So here we are.
2022 has been an outstanding year for movies as you can tell from the fact that this list, which is normally 30 films long, is now at 40 films. I decided to expand the list instead of having ten honorable mentions on the normal length list.
Not only were there a bunch of movies on this list, they were extremely difficult to rank. I was flip-flopping these movies multiple times, with some dropping down and others going higher on the list. In fact, I can’t promise that the list that I type up will be exactly the same as what I have written down on the paper. I had more trouble organizing this list than any that I can remember in the past.
As usual, I did not include an documentaries on this list. It is not like that is a hard and fast rule, but the doc would need to be something truly special to make this list. Fire of Love was on the original possibilities list but it got dropped early in the process. Another film that I did not consider much was the DC Animation Battle of the Super Sons. I loved that film, but it got dropped because of the lack of release. I also did not include the Marvel Studios Special Presentations (Werewolf By Night and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special) in the Top 40. Honestly, both of those would have made it had I not decided to cut them off.
Finally, as I stated with the Worst Movies List, my normal star ranking does not go into effect with this listing. I have a 5 star film currently sitting at #13. The star ratings help organize the possible films to make the list and then I look at my current thoughts on the film. Sometimes they are different than immediately after seeing a film.
So, off we go…
#40. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. Charming and fun, they were able to take an animated short film and make it a feature length movie without any trouble. Marcel was such an awesome character, it’s a shame more people did not see this.
#39. Strange World. The Disney animated film this year was simply not promoted properly. It was a great generational film looking at father and son relationships. Great animation too. Yes, it has some issues, but it deserved better. Everyone should go watch it on Disney + .
#38. Emily the Criminal. Aubrey Plaza gave an amazing performance as a woman who turned to credit card scamming to egt by in her life. Plaza is a star in the making.
#37. All Quiet on the Western Front. The German remake of the classic was a powerful and beautiful film that was very difficult to watch. It should be a leading candidate for Best International Film at the Oscars.
#36. She Said. An investigative journalist film dealing with the controversial Hollywood figure, producer Harvey Weinstein. A great cast and a strong story helped She Said.
#35. Scream. The new film in the Scream franchise came out early in 2022 and did a great job of setting up a new direction for the franchise while still paying homage to what had come before.
#34. When the Screaming Starts. A mockumentary focusing on a serial killer who had yet to actually kill anyone. A serial killer wannabe. And this was hilarious.
#33. Pearl. The prequel to X (which also came out this year), this included a star-making performance from Mia Goth, as a brutal serial killer and her origins.
#32. Confess, Fletch. Jon Hamm took over the role of Fletch and they made a film that was smart, funny and full of surprises. This was another movie whose promotional material did not do it any favors. I want more Fletch, and I am not that much of a fan of the originals with Chevy Chase.
#31. Beast. Idris Elba is in this movie about a killer lion that was way better than I ever thought it would be. It was a lot of dramatic fun and frightful moments.
#30. The Lost City. Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum worked well together in this Romancing the Stone-like action film. Brad Pitt gave a scene stealing performance in a short role.
#29. The Woman King. An epic film dealing with a race of warrior women from Africa, led by Viola Davis. There were excellent fights and battles too.
#28. Smile. A great year for horror included this, one of the scariest films of the year and certainly also one of the creepiest with all of those crazy smiles.
#27. The Outfit. Mark Rylance played a tailor whose ties to the mob come back to haunt him.
#26. The Banshees of Inisherin. Reuniting Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, this Irish film was thoroughly entertaining and momentously shocking. One of the Academy Award favorites.
#25. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris. I waited for the price on this to drop before renting it this year. It absolutely would have been worth paying full price. Full of charm and fun performances.
#24. Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers. A Disney + exclusive that was so much fun and filled with nostalgia and cameos galore. Ugly Sonic was a standout for sure. Clever and well written.
#23. Spirited. Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell give their spin on a version of A Christmas Carol from a new perspective. It had some great music and some fun dance scenes as well.
#22. Till. A tough film to watch because of the painful topic, but a movie with so many great performances, led by Danielle Deadwyler, our The Liz Award winner this year. Give it a watch.
#21. Elvis. Baz Lurhmann’s new film detailing the life of Elvis Presley. Austin Butler does an outstanding job as Elvis and Tom Hanks is underrated as Col. Tom Parker.
#20. Enola Holmes 2. This Netflix film starred Millie Bobby Brown as the sister of Sherlock Holmes, returning in a sequel that exceeded the original. Brown is an absolute star and she has a bright career past Stranger Things.
#19. Top Gun: Maverick. One of the most successful films of the year, Top Gun Maverick looked amazing and brought a great deal of nostalgia to a simple story. Very thrilling.
#18. Black Phone. A clever horror film with Ethan Hawke as a child kidnapper and a mysterious black phone that keeps ringing though it is not connected to anything.
#17. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. A wonderful addition to the Shrek franchise, Puss in Boots was funny, creative and full of an energy missing form many animated films these days.
#16. Turning Red. A brilliant film from Pixar that tackles the theme of young girls growing up and uses a metaphor to tell the tale. Amazing graphics as most Pixar films have.
#15. The Batman. Robert Pattinson made a solid Batman as he battled a psychotic version of the Riddler and an imressive Penguin, who was an unrecognizable Colin Farrell. May have been a touch too long.
#14. Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Sam Raimi succeeded in making a Marvel movie feel like a Sam Raimi movie. There were some haters of this online, but I think this movie wa a victim more of over-expectations than anything else.
#13. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. This is the film that has bounced around the most, having been as high as six on this list. Nic Cage playing a satirical version of himself in this movie was amazing and it was a lot of fun.
#12. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. One of the most beautifully animated movies of the year and easily the best Pinocchio movie of 2022. The film was dark, funny, full of great music and some messages among the themes. A special film.
#11. Thor: Love and Thunder. Another film that found a lot of hate this year, but I loved. Yes, I thought the film had too much goofy humor in the first part, but I found myself engrossed in the second part. Then, on the second watch, the jokes did not bother me as much as they did in the first viewing. It was an excellent ending too.
#10. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. We, once again, join in the world of Benoit Blanc, and the great detective finds himself deeply involved in another murder. Glass Onion has a stellar cast and is very clever and creative.
#9. Prey. A Hulu film that reinvigorated the Predator franchise by taking it back into the past. Dialogue was limited but the storytelling was not. This should have had a theatrical release.
#8. Violent Night. A film that surprised me with how much it dove into characterization. I thought it would be just a bad ass Santa, but it was much deeper than that. Loved the performance of David Harbour as the three dimensional Santa Claus and his sledgehammer.
#7. Deadstream. A wonderful take off of YouTube streaming culture in a great found footage horror film. One of the best horror films of the year that I found on Shudder.
#6. Everything Everywhere All at Once. It was the best multiverse movie of the year. Clever, creative, fun, and filled with amazing performances, EEAAO showed that a little film can be successful.
#5. Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. Putting the Roku Channel on the map, Weird was the funniest movie of the year. As one would expect, Weird took the genre of biopics and parodied them, just like Weird Al parodied the songs. Some of this biopic is true… though not much.
#4. RRR. One of the most energetic films of the year. RRR was filled with kinetic dances, over-the-top action and some of the best characters around. It is long, but every second is a treat.
#3. The Menu. My favorite horror/thriller of the year, The Menu has everything. Ralph Fiennes leads a sensational cast in one of the most tense films you are going to find. It is also a satire of chefs and their manner in preparing meals. The Menu was an amazing tasty treat.
#2. Matilda the Musical. This almost made number one. I love this musical with the wonderful Alishia Weir as Matilda and the unbelievably transformed Emma Thompson. On re-watch, I had tears in my eyes during the Revolting Children song/dance from just pure joy. It is on Netflix right now…go watch it!
#1. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Marvel Studios and director Ryan Coogler faced such a series of problems with Wakanda Forever, namely they lost their main character (T’Challa) played by their star Chadwick Boseman to cancer. What came from that was a film that was a beautiful tribute to Chadwick Boseman while also moving Wakanda forward in the MCU. Emotional and full of grief, but also hope.