REEL TALKER’s 2022 End of Year “Best” Movies & Shows

The year is almost over. 2022 came and went like a blur. It did leave some memorable movies and TV shows behind for us. This was a strong year in both cinema and television.

What better way to honor a great TV and movie year than to give some flowers to the “best” of this year. I compiled a list of favorite shows and movies. Some split into categories, other into a top 10 list. Plus, plenty of honorable mentions. Without further ado, here are the BEST that 2022 had to offer.

TOP TEN MOVIES OF 2022:

10. FALL:

If you’re looking for self-torture, that’s what Fall is for. No movie made me feel as queasy and claustrophobic as Fall did. You might ask, why would anyone sign up for this? Good question. There is something devious and pleasing about a film eliciting such vigorous emotions. It was the best thrill ride of the year and an entertaining plot with some interesting twists.

9. WATCHER:

One the more underrated and under-the-radar film of 2022, maybe because it released in the first quarter of the year? Either way, this is a heck of an intriguing psychological thriller. Starring Mika Monroe as a newlywed young American woman that’s trying to start a new life with her husband in Bucharest, Romania. She’s not settling in as she expected, instead she believes she’s being stalked. Monroe is excellent and the film leaved you feeling uneasy but at the same time glued to the screen.

8. DON’T WORRY DARLING:

The much talked about film from Olivia Wilde. It’s unfortunate personal drama overshadowed this fascinating thriller. Fantastic cast and performances lead by Florence Pugh and Harry Styles. Set in an utopian makeshift world, everything you see is not what it seems. We live vicariously through Pugh’s character Alice, as she navigates through the mysteriously bizarre happenings of the world around her. This film had me captivated till the final scene.

7. WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING:

I didn’t read the novel, so this was purely from a movie watching experience. I thought the film had a great connection between humans and nature, something about the girl living in the swaps was both unsettling and peaceful. It’s a well-crafted romantic-thriller. It would be as if Nicholas Sparks wrote an edgy romance. I liked the actors in this. Daisy Edgar-Jones was perfectly cast in the lead role of Kya. Ultimately it’s a dark love story with layers and suspense.

6. THE BATMAN:

The wait was worth it. Matt Reeves delivers a new version of the Bat we haven’t quite seen before. It’s a gothic vibe to the look, characters and story. Robert Pattinson proved all doubters wrong and does a fantastic fresh take on Batman, It’s as dark of a portrayal of the Batman and Gotham as we have seen. Zoe Kravitz is the wildcard stand out of the film, in her fantastic portrayal of Catwoman. The film is mysterious and highly satisfying. I loved The Batman for what it is. A really good movie that happens to be a superhero film.

5. TOP GUN: MAVERICK:

The nostalgia of Maverick is unlike any sequel has managed to accomplish. This might very well be the best movie sequel of a successful original, ever. You had to have Tom Cruise return, obviously, but it’s the rest of the new fresh blood that injects energy to this franchise. The visuals are spectacular. The flights are exhilarating. It’s simply a movie that gives you all the good kinda feels. What a fun ride this is. If you liked the original, you’ll love this one.

4. GIGI & NATE:

No movie of 2022 made me as emotional as Gigi & Nate. A beautiful story, based on true events, of a young quadriplegic man and his connection to his service animal monkey. Wonderfully acted by Charlie Rowe. I fell in love with Gigi (monkey) and Nate’s (Rowe) relationship. It’s a movie that has an important message about the importance of service animals and the laws that affect them. IU haven’t cried watching a movie in a long time as I did watching Gigi and Nate. Heartbreaking, beautiful and unforgettable.

3. ELVIS:

When we are talking about memorable performances of 2022, it starts and ends with Austin Butler in Elvis. An unforgettable performance and movie experience. Butler makes Elvis come to life. Director Baz Luhrmann adds the necessary flair. Elvis is what you’d want from a movie of this caliber and namesake. Great music, entertaining and memorable. Butler nails Elvis in a star-making performance. The movie was very enjoyable, whether you’re an Elvis lover or not.

2. CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH:

A home run from writer, director and star Cooper Raiff. Cha Cha is a feel-good movie with characters and story that are endearing and relatable. The film shares a message love is incredible, but at the same time it sucks. Most importantly love isn’t linear and timing can make or break it. I just loved this movie. It was well-written, well cast, and engaging all-around. I felt this was Dakota Johnson’s best role yet. I fell in love with this film and it certainly deserved more attention than it recieved. One of the most true-to-life films of the year.

1. PLEASURE:

Pleasure is not only the most unique movie of the year, it’s the best one. Never has the porn industry been depicted as Ninja Thyberg does with this film. The ugly and appealing and everything else in between about the the eporn industry. Lead actress Sofia Kappel is mesmerizing. The rawness and fearlessness she displays in the role is admirable. The movie is hypnotizing. It’s so good that it feels like a scripted narrative documentary. It’s a must-see movie (for mature audiences). Pleasure is an experience.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Movies that were under consideration, but just missed out the top ten:

  • Smile
  • Don’t Make Me Go
  • Barbarian
  • Storied Life of AJ Fikry
  • Collide
  • The Immaculate Room
  • Emily the Criminal
  • I Love My Dad

BEST PERFORMANCE:

Austin Butler. He literally became Elvis. The look was uncanny, the mannerisms equally on par. He went from a rather unknown actor to a bonafide superstar. The undeniable commitment to the role was noticeable. Butler has arrived. I can’t see how he isn’t nominated for an Oscar. It’s memorable and doing lvis right is hard, doing Elvis spot-on is nearly impossible, but Butler did it.

FAVORITE PERFORMANCE:

Cooper Raiff in Cha Cha Real Smooth. I’m still not sure if I was more impressed by the film or Cooper Raiff’s performance. Probably both. He was so charming and personable. Not often you can relate to a movie character that feels so real. There is no denying that Raiff wrote this movie from his heart, as it felt very personal. There are many coming-of-age and romantic dramas, but few compare to the authenticity and charm and heartbreak of Cha Cha Real Smooth, all that can mainly be credited to Raiff.

UNDERRATED PERFORMANCE:

Mika Monroe in Watcher. The subtle yet powerful performance she delivered as a woman lost in a new country and in fear of her life. Mika takes you on a uneasy rollercoaster of emotions, I felt her emotions every step of the way, not because I could relate, but the way she emitted through the screen. It was a fantastic role for her and a very underrated movie. I was very impressed.

PERFORMANCE THAT DIDN’T GET DESERVED RECOGNITION:

John Boyega delivered a thunderous performance in Breaking. Playing a man that holds up a bank. It’s one of those physically and emotionally charged performances where you feel Boyega’s raw emotion beaming through the screen. I’m really surprised this film and especially Boyega didn’t receive the attention and acclaim for it. It’s one of the better performances of 2022, so I will certainly give it my attention.

MOST INTERESTING PERFORMANCE:

Critics have been shitting on Blonde, but Ana de Armas’ performance goes deep. She completely transformed into Marilyn Monroe. She looked the part and captured the essence of Monroe. The commitment to the role was undeniable. de Armas bared it all emotionally and physically. It’s hard to encompass all that Monroe is, but de Armas did as good of a job as possible. For any that might have doubted that a Latina wasn’t right for this role, de Armas proved you all very wrong. When you can’t imagine anyone else playing a role, that says it all.

BREAKOUT PERFORMANCE:

Sofia Kappel was absolutely dynamite in Pleasure. Most never heard her name prior to the film and now she’s unforgettable. The bravery and boldness to take on the role she did is admirable. Playing a porn star, I’d imagine would be tricky, but heer raw depiction of a young woman being thrust into a world of unknown and discovering herself in the process was fascinating to watch. The talent is undeniable, so is Kappel.

PERFORMANCE THAT SURPRISED:

Aubrey Plaza was not what I expected to get in Emily the Criminal. When I think of Plaza I think comedy, deadpan dry humor, and very expressive facials. Emily the Criminal is tense, dramatic with a dark plot. So how does the actress synonymous for her comedy fit in the lead role here? She’s perfect. I wasn’t sure I’d ever see Plaza in a serious thriller like this, much less in a leading role that’s anything but comedic. She nails it and has heer career best performance. I love that she was able to showcase her range aas aan actor and now has potentially made a Matthew McConaughey-esque turn in her career.

MOVIE THAT SURPRISED:

Two come to mind. The Immaculate Room and Vengeance. The Immaculate Room takes place in a brightly lit empty room for 90% of it. Two characters and a dedicated performances by Emile Hirsch and Kate Bosworth. They had fantastic chemistry and made the seemingly mundane tension packled. Credit to filmmaker Mukunda Dewil for posing the concept and idea of how far would you go to claim a big money prize? It’s a great psychological proposition. I found this film very interesting.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Vengeance, but I was pleasantly surprised with all that it offered. A stellar cast with a plot that could have easily gone off-the-rails, but it didn’t, thanks to the filmmaker and star of the film B.J. Novak. Weird and colorful characters, plus a cleverly executed plot made this film intriguing and entertaining.

MOST MEMORABLE SCENE:

The most memorable scene(s) come from an interesting independent film you probably didn’t hear about, Get Away if You Can. The film has a personal and experimental feel to it. It stars Terrence Martin and Dominique Braun, an actual real-life married couple. The main scene that still stands out to me is the ending sex scene. It was one of the most beautifully shot and real looking sex scenes I’ve seen in a movie. I was convinced it was actually real sex, but contrary to my belief, the sources themselves denied that. Credit to them for making it look so real and passionate. It was super hot. Not to mention the gorgeous island beachside setting. The scene scene from the same film is a quick masturbation scene with Domi. What made it unique was the angle it was conducted and shot in. I’ve never seen it in a movie shot and depicted as it was. Very creative cinematography and tastefully sexy. Credit to Terrence and Domi who made a bold choice to depict it all and bare it all. They made sex on-screen look and feel so authentic.

MOVIE I COULDN’T GET OUT OF MY MIND:

Two movies stand out to me and each for very different reasons. The Stories Life of AJ Fikry was not a movie on my radar initially. It’s based on a novel, which I didn’t read, so the movie was the introduction to the story for me. I really loved the plot and characters, especially the ones played wonderfully by Lucy Hale and Kunal Nayyar. It’s a sweet movie with heartbreak and romance. It has this comfortable quiet nostalgic setting, plus an ending that stays with you and making you think a little after the credits roll.

Top Gun: Maverick was a favorite of many. Nostalgia at its finest, but decades after the original. As mentioned above, this film trumps the original, delivers and exceeded expectations. It’s fitting for a new generation, while also catering to fans of the original, which was also a major hit. Maverick just had a winning formula all-around. You talk about a fun and highly satisfying watching experience, that’s exactly what Maverick is.

WORST MOVIE EXPERIENCE:

Two stand above the rest. First I’ll start with the biggest WTF and worst watching experience which was Crimes of the Future. Gross, grotesque and utterly stupid film. I get it, David Cronenberg has a twisted taste in filmmaking, some actually enjoy his work. He’s done some decent stuff, but this is just bizarre, and not in a good way. Why would anyone find caricatures with mangled mutations and organs glued to random parts of the face and body. An ear on the forehead? I’ll stop.

Shame on everyone involved with the disaster pile of trash that is Big Gold Brick. I have no idea what this attempt for a movie is or what it tried to accomplish. I’m stunned that quality famous actors such as Andy Garcia, Oscar Isaac, Lucy Hale and Megan Fox. I honestly can’t explain or care to figure out what this thing was supposed to be about. This is as if a goofy theater class session was filmed and proclaimed a movie. Absolutely abysmal.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT:

Two come to mind. Thor: Love and Thunder and Nope. Both movies had super high expectations and were supposed to be the top movies of the summer. Love and Thunder was nonsensical garbage. Aside from the wasted terrific outing from Christian Bale. The movie didn’t know what identity to take on, emasculated Thor and turned him into a clown.

I had high expectations for Nope based on the previous history of Jordan Peele. Nope wanted to be so ambitious it lost track of it’s direction. All this hype and buildup for a ridiculous “entity” to parachute (pun intended) in and attempt to scare. This was Peele trying to outsmart himself with something clever and imaginative, which in turn was neither clever or imaginative.

WTF DID I JUST WATCH:

Three Thousand Years of Longing felt about three thousand years of confusion. Lead by stellar actors in Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton, they were terribly misused here. I mean for fucks sake, Elba plays a genie?! WTF. The story is so hard to get into and follow. Just a messy and confusing storyline. The ending is salvageable, but I didn’t even care by then.

AWARDS FAVORITE THAT ISN’T SO GREAT:

The buzz is already loud and clear about how fantastic The Fabelmans is. It’s not. It’s a two and a half hour entitled snoozefest. This is Spielberg patting himself on the back cinematically. A look at me and my genius showcase. Unrelatable characters, privileged and smarter-than-you with all the fancy technical jargon dialogue. I found this film off-putting. A look at how a genius came to be! No thanks to the Fabelmans aka Spielberg’s.

FAVORITE DOCUMENTARY:

2022 was a good year for documentaries. It was tough to narrow down a favorite. Under consideration were Mickey Mouse: The Story of a Mouse, Retrograde and Wildcat, but my personal favorite was The Balcony. A fascinating and unique Polish documentary. It’s the simplest of concepts, a man puts a camera on his balcony and talks to people walking by and capturing every moment of it. It’s so interesting to see what comes of each interaction and how people tend to open up just by someone engaging in a conversation with them and asking how they are doing. Such an intriguing watch and a movie depicting humanity in the rawest most natural form.

TV SERIES:

I’ll shine some light on the new series that debut in 2022. Ongoing shows such as The Crown, Ted Lasso and Succession get enough love. Here are the new shows that debut in 2022 that made the right impression.

5. SLOW HORSES (Apple TV+):

Gary Oldman in a TV series? Sign me up. Slow Horses is high-end British comedy, with a suspenseful spy-drama backdrop. A cool plot centering on the dumping ground department of the MI5. Joining Oldman is joined in the lead by the talented Jack Lowden and strong supporting cast that includes Kristin Scott Thomas and Saskia Reeves. This show has plenty of humor but also manages some strong drama and plenty of intrigue.

4. PAM & TOMMY (Hulu):

The sex tape of all sex tapes. Pam and Tommy’s infamous sex tape incident that would years later impact a new generation and the popularity? of sex tapes. Lily James and Sebastian Stan transform into two of the most fascinating and uber famous celebrities of the 90’s Pamela Anderson and rocker Tommy Lee. James and Stan are amazing in their spot-on look and portrayals of Pam and Tommy. The story of the stolen sex tape is wild and this series delivers on that. Highly watchable.

3. CLAIM TO FAME (Fox):

Who knew Fox found themselves a gem in their attempt to fill-in the hour gap between The Bachelorette and the local news. Claim to Fame ended up being more intriguing than the Bachelorette. A fun concept of gathering individuals into a house that all have a family connection to a famous celebrity. The mix of unique and entertaining individuals made stars out of a few of them (looking at you Logan). The show was fun and kept you guessing on a weekly basis. You know it was fun when you started investing in the individuals and not even caring who was their famous family member.

2. REACHER (Prime Video):

Fans of Racher are very protective of the source material. When Alan Ritchson was cast as Reacher, Twitter and comment sections went wild with polarizing takes. Ritchson delivered big time as Reacher in the entertaining and action-packed series. Fans of Reacher were treated to an authentic portrayal of thee character and source material. The series went from a big question mark to a highly anticipated and hopeful second season. Reacher done right equals a fun show.

1. TELL ME LIES (Hulu):

Tell Me Lies is the boldest series of 2022. No show was as spicy and shocking as this show. Young stars were established in Grace Van Patten and Jackson White. The sex is as direct as you’ll see on a show. Credit to the actors for their fearlessness. Every episode sucks you-in and leaves you hanging with anticipation of the next one. If you’re a participant in the modern dating world, this show feels too real at times. It’s relatable and exciting to watch. The most sizzling watching experience I’ve had in 2022.

4 thoughts on “REEL TALKER’s 2022 End of Year “Best” Movies & Shows

  1. Great post there Jim πŸ™‚ I actually loved Crimes of the Future, Nope, The Fabelmans and Three Thousand Years of Longing πŸ™‚ I love all of David Cronenberg’s films and Crimes of the Future is no exception. Nevertheless, I would not rank it within the top 10 of the aforementioned auteur’s great films πŸ™‚ I loved Nope every bit as much as Jordon Peele’s previous films (Get Out and Us), but I can understand why it has been so polarizing πŸ™‚ As for The Fabelmans, for me, it is actually Steven Spielberg’s first great (as opposed to very good) film since 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence πŸ™‚ Three Thousand Years of Longing is another winner from George Miller πŸ™‚ Your choices under everything else is insightful πŸ™‚ Your love of Top Gun Maverick (which is very good) reminds me of my love of 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road πŸ™‚ Speaking of which, The Batman featured one of the wives in that film as Catwoman – in this case, Zoe Kravitz πŸ™‚ Some of these choices, I really need to catch up on πŸ™‚ As for Blonde, I am a huge Marilyn Monroe fan and I am aware that dyed-in-the-wool fans of hers like myself have been either mixed (like me) or downright scornful (others) regarding the film itself. Nevertheless, Ana de Armas was perfect as Marilyn Monroe and I would not have chosen anybody else πŸ™‚ And yes, she gave everything she had with that role πŸ™‚ For me, I have yet to see her give a bad performance πŸ™‚ So far, she seems capable of only giving great performances πŸ™‚ Anyway, keep up the great work as always Jim – nice site πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks for the insightful comment John. Always have great respect for your opinions and can definitely understand why you liked those films. You’re definitely right how my admiration for Top Gun reminds me of yours for Mad Max, I remember those discussions we’ve had. Ana de Armas is fabulous. You’re so right about her. She’s fantastic in Blonde and everything she does. I love hearing your perspectives, always insightful and well written. Can’t wait to go see some movies with you buddy!

      1. I love your insights as well Jim πŸ™‚ And yes, I can’t wait to see a film again with you – I think the last time we went was back in autumn of 2017 πŸ™‚ I sure we hope we can break that hiatus and go again soon πŸ™‚ Anyway, keep up the great work as always πŸ™‚

      2. Appreciate that, and yes, we are past due on seeing films so let’s find one to go to very soon!

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