Top 20 Films of 2022


Will Teare

MOVIES ARE BACK. Unlike the previous two years of doing a list like this, I’ve actually had some trouble figuring out who makes the list and who doesn’t! I can honestly say I feel a little guilty leaving out some favorites from the list. But what makes me feel a whole lot better is that it’s because a truly exceptional movie takes its place. Overall, a super solid year for the movies.

Now, before we dig in, lemme give you some context. First, this list has been compiled upon three criteria: my overall enjoyment, the craft of it all, and how rewatchable the film is. I’d also like to note that I’m only human(and a student) so there are some movies I still missed this year. Some ratings won’t make sense for the ranking. That’s because the rating is based on the film’s individual merit where as the rankings are against the rest of 2022’s movies. I also have a list on Letterboxd that will evolve as I catch up on the stuff I missed. Additionally, if you think I’m missing a movie, here’s the list of everything I saw in 2022.

Now, after carefully checking over my list of the 59 movies I saw this past year, I present to you; The Best Films of 2022.

#20: Bodies Bodies Bodies by Halina Reijn

Rating: 4/5 

Nothing scares me more than the concept of “A Satire of Gen Z”. That being said, “Bodies Bodies Bodies” was maybe the most pleasant surprise of the year. Its use of language was so well done and is really the star of the show here, especially during the climax, which is almost entirely dialogue driven. Although it starts a little slow, it gradually works up to a wonderfully done ending. Its harsh criticism of Gen Z and its hypocrisy is matched by a wonderful cast of characters. Despite all the talent, Rachel Sennott, who plays the over-dramatic podcaster, Alice, is a standout. Between this and her performance in “Shiva Baby”(my #4 last year), she is a bonafide movie star. 


#19: Bones and All by Luca Guadagnino

Rating: 4/5

The fight for #19 was brutal. I always wanted “Bodies Bodies Bodies” to kick off the list, so 19 was the final chance for A LOT of good movies. Emerging from the bloodbath of #19, devouring the competition, is Luca Guadagnino’s cannibal/romance, “Bones and All”. Granted, this movie isn’t to everyone’s taste, in fact, it’s barely for me. However, it’s hard to count out one of Timothée Chalamet’s best performances yet with the addition of a truly delicious Taylor Russel. Unflinchingly raw and morally complex with a pinch of Americana served on a gorgeous view of Middle America. I really ate it up. 


#18: Turning Red by Domee Shi

Rating: 4/5

“Turning Red” just made me so happy. It’s an unending freight train of whimsy and positivity. Don’t believe me? Check out the opening scene alone. Even the 10 seconds where Mei shows off the title of the movie has more energy than most movies I’ve seen this year. I love how this will be the first time menstruation will be normalized for a lot of kids coming-of-age, which is a huge step in making a lot of people feel more comfortable in their own bodies. The fact that this movie will become a household classic for kids, especially girls out there, is really heartwarming. Between a stellar debut from Domee Shi, anime-inspired animation, and being set in my second favorite city, Toronto, Canada? 100% in. “Turning Red” is never not on my mind(oh my, oh my).


#17: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio by Guierlmo Del Toro, Mark Gustafson

Rating: 4/5

GDT returns with the animation passion project that absolutely floored me from start to finish. Now, I’ve never been a huge Pinocchio fan, nor did I think someone could make me like the story that much. I was wrong. Who knew setting Pinocchio in fascist Italy, making it existential, mildly depressing, and pretty creepy while simultaneously making a musical was the way to go? Guillermo once again gave me the creeps while making me feel so at home. Oh, the stop motion! I didn’t even tell you how good the stop motion was. It’s really good. Robert Zemeckis’ Pinnochio(2022) never stood a chance against my guy Guillermo.


#16: Fire of Love by Sara Dosa

Rating: 4/5

Our first documentary has arrived on the scene. After missing it at Sundance, I finally got to catch up with “Fire of Love”. The documentary follows Katia and Maurice Krafft, a French married couple that shares a mutual love. Not just a mutual love of each other, but of volcanoes. The film is entirely told in archival footage Maurice took that genuinely shows some of the most breathtaking imagery of volcanoes I’ve ever seen. Woven through their story is a fascinating tale of two crazy people in love that are just perfect for each other. What’s even greater about the movie is that it’s really short(90 min!) and on Disney+. Highly suggest what will surely be a frontrunner at the Academy Awards.


#15: The Northman by Robert Eggers

Rating: 4.5/5  

Jeez, “The Northman”. You need to understand, I’m a fairly lazy person when it comes to physical activities. But when I walked out of “The Northman”, all I wanted to do is run a marathon. I wanted to bench press a skyscraper, chug protein shakes for 24 hours, and join an underground fight club. This is a propulsive, brutal, artful yet barbaric revenge film that ticked every box for me. I didn’t really know I had it in me, but this elicited a primal emotion to beat the crap out of someone. Easily the most violent film of the year. Also, incredible Anya Taylor Joy content. Fun for the whole family.


#14: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish by Joel Crawford

Rating: 4.5/5

Guys, we really are in a Post-Spiderverse place in Western animation. The highs of Spiderverse can all be found in a movie called Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”. In the second-highest animated film on the list, we follow Antonio Banderas’ Puss as he grapples with losing eight of his lives…and having just one left. Featuring the best-animated fight scenes in Western animation since the aforementioned Spider-Man film, it’s a must-see for anyone looking for a surprisingly emotional yet high-octane time at the movies. Oh, the last thing, a Jimmy Stewart-inspired Jiminy Cricket character is just the best thing ever. Begging all animation fans to go see this one. The opening fight alone got me and my friends yelling in the theater.


#13: Nope by Jordan Peele

Rating: 3.5/5 

This one is very tricky. See, on one hand, this is the blockbuster filmmaking achievement of this entire year(barring Avatar: The Way of Water). On the other hand, it didn’t really click with me. But “Nope” stayed with me long after seeing it. So much so that this rating could go even higher after rewatching it. I mean it’s one of the most finely crafted movies of this whole year. Some scenes and images have become etched in my brain, unlike anything I’ve seen in a while. Excited to come back to it, but for now, I’m predicting that this will go down as one of the few reviews I got wrong.


#12: Cha Cha Real Smooth by Cooper Raiff

Rating: 4/5 

Speaking of things I need to watch a second time, “Cha Cha Real Smooth”. As mentioned in my Sundance article, this and #9 we’re my favorite movies to come out of Sundance 2022. Sure, it’s a mumble-core/indie darling film that’s charming yet simple. However, it’s really good at what it does. Cooper Raiff comes in swinging with my favorite romance of the year in a movie that just swept me off my feet.


#11: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On by Dean Fleischer-Camp

Rating: 4.5/5 

So tender, heartfelt, and the highest animated film on the list. A feature-length film based on the YouTube series of the same name, we follow a little sentient shell navigating a big wide world while searching for his long-lost family. It worked wonders for me, especially as a fan of 60 Minutes’ Leslie Stahl. 


#10: Avatar: The Way of Water by James Cameron

Rating: 4.5/5  

After 13 years, we finally have a new Avatar film. A really fun time at the movies, and even better than the first. Maybe not the best blockbuster I’ve seen this year, but certainly the biggest. It’s one of the very few true movies where I feel fully transported and genuinely sad to walk out of the theater. Dying to go see it all over again. I already wrote a review recently so I don’t have much to say. Big Jim, what a guy.


#9: Navalny by Daniel Roher

Rating: 5/5

“Navalny” was by far my favorite thing I saw at the Sundance Film Festival. We follow Alexei Navalny, the opposition leader against Putin and his Kremlin. One part documentary, one part thriller, it’s easily my favorite documentary of the entire year. Like any great documentary, it shows every side of this man, as he isn’t fully the anti-Putin regime hero you might think he is. As informative as it is timely, a true must-watch for the year 2022.


#8: The Banshees of Inisherin by Martin McDonagh 

Rating: 4/5  

Male friendship is a rocky boat sometimes. Never has that been more clear than in Martin McDonagh’s tragicomedy called, “The Banshees of Inisherin”. Breakups are some of the most vulnerable times you will ever have in your life. It’s hard to lose a partner, it may be harder to lose a best friend. Never has that been more clear than in Banshees. A devastating look at the bonds that break us through dark humor and a significant helping of Irish guilt. An entire cast of people batting a thousand every time with a script that just sets them up for greatness. A film that will surely age like a fine wine, here’s to many rewatches to come. A feckin’ great time, like.


#7: Everything, Everywhere All at Once by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (Daniels) 

Rating: 4.5/5 

The movie that will be most people’s number one of the year will be this one. I’d even go as far as to say it isn’t even a competition. A truly wild sci-fi exercise of maximalist filmmaking through the minutiae of human emotions. I’ll be the first to say that I think this movie has become a tad overhyped, but the craft truly is staggering throughout. The fact that something this crazy can touch so many people from every background despite being so specific is exactly what I love about cinema. Besides, any movie with Wong Kar-Wai references, martial arts, and the Super Smash Bros. critical hit sound effect in the same film is a movie made for me. Crazy to think that this will probably win Best Picture. But when it does, I will be absolutely delighted.


#6: Top Gun: Maverick by Joseph Kosinski

Rating: 5/5 

*Top Gun bell sound effect* movies. Hell yeah. Is it military propaganda? 100%. Do I think Tom’s ego hurt some creative choices? Most likely. Do I think that this single-handedly brought back the art of the great blockbuster and saved movies? Sort of, but I like to believe it did. “Top Gun: Maverick” is really everything I want out of the modern blockbuster. Snappy dialogue, cheesy performances, and some truly great action scenes. It’s not perfect, but I don’t think I care. Besides, neither does the general American public that pumped $1.4 billion into a struggling Paramount. Movies baby, let’s go.


#5: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery by Rian Johnson

Rating: 5/5 

“Knives Out” is sort of an all-time classic for me, so the fact that Rian not only meets but in places exceeds the original is absolutely mind-boggling. Johnson is once again reminding us he’s one of the most intelligent screenwriters of mainstream movies. He throws the social commentary right in our faces and yet it somehow works perfectly. Benoit Blanc is on a legitimate track to becoming one of cinema’s most iconic characters. It’s hard to talk about this movie as the spoilers truly are the best part so I beg of you, log on to Netflix, and watch “Glass Onion”. You won’t regret it. Oh, also, “Glass Onion” is also a great Beatles track that has a special meaning after you watch the movie. Here’s to many more Benoit Blanc mysteries.


#4: Tár by Todd Field

Rating: 4.5/5 

When we look at the cinema of this year and really take into account what remains as part of the larger canon of movies, there will be films, and then there will be “Tár”. Lydia Tár is one of the most fascinating movie characters of recent memory and it’s possibly Cate Blanchett’s best performance to date. One of the great character studies of the 21st century. Martin Scorsese even said, “The clouds lifted when I experienced Todd’s film, ‘TÁR.” Lemme tell ya, that guy doesn’t say that about every movie he sees.


#3: The Batman by Matt Reeves 

Rating: 5/5 

Ok, I’m not going to lie, this is a bit of a personal pick…but who can blame me! Dark but deceptively funny, cheesy yet gritty. It walks one hell of a balancing act and as a lifelong Batman fan, this is my favorite Batman portrayal yet. My favorite suit, Batmobile, Gotham, everything. My main man Robert Pattinson broke out the greatest performance of the caped crusader yet. I wanted Batman to be a moody, depressed, Nirvana-listening loser, with a laughably edgy, over-dramatic, film noir-style narration, and jeez did they go so hard in doing that. But even taking the Batman of it aside, it’s still so well done. The cinematography is genuinely stunning. The production design and audio work are so moody and gothic(pun most definitely intended). It’s exactly what I want from a crime thriller. Perhaps this is a little high, but when I think of a mainstream blockbuster with actual craft put into it, I will think of “The Batman”. 


#2: RRR by S.S. Rajamouli 

Rating: 5/5 

RRR is an action musical/comedy/historical fiction/epic about two best buds single-handedly fighting the British Empire. Yeah. Take it in. RRR. This movie has been a global phenomenon. For reference to how massive this movie is, a screening for RRR in Los Angeles sold out in 98 seconds. 1000 seats sold out in less than two minutes for a foreign film in the United States like they’re Harry Styles tickets. Unbelievable. This movie is easily the most fun I’ve had all year and I’m constantly begging my friends to watch it with me. Beyond the incredible dance numbers(manifesting the “Nattu Nattu” Oscar), incredible score, and being the closest the human race has come to live-action anime fight scenes, it has such heart. The story is deceptively simple, but like “Top Gun: Maverick”, that’s its secret strength. Its ability to place emotional stakes in a very maximalist film is an impressive feat of writing. This is certainly boosted by incredibly charismatic but at times, genuinely emotional lead performances by N.T.R. Jr and Ram Charan. I feel like this would make a super interesting “Male Friendship Double Feature” with “The Banshees of Inisherin”.


#1: The Fabelmans by Steven Spielberg

Rating: 5/5 

One could look at this movie quite plainly. You say, “This is a movie about the origin story of Steven Spielberg.” Then you can look deeper and say, “This movie is about Steven, a child of divorce, working through childhood trauma in real-time.” Then, once you cross the thresholds of those interpretations, you can see that this movie is about something much deeper. “Art is both within an artist, but also an external force. Once you are touched by it, that force will never leave your side. With art, you can create the most beautiful things the world will ever see, but the cost will be your happiness.” 

Steven Spielberg created a movie that’s so good, he might as well retire with it. It exists as both a counter-point and a skeleton key to his entire body of work. I’d go as far as to say it’s one of the best films about filmmaking. Even then, it’s not just about filmmaking at all. It’s about art and what artists will do to make it. It’s about the bonds we make as kids that stay with us forever. It’s about the pursuit of dreams and what you leave behind to get there. A true master stroke from the greatest filmmaker to ever do it. Not only that, it affirmed all the dreams and anxieties I have as an artist and a human being. To be honest, I find it genuinely difficult to translate the emotions in my heart to the words on the page. Nor does any sane person have the time to listen to me rattle off my favorite things about it. So perhaps I’ll leave it at this; “The Fabelmans” is the best film of 2022. 

P.S. Having a dude go, “Say, ya wanna meet the greatest filmmaker ever?” and having David Lynch walk onscreen makes this the automatic best movie of the year. 

I like using my Top 20 Movies articles as a big thank-you note. First up, everyone at Q30 for giving me a home to put my lil soapbox. Shout out to my fellow beat reporters across the network but especially Ella Madden for geeking out about movies with me. Next, Isabella Foley. My editor, my boss, but most importantly a dear friend. When she’s not running multiple Q30 shows or editing articles, she takes her time out to ask how I’m doing and it always makes my day. Audrey Scafati. One of the first people I met at Quinnipiac, one of my first friends I made here, and a friend I’ll have well beyond the shadow of Sleeping Giant. Love ya Scafati. To Mason Glod, here’s to many more Oscars predictions, industry talks, and Super Smash Bros. brawls. To Ben Kane, his efforts to be a journalist match his efforts to be genuinely present with you anytime you see him. Here’s to plenty more soup runs and getting giddy at the fact that “The Caf” has lemon pound cake again. 

But most importantly, I thank you, the reader. Every page, paragraph, sentence, phrase, word, syllable, and letter are all dedicated to you. Thanks to you, all this hard work has been worth it.