The Best Movies of 2022

The 95th Academy Awards are tonight!  Are any of Wylie Writes’ favourite flicks on the list of nominees?  Have some of these titles have already been praised by the Academy Awards?  Are there any hidden gems that may have not made the cut?  The answers are: yes, yes and absolutely!

The critics at Wylie Writes have finally weighed in on the best movies of 2022. Remember, click the highlighted titles to read their reviews!

Addison Wylie

Honourable Mentions: After YangBlonde, Funny PagesGood Luck to You, Leo GrandeNinjababy

#10. We’re All Going to the World’s Fair
#9. The Swimmers
#8. Smile
#7. Turning Red
#6. Hustle

#5. Cyrano

Cyrano got lost in the shuffle, and it’s really unfortunate considering how excellent it is.  Joe Wright, an underappreciated filmmaker, adapts the material so wonderfully; using lavish sets and costuming to create a visibly memorable flick and being gifted extraordinary performances by his experienced cast.  Peter Dinklage should’ve swept the awards circuit  for Best Actor.

#4. The Worst Person in the World

Simply one of the best break-up movies ever made. Joachim Trier’s Oscar-nominated The Worst Person in the World feels as if it stems from very personal territories of love, heartbreak, humour, and pain.  And, amazingly enough, it finds romance in remorse – earning its place as a contemporary classic on how to love others and yourself.

#3. Everything Everywhere All At Once

Watching Everything Everywhere All at Once is like watching someone paint a masterpiece.  Led with sheer passion and confidence from filmmaking duo Daniels, this movie works on a creative frequency like no other recent film has, yet there’s always an unbelievably emotional connection to the audience through its humour and heart.

#2. Eternal Spring

Eternal Spring is a nerve-wracking thrill ride that’s breathtakingly animated. Jason Loftus’ documentary is also a meditative movie about how different art can be used to connect with those who have experienced shared trauma and have previously had no outlet to discuss suppressed memories.

#1. Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America

Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America is an unflinching breakdown of American history and an empathetic reach to those who have suffered through it.  Lawyer Jeffery Robinson is brilliant as the documentary’s guide, and filmmakers Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler collaborate to make one of the best examinations of humanity I’ve ever seen.

Sky Wylie

As someone who edits the work of Wylie Writes, I too watch a lot of movies – usually with Addison.  Here’s my list:

#10. Barbarian
#9. Cha Cha Real Smooth
#8. Good Luck to You, Leo Grande
#7. The Swimmers
#6. Deadstream
#5. Dual
#4. X
#3. Men
#2. Pearl
#1. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Trevor Chartrand

Preface: Being a father and a small business owner has left very little time for movie-watching this year, even casually.  Of all the 2022 films I did find time to see, these are my best picks – in no particular order. 

Bullet Train

Admittedly, this shallow action flick is pretty forgettable, but a fun ride overall.  Helmed by the stuntman-turned-director David Leitch, Bullet Train is an exciting, breezy watch, with tight pacing and a fantastic cast.  The not-so-subtle themes of good and bad luck are ever-present in this film;  a topic Leitch can’t seem to get away from, as if he hadn’t explored the notion enough with Domino in Deadpool 2.  Overall, Bullet Train is a smooth ensemble action/thriller that harkens back to the days before cinematic universes and decade-spanning franchises, reminiscent of simpler films like 2006’s Lucky Number Slevin. 

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

While not quite as grounded as Daniel Craig’s first outing as Benoit Blanc, Rian Johnson has brought us an acceptable enough satirical sequel with Glass Onion.  Just like with his first film, Johnson plays with the mystery genre’s structure to tell his story, in this case with a time jump that reveals important story pieces out of order.  This second entry is more exaggerated, more over-the-top, featuring characters who lean further from reality than before – almost too far, but that line hasn’t been crossed yet.  While Glass Onion may be slightly weaker than Knives Out, it’s still compelling, if only for Craig’s exceptional scenery-chewing performance alone. 

The Batman

A darker take on the Dark Knight, Matt Reeves approaches this film as a detective story first, painting a grimy picture of Gotham and all of its corruption along the way.  The length of the film is noticeable, and pacing is a mild problem – but on a rewatch I think the film’s most fatal flaw is that it’s not quite different enough to discern it from Nolan’s trilogy, which is barely ten years old at this point.  Despite darker ‘mood lighting,’ a great deal of The Batman’s narrative focuses on corruption in Gotham, which was already a key story feature of the Christian Bale films. To be fair, this first film does a lot of moody world-building, and a next entry will hopefully steer this series in new directions to make Robert Pattinson’s Batman feel more unique.  Despite this, The Batman is a heavy-hitting, enjoyable film and hopefully the beginning of an epic series.

Jeff Ching

#10. Fire of Love (****)

The most immersive theatrical experience was not a trip to an IMAX theatre for Avatar: The Way of Water – it was a trip to Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox to see Fire of Love.  The visuals are jaw dropping, trippy, overwhelming, and sometimes downright terrifying; especially when you see the two crazy volcanologists just chillin’ by a volcano as lava erupts right behind them.  I’ve seen lots of volcano footage, but never captured like this.  It’s also the best love story ever told about two volcanologists…though I feel like it wins that award by default.  What a fascinating couple!  A tragic end, but a unique romance.   

#9. Vengeance (****)

This is my pick for the funniest, smartest, and most politically relevant comedy of the year.  Writer/director BJ Novak (The Office U.S.) has a lot to say about the current state of America, and ultimately his biggest concern is the divide and hatred between the conservatives and liberals.  Vengeance fairly takes shots at both sides, has fun with stereotypes, but it’s ultimately a beautiful friendship story between people with opposing views. Here’s a  sentence I never thought I’d write: Ashton Kutcher was robbed of a best supporting actor nomination!

#8. Babylon (****)

If I can borrow from YouTube’s Adam Does Movies channel and modify his metaphor a bit: Babylon is the equivalent of Singin’ in the Rain, The Wolf of Wall Street, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Barbarian having a giant orgy, and giving birth to a crack baby.  I mention Barbarian, because Babylon has a 20ish-minute stretch that was truly scarier than any horror movie this year.  This is far from your typical “the magic of cinema” type movies;  Babylon is utterly bonkers.  It may have out crazy’d Everything Everywhere All at Once.  I was not looking forward to a thee hour movie.  I walked into the movie in a tired, pissy mood but, three hours later, I walked out energized.

#7. Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes (****1/2)

What a strange, whimsical, unique, and incredibly well-shot time travel movie from Japan!  What would you do if you turned on the TV and then saw yourself…two minutes in the future?  How might you better your present situation in life, with knowledge of two minutes in the future?  This is the most uniquely, low key time travel movie, giving off the illusion that the whole movie was captured in one take.  It’s probably one of the lowest budget time travel movies, yet the most creative, and it isn’t afraid to be preposterously silly.  Also a contender for funniest time travel movie ever.

#6. Stutz (****1/2)

Actor Jonah Hill has long struggled with anxiety and depression, and has seen countless therapists who didn’t help.  But then, one day he met Phil Stutz who’s methods and tools have helped him immensely, and now Hill has made a documentary about him.  The main goal of the movie is the hope that it can help out others who also struggle with their mental health.  I don’t know enough about psychology to comment on how effective Stutz’s methods are, but what made this movie resonate with me is the friendship between Jonah Hill and Stutz.  They’re so honest and vulnerable, and even their comedic chemistry is fantastic.  This is the bromance of the year.   

#5. After Yang (****1/2)

What a beautiful, meditative, poetic, existential movie about artificial intelligence.  For once, we get an AI movie not about robots turning on humanity, but a thoughtful story about how an android tries to understand the world and his place in it, his relationship with his human family and, most importantly, his memories that he holds on to and cherishes.  It’s directed by Kogonada, who has such a unique filmmaking style with stunningly framed shots and some very cool visual effects.  I hope that in due time, film academia will study this dude when it comes to auteur theory.  He’s directed the best architecture friendship movie with Columbus, and now the most human AI movie ever made with After Yang. 

#4. The Fallout (****1/2)

If there was one drama that was truly robbed of award consideration, The Fallout is it.  It’s depressing how frequently we get news stories about mass shootings.  That’s why The Fallout is such a relevant movie, telling the story of the aftermath of a school shooting.  It’s not exploitative;  the shooting takes place within the first five mins, offscreen.  This movie is about the humanity of the survivors;  the trauma, grief and PTSD that’s likely to follow them for the rest of their lives.  At the same time, the movie’s also hopeful, sweet, and has great moments of comic relief.  It’s not an easy watch, but it’s powerful, unforgettable, and pretty damn close to perfection. 

#3. The Swearing Jar (****1/2)

This is the best romantic drama/comedy I’ve seen in a long time, with such magnetic chemistry between the two leads.  It’s also in the subgenre of low key realistic musicals (the kind of musical that doesn’t have the contrivance of people breaking into musical numbers that doesn’t fit in with real life), popularized by the movie Once.  It has an unconventional structure of time jumps and a slight puzzle element to it.  By the end credits, I was anxious to watch the movie again with my full knowledge of the entire picture.  Despite knowing everything that’ll happen second time, it sure as hell didn’t stop my face from leaking water.    

#2. Strawberry Mansion (*****)

I know that calling a movie the “trippiest”, or “the most 420-friendly movie” may not be the most intellectual reason to have a movie take the second spot on my list, but I just loved Strawberry Mansion.  Surreal fever dream movies can sometimes decline in quality as you sober up, but not with this one.   I got so lost into the dream world, that I never wanted to leave.  This is a delightfully trippy movie, and I don’t remember the last time I used that phrase.  It’s utterly mesmerizing, and stunningly beautiful to look at.  There’s a little Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (on LSD), a little David Lynch and a little Black Mirror.

#1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (*****)

What’s left to say that hasn’t already been said about this movie;  a movie that is so unusual, so unlike anything else that’s come along in the last…well, forever.  Calling the writers/directors (The Daniels) outside-the-box thinkers is the ultimate understatement.  They are trillions of lightyears outside the figurative box…in another dimension…on DMT.  While most Hollywood movies play it safe, The Daniels tossed the rulebook in the garbage;  absolutely anything goes and, boy, do they take huge risks.  They’ve pulled off a movie that’s wildly entertaining, absolutely bonkers, absurdly silly, raunchy and, on the same token, mind-blowing, profound, contemplative, philosophical and tear-jerking.  I think I’ll find a spot on my top ten of all time for Everything Everywhere All At Once.

Jolie Featherstone:

#10. Pearl

#9. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

#8. Turning Red

#7. Ambulance

#6. She Said

#5. Everything Everywhere All at Once

#4. Nope

#3. The Woman King

#2. Cyrano

#1. The Worst Person in the World

The Worst Person in the World is a contemporary bildungsroman.  It has the makings of a modern classic.  I suspect that it will become an initiation to the next generations of cinephiles and film students, much like other generation-defining films of previous years have become.  It is a fearless yet tender spiritual exploration of the human condition in our day and age.  It will resonate deeply with Gen X-ers and Millenials, particularly women.  Yet, the themes of love, loss, regret, uncertainty, and meaning transcend the restrictions of age, gender, etc.  It is profoundly moving, and yet, even in it’s most bittersweet moments, it is also life-affirming.  Life is messy.  Humans are flawed.  But, there is beauty and significance in even the “smallest” of moments.

Most Fun in the Theatre: Ambulance, Top Gun: Maverick, Violent Night, Pearl

The Crowd-pleaser: The Fabelmans

Most vibey: Moonage Daydream

Most inspiring: All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

Shannon Page

The Films That Made the Biggest Impact:

#3. Everything Everywhere All at Once

#2. Bones and All

#1. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

Documentarian Laura Poitras’ portrait of artist and activist Nan Goldin is an urgent and uplifting reminder of the power of art and protest to inspire change.  It’s also a moving exploration of the opioid crisis.  Combining interviews, photographs, and fly-on-the-wall footage of meetings and protests, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed covers a lot of ground in it’s relatively short runtime.  Nan’s drive and determination is infectious, and the story of the downfall of the rich and powerful Sackler family is deeply satisfying.


Do You Tweet? Follow These Tweeple:

Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie
Sky Wylie: @SkyBaby5
Trevor Chartrand: @OhHaiTrebor
Jolie Featherstone: @TOFilmFiles
Shannon Page: @ShannonEvePage

Read more of Jeff Ching’s thoughts on film at The Ching of Comedy’s blog.

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