lets his fame and fortune go to his head.  Even if you’re not a die-hard Weird Al fan (which, in that case, what’s wrong with you?) it’s still a hilarious spoof of musical biopics and, for Al fans, there are so many inside jokes and references to what actually happened in real life that make it a true delight and one of the funniest movies of the year.
  8. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: Riding on the heels of Spider-Man: No Way Home, my favorite movie of 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness continued to multiversal shenanigans started there with a bigger and crazier sequel to the original Doctor Strange movie.  Featuring multiple versions of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), the Illuminati with some mind-blowing cameos across all iterations of the Marvel universe, a truly unique and creative sequence involving a battle of musical magic and some trademark Sam Raimi visual flair, Multiverse of Madness had tons of great stuff going on.  One of the best bits though was easily Elizabeth Olsen, who continued her excellent performance in Wandavision last year and flipped it into one of the most horrifying villains seen yet in the MCU where no length is too extreme to get her family back.  There are a couple of things you can nitpick but Multiverse of Madness was a big, fun Marvel movie and easily the best MCU movie of the year.
  9. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent: Keeping up with the meta-theme of Chip and Dale and Weird, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent saw Nicolas Cage play “Nicolas Cage” in what was a wonderfully wacky action/comedy.  Cage leans 1000% into every aspect of his persona and almost every movie in his catalog is referenced at some point and it’s truly a delight if you’re a fan to see stuff like the costume and guns from Face/Off or see him unleashing different sides of his acting style.  Cage and Pedro Pascal have absolutely fantastic chemistry and their bromance carries the movie and gives it so much humor and heart, like the running thread of trying to write a screenplay together or a trip to town where they are both high and out of their minds.  There are few actors for whom this kind of meta celebration of their personality and career would work and Cage is definitely one of them and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent was a fun and hilarious ride because of it.
  10. Barbarian: In a year of great horror movies, nothing was as shocking or unexpected as Barbarian.  With an ad campaign doing a great job of hiding what was truly going on, when shit hits the fan in Barbarian, I audibly gasped and couldn’t believe what was happening.  The fact that the movie hard cuts away to something that could not be more different is one of the many creative choices that makes Barbarian stand out and it constantly keeps you disgusted and guessing until the end.  Justin Long, Bill Skarsgard, and Georgina Campbell are great as the main cast and it’s crazy that this is the first major movie from director Zach Cregger, who is probably best known as a member of The Whitest Kids U Know.  If you haven’t seen Barbarian yet and somehow also haven’t been spoiled by what happens, head over to HBO Max and check it out as soon as you can with as little knowledge about the plot as possible.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  • Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story
  • Avatar: The Way of Water
  • Ambulance
  • Scream
  • X
  • The Northman
Where to watch Top Gun: Maverick

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