Rantz: A ranking of the top 10 best movies of 2022

Jan 4, 2023, 5:52 PM
best 2022 movies...
Still image of Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell in Martin McDonagh's "The Banshees of Inisherin," 2022. (Photo courtesy of Searchlight Pictures)
(Photo courtesy of Searchlight Pictures)

It was a somewhat odd year for the movies in 2022, with huge surprises and equally huge letdowns.

The blockbuster films you assumed would be frivolous entertainment turned out to be so much more (Top Gun: Maverick), and the films earning buzz for uniqueness and powerful acting were total disasters (Bones and All). High-profile follow-ups turned out to be uninspired messes (Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery) and films you’d never expect to catch on become hits (Everything Everywhere All At Once).

Before we get to the ten best films of the year, here is a quick mention of the worst.

– Disney’s remake of Pinocchio was a lifeless mess that should result in Tom Hanks’ ex-communication from Hollywood. His performance was embarrassing.

– No one needed a young adult, coming-of-age film about cannibals in the truly grotesque Bones and All.

– I’m not sure what The 355 was trying to do other than settle a debt — did Jessica Chastain owe someone money?

Jurassic Park: Dominion was so awful that there should never be a film about dinosaurs again.

– And the fact that Billy Eichner thought no one saw Bros due to homophobia is delusional. It was a lazy film, chock full of stereotypical and one-dimensional characters pretending otherwise.

Best films of the year: 6-10

But now to the best films of 2023:

10. Babylon is an overstuffed film about Hollywood that tried to do everything and ended up doing nothing. It was long (over three hours), meandering, and weirdly vacuous, with characters that didn’t matter and storylines that didn’t go anywhere. And yet I can’t stop thinking about it. Its brashness and bigness stuck with me, with outstanding performances by Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie being enough to make it top 10 worthy.

9. It feels more like a play than a movie, which is fine when it results in such a fascinating story. Women Talking, which features many women talking about whether or not they should stay in a religious community after an abuse scandal, gets you thinking about faith, family, and fairness. The performances are as beautiful and nuanced as the directing.

8. Colorful, unique characters intertwine on the most dangerous train on the globe in Bullet Train. It’s a fun and action-packed thriller that manages the humor and violence effectively, with standout performances by Brian Tyree Henry and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

7. The Menu is a stylish, devilish satire about the service economy and social inequality. The film works thanks to the sleeky and moody atmosphere, an unnerving tension from the start telling you something is afoot. And when you realize what that is, you’re in for the ride.

6. The trailer presents The Fablemans as a movie about the power of filmmaking, but it’s a deeply personal film by director Steven Spielberg about how his love of film comforted him through a complicated family life after learning a secret that threatened to tear his family apart. Newcomer Gabriel LaBelle steals the film as a young Spielberg, with Michelle Williams delivering a heartbreaking performance as a wife and mother with conflicting emotional attachments.

Best films of the year: 1-5

5. Top Gun: Maverick is supposed to be fun, but it’s not supposed to be as good and emotionally satisfying as it was. Yet it was a nearly flawless, old-school film with high drama, compelling character conflict, and immersion action.

4. Good Luck To You, Leo Grande came and went, a Hulu-streamed film about loss, human connection, and sexual awakening. The film takes place almost entirely in a hotel room between two actors at the top of their game, with Emma Thompson owning a vulnerable character that you feel for as she seeks human connection after the death of her husband. It’s a touching, and at times painful, film that was a big surprise.

3. Everything Everywhere All At Once does what the title says in this exhilarating and truly inventive film about finding purpose in life — what it means to be truly happy. This is how multiverse films should be made. Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, and Ke Huy Quan are simply brilliant with performances that show their range as actors. You won’t find a more original and impeccably executed film in 2022.

2. Amazon’s Thirteen Lives takes us through the harrowing days of the international effort to rescue a Thai soccer team from floods after they get stuck in Tham Luang cave. Director Ron Howard approaches the rescue in a very procedural way, yet the simplicity in the storytelling allows actors Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell, and Joel Edgerton to show their nuanced emotional reaction to a mission they’re certain will cost some children their lives. It’s a harrowing rescue film that speaks to the sacrifices people will make in service of others.

1. The Banshees of Inisherin is about a friendship that’s gone awry for no good reason, but shows you the impact of annoyance, stubbornness, and loneliness. After a humorous first act, it dives into a bleak abyss, catching you wholly by surprise. It ends up being a deeply depressing, dark tragi-comedy; one could argue it’s a horror. But you can’t argue that it’s writer/director Martin McDonagh’s best film — and the best film of 2022.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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Rantz: A ranking of the top 10 best movies of 2022