Lists

2022 Movies: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and Everything In Between

I talked about the good of the 2022 movie season, now let’s discuss the bad and the ugly (and some more good). There weren’t actually that-that many bad films this past year, though there was a lot to talk about, both good and bad. So let’s break it all down.

Biggest Surprise: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

I thought this would be more of an Illumination-inspired take on the “Shrek” universe, but what we got was closer to “Into the Spider-Verse.” The film is gorgeous, hilarious, and arguably the best installment of the franchise since 2004.

Best Performance: Danielle Deadwyler, Till

I liked “Till” as a film but Danielle Deadwyler’s portrayal of Mamie Till-Bradley blew me away. She was empathetic, devastating, and intense, and I pray she makes it into the Oscar 5 for Best Actress.

Best Theater Experience: Top Gun: Maverick

Just had the sense of the good ole days going to the movies, the audience laughed, gasped, and sobbed at all the same points. There’s a reason the film was in the top 10 at the box office for over 20 weeks; it was a moment.

A second-place contender here is “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” because my brother and I put on suits and ties to go see the film on the 4th of July as part of the internet meme surrounding the film. I think more studios would be wise to create these ironic cult following trends to promote films (like how the upcoming “Barbie” already has legions of men “joking” how they will see the film before Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” in July). I also saw the Rooftop Concert from Peter Jackson’s “Get Back” Beatles documentary, in IMAX which was a treat.

Most Underseen: Watcher

It was my #3 film of the year, and I think it will develop a following in years to come. Check it out! BJ Novak’s “Vengeance” was also another hidden gem.

Films I Liked That Seemingly No One Else Did: Black Adam and Moonfall

They were dumb, and fun, and took themselves so seriously to the point of being both hilarious and admirable. You people just hate having fun!

Most Overrated: X

I am a simp for slashers and a fan of Jenna Ortega’s 2022 rise to stardom, but this film is not good. The film was liked by critics (94% on Rotten Tomatoes) and fans (one of the most-popular films on Letterboxd ever, even higher than “Scream”) but I was just bored and the kills weren’t even that fun (the sequel, “Pearl,” wasn’t much better but at least Mia Goth gave a good performance).

Biggest Disappointment: Thor: Love and Thunder

After Thor was fixed in “Ragnarok” and “Infinity War,” the Russo Brothers and Taika Waititi seemingly made it their life mission to swiftly undo all their work. Thor has gone from tormented warrior with some charm to a dopey idiot, and this film (used very loosely, as the script and effects are barely better than a YouTube sketch form 2014) digs the hole even deeper. It was a mixed bag for Marvel in 2022 overall (“Wakanda Forever” was good and I enjoyed “Multiverse of Madness” but this and the shows weren’t well received by most fans), but “Love and Thunder” was arguably the weakest film of the MCU to-date.

Most Forgettable: Blacklight

Liam Neeson has plenty of forgettable, disposable, generic action films lately, including two this past year. I chose “Blacklight” as the most forgettable over “Memory” only because I gave it a lower score (apparently, I had to check), but if you told me “The Marksman” or “Honest Thief” had been one of his 2022 films I wouldn’t question you. These movies are build for the VOD and overseas audiences so they’re not as demanding as a “Taken” film, and I at least give Neeson and company credit for dropping these films into theaters as they were still starved for content. But that don’t make them good.

Worst Film: The Bubble

I rated “They/Them” and “Marmaduke” lower, but the former at least tried to make a real film (just missed the mark horribly) and the latter can barely legally be referred to as a movie (it’s an 88-minute Netflix original with some of the worst voice acting and animation I’ve ever experienced). Judd Apatow’s “The Bubble,” however, is made by a director whose name was once enough to have R-rated comedies open to $25-35 million. It also features a great cast and I love “inside Hollywood” movies. But they try to implement the early days of COVID to be topical, but the whole “celebrities struggled in quarantine too, you guys!” schtick didn’t work in 2020 and it certainly comes off as out-of-touch now. On top of that, the film lazily jumps from unfunny bit to unfunny bit, and looks awful to-boot. As with most Netflix originals, “The Bubble” came and went without making an impact on society or the industry, but unlike many bad movies I kept randomly thinking back to how awful it was all year.

So there you have it, we can officially put a lid on the 2022 movie season! Well, until the Oscars race heats up in the coming weeks. After all, movies never really sleep…

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