List compiled by Eddie on 23/12/2022
After a nightmare two years for film, there was hope that 2022 might have been a return to “normal” for many involved in the industry, sadly this was not to be the case.
Outside of a few outlying success stories such as Top Gun: Maverick, The Batman, Everything Everywhere All at Once and Smile, box office wise and cinema going wise, 2023 may be a make or break year for how the industry moves forward with many films floundering in cinematic releases and other dramatic properties unable to attract audiences back into the cinema like once occurred prior to 2020.
With less tentpole products to enjoy and more and more product released on the various and competing streaming services we all now have an abundance to choose from, 2022 is one of the most loaded years yet when it comes to films making a mark in the home viewing arena.
Overall 2022 lacked a lot of pizzazz and noteworthy products, with a lot of high profile or award baiting films failing to hit the mark but there was still some quality to ensure 2022 had enough to get excited about, with 2023 looking like the best year in sometime as we perhaps finally enter back into the realms of what we use to experience as cinema lovers.
Happy watching. See you at the movies!
Disclaimer – Please note this list is based off Australian release schedules and therefore may include films out elsewhere in 2021 and is missing other notable 2022 films that have yet to screen locally. These films include The Banshees of Inisherin, Babylon, The Fabelmans, The Whale, Women Talking, Tar and others.
10 Best Films of 2022
10. The Innocents
A very different take on the supernatural power sub-genre of fantasy films, Eskil Vogt’s Norwegian horror is an unnerving and unique tale that may be slow to unravel but does so towards some memorable and unexpected outcomes that makes The Innocents a prime candidate for a sub-par Hollywood remake in the near future.
Released straight to Disney+/Hulu, you would have been right to think Fresh was going to be nothing more than a low-end direct to video horror but thanks to some imaginative direction from Mimi Cave, a star making turn from Daisy Edgar-Jones and a career best performance from an against type Sebastian Stan, Fresh managed to provide an experience that is something exactly like its title promised.
8. Everybody’s Oma
One of the Australian films of the year, Jason van Genderen heartwarming and heartbreaking documentary that focuses on his own mothers battle with Dementia is a raw and honest piece of film-making that should hopefully find a large audience over the coming months/years.
Another surprisingly great horror addition to the 2022 release schedule, Zach Cregger’s horror/comedy is best watched with as little pre-knowledge as possible as we join rising star Georgina Campbell’s Tess on an AirBnB trip she is not likely to forget. The perfect mix of scares of laughs.
6. Nightmare Alley
Guillermo del Toro’s lavish remake was an unfortunate box office dud but the multi-Oscar nominated epic is one of the most well put together and effective Hollywood efforts of the year that deserves to find a bigger audience now the initial dust has settled. A slow-moving but methodical thriller, Nightmare Alley also allows Bradley Cooper a chance to shine with his best lead turn yet.
5. The Stranger
An Australian production that has been allowed to shine on the global stage thanks to its release worldwide via Netflix, The Stranger is a moody and atmospheric experience that creates one of the most tension riddled cinematic rides of 2022, even if its snail-like pace may be a turn-off for some.
4. Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Adventure
A beautifully put together animated ode to his childhood and the golden era of the space age, Richard Linklater’s Netflix exclusive may not have made mainstream waves but its a touching, funny and charming feature that should be regarded as one of the best films of the director’s well-noted career.
3. All Quiet on the Western Front
A far better film that anyone might have expected or that it has any right to be, Edward Berger’s stunning World War 1 epic is a hauntingly staged feature that is one of the best original films yet released on the Netflix platform. Even if you think you’ve seen this story before, All Quiet on the Western Front should be considered must-see viewing.
2. Top Gun: Maverick
Not in the wildest imaginations of the most passionate fans would anyone have ever expected the long-delayed and long time coming Top Gun: Maverick to be the globally beloved and critically lauded blockbuster event it ended up being. The perfect film for the big screen experience, young or old, Top Gun fans or not, Maverick is must-see cinema and further proof that Tom Cruise is a living and breathing cinematic treasure.
1. The Batman
Did we need another Batman film? If you’d have asked me prior to watching Matt Reeve’s noir masterpiece I would’ve likely have said no but I am glad there are others that know better as this Seven meets the capped crusader outing is one of the most impressive feats of Hollywood film-making over the last few years and sets up future instalments in an exciting fashion, making for one of the most hotly anticipated new series of the current era.
10 Worst Films of 2022
10. House of Gucci
It’s hard to imagine that director Ridley Scott made the really quite good medieval dramatic epic The Last Duel and this bizarre and cringe-inducing biopic in the same year. A star-studded cast and loaded story weren’t enough to help Scott, who with The House of Gucci unleashed one of his worst ever films on the masses.
9. Don’t Worry Darling
If for nothing else Don’t Worry Darling deserves a spot on this list purely based around the fact Olivia Wilde’s sophomore directional outing should’ve been a sure-fire hit. A muddled story that gets worse as it goes, this Stepford Wives like sci-fi thriller had the world at its feet but despite all the press attention, it managed to be nothing more than a colourful but dull experience with very few saving graces.
Teaming up with talented Australian director Julius Avery, Sylvester Stallone would’ve hoped for a much better final result than what we got here with this Amazon released superhero feature that squanders a great premise on a cookie-cutter production that fails to come to life in any way, shape or form. A massive letdown.
A dire horror remake, Firestarter is a lifeless and imagination-free genre exercise that must surely rank as one of the worst mainstream Stephen King adaptations of all time.
6. Halloween Ends
After a somewhat promising start, Halloween Ends sees David Gordon Green and Danny McBride’s reimagining of John Carpenter’s classic property come to a close in the worst way possible. It’s hard to know if the creative forces behind this whole shebang are having a laugh at our expense but if their intentions were to craft a genuinely good horror and fitting tribute to what’s come before, shame on them.
5. Me Time
The dream team no one ever asked to see work together, Mark Wahlberg and Kevin Hart combine forces to gift us with one of the most unfunny comedies you’re ever likely to lay witness to. The type of quality control free Netflix original that has ensured the company has a tougher time than it need to have convincing us of its original properties worthiness, Me Time is a tortuous exercise in bad Hollywood film going experiences.
An Australian film with a lot of promise but not a lot outside of that, this Zac Efron starring feature set in an unspecified future timeline looks like it provided its leading man with some tough working conditions that sadly make for even tougher viewing conditions that will leave audiences bored well and truly before the end game.
It pains me to put Loveland (also known as Expired) here as director Ivan Sen is a seriously talented Australian filmmaking voice but his high-reaching dramatic sci-fi is a disastrously bad example of a director losing his way.
2. The Bubble
A new low for director Judd Apatow, this covid-themed Netflix comedy with an all-star cast is a far too long painstakingly unfunny affair that suggests Apatow may never again deliver the type of strong films he made his name with in the early 2000’s.
It’s morbin time! Sign up if you want to watch one of the worst blockbuster films you’d ever fear too see.
Joseph Kosinski (Top Gun: Maverick)
With Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski could’ve easily opted for the easy way out with a CGI infested Hollywood blockbuster but he and his leading man ensured they did their best to bring the spectacle in a big way with their action thriller knocking it out of the park with a feast for the senses. Managing to somehow balance nostalgia with a strong sense of new purpose and direction, Kosinski delivered the best film yet of his exciting career.
Bradley Cooper (Nightmare Alley)
Cooper’s understated and impressively layered turn as the troubled Stanton Carlisle in Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley is the finest piece of work yet for the beloved Hollywood actor. Culminating in one of the most unforgettable final few minutes of a characters conclusion at the end of the film, Cooper may not have gotten the awards for his performance but there’s a strong chance in the years too come the true quality of his work here will be rediscovered.
Florence Pugh (The Wonder & Don’t Worry Darling)
The films themselves may have been disappointing but Don’t Worry Darling and The Wonder offered up further proof that Pugh is one of the most charismatic and talented actresses operating right now. With the soon to be released Puss in Boots: The Last Wish to hit over the Xmas period, 2022 has been a busy year for the young actress who is bound for Oscar glory in the near future.
David Gordon Green (Halloween Ends)
A talented indie director who has struck comedy gold in the TV space, David Gordon Green is a unique voice that has for some reason sullied his name with three progressively worse Halloween films that culminated this year in the diabolically bad Halloween Ends. One can only hope that Green gets back on track soon but Halloween Ends might just have marked a worrying downward spiral for the once promising filmmaker.
Jared Leto (Morbius)
Watching Morbius it’s impossible to imagine that its lead Jared Leto is actually an Oscar winning actor. A renowned method actor, I can’t exactly imagine what was going through Leto’s head here but on final results, his turn in the years worst film is one that can never be forgiven.
Olivia Wilde (Don’t Worry Darling)
Overseeing the extremely disappointing Don’t Worry Darling as well as playing the films key supporting character Bunny in a way that makes you wonder what happened to the once bright light we saw in the likes of Tron: Legacy, Meadowland and mini-series Vinyl, Olivia Wilde missed the mark in a big way in 2022 and here’s hoping she can get back on track in the near future after a few lean years.
3 Underrated Films
3. Everybody’s Oma
A little Australian film that deserves a much bigger audience, there’s not going to be many who would watch this documentary without being affected in a significant way. You might never have heard of it but Everybody’s Oma deserves your attention.
2. Bullet Train
It is no masterpiece but future cult favourite Bullet Train is a lot of fun and far better than many critics gave it credit for. Featuring a fun laid back Brad Pitt and a bunch of scene-stealing side characters. Bullet Train is a Tarantino light ride worth taking.
1. Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Adventure
I am still genuinely surprised at how few people I know have seen Richard Linklater’s wonderful animated adventure or how few critics I see talking about it. Apollo 10 1/2 may not be a film with an agenda or big message but it’s one of the most simply enjoyable and whimsical films of 2022.
3 Overrated Films
3. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
It wasn’t critically lauded but audiences and critics have been far too kind to Sam Raimi’s messy and uninspiring Marvel outing that wasted a great set-up on a sub-par experience that made one question if the new era of Marvel will ever be able to get back on the right track.
2. The Wonder
A Netflix awards baiter that is more sleep-inducing than awe-inspiring, The Wonder was saved from the doldrums by a memorable Florence Pugh turn but outside of that there wasn’t a lot to write home about with this film.
1. Everything Everywhere All at Once
I risk being mobbed here by passionate film fans but without going on a long-winded rant, 2022’s most-talked about crowdpleaser that is a genuine chance at Oscar glory is sadly a victim of being showered with far too much praise. A film that outstays its welcome by a good 20-30 minutes and runs some jokes into the ground over and over, Everything Everywhere All at Once isn’t a bad film by any means but it’s not the flawless classic everyone wants you to believe it is without question.
Australian Film of the Year
Further proof that Australia knows how to do dark and depressing better than anyone, Netflix’s based on a true story crime thriller is a memorable ride that stands out in an otherwise poor year for local feature offerings.
Don’t Worry Darling
So much potential laid within the grasp of Don’t Worry Darling but barely any of it was recognised in the final product. In another universe Olivia Wilde’s film could’ve been a real cultural phenomenon but there’s nothing in the final product that suggests this film reached its potential.
Top Gun: Maverick
There was hope from many that Top Gun: Maverick would be good but there would have been few brave enough to predict just how good Maverick was. A brilliant return to the skies and a timely reminder of the type of film people want to see on the big screen, Maverick is a shining light of 2022 films of which many didn’t hit the mark.
Good luck figuring out what is going on here (in a good way) Everything Everywhere All at Once’s most recognisable posters is a work of trippy art that perfectly represents the film at hand.
Unimaginative is one word but most tellingly about this school student like poster is the fact they have done their best to hide the Fantastic Beasts brand and instead try and lure people in the Dumbledore name and worst of all the Hogwarts imagery that plays a minor part in the film at hand.
A trailer that gets you keen for the film its promoting while keeping some mystery about exactly what is happening or who is who, Barbarian’s trailer is a neatly made product for a film that surprised many.
I just can’t. There is just no possible way this new Transformers outing can be good. A sad example of what’s wrong with a lot of Hollywood films right now.
Top 3 Scenes of 2022 (SPOILERS)
3. Top Gun: Maverick – Mavericks Speed Run
If Maverick showing everyone how it should be done in both an act of defiance and inspiration doesn’t get your heart racing, I am sorry but are you even alive? A brilliantly staged, edited and shot sequence, the key moment to Top Gun’s return is the type of blockbuster filmmaking many other films would die to have produced.
2. Barbarian – House Measurement Scene
Right in the midst of some truly horrific and unnerving sequences lays a bizarrely hilarious scene involving Justin Long’s detestable actor AJ start to measure up his house’s floor space for potential sale despite the fact he is clearly measuring in places that should be reason enough for him to go running to the police.
1. The Batman – Opening & Montage
Any lingering doubts about the validity of a new Batman movie coming our way were quickly put to bed by Matt Reeves and his team after a stunning opening sequence that was both haunting and memorable. Bought to life by visionary cinematography, Reeves direction and Michael Giacchino instantly iconic score, The Batman started with a bang and never let up.
What were your favourite or least favourite films of 2022? Let me know in the comments below!
Announcement – this will be the final post on site for 2022 and a few weeks into 2023. See you at the movies!
Nice top !
I’m so happy to see “Nightmare Alley” at a good level. And that confirms I need to see “The Stranger” on Netflix.
A must-watch that one mate. Let me know what you think when you catch it.
I sure will. And I’ll make a review too. 😉
Great lists! I managed to avoid all on the worst movies list except Firestarter. I knew better but watched it anyway. And I’m pretty happy with my watchlist which is comprised of most of the ones you list. Definitely glad to see All Quiet on the Western Front on the list, that movie would beat out Maverick on my list (haven’t seen The Batman yet). Maverick was a good one, a fun movie my wife and I enjoyed for date night. The only thing that tossed me for a loop was the Transformers trailer. I watched it to see how bad it would be and it only made me want to take my son to see it. Seems kind of brainless, but the robot action looks awesome, which is what it seems it should be.
I really like what you have to say! Can’t say I completely agree with the order but thats ok! Keep doing what your doing!
Agree with a lot of these, particularly “Maverick.” I stumbled across “Gold” and came to the conclusion it would have been better as a short story because as a film, it truly was a waste of time.
You’re spot on about Gold! Being drawn out into a feature length product really held it back as it badly struggled to fill the time. There was potential there but they weren’t unable to “dig” it up.